Life Advocacy Briefing

March 21, 2016

Blessings at Easter / Supreme Battle Begins / Who Is Merrick Garland?
Pro-Life/Family Leaders Weigh In / Moving Ahead / Progress in the States
Laying the Groundwork / No Reason to Rush

Blessings at Easter

IN OBSERVANCE OF OUR LORD’s RESURRECTION and in providing our editor an opportunity to spend time with family during the holiday, we will not be publishing Life Advocacy Briefing next week. We wish all our readers a meaningful celebration of the greatest event in human history, God’s gracious provision of the only perfect sacrifice for our sins, followed quickly – and according to His prophetic Word – by His conquering of death itself. Hallelujah!


Supreme Battle Begins

THE SHOE HAS DROPPED in the Supreme Court vacancy saga, with the nomination by Pres. Obama of DC Appellate Court Chief Judge Merrick Garland to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

Though many media outlets have already branded Judge Garland a “centrist” because of his lack of paper trail on matters of public controversy, several pro-life leaders have already spoken out against his confirmation and, at this writing, Senate Republicans – who hold the majority in the upper chamber – appear to be holding firm in their determination to refuse action on the nominee in the waning days of the Obama Regime. The President, predictably, called on the GOP “to give Judge Garland ‘a fair hearing and then an up-or-down vote,’” reports Ben Johnson for, claiming any lack of action “would represent an ‘abdication’ of their duty and rend America’s political fabric ‘beyond repair.’”

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) responded with a lengthy declaration, delivered on the Senate floor, which we reprint at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing.


Who Is Merrick Garland?

CAUTIONS FORMER REAGAN DOMESTIC POLICY CHIEF GARY BAUER, writing in his March 16 End of Day memo to supporters of his Campaign for Working Families, “Don’t be fooled, my friends. Barack Obama was never going to nominate a moderate to the Supreme Court. It won’t be hard at all to oppose Merrick Garland.”

Among the concerns expressed about the judge’s background is his having worked at the side of the late Supreme Court Justice William Brennan as his law clerk. Justice Brennan, notes the biography of the man on, “was known for being a leader of the Court’s liberal wing. He was known,” the Internet-based biography goes on, “for his outspoken progressive views, including opposition to the death penalty and support for abortion rights.”

Mr. Justice Brennan “was a leading advocate of abortion and affirmative action” notes Mr. Bauer. “He was a fierce opponent of the death penalty and bitterly resisted efforts of the Reagan Administration to bolster the conservative legal philosophy of originalism. In other words,” writes Mr. Bauer, “[Judge] Garland’s mentor at the Supreme Court was the exact opposite of Justice Antonin Scalia, whom [Mr.] Obama is attempting to replace.”

Directly concerning Mr. Garland himself, Mr. Bauer notes that the freshly minted Obama nominee “spoke at an event in 2005 honoring the legacy of Justice Harry Blackmun, author of the notorious Roe v. Wade decision that forced every state in the union to allow abortion on demand.” The New York Times, according to Ben Johnson writing for, “called the release of Roe author Harry Blackmun’s private papers a ‘great gift to the country.’”

And on the DC Appellate Court, Judge Garland has shown himself an advocate of gun control, an increasingly marginalized position in 21st century America.

Mr. Bauer quotes a “radical blog, Think Progress: ‘To be clear, [Judge] Garland’s record does not suggest that he would join the Court’s right flank, if confirmed to the Supreme Court. He would likely vote much more often than not with the Supreme Court’s liberals.’” Words of reassurance to those leftists who are troubled by the lack of documentation for Judge Garland’s devotion to their causes.

“It is absolutely clear,” writes Mr. Bauer, “that [Mr.] Obama has nominated a liberal judge who would undo Justice Scalia’s legacy and further erode our Constitutional rights.”


Pro-Life/Family Leaders Weigh In

RECOGNIZING THAT THE SUPREME COURT NOMINEE BATTLE is of deep importance not just to partisan Republicans but to pro-life citizens, Ben Johnson of has pulled together comments from several acknowledged pro-life leaders, which we present here, quoted from Mr. Johnson’s report:

Said Family Research Council president Tony Perkins: “‘Judge Garland is far from being a consensus nominee and would be an incredibly different jurist than Justice Scalia. … Some of Judge Garland’s most recent opinions and dissents raise serious questions about his ability to serve as a Constitutionalist.’”

Noted Penny Nance, president and CEO of Concerned Women for America (CWA): “‘This nomination will upset the balance of the Supreme Court to the radical Left for many decades. Such a seismic shift in the highest court of the land must be presented to the people’” via the Presidential election in November.

