Life Advocacy Briefing

March 12, 2018

Life Advocates Asked to Rally at High Court
Indiana ‘Feticide’ Law Goes to Governor
South Dakota Passes Informed Consent Prescription
Planned Parenthood Prevails, for Now, in Kansas Defunding Bid
Here Comes Planned Parenthood!
Your Tax Dollars at Work Against You / Policy that Works

Life Advocates Asked to Rally at High Court

A RALLY BACKING FREE SPEECH RIGHTS for pro-life pregnancy care centers is being planned for Tuesday, March 20, from 9 a.m. to noon on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, DC. Readers of Life Advocacy Briefing are encouraged to participate.

The high court is scheduled that morning to hear oral arguments in the appeal of the National Institute of Family & Life Advocates (NIFLA) vs. the State of California, which has ordered pro-life pregnancy centers to promote abortion and refer clients to abortuaries.

“In particular, pro-life centers are fighting,” writes Doug Mainwaring for, “to maintain their right not to speak and to not have to post signs within their walls that are essentially posters advertising for the abortion industry. If the Supreme Court were to allow the current ruling to stand,” notes Mr. Mainwaring, “failure of centers to comply with this abortion promotion mandate will result in fines and penalties that could close their doors for good.”

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins was quoted by LifeSiteNews: “Making pregnancy centers promote abortion is ‘like the government forcing Alcoholics Anonymous to serve cocktails’ at their meetings. He added,” notes Mr. Mainwaring, “that ‘non-profit organizations should not have to make statements that contradict not only their speech but their stated missions.’”

In a teleconference call last week covered by Mr. Mainwaring, Thomas Glessner, NIFLA president, “explained to listeners that attacks against pro-life centers by the abortion industry are being ramped up. ‘In the last 10 years we’ve seen a dramatic increase in efforts at legislative levels in various states,’” said Mr. Glessner, “‘to pass legislation which, if passed, would undoubtedly restrict the operations of pregnancy centers and close many of them down.’” Indeed, that is most likely their objective.

“‘We’ve defeated these attempts,’” said Mr. Glessner in the LifeSiteNews report, “‘three times in Oregon, twice in Washington State and once in Maryland.’” He noted the abortion industry had then promoted adoption of similar ordinances in various cities and that NIFLA had taken those ordinances down in court as well.

But the State of California passed its so-called “Reproductive Fact Act” in 2015, noted Mr. Glessner in the report by Mr. Mainwaring, “a law which ‘mandates that pro-life centers and medical clinics must post a sign in their waiting area that provides their patients with information on how to obtain a state-funded abortion. So the government,’” said Mr. Glessner, “‘is mandating pro-life centers to speak a message with which they fundamentally disagree and which violates their conscience and their reason for existing, and if they don’t post that message, they’re going to be closed down.’”

Priests for Life national director Fr. Frank Pavone told teleconference attendees, reports Mr. Mainwaring, “the California law this case ‘challenges is an act of desperation by a collapsing abortion industry. And this isn’t just about pregnancy centers,’ Fr. Pavone added. ‘It’s about the abortion industry trying to get all of us to help their faltering business and the failed worldview behind it. If they can force pregnancy centers to point people toward abortions,’” said Fr. Pavone, “‘they can do it to us all, including churches.’”

Indiana ‘Feticide’ Law Goes to Governor

INDIANA’s LEGISLATURE HAS SENT TO THE GOVERNOR a fetal homicide measure authorizing prosecution for “the crimes of (1) murder; (2) voluntary manslaughter; (3) involuntary manslaughter; and (4) feticide,” according to the bill digest posted online by the Indiana General Assembly. Abortion committed “lawfully” is not included in such crimes, and the mother herself cannot be prosecuted. But, as the digest reports, “a person who commits a felony that causes the termination of a pregnancy may receive an additional sentence of six to 20 years.”

Thus the death of an unborn child – at any stage of development – which occurs in conjunction with some other felony (like murder of the mother) is in itself to be treated as a felony, if Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) signs the measure, as expected.

Final vote in the Indiana House was 96-0, and in the Senate, 41-8.

A second proposal – which “requir[es] the reporting of abortion complications that injure women while creating tougher requirements for abortion businesses applying for licensing,” as described by National Right to Life News Today (NRLNT), is awaiting a final Senate vote to concur in House amendments. SB-340 passed the Senate on Jan. 30 by a vote of 38 to 11; the House vote Feb. 28 was 67 to 26. If the Senate’s concurrence motion is adopted without a hitch, this abortion-related measure will also be sent to Gov. Holcomb for his approval.

Indiana Right to Life “‘applauds the House passage of SB-203 as a powerful step forward in recognizing and protecting the full humanity of unborn children at any stage of development,’ said InRtL president and CEO Mike Fichter,” quoted by NRLNT. “‘The recognition of the worth of a child killed during a felony further places Roe v. Wade on a collision course with law and history,’” he added in the NRLNT report.

“‘We are committed to doubling down on efforts,’” said Mr. Fichter, quoted by NRLNT, “‘to bring about a majority on the Supreme Court that will strictly interpret the Constitution, dismantle Roe and provide full protection for all unborn children, including those who are targeted for abortion.’”

