Life Advocacy Briefing

May 11, 2015

Taking a Break / House Approves Rep. Black’s D.C. Resolution
Pro-Life Laws Working in Ohio / Victory in Connecticut
House Voting Record / It’s About Freedom

Taking a Break

LIFE ADVOCACY BRIEFING WILL NOT PUBLISH next week because of our editor’s travel schedule. We regret the timing of this hiatus during the Congressional session, but it is necessary. We expect to resume publication around May 22 with our May 25 edition. And we ask your prayers for our travel.


House Approves Rep. Black’s D.C. Resolution

THE U.S. HOUSE VOTED APRIL 30 – just after our publication deadline – to nullify the ordinance adopted by the District of Columbia city government this winter requiring “non-discrimination” in employment based on viewpoints related to “reproductive health.” If allowed to take effect, the local law would effectively require DC-sited employers – including pro-life and pro-family organizations – to hire staff who actively disagree with the mission and viewpoint of the organization. The radical city fathers have fashioned their assault as an “anti-discrimination” law.

The action by the U.S. House came on a resolution put forth by Rep. Diane Black (R-TN); House Joint Resolution 43 was sent immediately to the US Senate. We publish the House voting record near the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing.

The House-passed measure has been referred in the Senate to the Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, chaired by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI). The panel is also in control of an identical Senate-initiated resolution offered by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) under the number SJRes-10.

Readers are asked to contact their home-state US Senators – particularly those serving on the committee – and request a “yes” vote on SJRes-10 and on HJRes-43. They may be reached via the Capitol switchboard at 1-202/224-3121.

GOP Members of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, in addition to Chairman Johnson, are Senators John McCain (AZ), Joni Ernst (IA), Rand Paul (KY), Ben Sasse (NE), Kelly Ayotte (NH), Rob Portman (OH), James Lankford (OK) and Michael Enzi (WY); Sen. Lankford is a co-sponsor of SJRes-10, as is Sen. Jeff Sessions (AL).

Democratic Senators on the committee hearing the DC ordinance nullification resolutions are Ranking Member Thomas Carper (DE) and Senators Gary Peters (MI), Claire McCaskill (MO), Jon Tester (MT), Cory Booker (NJ), Heidi Heitkamp (ND) and Tammy Baldwin (WI).

Though disapproval of a local government ordinance is not normally a power granted to Congress, the Constitution does provide for such oversight in the actions of the District of Columbia as the seat of the national government. For a full and useful explanation of this issue, please see the April 30 commentary by Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, which we are reprinting at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing.

We appreciate also the April 30 letter to House Members from National Right to Life outlining the issue and pointing out: “It would be intolerable for an advocacy organization such as ours to be required to hire – or prohibited from firing – a person who makes a ‘decision’ to engage in advocacy or any other activity that is directly antithetical to our core mission to lawfully advocate for the civil rights of the unborn.”


Pro-Life Laws Working in Ohio

A DROP IN OHIO’s ABORTION RATE by some nine percent since 2011 is being attributed to the enactment of pro-life laws in the state, reports Dustin Siggins for, citing Associated Press (AP) as source.

Ohio statutes are credited also, notes Mr. Siggins, for a decline of “nearly 50%” in the number of abortuaries doing business in the state, with further decline anticipated. The closure rate since 2011 is seven out of 16 abortuaries, but the eighth is “embroiled in a legal fight,” writes Mr. Siggins, “which makes the nation’s seventh-largest state second only to Texas in terms of abortion clinics closed in recent years.”

AP figures report the number of abortions committed in Ohio has declined “from 25,473 in 2012 to 23,216 in 2013.”

Among the pro-life laws enacted since 2011 under the stewardship of Gov. John Kasich (R) and Ohio’s “GOP-controlled legislature” are “laws preventing abortion after a baby can survive outside the womb,” writes Mr. Siggins, “and requiring women to listen to fetal heartbeats and have ultrasounds prior to an abortion.”

Ohio Right to Life’s president joined Heartbeat International’s president in adding credit for the impact of pregnancy resource centers. And ORL president Mike Gonidakis told the AP, according to Mr. Siggins, “‘Our society’s changing. More and more women are choosing life.’”

