Life Advocacy Briefing

August 7, 2017

What’s a ‘Dismemberment Intent’ For? / Senate Done? / Quoteworthy
Kudos for Sam Brownback / Decision Time for Joe Manchin
Exquisite Logic / Senate Voting Records

What’s a ‘Dismemberment Intent’ For?

THE CENTER FOR MEDICAL PROGRESS HAS RELEASED A NEW VIDEO documenting Planned Parenthood’s involvement in trafficking of aborted baby body parts. The new video can be viewed on the Internet at or via the CMP website at

This video shows an interview by undercover journalists with Dr. Suzie Prabhakaran, Medical Affairs vice president for Planned Parenthood of Southwest & Central Florida, in which she “explained,” writes Claire Chretien for, “the standard practice of abortionists who don’t use digoxin to stop a baby’s heart in the womb before extracting it.

“Digoxin is a chemical injected into the human in the womb,” explains Ms. Chretien, “to kill him or her. It stops the baby’s heart from beating. The baby is then removed from the mother’s womb.” But when an abortionist seeks to secure baby body parts, he or she must avoid using digoxin, as the drug taints the tissue being sought.

The alternative, when a developing baby is targeted for tissue harvesting, is a procedure which either constitutes or too closely resembles the federally outlawed partial-birth abortion method.

So, to avoid potential prosecution, abortionists can “comply,” according to Ms. Prabhakaran’s explanation in the video, by “indicat[ing] on a form,” reports Ms. Chretien, “their ‘intent’ to commit a dismemberment abortion rather than a partial-birth abortion. ‘That’s how you comply,’ she said in the video,” reports LifeSiteNews. Planned Parenthood has included a dismemberment intent checkbox on their reporting form, apparently to facilitate the availability of harvest-worthy aborted baby tissue for sale and to offer cover to abortionists who are actually committing partial-birth abortions.

That declaration prompts us to urge federal and state prosecutions for partial-birth abortion – which are obviously taking place, irrespective of claimed “intent” – and to urge state and federal outlawing of dismemberment abortions.

No wonder the abortion lobby is fighting so fiercely to block enactment of dismemberment bans. Dismemberment – or dilation & extraction – abortion is the most common method in the killing of babies who have gestated beyond their first three months of life in the womb. It has been banned, according to National Right to Life, in Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia, because of its brutality. Now we know it is also a cover for illegal partial-birth abortions in the baby body parts racket.

Federal legislation has been filed this year by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), who also filed a Dismemberment Abortion Ban in 2015. This year’s bill is numbered HR-1192 and is resting in the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security & Investigations. It is co-sponsored by 31 GOP Representatives.

Readers are asked to contact their home-district Representative and ask him/her to co-sponsor HR-1192. [Capitol switchboard: 1-202/224-3121; messages can be taken by office personnel during the August recess or Members can be called in district offices or visited for in-person appeals while Members are at home this month.]

Those who are already co-sponsoring this legislation should be thanked. They are Representatives Robert Aderholt/AL; Trent Franks/AZ; French Hill/AR; Daniel Webster & Ted Yoho/FL; Jody Hice & Barry Loudermilk/GA; Jim Banks/IN; Roger Marshall & Kevin Yoder/KS; Mike Johnson/LA; Bill Huizenga/MI; Steven Palazzo/MS; Vicky Hartzler, Blaine Luetkemeyer & Ann Wagner/MO; Virginia Foxx, Walter Jones & Robert Pittenger/NC; Bill Johnson & Brad Wenstrup/OH; Jim Bridenstine & Steve Russell/OK; Joe Wilson/SC; Jodey Arrington, Brian Babin, Blake Farenthold, Bill Flores, Pete Olson/TX; Chris Stewart/UT; and Alexander Mooney/WV.

Senate Done?

