Life Advocacy Briefing

June 6, 2016

GOP Platform Committee Leadership Announced
California Lawmakers to Shut Down Free Speech?
Pain-Capable Protection Act Signed in South Carolina
Dismemberment Ban Signed in Louisiana
Governor Vetoes Oklahoma Attack on Roe / From Personal Experience
New Light Shed on Conception

GOP Platform Committee Leadership Announced

WITH ALL THE TURBULENCE IN THE TWO MAJOR POLITICAL PARTIES this year, pro-life citizens were cheered last week with the Republican Party’s selection of three pro-life public officials to co-chair the platform committee at this July’s Republican National Convention.

We at Life Advocacy hope the co-chairmen will exercise significant influence to maintain the long-standing pro-life plank in the party’s platform so that at least one major political party will again publicly embrace the right to life of all Americans, including gestating babies.

The three are US Sen. John Barrasso (WY), who is a physician, US Rep. Virginia Foxx (NC), an outspoken advocate for unborn children and their mothers, and Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, a former two-term Member of Congress with a solid pro-life voting record who has signed some 18 pro-life regulatory laws since becoming governor in 2011.

The eyes of millions will be turned toward the GOP platform committee during the run-up to the mid-July event in Cleveland, where pro-family movement founder Phyllis Schlafly and her Republican National Coalition for Life will host a “Fight for Life Celebration of Pro-Life Leadership” reception and luncheon featuring football great Lou Holtz at 11 a.m. on July 19. The RNC/Life event is traditionally a highlight of GOP Convention activities; further information and registration are available on-line at


California Lawmakers to Shut Down Free Speech?

A PERNICIOUS BILL AIMED AT BLOCKING UNDERCOVER INVESTIGATIONS such as that carried on by the Center for Medical Progress against Planned Parenthood cleared the California Assembly last Tuesday by a vote of 52 to 26. It still must face consideration by the State Senate.

“AB-1671, introduced by Democrat Jimmy Gomez of LosAngeles,” writes reporter Ben Johnson, “would make it illegal to secretly videotape any ‘healthcare provider,’ including abortionists. A first offense,” notes Mr. Johnson, “is a $2,500 fine per infraction and up to a year in the county jail. The fine swells to $10,000 per infraction for those labeled repeat offenders.

“The bill would punish anyone,” writes Mr. Johnson, “who ‘intentionally discloses or distributes, in any manner, in any forum, including but not limited to Internet websites and social media, or any purpose, the contents of a confidential communication with a healthcare provider.”

The measure specifies such communication “includes but is ‘not limited to videos or still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant and text messages, email, online services or accounts or Internet website profiles or locations.”

Among those who spoke out in the LifeSiteNews report about the bill is Live Action’s Lila Rose, who noted, “‘For years, undercover journalists have documented Planned Parenthood employees covering up for sex traffickers, failing to report child sexual abusers and trafficking in baby body parts. Rather than be more transparent with the public,’” the California-based citizen advocate charged, “‘Planned Parenthood wants to make it a crime for the media to publish evidence that it might be doing something illegal.’”

Miss Rose went on to charge – accurately, in our view – that the measure is unconstitutional. “‘This outrageous bill is a direct attack on the freedom of the press and is blatantly unconstitutional,’” Miss Rose said in the LifeSiteNews report. “‘This bill puts Planned Parenthood’s interests ahead of the First Amendment, its clients and the public, and it would keep evidence of illegal or abusive activity hidden from nearly everyone’s view.’”

Planned Parenthood is, of course, solidly behind the proposal, calling the Gomez bill “a ‘key improvement that closes a current loophole in privacy laws around illegal videotaping,’” writes Mr. Johnson.

“California already requires,” notes Mr. Johnson, “that all parties give their consent to the recording of a conversation that could be assumed to be private. [The Center for Medical Progress] has said that since it recorded only inside public venues, such as a restaurant and an annual conference, where passersby could have overheard them, it kept the law. The matter,” writes Mr. Johnson, “is still being adjudicated.” But taking a chance on California courts is not enough for Planned Parenthood, whose fellow travelers in the legislature are working now to obliterate the First Amendment to the United States Constitution just as surely as Planned Parenthood works to obliterate those it deems undesirable from life itself.


Pain-Capable Protection Act Signed in South Carolina

SOUTH CAROLINA GOV. NIKKI HALEY (R) FOLLOWED THROUGH on May 25, signing her state’s new Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which bars abortion on babies who are older than 19 weeks’ gestation. Fourteen states now have enacted such protective legislation, which, said National Right to Life president Carol Tobias, “recogniz[es] the humanity of the unborn child.

