Life Advocacy Briefing

January 12, 2015

Welcome, 114th! / Abortion Ban Already on House Agenda
Action Underway in Senate, Too / Don’t Miss It! / March Week Event Schedule
Not a Choice! / Waking Up to Reality?

Welcome, 114th!

CONGRESS CONVENED LAST TUESDAY in a largely ceremonial gathering for the swearing-in of the 2014-elected Members of the House and Senate and the official selection of leadership. As expected, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took his place as Majority Leader in the upper house, where he will set the agenda for the coming two years. And Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) – though only narrowly – secured re-election to lead the House in the 114th Congress. Both men are pro-life, and the Life agenda was not in question during the Boehner re-election controversy.

Committees are being re-formed, and we will publish those rosters as they become significant for consideration of Life issues. The capitol switchboard number remains 1-202/224-3121. Internet website for Congress is


Abortion Ban Already on House Agenda

AMID ALL THE POMP, CEREMONY & CONTROVERSY of the opening week of the House in the 114th Congress, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act has been reintroduced in the House by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) along with Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).

HR-36 has been assigned to the House Committee on Judiciary and would bar abortion on babies who have reached the sixth month of their gestation. Said Rep. Franks in a news release announcing the initiative: “More than 18,000 ‘very late term’ abortions are performed every year on perfectly healthy unborn babies in America. These are innocent and defenseless children who can not only feel pain but who can survive outside of the womb in most cases and who are torturously killed without even basic anesthesia. Many of them cry and scream as they die,” he noted, “but because it is amniotic fluid going over their vocal cords instead of air, we don’t hear them.

“Late-term abortion in America has its defenders,” Rep. Franks asserted, “but no true or principled defense. The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act seeks to afford basic protection to mothers and their unborn children entering the sixth month of gestation.

“I would just deeply encourage all interested parties, including fair-minded reporters, to simply read this bill,” Rep. Franks urged. “It is one all humane Americans can support if they understand it for themselves. Throughout American history, the hearts of the American people have been moved with compassion when they discover a heretofore hidden class of victims, once they grasp both the humanity of the victims and the inhumanity of what is being done to them. America,” he said, “is on the cusp of another such realization.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), reflecting on the refusal of his predecessor to allow a vote, “has promised a vote on the bill,” reports Ben Johnson for, “saying that ‘a clear majority of women nationwide [are] in support of this commonsense legislation.’”

Mr. Johnson cited input from the Congressional Budget Office and from the Planned Parenthood-connected Guttmacher Institute, which “issued separate estimates that the bill would save between 10,000 and 15,000 unborn children a year,” certainly a worthy goal, though only one step toward outlawing the killing of God’s precious children.


Action Underway in Senate, Too

IN THE SENATE, Louisiana’s now senior Senator, David Vitter (R) busied himself at his chamber’s opening session with the filing of at least four pro-life measures.

S-48 would prohibit discrimination against unborn children on the basis of sex or gender. The measure has been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions is being asked to consider Sen. Vitter’s other three pro-life bills: S-50, would prohibit certain abortion-related discrimination in governmental activities under the Public Health Service Act; S-51, which would “prohibit family planning grants from being awarded to any entity that performs abortions;” and S-71, which would impose admitting privilege requirements on “physicians who perform abortions.”

We look forward to seeing other Senators join with Sen. Vitter in co-sponsoring these proposals. Readers who wish to encourage such leadership may contact their home-state Senators via the Capitol switchboard at 1-202/224-3121.


Don’t Miss It!

PRO-LIFE CITIZENS FROM ACROSS AMERICA WILL GATHER on the National Mall on Thursday, Jan. 22, for the annual March for Life. Many will travel by charter buses; others will come on their own or in carpools; some will even fly; many from the Eastern seaboard will travel by train. However they travel, they will assemble in the hundreds of thousands to declare before the world: Every Life is a Gift.

The theme this year, reports Charlie Butts for, “draws attention to a special problem related to an abortion-versus-life decision.” It “focuses on children,” he writes, citing March for Life executive Jeanne Mancini as source, “who are diagnosed with a disability in the womb and are aborted at what she calls a ‘high disproportionate rate.’ That includes babies who are aborted because of Down syndrome, spina bifida, anencephaly and other conditions,” writes Mr. Butts. “In those cases,” he notes, “the abortion rate ranges from 60 to 90%, and prenatal diagnoses play a large role in those decisions.”

