Life Advocacy Briefing

January 21, 2019

First Priority / Take Planned Parenthood Out of ‘Family Planning’
Quick Takes / In the States
Problems with Advance Directives for End-of-Life Decisions
The Battle Is Joined

First Priority

SEN. ROGER WICKER (R-MS) HAS ASSEMBLED 39 CO-SPONSORS for his newly introduced S-109, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” which would make the Hyde Amendment permanent federal law and expand it to cover all agencies of government.

A vote on this measure was expected to occur last Friday while the March for Life was dominating the capital city (after our press deadline). Rather than seeing it assigned to committee, Sen. Wicker filed a cloture motion for immediate consideration. We expect to publish one or more roll calls on the measure in next week’s Life Advocacy Briefing.

Co-sponsors of S-109 are GOP Senators Richard Shelby/AL, John Boozman & Tom Cotton/AR, Marco Rubio/FL, Johnny Isakson & David Perdue/GA, Mike Crapo & James Risch/ID, Mike Braun & Todd Young/IN, Joni Ernst & Chuck Grassley/IA, Jerry Moran & Pat Roberts/KS, Bill Cassidy & John Kennedy/LA, Cindy Hyde-Smith/MS, Roy Blunt & Josh Hawley/MO, Steve Daines/MT, Deb Fischer & Ben Sasse/NE, Thom Tillis/NC, Kevin Cramer & John Hoeven/ND, Rob Portman/OH, James Inhofe & James Lankford/OK, Lindsey Graham & Tim Scott/SC, Mike Rounds & John Thune/SD, Marsha Blackburn/TN, John Cornyn & Ted Cruz/TX, Mike Lee & Mitt Romney/UT, John Barrasso & Michael Enzi/WY. No Democrats.

Take Planned Parenthood Out of ‘Family Planning’

U.S. SEN. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R-TN) HAS FILED a bill to exclude abortion providers from taxpayer funding under Title X (Ten), the federal government’s “family planning” program. The newly installed Senator is a former 16-year Member of the US House, where she was a leader for the cause of Life and chaired the panel investigating Planned Parenthood for alleged trafficking in baby body parts.

The measure has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions, chaired by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN). Other GOP Members of the committee are Senators Lisa Murkowski/AK, Johnny Isakson/GA, Mike Braun/IN, Pat Roberts/KS, Rand Paul/KY, Bill Cassidy/LA, Susan Collins/ME, Richard Burr/NC, Tim Scott/SC, Mitt Romney/UT and Mike Enzi/WY. Democratic Senators on the panel are Ranking Member Patty Murray/WA and Senators Doug Jones/AL, Christopher Murphy/CT, Elizabeth Warren/MA, Tina Smith/MN, Jacky Rosen/NV, Maggie Hassan/NH, Robert Casey/PA, Bernie Sanders/VT and Tammy Baldwin/WI. No hearing date has been scheduled.

In a statement on the Internet site Twitter, Sen. Blackburn declared, reports Jacob Airey for the Daily Wire, “‘Hardworking taxpayers do not want to subsidize the business of abortion providers and entities such as Planned Parenthood.’”

S-105 is co-sponsored by 24 Senators, all of them Republican: Senators Tom Cotton/AR, Marco Rubio/FL, James Risch/ID, Joni Ernst/IA, Pat Roberts/KS, Rand Paul/KY, Bill Cassidy & John Kennedy/LA, Cindy Hyde-Smith & Roger Wicker/MS, Roy Blunt & Josh Hawley/MO, Steve Daines/MT, Deb Fischer & Ben Sasse/NE, Kevin Cramer/ND, James Inhofe & James Lankford/OK, John Thune/SD, Ted Cruz/TX, Mike Lee & Mitt Romney/UT and John Barrasso & Mike Enzi/WY.