“The smallest and most vulnerable members of our human family need our protection,” she said in National Right to Life (NRL) News Today, “and South Carolina has taken a vital step to save unborn children who are capable of feeling the excruciating pain of abortion.”

And NRL’s State Legislation Director Mary Spaulding Balch noted in the NRL bulletin, “In our upside-down society, most animals have more rights than unborn members of the human family.”

The legislation moves forward an agenda of compassion and aids voters in grasping the true nature of abortion and its gruesome effects. It also will aid those expectant mothers who in later stages of pregnancy are driven, for one reason or another, toward aborting their developing babies.

“‘South Carolina took a courageous stand to protect women’s health and safety at a point,’” noted Clark Forsythe, acting president of Americans United for Life, in a story by Ben Johnson, “‘in which the risks of an already dangerous procedure increase for women.’”

Though the abortion industry refuses to acknowledge the risk reality, risks rise significantly in later stages of pregnancy, so Mr. Forsythe is correct in noting the health benefits for vulnerable mothers even as the legislation aims chiefly at saving the very lives of developing boys and girls.


Dismemberment Ban Signed in Louisiana

LOUISIANA’s NEW DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR, John Bel Edwards, last week signed the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Act, reports’s Ben Johnson, “bar[ring] abortionists from performing dilation-and-evacuation (D&E) abortion, the method used in approximately 95% of abortions in the second trimester. Violators,” notes Mr. Johnson, “will face up to two years in prison and a fine of $1,000 per abortion. …

“The [new law’s] only exception,” reports Mr. Johnson, “is if the mother faces a ‘serious health risk,’ which the bill defines as either death or the ‘substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function, not including psychological or emotional conditions.’ A ‘mother’s health’ exception that includes mental health,” notes Mr. Johnson, “has often been stretched to allow abortion under virtually any circumstances.”

The pro-life measure was the second recently passed by Louisiana lawmakers and signed by Gov. Edwards. The first was an extension of the state’s already established abortion waiting period, taking it from 24 hours to 72.

Dismemberment abortion bans have also been enacted, reports Mr. Johnson, in Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma and West Virginia.

Mr. Edwards is the first Democratic governor to sign such legislation; the West Virginia law was enacted in March of this year over the veto of that state’s Democratic governor, Earl Ray Tomblin.


Governor Vetoes Oklahoma Attack on Roe

OKLAHOMA’s USUALLY PRO-LIFE GOVERNOR, former US Rep. Mary Fallin (R), has vetoed the far-reaching bill sent her by overwhelming majorities in both houses of the state legislature to outlaw abortion and disqualify from licensure any doctor who commits the felony, “calling the measure,” writes Erik Eckholm in the New York Times, “vague and unconstitutional.”

The bill’s Senate sponsor, Sen. Nathan Dahm (R), was said by Mr. Eckholm to be considering whether to seek a veto override, which would require a two-thirds vote in each house.

In vetoing the groundbreaking bill, Gov. Fallin “called the measure vague and unconstitutional,” writes Mr. Eckholm. “Acknowledg[ing] the virtual certainty,” he continues, “that the bill would be struck down by the courts,” Mrs. Fallin said, “the way to overturn Roe v. Wade was ‘the appointment of a conservative pro-life Justice to the United States Supreme Court.’”

Of course, should such an appointee fill the current vacancy left by the passing of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, a second such appointee would also likely be needed to replace one of the Court’s leftwing members, as Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy would be unlikely to swing as far as overturning the Roe edict. Even in the event of a pro-life majority emerging on the Court, a case challenging the 1973 opinion would have to be in the pipeline for Roe to be overturned judicially. Oklahoma’s legislature may have been seeking to line up such a case, but the veto has now likely put such an event further from reach for the time being.

We do not join some pro-life groups in condemning Gov. Fallin for her action, in view of her repeated approval of pro-life regulatory measures; we recognize that governors have many considerations – including fiscal implications – in acting on legislation. We do, however, commend the legislature for having moved forward the debate about what abortion actually is – a dastardly criminal act which should be defined as such in law – and would have preferred the governor had taken up the fight as well and kept the truth before the public.


From Personal Experience

WE APPLAUD U.S. REP. DAVID SCHWEIKERT (R-AZ) on his clear advocacy for Life in a recent interview with Dustin Siggins, published by

In a winsome and personal manner, Rep. Schweikert related not just the principles underlying the right to Life but, movingly, the personal basis for his position: “‘I was born in an unwed mothers’ home to a teenage mother,’ said [Rep.] Schweikert” in the LifeSiteNews report. “‘[I was] given up [for adoption] by a family that brought me to Arizona. So the issue is somewhat personal.’”

