Life Advocacy Briefing

March 19, 2018

On the Brink? / Mississippi Legislature Passes 15-Week Abortion Ban
West Virginia Voters to Face Abortion Referendum
Oregon Slides Further Down the Slope
Past Time to Defund Planned Parenthood / Deadly Delusion
What Is the Real ‘Down Syndrome Problem’?

On the Brink?

DEMOCRATIC VOTERS IN REP. DAN LIPINSKI’s SOUTHWEST CHICAGO DISTRICT will decide tomorrow (March 20) whether to re-elect one of two remaining pro-life Democrats in the entire US Congress (the other: Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota).

In a Public Policy Polling automated phone survey conducted Feb. 27-28 and published March 6 by The Hill, the seven-term Democratic lawmaker was leading his radical left opponent, marketing consultant Marie Newman, by just two points. The survey was commissioned by the radical NARAL Pro-Choice America and first released in Politico.

The prospect of dumping the co-chairman of the House Pro-Life Caucus has brought an array of left-wing activist outfits into a massive pro-Newman advertising campaign in what has long been a “safe” district for Rep. Lipinski and for his venerated father, former Rep. Bill Lipinski, elected to 11 terms from the same southwest suburban/city neighborhood which has repeatedly sent Dan Lipinski to the Capitol since 2004.

Though House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has said she supports Rep. Lipinski’s nomination, he was at first refused backing by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which has lately come around to endorse him. And he is openly opposed by such leftwing Illinois Members of Congress as Jan Schakowsky and Luis Gutierrez, who have joined New York’s US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) in supporting Ms. Newman against their colleague. 

Complicating the Lipinski bid for re-nomination is a vigorous challenge to Illinois’s pro-abortion governor within the state’s GOP primary on the same day. Third-district pro-life voters will have to choose between taking a Republican ballot to help State Rep. Jeanne Ives unseat Gov. Bruce Rauner or taking a Democratic ballot to help Rep. Lipinski defeat such left-wing outfits as and the abortion cartel.

Mississippi Legislature Passes 15-Week Abortion Ban

MISSISSIPPI’s LEGISLATURE HAS PASSED to Gov. Phil Bryant (R) a proposal which, reports Associated Press (AP) writer Sarah Mearhoff, “would set the earliest abortion ban in the US.”

The governor, AP reports, is “indicating he will sign” HB-1510, which would prohibit abortions after 15 weeks of the baby’s gestation. “‘As I have repeatedly said, I want Mississippi to be the safest place in America for an unborn child,’ [Gov.] Brant said [March 6] on Twitter,” writes Ms. Mearhoff. “‘HB-1510,’” he said, “‘will help us achieve that goal.’”

The measure passed the State Senate by 35 to 14 on March 6, having earlier passed the House 80 to 31.

Regrettably, the Senate amended the legislation to remove felony provisions and threaten mere suspension or revocation of medical licensure as the proposal’s penalty for violation.

“The bill also requires,” reports AP, “that physicians provide the Mississippi Department of Health with a record of the abortion, including the date and method of the procedure and estimated gestational age of the fetus, within 15 days of the procedure. Physicians who knowingly provide false reports would be subject to civil penalties or a fee up to $500.”

Exceptions offered in the proposal to excuse post-15-week abortions are, writes Ms. Mearhoff, “a woman’s medical emergency related to the pregnancy or a medical abnormality that makes the fetus ‘incompatible with life.’ There are no exceptions,” notes the AP writer, “for pregnancies caused by rape or incest” more than 15 weeks before the abortion.

West Virginia Voters to Face Abortion Referendum

WEST VIRGINIA VOTERS WILL FACE A REFERENDUM in the November general election by which they can amend the state constitution to make it abortion-neutral.

“The West Virginia House of Delegates, with more than two-thirds majority needed, decided [March 5],” reports Erin Beck in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, “to ask voters whether the following sentence should be added to the state constitution: ‘Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.’”

West Virginia taxpayers have been forced to underwrite abortions since a 1993 ruling by the state’s supreme court, reports the Associated Press (AP), which also reports the Senate’s Judiciary Chairman, Charles Trump, said “ending that public abortion funding is the real aim.” Adds Ms. Beck in the Charleston Gazette-Mail report: “Supporters … also said they want to make clear that state lawmakers have the right to restrict abortion.”

The Senate voted early in February to advance the constitutional amendment proposition by a vote of 25 to 9. The House vote in early March, reports Ms. Beck, was 73 to 25, with nine of the affirmative votes being cast by Democratic Representatives.