OUR READERS NO DOUBT KNOW that the Senate failed to affect ObamaCare last week, defeating an amendment by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to “perfect” the House-passed Reconciliation measure; as a result, HR-1628 is presumed dead. Moving forward on “ObamaCare repeal and replace” is now unlikely unless the Senate Majority can somehow muster the courage to find agreement among themselves.

We will not comment further at this time, except to note that the Senate’s failure to advance the Reconciliation bill back to the House for a conference to resolve the houses’ differences has the deeply unfortunate effect of making the separation of taxpayers from the dastardly Planned Parenthood cartel all but impossible for the balance of this year. Nor is the Senate likely to pass any other urgently needed pro-life legislation unless the Senate Majority miraculously yields to calls for repeal of the Senate’s stalemating, unAmerican “cloture” rule; such repeal would enable the Senate to pass legislation without being thwarted by the Senate’s Minority Leadership and its servile Members.

We thank the House Majority for their insistent efforts to repeal and replace ObamaCare and to disqualify Planned Parenthood from federal tax funding. 

We are publishing the Senate’s roll call on the McConnell Amendment at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing.


Center for Medical Progress chief David Daleiden responding to reports that Planned Parenthood had delivered “superhero” capes to Senators who voted against the McConnell Reconciliation Amendment that would have disqualified Planned Parenthood from federal funding, quoted by “No real superhero would defend an organization that kills late-term babies in partial-birth abortions and sells their body parts afterwards like widgets off an assembly line. The real superheroes are the public officials who will finally stop forcing taxpayers to sponsor Planned Parenthood’s barbaric abortion empire.”

Kudos for Sam Brownback

PRO-LIFE CHAMPION SAM BROWNBACK has just been appointed by Pres. Donald Trump to “a religious persecution watchdog post,” reports Fr. Mark Hodges for, a key position leading the Office of International Religious Freedom within the State Department.

The ambassadorial post is subject to Senate confirmation. Readers are urged to contact their home-state US Senators even this early to urge a “yes” vote on his confirmation. [Capitol switchboard: 1-202/224-3121] Activists from the abortion lobby and radical homosexual groups are expected to mount opposition to his appointment.

Mr. Brownback, a former distinguished United States Senator after a term in the US House, will continue to serve as governor of Kansas until his confirmation is complete. In his current post as well as his Senate career, he has been an outstanding champion for the cause of Life. He has signed 17 pro-life bills into law during his tenure in Topeka, according to Fr. Hodges, including a Dismemberment Abortion Ban.

Decision Time for Joe Manchin

NATIONAL RIGHT TO LIFE’s POLITICAL DIRECTOR, Karen Cross, penned a column in the July 21, 2017, National Right to Life News Today, titled “Traitor Joe: Has Sen. Manchin Betrayed the Babies?”

“Are [Sen.] Manchin’s votes to support using taxpayer funds for the nation’s largest abortion provider a betrayal of his former pro-life views?” she asks. “Is Manchin pandering to both sides of the abortion issue?”

We acknowledge our disappointment in the Senator’s votes this year but also note that the Planned Parenthood defunding proposals have been intertwined with proposals to “repeal and replace” ObamaCare, and Mr. Manchin has made no secret of his embrace of government-funded health care. He is, after all, from West Virginia, which ranks 46th in health care, according to US News.

But what disturbs us most in the NRL News Today commentary is this section: “In many areas of the country, Democratic candidates must have pro-life votes in order to win. However, they also must appease the pro-abortion masters of the Democratic Party, including Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America and EMILY’s List. The most ridiculous evidence of this recently took place when Sen. Manchin appeared in a picture holding a Planned Parenthood sign that read, ‘I stand with Planned Parenthood.’”

We will confess: We had never expected to read or see such a thing as pertains to Sen. Manchin. He faces re-election next year; we hope, for the sake of his own conscience, he will make a decision to stand for Life and will find a viable way to turn his back on Planned Parenthood. Otherwise, pro-life citizens in West Virginia will need to find a viable alternative candidate who will afford them the opportunity to turn their backs on Joe Manchin; already US Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV) has launched a campaign for the Senate.

