Life Advocacy Briefing

July 22, 2019

Shakeup / Victory for Pro-Life Taxpayers
Litigation Win in Oklahoma / Erosion in Left’s Sandbox
Where’s Biden? / Sharp Contrast
‘Abortion’ Could Be Problem for Dem Candidates


PLANNED PARENTHOOD’s BOARD FIRED C.E.O. LEANA WEN last week in what Dr. Wen labeled a “closed-door meeting.”  Dr. Wen noted in a “tweet,” reports Operation Rescue’s (OR’s) Cheryl Sullenger, “‘I just learned that the PPFA [Planned Parenthood Federation of America] Board ended my employment at a secret meeting. We were engaged in good-faith negotiations about my departure based on philosophical differences over the direction and future of Planned Parenthood.’”

Notes Ms. Sullenger, “[Dr. Wen’s] vision for Planned Parenthood included turning the abortion business into primary healthcare centers that would provide needed services such as addiction recovery programs. Planned Parenthood instead wanted to focus on political abortion advocacy.” This according to a three-page letter the ex-CEO posted on Twitter.

The board demonstrated that tactical choice by naming as interim CEO Alexis McGill Johnson, reports Mrs. Sullenger, “a long-time PPFA board member with a decidedly leftist pedigree who appears to be more politically connected than Wen. … Johnson’s political campaign contribution history found on shows support,” writes Mrs. Sullenger, “for the far left of the Democratic Party. She has given money to politicians who are hardcore Planned Parenthood supporters who share her radical politics, such as [US Rep.] Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and [US Sen.] Kamala Harris.” The $500 contribution to Rep. Cortez came on July 31, 2018, some six weeks before her stunning Democratic primary victory over then-Rep. Joe Crowley; she reportedly donated $2,800 to Sen. Harris, presumably to the California Democrat’s Presidential campaign, on Feb. 8, 2019.

“‘We can expect to see a more aggressive political and legal agenda from Planned Parenthood under Johnson,’ said [OR president] Troy Newman” in the OR report. More than might have developed under Dr. Wen but certainly not more than Americans are accustomed to! PPFA is one of the Left’s most determined and pervasive actors in the “political and legal” arena and has been for decades.

We agree, though, with Mr. Newman’s characterization of “‘the disarray and division within Planned Parenthood’s ranks. What we are seeing right now,’” he said in Mrs. Sullenger’s report, “‘is a desperate attempt to regain political power it lost when Pres. Trump took office in 2017. … They are willing to throw anyone and everyone under the bus to get that power back.’”


Victory for Pro-Life Taxpayers

ON THE SAME DAY ITS BOARD FIRED ITS C.E.O., Planned Parenthood announced last Tuesday, reports Calvin Freiburger for, “it will not forego abortion to provide legitimate women’s health care,” declaring it will “pull out of the federal Title X (Ten) program entirely rather than comply with a Trump Administration rule barring family planning funds from providers involved with abortion.”

The move will cost the abortion goliath nearly $60 million from the some $563.8 million in federal taxpayer largesse reflected in Planned Parenthood’s balance sheets for the most rcent fiscal year. The $60 million will instead be available to health providers that are neither committing nor lobbying for abortions. 

The outfit is seeking court reversal of the Trump Administration rule, which was finalized in February, and the first litigation round suspended enforcement of the no-abortion-connection rule by US District Judge Stanley Bastian’s issuance of a nationwide injunction against the rule. But the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals – yes, the Ninth Circuit! – “recently reversed him,” notes Mr. Freiburger, “allowing the rule to take effect [last] week while the case on the merits is litigated.”

Planned Parenthood threw in the towel for now, saying, reports Mr. Freiburger (citing the Associated Press as source) “it will reject the funds for other services so it can continue committing and referring for abortions.” Abortion, after all, is a lucrative “service” and is required if Planned Parenthood is to continue profiting from the harvesting of baby body parts.

Planned Parenthood lobbyist Jacqueline Ayers said the outfit will continue “to lobby against the funding restriction,” reports LifeSiteNews, meanwhile “‘rely[ing] on “emergency funding” to continue its operations.’”

The case is still pending in the 9th Circuit, which, writes Mr. Freiburger, “will hear arguments and issue a ruling on the merits of the abortion lobby’s case against the rule at a later date.” Notes the LifeSiteNews reporter, “The fate of the Trump rule and the prospects of a more comprehensive defunding of Planned Parenthood will be among the most contentious issues of next year’s Presidential and Congressional elections.”

We at Life Advocacy offer our congratulations, for now at least, to Vice President Mike Pence, who, as a Member of Congress, fought tirelessly to disqualify Planned Parenthood and other abortionists from eligibility for Title X funding, a fight which could well need to be renewed in statutory form once taxpayers take back the Congress.


Litigation Win in Oklahoma

AN OKLAHOMA COUNTY DISTRICT JUDGE, Cindy Truong, upheld on July 12 the state’s ban on dismemberment (dilation and evacuation) abortion, the most commonly used tactic in killing gestating babies who have developed more than 14 weeks. The law was enacted in 2015 and has been tied up in litigation brought by the radical Center for Reproductive Rights, representing a Tulsa abortuary. CRR is mulling an appeal to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which has exhibited a pro-abortion tilt.

