Life Advocacy Briefing

February 6, 2017

Supreme Court Battle Is On! / DeVos Confirmation in Trouble?
Inspiration for the Fight Ahead / ‘Dismemberment’ Abortion Banned in Arkansas
Chipping Away / A Brief Detour / Pitiable Pelosi
March for Life Speech: Vice Pres. Mike Pence / The Right Choice

Supreme Court Battle Is On!

PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS FULFILLED A KEY PLEDGE of his 2016 Presidential campaign. He has nominated to the Supreme Court a federal appeals court judge who appears to be an outstanding jurist.

Judge Neil Gorsuch of Colorado was nominated last Tuesday; his name appeared on the Supreme Court prospects list released by Mr. Trump during his campaign. He is considered a conservative in the tradition of the late, great Justice Antonin Scalia, the man whose passing opened the vacancy Judge Gorsuch was named to fill. At the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing, we are reprinting a BreakPoint commentary which well summarizes the value of Judge Gorsuch as nominee to the ninth seat on the high court; we hope it is helpful to our readers and that it will inspire your immediate action. 

Though the Senate Democratic Leader is loudly objecting to confirming Judge Gorsuch, it is critical that he be confirmed and that the final vote occur by early April. We ask our readers to contact their home-state Senators – early and often – to ask them to vote in favor of confirming Judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court. Under current rules, 60 “aye” votes – at least eight from Democrats – will be needed. Senators can be contacted via the Capitol switchboard at 1-202/224-3121.


DeVos Confirmation in Trouble?

THE NOMINATION OF CONSERVATIVE BETSY DeVOS to be Secretary of Education – a critical post for advocates of Life and Family – ran into resistance last week from two GOP Senators, putting her confirmation into jeopardy.

Senators Susan Collins (ME) and Lisa Murkowski (AK) did vote Wednesday to advance the nomination to a vote, but they each announced – in Senate floor speeches – they would be withholding their votes from the Michigan parent-choice-in-education advocate, whose appointment is being resisted by the politically powerful teachers unions.

Since Mrs. DeVos is unlikely – especially with the unions targeting her – to win votes from Senate Democrats, the loss of Senators Collins and Murkowski puts the nomination on the edge, unofficially 50-50 at this writing, which would prompt the necessity of a precedent-setting tie-breaking vote from the Vice President, who has the authority under the Constitution to break tie votes in the Senate.

At our press deadline, the Senate vote on the DeVos nomination was expected today (Monday);  we ask our readers – if other news sources have not, by the time of your reading this, reported the outcome of this fight – to contact your home-state Senators (Capitol switchboard, 1-202/224-3121) and ask them to vote “yes” to confirm Betsy DeVos. Please do it now.


Inspiration for the Fight Ahead

THE 44th ANNUAL MARCH FOR LIFE drew hundreds of thousands to Washington, DC, for a rally on the National Mall and a march through the streets of the capital to the Supreme Court.

Addressing the crowd, for the first time in history, was the Vice President of the United States. We have, as is our tradition for “March” speeches, transcribed the remarks of Vice Pres. Mike Pence; his speech can be found near the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing.

We expect to publish in future editions – as space permits – speeches also by Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and
Mia Love (R-UT). We commend these messages to our readers. Many Members of Congress participated in the rally; the above-named officials were the ones chosen by the March organizers to inspire the crowd, and they came through beautifully with that responsibility.


Pitiable Pelosi

EXHIBITING THE HYSTERIA WHICH CURRENTLY CHARACTERIZES Democratic Leadership on Capitol Hill, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in late January “maligned traditional, hard-working Americans,” reports writer Lisa Bourne, “slamming them as hypocritical oppressors.

“Questioned about the disconnect[ion] that white, working-class voters feel between themselves and the Democratic Party, the California Democrat lashed out,” writes Ms. Bourne. “She cast her party as righteous saviors against traditional, patriotic Americans and painted Republicans, people of faith and pro-lifers as phonies who victimize others.

“‘They pray in church on Sunday and then prey on people the rest of the week,’ she stated,” reports Ms. Bourne. “‘And while we’re doing the Lord’s work by ministering to the needs of God’s creation, they are ignoring those needs, which is,’” Mrs. Pelosi declared, “‘to dishonor the God who made them.’”

Her comments came on the “Morning Joe” program on MSNBC-TV just before the Jan. 20 inauguration of Donald Trump.