Mr. Manchin himself is the only elected Democrat in his state’s entire Congressional delegation, his Democratic governor last Thursday night announced his own switch to the GOP, and his state voted in 2016 for Donald Trump by better than 68.5%. Let us pray that Mr. Manchin chooses the right course and finds the backbone we always thought he had.

Exquisite Logic

Excerpts from a scholarly opinion piece by Josh Craddock, published by The Witherspoon Institute

            … Does the Constitution really only protect “walking-around persons” under an originalist interpretation? Or can one make a compelling originalist rejoinder by examining the original meaning of the term “person” as used in the 14th Amendment? I attempt to do just that in my article “Protecting Prenatal Persons: Does the Fourteenth Amendment Prohibit Abortion? published in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy [].

            The structure of the argument is simple: The 14th Amendment’s use of the word “person” guarantees due process and equal protection to all members of the human species. The preborn are members of the human species from the moment of fertilization. Therefore, the 14th Amendment protects the preborn. If one concedes the minor premise (that preborn humans are biological members of the human species), all that must be demonstrated is that the term “person,” in its original public meaning at the time of the 14th Amendment’s adoption, applied to all members of the human species.

            I draw on three strands of evidence to support that conclusion. First, dictionaries of common and legal usage at the time of the 14th Amendment’s adoption defined the terms “person” and “human being” interchangeably. Thus, the original public meaning of the term “person” included every member of the human race. Second, centuries of common-law precedent and state practice leading up to the 14th Amendment’s adoption in 1868 indicate that the unborn were considered legal persons. Third, the authors of the 14th Amendment expected it to protect every human being – especially the weakest and most marginalized. This “original expected application” is indicative of the original public meaning and demonstrates that informed citizens believed that the text of the 14th Amendment applied to every human without exception.

            Starting with the Text: Dictionaries of common and legal usage at the time of the 14th Amendment’s adoption treated the word “person” as interchangeable with “human being” or “man.” For example, the 1864 edition of Noah Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language defined the term “person” as relating “especially [to] a living human being: a man, woman or child.” The entry for human includes those belonging to “the race of man.” No dictionary of the era referenced birth or the status of being born in its definition of “person,” “man” or “human being.”

            In legal usage, the term “person” had expansive scope. Alexander Burrill’s New Law Dictionary and Glossary defined “person” as “A human being, considered as the subject of rights, as distinguished from a thing.” This is consistent with Blackstone, for whom there was no distinction between biological human life and legal personhood. He considered every human being to be a “natural person.” Blackstone declared in his authoritative Commentaries that “life is … a right inherent by nature in every individual; and it begins in contemplation of law as soon as an infant is able to stir in the mother’s womb.” This mention of the preborn child’s stirring was intended to protect prenatal life as soon as it could be discerned, not to exclude human life from protection prior to that point. Thus, the principle can be derived from Blackstone and others that if human life could be shown to exist, legal personhood existed also.

            Common Law & State Practice: The English common law tradition – which the United States inherited and developed after its independence – consistently treated abortion as the wrongful killing of a human being. Abortion was prohibited as soon as life in the womb could be detected. Prior to the advent of modern medical science, unborn life was detected at “quickening,” that is, at the first perceived fetal movement. This proved a useful evidentiary tool for determining whether the crime of abortion had occurred. Legal giants such as Lord Coke and Blackstone formalized the legal principles protecting prenatal life, which were eventually passed on to the American colonies and adopted into their state common law systems. When embryologists discovered that each human individual begins its life cycle at fertilization in the 1830s, the states rapidly discarded the obsolete quickening standard in favor of the new, medically accurate fertilization standard.

