Life Advocacy Briefing

October 30, 2017

Congressional Action Needed Urgently!
Crisis in the Capitol / Long-Sought Relief / Ethical Advance
Victory in Court / House Voting Record

Congressional Action Needed Urgently!

THE D.C. COURT OF APPEALS LAST TUESDAY DELIVERED A BOMBSHELL in America’s troubled abortion jurisprudence and abetted the deliberate killing of a 16-week-old unborn baby.

The court’s 6-to-3 ruling in the petition of a 17-year-old illegal alien, who came to the US while already pregnant, may have carved out a new right in America’s already radical “abortion rights” framework: the “right” of any expectant mother from anywhere in the world to enter the US illegally and demand the “termination” of her baby’s life.

The ruling rejects an appeal brought by the US Dept. of Justice against an Oct. 18 ruling by an Obama-appointed DC District Judge, Tanya Chutkan, “that the girl,” reports Claire Chretien for, “must be allowed to abort her baby ‘promptly and without delay.’” The Court of Appeals stayed that ruling on Justice Department appeal, but when the full appellate court took up the appeal, the stay was overturned. And because the abortion was committed last Wednesday, according to Fox News, no further appeal is possible in this particular case.

“Pro-life advocates say,” writes Ms. Chretien, the full-panel ruling “sets a ‘terrible precedent’ that could be ‘Roe v. Wade 2.0’ because it establishes a ‘right’ to abortion on US soil for illegal immigrants. …

“‘The United States should not become an abortion destination spot for the world,’” said Students for Life of America president Kristan Hawkins, quoted by Ms. Chretien. “‘Shame on Planned Parenthood and the ACLU for using this teenager to try to create Roe v. Wade in the courts.’”

Concerned Women for America (C.W.A.) president and CEO Penny Nance weighed in on the same point. “‘We do not want our nation to be known,’” she said, “‘as a place where illegal immigrants can come in order to procure free abortions. … Allowing our taxpayers to be entangled in financing and facilitating an abortion for an undocumented teen sets a horrible precedent.’”

She added, “‘Let’s be honest about the fact that there were two lives that crossed our border. There [was] a fully formed, unborn baby whose life [was] on the line here.’”

Ironically, in writing an opinion for the DC Circuit, Obama appointee Judge Patricia Millett wrote, reports Ms. Chretien, “that the decision ‘rights a grave constitutional wrong by the government. … Remember, we are talking about a child here,’ [Judge] Millett wrote, apparently,” notes Ms. Chretien, “without any awareness of her assertion’s irony. ‘A child who is alone in a foreign land. A child who, after her arrival here in a search for safety and after the government took her into custody, learned that she is pregnant.’”

To make matters worse, the Planned Parenthood/ACLU petition sought to force taxpayers to underwrite the abortion.

“‘In this situation,’” said Catherine Glenn Foster, CEO and president of Americans United for Life in the LifeSiteNews report, “‘the young woman has had ample opportunity to seek a sponsor and not involve federal resources, so there is no legal or practical reason for this ruling,’” which, notes Ms. Chretien, “stated that the teen doesn’t need a sponsor in order to procure an abortion on US soil. …

“‘Abortion advocates could have sponsored this girl,’” said Mrs. Hawkins in the LifeSiteNews report, “‘and helped her get an abortion, as tragic as that would be. But instead they are using this teenager’s case to force taxpayer and government involvement in abortions for everyone, including illegal immigrants.’”

Immediate Congressional action is needed to thwart the potential use of this ruling as precedent and to establish clear US policy overturning subsidized abortion “rights” to illegal aliens.

Crisis in the Capitol

AT LONG LAST, A UNITED STATES SENATOR HAS PUBLICLY CALLED for changing the Senate’s rules and practices to break the unconscionable logjam that has many US citizens – including concerned pro-life observers – up in arms over radical Democratic Leader Charles Schumer’s obvious control of the supposedly Republican-controlled body. “Senate Democrats,” notes Fr. Mark Hodges for, citing figures by The Hill, “are holding up confirmation of 87% of [Pres.] Trump’s picks” for judicial officials. And, reports Fr. Hodges, “Hundreds of top executive branch and agency posts remain empty, and the Senate has confirmed fewer than 50.”

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), whose 2010 election took him from a lifelong career in business, “says the 30-hour debate demand” used by the Senate’s Minority to block all but the most mundane Senate actions “could be lowered to two hours by a simple majority,” reports Fr. Hodges, “if [Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell will implement [Sen.] Reid’s ‘nuclear option.’ In 2013,” notes Fr. Hodges, “then-Majority Leader Harry Reid and his Democrat majority changed Senate rules to neuter filibusters and breeze-in Obama nominees by a simple majority vote.” Leader McConnell suspended the 60-vote debate rule to confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch but has not applied the American majority-rule principle to any other nominations or to needed legislation.

