Life Advocacy Briefing

August 17, 2015

Video Releases Continue / Fallout Generating Fallback? / No Excuse
Obama Offended by Organ Harvesting? / Exposing Planned Parenthood’s Roots
Probes Widen / Quoteworthy / The Consequence of Unfettered Choice

Video Releases Continue

LAST WEEK THE CENTER FOR MEDICAL PROGRESS RELEASED VIDEO # 6, moving the focus somewhat to the question of whether Planned Parenthood is selling aborted baby organs without the knowledge or consent of the aborting mother, federal law to the contrary.

The undercover investigation which produced these shocking videos reportedly took place over the past three years and features interviews with key personnel at a variety of Planned Parenthood shops.

We are promised more to come.


Fallout Generating Fallback?

FALLOUT FROM THE SENATE’s FAILURE TO DEFUND PLANNED PARENTHOOD before breaking for the annual August “home-district work” recess could be behind the filing by Sen.
Susan Collins (R-ME) of S-1917, which would exclude from federal funding “any affiliate, subsidiary, successor or clinic of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc., if that affiliate, subsidiary, successor or clinic receives compensation for facilitating the donation of fetal tissue products derived from an abortion.”

The bill does not define “compensation,” nor does it bar federal funding of the mother ship, Planned Parenthood Federation of America itself. Pass-through, anyone?

It does call for an Obama Attorney General investigation “not later than 90 days” after the proposal’s enactment “concerning whether or not the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc., or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, successors or clinics has engaged in any illegal activity pertaining to fetal tissue products.”

The measure has been assigned to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions, on which all three of the bill’s liberal GOP co-sponsors sit.  Sen. Collins is joined on the bill by Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Mark Kirk (R-IL).

Sen. Murkowski and Sen. Collins both voted for S-1881, offered by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) to immediately reallocate Planned Parenthood funds to community health centers, though both had publicly expressed reservations about the popular measure before the Senate’s pre-recess debate and vote.  Sen. Kirk was the sole GOP Senator who voted “no” on the defunding bill. (Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky also appears in the “no” column of the recorded roll call; his vote was a parliamentary maneuver to qualify him to file a motion to reconsider the failing roll call.)

In explaining his vote against the Ernst bill, Sen. Kirk “told Capitol Hill news sources,” reports, “that he voted to continue supporting Planned Parenthood because body part procurement happening in other states wasn’t an issue in Illinois Planned Parenthood clinics.” No doubt he got that insight from Planned Parenthood, which has faithfully supported his campaigns for both the US House and the Senate.

The state of Illinois has yet to undertake an investigation of the PP shops which Sen. Kirk holds in such a high degree of confidence and seeming admiration, and the latest state inspection of a Planned Parenthood shop in Illinois came, notes Illinois Review, in 1999; PP’s Illinois “clinics” are not licensed by the state. The latest move in Illinois state government, where several lawmakers have filed resolutions and legislation calling for such investigations, is the filing of a bill by first-term lawmaker GOP State Rep. Peter Breen to “expand the definition of ‘decedent’” in the Anatomical Gift Act, reports Illinois Family Institute, “to include a deceased fetus or unborn child using definitions outlined in the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975. The proposed new language,” notes IFI, “also expressly prohibits the donation or sale of aborted fetuses and fetal tissue.” In private life, Rep. Breen is a special counsel to the Thomas More Society, Chicago’s leading pro-life pro bono law firm. He is joined on the legislation, reports IFI, by a bipartisan collection of some 32 Illinois lawmakers.

As to Sen. Kirk, he has announced he will seek re-election in 2016 despite his impairment by a crippling stroke early in 2014. Following the Kirk vote against defunding Planned Parenthood – and his joining with Senators Collins and Murkowski on Planned Parenthood Probe Light, two former Illinois GOP Congressmen, Joe Walsh and Bobby Schilling, are rumored to be considering primary challenges to the out-of-step Republican, according to Illinois Review. Sen. Murkowski also faces the end of her term in 2016; Sen. Collins is mid-term and will not soon have to face voters in Maine.


No Excuse

AMONG THE ISSUES RAISED BY SEN. ERNST in presenting S-1881 on Aug. 3 was the bill’s allocation to “community health centers” and hospitals of the millions in federal tax dollars now pouring into Planned Parenthood’s coffers.

The provision was a well-conceived tactic to defang the “war on women” rhetoric anticipated by the defenders of innocent human life. As Sen. Ernst rightly insisted, her legislation would not diminish the provision of health care to women; it would, in fact, enhance it.

A fascinating fact table published by the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shows the number, by state, of Community Health Centers vs. the number, also by state, of Planned Parenthood “clinics.” Totals: CHCs 9,059; PP outposts 666. (Sen. Kirk’s Illinois stats: CHCs 540; PP “clinics” 18; who, Sen. Kirk, is delivering health care to the women in your constituency?)