The local NARAL chapter head, of course, whined to AP about the state’s policies creating problems of access, requiring women to “drive further,” she claimed, according to Mr. Siggins, “sometimes out of state, to get an abortion. She told the AP,” notes Mr. Siggins, “that the lack of clinics often creates circumstances where women can’t get abortions because they cannot get an appointment until after the state’s legal limit.” She further complained, reports Mr. Siggins, “that ‘these laws have all been about creating these false hurdles for clinics to have to jump through.’”

Retorts Heartbeat’s Peggy Hartshorn, quoted by LifeSiteNews, “‘The very same special interest groups who once claimed their goal was to make abortion “safe, legal and rare” are now settling for merely “legal.” … Abortion facilities that are closing their doors,’” she said, quoted by Mr. Siggins, “‘are doing so because they are putting women’s health and safety at risk. While these highly profitable abortion businesses are unable to comply with laws enacted to protect the health of women, grassroots pregnancy help organizations are offering these very same women a safe – and legal – environment where they are able to make the healthiest choice for everyone involved in an unexpected pregnancy.’”


Victory in Connecticut

KUDOS TO LIFE ADVOCATES IN CONNECTICUT FOR THEIR STIFLING of legislation to legalize doctor-abetted suicide.

“For the third consecutive year,” writes Brian Fraga for the National Catholic Register [NCR], “a bill that would have made it legal for doctors to prescribe lethal doses of medication to terminally ill patients failed to make it out of a Connecticut legislative committee without a vote.”

Credit for failure of the legislation was given by Mr. Fraga to “an unlikely coalition of socially conservative pro-lifers and liberal activists for the elderly and disabled in Connecticut. … By coordinating effective testimony in public hearings with letter-writing campaigns, press conference and other awareness-raising efforts,” he writes, “the left-right coalition successfully framed assisted suicide as bad public policy, with dangerous ramifications for the vulnerable in society.

“‘The more people understand the meaning and the specifics of legislation regarding assisted suicide, the more they dislike it,’ said Michael Culhane, executive director of the Connecticut Catholic Conference,” quoted by Mr. Fraga.

The Connecticut bill was pushed, reports Mr. Fraga, “by Compassion & Choices, an organization previously known as the Hemlock Society, that is the driving force behind the effort to legalize euthanasia across the country.” Its defeat, according to Mr. Culhane, reported by Mr. Fraga, “was [Catholic] Conference’s top legislative priority” for this year.

The campaign to defeat the proposal was titled “Don’t Jump,” reports Mr. Fraga, and “featured a website where people could learn about the risks of assisted suicide and the merits of palliative care. ‘The website just contained a great deal of information,’” said Mr. Culhane in the NCR report, “‘to highlight, to educate and to inform not only the Catholic population in Connecticut but also the general population of the state.’”

Also involved in the coalition opposing the bill was the Family Institute of Connecticut, which, according to Mr. Fraga, “hosted the East Coast Conference Against Assisted Suicide last November and helped organize an effective public hearing before the Connecticut Judiciary Committee last month that featured compelling testimony from disability-rights activists and terminally ill people who all urged lawmakers to vote against the legislation.”

Said the Family Institute’s executive director, Peter Wolfgang, quoted by Mr. Fraga: “‘We successfully stopped it at the earliest stage. We’ve fought them three years in a row. Contrary to their claims of momentum, Compassion & Choices has been losing ground here.’”

It was reportedly the death lobby itself that asked the committee’s co-chairman to pull the bill, anticipating a defeat that “would have set the euthanasia cause back several years,” writes Mr. Fraga.

Though the nation’s news media tend to characterize the passage of euthanasia laws as virtually inevitable, this month’s news out of Connecticut much better represents the reality on the ground. Doctor-abetted suicide has been legalized by Vermont, Washington and Oregon, notes Mr. Fraga, and courts have authorized such corruption of the healthcare system in New Mexico and Montana, but, reports Mr. Fraga, “bills to legalize euthanasia have consistently been defeated in legislatures and referendums. More than 140 similar proposals in 27 states have failed since 1994, according to the Patients Rights Council.”

Focusing on “politically left-of-center New England,” Mr. Fraga notes the “overwhelming” rejection in March of 2014 of an abetted suicide proposal in the New Hampshire Legislature and adds, “Massachusetts voters also rejected a November, 2012, ballot referendum to legalize euthanasia.”