He goes on to relate his warm relationship with his birth mother and even with his biological father, while extolling the love and family environment given him by his adoptive parents. And he celebrates the family he and his wife are building with their own adopted daughter.

It is a fine testimony to the value of every human life, one in which he says, writes Mr. Siggins, “he’s ‘seen the power of the gift of life. And so is … the debate we’re having an ethical one about what it means to be human,’” he asks, “‘or is it a debate about convenience and inconvenience? … How often,’” he asks, “‘will you hear on the pro-choice side of the debate …: “this is not convenient to someone’s life.” It’s a difficulty; those are sort of utilitarian arguments. This doesn’t work in this person’s life,’” he says in the interview, paraphrasing the hollow argument of the abortion advocate. “‘Okay,’” he responds, “‘you’re giving up, … but on the flip side, even if you’re not someone of faith, what does it mean to be human?’”

What does it mean, indeed? Yet such a challenge is seldom heard from our pro-life front-liners. Those like Rep. Schweikert, who take the time to think through and speak up on why our founders emphasized the right to life, move the ball forward in the hearts and minds of those who have too long stood by while the death toll rises. Thank you, Mr. Schweikert. You are most welcome in our world!


New Light Shed on Conception

May 2, 2016, BreakPoint commentary by John Stonestreet

God’s active act of Creation, as described in Genesis 1, begins with those familiar words “Let there be light,” or, as my Latin-loving colleagues prefer, “Fiat lux.”

Throughout the Scriptures, God’s presence and power is associated with light. This is most obviously true in all of the writings of the Apostle John. In fact, as I John tells us, “God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.”

But this is more than history and metaphor. As it turns out, it’s observable in the microscopic realm as well.

The lead to a recent article in the UK’s Telegraph newspaper sums up a remarkable discovery by researchers at Northwestern University near Chicago: “Human life begins in bright flash of light as a sperm meets an egg, scientists have shown for the first time, after capturing the astonishing ‘fireworks’ on film. An explosion of tiny sparks erupts from the egg at the exact moment of conception.”

Think about this for a moment. At the moment that you, I and everyone else who has ever lived were conceived, the microscopic equivalent of “fireworks” went off. A kind of mini “big bang.”

As Simcha Fisher wrote at Aleteia, when she saw the headline, her response was, “It’s almost as if something amazing is going on! Something that shouldn’t be messed with!”

Unfortunately, that’s not how the people behind this discovery responded. After seeing nature’s “fireworks,” their minds turned to how they could use what they saw to control and manipulate nature.

One of the co-authors of the study called the results “transformative” and “important.” Why? Because, [the study co-author] said, it makes in vitro fertilization more reliable. As [this co-author] told the Telegraph, “There are no tools currently available that tell us if it’s a good quality egg. Often we don’t know whether the egg or embryo is truly viable until we see if a pregnancy ensues.”

The “fireworks” suggest that there may be “a non-invasive and easily visible way to assess the health of an egg and eventually an embryo before implantation.” This, [the co-author] continued, “will help us know which embryo to transfer, avoid a lot of heartache and achieve pregnancy much more quickly.”

This, this, is what [the researchers] saw as “transformative” about this amazing discovery?

I remember John Piper once saying that no one looks out over the Grand Canyon and thinks, “I am awesome.” Apparently, however, there are those who – in the words of Fisher – “behold the brilliant spark of life itself” and say “Think of the commercial possibilities.”

For [Aleteia columnist] Fisher, this story brought to mind a scene from C.S. Lewis’s The Magician’s Nephew. The magician of the title, Uncle Andrew, is privileged to be present at the creation of Narnia, as Aslan sings the world into being. Yet, like these researchers, all he can think of is growing iron trees in Narnia and selling them back home for a profit. To which Frank the Cabbie replies, “Oh stow it, Guv’nor, do stow it. Watchin’ and listenin’ the thing at present, not talking.”

Frank the Cabbie and Fisher are both spot on. For those of us privileged to witness something amazing, even holy, our response should be awe and reverence, including reverential silence. Since we have nothing to do with the miracle unfolding before our eyes, our response should be wonder and gratitude and ultimately worship – not plans to exploit our knowledge and play God for profit.

Of course, the right response requires acknowledging that we have nothing to do with that miracle and, thus, it is not ours to exploit. And that kind of humility, which is a prerequisite for wonder and gratitude, is in increasingly short supply.