Life Advocacy Briefing

February 4, 2019

Major Unmasking / Ominous Concern
Iowa Heartbeat Law Struck Down / Quick Takes
March for Life Speech Transcript / The Shame of New York

Major Unmasking

FALL-OUT CONTINUES from the step-too-far legislative coup achieved by the abortion lobby in New York State on Jan. 22. The legislation to buttress the state’s abortion industry against the potential overturning of the Roe v. Wade/Doe v. Bolton Supreme Court edicts has sparked both copycat stumbles in other states and a sustained media backlash on social media and on such widely viewed outlets as Fox News Channel (FNC).

The most notable uproar last week came out of a Virginia subcommittee hearing, where a bill to repeal the state’s post-24-week abortion ban was shelved on a 5-to-3 partisan vote. Video from the hearing – widely distributed on social media and repeatedly aired on FNC – shows bill sponsor, Del. Kathy Tran (D) being skillfully questioned by House Majority Leader Todd Gilbert (R) and admitting that her legislation would authorize abortion until birth, even when the mother was dilating.

Compounding the horror of that moment was the next-day explanation during a radio interview by Gov. Ralph Northam (D), who was at one time a pediatric neurologist and who is a fervent backer of the Tran legislation. In the governor’s patient, deliberate depiction of the circumstances under which such an extreme action could be taken, Mr. Northam went beyond even what Del. Tran had admitted, describing – and approving – a hypothetical situation in which the “infant” would be delivered and “made comfortable,” and “resuscitated, if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother,” a scenario which led Fox News commentators and others to conclude the governor was endorsing infanticide.

Three social-media-circulated responses were quoted by FNC on “Special Report with Bret Baier” last Wednesday evening: From Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE): “This is morally repugnant. In just a few years pro-abortion zealots went from ‘safe, legal and rare’ to ‘keep the newborns comfortable while the doctor debates infanticide.’ I don’t care what party you’re from – if you can’t say that it’s wrong to leave babies to die after birth, get the h— out of public office.” From Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL): “I never thought that I would see the day America had government officials who openly support legal infanticide.” From former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley: “What is happening in our country? This literally makes me sick to my stomach.”

President Donald Trump weighed in on the controversy with this comment, quoted by the Associated Press: “‘I thought it was terrible,’ [Mr.] Trump said of [Del.] Tran’s comments. ‘Do you remember when I said Hillary Clinton was willing to rip the baby out of the womb? That’s what it is, that’s what they’re doing – it’s terrible.’ The President added,” notes AP, “‘This is going to lift up the whole pro-life movement like maybe it’s never been lifted up before. … I think this will very much lift up the issue, because people have never thought of it in those terms.’”

Unquestionably, the firestorm generated by abortion cartel extremism has opened a new chapter in American politics and a fresh opportunity for pro-life candidates to invite the public to examine the extremist views of their abortion-lobby-entwined opponents.

Ominous Concern

TAKING NOTE OF NEW YORK’s new Cuomo law, Operation Rescue has issued an analysis suggesting expansion of late-term abortion is unlikely as a result of the new law and warning that a greater consequence could be the section which authorizes non-physicians to abort developing babies.

“The possibility of non-surgical abortion clinics popping up in New York to dish out abortion drugs is much greater,” notes OR senior vice president Cheryl Sullenger, “than a sudden expansion of late-term third trimester abortions. That is because the law allows for non-physicians to conduct abortions.

“Non-physicians already dispense abortion pills in California without much oversight and very little qualification,” she writes. “Hiring non-physicians to hand out abortion pills is much cheaper than hiring a licensed physician to do the same task. No specialized equipment is needed as … in surgical abortion facilities, so in all, overhead is much lower, meaning there are more profits to be made.

“This will most benefit Planned Parenthood,” writes Mrs. Sullenger, “who is pushing hard into the abortion pill business and already operates the vast majority of pill clinics in the country, including 29 out of 30 such clinics in New York.

“Planned Parenthood is aggressively attempting to expand the use of telemedicine to dispense abortion drugs,” Mrs. Sullenger notes, “particularly through a new process that involves a Smartphone app that allows for delivery of the pills through the US mail. This experimental process,” she warns, “is already available in New York.”

Iowa Heartbeat Law Struck Down

IOWA’s HEARTBEAT LAW HAS BEEN INVALIDATED by Iowa Chief District Court Judge Michael Huppert, saying, reports Alyssa Jackson for World magazine, “it violated ‘both the due process and equal protection provisions of the Iowa Constitution [by] not being narrowly tailored to serve the compelling state interest of protecting potential life.’”

The lawsuit was filed, predictably, by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the Dubuque-based Emma Goldman Clinic, both of which stood to lose substantial profits, had the law taken effect. It would have criminalized abortions committed against babies whose gestation has reached the point when a heartbeat can be detected, as early as six weeks.