Declared Clarke Forsythe, acting president of Americans United for Life pro bono legal and policy advocate: “‘Judge Merrick Garland is Pres. Obama’s pro-abortion pick to tempt some Republicans to act now to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. The President’s commitment to unrestricted, unmonitored and taxpayer funded abortion is well known. … Pro-life Americans agree with the [prior] assessments of Pres. Obama, Vice Pres. Biden and even Sen. Chuck Schumer, all of whom urged the Senate to hold the line against Supreme Court picks late in a President’s term.’”

Liberty Counsel’s Matt Staver forecast: “The pick will, in fact, determine ‘the future of America.’”

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List (SBA), warned: “‘We do not know this nominee, but we do know Barack Obama. Anyone he nominates will join the voting bloc on the Court than consistently upholds abortion-on-demand.’”

Declared Kelly Shackelford, religious liberty attorney with First Liberty Institute: “‘The best path forward for religious liberty is to not hold any hearings or votes on any Supreme Court nominee at this time.’ To make any consideration before the next President is inaugurated ‘would undermine democracy by denying the American people a voice in the future of their country.’”


Moving Ahead

THOUGH MANY EYES ARE FOCUSED ON THE INSISTENCE of Pres. Obama that his legacy should include the durable disaster of yet another Supreme Court appointment, an important hearing took place last week in the Senate Judiciary Committee, one that is getting scant media attention.

The hearing concerned the rationale behind the House-passed Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Though it was not a mark-up on the legislation itself, it did establish the critical issues involved. We publish near the end of this Life Advocacy Briefing a Family Research Council commentary reporting on the Senate Judiciary proceedings, commending it to our readers’ attention.


Progress in the States

REPORTS FROM OUTSIDE THE NATION’s CAPITAL CONTINUE to encourage those who embrace progress – albeit inch-by-inch – toward a restored pro-life America.

From Indiana comes news of the closure – at long last – of the Women’s Pavilion abortuary in South Bend, owned by notorious abortionist Ulrich Klopfer, who recently dropped his appeal of state disciplinary action stripping him of his shop’s license for such infractions as repeatedly neglecting – or refusing? – to report underage abortions to the state, as required by law. The South Bend shop was the last of three Mr. Klopfer owned in Indiana; He surrendered his Gary abortuary’s facility license nine months ago, and abortions ceased in his Fort Wayne facility last year as well.

And then there’s the news from South Dakota, where Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) this month signed a Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and a reporting bill opening to public inspection the records of the state’s inspections of abortuaries. Still awaiting his expected signature, at this writing, are a fetal body parts sale ban and an informed consent bill requiring that mothers undergoing chemical abortions be informed that the drug’s action can be reversed in the event of a quick change of mind.

And in Kentucky, the lawsuit filed by Gov. Matt Bevin (R) against the EMW Women’s Clinic abortuary in Lexington has prompted the unlicensed shop to “‘tak[e] a time out’ from performing abortions,” reports, while the lawsuit is pending. The suit was brought on by the discovery, during the first inspection in 10 years, not only that the facility was committing abortions without a license but also that the shop, reports LifeSiteNews, was “using ‘filthy’ equipment and outdated medicine nearly two decades past its expiration date, and potentially facilitating the spread of disease between patients.”


Laying the Groundwork

March 16, 2016, Washington Update commentary by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins

Eighty-four percent of Americans want significant restrictions on abortion. The other 16% must be serving as Democrats in Congress. Yesterday, the Left’s extremism was on full display in a Senate Judiciary hearing about protecting unborn children from the excruciating pain of abortion. For the last few years, House and Senate Republicans have desperately tried to stop the barbaric practice of dismembering babies in the womb who are literally tortured by a mother’s “choice.”

Of course, the President’s party likes to argue that the bill is extreme, but what’s actually extreme is our current law. Believe it or not, America is one of just seven countries that allow abortion past 20 weeks – a club that includes [Communist] China and North Korea. For a country blessed with such incredible prenatal technology, it’s mind-blowing that we haven’t changed our laws to reflect the basic personhood of these tiny humans. Science has expanded our knowledge of unborn pain, and it’s time for the law to catch up. As witnesses pointed out repeatedly during Tuesday’s testimony, it’s common practice for doctors to use anesthesia on babies by 20 weeks along for in utero surgeries because they can feel pain – pain, Dr. Maureen Condic confirmed, that can be felt as early as eight to 10 weeks. What kind of inhumane culture gives “wanted” babies anesthesia but tortures others? Sadly, ours.

