Life Advocacy Briefing

March 2, 2015

Lynch Nomination Moves to Senate Floor / Another Assault on Conscience
Dr. John Willke, RIP / Pain-Capable Protection Bill Goes to Governor in W. Virginia
‘Cruel Indifference’ All Right / Sunshine Dawning in South Bend?
Quoteworthy / Witness for Life

Lynch Nomination Moves to Senate Floor

THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE HAS CLEARED Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch for floor consideration, despite many questions about her suitability as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, including her previous involvement with Planned Parenthood in resisting the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban. Readers are asked to contact their home-state Senators and request a “no” vote on the Lynch confirmation; the Capitol switchboard is 1-202/224-3121.

The committee vote was 12-to-8. Republicans Jeff Flake (AZ), Lindsey Graham (SC) and Orrin Hatch (UT) voted with all committee Democrats in her favor. Democratic panel members are Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (VT), Dianne Feinstein (CA), Richard Blumenthal (CT), Christopher Coons (DE), Richard Durbin (IL), Al Franken & Amy Klobuchar (MN), Charles Schumer (NY) and Sheldon Whitehouse (RI).

Opposing her nomination were Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) and GOP Senators Jeff Sessions (AL), David Perdue (GA), David Vitter (LA), Thom Tillis (NC), John Cornyn & Ted Cruz (TX) and Mike Lee (UT).


Another Assault on Conscience

THE OBAMA REGIME’s REGULATORY WAR against pro-life Americans has found a fresh target, reports Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins in his Feb. 20 Washington Update. On the drawing board and near to launch, according to Mr. Perkins, is a new rule mandating that “all organizations – including religious ones – who provide government-funded services for immigrant children must be willing to refer minors for services like abortion.”

What is more, the Regime has proceeded to “[draft] its final version of the regs,” warns Mr. Perkins, without providing the customary public comment period. “It would be ‘contrary to the public interest,’ officials say, to wait ‘until a public notice and comment process is complete.’” So now, apparently, the Obama Regime is breaking custom and precedent in promulgating regulations without public input – at least public input from potential opponents to the scheme.

“As outrageous as the fallout is for pro-life and church-affiliated groups,” opines Mr. Perkins, “it’s equally shocking that these children would be proactively steered toward abortion when they’re entering the US without their moms and dads.” (Many of them, we would add, as victims of sex traffickers.) “Most people,” notes Mr. Perkins, “are just as upset with the attack on parents’ rights as they are with the White House trampling the First Amendment.”

Mr. Perkins notes further, the Regime is “also demanding that these provider facilities give their staff in-depth ‘LGBTQI’ training to ‘help’ children who may have trouble identifying themselves.”

The overwhelming majority of the contracting agencies which offer the relevant social services are religious-based, most of them Catholic. But the conscience perspective of faith-based caring agencies is of no concern to the Obama Regime; just ask the Little Sisters of the Poor, which had to take their case all the way to the US Supreme Court to keep from being forced to cover abortifacient drugs and sterilizations in their group health plans.


Dr. John Willke, RIP

RARE IS THE OBSTETRICIAN SO DEDICATED TO HIS WORK AS TO LEAVE IT in order to champion the right to life of innocent, vulnerable preborn babies. Such was the passion, dedication and character of John C. Willke, MD, whose passing at age 89 on Feb. 20 is mourned by millions who shared his mission, which began in the 1960s.

Dr. Willke may be best known to pro-life leaders and volunteers in America as former president of National Right to Life. At the time of his passing, he was president of Life Issues Institute, based in Cincinnati, and has long been known and loved across the world as president of the International Right to Life Federation, which through Dr. Willke built a network of pro-life organizations in more than 170 countries.

The pro-life pioneer and his late wife Barbara, a nurse who was equally dedicated to the pro-life cause, were well known for educational materials – booklets and slide shows in the early days of the movement – which helped millions discover the humanity of unborn children and the injustice of decriminalized abortion. Over the years, the Willkes’ lectures and printed presentations have been translated into 32 languages, according to an announcement from Life Issues Institute, whose executive director Bradley Mattes issued a statement mourning Dr. Willke’s passing.

“Words can’t possibly express how sad we feel,” commented Mr. Mattes, who called Dr. Willke “my mentor and colleague for over 23 years and … a second father to me.”

The Life Issues Institute release continues: “[Dr. Willke’s] dream of ending the brutality of abortion will ultimately be realized by those he and Barbara brought into the movement and trained. ‘I can only imagine the greeting Jack received in heaven,’” said Mr. Mattes. “‘Millions of babies whom he tirelessly worked to save, joyfully welcoming him home.’”

We feature a tribute to Dr. Willke at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing. It was written by Chuck Donovan, who directs the Charlotte Lozier Institute for the Susan B. Anthony Fund, and provides not only a more extensive look at Dr. Willke’s life of service but also a thumbnail history of the pro-life movement.


Pain-Capable Protection Bill Goes to Governor in W. Virginia

PAIN-CAPABLE UNBORN CHILD PROTECTION LEGISLATION is on its way to the governor of West Virginia, facing a likely veto and swift override.