“Establishment Republicans,” explains Fr. Hodges, “are wary of changing rules for fear of when they are not the majority party in the Senate. [Sen.] Johnson answers,” writes Fr. Hodges, “that concerned citizens want bold action, not timidity. ‘Change the rules of the Senate to limit debate … to two hours on the Senate floor,’ [Sen.] Johnson advocated” in the LifeSiteNews report. “‘Use Senate committees to vet nominees and report on them to the full Senate, where Leadership can assign appropriate Members to make the case for or against a nominee in the allotted two hours. Then vote.’”

The Johnson remarks and a call to “‘nuke’ the filibuster” by American Family Assn. AFA vice president Rob Chambers, also quoted by Fr. Hodges, followed a report in The Hill last week documenting the shocking number of Trump nominees stalled in the Senate and includes a statement by AFA president Tim Wildmon declaring in a news release, “‘The Republican Senate Majority have within their reach the legitimate use of power to put an end to this Democratic obstruction. … Yet these Republicans have refused to lift a finger to end this madness. Democrats are killing conservative legislation using the filibuster,’ [Mr.] Wildmon concluded,” quoted by Fr. Hodges. Indeed, the US House has passed hundreds of measures to the Senate, yet only a handful have reached the President’s desk or even seen a vote in the upper chamber.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) “also favors the ‘nuclear option,’” according to Fr. Hodges, and “pointed out that the filibuster is ‘not the law. It’s not the statute. It’s not the Constitution.’ [And] Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) opined, ‘It is time for America to abolish the 60-vote Senate rule’ to end the filibuster and vote by simple majority.”

Wrote The Hill’s Victor Williams, quoted by LifeSiteNews, “‘We are witnessing confirmation obstruction on steroids. … The unprecedented obstruction is, obviously, part of a wider attempt by partisan opponents to discredit Donald Trump’s election, to “resist” Trump’s governance.’”

Perhaps it was The Hill’s report that prompted Leader McConnell to put two judicial nominees on the Senate’s calendar for votes last week and six more for this week. We thank him for this and are glad to see even a little progress on this front. But without junking the 30-hour stall which Democrats have been exercising on virtually every nomination, the wheels are still grinding unacceptably slowly.

Long-Sought Relief

THE U.S. DEPT. of JUSTICE HAS SETTLED still-pending lawsuits brought by more than 70 plaintiffs challenging “the controversial HHS contraceptive mandate,” reports Adelaide Mena for Catholic News Agency (CNA).

“Made public Oct. 16,” writes Ms. Mena, “the agreement states that the plaintiffs would not be forced to provide health insurance coverage for ‘morally unacceptable’ products and procedures, including contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.’ …

“The mandate originated,” she notes, “with the Obama administration. Issued through the Dept. of Health & Human Services, it required employers – even those with deeply held religious objections – to provide and pay for contraceptive, abortifacient and sterilization coverage in their health insurance plans. …

“‘While the Trump Administration’s Executive Order on religious liberty and new guidelines and regulations are extremely helpful,’” said DC Roman Catholic Cardinal Donald Wuerl in the CNA report, “‘the settlement of the … litigation adds a leavening of certainty moving forward.’ … The Dept. of Justice’s new settlement ‘removes doubt’ and closes these cases challenging the mandate, the Cardinal continued. ‘The settlement adds additional assurances that we will not be subject to enforcement or imposition of similar regulations imposing such morally unacceptable mandates moving forward,’ he stated.”

Dr. Michael F. McLean, president of Thomas Aquinas College, was also quoted in the CNA report: “‘This is an extraordinary outcome for Thomas Aquinas College and for the cause of religious freedom. … While we welcomed the broadening of the exemption from the HHS mandate last week by the Trump Administration,’” he said in the report by Ms. Mena, “‘we have under our agreement today something even better: a permanent exemption from an onerous federal directive – and any similar future directive – that would require us to compromise our fundamental beliefs.’”

In conjunction with the settlement, reports Ms. Mena, the Departments of Health & Human Services, Labor and Treasury “have also decided to provide partial coverage of the plaintiffs’ attorney fees and costs of the lawsuits.”

Ethical Advance

A MORALLY ACCEPTABLE ALTERNATIVE to the best-known and highly marketed Zostravax vaccine against shingles has been cleared for the US market by the federal Food & Drug Administration (FDA), according to the pro-life drug watchdog group, Children of God for Life (CGL).

