Life Advocacy Briefing

June 11, 2018

One Small Step in the Supreme Court / Mitch Steps Up, Sort Of
F.B.I. Called In / Heartbeat Law Enjoined, for Now
Colleges Win in Court on Contraceptive Mandate
Losing Business? / Standing Up for Pregnancy Care Centers
Subtle Messages for Life / Cherishing Children

One Small Step in the Supreme Court

THE SUPREME COURT LAST MONDAY OVERTURNED a lower court ruling preventing the Trump Administration from blocking the abortion of an unborn child carried into America by a 17-year-old illegal immigrant who was in government custody. The baby was killed just a day after the appellate court ruled, but the Administration persisted in its lawsuit in order to obtain the high court ruling which has now, notes Claire Chretien for, “prevented it [the lower court’s ruling] from setting a legal precedent establishing a ‘right’ to abortion for underage illegal immigrants. …

“The Trump Administration’s Health & Human Services [Dept.] has been fighting efforts by the pro-abortion ACLU,” reports Ms. Chretien, “to force the government to facilitate abortions for illegal immigrant minors in its custody.”

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, explained in the LifeSiteNews story, “‘The ACLU, Planned Parenthood and others want to create Roe v. Wade 2.0, a “right” to abortion for all who are on US soil, which is not in the interests of our great nation.’”

Last week’s Supreme Court action does not appear to create precedent. According to a Reuters news report, “The justices threw out the appeals court decision on the grounds that the dispute became moot once the unnamed teenager had the abortion.” A later case testing the sought-for “right” could be brought while a future baby might still be alive, and the ACLU, reports Ms. Chretien, “said in a press release the ‘decision does not affect the ongoing class-action lawsuit challenging the government’s policy barring young immigrant women in government custody from getting abortions.’”

Still, the Supreme Court’s unsigned opinion, which bore no dissents, was a victory for those who are seeking to prevent America from becoming a magnet for abortion-minded illegal immigrants and, for now, at least, a victory for those who cherish life.

Said a Justice Dept. spokesman, quoted by Reuters, “‘The Supreme Court has repeatedly made clear that the federal government is not required to facilitate abortions for minors and may choose policies favoring life over abortion. We look forward,’” said Kerri Kupec, “‘to continuing to press the government’s interest in the sanctity of life.’”

Mitch Steps Up, Sort Of

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY) ANNOUNCED last week that the Senate session will persist throughout August, a month when Congress customarily travels back home or overseas. The action was taken because of the Majority’s frustration over insistence by Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) that every Trump nominee be subjected to 30-hour confirmation debates under the Senate’s obstructive 60-vote “cloture” rule.

The revised schedule released last week shows the Senate in session (except on weekends) June 4-29, July 9 through Aug. 3, Aug. 13 through Sept. 1, and Sept. 4 through Oct. 26, breaking only for July 2-6, Aug. 6-10, Sept. 3 (Labor Day) and three holidays, Sept. 10-11, Sept. 19 and Oct. 8. The schedule can be revised again if Sen. Schumer chooses to end his politically driven stall.

F.B.I. Called In

THE U.S. DEPT. OF JUSTICE HAS NOTIFIED OPERATION RESCUE (OR) it has forwarded information on notorious Houston abortionist Douglas Karpen to the FBI Houston Field Office for “‘any action deemed necessary’ related to crimes that include the murder of living babies after failed abortions.’”

The probe was sought in 2016 by the House Select Panel on Infant Lives, whose referral was renewed after Pres. Trump took office the following year. OR’s Cheryl Sullenger “wrote to [Atty. Gen.] Sessions in August 2017,” notes OR’s news release, “asking for him to open an investigation into [Mr.] Karpen’s alleged crimes. … ‘The letter I received from the Dept. of Justice is encouraging,’” remarked Mrs. Sullenger. “‘The photos [OR released in a May, 2013, report on Mr. Karpen’s practices] depict wounds inflicted on those babies that could not have been done inside the womb. After having personally attended the Pennsylvania trial of Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted of murdering living babies after failed abortions,’” Mrs. Sullenger declared, “‘I knew we could never give up seeking prosecutions for Karpen’s similar crimes.’”

Heartbeat Law Enjoined, for Now

A COUNTY JUDGE IN IOWA has, predictably, blocked immediate enforcement of Iowa’s Heartbeat Law, which bars abortion once a baby’s heartbeat can be detected (as early as six weeks along).

A pro-life legal team from the pro-bono Thomas More Society “had agreed to the temporary injunction ahead of time,” reports Stephen Gruber-Miller for the DesMoines Register, “and raised no objections in court. ‘For the sake of getting to a resolution on the merits sooner and better,’” said Thomas More attorney Martin Cannon, quoted by the Register, “‘we have agreed to essentially allow the [law] to be put on hold while the court resolves this case on its merits.’”