The March for Life organizers have made available – via the Internet – a March for Life Trip Planner for those who have not yet made arrangements but wish to participate in this momentous event. It can be found at

For those who cannot go to our nation’s capital, coverage of the March for Life rally, preceding the actual march, is traditionally carried by C-SPAN and by EWTN television networks. Those interested in the vast array of non-marching activities and opportunities being featured as part of the Roe/Doe anniversary week in Washington, may examine the schedule we are publishing below.


March Week Event Schedule

Pro-Life events in the Washington, DC, area during the March for Life week, information from (venues in Washington, DC, unless indicated otherwise):

Tues., Jan. 20, 7-9 p.m., Renaissance Hotel: Rape Conception Myth Busters

Wed., Jan. 21, 8-10 a.m., Prayer Vigil at Planned Parenthood, 1108 16th Street NW

Wed., Jan. 21, 9 a.m.-8 p.m., March for Life Exhibit Hall, Renaissance Hotel

Wed., Jan. 21, 9-10:30 a.m., Capitol Hill 101, Session 1, Renaissance Hotel East Ballroom

Wed., Jan. 21, 10 a.m.-Noon, March for Life Law Conference, Renaissance Hotel

Wed., Jan. 21, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Capitol Hill 101, Session 2, Renaissance Hotel East Ballroom

Wed., Jan. 21, 1-3 p.m., Law of Life Summit, Renaissance Hotel

Wed., Jan. 21, 2-4:30 p.m., March for Life Youth Rally, Renaissance Hotel

Wed., Jan. 21, 6-10 p.m., Catholic Underground with Franciscan Fathers of the Renewal,
Mother Seton Parish, Germantown, MD

Wed., Jan. 21, 6:30 p.m., Opening Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life,
Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

Wed., Jan. 21, 7-9:30 p.m., OneVoiceDC, Renaissance Hotel

Wed., Jan. 21, 7:30-10 p.m., Diocese of Arlington’s Life is Very Good Evening Prayer,
Patriot Center at George Mason University, 4500 Patriot Circle,
Fairfax, VA

Jan. 22-Jan. 24, LCMS Life Conference, Crystal City Hilton, Arlington, VA

Thurs., Jan. 22, 7-10:30 a.m., Archdiocese of Washington Youth Rally, Verizon Ctr.,
601 F St. NW

Thurs., Jan. 22, 7:30 a.m., Closing Mass for the Solemn Prayer Vigil for Life,
Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

Thurs., Jan. 22, 8 a.m., March for Life 5-K run, East Potomac Park

Thurs., Jan. 22, 8-11 a.m., March for Life Exhibit Hall, Renaissance Hotel

Thurs., Jan. 22, 7-10:30 a.m., National Prayer Service & Memorial for the Pre-Born &
their mothers and fathers, DAR Constitution Hall, 1776 D St. NW

Thurs., Jan. 22, 8:30-11:30 a.m., Archdiocese of Washington Adult & Family Rally,
Mass for Life, Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle,
1725 Rhode Island Ave. NW

Thurs., Jan. 22, 9 a.m.-Noon, Diocese of Arlington’s Life is Very Good Morning Rally,
Patriot Center at George Mason University, 4500 Patriot Circle,
Fairfax, VA

Thurs., Jan. 22, 11:30 a.m.-Noon, Liturgy for the Preborn at the Time of Death (CEC),
in front of US Supreme Court, 1 First St. NE

Thurs., Jan. 22, Noon, March for Life Rally, followed by the March; rally at National Mall
between 7th & 9th Streets; march up Constitution Avenue to the
Supreme Court on Capitol Hill

Thurs., Jan. 22, 3-6 p.m., March for Life Exhibit Hall, Renaissance Hotel

Thurs., Jan. 22, 4 p.m., Nellie Gray Mass, Mass of the Holy Innocents,
St. Mary Mother of God Church

Thurs., Jan. 22, 6 p.m., March for Life Rose Dinner, Renaissance Hotel Grand Ballroom

Fri., Jan. 23, 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Students for Life of America National Conference,
1st Baptist Church of Glenarden, 600 Watkins Park Dr.,
Upper Marlboro, MD

Fri., Jan. 23, 1-6 p.m., Latinos por la Vida, Marriott Hotel, Silver Spring, MD

Sat., Jan. 24, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Cardinal O’Connor Conference for Life, Georgetown University


Not a Choice!

