Life Advocacy Briefing

February 29, 2016

Standing Tall, So Far / Whacking at Goliath / Reality Dawning?
March for Life Rally Speech: Congressman Chris Smith

Standing Tall, So Far

THE RECENT SUDDEN PASSING of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is presenting a significant challenge to Senate Republicans, as Pres. Obama is beginning a campaign of pressure to accept whomever he might desire to nominate to fill the unfillable shoes.

Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans have issued a letter unanimously declaring, reports David Herszenhorn in the New York Times, “there would be no confirmation hearings, no vote, not even a courtesy meeting with Pres. Obama’s nominee …, all but slamming shut any prospects for an election-year Supreme Court nomination.” Signing the letter were Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) and GOP Senators Jeff Sessions (AL), Jeff Flake (AZ), David Perdue (GA), David Vitter (LA), Thom Tillis (NC), Lindsey Graham (SC), John Cornyn & Ted Cruz (TX) and Orrin Hatch & Mike Lee (UT).

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) endorsed the Judiciary Committee’s majority declaration by a declaration of his own, quoting Mr. Herszenhorn: “‘This nomination will be determined by whoever wins the Presidency [at] the polls. … I agree with the Judiciary Committee’s recommendation that we not have hearings. In short,’” he vowed, “‘there will not be action taken.’”

There appears to be precedent for such a cold shoulder when Democrats were in control of the Senate and a Republican President was presented with an opportunity to make such an appointment. But to hear the Democrats tell it, the GOP ought to roll over and give the President what he wants; this appears to be one action even he does not believe he can take unilaterally by executive action.

The upfront warning from the Senate’s majority contingent, however, has not slowed the Obama Regime in its determination to build a case among voters that a nomination should move forward. Though a few names were floated in the media even before Justice Scalia was laid to rest, the media began early last week to buzz about the name of Nevada Gov. Bruce Sandoval, a former federal judge.

The trick is, Mr. Sandoval is officially a Republican, so the Regime apparently surmised his nomination – reportedly being vetted within the executive branch – would break down GOP resolve.

But, to start with, Gov. Sandoval is no Antonin Scalia. Indeed, in his tenure as governor of Nevada, Mr. Sandoval has claimed and carried forth a “pro-choice” orientation on abortion, even (unofficially, behind the scenes) blocking a parental notification bill last year; his elevation to the Supreme Court would tip the delicate balance away from the reasonable restrictions on abortion which have, in recent years, been embraced in such rulings as the upholding of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban. Gov. Sandoval might be a nominee pleasing to the President and his fellow travelers, but his party label should do nothing to endear him to the Senate majority.

What is more, Gov. Sandoval last Thursday took what could be his wisest move for the sake of his own future: He announced publicly that he would not agree to be nominated to the Supreme Court, not now at any rate. Stay tuned for the Obama Plan B.

We urge our readers whose states are represented by one or both GOP Senators to contact those Senators (1-202/224-3121) and urge them to hold firm against taking any action toward confirmation of an Obama appointee to the Supreme Court. And we ask our readers to join us in prayer for America at this now even more consequential historical moment.


Whacking at Goliath

THREE GOVERNORS TOOK ACTION since our last publication to disqualify Planned Parenthood from taxpayer subsidies or even to fine the abortion behemoth for illegal actions.

On Sunday, Feb. 21, Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) signed HB-294, which, reports, “denies an estimated $1.3 million in … state health funding to any organization that provides elective abortions,” directing the funds instead to “approximately 150 other community health providers that do not engage in abortion,” thus broadening the reach of the funding at the same time as removing the abortion-abetment burden from taxpayers.

Ohio Right to Life president Mike Gonidakis declared, notes LifeSiteNews, “‘We mark this week as the week the State of Ohio left the abortion industry.’” Paula Westwood, executive director of Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati, reports LifeSiteNews, said “this is only the beginning. ‘Work will now continue,’” she said, “‘to remove all such funding to abortion providers, including Medicaid reimbursements.’” Taking a two-step approach, as Ohio is doing, could prove wise, as some states have met trouble in court when attempting to eliminate all funding, including Medicaid, in one action.

In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker (R) signed two bills on Feb. 18 that, reports the Associated Press (AP), “will cut millions of dollars from Planned Parenthood.”

Signing the new laws at a pregnancy counseling office in Waukesha, Gov. Walker said, reports AP, the two new laws “‘really help put the focus on making sure that, as we did with state tax dollars and federal tax dollars that come through the state, [taxpayers] are protected and ensure that entities that receive them are non-controversial entities that provide assistance for women.’”

