Life Advocacy Briefing

August 28, 2017

See You Soon! / Strange Sickness Overtakes Iceland
Lawmakers Here Taking Opposite Approach
Eclipsing a Scientific Nightmare / Getting Down to Business?
Injustice / Celebrating Nazi Science?

See You Soon!

WE EXPECT TO BE TAKING A BREAK over the Labor Day weekend, so do not look for a Life Advocacy Briefing next week. But we will be back, Lord willing, with our Sept. 11 edition.

Strange Sickness Overtakes Iceland

CBS NEWS REPORTED FROM ICELAND, in mid-August, the planned and socially approved destruction of nearly every baby diagnosed with Down syndrome. The means: abortion.

Since a prenatal diagnostic test was implemented in the early 2000s, according to Elaine Quijano of CBS News, quoted by Claire Chretien for, the tactic has since “‘almost completely eliminated Down syndrome births.’ …

“In 2009, only three babies with Down syndrome were born in Iceland,” writes Ms. Chretien. “Only one mom in the entire country has two children with Down syndrome. …

The CBS report quotes an abortion “counselor” acknowledging, writes Ms. Chretien, “that some women express guilt at aborting their disabled babies. … The pro-abortion counselor showed [Ms. Quijano] a prayer card with the footprints of an aborted baby. Parents can keep these footprints and prayer cards as a memento of their aborted child.” How precious. How consoling. How merciful. Sure.

We reprint at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing a BreakPoint commentary discussing the ethical implications of this development which CBS News appears to be celebrating. We commend it to our readers and ask for your prayers in this age of moral eclipse; the sun is there, regardless of its masking.

Lawmakers Here Taking Opposite Approach

PROTECTION OF DOWN SYNDROME BABIES IS THE FOCUS of state legislation being considered by the Ohio Senate, reports Claire Chretien for SB-164 would outlaw pre-birth killing of babies whose parents are motivated by a Down syndrome diagnosis.

A State Senate committee hearing last Tuesday revealed opposition to the measure from Planned Parenthood and NARAL, as well as support for SB-164 by pro-life citizens and groups. And the hearing featured testimony from a woman whose son is living with Down syndrome, who told senators, reports Ms. Chretien, “‘Targeting and eliminating a population of people based on ignorance and fear is reprehensible.’”

The chief of the Ohio-based Created Equal “told LifeSiteNews,” writes Ms. Chretien: “‘We shouldn’t eliminate suffering by eliminating sufferers. … Killing children suffering from Down syndrome is barbaric and reminds us of the words of Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood’s founder, who said, “More children from the fit, less from the unfit.” … Not surprisingly,’” he said in the LifeSiteNews report, “‘SB-164 exposes the utter brutality of the abortion lobby … . For once, it would be nice to have abortion advocates see past their dogmatic view of “choice” and work to treat children with disease rather than target them for extermination.’”

Noted Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life, in an LifeSiteNews interview: “‘The foundation of the pro-life movement is respecting the inherent dignity of every human person, regardless of disability, race, religion … and acknowledging that every life is a gift.’” True, and such a contrast with the abortion lobby here and with the too-proud medical profession in Iceland.

Eclipsing a Scientific Nightmare

THE FOOD & DRUG ADMINISTRATION (F.D.A.) IS TAKING ACTION, for a change, that has a pro-life flavor to it, warning a fertility doctor, reports Lianne Laurence for, “to stop marketing an unapproved in vitro fertilization technology that creates a human embryo using the DNA of three people.”

In a “strongly worded … letter,” writes Ms. Laurence, the FDA, earlier this month, “reminded New York-based Dr. John Zhang that it had declined his request to run clinical trials on the experimental technique mitochondrial replacement technology, or MRT.

“Since December 2015,” notes Ms. Laurence, “Congress has prohibited the FDA from reviewing applications on clinical tests involving genetically modified human embryos ‘until safety and ethical issues can be resolved,’ reports Bloomberg BNA. ‘Also, researchers don’t know what impact the procedure will have on the babies it produces,’ it notes,” writes Ms. Laurence.

Mr. Zhang runs a fertility clinic and, writes Ms. Laurence, “has previously been in the news for claiming to engineer the ‘first live birth’ using the MRT technique he says he pioneered. …

“Creating genetically modified human embryos in a lab is allowed in the US if federal funds aren’t used,” reports LifeSiteNews, “but implanting them in a womb is prohibited, according to MIT Technology Review.”

But the genetic engineer reportedly, writes Ms. Laurence, “created three-DNA human embryos for [a] couple in the States, then took the embryos to Mexico, where he implanted them in the mother …, who gave birth to a boy in April 2016.

