Life Advocacy Briefing

March 16, 2015

Hyde Amendment Fight Breaks Out in Senate / Lynch Up for Vote
Supreme Court Revives Notre Dame ObamaCare Appeal
Pain-Capable Protection Act Now Law in West Virginia / All Abortion, All the Time
He’s Not Through with Us Yet / Choosing Abortion Cartel over Trafficking Victims?

Hyde Amendment Fight Breaks Out in Senate

ANGST OVER AN ATTEMPT TO BAR TAXPAYER FUNDING OF ABORTION erupted in the Senate last Tuesday, reports Niels Lesniewski for Roll Call. The scrap, he writes, “threatened to derail the ostensibly noncontroversial human trafficking bill on the Senate floor.”

More than anything else, it demonstrated how shamelessly wedded to the abortion cartel the Senate’s Democratic Party leaders are, that they would jeopardize legislation to, as the bill’s text reads, “provide justice for the victims of human trafficking,” over their fanatical determination to subject taxpayers to paying for abortions.

Democrats complained, reports Mr. Lesniewski, “they were effectively hoodwinked by Majority Whip John Cornyn [R-TX] and other Republican Senators with the inclusion of an expansion of the scope of the prohibition on federal funding [of] abortion known as the Hyde Amendment.

“A Cornyn aide alleged that the staff of Judiciary [Committee] Ranking Member Patrick J. Leahy [D-VT], was aware of the abortion language before the bill even came up for a vote in committee,” reports Roll Call, “but Democratic aides said that simply was not true.”

Result: Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) vowed to block a vote on the legislation unless the pro-life/pro-taxpayer-protection language is stripped from the measure. “‘We didn’t know it was in the bill,’” he said, according to Roll Call.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) issued a statement Thursday headlined “Will Senate Democrats choose special interests over victims of human trafficking?” His news release reprints remarks the Majority Leader delivered in the Senate chamber. We thank him for it and reprint the statement at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing.

We ask our readers to contact home-state Senators and request that they vote against any motion which would hold up the human trafficking legislation over the abortion-funding provision and that they vote to ban taxpayer funding of abortion; the Capitol switchboard number is 1-202/224-3121.


Lynch Up for Vote

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY) ANNOUNCED Tuesday that he plans to bring the Loretta Lynch nomination to a floor vote this week. According to writer Seung Min Kim, “the vote appears to be close.” Three Republican Senators joined Judiciary Committee Democrats in voting the Lynch nomination for Attorney General out of committee in late February. We reported that committee vote in a previous edition of Life Advocacy Briefing.

Ms. Lynch is currently the US attorney for the eastern district of New York. Her background includes legal assistance to Planned Parenthood in the abortion behemoth’s resistance to the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban.

Readers are asked to contact their home-state Senators and request a “no” vote on the Loretta Lynch nomination; the Capitol switchboard number is 1-202/224-3121.


Supreme Court Revives Notre Dame ObamaCare Appeal

THE U.S. SUPREME COURT LAST MONDAY ORDERED a lower court to reconsider its earlier ruling against the University of Notre Dame in the institution’s litigation seeking exemption from ObamaCare’s abortifacient/sterilization coverage mandate.

The Chicago-based 7th Circuit Court of Appeals will now have to reconsider its year-old ruling, reports Lisa Bourne for, “that the university had to comply with the revised [ObamaCare contraceptive] mandate, meaning,” explains Ms. Bourne, “that the Catholic university must complete a waiver exempting it from providing contraception to employees and students as part of the buffer created by the so-called compromise associated with” the federal government’s takeover of the medical insurance industry.

Notre Dame contends, notes Ms. Bourne, “the ‘compromise’ does not adequately preserve its religious rights.”

The Notre Dame ruling out of the 7th Circuit, notes Ms. Bourne, “came before the June 2014 Hobby Lobby decision [of the Supreme Court], which ruled that closely held companies can claim a religious exemption from the mandate compelling them to offer abortion-inducing drugs in their health plans.

“‘If the owners of a family business can assert religious liberty objections,’” said Catholic League president William Donohue, quoted by LifeSiteNews, “‘it makes sense that Catholic non-profits should at least have the same rights.’”


Pain-Capable Protection Act Now Law in West Virginia

THE WEST VIRGINIA SENATE FOLLOWED THROUGH last week with adoption of a motion to override the veto by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, now law, set to take effect in the Mountain State in 90 days. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morissey (R) has stated he will defend the new statute against any lawsuit which might be filed.