The first measure, which passed the Assembly 61 to 35 and the Senate 19 to 14, limits “family planning clinics,” reports AP, “to bill[ing] Medicaid only for the actual acquisition costs and dispensing fees for birth control drugs. The change,” notes AP, “would cost Planned Parenthood about $4.5 million annually.” It might surprise some readers to learn that such legislation is necessary, but, reports, “In 2014, the state’s Dept. of Health Office of Inspector General (OIG) found that two family planning clinics alone had charged the Medicaid program more than twice their allowable cost for birth control.” What is more, “Planned Parenthood warned,” reports LifeSiteNews, “if it had to obey the law on reimbursements, it would have to close some of its offices.” Indeed, an officer of Planned Parenthood Wisconsin “said at the time,” reports LifeSiteNews, “such an action would trigger ‘clinic closing’ actions statewide.” Okay, we’re waiting!

If that was not enough, Gov. Walker signed a second measure at the same time, redirecting the state’s Title X (Ten) funding “away from Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin,” notes LifeSiteNews, “to other community health providers.” That new law is expected to cost Planned Parenthood $3.5 million annually, reports LifeSiteNews, which adds, “Currently Planned Parenthood is the only statewide recipient of Title X funding.” The Title X cleanup law also passed the Senate 19 to 14, passing the Assembly 60 to 35.

And in Kentucky, Gov. Matt Bevin (R) followed up on the discovery that Planned Parenthood had committed 23 elective abortions while awaiting state licensure for such actions by suing Planned Parenthood of Indiana & Kentucky, reports, for “operat[ing] ‘an unlicensed abortion facility without hospital and ambulance transfer agreements’ that ended the lives of 23 unborn children. …

“‘This Administration will have no tolerance,’” said Gov. Bevin in announcing the lawsuit, quoted by LifeSiteNews, “‘for the type of brazen disregard that Planned Parenthood has shown for both the safety of women and the rule of law. We will hold Planned Parenthood accountable for knowingly endangering their patients by providing illegal abortions at a facility that was not properly licensed nor prepared to handle an emergency.’ …

“‘We applaud the Commonwealth of Kentucky for taking this important and strong action,’ said Indiana Right to Life president and CEO Mike Fichter in a statement” quoted by LifeSiteNews. “‘If the allegations made in this suit are proved correct, Planned Parenthood should be permanently barred from doing abortions in Kentucky. We also encourage Indiana officials to exert the highest degree of scrutiny to ensure that Planned Parenthood of Indiana & Kentucky is operating within the law in our state.’”

The lawsuit, if successful in finding Planned Parenthood guilty of violating Kentucky law, could, according to LifeSiteNews, bring fines totaling “anywhere from $500 to $10,000 per day.”


Reality Dawning?

Feb. 15, 2016, BreakPoint commentary by John Stonestreet

Abortion is supposed to be about “planning parenthood,” but recent outbursts from some pro-choicers makes it seem they find the very idea of human life appalling.

Take the kerfuffle over last Sunday’s Super Bowl commercials. The Doritos commercial featured a dad munching on the tasty chips while the couple sees their unborn baby on ultrasound. The baby wants Doritos, too, so when the mom grabbed the chips and threw them across the room, the baby unexpectedly – well – gave chase. It was funny, if a little off-color.

But the National Abortion Rights Action League, or NARAL, felt differently. “Not buying it,” the group tweeted, “that Doritos ad using infant/choice tactic of humanizing fetuses & sexist tropes of dads as clueless and moms as uptight.”

Well, I might grant them the sexist tropes, but “humanizing fetuses”? Really? What does NARAL think every pregnancy ultrasound shows? As Wilberforce Award recipient Dr. Robert George remarked on Facebook, “Since … the fetus in the video was, by all accounts, a human fetus, the offspring of human parents and not a bovine, canine or feline fetus, it’s less than clear how [Doritos] is to blame for the humanization.”

So why the outrage over a snack commercial? Well, as Russel Moore pointed out, the ultrasound itself has become a symbol of the pro-life movement. Seeing children in utero on that black-and-white screen isn’t just an experience millions of parents cherish – it’s also one that’s convinced countless others not to have abortions. In fact, close to 80% of abortion-minded women who see their baby on ultrasound choose life. Ultrasound has been God’s technological gift to the pro-life movement and a threat to the abortion industry’s bottom line.

But the culture of death wasn’t finished lecturing Super Bowl advertisers. The NFL commemorated its 50th big game with joyous singing choirs of so-called “Super Bowl babies.” The opening caption read, “Data suggests nine months after a Super Bowl victory, winning cities see a rise in births.” In other words, celebrating a Super Bowl win was the impetus for conception.