“‘This is the very first time at least in human reproduction that the offspring are produced with three parties – one sperm and different parts of two eggs,’ [Mr.] Zhang told CBS News at the time,” writes Ms. Laurence. “‘So this is very revolutionary.’”

But the FDA’s August cease-and-desist letter to Mr. Zhang, reports MIT Technology Review, quoted by Ms. Laurence, “shows the Trump Administration is ‘taking a hard line against the development of technologies to make genetically altered babies, even in cases where doing so would prevent severe disease.’”

Controversy over the technique is brewing in England as well, where lawmakers in February made the UK “the first country to approve three-parent IVF techniques, with supporters saying the technology could eliminate genetic diseases,” notes Ms. Laurence, who quoted Bishop John Keenan of Paisley, Scotland, declaring “Three-parent IVF procedures ‘destroy human life, since in order to construct a disease-free embryo, two healthy ones will have to be destroyed.’ … The technique,” he said in the LifeSiteNews report, “‘is not a treatment, it does not cure anyone or anything; rather it seeks to remove anyone affected by certain conditions from the human gene pool. Destroying those who have a particular disease and presenting it as a cure or as progress is utterly disingenuous and completely unethical,’ he said. The practice ‘distorts the natural process of fertility,’ added [Bishop] Keenan,” writes Ms. Laurence.

Getting Down to Business?

Aug. 11, 2017, commentary by Fr. Frank Pavone, national director, Priests for Life, reprinted from the Washington Examiner

            More and more states are passing laws that protect children in the womb from abortion once those children are capable of feeling pain. We will soon see similar movement at the federal level.

            In January, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) introduced a bill called the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. According to, “This bill amends the federal criminal code to make it a crime for any person to perform or attempt to perform an abortion if the probable post-fertilization age of the fetus is 20 weeks or more.” It has 127 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives.

            This is a big leap forward. Instead of merely regulating abortion, it actually protects many children from abortion altogether. Our colleagues at the National Right to Life Committee have crafted this model legislation and have done fantastic work in advancing it. Unfortunately, most people aren’t aware of these bills and sometimes don’t find out about them until they have already died in committee.

            But now is the time to shout them from the rooftops and to challenge candidates for public office to take a stand on them. As we prepare for the 2018 Congressional elections, these bills should be an election issue. If the pro-life movement can gain a super-majority in the Senate, bills similar to this will be passed and signed into law on the federal level. But again, a lot of public education is needed in the meantime.

            A pain-capable unborn child protection bill is an incredibly important step to ending abortion. Unlike most other bills or policies regulating abortion or seeking to defund Planned Parenthood, these types of bills stand out because their focus is on protecting the child. This does not mean we should stop working towards these other worthy goals when we can. It’s simply that this new bill and others like it are a game changer.

            This bill stands out because its name points to the party affected most by this law – the child. Phrases and words such as “pain-capable,” “children” and “protection” add a much-needed human element to the conversation. The legislative language and movement is changing in a positive direction towards personhood. We are starting to see more decisive and active protection for these children. And we are talking about protecting children from pain, a reality that everyone understands, and that removes the abortion debate from the world of abstractions, which is where abortion supporters prefer it to be.

            Babies in the womb do feel pain, and much earlier than the medical community once thought. The evidence is vast and wide. The following excerpt was taken from testimony of Colleen A. Malloy MD, Assistant Professor, Division of Neonatology/Dept. of Pediatrics, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine: “There is ample biologic, physiologic, hormonal and behavioral evidence for fetal and neonatal pain. As early as eight weeks post-fertilization, face skin receptors appear. At 14 weeks, sensory fibers grow into the spinal cord and connect with the thalamus. At 13-16 weeks, monoamine fibers reach the cerebral cortex, so that by 17-20 weeks the thalamocortical relays penetrate the cortex. Many authors have substantiated that pain receptors are present and linked by no later than 20 weeks post-fertilization. (Myers 2004; Derbyshire 2010; Anand 1987; Vanhalto 2000; Brusseau 2008; VanScheltema 2008).”

            The vast majority of abortions done in the second trimester are dismemberment abortions, where living babies are literally torn limb from limb. This is nothing short of evil and satanic. The public is not widely aware of this procedure or that abortions even happen in the second and third trimester. A Marist Poll found that only 22% of Americans think abortion should be legal after the first trimester.

            Nobody wants to see a baby suffer pain. In fact, nobody wants to see even animals suffer unnecessarily. This is evident by the outcry on social media any time a story on animal abuse is posted. Yet animals have more protection than people. The Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act is a US federal law designed to decrease suffering of livestock during slaughter. It requires a mandate to have an animal completely sedated and insensible or even unconscious to pain. In other words, our food is treated better than our children.