The Senate vote was 27 to 5, and, notes Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, the favorable votes included “two-thirds of Democratic leaders” in the upper chamber. The House had overridden the veto just days earlier by a vote of 77 to 16.

West Virginia is the eleventh state to enact such legislation, according to National Right to Life, which is fostering its passage; because of litigation, it is currently in effect in just eight states: Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Texas.

The popular legislation, which has been introduced also in the Congress as HR-36, outlaws the abortion killing of developing babies who have reached the 20-week (five-month) mark in their gestation. It is predicated on medical testimony that little boys and girls can feel pain – in fact, excruciating pain – at that stage of development and on the consequent practice by legitimate medical practitioners of administering fetal anesthesia in situations where prenatal surgery is required on a post-20-week unborn baby.

The federal Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is pending in the Constitution & Civil Justice Subcommittee of the House Committee on the Judiciary, where it was referred after being pulled from the House calendar on Jan. 22. The subcommittee is chaired by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), who is also chief sponsor of the landmark legislation.


All Abortion, All the Time

THE ‘AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION’ [A.C.L.U.] HAS FILED SUIT against a Washington State hospital system, Skagit Regional Health, reports Charlie Butts for, “because it’s not performing enough abortions to make its plaintiff happy.”

The lawsuit was filed under the state’s Reproductive Privacy Act, reports Mr. Butts, “which requires that public hospitals that offer maternity services also offer access to abortions.”

Skagit Regional Health, according to a Reuters report by Victoria Cavaliere, “operates a large hospital and several clinics in Skagit County, about 100 miles north of Seattle.”

Skagit does commit some abortions, notes Mr. Butts, “but refers others to Planned Parenthood.” And in a news release, reports OneNewsNow, “the ACLU complained that Skagit performs a ‘wide array’ of maternity care services ‘yet does not provide medication abortions and rarely provides surgical abortions.’

“Worse still, claims the far-left ACLU,” writes Mr. Butts, “too many doctors at Skagit have signed up to refuse to do abortions.”

Response from the medical center was cited in the Reuters report: “The medical center said it provided both pharmaceutical and surgical abortions,” writes Ms. Cavaliere. “It said that some doctors and nurses opted out of performing abortions under hospital policy and a provision of state law that preserves that right for individual medical professionals. If a doctor does opt out,” reports Reuters, “‘the hospital will use reasonable efforts to arrange for other healthcare professionals to deliver the care for the patient,’ a statement said.”

Mr. Butts quotes the CEO of Human Life of Washington, Dan Kennedy, saying “the law is ‘quite clear’ that doctors and nurses can’t be forced to participate in abortions, and their hiring can’t be based on if they’re willing to perform them. ‘That is also illegal,’ he says, ‘and yet that is exactly what the ACLU wants.’”

Calling the lawsuit “‘the tyranny of the intolerant,’” Mr. Kennedy, quoted by Mr. Butts, “point[ed] out the Left’s supposed live-and-let-live belief that champions the rights of the individual. ‘And yet if you don’t agree with them, they don’t let you live, so it’s absolutely deplorable,’ [Mr.] Kennedy complains,” writes Mr. Butts. “‘This is just absolute nonsense but another one of those things where they just beat on something and beat on it until they end up getting their way.’” Let’s hope not.


He’s Not Through with Us Yet

Jan. 22, 2015, BreakPoint commentary by Eric Metaxas

… Melissa Payne – pregnant with her second child – was traveling with her family when her water broke. Her baby girl was just under 19 weeks old – far too young to survive outside the womb. But God was preparing to work a miracle in the Payne family.

Doctors told Melissa that she would have to deliver the baby within the next three days – which certainly meant the little girl would die. Even if they continued the pregnancy, a specialist gave the baby only a five percent chance of survival. And, Melissa was told, even if the baby did survive, she would be so handicapped that she would be a tremendous burden on the family.

But Melissa and her husband Kevin refused to give up on their daughter. They found an obstetrician who was willing to help them complete the pregnancy, if such a thing were possible. But even this doctor didn’t offer much hope.

As Melissa told LifeSiteNews, “Every day I was on bed-rest I would feel her kicking and moving, and at the same time I would go to the doctor and they’d just frown and nod.”