Oregon Slides Further Down the Slope

OREGON LAWMAKERS ARE NOT CONTENT with their state’s reputation as among the most dangerous places in America for people to live – lest they die. Both houses of the legislature – by straight, party-line votes – have now sent to their liberal governor a bill to allow starvation and dehydration of “vulnerable Oregonians with illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s,” reports Fr. Mark Hodges for

Billed as an amendment to Oregon’s “advance directive form,” the proposal puts the burden of option on the individual, not the medical provider. Rather than barring the removal of nutrition and/or hydration unless an advanced directive signed by the patient gives permission to withdraw food and water, the proposal would authorize such an act of aggression unless the patient – while in a mentally competent state – expressly disallowed forced dehydration and/or starvation.

The legislation was prompted by a court case in which an Oregon man sought unsuccessfully to obtain the starvation of his dementia-stricken wife.

“Oregon was one of the first states to legalize abortions in 1969,” notes Fr. Hodges, “and the first state in the union to legalize doctor-assisted suicide in 1997.”

“There are questions over whether a family member or guardian could override a hospital’s decision,” notes Charlie Butts for, “and the measure could be construed to impact people not only with mental issues but with physical health problems if a doctor concludes their life is not worth living.

“‘We’ve focused in on conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia because, unfortunately, it’s a very common experience for people,’” said Lois Anderson of Oregon Right to Life, quoted by Mr. Butts. “‘But we do believe that it will also have impact on other types of mentally ill people who are no longer able to make decisions like what kind of medical care they need or want.’”

And Mr. Butts cites “another important question being raised: If a suicidal person is committed to a psychiatric hospital, and the doctor concludes the situation is hopeless, could that suicidal person then be starved and dehydrated to death?”

Past Time to Defund Planned Parenthood

March 9, 2018, Washington Update commentary by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins

            Breaking the law doesn’t help your chances for earning federal dollars – but apparently, it doesn’t hurt them either! If there’s one thing Planned Parenthood’s learned over the last few years, it’s that crime does pay. A lot, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Despite piles of evidence (some of it from the group’s own mouth) that Cecile Richards’s group was illegally selling baby body parts (after performing equally illegal late-term abortions), a new report shows the wrongdoing hasn’t made the slightest dent in its taxpayer-funded gravy train – at least on the federal level.

            On the contrary, GAO officials found, being referred for criminal prosecution didn’t result in so much as a financial blip for Richards and company. Between 2013-15, Planned Parenthood, its international affiliates and Marie Stopes International dug deep into taxpayers’ pockets, banking a whopping $1.5 billion from federal and state programs like Medicaid, Medicare, Title X and CHIP. But even more amazingly, four of the five Planned Parenthood locations that raked in the most money are the same ones under investigation by the FBI! Planned Parenthood offices in MarMonte ($229 million), LosAngeles ($106 million), Pacific Southwest ($105 million) and Northern California ($104 million).

            The news disgusted a number of House conservatives, many of whom were part of the select panel a couple of years later that referred the organization to the Justice Dept. Obviously, it’s offensive that taxpayers are forced to fund anyone that performs abortion – but we certainly shouldn’t fund the groups who break the law doing it! Live Action president Lila Rose can’t understand why Democrats don’t agree: “This should not be a partisan issue. Even those politicians who support abortion should be honest enough to admit that taxpayers shouldn’t be funding an organization embroiled in such barbaric and likely criminal acts – especially when there are federally-qualified health centers where the money could be redirected to help more people. DaVinci Biosciences, one of Planned Parenthood’s partners in the baby organ trade, has already admitted to breaking federal law.”

            Rep. Diane Black (R-TN), who, along with fellow Tennessean Marsha Blackburn (R), has been leading the fight to defund Planned Parenthood, is absolutely sickened by this betrayal of taxpayers’ trust. “Industry giants like Planned Parenthood perform more than 320,000 abortions every year, and this GAO report exposes that these atrocities are done at the expense of taxpayers. … Abortion is not family planning,” she added. “Abortion is family destruction, and the fact that $1.5 billion in taxpayer dollars is funneled to this industry is sickening. The American people deserve better.”

            Most agree. Only 36% of the country thinks taxpayers should be forced to foot the bill for abortion. But I’m willing to bet that even they wouldn’t approve of sending that money to an organization that’s believed to have broken a long list of federal and state laws.

            As for Republicans, 120 asked GAO to run the numbers; this report ought to light another fire under Congress to ramp up its push to defund Planned Parenthood. If Democrats want to stop the GOP, let them stand in front of voters and own it. President Trump has done what he can internationally and through executive order. He needs the House and Senate to do the rest.

Deadly Delusion

March 6, 2018, Washington Update commentary by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins

            When Cecile Richards steps down from Planned Parenthood in May, she’ll have presided over some of the most scandalous years in the organization’s history. From criminal coverups and government fraud to the dark world of baby organ trafficking, Planned Parenthood is a case study in crisis PR.

            Through it all, one of Richards’s biggest successes has been her ability to keep the group’s vise-like grip on hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. Part of that is the result of the group’s lucrative political alliances, but some of it is also the result of an organization-wide misinformation campaign. We’ve watched Planned Parenthood officials lie through their teeth on everything from [their] clinics’ mammograms (they don’t even have machines!) to the definition of life itself.