The West Virginia State Senate passed the late-term abortion ban last Wednesday by a vote of 29 to 5, echoing House passage by an 88-to-12 vote on Feb. 11.

Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, first elected claiming to be “pro-life,” vetoed a like measure during the previous legislative session, and his party’s legislative leaders chose not to seek an override. But the 2014 election overturned his party’s long-standing control of both legislative houses, and despite his veto vow, even his own party’s lawmakers made clear during the vote on the measure their intention to go all the way to enactment of the groundbreaking measure.

The proposed law, which establishes criminal penalties for aborting a baby past the 20th gestational week – five months – has been enacted in ten states previously and is currently in effect in Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Texas.

It is predicated on established medical evidence that unborn children are capable – at least at age 20 weeks, if not before – of suffering excruciating pain. Consideration of such legislation has been shown to aid the public in grasping the reprehensible violence of abortion, at least in the later stages of a baby’s gestation. The proposal has consequently generated solid public support but continues to languish in Congress after the House Leadership pulled the federal version of the bill, HR-36, from floor consideration on Jan. 22 and sent it to the Committee on the Judiciary, upon the demand of Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC), a “pro-life” Member who feared political consequences from the President’s veto threat.


‘Cruel Indifference’ All Right

PLANNED PARENTHOOD HAS CHOSEN THE PHRASE ‘CRUEL INDIFFERENCE’ to assault the University of Scranton in the wake of the Jesuit institution’s recent decision to adopt a Roman Catholic approach to its healthcare benefits for faculty and staff.

The Pennsylvania university recently announced it was scrapping its practice of underwriting the killing of children conceived in the course of a sex crime or in the exceedingly rare situations where a child’s continued gestation or birth would likely cost the mother’s life.

“Planned Parenthood Keystone meted out a prompt response,” reports Kimberly Scharfenberger for, citing the Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader as source, “claiming that the move conveyed ‘a cruel indifference’ to the university’s female faculty and accused the university of lacking compassion for women.”

“Cruel indifference.” Quite a phrase. Quite fitting, in fact, to Planned Parenthood’s approach to abortion, which constitutes cruel indifference to the pain and suffering of preborn children and also to the lifelong consequences to the mothers who abort them.


Sunshine Dawning in South Bend?

INDIANA’s HEALTH DEPARTMENT HAS FILED A COMPLAINT seeking, reports Amanda Gray for the South Bend Tribune, “to revoke the operating license for the Women’s Pavilion, South Bend’s only abortion clinic and currently the only [abortion] clinic operating in northern Indiana.”

This is the shop owned by notorious abortionist Ulrich Klopfer, against whose medical license the Indiana Attorney General filed complaints last year with the Indiana Medical Licensing Board; the board has summoned Mr. Klopfer to a March 26 hearing to consider the AG complaint, which reportedly resulted from consumer complaints. The complaint charged, reports Dave Andrusko, editor of National Right to Life (NRL) News Today, “‘Each [Klopfer abortion] report contained on average four omissions or errors involving medical and statistical information that must be reported to [the state] for statistical purposes.’” And when it comes to Mr. Klopfer’s operation, the statistics mount: “1,818 abortions he performed,” writes Mr. Andrusko, “between July 2012 and November 2013.”

The new complaint, filed by the state Health Department, “cites recent and recurring violations from abortion clinic inspections,” writes Ms. Gray in the Tribune, “as evidence that the clinic isn’t following state laws and that ‘such noncompliance is detrimental to the welfare of clinic patients.’”

The Health Dept. complaint reportedly stems from an inspection conducted Oct. 29, 2014, resulting in a citation, reports Ms. Gray, of “27 regulations that the clinic did not meet, including regulations on proof of staff certification, clinic procedures and disposal of expired medication.”

The October inspection report cited 30 patient files, reports Ms. Gray, which showed only 15 customers “were served by qualified staff during recovery after an abortion. The inspection also found,” she writes, “that 15 out of 30 patient files showed patients were not monitored by qualified personnel other than the doctor while under conscious sedation during an abortion procedure. Other violations,” she writes, “included no written policies or procedures regarding surgical abortion services, no documentation showing clinic staff received annual assessments and not having a valid certificate showing laboratory services met certain standards.”



Rev. Franklin Graham’s Feb. 23 posting on Facebook, quoted by Gary Bauer in his End-of-Day memo to the Campaign for Working Families: “Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has taken a lot of heat from the media for his remark that he’s not sure if Pres. Obama really loves America. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I do know that the President defends Islam and chastises Christians, rebukes our allies and befriends our enemies, and fully supports gay marriages and abortion but denies the religious freedoms of those who don’t agree. Our nation is ridiculed abroad and morally crumbling within. We are in trouble. We have turned our back on God.”