Friends from church bathed Melissa and her baby in prayer for seven weeks. And then came an emergency Cesarean. Graceanne Payne arrived in the outside world at just 26 weeks’ gestation. She weighed one pound, twelve ounces.

Graceanne was kept on oxygen ventilation for six weeks and spent a total of 97 days in the neonatal intensive care unit. And then, her parents joyfully took her home.

Now you may be wondering: What about all those dire predictions that Graceanne would be born with a big batch of handicaps and be a burden on her family? Well, Graceanne, who is now over a year old, is perfectly normal. Her mother says she has met all of her age-adjusted developmental milestones.

I wanted to tell Graceanne’s story today – the 42nd anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade decision – for an important reason. Neonatal specialists keep pushing back the age of survival for babies born sooner than they should be. Many babies now survive premature births.

Other babies survive not premature births but efforts to abort them. I was shocked to find out recently that some 44,000 people have survive attempts to kill them through abortion – enough to populate a small city. You can read their stories on their website – The Abortion Survivors Network. [] One survivor, Ana Rosa Rodriguez, had her arm torn off by an abortionist in 1991; she’s now a healthy young woman (except for that missing arm).

Another survivor, Gianna Jesson, now aged 37, suffers from abortion-induced cerebral palsy. When she prepared to testify before Congress in 1996, then Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder objected. And that’s hardly surprising. As one blogger put it, “When an aborted fetus limps up to the podium and reads her prepared comments, that’s good news for fetuses but bad news for somebody who gets campaign support from the abortion establishment.” Well put.

Former fetuses like Graceanne and Gianna are our witnesses. They are our truth tellers. They have names and faces, friends and hobbies. And today, they’re looking abortion supporters in the face and exposing their lies: That the unborn child is nothing but a blob of tissue and has no value.

Friends, I encourage you to do something … . Pray, march, speak out, donate time and money to a pregnancy care center. And take a moment to rejoice: Those former fetuses are speaking truth to power – loudly and clearly.


Choosing Abortion Cartel over Trafficking Victims?

March 11, 2015, statement by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to Senate

The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act is one of the most bipartisan pieces of legislation you could imagine. Ever since this bipartisan human rights bill was introduced by a Democrat and a Republican in January – and made publicly available for any person to read – Members of both parties have sung its praises repeatedly.

This bipartisan bill gained the support of 13 Democratic co-sponsors. Recently, Democrats voted unanimously to approve it in committee. This week, Democrats consented unanimously to advance it on the floor.

Even the Democratic Leader himself said he “underscore[d], appreciate[d] and agree[d] with” my call to pass this bipartisan bill overwhelmingly. “I doubt there will be problems on my side,” he said. “If there are, I will work to clear them.”

That was Monday.

By Tuesday, Democrats seemed to be threatening to filibuster human rights legislation for abused and neglected victims and children. Let me repeat that: Democrats are now threatening to filibuster human rights legislation for abused and neglected victims and children

And why?

Democrats now say they don’t like language that has been in the bill since it was introduced months ago and does nothing more than reaffirm the bipartisan law of the land.

And this bipartisan provision was on Page Four of this modest-sized bill, so Democrats obviously knew it was in there to begin with. Democrats obviously wouldn’t have co-sponsored this bill or voted for it in committee – or called for its passage on the Senate floor – if they hadn’t read the bill first.

These Democrats surely don’t want to see more quotes like this one, from an official with the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women. Here’s what she said: “Senate Democrats are choosing a phantom problem over real victims.”

So if these Democrats keep their word to the victims of human trafficking, then a partisan filibuster attempt will fail overwhelmingly. If these Democrats keep their word to the vulnerable and the oppressed, then the Senate will pass a bipartisan human rights bill.

But if these Democrats truly are having second thoughts about supporting such important human rights legislation, they are free to offer an amendment. But let’s not filibuster bipartisan help for vulnerable victims just to make a point for left-wing special interest groups.

Our Democratic friends have to resist the siren song of their pollsters, who tell them that the path to victory lies in turning bipartisan bills into manufactured fights over cultural issues. Americans are looking for statesmen and stateswomen on [the] Democratic side to stand up and help us emancipate the victims of modern slavery, not score another empty political point. I’m calling on these Democrats to help us do that.

Help is almost there for the vulnerable victims of these awful crimes. Surely, no left-wing special interest group is more important than fighting modern-day slavery.

So the Democratic co-sponsors and declared supporters of this bill need to keep working with us in a bipartisan way to ensure help comes.