Life Advocacy Briefing

July 23, 2018

Where to Start? / Another Confirmation Victory / Moving Backward
Indefensible / Standing Up for Life / The Battle Is Joined
America Has Moved On / Senate Voting Records

Where to Start?

SO MUCH HAS DEVELOPED during the two weeks our editorial team was on vacation. But we are back and eager to bring you news you can use in the cause of Life. Unquestionably the biggest news during our break was the President’s nomination of DC Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh to succeed Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy when the Court’s “swing voter” retires later this month. The Kavanaugh confirmation battle is on, and we publish near the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing an early commentary on the nomination by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, one of the Life cause’s most respected leaders in the Capital.

Another Confirmation Victory

THE U.S. SENATE LAST WEEK VOTED TO CONFIRM Andrew Oldham to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, based in New Orleans. The 39-year-old attorney is leaving his post as general counsel to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to take the post. His appointment was opposed by the abortion lobby and cleared confirmation by a vote of 50 to 49, following a cloture (debate ending) vote of 50 to 49. We publish the roll calls – which are identical – at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing.

Among those interest groups which decried the nomination of Judge-designate Oldham was an outfit called the Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights (LCCHR), whose president and CEO, Vanita Gupta, issued a statement following the Senate’s cloture vote in a last-ditch effort to condemn the nominee.

Quoting the LCCHR, “While much of the national attention is on the Supreme Court vacancy, we must not lose sight of the dangerous Trump takeover of the lower courts, aided and abetted by Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Judiciary Committee Chairman Grassley. Time and again, the Senate is rubber-stamping narrow-minded individuals who lack the independence and impartiality to serve as federal judges.  Mr. Oldham is one of those narrow-minded individuals. He is not fit to serve in a lifetime appointment as a federal judge.”

Then the statement goes into the real gripes the group has with the distinguished nominee: “As his record clearly shows, he has worked to restrict and undermine voting rights, immigrant rights, women’s access to reproductive care, environmental protection and gun safety. Even more concerning is his potential influence on current litigation in the 5th Circuit challenging the Affordable Care Act [ObamaCare]. If confirmed, Mr. Oldham could be a deciding vote to undermine healthcare access for millions of people. Healthcare is a civil and human rights issue of profound importance.”

Clearly, the confirmation of Andrew Oldham is another victory for the cause of Life.

Moving Backward

THANKS TO ILLINOIS’s NEW LAW FORCING TAXPAYERS TO UNDERWRITE the contract killing of developing little boys and girls, the cost to the state’s taxpayers has quadrupled in the first six months of 2018, “and one state lawmaker,” writes Greg Bishop for Illinois News Network (INN), “expects the total number to eventually be much larger.

“Records of the number of abortion reimbursement requests INN obtained through an open records request from the Illinois Dept. of Health & Family Services (HFS) showed 84 abortions from January to June last year,” notes Mr. Bishop. “The same time period this year, there were 314 abortions. That’s a 274% increase of taxpayer-funded abortions.”

One of the leading pro-life lawmakers in Illinois, State Rep. Peter Breen (R), special counsel with the pro-life pro-bono Thomas More Society, “predicted those [early] totals would increase over time,” writes Mr. Bishop. “The HFS document said the data for the first six months of this year ‘is [sic] likely incomplete.’”

Ballooning public expenditure is what happens when a state’s governor and radical legislative leadership choose to reverse long-standing policy protecting taxpayers and targeted babies by subsidizing unborn child-killing sought by Medicaid recipients, state employees and the dependents of state workers who are covered by state employee health coverage.

Rep. Breen “predicted,” notes Mr. Bishop, “HB-40 will also increase the number of abortions on people from out of state. ‘Our neighboring states have decided to put additional regulations on abortion, that’s No. 1,’ [Rep.] Breen said” in the INN report. “‘No. 2 is also that our Medicaid eligibility requirements are so lenient that we expect folks are going to come in from out of state, they will establish temporary residence to get their free abortion and then go home.’”

Tax-funded abortions were among the radical new abortion policies enacted in 2017 by Illinois’s Democrat-dominated legislature and liberal GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner via HB-40. The governor’s signature on that law, reversing his earlier promise of a veto, drew him a primary challenge by an underfunded state representative, whose 341,836 votes constituted 48.6% of the GOP primary total in the contest for the gubernatorial nomination.


AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL HAS TAKEN A FURTHER STEP to cement its commitment to promoting the abortion industry’s war on humanity.

Though claiming to be an advocate for human rights, Amnesty International “dropped its neutral position on abortion … in 2007,” notes National Right to Life News Today. But at that time, NRL/NT reports, AI “insisted that it only opposed criminalizing abortion and didn’t ‘promote it as a human right.’ However,” reports the pro-life news service, “after years of aggressively promoting abortion all over the world, this pretense has now been dropped.”

A news release issued by AI after an early July conference in Warsaw said, reports NRL/NT, “‘Representatives voted to adopt an updated position on abortion that calls on states not just to decriminalize abortion but to guarantee access to safe and legal abortion in a broad way that fully respects the rights of all women, girls and people who can get pregnant.’”