Melissa Ohden, who miraculously survived a painful saline abortion, told her powerful story, saying, “I know where children like me were left to die – a utility closet.”  Dr. Colleen Malloy testified that by 22 weeks, babies have a full complement of neurons and can feel pain. She takes care of babies born prematurely and explained the wonderment of seeing them “kicking, moving, reacting and developing right before our eyes.” There should be no difference in care, she argued, for babies inside the womb at five months than outside it.

Later, in plain defiance of science, Physicians for Reproductive Health claimed that there’s no evidence that fetal pain exists until the third trimester, a falsehood that flies in the face of countless studies proving otherwise. We protect animals and death-row inmates from suffering, Angelina Baglini Nguyen of the Charlotte Lozier Institute said. Why not unborn children? While liberals yammer on about “turn[ing] back the clock on women’s health care,” it’s plain to see who’s turning back the clock – on science. For a party that claims to be pro-woman, how is it that they can lobby for women to be subjected to abortions at 21 weeks or more – when she’s 91 times more likely to die from abortion than in the first trimester?

There’s a war on women, all right. But it’s not Republicans who are waging it. Contact your Senators [Capitol switchboard, 202/224-3121] and urge them to do as Dr. Kathi Aultman urged and “protect those who can’t protect themselves.” That starts by passing the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (S-1553).


No Reason to Rush

Remarks by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to the Senate, March 16, 2016

The next Justice could fundamentally alter the direction of the Supreme Court and have a profound impact on our country, so of course the American people should have a say in the Court’s direction.

It is a President’s Constitutional right to nominate a Supreme Court justice, and it is the Senate’s Constitutional right to act as a check on a President and withhold its consent. As [Judiciary] Chairman [Chuck] Grassley and I declared weeks ago – and reiterated personally to President Obama – the Senate will continue to observe the Biden Rule so that the America people have a choice in this momentous decision.

The American people may well elect a President who decides to nominate Judge Garland for Senate consideration. The next President may also nominate someone very different. Either way, our view is this: Give the people a voice in the filling of this vacancy.

Let me remind colleagues what Vice President Biden said when he was Judiciary Chairman here in the Senate:

“It would be our pragmatic conclusion that once the political season is under way – and it is – action on a Supreme Court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over. That is what is fair to the nominee and is central to the process. Otherwise, it seems to me … we will be in deep trouble as an institution. Others may fret that this approach would leave the Court with only eight members for some time, but as I see it … the cost of such a result – the need to reargue three or four cases that will divide the Justices four to four – are quite minor compared to the cost that a nominee, the President, the Senate and the Nation would have to pay for what would assuredly be a bitter fight, no matter how good a person is nominated by the President.”

Consider that last part. Then-Senator Biden said that the cost to the nation would be too great no matter who the President nominates. President Obama and his allies may now try to pretend this disagreement is about a person, but as I just noted, his own Vice President made clear it’s not. The Biden Rule reminds us that the decision the Senate announced weeks ago remains about a principle, not a person.

It seems clear that President Obama made this nomination not with the intent of seeing the nominee confirmed but in order to politicize it for purposes of the election – which is the type of thing then-Senate Judiciary Chairman Biden was concerned about. The Biden Rule underlines that what the President has done with this nomination would be unfair to any nominee, and more importantly, the rule warns of the great costs the President’s action could carry for our nation.

Americans are certain to hear a lot of rhetoric from the other side in the coming days, but here are the facts they’ll keep in mind:

    • The current Democratic Leader [Harry Reid] said the Senate is not a rubber stamp, and he noted that the Constitution does not require the Senate to give Presidential nominees a vote.
    • The incoming Democratic Leader [Charles Schumer] did not even wait until the final year of George W. Bush’s term to essentially tell the Senate not to consider any Supreme Court nominee the President sent.
    • The Biden Rule supports what the Senate is doing today, underlining that what we’re talking about is a principle, not a person.

So here’s our view. Instead of spending more time debating an issue where we can’t agree, let’s keep working to address the issues where we can. We just passed critical bipartisan legislation to help address the heroin and prescription opioid crisis in our country. Let’s build on that success. Let’s keep working together to get our economy moving again and make our country safer, rather than endlessly debating an issue where we don’t agree.

As we continue working on issues like these, the American people are perfectly capable of having their say on this issue. So let’s give them a voice. The Senate will appropriately revisit the matter when it considers the qualifications of the nominee the next President nominates, whoever that might be.