“‘Today is a major victory for basic human decency in Oklahoma,’” declared Atty. Gen. Mike Hunter (R), quoted by Calvin Freiburger for “‘Dismemberment abortions are barbaric, brutal, and subject unborn children to more cruelty than we allow for death-row inmates. … It is unconscionable to think that we would allow this practice to continue. Judge Truong is to be commended for declaring this legislation constitutional.’”

Abortion advocates attack the use of the term “dismemberment” as “inflammatory and misleading,” notes Mr. Freiburger, “even though the National Abortion Federation’s own instructional materials describe ‘grasping a fetal part,’ then ‘withdraw[ing] the forceps while gently rotating it’ to achieve ‘separation.’ Furthermore,” Mr. Freiburger writes, “‘notorious late-term abortionist Warren Hern has written, ‘there is no possibility of denial of an act of destruction by the operator [of D&E procedures]. It is before one’s eyes. The sensations of dismemberment flow through the forceps like an electric current.’” (Prayers are needed for Mr. Hern of Boulder, Colorado; more than any other abortionist, he is repeatedly frank and open about the evil in which he regularly indulges as one of America’s most prominent late-term abortionists, with no apparent remorse.)

Defenders also claim,” writes Mr. Freiburger, “dismemberment abortions are the safest second-trimester procedure available (for the mother), but pro-lifers suspect abortionists actually prefer D&E abortions because they can fit more into their schedule and therefore make more money. ‘Dismemberment abortion facilitates fetal harvesting,’ Kansans for Life executive director Kay Culp told LifeSiteNews last year,” writes Mr. Freiburger. “‘Clinicians experimenting on aborted baby parts don’t want their research tainted by drugs, and they want fresh organs – packed for shipping within minutes of death.’

“Legally, pro-lifers note that in 2000’s Stenberg v. Carhart,” writes Mr. Freiburger, “the pro-abortion Justice John Paul Stevens [who passed away last week] admitted that partial-birth abortion and dismemberment abortion were ‘equally gruesome’ and that it was ‘simply irrational’ to conclude that one was ‘more akin to infanticide than the other.’”

As to the supposed “safety” for the mother argument in the claims of abortion advocates against D&E abortion bans, the greater safety would be no abortion at all!


Erosion in Left’s Sandbox

July 12, 2019, Washington Update commentary by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins

            There’s a reason Planned Parenthood likes to challenge pro-life laws on the West Coast. They know the cases will eventually bubble up to the most liberal bench in the country – the Ninth Circuit. There’s just one problem. After almost three years of President Trump, their favorite appeals court isn’t exactly liberal any more. And that’s throwing a major wrench into the abortion industry’s plans.

            Elections have consequences, and they’ve been big ones for the make-up of America’s courts. Just this week, Pres. Trump added another originalist to the 9th Circuit bench, Daniel Bress, bringing the Administration’s total for the much-maligned court to seven. For the first time in decades, the 9th Circuit, which Trump has accused of being “out of control” with “a horrible reputation,” is on the verge of ideological balance. And for liberals, who rely on the courts to do what legislatures will not, the prospect of losing their grip is daunting.

            On Thursday, abortion extremists started to feel the effects of the President’s court leveling when the 9th Circuit refused to stop the Administration’s family planning rules from taking effect. In a shocking blow to Planned Parenthood’s ego, the judges ruled 7 to 4 that HHS’s rule stopping Title X [Ten] grantees from promoting abortion could go into effect. Making the decision even more upsetting for liberals, two of the judges in the majority were Trump appointees.

            If the rule goes into effect, groups like Leana Wen’s Planned Parenthood could stand to lose millions of dollars. Wen, who’s obviously unaccustomed to bad news from the 9th, called the decision “devastating.” And not just for her bottom line, which could suffer a $60 million loss, but for the Left’s whole court-shopping strategy.


Where’s Biden?

July 15, 2019, National Review commentary by Alexandra DeSanctis

            Jack Crowe reported earlier this morning on former Vice President Joe Biden’s healthcare plan, which would expand the Affordable Care Act [ObamaCare] by adding a public option. This distinguishes Biden from the field of politicians vying for the Democratic Presidential nomination, as most primary candidates have endorsed some form of “Medicare for All,” a single-payer model that would eliminate private insurance.

            But his unwillingness to embrace the most radical healthcare proposals on offer should not be mistaken for a dedication to moderation. Though Biden continues stubbornly to call himself a “personally pro-life” Democrat, his plan would enshrine into federal law the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, preventing states from protecting unborn life in any way (more or less formalizing the status quo, entrenched by courts that nearly uniformly interpret both Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey in favor of a woman’s supposed right to unlimited abortion access rather than in favor of states’ right to regulate abortion after fetal viability).