‘Dismemberment Abortions’ Banned in Arkansas

ARKANSAS HAS A NEW LAW PROTECTING UNBORN BABIES from dismemberment abortion, by far the most common method of killing gestating babies who have passed the first three months of their development.

The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act was signed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R), on Jan. 26, just a day after the measure passed the Arkansas Senate 78 to 10.

Though the misnamed American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) vowed, of course, to “fight,” writes reporter Steve Weatherbe, “for the brutal practice to continue,” the governor, who is a former attorney general and a former Member of Congress from Arkansas, said he “believes the law will survive a legal challenge.”

In any case, debate and news coverage centering on enactment of the measure aids in educating the public on the brutally violent methods employed by so-called “professionals” in the abortion racket.


Chipping Away

NOTING INCREASING NUMBERS OF ABORTUARIES CLOSING across America, we were heartened late last month by a news release from Operation Rescue announcing its findings in tracking such facilities. The research-and-activism organization reported on Jan. 22: “Last week, it was learned that two surgical abortion facilities – one in West Virginia and one in Kentucky – are permanently closing. That adds to a growing list of states,” announced OR, “with only one abortion facility.

“Today,” reported OR, “the following six states have a single abortion facility: Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia.”

And OR followed up with a listing of the 10 states “that have two-to-three abortion facilities remaining. Those states,” said OR, “are Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia [which is not a state], Maine, Nebraska, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.”

Cause for celebration and inspiration for further work and prayer. Work as if it’s up to us; pray as if it’s up to God. Amen.


A Brief Detour

WE HAD PLANNED TO PUBLISH one of the procedural roll calls related to the Reconciliation bill beginning the process of ObamaCare repeal, as it is our custom to publish complete voting records on Life-related issues. With news flowing at such speed – and with the importance of providing information for the critical battle to confirm Neil Gorsuch – our catching up on roll call publishing will likely be strung out throughout the next several weeks.


March for Life Speech: Vice Pres. Mike Pence

Jan. 27, 2017, speech to the March for Life Rally, Washington, DC, by Vice President Mike Pence, transcribed by Life Advocacy Briefing from telecast by EWTN

        Thank you, Karen, Charlotte. And thank all of you. On behalf of President Donald Trump, my wife Karen, our daughter Charlotte, I’d like to welcome you all to Washington, DC, for the 44th annual March for Life. It’s a good day. It is the best day I’ve ever seen for the March of Life in more ways than one. I’m deeply humbled to stand before you today, deeply humbled to be the first Vice President of the United States to ever have the privilege to attend this historic gathering.

        More than 240 years ago, our founders wrote words that have echoed through the ages. They declared these truths to be self-evident: that we are – all of us – endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights and that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Forty-four years ago, our Supreme Court turned away from the first of these timeless ideals. But today, three generations hence, because of all of you and the many thousands who stand with us in marches like this all across the nation, Life is winning again in America.

        That is evident in the election of pro-life majorities in the Congress of the United States of America. But it is no more evident in any way than in the historic election of a President who stands for a stronger America, a more prosperous America, and a President who I proudly say stands for the right to life, President Donald Trump. President Trump actually asked me to be here with you today. He asked me to thank you for your support, for your stand for Life and for your compassion for the women and children of America.

        One week ago today on the steps of the Capitol, we saw the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States. I can tell you first-hand our President is a man with broad shoulders and a big heart. His vision, his energy, his optimism are boundless, and I know he will make America great again. From his first day in office, he’s been keeping his promises to the American people. I like to say over there at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, we’re in the promise-keeping business. That’s why on Monday President Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy to prevent foreign aid from funding organizations that promote or perform abortions worldwide. That’s why this administration will work with the Congress to end taxpayer funding of abortion and abortion providers, and we will devote those resources to healthcare services for women across America. And that’s why next week President Donald Trump will announce a Supreme Court nominee who will uphold the God-given liberties enshrined in our Constitution in the tradition of the late and great Justice Antonin Scalia.

        You know, Life is winning in America. And today is the celebration of that progress, the progress that we’ve made in this cause. You know, I’ve long believed that a society can be judged by how we care for our most vulnerable, the aged, the infirm, the disabled and the unborn. We’ve come to a historic moment in the cause of Life, and we must meet this moment with respect and compassion for every American. Life is winning in America for many reasons. Life is winning through the steady advance of science that illuminates when life begins more and more every day. Life is winning through the generosity of millions of adoptive families who open their hearts and homes to children in need. Life is winning through the compassion of caregivers and volunteers at crisis pregnancy centers and faith-based organizations who minister to women in the cities and towns across this country. And Life is winning through the quiet counsels between mothers and daughters, grandmothers and granddaughters, between friends across kitchen tables and over coffee at college campuses. The truth is being told, compassion is overcoming convenience, and hope is defeating despair. In a word, Life is winning in America because of all of you, so I urge you to press on.