            Obviously, our ultimate goal is to end all abortion and to end all cruel suffering of children in the womb. This bill is a great step. It seeks to protect pain-capable children in the womb, which most people intuitively want. As we spread awareness of this legislation and let people know which Members of Congress support protecting these children versus those who seek to strike down these laws, people will naturally gravitate towards choosing leaders who know the difference between serving the public and killing the public.


Aug. 17, 2017, commentary by Campaign for Working Families president Gary Bauer

            The Left’s attempt to exploit the violence in Charlottesville continues. The radical pro-abortion group NARAL is desperately trying to link some of the white supremacists who organized [Aug. 12th’s] protest with the pro-life movement and the March for Life.

            That is a disgusting smear of the men and women of faith who stand up for the most innocent and defenseless in our society – unborn babies in the womb.

            Sadly, this character assassination is typical of the Left today. I know the good people who lead the March for Life, and I am proud to stand with them.

            Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, tweeted in response to NARAL’s attack, “The foundation of the pro-life movement is respect for the inherent dignity of every person regardless of race, creed, disability, politics, etc.”

            Of course, she is absolutely right. The pro-life movement rejects racism, because we believe all life is sacred, created in the image of God. It is the Left that cannot name one abortion it would prohibit, not even abortions performed solely on the basis of the race or gender of the baby. Now that is extremism.

Celebrating Nazi Science?

Aug. 23, 2017, BreakPoint commentary by John Stonestreet & G. Shane Morris

            While the nation was cringing last week and every media outlet buzzing about the neo-Nazi imagery from Charlottesville, another story reminiscent of the Third Reich emerged from, of all places, Iceland.

            CBS tweeted out the story with the tagline: “Iceland is on pace to virtually eliminate Down syndrome through abortion.”

            “With the rise of prenatal screening tests across Europe and the United States,” read the report, “the number of babies born with Down syndrome has significantly decreased, but few countries have come as close to eradicating Down syndrome births as Iceland.”

            More than a few people found the tone of the article and its headline … celebratory. Among them was actress Patricia Heaton, whom you may remember as Deborah from “Everybody Loves Raymond” [television sitcom series]. Heaton blasted CBS for the headline and the story, pointing out that “Iceland isn’t actually eliminating Down syndrome. They’re just killing everybody that has it. Big difference.”

            Amen. Of course, as CBS goes on to admit, “Many people born with Down syndrome can live full, healthy lives, with an average lifespan of around 60 years.”

            That’s not the half of it, actually. Research published in 2011 in the American Journal of Medical Genetics found that 99% of individuals with Down syndrome report being happy, 94% of their siblings express pride in their brother or sister with Down syndrome and just 4% of parents regretted their decision to keep their child.

            This is important for one simple reason: The entire argument for aborting children diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome is based on quality of life. It’s not a medical concern.

            Such children, goes the argument, are an unwelcome burden on their parents or on society, and in the end will live unhappy lives. So, “it will be better for them,” we are told.

            But if you or a friend has someone with Down syndrome in the family, you know nothing could be further from the truth! Those with “Downs” are often the most joyful and loving people you meet.

            Even more horrifying, Iceland is a small country, but other larger nations aren’t lagging far behind in this eugenics experiment. In Denmark, 98% of children diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb are killed. In France, it’s 77%. And in the US, it’s a shameful 67%.

            When asked why such high percentages of babies with Down syndrome are aborted, Icelandic geneticist Kari Stefansson admitted it wasn’t for medical reasons. Rather, it’s due to “heavy-handed genetic counseling,” or pressure by authority figures to abort.

            One pregnancy counselor in Iceland told CBS, “We don’t look at abortion as a murder … . We ended a possible life that may have had a huge complication, … preventing suffering for the child and for the family.” Or in other words, trust us, “it’s for your own good … .”

            Tell that to Thordis Ingadottir and her beautiful seven-year-old daughter Augusta, one of the few people in Iceland with Down syndrome who hasn’t been killed. The pair have become crusaders for those with disabilities, so that they will be “fully integrated on [their] own terms” into society. After all, asks her mom, “What kind of society do you want to live in?”

            That’s a good question, as prenatal screening becomes more widely available, and much of the world grapples with this new breed of eugenics. Make no mistake – what we’re witnessing here is the systematic extermination of children who are, by society’s standards, less than perfect. It’s worth remembering that the first groups killed by the Nazis in their quest for perfection by eugenics were those with disabilities.

            Will ours be a similar society, in which we claim to eliminate disabilities by eliminating those who have them? It’s up to you and me to decide.