Life Advocacy Briefing

November 19, 2018

Blessed Thanksgiving! / Opportunity Missed / This One Should Be Easy!
U.N. Veers Deeper Into Abortion Intimidation / Ominous Development
Surprise! Planned Parenthood’s New Chief Seeking Subsidies

Blessed Thanksgiving!

WE WISH OUR READERS A BLESSED THANKSGIVING later this week. As we will be spending time with our family, in keeping with the American tradition, we will not be publishing Life Advocacy Briefing next week but look forward to returning to serving our readers in December.

Opportunity Missed

HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADER NANCY PELOSI (D-SanFrancisco) intentionally pulled abortion advocacy out of her candidates’ playbook for this year’s election, according to a report in the New York Times, cited by Calvin Freiburger in a story for

“She recognized,” writes Mr. Freiburger, “the issue would be hazardous for Democrats trying to take over the House of Representatives,” according to the Times story.

Though the marginal improvement of GOP numbers in the US Senate may prove helpful – should it dawn on Congressional Democrats that the Schumer/Feinstein/Leftist Coalition campaign against the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh actually backfired on their re-election hopes – the loss of the House Majority to Leader Pelosi’s team of scatter-brained progressives is a serious setback for the cause of Life during the next two years. Yet it never occurred to voters in most districts – including some less-involved pro-life voters – that their throw-the-bums-out mentality could actually result in bringing reform to a screeching halt.

Personnel is policy, and the prospect of Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) as chairman of the Judiciary Committee appears to us to be as negatively impactful as the Democratic Caucus’s selection of their next House Speaker. “Pro-life legislation,” Mr. Freiburger predicts, “will be at a standstill for the next two years.”

“‘Nancy Pelosi did not want to talk about Planned Parenthood,’ the Times’ Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin write,” quoted by Mr. Freiburger. “Instead, she and her subordinates advised House Democrats in the early days of the Trump Administration to stick to a narrow set of talking points about health insurance, pre-existing conditions and a provision in one of the GOP’s failed ObamaCare replacements Democrats claimed would constitute an ‘age tax,’” writes Mr. Freiburger.

“She admitted this would require ‘restraint’ against the left-wing base’s demand for fights such as continuing to send tax dollars to Planned Parenthood,” writes Mr. Freiburger. “‘Those things are in our DNA, but they are not in our talking points,’ [Rep.] Pelosi reportedly said on multiple occasions.

“[Ms.] Pelosi’s priorities reflect a wealth of data from mainstream polling firms such as Gallup and Marist,” notes Mr. Freiburger, “which consistently finds that a majority of Americans would ban most abortions, while larger majorities oppose late-term abortions and public funding of the practice.”

Too bad the one political party which agrees vociferously in its national platform with Americans’ views on abortion, the GOP, chose not to bring up the subject and not to make their political opponents pay for their ugly, out-of-step embrace of the abortion cartel.

This One Should Be Easy!

TROUBLING NEWS WHICH CAME OUT OF THE MEDICAL RESEARCH ARMS of the Dept. of Health & Human Services (HHS) in recent weeks – that federal contracts to procure tissue from aborted babies are being continued even in the Trump Administration – has precipitated a review, reports Calvin Freiburger for

Administration officials, he reports, “are meeting with national pro-life leaders in hopes of resolving concerns over the pro-life Administration’s continued funding” of the unethical “research.”

As we have reported previously, a published notice was discovered in August in which the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) “detail[ed] a contract to the fetal tissue procurement firm Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc. (ABR),” writes Mr. Freiburger, “to acquire ‘Tissue for Humanized Mice.’ The tissue was meant to give mice a ‘humanized’ immune system,” he reports, “for the purpose of drug testing.”

After some 48 pro-life leaders sent a letter in September to HHS Secretary Alex Azar seeking cancelation of the contract, 85 Members of the US House sent a similar letter to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

“The Administration terminated [that] contract in September and promised to review all remaining research involving fetal tissue,” reports Mr. Freiburger, “but concerns remained over nearly $100 million in tax dollars that continued to pay for other research using tissue and organs from aborted babies.”

Mr. Freiburger cites a Politico report that “Last week, the Administration began to arrange meetings to discuss canceling the remaining projects. … Both sides of the issue will be represented,” notes Mr. Freiburger, “with scientists who use fetal tissue invited to defend their work and pro-life groups such as Susan B. Anthony List invited to critique it.” SBA List is known to have significant influence with the Trump White House. One of the meetings was scheduled for last Friday.