If the Senators who voted “no” did so because of their concern for “women’s health,” would they not have voted for the reallocation of funding to the 9,059 clinics that are furnishing healthcare services to women in far more nooks and crannies than Planned Parenthood is occupying?


Obama Offended by Organ Harvesting?

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D) STEPPED INTO THE BODY PARTS HARVESTING controversy big-time on Aug. 3, in a way that clashes with repeated dismissals by his White House spokesman of any concern about the Planned Parenthood human trafficking revelations.

Speaking to “participants of the Presidential Summit for the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders,” reports Eric Scheiner for, Mr. Obama responded to a question about the harvesting of body parts from albinos in Africa “for ritual purposes.”

“[Mr.] Obama condemned the practice,” writes Mr. Scheiner, “as ‘foolish traditions.’”

Before any of our readers could get the impression that Mr. Obama is coming around to the ethical point of view on the question of Planned Parenthood’s parts-for-profit scandal, we hasten to add that he “focused on the issue as one of discrimination. ‘The notion,’” he said in the CNSNews report, “‘that any African would discriminate against somebody because of the color of their skin, after what black people around the world have gone through, is crazy. … It is infuriating,’” he continued, as quoted by Mr. Scheiner, “‘and I have no patience for it.’”

Perhaps America’s CEO would be aided in his grasp of one of the top issues of the day if he were to grasp the implication of the racial make-up of abortion’s death toll in America. “Blacks make up 12% of the population [in the US],” notes the Internet website in a write-up on Planned Parenthood, “but 35% of the abortions in America.” And no wonder, since most PP shops are located within communities dominated by racial minorities, pursuant to the goals of PP founder and notorious racist Margaret Sanger.


Exposing Planned Parenthood’s Roots

THE SURFACING OF TRUTH ABOUT PLANNED PARENTHOOD IS PROMPTING a variety of black American pro-life organizations to raise challenges to the outfit based on its heritage of bigotry and has prompted a “strong request” to the Smithsonian Institution from STAND leader Bishop E. W. Jackson to remove the bust of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger from its “Struggle for Justice” exhibit.

What’s more, Rev. Stephen Broden of the National Black Pro-Life Coalition has added NBPLC to the voices of those calling for investigations of the abortion behemoth, noting in a news release, “The majority of abortions performed in America are performed on black women. This fact,” he said, “clearly reveals that the majority of aborted babies being sold for scientific research are aborted black babies. This evil must cease and desist.”

Said Bishop Jackson in a report by Charlie Butts: The inclusion of Ms. Sanger in the Smithsonian exhibit “‘depicts her as a hero of justice – and of racial justice. I mean she’s associated somehow with Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks. And the implication,’” he said, “‘is that she’s been some sort of champion for racial justice in America and somebody whom Americans in general – and black Americans in particular – ought to support or admire. And nothing could be further from the truth.

“The truth,” says [Bishop] Jackson,” paraphrased in the OneNewsNow story, “is that Sanger supported elimination of minorities that she regarded as ‘the feeble-minded,’ communicated with Nazi sympathizers and supporters of eugenics and spoke at a rally of Ku Klux Klan women.

“‘Look, if they want to depict her in a hall of the infamous, then okay,’” said Bishop Jackson in the Butts report, “‘they can do that. If they want to put her there with Hitler, with other infamous, evil characters, okay, fine. We’ll accept that,’ he says. “‘But as a hero? No. She should either be removed or her real legacy depicted accurately.’”

The Smithsonian exhibit’s Internet website, notes Mr. Butts, carries an “inscription that appears with the bust, acknowledg[ing] that Sanger led a ‘life of controversy’ that included her ‘association with the eugenics movement.’ However,” writes Mr. Butts, “it also notes that while her ‘crusade [against laws forbidding dissemination of contraceptive information] had much opposition,’ it eventually won adherents ‘in respectable quarters.’” Quarters, no doubt, like the Senate of the United States and at least one of America’s two principal political parties.


Probes Widen

TWO OF THE INVESTIGATIONS undertaken in response to the Planned Parenthood expose’ videos were widened last week, according to a report by Charlie Butts of, attributing Operation Rescue’s Cheryl Sullenger as his source.

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, has “‘expanded [his Planned Parenthood harvesting investigation] … to request information from the biotech laboratories that operate as third-party procurement organizations,’” said Ms. Sullenger in the OneNewsNow report. Such organizations, Mr. Butts notes, “then arrange the sale to operations that do medical and commercial research.”

The second probe announced last week is by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who has directed his state’s health department, reports Ms. Sullenger in the Butts story, “‘to launch an independent, separate investigation from what the [state] attorney general’s office has already begun. … The attorney general has already indicated,’” she said, “‘that he has sent investigators into the same Houston Planned Parenthood that was the subject of the fifth video released by the Center for Medical Progress.’” That was the video in which a Planned Parenthood medical officer described as “fun” and “exciting” the process of picking through a pile of aborted baby organs and limbs to assemble specimens for transfer to experimenters.

