Life Advocacy Briefing

March 25, 2019

Thanking God for Mary Lou / Battle Joined, in Illinois
Promoting Violence / Indiana Wins One in the 7th Circuit
In the States / Priorities / Facing Reality

Thanking God for Mary Lou

ONE OF OUR FAVORITE PRO-LIFE ORGANIZATIONS – People Concerned for the Unborn Child, serving in southwestern Pennsylvania – announced in its March-April newsletter the retirement of one of its most cherished volunteers, Mary Lou Gartner, after 40 years of serving in so many roles. We take this opportunity to wish Mary Lou and her dear husband Dave a season of peace and satisfaction in the knowledge that countless lives have been saved, informed and blessed through her tireless efforts. God bless you, Mary Lou. And may He bring forth a legion of volunteers to fill your shoes. It won’t be easy!

Battle Joined, in Illinois

PRO-LIFE ILLINOIS CITIZENS JAMMED THE STATE CAPITOL last Wednesday, the day the abortion lobby and its legislator fellow travelers had set for Senate committee approval of a bill to repeal the state’s Parental Notice of Abortion Act. According to a report by WTAX Radio, 3,600 people crowded the capitol’s rotunda, and then “security officials declared the capitol ‘full’” and blocked entry to the state’s government seat, an unprecedented move.

Springfield’s Roman Catholic Bishop, Thomas Paprocki, addressed the Capitol rally, reports WTAX, declaring, “‘The Democratic Party right now is the party of abortion,’ … saying Gov. J. B. Pritzker [D] ‘has vowed to make Illinois the most pro-abortion state in the country.’”

Even such a massive rally did not appear to faze Democrats in the Senate Committee on Public Health, which advanced to Senate consideration a bill to repeal the state’s Parental Notice of Abortion Act on a party-line (8-to-4) vote the same day as the rally. The committee appeared unfazed as well by the electronic filing of 7,752 opposing witness slips, well outpacing the 1,703 proponent slips the abortion lobby had managed to generate for SB-1594. The measure’s companion bill in the Illinois House, HB-2467, appears to be dying in a subcommittee, with no hearing date posted; in the House, the opponents’ 13,361 witness slips far outweighed the abortion lobby’s 511 slips.

A second proposal by Planned Parenthood and its fellow travelers to repeal existing abortion regulations – even the state’s Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act – appears stuck in committee in both houses, with no votes scheduled on HB-2495 or on SB-1942.

“Planned Parenthood is on a wild high,” comments, “expecting to push through every conceivable abortion promotion possible with a pro-abortion Gov. Pritzker and a pro-abortion super-majority in each of the Illinois General Assembly chambers.” The leading state conservative news website cautioned, “[The Senate sponsor] is likely to call SB-1594 before the Illinois Senate soon – a move that has pro-life groups very concerned.”

The Catholic Conference issued a statement after the bill’s advance, quoted in Illinois Review: “‘It is truly tragic the Senate Public Health Committee today approved SB-1594, which seeks to repeal the Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion Act. Since this law went into effect, the incidence of abortions among minors has dropped 57% in Illinois. Why would anybody vote for legislation that effectively removes parents and guardians of minors from a major decision that is known to have significant physical and mental after-effects? …

“‘Current law makes it illegal,’” notes the Catholic Conference in the Illinois Review report, “‘for minors in Illinois to use an indoor tanning bed; buy cigarettes, alcohol or lottery tickets; or vote in an election. Are we to believe abortion is somehow less consequential than getting a tan?’”

Promoting Violence

ILLINOIS’s JUNIOR U.S. SENATOR TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D) HAS ANNOUNCED she will file the Senate version of the so-called “Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance” Act, companion to a bill being filed by leftwing Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) in the House. The bills would repeal the Hyde Amendment, reports Cassy Fiano-Chesser for Live Action, “not only forcing federal taxpayers to fund abortion but also banning legislators from working to prevent abortion from being covered by private insurance companies. …

“‘I think the key message here is, it’s about supporting women of color, working women and low-income women,’” declared Sen. Duckworth at a news conference reported by Live Action. Right, by killing them in the womb.

Planned Parenthood is endorsing the legislation even before its introduction.

Indiana Wins One in the 7th Circuit

A THREE-JUDGE PANEL of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a lower court ruling invalidating an Indiana law requiring that the transfer of fetal remains be humane.

US District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson had ruled, reports Calvin Freiburger for, citing the Associated Press (AP) as source, “that the fetal transfer language was too vague to have legal force. But Circuit Judge Frank Easterbrook wrote for the appellate panel, quoted by Mr. Freiburger, “‘Some uncertainty at the margins does not condemn a statute.’ …

“Motivated by horror stories about abortion facilities destroying the babies they kill with methods such as ‘big ovens,’” writes Mr. Freiburger, “the Indiana law and similar measures in other states are meant to prevent the bodies of aborted children from being treated like medical waste, both out of respect for their dignity and to underscore their humanity.”