The bill’s main sponsor said, notes Ms. Jackson, “she was disappointed the judge did not allow a jury to hear the case, and she hoped the state would appeal the ruling to the Iowa Supreme Court.”

Said GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds, who had signed the legislation in May of 2018, quoted by World, “‘I am incredibly disappointed in today’s court ruling, because I believe that if death is determined when a heart stops beating, then a beating heart indicates life.’”

Quick Takes

  • THE WEST COAST MARCH FOR LIFE, which occurred Jan. 26 and was the 15th annual such march, drew a record 50,000 pro-life supporters, with counter-protesters numbering “a historic low of between 25-30 people,” notes Calvin Freiburger for The San Francisco March featured a “memorable moment,” he writes, “when seven pregnant women … took the stage, holding microphones to their bellies to play the heartbeats of their preborn children within.” Yes, Virginia, there’s life in there.
  • PARENTS BEWARE! Planned Parenthood is offering a new “chat” program designed for engaging children between ages 13 to 17 who have access to “smartphones,” according to reporter Calvin Freiburger, citing the Wall Street Journal as source. Artfully named “Roo,” the “‘chatbot’ … is meant to compensate for children who ‘don’t have access to sex education or only have access to programs that teach abstinence.’” The major newspaper, notes Mr. Freiburger, “paraphrases Planned Parenthood CEO Leana Wen as explaining, ‘Roo answers all your awkward questions about sexual health, relationships, growing up and more. Chatting with Roo is free and private, so go ahead and ask the things you don’t want to ask out loud.’”
  • DOCTOR-ADMINISTERED DEATH in the Netherlands is on the rise, according to a column by Wesley J. Smith in National Review Online, citing The Guardian as source. “An expose on Dutch euthanasia published in [the major British newspaper] discloses,” he writes, “that around 25% of Dutch deaths are induced/caused by doctors.” Not all, he notes, are “lethal-injection euthanasia deaths; … many more people are killed in the Netherlands by ‘terminal sedation’ – a slow-motion euthanasia wherein patients not in the active stage of dying are put into artificial comas and denied all sustenance until they dehydrate to death – than die by lethal jabs. (Terminal sedation,” he notes, “should never be confused with the proper practice of ‘palliative sedation,’ which eases a dying patient’s symptoms while not intentionally causing death.)” The death toll from “terminal sedation,” according to Mr. Smith, in 2017 “hit an astonishing 32,000. Altogether,” he notes, “well over a quarter of all deaths in 2017 in the Netherlands were induced.”

March for Life Speech Transcript

Speech by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), chairman of the US House Pro-Life Caucus, at the March for Life Rally at the National Mall in Washington, Jan. 18, 2019, transcribed by Life Advocacy Briefing

            Thank you, Jeannie, and thank you for the great work you’re doing at March for Life. On behalf of my wife Marie and I, thank you all for being here – the pro-life caucus, Dr. Harris is the co-chair, Congressman Lipinski, and all the members that are here – totally dedicated to protecting human life. So thank you.

            Thank you, President Trump, for making it absolutely clear today that you will veto any piece of legislation that undermines or nullifies any pro-life policy, regulation or rule. Your extraordinary announcement today, your bold solidarity with the weakest and the most vulnerable, couldn’t come at a better time. The new Democratic majority in the House has made it clear that they want to eviscerate all pro-life protection including the Hyde taxpayer funding abortion ban, which alone has saved over two million lives since it’s been enacted. Mr. President, be assured that 169 House Members and 49 Senators, led by Senator Daines – well in excess of the requisite required to prevail – have pledged in writing that we will sustain your veto. So why is this so important? Because as Feminists for Life have told us so often, women and children deserve better than the violence of abortion. Just ask, just ask the brave and amazing women who are silent no more, who sacrifice everything to warn other women and society at large about the tragic consequences of their abortions and now how they have found hope again.

            The shocking number of abortions, killing of unborn children, is unconscionable. Twenty-five hundred every day, approximately 61 million dead babies since 1973, a death toll that equates with the entire population of Italy.

            All this, my friends, as our knowledge concerning the breathtaking miracle of life before birth is unparalleled and when science has made it absolutely clear that birth is an important event, but only an event in the life of a child. Doctors today, as we all know, routinely diagnose and treat a myriad of conditions and illnesses and diseases suffered by the littlest patients, unborn children. Even first baby pictures are often almost always ultrasound photographs. The humanity of the unborn child is beyond doubt, yet the pro-abortion movement, like some kind of modern-day flat earth society, continues to cling to outdated indefensible arguments cloaked in euphemism.

            Even the seemingly benign word “choice” withers under scrutiny. Choice to do what? Dismember a baby? Starve a child to death and then forcibly expel she or he from the womb? In order to facilitate the baby’s extermination, the pro-abortionists aggressively deny and disrespect the unborn child and loudly mock you and other pro-lifers throughout this country and even the world who are trying to defend the fundamental human rights of children.