            Biden’s plan would also repeal the Hyde Amendment, a previously bipartisan rider added to federal spending bills to prohibit the direct federal funding of abortion. During his decades in the Senate, Biden consistently voted in favor [of] the amendment and publicly supported it until last month, when he unceremoniously switched his position after facing public pressure from left-wing activists who favor allowing unlimited taxpayer-funded abortion. Biden has long said he wishes to respect the conscience rights of pro-life Americans – he does, after all, profess to be among their number – but his decision to abandon Hyde was made with nary an explanation and after publicly reversing himself on the issue no fewer than three times in the span of a couple weeks.

            What’s more, the public option offered in Biden’s plan would “cover contraception and a woman’s constitutional right to choose” – in other words, it would explicitly fund both abortion procedures and contraception (presumably including emergency contraception and IUDs, both of which can induce abortion under some circumstances). As currently structured, Obamacare covers contraception at no cost to women, and the HHS contraceptive mandate requires all employers to cover it, although the Trump Administration has offered a religious and conscience exemption.

            Abortion, meanwhile, is currently excluded from the list of procedures that insurers must cover, and if they do cover abortion, they are required to segregate federal funding so that taxpayer dollars aren’t directly reimbursing abortion procedures. Though Biden has yet to speak publicly on whether he stands by his many votes in the Senate in favor of the federal ban on partial-birth abortion procedures, his full embrace of the Left’s radical abortion agenda appears to be nearly complete.


Sharp Contrast

Excerpt from July 17, 2019, speech by Pres. Donald Trump to re-election rally in Greenville, NC, transcribed by Life Advocacy Briefing

            Virtually every top Democrat also now supports late-term abortion, ripping babies straight from the mother’s womb, right up until the moment of birth.

            Well, then you have the gentleman from – our governor from – Virginia. So we’re talking about late-term, he’s talking about the baby is born before the mother makes the decision; that was the first – that’s the first I’ve heard of it, that’s the first most of you have heard of it – and then they pass legislation in various states saying that’s okay. This is a baby that’s born; this isn’t late-term; this is a baby that’s born. Nobody’s ever heard anything like that; nobody’s ever seen anything like it. Nobody’s ever seen anything like it. And that actually – when he had the scandal – that became, can you believe it – the second biggest story. Can you believe that? How important it is, and yet that was the second biggest story. And what a shame when that’s the second biggest story. What happened to our values?

            Republicans believe that every life is a sacred gift of God. And that’s why I’ve asked Congress to prohibit extreme late-term abortion of babies. Democrats are now the party of high taxes, high crime, open borders, late-term abortion, intolerance and division. The Republican Party is the party for all Americans and American values.


‘Abortion’ Could Be Problem for Dem Candidates

July 15, 2019, Social Issues Report by Margaret Olohan, reprinted from Daily Caller News Foundation

            A faith advisor to former Pres. Barack Obama warned that 2020 Democratic candidates campaigning for “abortion on demand” are underestimating American voters’ “more nuanced” views on abortion. Michael Wear, who served on both Obama’s Presidential campaigns and in the White House as part of the former President’s “faith-based initiative,” wrote in a Saturday New York Times op-ed that Democratic candidates’ hard line on abortion may alienate American voters who hold “more nuanced” understandings of abortion.

            Wear warns that Americans do not view abortion as a matter of moral clarity, as Democratic 2020 Presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand recently said, but as “an issue of great moral complexity that our politics has not settled satisfactorily.”

            Citing both former Vice Pres. Joe Biden’s and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s comments on abortion at the Democratic debates in June, Wear said that “the 2020 Democratic candidates are out of step with American voters, even Democratic voters, on the issue of abortion. …

            “According to some progressives, Democrats need to learn from Mr. Trump’s style of politics and name enemies, draw harder lines and callously stoke the animosities that roil Americans’ lives for partisan advantage,” Wear wrote, adding that this “emulation” of Trump style rhetoric is most clear when it comes to abortion.

            Wear claims that Trump will use abortion to cast Democratic opponents as “evil” – a strategy Wear says is “politically effective. …

            “We saw a preview of this approach in this year’s State of the Union address, when [Trump] said that lawmakers ‘cheered with delight’ at the passage of New York’s Reproductive Health Act, which he claimed would ‘allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments from birth,’” Wear wrote. “He characterized the governor of Virginia as willing to ‘execute a baby after birth.’”

            But, as Wear pointed out, while Democratic candidates represent the Democratic Party as “the party of abortion-on-demand,” Democratic voters have grown more apprehensive about abortion.

            Wear cited a February Marist poll that reveals, “As many Americans identified as pro-life as pro-choice, a 17-point swing from Marist’s similar survey just a month earlier.” He also cited a June Marist poll revealing that 73% of women want abortion to be restricted to the first three months and a June Morning Consult/Politico poll that showed 42% of Hispanics, 36% of African-Americans and 46% of Americans with an income under $50,000 support the Hyde Amendment.

            “Mr. Trump is going to tell the American people that his opponent supports infanticide, no matter what he or she actually believes,” Wear wrote. “The Democratic nominee must have a clear, compelling message that will help persuadable voters see that he or she does not in fact support infanticide.”

            Wear did not respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.