Though the media and the euthanasia lobby have sought to “blame the Church” for the defeat of the abetted suicide legislation, Mr. Fraga notes, quoting Mr. Wolfgang, “‘It’s a false narrative on so many levels. … Yes, the Church was involved, but it was not only the Church. This involved people from every walk of life who were united around a common understanding that this would be very bad for a society that should care for the least among us.’”


House Voting Record

HJRes-43 – Disapproving District of Columbia Forced Employment Ordinance – Adopted – 228-192 – April 30, 2015 (Democrats in italics)

Voting “yes” / pro-Life: Aderholt, Brooks, Byrne, Palmer, Roby, Rogers/AL; Young/AK; Franks, Gosar, Salmon, Schweikert/AZ; Crawford, Hill, Westerman, Womack/AR; Calvert, Cook, Denham, Hunter, Issa, Knight, LaMalfa, McCarthy, McClintock, Nunes, Rohrabacher, Royce, Valadao, Walters/CA; Lamborn, Tipton/CO; Bilirakis, Buchanan, Clawson, Crenshaw, DeSantis, Diaz-Balart, Mica, Miller, Nugent, Posey, Rooney, Ros-Lehtinen, Ross, Webster, Yoho/FL; Allen, Carter, Collins, Graves, Hice, Loudermilk, Price, A. Scott, Westmoreland, Woodall/GA; Labrador, Simpson/ID; Bost, R. Davis, Hultgren, Kinzinger, Lipinski, Roskam, Shimkus/IL; Brooks, Bucshon, Messer, Rokita, Stutzman, Walorski/IN; Blum, King, Young/IA; Huelskamp, Jenkins, Pompeo, Yoder/KS; Barr, Guthrie, Massie, Rogers, Whitfield/KY; Abraham, Boustany, Fleming, Graves, Scalise/LA; Harris/MD; Amash, Benishek, Bishop, Huizenga, Miller, Moolenaar, Trott, Upton, Walberg/MI; Emmer, Kline, Paulsen, Peterson/MN; Harper, Palazzo/MS; Graves, Hartzler, Long, Luetkemeyer, Smith/MO; Zinke/MT; Fortenberry, Smith/NE; Amodei, Hardy, Heck/NV; Guinta/NH; Frelinghuysen, Garrett, Lance, LoBiondo, MacArthur, Smith/NJ; Pearce/NM; Collins, King, Zeldin/NY; Ellmers, Foxx, Holding, Hudson, Jones, McHenry, Meadows, Pittenger, Rouzer, Walker/NC; Cramer/ND; Chabot, Gibbs, Johnson, Jordan, Joyce, Latta, Renacci, Stivers, Tiberi, Turner, Wenstrup/OH; Bridenstine, Cole, Lucas, Mullin, Russell/OK; Walden/OR; Barletta, Fitzpatrick, Kelly, Marino, Murphy, Perry, Pitts, Rothfus, Shuster, Thompson/PA; Duncan, Gowdy, Mulvaney, Rice, Sanford, Wilson/SC; Noem/SD; Black, Blackburn, DesJarlais, Duncan, Fincher, Fleischmann, Roe/TN; Babin, Barton, Brady, Burgess, Carter, Conaway, Cuellar, Culberson, Farenthold, Flores, Gohmert, Granger, Hensarling, Hurd, S. Johnson, Marchant, McCaul, Neugebauer, Olson, Poe, Ratclilffe, Sessions, Smith, Thornberry, Weber, Williams/TX; Bishop, Chaffetz, Love, Stewart/UT; Brat, Comstock, Forbes, Goodlatte, Griffith, Hurt, Rigell, Wittman/VA; McMorris-Rodgers, Newhouse, Reichert/WA; Jenkins, McKinley, Mooney/WV; Duffy, Grothman, Ribble, Ryan, Sensenbrenner/WI; Lummis/WY.