South Dakota Passes Informed Consent Prescription

THE LEGISLATURE IN SOUTH DAKOTA HAS PASSED a bill prescribing information an abortionist must tell an abortion-seeking mother as part of her informed consent.

SB-110 would, reports Cassy Fiano for Live Action, “require abortionists to tell women … that the procedure will ‘terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being’ and that it carries the risk of depression and suicidal thoughts for women.”

The bill now goes to Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) for his expected signature, after passing the House 56-9 on Feb. 25. It had previously passed the State Senate 27-8 on Feb. 6.

“‘This is an effort,’” said the bill’s author, Rep. Steven Haugaard, quoted by Ms. Fiano, “‘to convey truth to an individual who is in a very serious situation.’”

Planned Parenthood Prevails, for Now, in Kansas Defunding Bid

THE LATEST EFFORTS BY THE STATE OF KANSAS to disqualify Planned Parenthood from Medicaid funding were blocked in late February by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The ruling conflicts with a ruling last August by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in a case stemming from Arkansas’s defunding of the abortion goliath.

Conflicts like this among federal appellate courts are ripe for eventual resolution by the US Supreme Court. Meanwhile, the 10th Circuit’s ruling was hailed, reports Claire Chretien for, as a “‘huge win’” by Planned Parenthood Great Plains, “the local abortion affiliate,” she explains, “that is most impacted by this decision.”

Here Comes Planned Parenthood!

PLANNED PARENTHOOD HAS ANNOUNCED a “‘sweeping’ new initiative,” reports Lianne Laurence for, “to pass more pro-abortion laws in all 50 states.”

The outfit attempted in its announcement to blame the Trump/Pence Administration for what they see as an upsurge in pro-life legislation at the state level, something which has gone on in every state legislature and every legislative session since the early days of Roe v. Wade. And Planned Parenthood knows it! After all, Planned Parenthood sends paid lobbyists to the state capitols to try to block enactment of commonsense regulations and restrictions on the legalized killing of unborn babies, and it is usually Planned Parenthood which acts as plaintiff in challenging such state-level laws in court. 

But as if Planned Parenthood were not offensive enough already, executive vice president Dawn Laguens declared at the outfit’s mid-February news conference, quoted by Ms. Laurence, “‘Today we’re going on the offense. We’ve been marching, mobilizing and organizing,’” she said, “‘and now we’re channeling that into real policy change.’”

First states Planned Parenthood declared as targets are Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. And Planned Parenthood’s “initiatives” were described by Ms. Laguens, quoted by Ms. Laurence, as “‘protections for birth control coverage, bills that expand access to abortion and changes to make sex education more inclusive.’” Included, specifically, in the Laguens declaration is, writes Ms. Laurence, “backing a bill in Maine requiring nurse practitioners to provide the abortion pill on request and one in Missouri to repeal the state’s 72-hour waiting period for abortions.”

And, reports LifeSiteNews, “Planned Parenthood is also anticipating a victory in California on SB-320, a bill compelling public universities to provide the abortion pill on campus.”

The old Planned Parenthood ally, the Guttmacher Institute, issued a report in January, notes Ms. Laurence, finding “19 states had adopted 63 new abortion restrictions in 2017, the largest number passed in one year since 2013.” And, Ms. Laurence writes, “There have been a total of 410 abortion restrictions adopted by states since 2011, Guttmacher stated.” 

State lawmakers who are enacting pro-life measures by overwhelming margins – such as those reported in this edition of Life Advocacy Briefing – are unlikely to turn around and enact Planned Parenthood’s agenda. The real fight is in the ballot boxes next November, setting up legislative action in 2019 and beyond. But Planned Parenthood is clearly claiming a robust legislative agenda now for purposes of raising campaign dollars toward that objective. Life advocates: beware!

Your Tax Dollars at Work Against You

March 5, 2018, Washington Update commentary by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins

            You might never support a pro-abortion candidate, but what if your tax dollars are? There’s more than a little evidence suggesting that’s exactly what’s happening with government-funded groups like Planned Parenthood. Of course, some would argue that the money is spent on services, but let’s be honest. Those tax dollars are also used to expand their brand – making it easier for outgoing president Cecile Richards to raise the cash she needs to elect pro-abortion legislators who, in turn, keep the federal funds flowing.

            Now that America’s biggest abortion provider has announced a $20 million midterm election strategy, most taxpayers can’t help but wonder where federal funds end and campaign checks begin. “March. Vote. Win” is the tagline of this latest offensive, which is setting its sights on key governor and senate races in places like Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The organization’s spokespeople, who have been careful to call the $20 million the first installment of many, say the move is meant to counter the White House’s wave of pro-life policies.

            “This past year, the Trump-Pence administration and Congress waged a war,” Planned Parenthood’s Kelley Robinson insisted. Now, Robinson promises, Planned Parenthood is fighting back. And, thanks to the forced contributions of taxpayers – more than a half-billion dollars’ worth – Richards has all the flexibility she needs to free up money for the fight.

