Life Advocacy Briefing

July 15, 2019

Call Now! / Self-Defeating Advocacy / In the States
In the Courts / Warning / Who Benefits? / Gaining Ground

Call Now!

PRIESTS FOR LIFE’s Fr. FRANK PAVONE IS URGING PRO-LIFE CITIZENS to call both home-state US Senators now and urge a “no” vote on the massive appropriations bill passed by the House as HR-2740. “And let them know,” he adds, “that the reason [for your call] is that you oppose the pro-abortion provisions in the bill.”

Though the Hyde Amendment was maintained in the bill as a concession by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-SanFrancisco), the provisions include significant abortion subsidies, as we have reported previously at the time the measure passed the House. Senators can be reached via the Capitol switchboard at 1-202/224-3121.


Self-Defeating Advocacy

THOUGH THE JOBS OF TEACHERS IN AMERICA DEPEND on sustaining the population of youngsters who are in need of education, the National Education Assn. (NEA) teachers union adopted, at its recent convention, yet another statement embracing abortion as a “right” and, reports Calvin Freiburger for, “labeling pro-life Americans as ‘misogynistic.’”

The NEA “new business item” declares the huge public school teachers union “‘will include an assertion of our defense of a person’s right to control their own body, especially for women, youth and sexually marginalized people,’” quotes Mr. Freiburger in his report. [Note the use of the term “person” and the gender-neutral pronoun “their” in the phrase “control their own body” – certainly awkward language for a document adopted by people presumed to be educated professionals; increasingly the homosexual and so-called “transgender” movement are taking control of the abortion lobby and inserting into our public policy discussions on abortion an implication that pregnancy – and their precious “abortion right” – is no longer limited to people who think of themselves as female. Clearly, this infection is taking root in the union which purports to represent our children’s teachers.]

And, to make certain that no one can miss the NEA’s partisan political tinge, the statement “justifies this stance,” reports Mr. Freiburger, “on the grounds that ‘the most misogynistic forces, under [Pres. Donald] Trump, want to abolish the gains of the women’s right[s] movement. Women’s leadership is essential for any successful egalitarian movement,’” declared the largely female NEA delegates, “‘and therefore must be protected.’”

The nonprofit Education Week, notes Mr. Freiburger, “reports that some members objected to taking a clear stance on abortion, on the ground that it was beyond educators’ scope and could drive away pro-life teachers, but they were overridden by the majority,” who no doubt would prefer not to have to deal with pro-life colleagues.

Of course, the objecting delegates should not have been surprised. Though the NEA has previously, according to Education Week, cited by Mr. Freiburger, “officially denied being pro-abortion” and has insisted, he writes, “that it ‘has not spent one penny under its legal services program defending their right to have an abortion,’” the huge union, reports LifeSiteNews, “advocates and donates heavily to a wide range of leftwing cause including abortion and works with far-left groups such as Planned Parenthood, the Women’s March, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Sexuality Information & Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) to ‘push a radical agenda onto our kids and to punish teachers, parents and students who dare to speak out against it,’ according to former California teacher Rebecca Friedrichs.”


In the States

  • IT IS NOT ENOUGH, APPARENTLY, FOR ILLINOIS ABORTION ADVOCATES to have repealed the state’s partial-birth abortion ban and all abortuary regulations and restrictions on late-term abortions and limits on taxpayer funding. The one remaining target, it appears, is the state’s long-fought-for Parental Notice of Abortion Law. Just in case the comprehensive repeal law enacted this spring cannot be used to limit abortionists’ attacks on the unborn children of minors behind the backs of the teens’ parents, State Rep. Emanuel Welch (D) has told Capitol News Illinois, reports the Catholic News Agency (CNA), that he is “‘going to go back at it in January,’” after the legislature recessed without taking up his House Bill 2467. And if his bill is not taken up, there’s always its twin in the state senate, SB-1594, sponsored by Sen. Elgie Sims (D). Meanwhile, pro-life legal organizations are working up challenges to the by-now-notorious SB-25, whose enactment has stunned the Illinois pro-life community.

  • OHIO RIGHT TO LIFE IS BACKING A BILL to require, reports Calvin Freiburger for, “that fetal development information be taught in public schools. … HB-90, the Humanity of the Unborn Child bill, declares that the ‘State Board of Education, in collaboration with the Department of Health, shall develop an instructional program regarding the humanity of the unborn child,’ for the purpose of ‘achieving an abortion-free society.’” The proposal, notes Mr. Freiburger, “forbids officials from ‘consult[ing] any organization that provides abortions’ in developing the program. HB-90 also requires the state health department to release to the public fetal development materials that ‘clearly and consistently state that abortion kills a living human being,’ maintain a list of pregnancy, childbirth, parenting and adoption resources and,” writes Mr. Freiburger, “forbids educators from ‘refer[ring] a student to a medical facility or any provider for the performance of an abortion.’”