Voting “no” / anti-Life: Sewell/AL; Gallego, Grijalva, Kirkpatrick, McSally, Sinema/AZ; Aguilar, Bass, Becerra, Bera, Brownley, Capps, Cardenas, Chu, Costa, Davis, DeSaulnier, Eshoo, Farr, Garamendi, Hahn, Honda, Huffman, Lee, Lieu, Lofgren, Lowenthal, Matsui, McNerney, Napolitano, Pelosi, Peters, Roybal-Allard, Ruiz, Linda Sanchez, Loretta Sanchez, Schiff, Sherman, Speier, Swalwell, Takano, Thompson, Torres, Vargas, Waters/CA; Coffman, DeGette, Perlmutter, Polis/CO; Courtney, DeLauro, Esty, Himes, Larson/CT; Carney/DE; Brown, Castor, Curbelo, Deutch, Frankel, Graham, Grayson, Hastings, Jolly, Murphy, Wilson/FL; Bishop, Johnson, D. Scott/GA; Gabbard, Takai/HI; Bustos, D. Davis, Dold, Duckworth, Foster, Gutierrez, Kelly, Quigley, Rush, Schakowsky/IL; Carson, Visclosky/IN; Loebsack/IA; Richmond/LA; Pingree/ME; Delaney, Edwards, Hoyer, Ruppersberger, Sarbanes, VanHollen/MD; Capuano, Clark, Keating, Kennedy, Lynch, McGovern, Moulton, Neal, Tsongas/MA; Conyers, Dingell, Kildee, Lawrence, Levin/MI; Ellison, McCollum, Nolan, Walz/MN; Thompson/MS; Clay, Cleaver/MO; Ashford/NE; Titus/NV; Kuster/NH; Norcross, Pallone, Pascrell, Payne, Sires, Watson-Coleman/NJ; Lujan, Lujan-Grisham/NM; Clarke, Crowley, Engel, Gibson, Hanna, Higgins, Israel, Jeffries, Katko, Lowey, C. Maloney, S. Maloney, Meeks, Meng, Nadler, Rangel, Reed, Rice, Serrano, Slaughter, Stefanik, Tonko, Velazquez/NY; Adams, Butterfield, Price/NC; Beatty, Fudge, Kaptur, Ryan/OH; Blumenauer, Bonamici, DeFazio, Schrader/OR; Boyle, Brady, Cartwright, Costello, Dent, Doyle, Fattah, Meehan/PA; Cicilline, Langevin/RI; Clyburn/SC; Cohen, Cooper/TN; Castro, Doggett, A. Green, G. Green, Jackson-Lee, E.B. Johnson, O’Rourke, Veasey, Vela/TX; Welch/VT; Beyer, Connolly, Scott/VA; DelBene, Heck, Kilmer, Larsen, McDermott/WA; Kind, Moore, Pocan/WI.

Not voting: Buck/CO, Wasserman-Schultz/FL, Lewis/GA, Young/IN, Yarmuth/KY, Poliquin/ME, Cummings/MD, Wagner/MO, Boehner/OH, Hinojosa/TX, Herrera-Beutler & Smith/WA.


It’s About Freedom

April 30, 2015, commentary by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins in his Washington Update – Please note: As reported near the beginning of this Life Advocacy Briefing, the legislation on which this commentary is based was approved by the US House later on the day of its publication

The House and Senate don’t just live in DC; they oversee it. For members of the local city council, that’s been difficult to swallow, especially when the District is intent on passing outrageous anti-freedom laws. Rarely does Congress flex the muscle that the Constitution gives them over DC, but in the case of the city’s Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act [RHNDA], the GOP Majority didn’t have a choice.

As we’ve explained before, the RHNDA is the brainchild of far-left extremists, who believe that pro-life groups like Family Research Council should have to hire abortion activists in the name of “fairness.” Under this bill, FRC and our allies in DC would be punished for refusing to employ individuals with opposing viewpoints. Our good friends Congressmen Diane Black (R-TN), Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Bill Flores (R-TX) saw this for the attack on religious liberty that it is and introduced a resolution of disapproval, HJRes-43.

As our own Travis Weber explained, “We can’t exist if our purpose is to advocate for a pro-life position and we’re living under a regime which is telling us you can’t structure yourself as an organization and hire people to advocate for those issues. It’s very controlling, and it brings to mind an oppressive government monitoring of groups’ purposes.”

After pressure from the Republican Study Committee and the House Freedom Caucus, the bill passed out of the Rules Committee yesterday and is headed for a floor vote tonight or tomorrow.  Rep. Flores understands the stakes: “This is not about one city but rather about preserving the First Amendment right to religious liberty for all Americans.” Thanks to his leadership, Freedom Caucus chairman [Rep.] Jim Jordan (R-OH) and others, the city of DC will finally hear from the House that this overreach won’t be tolerated.