Witness for Life

Excerpts from a tribute to Dr. Jack Willke by Chuck Donovan, reprinted from First Things, Feb. 23, 2015

Washington Hall at the University of Notre Dame was packed to the rafters. In a few minutes, a physician and his wife would walk onstage and begin a presentation to hundreds of students and faculty about a new issue on the national scene. The topic was abortion, and the year was 1972. …

Jack Willke MD and his wife and coauthor Barbara, a nurse and mother of six, were the speakers that night four decades back. They were about to present information and images that were surely on the fringe of most people’s knowledge and experience at the time. They were about to show, in a medical and academic context, what abortion was – where it was happening, who was doing it, how it was being justified, how the medical and legal communities were moving to provide that justification, what it could do to women, what it always did to the child she was carrying.

In the audience that night, helping to organize the event and encourage students, already roiled by the controversies over the Viet Nam War, widespread drug use and changing sexual mores, were several dozen students from the nascent student pro-life group at Notre Dame. The faculty mentor was Notre Dame Law School professor Charles Rice. The group president was Mark Souder, later to represent the Fort Wayne, Indiana, area in Congress. Others present included the Willkes’ daughters: Theresa, soon to become a member of the first class of women admitted to Notre Dame, and Marie, then a student like Theresa, at St. Mary’s College across US 31.

I was there as well, and like dozens of other students, was deeply affected that night by the Willkes’ talk, a presentation they had given – and were to give – in every corner of the United States and in dozens of nations overseas. No one logged more miles or spent more time and energy to alert their fellow citizens to the storm and to champion the lives of the unborn.

It is hard for today’s mind to understand the atmosphere around this issue in the period before the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade in 1973 or the atmosphere generally before the various revolutions of the 1960s took full root in the following decades. Strange as it may seem to say, some things were just not talked about. Cultural conservatism was so widespread that there was very likely no name for the phenomenon; it was just the norm, a norm powerful forces were determined to break.

Some tend to ascribe those forces to radical feminism, but that’s not quite right; in the late 1960s, the drive for changes in US abortion law was emanating as much or more from elite figures who viewed them as necessary to deal with rapid population growth. The 1972 report of the Commission on Population Growth & the American Future, established by an Act of Congress signed into law by Pres. Nixon, paid some lip service to notions of sexual equality, but its message and policy recommendations revolved around the idea of eliminating excess people.

To the audience at Notre Dame that night, the Willkes brought a message of human rights, of respect for the smallest and weakest among us, and of optimism about the human future. They pulled back the veil of rhetoric covering the brutal reality of “abortion rights.” With full awareness of the passions the images they brought might evoke, they debunked the language of abortion advocates regarding the “products of conception” or “uterine contents.” They were medical experts speaking to a university audience at risk of being deluded about the reality of fetal development. This was not graphic signage in a public march … but a briefing about a core, contested issue: Is the unborn child one of us? Human? Our brother or sister?

Over their long and indefatigable careers, the Willkes did much more than educate and inspire tens of thousands of pro-life adherents. As I came to know them in our hometown of Cincinnati and to spend time with the family, working for years as a pro-life volunteer, I saw up close how they lived their lives in service to their ideals. Their home in Finneytown always had at least one extra resident, an expectant mother or a teenage struggling with depression or family problems. They were, from the very beginning of their work, strong advocates for pregnancy help centers, maternity homes and positive alternatives. They coined the slogan, “Why can’t we love them both?” to counter the criticism of politicians who taunted right-to-lifers with allegedly caring for human life in the womb but abandoning it at birth.

The Willkes published book after book on the basics of embryology and the arguments for life. They understood how people received and digested information, organizing their books in question-and-answer formats to deal with key topics, documenting each assertion as their professional backgrounds dictated. …

All of it was a reminder of a point they made often and well. Illegal abortion was most often an abortion performed by a doctor – not in a back alley but at a barren place where a physician had abandoned the Hippocratic Oath.

Over the years I got to know Jack and Barbara Willke even better, through Ohio Right to Life and ultimately National Right to Life Committee, where Jack was vice president and I had my first full-time job in Washington. They were pivotal days, as the pro-life movement grew rapidly in the teeth of the sweeping rulings of the Supreme Court and a pro-life President, Ronald Reagan, wrested the White House from Jimmy Carter.

As Dr. Willke recounts in his and Barbara’s just-released history of the right-to-life movement, those years saw both a great flowering of hope of reversing Roe v. Wade and a crushing defeat when the pro-life movement split over two approaches to dealing with the abortion rulings. In 1983 the US Senate rejected both a Human Life Bill and the Hatch Amendment, a constitutional amendment that would have returned the abortion issue to the jurisdiction of the states. From that point on, at least until the recent renaissance of pro-life legislation, the right-to-life movement rededicated itself to providing alternatives to abortion and educating the next generation.

Today, all of these approaches are bearing fruit. The Willkes were deeply engaged in each of them. … The long and short of it was that the Willkes were leaders, a couple bonded in love, marriage and faith, who recognized where our culture was headed and strove to head in another direction.

Jack and Barbara lived long enough that millions of young pro-life Americans who benefited from – may even be the result of – their lifelong leadership would not recognize their names. But those of us in the middle way, who learned from them and knew their compassion and integrity, will not forget them and all they did to foster the right to life – a flame that will not go out. …