Quick Takes

  • THE ANNUAL MARCH FOR LIFE BROUGHT HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of citizens of all ages to our nation’s capital on Friday, after our editorial deadline. Our expectation is that we will follow our pattern of the last several years, recording the television coverage and transcribing the Congressional speeches at the March rally. We expect to be publishing speeches by Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and Sen. Steve Daines (R-ND) over the next few weeks. Scheduled speaker at the Rose Dinner benefiting the March organization was Vice President Mike Pence. As of this writing, we do not expect to have access to his remarks.
  • MARCHES FOR LIFE HAVE OCCURRED in other cities as well during the month of January, when the pro-life movement marks the Jan. 22 anniversary of the outrageous 1973 Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton Supreme Court rulings which rendered unenforceable the anti-abortion laws on the books in most of the 50 states. In downtown Chicago, more than 8,000 pro-life citizens attended the local March rally, breaking attendance records and far outnumbering the abortion advocates who attempted to counter-demonstrate. Among the speakers at the Chicago March rally were Illinois-based US Representatives Darin LaHood (R) and Dan Lipinski (D), Radiance Foundation founder Ryan Bomberger, March for Life president Jeanne Mancini and Chicago Bears vice president Pat McCaskey.
  • THE BLOCKBUSTER GOSNELL MOVIE is due out on home video on Feb. 5, reports Calvin Freiburger of, “and online preorders are already mirroring the pro-life film’s surprise success in theaters last fall.” The dramatic film “tells the true story,” writes Mr. Freiburger, “of Philadelphia abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s arrest, trial and conviction for the first-degree murder of three born-alive babies and the involuntary manslaughter” of an abortion customer. “Gosnell ultimately earned a box office of more than $3.6 million as of Dec. 17,” notes LifeSiteNews, despite major industry efforts to block its distribution and marketing. “DVDs can be preordered on Amazon,” according to the report, “for $9.99 apiece.”

In the States

  • AMERICANS UNITED FOR LIFE HAS ISSUED its annual “Life List” ranking US states according to abortion policy. “Oklahoma stands at the top,” reports Fr. Mark Hodges for, “and Washington [State] ranks at the bottom.” Behind Oklahoma, in order, are Kansas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Arizona, according to the pro-life pro-bono law firm. Clustered around the bottom but nudging above Washington are California, Vermont, New Jersey and Oregon. The analysis is based on laws on the books and legislative activity in 2016. The Planned Parenthood-connected Guttmacher Institute also issued a year-end review for 2016, calling it, notes Fr. Hodges, “‘a bad year for women’s health’ … [and] pointing out 50 new abortion restrictions in 18 states.” Guttmacher declared, “‘A total of 338 laws that restrict reproductive rights have been enacted since the Republicans took control of the majority of state governments in 2010.’”
  • LIVE ACTION HAS ISSUED A WATCH LIST on state legislation expected in 2019, starting with a Texas state constitutional amendment proposal to “immediately outlaw abortion” in the state “if and when Roe v. Wade is overturned, acknowledging the right to life of preborn children;” if the proposal passes both houses of the legislature, it will come before voters for their approval in November, 2019. Kentucky lawmakers will consider BR-823, “which would make it a felony for a physician to commit an abortion after a heartbeat is detectable, … [and] would also require informed consent and strict abortion facility oversight inspections.” Ohio lawmakers will revisit the Heartbeat Bill, which then-Gov. John Kasich (R) vetoed before leaving office; newly installed Gov. Mike DeWine (R) “has promised to sign similar legislation,” according to Live Action and other sources. South Carolina’s S-32 is a Heartbeat Bill which also requires ultrasound images of the targeted abortion victim to be shown to his or her mother before an abortion can proceed. SB-139 in Missouri “would require physicians to test for a heartbeat prior to committing an abortion; if a heartbeat is present,” notes Live Action, “the physician may not commit an abortion except in the case of a medical emergency; … additionally, abortion providers would need to report on the date, time, method and results of the heartbeat test.”
  • NEW MEXICO LAWMAKERS FACE a new proposal for abetted suicide, which international euthanasia fighter Alex Schadenberg told is “the most dangerous and expansive euthanasia measure he has ever seen. … ‘The bill … allows nurses and it allows physicians’ assistants to” administer death-dealing drugs, and, he said, “‘It allows it for mental health reasons,’” though a mental health diagnosis calls into question a person’s ability to consent for treatment. “‘It says if you have mental health issues,’” Mr. Schadenberg said in the report, “‘so long as a psychiatrist or psychologist or social worker signs off, you’re good to go.’” HB-90 was filed at the beginning of 2019. “HB-90 also protects anyone involved in the act with legal protection,” reports OneNewsNow, “eliminates conscience protections for medical professionals, and it has no residency requirement – meaning anyone from the 50 states could travel to New Mexico and obtain assisted suicide.”
  • ABORTION INFORMED CONSENT IS NOW THE LAW in Utah, as of Jan. 1. The modern version of the statute requires an abortion customer “to complete an online module which would educate her on childbirth,” reports Kelli for Live Action, “including fetal development with photos, [on] abortion (including a section on fetal pain), adoption and other aid resources available to her before she makes her decision.” The informative “module” would be “‘viewed on a digital tablet such as an iPad,’” according to a Salt Lake Tribune report quoted by Live Action. Kelli was critical of some of the educational elements in the module, particularly as relates to potential complications, but she concluded that the new educational tool “is an important step toward making sure women are truly informed.”
  • NEW YORK GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D) IS PUSHING for a state constitutional amendment enshrining the “right” of women to contract for the killing of their unborn children in his already-abortion-soaked state. Said Americans United for Life CEO Catherine Glenn Foster in a report by Catholic News Agency (CNA), “‘Gov. Cuomo’s extremist push to conflate abortion with health care is a tragic example of politics and ideology triumphing over medicine and the science of embryology. … Under Gov. Cuomo’s leadership,’” she said, “‘New York nail salons will be more regulated than abortion facilities.’”