Thomas More volunteered to defend the new state law following a public refusal by Iowa Attorney Gen. Tom Miller (D) to do so, on the grounds, notes Calvin Freiburger for, that “defending the law would violate his personal support for abortion.”

In Iowa, Planned Parenthood is, reports the Register, challenging the Heartbeat Law under the state constitution, “which it [Planned Parenthood] says also protects abortion rights. … The US Supreme Court does not get to review state supreme court decisions,” writes Mr. Gruber-Miller, “concerning state constitutional questions.”

Perusing the Iowa state constitution as best we could, we did not find “abortion rights,” but we did find this relevant provision in Article I, entitled “Bill of Rights”: “Rights of persons. SECTION 1. All men and women are, by nature, free and equal, and have certain inalienable rights – among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.”

Iowa could well be just the first state to enact the Heartbeat Law, and proceedings in one state or another are expected to take months or even years once initiated, during which time the composition of the US Supreme Court could well change toward acknowledging that unborn children are persons and thus entitled to legal protection under the Constitution. In the meantime, public discussion of the groundbreaking law – during the legislature’s deliberation and now during court proceedings – can aid Iowans and all Americans in grasping the humanity of unborn children, as the detection of a heartbeat is, in everyday practice, a standard measure of life.

Colleges Win in Court on Contraceptive Mandate

TWO CHRISTIAN COLLEGES HAVE PREVAILED in a lawsuit challenging the Obama Regime’s mandate that they furnish abortifacient contraceptives to employees.

The ruling came in the US District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, seated in South Bend, favoring religious freedom for Grace College & Seminary in Indiana and Biola University in California. The plaintiffs were represented by attorneys furnished by the non-profit Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). 

“One of the key elements of the victory, ADF notes,” reported by Calvin Freiburger in, “is the fact that the Justice Dept. ‘abandoned its defense of the flawed mandate’ after Pres. Donald Trump took over. …

“The court found that the abortion/contraceptive mandate violated the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA),” writes Mr. Freiburger, “which says that only the ‘least restrictive means’ of advancing a ‘compelling government interest’ can interfere with Americans’ ‘sincerely held religious beliefs.’”

The same outcome occurred last month, also with the withdrawal of the Dept. of Justice, when the US District Court of the Western District of Oklahoma ruled, notes Mr. Freiburger, “that the mandate violated the RFRA.” But several mandate-challenging lawsuits are still pending in various venues. ADF says, reports LifeSiteNews, “that it is still ‘negotiating with the Dept. of Justice regarding the resolution of pending lawsuits,’ and that courts themselves have also interfered with the Trump Administration’s efforts to end the mandate.”

The Administration published interim rules last October “‘[ensuring] that organizations with religious and moral objections were able to conduct their affairs in accord with their beliefs,’ ADF’s Natalie Wyman explains” in the LifeSiteNews report, “but ‘district courts in Pennsylvania and California have both ruled against the Trump Administration’s interim final rules, blocking them from going into effect’” and dragging out litigation in various venues, delaying justice and costing litigants money and anguish.

Losing Business?

THE SUPREME COURT’s REFUSAL in late May to block an Arkansas law establishing consumer protections for chemical abortion customers has already resulted, reports Reuters, in the cancelation of baby-killing appointments by Planned Parenthood in Arkansas.

“‘The law that we were trying to get blocked went into effect immediately, and the immediate results were, we had to turn away from the clinic people who were scheduled to take the pill,’ Dr. Stephanie Ho, a physician at Planned Parenthood Great Plains in Fayetteville, Arkansas, told NBC News,” writes Carlos Barria for Reuters.

“The Fayetteville location is one of two abortion facilities Planned Parenthood operates in the state,” notes Calvin Freiburger, reporting for, “the other being in Little Rock, both of which offer only chemical abortions.” The 2015 Arkansas law – which now takes effect, with the end to litigation appeals – bars chemical abortions at the hands of abortionists who have neither hospital admitting privileges nor a contractual relationship with an actual physician who has such privileges and can provide follow-up care in the event of complications. Evidently, Planned Parenthood is unable to achieve such routine professional credentialing.

“The abortionists claim obstetricians will not agree to the requirement,” writes Mr. Freiburger, “forcing their facilities to close down. They also complain,” he notes, “about forcing women to travel greater distances to obtain abortions. But pro-lifers say such complaints are more examples of the abortion industry putting business convenience above patient safety,” he writes. “They have warned that chemical abortions, which have grown nearly as common as surgical abortions in recent years, are dangerous to mothers as well as to their babies.”

Reuters quotes the president of the Little Rock-based social conservative group Family Council, who endorsed the law, saying, “‘A woman bleeding shouldn’t have to check herself into an emergency room and have a doctor figure out what the problem is; her records should follow her.’”