        But as it is written, “let your gentleness be evident to all.” Let this movement be known for love, not anger. Let this movement be known for compassion, not confrontation. When it comes to matters of the heart, there is nothing stronger than gentleness. I believe we will continue to win the hearts and minds of the rising generation if our hearts first break for young mothers and their unborn children and if we each of us do all we can to meet them where they are with generosity, not judgment.

        To heal our land and restore a culture of life, we must continue to be a movement that embraces all, cares for all, and shows respect for the dignity and worth of every person. Enshrined on the walls of the Jefferson Memorial are the words of our third President, who admonished us so long ago to remember that “God who gave us life gave us liberty.”

        On behalf of the President of the United States and my little family, we thank you for your stand for life. We thank you for your compassion, we thank you for your love for the women and children of America. And be assured, be assured, along with you we will not grow weary, we will not rest until we restore a culture of Life in America for ourselves and our posterity. Thank you, and God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.


The Right Choice

Feb. 2, 2017, BreakPoint by John Stonestreet

            As you’ve no doubt heard, on Tuesday night Pres. Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

            The President said that the nomination of Gorsuch was the fulfillment of a campaign promise to “find the very best judge in America” to sit on the Supreme Court. From where I sit, it looks like Mr. Trump may have delivered on his promise. Only time will tell, of course, but we’ve many reasons to be hopeful about how Gorsuch will rule on issues of importance to Christians and Americans.

            As G.K. Chesterton once noted, what matters most when considering someone’s qualifications is their philosophy – what they believe about life and the world. What matters most for a Supreme Court justice is their legal philosophy. And it’s difficult to imagine a more reassuring testimonial than the one Gorsuch received from Colson Center friend and Wilberforce Award winner Robert George of Princeton.

            George noted that Gorsuch and he both studied under Oxford philosopher John Finnis, one of the pre-eminent natural law theorists in the world. George added that, in addition to being academically gifted, Gorsuch is “deeply committed to the (actual) Constitution and the rule of law. [Gorsuch] will not manufacture ‘rights’ or read things into the Constitution that aren’t there or read things out of the Constitution that are.”

            This is encouraging coming from the eminent Robby George. But that latter observation was also made by former Obama Administration Solicitor General Neal Katyal in a New York Times opinion piece titled, “Why Liberals Should Back Neil Gorsuch.”

            Even more encouraging are those things Judge Gorsuch himself has written, starting with the most important issue of them all, the sanctity and dignity of human life from conception to natural death. In his 2006 book, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, Gorsuch made clear his opposition to so-called “death with dignity” laws, like the one just approved in … Colorado.

            His opposition is grounded on the “inviolability” of human life. As he wrote, “All human beings are intrinsically valuable … and the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.” He goes on to say that “We have all witnessed, as well, family, friends or medical workers who have chosen to provide years of loving care to persons who may suffer from Alzheimer’s or other debilitating illnesses precisely because they are human persons, not because doing so instrumentally advances some other hidden objective.”

            Gorsuch’s words are especially welcome since, as we’ve talked about on BreakPoint, the next great front in the battle for the sanctity of life, and likely for religious freedom, will be over end-of-life issues like assisted suicide and euthanasia.

            Speaking of religious freedom, Gorsuch sided with Hobby Lobby in the challenge to the HHS Mandate. In his concurring opinion, he wrote the HHS Mandate infringed on the religious liberties of the Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby, “by requiring them to lend what their religion teaches to be an impermissible degree of assistance to the commission of what their religion teaches to be a moral wrong.”

            He also sided with the Little Sisters of the Poor in their case for conscience rights. And as an added bonus, he’s a really good writer of legal opinions, something we miss and need since the death of Justice Scalia.

            So what now? Well, we should pray for Gorsuch and his family, given the fractious state of our politics. And of course, urge your Senators (even those who have said they will oppose Judge Gorsuch) to confirm this spectacularly qualified nominee to the Supreme Court. Please let your voice be heard.

            We’ve collected resources for you to learn more about Judge Gorsuch at our website at