“‘HHS leadership is inviting a select group of experts from diverse backgrounds to obtain their individual views on the use of fetal tissue in biomedical research and development,’ an invitation obtained by Politico states,” quoted by LifeSiteNews. “It reportedly tells attendees to prepare not only a defense of fetal tissue but suggestions for alternatives. Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir will be leading the review,” notes Mr. Freiburger, “and has been tasked with issuing final recommendations afterward. He is reportedly ‘enthusiastic’ about finding ethical alternatives to fetal tissue.” 

To those of us who have followed this controversy over the years, it is baffling to see the Trump Administration seeming to search for “ethical alternatives,” when the vast majority of the scientific community has long moved away from unethical fetal tissue experimentation and so much fruit has come of experiments using adult stem cells instead. We expect the demonstrably pro-life Administration will not take long to discover this and to take the action needed to end federal subsidization of Nazi science.

U.N. Veers Deeper Into Abortion Intimidation

THE INTERNATIONAL ABORTION CARTEL HAS SECURED a victory at the United Nations’ misnamed “Human Rights Committee” (HRC), which operates out of Geneva, Switzerland, as if it were the conscience of the world.

Three years after beginning their dickering on a document called “General Comment No. 36,” the HRC has adopted a declaration, writes Jonathon Abbamonte for the Population Research Institute (PRI), “that states [national governments] ‘must’ legalize abortion in cases of rape, incest, health of the mother and when the pregnancy ‘is not viable.’ …

“The document is an attempt by the HRC,” reports Mr. Abbamonte, “to reinterpret Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights (ICCPR), which deals with the ‘right to life.’ The ICCPR,” he explains, “is one of the most important and widely ratified international human rights treaties drafted through the UN system.

“General Comment No. 36 seeks to reinterpret the ‘right to life’ to mean that states ‘must provide … legal and effective access to abortion’ under expansive terms,” standing on its head a document which represents the worldwide – with few exceptions – embrace of the right to life. “The adoption of the General Comment,” explains Mr. Abbamonte, “will inevitably provide pro-abortion activists in the UN system with sufficient grounds to place considerable pressure on pro-life countries to legalize abortion.” And, adds Mr. Abbamonte, “The document also attempts to redefine the ‘right to life’ to mean that states are permitted to legalize physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia for those suffering from ‘severe physical or mental pain’ if they so choose. …

“No right to abortion, euthanasia or assisted suicide can be found anywhere in the ICCPR,” notes Mr. Abbamonte. “To the contrary, Article 6 of the ICCPR specifically guarantees the right to life for ‘every human being,’” quoting the document itself, as reported by Mr. Abbamonte, “‘Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law.’ …

“While states are under no obligation to legalize abortion with the adoption of General Comment No. 36,” the researcher notes, “such non-binding recommendations can sometimes cause states to loosen or abandon their pro-life laws nonetheless. The passage of GCNo. 36 will inevitably empower and embolden the Human Rights Committee to apply stronger pressure on states to legalize abortion under the cases of rape, incest, health of the mother and fetal disability.”

He further cautions, “It is not unprecedented for US federal courts to resort to General Comments as authoritative interpretations of the US’s obligations under certain treaties. The possibility now exists, even if at the present moment unlikely, that the radical pro-abortion views expressed by the UN Human Rights Commission in General Comment No. 36 could be cited in some future case on abortion” here in the United States, which long ago ratified the treaty which GCNo. 36 pretends to interpret.

Ominous Development

Nov. 13, 2018, BreakPoint commentary by John Stonestreet & Roberto Rivera

            A few months ago on BreakPoint, I mentioned how the easy availability of the drug misoprostol [RU-486] has rendered anti-abortion laws almost unenforceable in some Latin American countries. Closer to home, if a group called “Women on Web” has its way, the same could happen here in the United States.

            Women on Web is the creation of Rebecca Gomperts, a Dutch physician who was the principal subject of a 2014 New York Times Magazine article entitled “The Dawn of the Post-Abortion Clinic.”

            In the article, “post-abortion” doesn’t refer to what happens to women after they have an abortion, or to a world after abortion has been made illegal. The article foresaw a world where abortion would be available in new ways, specifically ways that allow women to get around abortion-restrictive laws and societal norms.

            After focusing on the rest of the world, Gomperts and Women on Web have turned their attention to the United States, after being – or so they claim – flooded with requests to provide their services here.