“Information has also been referred to the Houston district attorney’s office,” reports Mr. Butts, “which has launched a criminal investigation.”

But Cheryl Sullenger reports in an Operation Rescue news release that OR has “learned that a prosecutor in the Harris County [Houston] district attorney’s office … serves on the board of directors for Planned Parenthood … [and] is listed as a non-compensated ‘director’ on the 990 [IRS] tax form for 2014 filed by Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast [PPGC],” the affiliate featured in the fifth video.

District Attorney Devon Anderson “told the Houston Chronicle,” writes Ms. Sullenger, that the PPGC board member, who works in his office as a prosecutor in the criminal family law division, “‘will not be involved in any manner in this investigation.’” Something for Gov. Abbott to watch.



American Life League president Judie Brown, quoted by Lisa Bourne in an Aug. 10, 2015, report for “I was and still am disturbed that our government is paying an outside middle man to provide them with ‘materials’ harvested from the bodies of babies killed by abortion or in the laboratories of in vitro fertilization practitioners. It is abhorrent to me. Medical advances aside, the truth is that one must never do evil even if good might come from it. No matter what you call it or what man-made laws say, every abortion is an act of direct killing.”


The Consequence of Unfettered Choice

Commentary by Bill Murchison, published July 28, 2015, at

Abortion activists and supporters – which is to say, most of the Democratic Party and the entirety of the liberal intelligentsia – like to frame abortion as a liberty issue. You know – choice, as with music and toothpaste.

The Planned Parenthood imbroglio of recent weeks helps dispel that notion. It reminds many (not all, alas) of the grisly, garish consequences to which choice can lead when exercised in a moral vacuum; no lights on, no road signs posted, caution and hesitation sternly shushed up.

I haven’t heard any Planned Parenthood representative address the matter of those internationally known undercover videos by saying something like, “Well, you know, body parts and fetal tissue come with every abortion, so get over it.” In responding to her medical director’s role in the video – talking blithely about going “above and below the thorax” so as to procure high quality body parts – Cecile Richards, head of the Planned Parenthood body shop, regrets her employee’s compassionless “tone.”

That’s how it goes, no doubt, when liberty is the value at the top of the flagpole – the one the federal courts still salute in abortion cases, the ground and foundation of every point Planned Parenthood makes when defending abortion. You pays your money, and you takes your choices. Just good all-Americanism – unhitched to any larger concept of duty, responsibility or human dignity. It’s all about good old personal choice; one thing over another thing, suit yourself, no strings attached.

And no backward looks. Backward looks arise from moral reflection. That’s what we don’t want in this process. Moral reflection inhibits choice, tells you some choices are good, some not so good; some (this seems the right context to say so) are dismal and awful, productive of suffering that isn’t supposed to occur in a morality-free enterprise like abortion. But does.

After all, what do we see here? A pasture where aborted fetuses and mothers gambol gaily (probably not in company with each other) and all human needs – the god of Choice having been invoked – find satisfaction? We see nothing of the sort. We see death and disfigurement of human form and human nature.

Systems of morality – which differ from finger-pointing moralism – permit and encourage choice. Choice, however, that is guided by an understanding of the stakes. Actions have consequences. Do you want to wait and find out which choices have consequences that appear to square with human happiness and which choices drag down human nature to unimagined depths? Better first, perhaps, to hear with some respect the conclusions of those who over long centuries have applied themselves to the understanding of human ends and means. They may or may not be religious teachers; they may be nothing more than, well, parents and grandparents. Whatever thoughts they may have bestowed on those ends and means I have mentioned are likely worth sharing.

The Planned Parenthood horror and embarrassment has about it a wildness with which we may become more familiar as the ideal of choice pushes basic morality to the margins of society. A doctor, in the [first] video, explains over wine and salad how the abortionists at her service manipulate unborn life (life! life!) so as to extract from it the “best” portions for laboratory experiments.

How are we supposed to feel while watching her in the video? We are supposed to throw hats in the air? “Choice! Choice! More! More!” Is that it?

That would seem to be our license, under Roe v. Wade, as well as the general cultural expectation of the Planned Parenthood era. The outcome of choice is more choice. The outcome of moral action, where recognized as a human duty, is supposed to be virtue and the rewards of virtue, virtuously chosen.

You do pay your money; you do take your choices – in all of life. The challenge (to which the nationwide indignation over Planned Parenthood’s lack of “tone” and “compassion” is a welcome response) is to recover a once-familiar cultural identifier – namely, that “I’m” not in charge; that “my” choices require moral framework; that “I” just plain need help. And, sorry, Ms. Richards. You’re not it.