Even before the adoption of its more radical position, AI “campaigned for abortion in Ireland years before this year’s referendum” on legalizing child killing in the Irish Republic, notes NRL/NT, “and since then have been at the forefront of calls to impose abortion on Northern Ireland.”

AI “now explicitly promotes abortion as a human rights issue,” reports NRL/NT. “On its ‘facts about abortion page’ it asserts that ‘access to safe abortion services is a human right. Under international human rights law, everyone has a right to life, a right to health and a right to be free from violence, discrimination and torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.’” AI does not even attempt to square its own advocacy for the contract killing of preborn children with that assertion.

Standing Up for Life

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

            It’s an election year for South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster (R), and he knows just how to energize voters who are tired of the forced partnership with the abortion industry: defund Planned Parenthood.

            McMaster, who succeeded Nikki Haley when she became the US Ambassador to the UN, helped shore up his conservative support heading into November with a major stroke of his pen. Exercising his veto power over a $15.7 million chunk of the South Carolina budget, he made it clear that not a cent of state money would find its way to America’s biggest abortion business.

            “I have stated many times that I am opposed to what Planned Parenthood is doing. The veto that I have is the most direct way to get the money that is going to [Planned Parenthood] for family planning services,” he explained. “Taxpayer dollars must not directly or indirectly subsidize abortion providers like Planned Parenthood. There are a variety of agencies, clinics and medical entities in South Carolina that receive taxpayer funding to offer important women’s health and family planning services without offering abortions.”

            Asked by a reporter if he was worried that his decision would negatively affect other health providers, McMaster fired back, “There is concern, but the big concern is Planned Parenthood using taxpayer money for abortions. I’m going to veto that every chance I get.” Not surprisingly, Planned Parenthood (which could easily make up the deficit by redirecting some of its $30 million midterm election spending), launched into its familiar sky-is-falling talking points.

            Vicki Ringer, director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, insisted that “There will be an increase in unwanted pregnancies, an increase in preventable cancers and an increase in abortions, which the governor says he wants to stop.” That’s interesting, since the group’s latest annual report showed a 64% decline in cancer screenings over the last seven years – despite raking in more revenue ($1.54 billion) than ever. And if anything, defunding Planned Parenthood should help decrease abortion, since the organization happens to be America’s biggest provider of them. …

            For months, Gov. McMaster made defunding Planned Parenthood a key focus of his campaign. We salute him for living up to that promise and giving voters some pro-life progress to build on!

The Battle Is Joined

July 10, 2018, Washington Update commentary by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins

            By now, Americans have all learned a thing or two about Brett Kavanaugh, the man who will almost certainly replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the US Supreme Court. They know he’s a dad, that he coaches his girls’ Catholic basketball team and serves food to the homeless. They’ve heard about his 12 years of Circuit Court experience, his longtime reputation as an originalist and that he clerked for the man he’s replacing. But what may be the most persuasive thing about Judge Kavanaugh is the confidence conservatives have in the President who nominated him.

            For the second time in as many tries, Pres. Trump followed through on his promise to select a nominee from the Supreme Court list he made public during the campaign. He assured Americans who cared about the issue that he’d select an originalist – someone who would call balls and strikes according to the Constitution. And, based on the more than 40 federal, circuit and Supreme Court nominees we’ve seen confirmed, that’s exactly what America will get.

            Like a lot of conservatives, we had our favorites from that list. But everyone it included was solid, thanks to a group of serious constitutionalists who reviewed the candidates beforehand. As Pres. Trump said at his primetime reveal, “What matters is not a judge’s political views but whether they can set aside those views to do what the law and the Constitution require.” Brett Kavanaugh did his best to reassure the country that he was such a person, saying, “My judicial philosophy is straightforward. A judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law.”

            Anyone who doubts Kavanaugh’s bona fides should keep in mind: this President has an exceptional track record on the judiciary. We’ve watched this White House restore balance and boundaries to benches across the country at a pace no other President has matched. And unlike his predecessor, those record-setting confirmations continue to be of men and women whose loyalty is to the plain text of the Constitution. Our hope and prayer is that Brett Kavanaugh proves himself to be of their same mold. For the time being, we have to trust Pres. Trump’s judgment – a benefit of the doubt that, based on his previous nominees, he’s earned.

            Of course, Democrats (the same ones who helped confirm Kavanaugh the first time) are in no mood to be persuaded. Before they even knew who the nominee was, liberals despised what he represented: a return to the judicial restraint the courts so desperately need. The Washington Examiner’s Phillip Wegmann joked about the Left’s pre-fab opposition yesterday, pointing out that it won’t matter who the President nominates at the press conference. “[E]very Democrat will curse the news because they hate the nominee already – whoever it is.”

            Case in point, the zealots at the Women’s March issued a press release last night slamming Trump’s pick – whose name they forgot to add! Instead, the statement went out with “XX” where the  word “Kavanaugh” should have been, proving that they would have repeated the same garbage no matter who was nominated. The liberal group Democracy for America sent out another embarrassing statement with fill-in-the-blank opposition, assuring people that “DFA will fight Kavanaugh,” because “she represents a generational assault on justice, freedom, core democratic values.”