In the States

  • ARKANSAS GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON (R) HAS SIGNED HB-1439 into law, just a day after it was sent to his desk. The new law, on which we reported in last week’s Life Advocacy Briefing, outlaws abortion once a baby has reached 18 weeks’ gestation, with exceptions discriminating against developing babies who are conceived during a sex crime.
  • KENTUCKY GOV. MATT BEVIN (R) HAS SIGNED HB-5, banning abortion committed because of the baby’s race, sex, color, national origin or disability, and requiring abortionists to certify, reports Calvin Freiburger for, “they were unaware of any such motive before aborting. Violators would be guilty of a Class D felony (punishable by one to five years in prison), see their medical licenses revoked or suspended and be potentially liable for civil damages.” The radical ACLU filed suit to block the new law’s enforcement even before it arrived at the governor’s desk; when Gov. Bevin was told of the ACLU’s plan to sue, he said, notes Mr. Freiburger, “‘Bring it. … Kentucky will always fight for life.’”
  • ONE TOWN IN NEW MEXICO IS FIGHTING BACK against what is thought to be a pro-abortion majority in the state legislature. The city council of Roswell, reports Claire Chretien for, passed a resolution March 14 “declaring its jurisdiction to be in support of ‘fetal life,’ something local pro-life activists say makes Roswell a ‘sanctuary city for the unborn.’” The council vote was 7-to-1, with one further member abstaining. “The resolution … states,” writes Ms. Chretien, “that the city council declares ‘its opposition to any diminution by the New Mexico Legislature of the limitations on abortion’ and ‘honors the rights of healthcare providers to object on moral grounds to performing abortions and opposes any regulation or law seeking to violate that right.’” Could be someone in the legislature was actually listening; the New Mexico Senate last week rejected a radical abortion bill on an 18-to-24 vote. The measure, reports Ms. Chretien, “would have forced doctors to commit abortions. It also would have repealed old, unenforced sections of law criminalizing abortion – preparation for a possible overturning of Roe v. Wade.” Eight Democrats, Ms. Chretien notes, “joined 16 Republicans in voting against it.”
  • THE PAIN-CAPABLE UNBORN CHILD PROTECTION ACT HAS BEEN FILED IN MINNESOTA as SF-1609 in the Senate and HF-1312 in the House. Neither bill has advanced beyond committee consideration. The proposals would bar abortions on developing babies after 20 weeks post-fertilization. Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life legislative director Andrea Rau testified before a Senate committee, reports MCCL, that “the number of pain-capable children forced to endure this grotesque procedure has been growing substantially” in Minnesota, noting that the state “saw a nearly 500% increase in abortions after 20 weeks post-fertilization from 2013 to 2017.”
  • THE KANSAS LEGISLATURE HAS SENT A SHARP MESSAGE TO THE STATE OF NEW YORK, adopting a joint resolution in both houses condemning New York’s new radical abortion law. The House vote was 78 to 5, according to Tim Carpenter of the Pratt Tribune, with 32 House members voting “present.” The debate lasted at least three hours. The Senate had taken up the resolution in February and passed it 27-13 “with far less theatrical flair,” reports Mr. Carpenter. “Kansas will send the resolution to every member of the New York Senate, state assembly and governor,” reports the Topeka Capitol Journal.


March 13, 2019 Washington Update commentary by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins

            What do cats have that newborn babies don’t? Democrats’ support. In one of the sickest ironies no one is talking about, Senate liberals picked this moment – 17 days after they voted to kill America’s perfectly healthy infants – to fight for the humane treatment of kittens. Maybe the DNC’s strategists are out to lunch, or maybe the Left really is this shameless, but I can’t wait to see some of these politicians standing on debate platforms next year telling the American people that when it comes to protecting living things: We chose cats over kids.

            For sponsors like Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), the optics are nauseating. Here he is, arguing that America “must stop killing kittens,” when, three weeks ago, he stood in the US Capitol and agreed with 43 Democrats that human beings should be put down. “The USDA’s decision to slaughter kittens after they are used in research is an archaic practice and horrific treatment, and we need to end it,” Merkley said with a passion that he and his colleagues couldn’t muster for a generation of perfectly healthy newborns. His Kittens in Traumatic Testing Ends Now – or KITTEN – Act wouldn’t stop the research, but it would keep the animals from being destroyed.

            “The KITTEN Act will protect these innocent animals from being needlessly euthanized in government testing,” Merkley told reporters, “and make sure that they can be adopted by loving families instead.” Does he even hear himself? They should be treated and adopted? That’s exactly what Americans have requested for living, breathing babies. Democrats said no. Killing a child is a “personal decision,” they said, and Congress shouldn’t get in the way. What a comfort for abortion survivors like Melissa Ohden to know that, given the choice, Democrats would save a stray cat over her.

            “The fact that we need a piece of legislation to tell the federal government to stop killing kittens is ridiculous on its face,” Cong. Brian Mast (R-FL) argued. But “ridiculous” doesn’t begin to describe a party that tells America to back away from the tables of crying newborns while it rushes to the rescue of kittens instead. I suppose we should also tell firefighters when they run into burning houses to look for the pets first? After all, on the Democrats’ sliding scale of “wantedness,” shouldn’t we find out how loved someone is before we decide if they’re worth saving?