In the Courts

  • THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSN. (AMA) HAS JOINED AS PLAINTIFF in the abortion industry’s legal challenge to two North Dakota informed consent abortion laws. One of the threatened laws, according to Samantha Gobba for World magazine, “requir[es] abortionists to tell women that abortion ends ‘the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.’” The other, reports Ms. Gobba, “requires abortionists to tell women about the reversal process for drug-induced abortions, which can sometimes be stopped after they have begun if a mother changes her mind.” Said North Dakota Right to Life director Medora Nagle, quoted by Ms. Gobba: “‘Why are they so determined to keep women in the dark? … This is not an undue burden; it is simply providing information. This law is about empowering women and making sure they have all of the information before making a decision of this magnitude.’” Indeed.

  • A KANSAS STATE JUDGE HAS REFUSED to void a 2018 state law barring telemed (or “webcam”) abortions, in which a customer meets her “doctor” only via video screen and chemical abortion agents are then dispensed without a physical exam. Though the ultimate fate of the law is still in doubt, the refusal by Shawnee County District Judge Teresa Watson to grant an injunction to Wichita-based Trust Women Foundation is, for the time being, preventing TWF from chemically killing children via computer-screen interviews and selling of RU-486 and its companion drug.

  • OHIO’s NEW HEARTBEAT ABORTION LAW has been blocked by US District Judge Michael Barrett, who issued a temporary injunction against enforcement of the law while a Planned Parenthood/ACLU lawsuit proceeds against it. The law, signed in April by Gov. Mike DeWine (R), outlaws abortion of babies whose heartbeats are detectable, usually at 6 to 8 weeks’ gestation.

  • INDIANA’s DISMEMBERMENT ABORTION BAN – which was set to take effect July 1 – has been blocked by US District Judge Sarah Evans Barker, who, reports Lynde Langdon for World magazine, “granted the preliminary injunction against the measure hours after the US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal over a similar Alabama law that lower courts [had] struck down.” So until the US Supreme Court develops a conscience worthy of American jurists, abortionists in Indiana – and in Alabama and basically across the US – will be authorized by the courts of the United States to kill developing babies by tearing them apart inside their mothers’ wombs.



July 11, 2019, The Point commentary by John Stonestreet & David Carlson

            Euthanasia is illegal in France. But in name only. Over the weekend, a French court denied an appeal by the family of Vincent Lambert to prevent doctors from withholding nutrition and hydration to the 42-year-old.

            A quadriplegic since a 2008 motorcycle accident, Lambert can breathe on his own, swallow and digest food, but some doctors say he’s in a “vegetative state.” Other doctors disagree, saying instead that he has “minimum consciousness.”

            His mother puts it this way: “Vincent is not a vegetable. … I’ve never seen a vegetable turn its head when called.”

            Nonetheless, and despite pleas from the Catholic Church and groups that pledged to care for Lambert, doctors may now stop hydration. That means Lambert will die of thirst.

            It’s a horrible precedent for France. As the European Center for Justice noted, should Lambert be euthanized, some 1,700 French citizens “in the same state of health” could face the same fate.

[Life Advocacy Briefing editor’s note: With profound sadness we report that Mr. Lambert’s fight has ended; he has indeed passed away.]


Who Benefits?

July 9, 2019, BreakPoint commentary by John Stonestreet & G. Shane Morris

            Most people don’t know this, but early feminists – including suffragette Susan B. Anthony – were deeply opposed to abortion. A surprisingly honest Saturday Night Live sketch from a couple of years ago captured the shock of a group of progressive young ladies, who, when they met Anthony, are shocked to learn her less-than-progressive views on a woman’s so-called right to choose.

            Even more, Anthony and other early feminists clearly stated why they opposed abortion. Besides calling it murder, they argued that abortion allows men to use women to satisfy their appetites and then throw them aside. In an 1875 speech titled “Social Purity,” Anthony put abortion alongside “breach of promise, divorce, adultery, bigamy, seduction, rape … wife murders … [and] infanticides” as evils perpetrated by men against women and children.