Problems with Advance Directives for End-of-Life Decisions

Jan. 9, 2019, BreakPoint commentary by John Stonestreet & Roberto Rivera

So what did your family discuss this past Christmas Eve? The beautiful lights? Maybe some childhood holiday memories? Hopefully, the immeasurable gift of the Incarnation and the love of God?

Well, according to the online medical journal STAT, you should have talked about the importance of advance medical directives. As Dave Barry likes to say, I’m not making this up.

In an article published on, of all days, Christmas Eve, STAT told readers that advance directives are a “perfect holiday conversation.” Yep, break out the eggnog…

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, an “advance directive” is “a legal document in which a person specifies what actions should be taken for their health if they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves because of illness or incapacity.” The most basic example of an advance directive is a “do not resuscitate” order. There are also more complex ones, like “living wills,” that specify what kind of treatment the person will or will not receive.

While I disagree that Christmas is the best moment for this discussion, STAT is absolutely right to say that people should be thinking about their medical care and should be discussing it with their loved ones. As bioethicist Wesley J. Smith notes, preparing an advance directive is “an important task, given the evolving economics of medicine.”

But as Smith and others have pointed out, there are far more than merely economic considerations to be discussed. Our plans for the end of our lives ought to carefully reflect our deepest convictions about the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.

Done badly, an advance directive can be like a prenuptial agreement. Just as a “prenup” assumes the impermanence of marriage, many advance directives create a presumption in favor of death and efficiency (and an all-out avoidance of suffering) over the sanctity of human life.

Watch the language, and beware whenever the term “quality of life” as defined by medical professionals is elevated over the “sanctity of life” inherent to all image bearers. And especially look out for economic undertones in advance directives. Economically-driven decisions about the end of life will only reflect and advance the culture of death. This is especially true when directives use broad and imprecise language, which many do – language that opens the door to a purely utilitarian approach to end-of-life care.

And here’s another problem: Many advance directives operate as if our lives belong only to ourselves, as if all that matters is what we want when it comes to pain, suffering or treatment. This ignores what they think. And by “they,” I mean the husbands who belong to their wives and vice-versa, the parents who belong to their kids and vice-versa, and all of us who belong to extended families, communities and churches.

Then there’s this: Years can pass between the writing of an advance directive and death. So you might be subjecting your loved ones to a decision you made long ago, when they have more information about the options than you ever knew about. Just as a life lived in pure autonomy never ends well, neither does a death.