            Meanwhile, as if legal infanticide isn’t revolting enough, House Democrats have decided Americans should pay for it. In what’s turning out to be a test for the most unpopular majority in history, Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) chamber is pushing a bill that would force a country who overwhelmingly opposes late-term abortion to bankroll it – along with abortions in any trimester. Rep. Diane DeGette (D-CO), another liberal who can’t seem to take taxpayers’ “No!” for an answer, is trying to overturn the Hyde amendment. “It’s just important as we move forward that we pass legislation that honors women’s reproductive health and their decisions,” she said.

            But what about honoring taxpayers – two-thirds of whom fiercely oppose the idea of financing the Left’s killing machine? And that includes “pro-choicers.” Although the bill doesn’t stand a chance in the Senate, it could still make history. If Pelosi keeps up with the Left’s tone-deafness and brings DeGette’s bill up for the vote, it would be the first time the House has voted to overturn Hyde in history.

            While House and Senate Democrats seem obsessed with taking lives, at least one court is helping states protect them. In what may turn out to be the ruling that turned the Supreme Court tide, the 6th Circuit Court sided with Ohio in defunding Planned Parenthood. For three years, the Buckeyes have been fighting to redirect the $1.5 million for abortion providers to real health clinics. Buckeye leaders, including former Gov. John Kasich, were sick of “using abortion providers as the face of state health care programs.” A lower court said too bad. But 11 judges on the 6th Circuit disagreed, insisting that Ohio’s law doesn’t violate the Constitution “because the affiliates do not have a due process right to perform abortions.”

            And while Pres. Trump didn’t have anything to do with the ruling, he had plenty to do with the people who made it. Four of the 11 judges who defended Ohio’s law were appointed by this White House. If you’re wondering how much this Administration’s commitment to nominations matters, this is proof. There are men and women on benches across America today who are literally saving lives because this President made the courts a priority. Thanks to Donald Trump, pro-lifers know better than anyone: you don’t need Congress to win on life.

            However, we are pushing Congress to pass the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. In the US House, Congressional leaders may not yet see the light, but they will see thousands of newborn baby hats – thanks to all of you who’ve supported our End Birthday Abortion campaign. If you haven’t had a chance to add your voice, click over to our website ( and join us!

Facing Reality

March 15, 2019, Washington Update commentary by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins

            New Mexico’s bill was supposed to be a slam dunk. But after New York, nothing on abortion is a sure thing – not any more. In a country that saw a 17-point jump in the number of pro-lifers since January, it’s no wonder the state Democrats are taking a good hard look at their positions, especially on late-term abortion. Americans have changed – and it looks like smart politicians are changing with them.

            No one was more surprised by Thursday night’s vote than Governor (and abortion extremist) Michelle Lujan-Grisham (D). After the House had sent the bill on with a 40-29 vote, the Democrats’ stranglehold on the Senate was supposed to mean that the New York-style HB-51 was a done deal. But despite the party’s 26-16 edge, the vote fell far from party lines. In a stunning victory for pro-lifers, eight Democrats crossed over – killing a bill that would have legalized infanticide and given abortionists the right to destroy babies up to the moment of birth.

            Gov. Grisham, who hadn’t counted on the intense lobbying from pastors and state conservatives, was astounded. “That … it was even a debate, much less a difficult vote for some Senators, is inexplicable to me,” she told reporters. By a 24-18 tally, Democrat Senators Pete Campos, Carlos Cisneros, Richard Martinez, George Munoz, Senate President Pro-Tem Mary Kay Papen, Ramos, Clemente “Meme” Sanchez and John Arthur Smith proved what a complicated issue abortion is becoming – even in liberal states.

            During an emotional debate, some Democrats struggled to come up with a reason why New Mexico should leave perfectly healthy babies on a hospital table to die.  Sen. Ramos of Silver City told his chamber, “This is one of the toughest decisions any of us will ever have to make.” But, he went on, “I stand unified against legislation that weakens the defense of life and threatens the dignity of the human being.” While others sometimes spoke through tears, the tension inside the Democratic caucus was obvious.

            In one strained exchange, two Democrats squared off against each other.  Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino of Albuquerque quoted St. Antoninus to justify why Catholics should feel free to vote for the bill. “The importance of individual choice is what the church has always taught,” he said.  Sen. Ramos demanded to know which Catholic Church he was talking about. “Mine does not approve of abortion,” Ramos said. Then, to his colleagues he said simply, “Vote your conscience.”

            Thank Goodness many did. Their courage dealt one of the most significant blows of the year to the extreme abortion camp. When she was asked, one dazed Senator could only say, “We did expect more to be voting in favor – and it didn’t turn out that way.” Deep blue states like Maryland and Virginia share her surprise. There, similar proposals have been shelved because of the intense divides on late-term abortion. Even in Illinois, whose governor is vying to be the “pro-abortion state in the union,” a New York-style measure stalled after four co-sponsors asked to be removed from the bill.

            The landscape is shifting – and fast. In a country where outlawing third-trimester abortion is a 70% issue for pro-choicers, it would appear that Hill Democrats aren’t just outside the mainstream. They’re in no-man’s land. These Members of Congress need to hear from you! Check out and tell them to take action.