            The media runs with her claims, despite the fact that most aren’t even in the neighborhood of the truth – including this whopper from last week. During a signing ceremony with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D), who reinstated Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding, the president of the country’s largest abortion business insisted that her organization had been cleared of all wrongdoing.

            “As you probably know, there were Congressional investigations that were politically motivated,” she told reporters. “We’ve been acquitted of everything.” Is that so? What about the FBI’s ongoing investigation (which happened to be the result of that supposedly “politically motivated” select panel)? Members of the House and Senate found enough evidence to refer Planned Parenthood to the Justice Dept. And the Justice Dept. took those reports seriously enough to act. That’s to say nothing of the multi-state probes taking place for things like dumping baby bodies in landfills, refusing to report sexual abuse, and operating without a license.

            In a world where killing is a day-to-day business, the truth must be a difficult thing for any abortion activist to face. But it’s time for the justice system to expose it – even if Richards won’t.

What Is the Real ‘Down Syndrome Problem’?

March 14, 2018, Washington Post commentary by opinion writer George F. Will

            Iceland must be pleased that it is close to success in its program of genocide, but before congratulating that nation on its final solution to the Down Syndrome problem, perhaps it might answer a question: What is this problem?

            To help understand why some people might ask this question, meet two children. One is Agusta, age 8, a citizen of Iceland. The other is Lucas, age 1, an American citizen in Dalton, Georgia, who recently was selected to be 2018 “spokesbaby” for the Gerber baby food company. They are two examples of the problem.

            Now, before Iceland becomes snippy about the description of what it is doing, let us all try to think calmly about genocide, without getting judgmental about it. It is simply the deliberate, systematic attempt to erase a category of people. So, what one thinks about a genocide depends on what one thinks about the category involved. In Iceland’s case, the category is people with Down Syndrome.

            This is a congenital condition resulting from a chromosomal abnormality. It involves varying degrees of mental retardation (although probably not larger variances than exist between the mental capabilities of many people who are chromosomally normal – say, Isaac Newton and some people you know). It also involves some physical abnormalities (including low muscle tone, small stature, flatness of the back of the head, an upward slant to the eyes) and some increased health risks (of heart defects, childhood leukemia and Alzheimer’s disease).

            Average life expectancy is now around 60 years, up from around 25 years four decades ago, when many Down Syndrome people were institutionalized or otherwise isolated, denied education and other stimulation, and generally not treated as people.

            Highly (almost but not perfectly) accurate prenatal screening tests can reveal Down Syndrome in utero. The expectant couple can then decide to extinguish the fetus and try again for a normal child who might be less trouble, at least until he or she is an adolescent with hormonal turbulence and a driver’s license.

            In Iceland, upward of 85% of pregnant women opt for the prenatal testing, which has produced a Down Syndrome elimination rate approaching 100%. Agusta was one of only three Down Syndrome babies born there in 2009. Iceland could have moved one-third of the way to its goal if only Agusta had been detected and eliminated. Agusta’s mother is glad the screening failed in her case.

            An Iceland geneticist says, “We have basically eradicated” Down Syndrome people but regrets what he considers “heavy-handed genetic counseling” that is influencing “decisions that are not medical, in a way.” One Icelandic counselor “counsels” mothers as follows: “This is your life. You have the right to choose how your life will look like.” She says, “We don’t look at abortion as a murder. We look at it as a thing that we ended.” Which makes Agusta and Lucas “things” that were not “ended.”

            Because Iceland’s population is only about 340,000, the problem (again … problem Agusta and problem Lucas) is more manageable there than in, say, the United Kingdom. It has approximately 40,000 Down Syndrome citizens, many of whom were conceived before the development of effective search-and-destroy technologies. About 750 British Down Syndrome babies are born each year, but 90% of women who learn that their child will have – actually, that their child does have – Down Syndrome have an abortion. In Denmark, the elimination rate is 98%. America, where 19% of all pregnancies are aborted, is playing catch-up in the Down Syndrome elimination sweepstakes (elimination rate of 67%, 1995-2011).  

            So is France (77%), which seems determined to do better. In 2016, a French court ruled that it would be “inappropriate” for French television to run a 2-1/2-minute video (“Dear Future Mom”) released for World Down Syndrome Day, which seeks to assure women carrying Down Syndrome babies that their babies can lead happy lives, a conclusion resoundingly confirmed in a 2011 study, “Self-perceptions from People with Down Syndrome.” The court said the video is “likely to disturb the conscience of women” who aborted Down Syndrome children.

            So, photos of Agusta and Lucas are probably “inappropriate.” It speaks volumes about today’s moral confusion that this – the disruption of an unethical complacency – is the real “Down Syndrome problem.”