Fortunately, there are alternatives to advance directives and living wills. One of these is what’s called a “durable power of attorney,” which designates a trusted person – a friend or a family member – to handle your affairs if you become mentally or physically incapacitated. The key word here is “trusted,” someone with whom you share convictions about the sanctity of human life and who is prepared to act on them even in the face of pressure.

This keeps decisions about care out of the sole hands of hospitals or doctors who might embrace an agenda or belief system diametrically opposed to yours.

I understand … this isn’t the most pleasant of subjects. But “it is appointed to men to die once and after that comes judgment.” This knowledge should prompt us to want to not only live, but to die as well as we can, bearing witness to our convictions about Whose we are and Whom we serve.

[Life Advocacy Briefing editor’s note: Expert information about this topic – and the forms one may use in executing a “durable power of attorney for health care” – may be secured from the Patients Rights Council, whose Internet website is at The PRC offers in its Internet search listing: “To obtain a durable power of attorney for health care for the state in which you are a resident, call the Patients Rights Council (800/958-5678 or 740/282-3810).” We recommend it.]

The Battle Is Joined

Jan. 16, 2019, Washington Update commentary by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins

            House Democrats don’t think abortion should be rare – they think it should be free! Apparently, that’s the new Majority’s rallying cry in the lead-up to the 46th anniversary of the deadliest US Supreme Court ruling in history. But don’t expect it to be a popular one. Despite two years of pushing the party into some of the most radical terrain in Democratic history, liberals’ position on the issue is a far cry from most voters’.

            At a press conference announcing the Each Woman Act, the House Pro-Choice Caucus declared, “We’re going to end the Hyde Amendment.” For Democrats, whose platform already encourages abortion-on-demand right up to the moment of birth, the push to topple the wall between taxpayers and the abortion industry is just another example of how out of touch Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s party is with most Americans. Just yesterday, the Knights of Columbus released their annual Marist Poll, showing that voters believe in regulating and reducing abortion – not subsidizing it!

            Regardless of whether they are “pro-choice” or “pro-life,” [the Knights’] Carl Anderson explains, “the majority of Americans in both parties support legal restrictions on abortion. Two-thirds of Americans want Roe revisited to allow for state regulation of abortion or to ban it altogether.” That must not register with House Democrats, who vow to force every taxpayer to bankroll abortion-on-demand. “We cannot dictate from the halls of Congress what the best treatment is for any woman,” argued Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY). “That should be left to [women] … .” So should the payment for any “treatment” that ends an innocent human life.

            Standing next to Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), Planned Parenthood’s Leana Wen bemoaned the fact that abortion was “siloed, stigmatized and attacked in a way that no other part of health care is.” That’s because, pro-lifers point out, abortion isn’t health care! Of course, not only does the far-Left want abortion to be a routine medical procedure, it wants America to pay for the whole world’s! As part of their Roe v. Wade “celebration,” House Democrats are reintroducing their Global Health, Empowerment & Rights Act, which would funnel taxpayer money overseas for abortions abroad – an idea that’s even more unpopular than overturning the Hyde Amendment! Seventy-five percent of Americans – including 56% of Democrats – don’t want to ship US dollars to other countries to end babies’ lives.

            Fortunately, there’s little chance they’ll succeed at any of their agenda, thanks to Pres. Trump and the Republican Senate. Even so, it ought to disgust people at how low some politicians will sink to protect one of the worst forms of violence in America. On the opposite side of the Capitol, Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) couldn’t believe that this is actually the state of Democratic politics in America. “The life of a child shouldn’t be a partisan issue … . It is my guess that anyone who disagrees with [me] has already tuned me out, because as a culture, we don’t want to think about this life. Because if for a moment we pause and consider that maybe she’s really alive and has purpose and value, we would have to swallow hard and acknowledge the millions of little girls just like her that have died in abortions in America – millions. And so to fight against having to deal with that, we just tune it out. … I pray there is a day that we’re not proud that we looked away from little girls and little boys and said, ‘You’re not human enough yet.’”