Dec. 22, 2014, Breakpoint commentary by John Stonestreet

We often speak about the right to life, but children possess another right that we don’t discuss often enough.

Writing in The Atlantic recently, David Frum acknowledges that the abortion rate has come down and that most Americans now consider themselves to be pro-life. But the magazine’s senior editor manages to find a dark lining in this silver cloud. “Abortion rates are coming down,” he writes, “mostly because the number of unmarried women having babies is going up.

“This is the fascinating irony of the pro-life movement,” he continues. “The cause originated as a profoundly socially conservative movement. Yet as it grew, it became less sectarian. Women came to the fore as leaders. It found a new language of concern and compassion, rather than condemnation and control. Most radically and decisively, the movement made its peace with unwed parenthood as the inescapable real-world alternative to abortion.”

Well, we have indeed figured out how to frame the issue as one of compassion for mothers and their children. And though allowing a child to live is always more compassionate than abortion, I haven’t made peace with unwed parenthood – at least not in the sense that Frum uses the term – and neither have any of the pro-life leaders that I know.

That’s because we believe that children not only have a right to life; they also have a right to a mom and a dad. Even more, we’d argue they have a right to a married mom and dad. All the social science agrees. As my friend Ryan Anderson and his colleague at the Heritage Foundation, Sarah Torre, recently wrote in the National Review Online, “The best place on average for a child to grow up is with his married biological mom and dad. … [This brings] greater academic success, lower rates of substance abuse and a significantly decreased risk of childhood poverty.” Yes, kids have a right to a married mother and father.

Now before I go on, let me be clear: Of course we pro-lifers encourage unwed mothers to have their children instead of abort them. This is no great revelation, is it? The right to life is paramount. And churches should do everything to support single mothers and provide options such as adoption whenever appropriate. As Anderson and Torre write, “It’s far better to allow a child to live, even in less than ideal circumstances, than to kill her simply because she’s inconvenient or might experience hardship.”

And then they clarify why single parenthood is increasing, and it’s not because pro-lifers have “made their peace” with single parenthood.

Instead, a whole host of interlocking factors has led to this trend: “A sexual revolution that decoupled sex from marriage, the sustained desire by low-income women to have children (outside even a committed relationship), the crisis of employed law-abiding blue-collar young men, and an ever-growing welfare state that rewards single parenthood and penalizes marriage have all contributed to the rise in unwed childbearing.”

But, they continue, if we can launch campaigns against teen pregnancy – and we have – then we ought to be able to address unwed parenthood, too. They quote welfare expert Robert Rector, who notes, “‘Young people in low-income communities are never told that having a child outside of marriage will have negative consequences … or that marriage has beneficial effects.’”

So, let’s tell them, for heaven’s sake – and for theirs!

And what has driven down the abortion rate? Anderson and Torre point to the establishment of more than 2,000 pregnancy centers nationwide that provide counseling and medical services to women facing unplanned pregnancies, the availability of ultrasounds (which demonstrate the humanity of the unborn), and to legislation that protects women and their unborn children. They quote University of Michigan professor Michael New, who says a “‘substantial body of peer-reviewed research … finds that public funding restrictions, parental involvement laws and properly designed informed consent laws all reduce the incidence of abortion.’”

But there’s certainly no reason we have to choose between fighting abortion and promoting marriage. While the right to life is the most fundamental right, children also have a right to a married mom and dad. This doesn’t take away from the efforts of single parents in raising their children; it’s the conclusion of statistical research. The church should play a vital and vocal role in advocating for pro-life issues and for marriage. … Come to, click on this [Dec. 22, 2014] commentary, and we’ll point you to pro-life and pro-family organizations.


Waking Up to Reality?

Excerpted from the Jan. 6, 2015, commentary by Gary Bauer in his End Of Day Report

I’ve been a critic of ObamaCare since its inception. Like many, I warned that it was sold on false promises, and that government mandates would only make things worse and more expensive. I believe it should be repealed.

But while I know you’re not supposed to take joy in the suffering of others, I’m finding it difficult to sympathize with some Harvard University faculty members. It seems they are none too pleased with recent changes to the university’s healthcare plans – changes mandated by ObamaCare, which some of them helped to create.

A wise man by the name of Irving Kristol once said that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality. This “mugging” of some Harvard professors could be a wake-up call. I can dream, can’t I?