            By the time the 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868, the states widely recognized unborn children as persons. Twenty-three states and six territories referred to the fetus as a “child” in their anti-abortion statutes. Twenty-eight labeled abortion as an “offense against the person” or a functionally equivalent classification. Most strikingly, the same Ohio legislature that ratified the 14th Amendment in January, 1867, passed legislation criminalizing abortion at all stages in April. The committee that reviewed the bill which was composed of several Senators who had voted for ratification of the amendment, declared in their report that abortion “at any stage of existence” is “child-murder.” Given the historical context, it is clear that the public meaning of the term “person” in 1868 included the preborn.

            The Amendment’s Anticipated Application: The framers of the amendment themselves certainly thought their amendment required due process and equal protection of every human being. While the intentions of the drafters of the 14th Amendment do not directly govern the meaning of the text, it is worth wondering whether the racially inclusive amendment can reasonably be interpreted to exclude a subset of individuals who were considered human beings at the time it was written.

            The primary framer of the 14th Amendment, Rep. John Bingham, believed the Amendment prevented states from refusing “any of the rights which pertain … to common humanity.”  Sen. Jacob Howard, who sponsored the Amendment in the Senate, emphasized that the Amendment guaranteed even the lowest and “most despised” members of the human race equal protection of the laws. During Congressional debates, Rep. James Brown asked rhetorically: “Does the term ‘person’ carry with it anything further than a simple allusion to the existence of the individual?”

             As Justice Hugo Black later put it, “the history of the [14th] Amendment proves that the people were told that its purpose was to protect weak and helpless human beings.” The drafters of the Amendment carefully crafted the text to include all human beings within its jurisdictional reach, regardless of their origin or circumstance. Their widely shared belief sheds light on the Amendment’s public meaning at the time of its adoption. The 14th Amendment was meant to be a new birth of freedom for all human beings. …

[Life Advocacy Briefing editor’s note: We find the Craddock article to be fascinating, instructive and persuasive. We commend its entirety to those who find such discussions useful or even merely interesting.]

Senate Voting Records

McConnell “Perfecting” Amendment on HR-1628 – Repeal/Replace ObamaCare & Defund Planned Parenthood – 49-51  (Democrats in italics; “Independent” marked “I”)

Voting “yes”/pro-Life: Shelby & Strange/AL, Sullivan/AK, Flake/AZ, Boozman & Cotton/AR, Gardner/CO, Rubio/FL, Isakson & Perdue/GA, Crapo & Risch/ID, Young/IN, Ernst & Grassley/IA, Moran & Roberts/KS, McConnell & Paul/KY, Cassidy & Kennedy/LA, Collins/ME, Cochran & Wicker/MS, Blunt/MO, Daines/MT, Fischer & Sasse/NE, Heller/NV, Burr & Tillis/NC, Hoeven/ND, Portman/OH, Inhofe & Lankford/OK, Toomey/PA, Graham & Scott/SC, Rounds & Thune/SD, Alexander & Corker/TN, Cornyn & Cruz/TX, Hatch & Lee/UT, Capito/WV, Johnson/WI, Barrasso & Enzi/WY.

Voting “no”/anti-Life: Murkowski/AK, McCain/AZ, Feinstein & Harris/CA, Bennet/CO, Blumenthal & Murphy/CT, Carper & Coons/DE, Nelson/FL, Hirono & Schatz/HI, Duckworth & Durbin/IL, Donnelly/IN, Collins & King(I)/ME, Cardin & VanHollen/MD, Markey & Warren/MA, Peters & Stabenow/MI, Franken & Klobuchar/MN, McCaskill/MO, Tester/MT, Cortez-Masto/NV, Hassan & Shaheen/NH, Booker & Menendez/NJ, Heinrich & Udall/NM, Schumer Gillibrand/NY, Heitkamp/ND, Brown/OH, Merkley & Wyden/OR, Casey/PA, Reed & Whitehouse/RI, Leahy & Sanders/VT, Kaine & Warner/VA, Cantwell & Murray/WA, Manchin/WV, Baldwin/WI.