            For groups like Planned Parenthood, it’s always been a delicate dance. As everyone knows, it’s illegal for Richards to use even a penny of federal funds on the group’s political activities. And while her accountants perform all the necessary tricks to keep the monies separate, there’s no denying that Planned Parenthood has room to spend more politically because Congress rewards it financially.

            Of course, this you-scratch-my-back approach has been the group’s playbook since Barack Obama. That’s when the organization first launched a political action committee (PAC) aimed at keeping pro-lifers off Capitol Hill. When President Obama was elected, Planned Parenthood got quite a return on its investment – hundreds of millions of dollars in abortion-friendly extortion. Eight years later, Richards’s group was one of the first to endorse Hillary Clinton – and she returned the favor by promising to force taxpayers to bankroll abortion-on-demand. Unfortunately for Hillary (who was all too happy to take the money tainted by baby-body-part sales) Americans lost their stomach for the kind of rabid agenda Clinton was pushing.

            This November, despite a noticeable shift in public opinion, the group is trying again. “We’re sending a clear message to the politicians who made careers of undermining our freedom and rights,” said the group’s political arm, “We’re voting you out in 2018.” And it’s flush with cash to do so. “Planned Parenthood’s PAC is among the most powerful lobbying groups in American politics,” writes Alexandra DeSanctis in National Review, “shelling out $40 million last year for ‘public policy’ and investing upwards of $175 million in such nebulous categories as ‘movement building,’ ‘strengthening and securing Planned Parenthood’ and ‘engaging communities.’”

            Obviously, an organization sitting on a billion dollars in assets doesn’t need taxpayers’ help to begin with. But there’s also a relevant public policy question of fairness, which is, should an organization that gets direct taxpayer dollars be able to lobby for more? Most taxpayers would probably agree: there’s a real problem when “nonprofit” organizations receive direct taxpayer funding – and then turn around with a related entity and indirectly use those dollars to impact the political process. In my opinion, that’s fundamentally un-American. If an organization wants to shape public policy, it should have to raise the funds like we do – not use the government to supplant the dollars it needs.

Policy that Works

March 6, 2018, BreakPoint commentary by John Stonestreet & Roberto Rivera

            When abortion advocates complain about a policy morning, noon, and night, that’s a win! Many rituals are associated with Inauguration Day in the United States: the Oath of Office, inaugural balls and Washington-area residents whose party lost the election listing their homes on Airbnb, just to name a few. And then there’s a lesser-known ritual that’s just as established but even more important: the argument over the Mexico City Policy.

            First instituted in 1984 by Ronald Reagan, the Mexico City Policy derives its name from the venue of that year’s UN conference on “Population & Development.” The policy states that, as a condition of receiving federal funds, non-governmental organizations agree they will “neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations.”

            Every time the White House changes party hands, the Mexico City Policy also changes. Like clockwork. So when Democrats like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama move in to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, they rescind the Mexico City Policy. When Republicans like George Bush and Donald Trump come to town, they restore the policy in some form.

            Each time the policy is restored, abortion advocates start wringing their hands, warning that the US is putting women’s lives at risk. They cite figures about deaths from “preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.” And recently, they’ve claimed that the latest iteration of the policy is forcing organizations to choose between treating HIV/AIDS and providing “life-saving reproductive health services.”

            It’s not clear, of course, how in the world a policy specifically directed at abortion prevents anyone from addressing real health issues. And they conveniently omit the fact that the policy specifically exempts referrals in cases of “rape, incest, or endangerment of the life of the woman.” As Elisha Dunn-Georgiou of Population Action International, recently acknowledged, “the policy does not reduce US funding for health or family planning.” But it does take money from what she calls “the most competent providers of ‘sexual and reproductive health and rights’” – that is, pro-abortion advocacy groups like hers or Planned Parenthood.

            So what’s really behind the dire warnings that accompany the reinstatement of the policy is funding. Groups that equate “women’s health” with “abortion rights” attack the Mexico City policy as a “health threat,” even if the only real threat is to their own bottom line.

            But there’s also another reason for the hand-wringing over the Mexico City policy, one that even critics have been forced to admit: it’s a policy that works! The policy has forced non-governmental organizations to decide whether their priority is going to be abortion advocacy or women’s health.

            In the process, local people are questioning why so many foreigners and government officials consistently present abortion as a solution to all of their problems, when the US government does not support it?

            Well, here’s why. First, abortion really isn’t a solution for women’s health. The all-too-many deaths from pregnancy- and childbirth-related causes in developing nations have little to do with legalizing abortion, a point critics of the policy seem intent on obscuring.

            Second, because Christian institutions provide one-third of the medical care in Africa, and they want to promote health – physical and spiritual – not a “culture of death.” That’s why they support the Mexico City Policy.

            On the other hand, we shouldn’t be a bit surprised that groups like Planned Parenthood hate it. It denies their funding and directly challenges their deep, historic and ideological commitment to abortion on demand.

            Which is why denying them funding overseas is a positive development. Now if we could only find a way to deny that funding here at home.