            At least Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) got Kavanaugh’s name right when he promised to fight him “with everything I have.” Then, with the usual double standard, he demanded that Brett answer questions on abortion that he himself once said you shouldn’t ask. “There is a grand tradition that I support that you can’t ask a judge who’s nominated for a – or a potential judge who is nominated – for a judgeship about a specific case that might come before them.” Apparently that “grand tradition” has fallen by the wayside now that Pres. Trump is doing the nominating.

            House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was busily trying to raise money off the Kavanaugh announcement, vowing to “avenge Pres. Obama” on SCOTUS “if it’s the last thing I do.” (Maybe someone ought to tell Nancy that avenging Obama will be difficult, since the House doesn’t vote on the nominee.) Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe continued the barrage, tweeting, “The nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh will threaten the lives of millions of Americans for decades to come and will morph our Supreme Court into a political arm of the right-wing Republican Party.”

            Over at the Supreme Court steps, the protests became so violent that Fox News’s Shannon Bream (who I joined later that night to talk about the pick) had to pack up and head to the studio. “Very few times I’ve felt threatened while out in the field,” she posted. “The mood here tonight is very volatile. Law enforcement appears to be closing down First Street in front of SCOTUS [the Supreme Court building]. Literally had to bail on our live show from SCOTUS. Moving the show back to the safety of the studio. See y’all at 11 p.m.”

            If the Left’s hysteria is any indication, Brett Kavanaugh will do his part to fulfill this President’s vision of reining in the judiciary and restoring constitutional order. We look forward to working with the Senate and the grassroots for his confirmation.

America Has Moved On

July 9, 2018, commentary by former Reagan domestic policy advisor Gary Bauer

            Abortion is back in the news because the Left is afraid Trump’s appointment might chip away at Roe v. Wade. What ought to be making news is just how extreme the Left has become on abortion.

            Bill Clinton used to say that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.” But in recent years, Planned Parenthood started urging people to say how proud they are about their abortions. It has marred Mother’s Day by promoting abortion [on that day].

            The Left doesn’t want abortion to be rare; it wants taxpayers to pay for abortions!

            Comedian Michelle Wolf celebrated America’s independence last week by declaring, “God bless abortion, and God bless America!” Sorry, Ms. Wolf, but God does not bless abortion. He was clear about that when He said, “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life so that you and your children may live.”

            The American people do not share the Left’s enthusiasm for abortion. A recent Gallup poll found that only 29% of the public supports abortion on demand.

            The Left wants judges who will force a radical agenda on the American people. In contrast, conservatives want judges who will follow the Constitution and respect the will of the people.

            Pres. Trump summed up that view when he said this during his weekly radio address: “In choosing Justice Kennedy’s replacement, my greatest responsibility is to select a justice who will faithfully interpret the Constitution as written. Judges are not supposed to rewrite the law, reinvent the Constitution or substitute their own opinions for the will of the people expressed through their laws.”

Senate Voting Records

Cloture (ending debate) motion and Confirmation vote (identical roll calls) – Appointment of Andrew Oldham to 5th Circuit Court of Appeals – Confirmed – July 17 & 18, 2018 – 50 to 49 (needing 50) (Democrats in italics; “Independent” marked “I”)

Voting “yes” / pro-Life: Shelby/AL, Murkowski & Sullivan/AK, Flake/AZ, Boozman & Cotton/AR, Gardner/CO, Rubio/FL, Isakson & Perdue/GA, Crapo & Risch/ID, Young/IN, Ernst & Grassley/IA, Moran & Roberts/KS, McConnell & Paul/KY, Cassidy & Kennedy/LA, Collins/ME, Hyde-Smith & Wicker/MS, Blunt/MO, Daines/MT, Fischer & Sasse/NE, Heller/NV, Burr & Tillis/NC, Hoeven/ND, Portman/OH, Inhofe & Lankford/OK, Toomey/PA, Graham & Scott/SC, Rounds & Thune/SD, Alexander & Corker/TN, Cornyn & Cruz/TX, Hatch & Lee/UT, Capito/WV, Johnson/WI, Barrasso & Enzi/WY.

Voting “no” / anti-Life: Jones/AL, Feinstein & Harris/CA, Bennet/CO, Blumenthal & Murphy/CT, Carper & Coons/DE, Nelson/FL, Hirono & Schatz/HI, Duckworth & Durbin/IL, Donnelly/IN, King(I)/ME, Cardin & VanHollen/MD, Markey & Warren/MA, Peters & Stabenow/MI, Klobuchar & Smith/MN, McCaskill/MO, Tester/MT, Cortez-Masto/NV, Hassan & Shaheen/NH, Booker & Menendez/NJ, Heinrich & Udall/NM, Gillibrand & Schumer/NY, Heitkamp/ND, Brown/OH, Merkley & Wyden/OR, Casey/PA, Reed & Whitehouse/RI, Leahy & Sanders/VT, Kaine & Warner/VA, Cantwell & Murray/WA, Manchin/WV, Baldwin/WI.

Not voting: McCain/AZ.