Merck & Co.’s Zostravax vaccine “uses aborted fetal cells,” reports, but has dominated the US market, with sales totaling $685 million last year.

“Shingrix, made by Glaxo SmithKline pharmaceutical company [GSK],” reports LifeSiteNews, “is produced using a yeast cell line.”

Said CGL executive director Debi Vinnedge, quoted by LifeSiteNews, “‘We are absolutely thrilled that GSK has finally given the US a moral option. … Until now,’” she said, “‘people wanting to have protection from shingles have had to either use Merck’s aborted fetal version or abstain entirely. … This is a problem we have dealt with for years,’” she said, “‘and we cannot thank GSK enough for doing it right. … There is absolutely no reason to use the remains of aborted babies to produce vaccines.’ …

“Preference for GSK’s shot could seriously hurt Merck’s Zostravax sales,” notes LifeSiteNews. “Not only is GSK’s Shingrix morally produced but it is also a far superior product, as evidence by lengthy clinical trials. The studies,” reports LifeSiteNews, “demonstrated that Shingrix is 97.2% effective in people over 50 years old. It also maintained 90% efficacy in those 70 years old and above, with 95% immunity maintained after four years. On the other hand,” the report notes, “Merck’s Zostravax is only 38% effective in people over 70 and only 40% duration of immunity after four years.”

Messages of appreciation to the GSK company may be addressed, according to LifeSiteNews, to: Patrick Desbiens, Sr. Vice President; GSK US Vaccines; 5 Crescent Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19112.

Victory in Court

A STATE CIRCUIT JUDGE IN MISSOURI HAS DEALT A BLOW to Planned Parenthood’s effort to circumvent a duly enacted law governing health standards for reluctant expectant mothers undergoing abortion.

Judge S. Margene Burnett “ruled [last] Monday,” reports Grace Carr for The Daily Caller, “the state’s 72-hour waiting period is constitutional, rejecting Planned Parenthood’s emergency motion for a temporary restraining order.”

The Kansas City-area judge “said the waiting period doesn’t constitute an ‘undue burden’ for women in the state seeking abortions, according to [Kansas City public radio station] KCUR,” writes Ms. Carr.

“[Judge] Burnett’s ruling comes after Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), along with the Satanic Temple,” reports The Daily Caller, “filed separate lawsuits against the state of Missouri alleging its abortion laws are unconstitutional because the mandatory waiting period and counseling requirements unfairly restrict a woman’s access to reproductive healthcare, according to the Associated Press.”

House Voting Record

HRes-548 – Motion to close debate on Rule for consideration of Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act – Oct. 3, 2017 – Procedural Motion to advance bill – Passed – 233-184 (Democrats in italics) Roll Call 546

Voting “yes” / pro-Life: Aderholt, Brooks, Byrne, Palmer, Roby, Rogers/AL; Young/AK; Biggs, Franks, Gosar, McSally, Schweikert/AZ; Crawford, Hill, Westerman, Womack/AR; Calvert, Cook, Denham, Hunter, Issa, Knight, LaMalfa, McCarthy, McClintock, Nunes, Rohrabacher, Royce, Valadao, Walters/CA; Buck, Coffman, Lamborn, Tipton/CO; Bilirakis, Buchanan, Curbelo, DeSantis, Diaz-Balart, Dunn, Gaetz, Mast, Posey, F.Rooney, T.Rooney, Ros-Lehtinen, Ross, Rutherford, Webster, Yoho/FL; Allen, Carter, Collins, Ferguson, Graves, Handel, Hice, A.Scott, Woodall/GA; Labrador, Simpson/ID; Bost, R.Davis, Hultgren, Kinzinger, LaHood, Roskam, Shimkus/IL; Banks, Brooks, Bucshon, Hollingsworth, Messer, Rokita, Walorski/IN; Blum, King, Young/IA; Estes, Jenkins, Marshall, Yoder/KS; Barr, Comer, Guthrie, Massie, Rogers/KY; Abraham, Graves, Higgins, Johnson, Scalise/LA; Poliquin/ME; Harris/MD; Amash, Bergman, Bishop, Huizenga, Mitchell, Moolenaar, Trott, Upton, Walberg/MI; Emmer, Lewis, Paulsen/MN; Harper, Kelly, Palazzo/MS; Graves, Hartzler, Luetkemeyer, Smith, Wagner/MO; Gianforte/MT; Bacon, Fortenberry, Smith/NE; Amodei/NV; Frelinghuysen, Lance, LoBiondo, MacArthur, Smith/NJ; Pearce/NM; Collins, Donovan, Faso, Katko, King, Reed, Stefanik, Tenney, Zeldin/NY; Budd, Foxx, Holding, Hudson, Jones, McHenry, Meadows, Pittenger, Rouzer, Walker/NC; Cramer/ND; Chabot, Davidson, Gibbs, Jordan, Joyce, Latta, Renacci, Stivers, Tiberi, Turner, Wenstrup/OH; Cole, Lucas, Mullin, Russell/OK; Walden/OR; Barletta, Costello, Dent, Fitzpatrick, Kelly, Marino, Meehan, Murphy, Perry, Rothfus, Shuster, Smucker, Thompson/PA; Duncan, Gowdy, Norman, Rice, Sanford, Wilson/SC; Noem/SD; Black, Blackburn, Duncan, Fleischmann, Kustoff, Roe/TN; Arrington, Babin, Barton, Brady, Burgess, Carter, Conaway, Culberson, Farenthold, Flores, Gohmert, Granger, Hensarling, Hurd, S.Johnson, Marchant, McCaul, Olson, Poe, Ratcliffe, Sessions, Smith, Thornberry, Weber, Williams/TX; Bishop, Love, Stewart/UT; Brat, Comstock, Goodlatte, Griffith, Taylor, Wittman/VA; Herrera-Beutler, McMorris-Rodgers, Newhouse, Reichert/WA; Jenkins, McKinley, Mooney/WV; Duffy, Gallagher, Grothman, Sensenbrenner/WI; Cheney/WY.