Now some viewers probably blushed, but abortion supporters blew a gasket. “More Super Bowl babies?!?!”  tweeted NARAL. “Get thee an IUD [intrauterine contraceptive device).”

Wow. As David French responded sarcastically in National Review, “See all those smiling, happy children on the screen? Wouldn’t the world be a better place if they didn’t exist?” That’s what NARAL seemed to be saying.

But these commercials are only the latest chapter in this pro-abortion mood swing. Earlier this month, pro-abortion groups pointed angrily to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. According to researchers at the University of Texas, there was a slight uptick in the number of children born to low-income women in several Teas counties following the state’s decision to defund Planned Parenthood.

Cosmopolitan magazine tweeted with a frowny face emoji. “Texas women are having more babies since Planned Parenthood was defunded???” And the LA Times, Huffington Post, and other left-leaning media joined Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards in describing the birth of these children as “tragic.”

Wait, babies are tragedies?

Making this reaction even more unsettling, Dr. Michael New writing at points out that the Texas study was incredibly narrow, focused on just a handful of women on Medicaid in counties with Planned Parenthood clinics. The total increase in the number of births after Planned Parenthood was defunded? Thirty-seven. As New writes, “This is not evidence of a public health crisis.”

It is, however, evidence of a crisis in the pro-choice camp. Shouting at snack commercials and latching onto statistical anomalies is not how a strong, confident movement behaves. It’s how a movement on the run behaves. For those of us who cherish and celebrate every life, it’s not exactly a touchdown. But it does mean we’re on offense, not on defense any more.


March for Life Rally Speech: Cong. Chris Smith (R-NJ)

Transcribed by Life Advocacy Briefing from televised coverage on EWTN network

Patrick, thank you very much. And thank you for again a wonderful March for Life. You know, I’m joined on the stage – you’ve just heard from the distinguished Senator – with some of the true champions and some of the most articulate leaders of the right to life movement. Beginning with Ann Wagner, Congresswoman from Missouri, Steve Pearce, Keith Rothfus and Mark Meadows. Thank you, especially those people from their districts who have sent them here. They are unbelievably effective, and again, we are turning the tide.

You know, ladies and gentlemen, today the pro-life movement is stronger than ever and is making serious, significant and sustained progress. At the state level, the gains have been historic. Two hundred eighty-two pro-life laws have been enacted since 2010. In the last year alone, nine powerful pro-life measures have passed the House. Special thanks to Speaker Paul Ryan, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Rick Scalise, and Conference Chair[man] Cathy McMorris-Rodgers.

You know, although Hillary Clinton supports abortion on demand until birth, an extremist position, and this month called for the end of the Hyde Amendment, a new Marist poll shows that Americans actually want more pro-life protections, including no taxpayer funding for abortions. Planned Parenthood – and all of you know this, and in time the press will recognize it as well – is the tip of an ugly iceberg, a multi-billion-dollar industry that systematically exterminates children and hurts women. Subsidized by over 500 million dollars in taxpayer funds every year, Planned Parenthood dismembers or chemically poisons a baby to death every two minutes, killing over seven million innocent children since 1973. Planned Parenthood is Child Abuse Incorporated.

Recent undercover videos by the Center for Medical Progress have exposed in numbing candor several high-level Planned Parenthood leaders gleefully talking about procuring children’s organs, all for a price, all while offering gruesome dismemberment procedures to preserve intact livers, hearts and lungs. This isn’t, as you know, the first time Planned Parenthood has been caught doing the unthinkable. In 2011, undercover videos by Live Action exposed Planned Parenthood clinics that were eager – eager – to facilitate secret abortions for sex trafficking victims, and another series in 2012 exposed Planned Parenthood promoting sex selection abortion, especially of little girls.

Take note of this, ladies and gentlemen, next week, there will be an override of President Obama’s veto of the bill to defund Planned Parenthood, and we will win that in the House.

Finally, you are the antidote, ladies and gentlemen, especially our young people, including my own dear daughter Elise, who is in the crowd; you are the antidote to this present darkness, the culture of death. So for the sake of women and children, because we love them both, be further involved. Defend life, with all the courage, faith, insight, compassion and love you have to muster. Don’t back down or give up or ever get discouraged, ever! Ask God for strength. Combine persistent prayer with Esther-like fasting. Combine it all with smart and diligent pro-life work at every level, including the political. Someday soon, America will protect the weakest and most vulnerable, and into eternity each and every one of you will have played a critical part in this all important human rights struggle. Thank you, and God bless you.