            In an 1865 article in Anthony’s newspaper, an anonymous author (who most assume is Anthony herself) condemned abortion in no uncertain terms, laying it primarily at the feet of men: “No matter the motive,” she wrote, “[whether] love of ease, or a desire to save from suffering the unborn innocent, the woman is awfully guilty who commits the deed. It will burden her conscience in life, it will burden her soul in death; but oh, thrice guilty is he who drove her to the desperation which impelled her to the crime!”

            Times have changed. What was once a feminist argument against abortion has become a talking point for it.

            A recent editorial in the Huffington Post entitled “Access to Abortion Changes Cis-Men’s Lives Too” makes exactly such a claim. For those who aren’t up to speed on gender-theory lingo, “Cis” is short for “Cisgender,” which just means non-trans and non-gay. Why that word even exists is another story. In the HuffPo piece, Emma Gray argues that abortion is good for straight men, because it allows them to get rid of an unplanned child and get on with their educations and careers. She tells the stories of males (I cannot call them “men”) who say that “forced parenthood” would have been a disaster for them. She remarks how lucky they were to live in states where their girlfriends could just visit an abortion clinic, so they could dispose of the child and move on to more important things. As one pro-abortion journalist she approvingly quotes Tweeted: “Behind millions of successful men is an abortion they don’t regret getting with their partner.”

            Gray goes on: “… carrying an unintended pregnancy to term can mean giving up on professional and educational dreams. It can mean sacrificing financial stability. It can mean being tied to the wrong relationship forever … .”

            And then she quotes these fathers who – along with their partners – chose abortion over responsibility: “Access to abortion changed my life,” said one. Another said, “Any time I am able to think about my career on a … normal trajectory and the fact that I was able to finish school … I can almost always tie it back to [the abortion].” “If your girlfriend breaks her leg,” said another, “you want to take her to the doctor instead of let it be a lingering issue that she has to deal with for the rest of her life.”

            Wow. What a hero.

            Apparently, for this man and the Huffington Post, a baby is like a broken bone, and abortion is the splint that can get unwilling parents’ lives back on track. Of course, the life of the innocent child killed in the name of convenience will never get back on track.

            Susan B. Anthony and other early feminists decried abortion as a way for men to dodge responsibility. Today, abortion supporters see male irresponsibility as a positive good, no matter who dies in the process. By doing so, they’ve liberated men, but not women. They’ve enslaved women to male lusts and given men a “get-out-of-jail-free” card.

            What kind of a self-centered worldview puts a father’s dreams ahead of a child’s life? As Susan B. Anthony would have argued, it’s not a worldview that anybody who believes in women’s rights should ever embrace.


Gaining Ground

July 2, 2019, commentary by Michael J. New, reprinted from National Review

            Last week, Gallup released its annual public opinion poll on abortion policy, and its results contain some good news for abortion opponents. According to the survey, a plurality of Americans now identify as pro-life with 49% of respondents calling themselves “pro-life” and 46% calling themselves “pro-choice.” This is the first Gallup poll since 2013 in which a higher percentage of respondents identified as “pro-life” rather than “pro-choice.”

            The new survey also found that the percentage of Americans who think abortion should either be “illegal in all circumstances” or “legal in only a few circumstances” increased from 53 to 60% between 2018 and 2019. A Gallup poll conducted in May, meanwhile, found that the percentage of Americans who consider abortion immoral reached 50% for the first time since 2012.

            This gain in public support for the pro-life position is more significant than many observers realize. There is some evidence that pro-life sentiment tends to wane during Republican Presidential administrations, as well as when abortion opponents are poised to make substantial policy gains. Some pro-life observers have been concerned that efforts to enact abortion limitations in Alabama, Georgia, Missouri and a handful of other states might result in a public opinion backlash. This new Gallup poll illustrates that this likely has not been the case. In fact, it is entirely possible that aggressive efforts by Democrats to make abortion policy more permissive in states such as New York, Vermont and Illinois actually might have resulted in gains in prolife sentiment.

            Americans’ attitudes on abortion and other Life issues inevitably fluctuate from year to year, which is why it’s important to remember the long-term gains the pro-life movement has made in public opinion polling over time. In 1995, Gallup found that only 33% of Americans identified as “pro-life,” but since 1997, pro-life sentiment has reached at least 40% in every Gallup poll. In both 2009 and 2012, majorities of respondents to Gallup’s survey identified as “pro-life,” and pro-life efforts to educate the public likely have been an essential reason why the US abortion rate has declined by more than 50% since 1980.

[Life Advocacy Briefing editor’s note: Michael J. New is a visiting assistant professor of social research and political science at the Catholic University of America and a respected commentator on Life issues.]