Voting “no” / anti-Life: Sewell/AL; Gallego, Grijalva, O’Halleran, Sinema/AZ; Aguilar, Barragan, Bass, Bera, Brownley, Carbajal, Cardenas, Chu, Correa, Costa, Davis, DeSaulnier, Eshoo, Garamendi, Gomez, Huffman, Khanna, Lee, Lieu, Lofgren, Lowenthal, Matsui, McNerney, Napolitano, Panetta, Pelosi, Peters, Roybal-Allard, Ruiz, Sanchez, Schiff, Sherman, Swalwell, Takano, Thompson, Torres, Vargas, Waters/CA; DeGette, Perlmutter, Polis/CO; Courtney, DeLauro, Esty, Himes, Larson/CT; Blunt-Rochester/DE; Castor, Crist, Demings, Frankel, Hastings, Lawson, Murphy, Soto, Wasserman-Schultz, Wilson/FL; Bishop, Johnson, Lewis, D.Scott/GA; Gabbard, Hanabusa/HI; Bustos, D.Davis, Foster, Kelly, Krishnamoorthi, Lipinski, Quigley, Rush, Schakowsky, Schneider/IL; Carson, Visclosky/IN; Loebsack/IA; Yarmuth/KY; Pingree/ME; Brown, Cummings, Delaney, Hoyer, Raskin, Ruppersberger, Sarbanes/MD; Capuano, Clark, Keating, Kennedy, Lynch, McGovern, Moulton, Neal, Tsongas/MA; Conyers, Dingell, Kildee, Lawrence, Levin/MI; Ellison, McCollum, Nolan, Peterson, Walz/MN; Clay, Cleaver/MO; Kuster, Shea-Porter/NH; Gottheimer, Norcross, Pallone, Pascrell, Payne, Sires, Watson-Coleman/NJ; Lujan, Lujan-Grisham/NM; Clarke, Engel, Espaillat, Higgins, Jeffries, Lowey, C.Maloney, S.Maloney, Meeks, Meng, Nadler, Rice, Serrano, Slaughter, Suozzi, Tonko, Velazquez/NY; Adams, Butterfield, Price/NC; Beatty, Fudge, Kaptur, Ryan/OH; Blumenauer, Bonamici, DeFazio, Schrader/OR; Boyle, Brady, Cartwright, Doyle, Evans/PA; Cicilline, Langevin/RI; Clyburn/SC; Cohen, Cooper/TN; Castro, Cuellar, Doggett, Gonzalez, A.Green, G.Green, Jackson-Lee, O’Rourke, Veasey, Vela/TX; Welch/VT; Beyer, Connolly, McEachin, Scott/VA; DelBene, Heck, Jayapal, Kilmer, Larsen, Smith/WA; Kind, Moore, Pocan/WI.

Not Voting: Speier/CA;Deutch/FL; Loudermilk/GA; Gutierrez/IL; Richmond/LA; Thompson/MS;  Long/MO; Kihuen, Rosen, Titus/NV; Crowley/NY; Johnson/OH; Bridenstine/OK; DesJarlais/TN; E.B.Johnson/TX; Garrett/VA;  Ryan/WI.