            The American version is called “Aid Access.” According to the article’s description, “Women take an online screening to see if they are eligible to take misoprostol and mifepristone,” which means, among other things, whether or not they are more than seven or eight weeks along in their pregnancy.

            If they aren’t too far along and are approved, Aid Access would send an electronic prescription to “an Indian pharmacy she trusts,” who would then send the drugs to the woman, along with a tracking number and instructions on how to use the drugs. The cost? $95, as opposed to the usual cost of the abortion pill, which is between $300 and $800.

            Aid Access does face some formidable hurdles. The first is logistical. On average, it takes between one and two weeks to receive a package from India, depending on what US Customs does with it.

            Second, the entire scheme is under investigation by the FDA, which told the Daily Beast that one of the drugs, mifepristone, cannot be purchased legally over the Internet. The legal loophole that Gomperts & Co. thought that they had found may not exist after all.

            Even so, it would be a mistake to declare this “crisis averted.” For starters, as the Daily Beast reports, “Numerous medical groups, including the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecologists, have challenged the protocol” that bans selling mifepristone over the Internet. Under a different Administration, the FDA could simply lift the ban.

            Even if it doesn’t, the fact remains that misoprostol, the other drug Aid Access seeks to ship to women, is legal and, more importantly, is 90% effective when used in the first trimester.

            And, even if Aid Access’s plans are thwarted, it’s very likely that someone else will succeed. As USA Today recently put it, it’s as easy to buy the deadly opioid fentanyl online as it is a book. The same could quickly be true of mifepristone and misoprostol. There are also places online that walk women through the process of what The Verge calls “DIY Abortions.” 

            All this is more proof that even while we work to change the law, including working to overturn Roe v. Wade, we should always remember the real goal is, as my friend Scott Klusendorf likes to say, not simply to make abortion illegal but also unthinkable.

            The debate over abortion cannot be won only in the courtroom or the legislature. After all, the other side allowed itself to believe that, and here we are, 45 years later, with the pro-life cause still going strong. The culture must be persuaded that the taking of innocent human life is always wrong, no matter how it’s done.

            Do that, and there will be a lot fewer Google search results on DIY abortions. Don’t do it, and our courts and legislatures will continue to make abortion possible in new and deadly ways.

Surprise! Planned Parenthood’s New Chief Seeking Subsidies

Nov. 13, 2018, Washington Update commentary by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins

            Congress’s freshmen aren’t the only ones getting oriented to their new jobs. Yesterday, Planned Parenthood’s new president officially took over the country’s biggest abortion business. And her biggest goal seems [to be] getting you to bankroll it.

            Dr. Leana Wen may be new, but her vision for Planned Parenthood isn’t: Free abortion for everyone! Below a picture of her first staff meeting, Wen posted on Twitter that her priority is to “continue to provide expert health care and education to all people. That means everyone – people of color, young people, people with low incomes, the LGBTQ community, the undocumented and immigrants.” She went on to suggest that abortion isn’t just health care, it’s a human right – one she intends to use your tax dollars defending.

            “There is no question we are in a state of emergency for women’s health,” she told the Guardian. We are, she insisted, in “the biggest healthcare crisis of our time. There is huge unmet need across our country, and it is our moral imperative to provide care for all those who need us. I plan to expand our services and expand our reach.” Which she and Planned Parenthood have every right to do, as long as it is legal and ethical. But that is not what Wen is really saying. What she means by that, she explained somewhat subtly, is that abortion “must be guaranteed to all regardless of our ability to pay.”

            In other words, she – like the President’s most liberal opponents – wants to tear down the Hyde Amendment and force taxpayers to finance the killing of innocent unborn children. That won’t exactly be a popular crusade in a country that just rewrote two state constitutions last Tuesday. In West Virginia and Alabama, voters insisted there wasn’t a right to abortion – let alone a taxpayer-funded one. And that’s consistent with most polling. Six in 10 Americans – including 43% of Democrats – oppose the idea of using tax dollars for abortion.

            Just because you act irresponsibly doesn’t mean someone else should pay for it. The architects of ObamaCare certainly thought otherwise. They wanted Americans to believe that they could live recklessly, and the government would foot the bill. What happened to promoting and rewarding healthy life choices? In the end, it’s just another example of how out of touch the group – and its sponsoring party – is with the majority of Americans. This is a nation who believes in reducing abortion, not subsidizing it!