            I say, and I conclude on this, let the harsh criticism cause us to work even harder and more effectively. And, as our Lord admonished, that we love even those who hate us. I believe that your presence here today, your prayers, your fasting, your service, your commitment throughout the year, will ensure that one day – and one day soon – protection of the weakest and the most vulnerable will be the law of our land. Thank you so very much.

The Shame of New York

Jan. 28, 2019, BreakPoint commentary by John Stonestreet with G. Shane Morris

            Last week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law the most radical pro-abortion bill our country has seen in a very long time. The so-called “Reproductive Health Act” removes abortion and, get this, the murder of a pregnant woman’s baby, from the state’s criminal code.

            It also allows any doctor, nurse practitioner or even midwife to perform an abortion all the way up to the moment of birth, provided the mother’s “life or health” is at risk. That exception, which hearkens back to Doe v. Bolton, is so expansive you could drive a Mack truck through it, and includes “all factors – physical, emotional, psychological, familial and the woman’s age – relevant to the well-being of the patient.”

            In other words, there’s no accountability or enforcement mechanism, and the healthcare provider has unfettered freedom to decide what constitutes a threat to “life or health.”

            Let me be clear: New York has just made it legal for a fully-formed, eight-pound baby with a head of hair, fingernails, eyelashes and a 100% chance of surviving outside the womb to be poisoned and crushed.

            Gov. Cuomo called this bloody, legal monstrosity “a historic victory for New Yorkers and for our progressive values.” He then celebrated by ordering One World Trade Center – AKA the “Freedom Tower” – and other New York landmarks to be lit up pink. This “achievement,” he said, will “shine a bright light forward for the rest of the nation to follow.”

            Princeton’s Robert George had this to say on his Facebook page: “Until a few minutes ago, I had never felt physically ill as a result of watching something on television. But the video footage of New York legislators applauding and cheering the monstrous late-term abortion bill they passed … on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade literally nauseated me. … What kind of people are we? … Where does this fanatical commitment to ensuring that the lives of children in the womb count for nothing – indeed, less than nothing – come from? How did this contempt for human life insinuate itself into people’s hearts?”

            How indeed. But make no mistake. This isn’t anything odd or new. This sort of legislation is the end goal of a “pro-choice” movement that’s now fully comfortable with defending and even celebrating abortion in its most grotesque forms. This is the new norm for a movement that proudly “shouts” its abortions – a movement that left the old mantra of “safe, legal and rare” back in the 1990s and now sees abortion not as a tragedy but as an empowering positive experience.

            Moral insanity becomes legal insanity. New York hasn’t just expanded abortion rights – it has rendered human value subjective. Under this law, mothers quite literally decide if their babies become human. An infant born at 30 weeks will enjoy full legal protection, while a baby gestationally older can legally be killed.

            This is as far as you can take the logic of abortion without actually engaging in post-birth infanticide. It’s the inevitable conclusion of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s infamous reasoning in Planned Parenthood v. Casey that “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe and of the mystery of human life.”

            As I said last week on ThePoint, this is a moment to grieve, but it’s also a moment to mark and remember. This is the pro-abortion movement exposed. This is what happens when pro-abortion politicians gain control of an entire state.

            It’s also a vivid lesson to pro-lifers to not put all our pro-life eggs in the US Supreme Court’s basket. As CNN reports, New York lawmakers intend this bill to be a safeguard for abortion access if Roe is overturned. If, by some miracle, a crop of new Justices reconsiders the Court’s worst decision, the fight to end legal abortion is far from over. It continues on a state-by-state basis.

            But know this: A new Marist poll confirms that New York’s law is wildly out-of-step with the nation as a whole. Seventy-five percent of Americans want abortion restricted to within the first three months of pregnancy.

            And also know this: As Scott Klusendorf wrote at our recent BreakPoint symposium on the state of the pro-life movement, the overwhelming majority of the American public has never rejected the best pro-life arguments. Many have never heard them, which is partly why bad arguments for abortion continue to hold hearts, minds and our culture captive.

            Christians must learn to make the case for life powerfully and persuasively, and take every opportunity to do so, knowing that it can make a meaningful difference.  

[Life Advocacy Briefing editor’s note: The quote in the second paragraph above comes not from the New York law but from the Supreme Court’s ruling in Bolton, handed down on Jan. 22, 1973, as companion to the better known Roe v. Wade. It is the language quoted here from Bolton which has always rendered Roe far more extreme than society acknowledges. Kudos to BreakPoint for citing this; it has always been critical to grasping the true state of abortion law in America, and it is a key point in Life Advocacy’s Winning with Life candidate coaching consultations.]