Data published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, reports Mr. Barria, “found that out of 233,805 medication abortions at Planned Parenthood clinics nationwide in 2009 and 2010, 0.16% of cases resulted in a ‘significant adverse’ outcome such as hospital admission, blood transfusion, emergency room treatment, intravenous antibiotics or an infection. One death occurred,” he notes, “because of an undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy.” The Reuters reporter failed to note the nearly universal deaths of the targeted boys and girls poisoned by the chemical cocktail, but that death toll would nearly match the number of “medication abortions at Planned Parenthood clinics nationwide” which he does cite.

Said the Arkansas Attorney General, Leslie Rutledge, quoted by LifeSiteNews, “‘I have fully defended this law at every turn and applaud the Supreme Court’s decision against Planned Parenthood. … Protecting the health and well-being of women and the unborn will always be a priority. We are a pro-life state and always will be, as long as I am attorney general.’”

Standing Up for Pregnancy Care Centers

THE U.S. DEPT. OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES HAS NOTIFIED the states of California and Hawaii that the HHS Office of Civil Rights is investigating those states’ subjugation of pregnancy centers.

The letters to the two states indicate, reports Calvin Freiburger for, citing the Wall Street Journal as source, that “the government is looking into whether their requirements that crisis pregnancy centers inform women how to obtain government assistance for abortions violate federal civil rights rules. … HHS is also examining,” he reports, “California’s mandate that most health insurance plans cover abortions. …

“The Wall Street Journal obtained a letter,” notes Mr. Freiburger, “in which Hawaii said it would wait to reply until after the Supreme Court renders a verdict in June on the California law forcing pro-abortion speech. Pro-life and pro-abortion activists are watching that case very closely,” reports LifeSiteNews, “as the Court’s ruling will have sweeping ramifications for free speech and pro-life health care.”

Illinois has a law similar to Hawaii’s law requiring pregnancy centers to post signs or distribute fliers advertising the state’s offer of low-or-no-cost “family planning services,” but HHS, according to Mr. Freiburger, has “not reached a decision” on investigating Illinois’s interference with the rights of the pregnancy care agencies.

In May, Pres. Trump “created a White House office,” reports Mr. Freiburger, “dedicated to ‘ensur[ing] that the faith-based and community organizations that form the bedrock of our society have strong advocates in the White House and throughout the federal government.’ Part of its mission,” writes Mr. Freiburger, “is to monitor the effectiveness of religious liberty enforcement and recommend new ways to strengthen protections for Americans’ First Amendment rights.”

Subtle Messages for Life

‘THE PRO-LIFE CHECK GUY’ is offering customers a new bank-check series under the title “New Life,” while still offering the original pro-life check series, “God’s Precious Children.”

The new series carries drawings and actual photos printed in subtle colors behind the check imprints, including an unborn child in utero, a pair of precious feet cradled in mom’s hand, a smiling couple welcoming their precious newborn and more.

The creator of these mini-billboards, George Johnson, is a member of Life Advocacy’s board and a pro-life champ whose work we have long appreciated and are happy to recommend. Inquiries may be made during business hours, central time, via 1-VIP-PRO-LIFE (1-847/776-5433).

Cherishing Children

May 21, 2018, Washington Update commentary by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins

            Kansas’s governor may have changed, but the commitment to religious liberty hasn’t! Sam Brownback’s successor is just as concerned about his state’s First Freedom as anyone – and [on May 18], he proved it.

            A few days after their neighbors in Oklahoma signed a similar bill into law, Gov. Jeff Colyer (R) doubled the celebration, inking his name to the Adoption Protection Act. For Christians in the child welfare industry, it was a relief.

For the last several years, the wave of anti-faith attacks on wedding vendors and pro-life employers started spilling over into the adoption and foster-care industries. Increasingly, some liberals started demanding that organizations swallow their moral convictions and start placing children in homes that violated their faith. Seven states fought back with laws that give these social service groups the freedom to operate according to their beliefs. Now, thanks to Gov. Mary Fallin (R-OK) and Colyer, two more have stepped in to protect organizations like Catholic Charities.

            “What I want Kansans to know is, this is about fairness and that we are protecting everyone,” Gov. Colyer told reporters. “It’s not about discrimination. It’s about fairness. We’re looking after those kids that need a forever home.” His secretary of state, Kris Kobach, agreed: “Faith-based adoption agencies can continue the great work they do knowing they will always be able to operate in accordance with their faith in Kansas.”

            As we’ve seen in the wedding vendor debate, there are plenty of adoption agencies in Kansas who are willing to serve same-sex, unmarried or single parents.  There’s absolutely no reason – except spite and intolerance – to force everyone else to chuck their beliefs as a condition of serving in the industry. For years, faith-based adoption and foster-care ministries have helped take the burden off the government’s overextended, financially strapped social service agencies. They recruit parents, provide ongoing support for families and even focus on at-risk and special-needs kids.

            This law guarantees that there’s an option for every parent. No one – not a ministry, employer, businessman or nonprofit – should be punished for exercising the faith our Constitution protects.