Life Advocacy Briefing

August 5, 2019

Action Needed Now / Failure, Again, to Defund
Rep. Omar Embraces Abortion / In the States / Huge Hypocrisy
The Long Slog Through the Courts / Such Naivete Could Not Last

Action Needed Now

U.S. HOUSE REPUBLICANS HAVE PERSISTED in raising their demand for a vote on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, HR-962, throughout the six months since its referral to the radical House Judiciary Committee. Member after Member has risen to request unanimous consent that the urgent measure be debated and voted on in the full House without further committee deliberation. On 78 such occasions, House Democrats have raised objections, blocking the request.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) took his turn at the bat last week, declaring in a statement quoted by James Barrett in, “‘There are certain moral issues that are not debatable, and this is one of them. Somehow we as a Congress cannot agree that babies who survived attempted abortions deserve medical care. While House Democrats refuse to give these innocent lives a chance,’” he said, “‘House Republicans will continue to demand a vote to protect them.’”

And House GOP Conference Chairman Liz Cheney (WY) has attempted the “unanimous consent” motion more than once, most recently July 23. In a statement released after her motion was rejected, reports Alexandra DeSanctis for National Review, Rep. Cheney declared, “‘The refusal by House Democrats to allow a vote on commonsense legislation that protects the life of innocent babies and their mothers is abhorrent.’”

Medical care for babies who survive abortions became a major issue last winter – not long after the bill was introduced as a routine legislative objective of the pro-life movement – when a Virginia state assemblywoman attempted unsuccessfully to advance a proposal legalizing abortion to the moment of birth and the state’s Democratic governor, Dr. Ralph Northam, characterized medical neglect of abortion surviving babies as though it is routine practice.

A petition to circumvent the daily objection to the unanimous consent request and bring HR-962 to the House floor for immediate consideration is being promoted by Priests for Life and other pro-life organizations. An e-mail communication last week from Priests for Life’s national director Fr. Frank Pavone states that the petition needs just 17 more signatures to trigger House action and urges pro-life advocates in Democratic Members’ districts to contact their Representatives during the August Congressional recess, requesting that they sign the petition.

“‘My Republican colleagues and I know there are moderate Democrats who feel the same [as the GOP signers],’” said House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA), quoted by Ms. DeSanctis, “‘and are tired of this new Democrat Majority cowering to its Socialist left wing.’” He continued, “‘They are ignoring issues that matter to the majority of the country, and it is a shame this chamber has neglected to consider a vote on this commonsense piece of legislation.’”

The discharge petition may be tracked via the Heritage Foundation’s website at The list of signers shows that just three House Democrats – Representatives Dan Lipinski (IL), Collin Peterson (MN) and Ben McAdams (UT) – have signed the petition. All Republican Members and newly-declared “Independent” Justin Amash (MI) have signed on.


Failure, Again, to Defund

THE BIPARTISAN BUDGET DEAL which passed the House in late July and is, according to The Daily Caller’s William Davis, “expected” to pass the Senate, not only “increases government spending to $1.37 trillion,” writes Mr. Davis, but also “keeps Planned Parenthood’s funding intact” – excluding the $60 million it has traditionally drawn from Title X (Ten) “family planning” grants and contracts. The abortion giant has, predictably, announced it will forego Title X funding rather than reorganize its business to separate abortion from birth control “services.”

The $1.37 trillion federal spending in the budget bill went to the Senate, notes Mr. Davis, “despite staunch opposition from most House Republicans. … The legislation,” he writes, “was opposed by 132 of 197 House Republicans, but the President still intends to sign the bill if it passes the Senate as expected.” Just 15 House Democrats voted “no,” no doubt for a variety of reasons.


Rep. Omar Embraces Abortion

NOTORIOUS U.S. REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN) HAS NOW WEIGHED IN on abortion, urging taxpayer-funded abortions on illegal aliens.

“Reacting to reports that the Trump Administration’s increased immigration enforcement is allegedly leading illegal immigrants to forego visits to abortion centers due to fear of being identified and deported,” writes Calvin Freiburger for, Rep. “Omar declared, ‘No one should fear receiving medical care because they are undocumented. We must ensure that all people in our country have access to reproductive health care,’” the Left’s code phrase for abortion.

“On her website,” reports Mr. Freiburger, Rep. “Omar clarifies that she favors abortion ‘coverage and care regardless of income or insurance,’” and also that she favors “repealing the Hyde Amendment, which bans most federal tax dollars from directly financing most abortions. …

“In May, [Rep.] Omar took to the House floor,” notes Mr. Freiburger, “to assail pro-life Americans as ‘religious fundamentalists’ who aren’t sincerely ‘concerned about children’ but instead seek to ‘criminalize women for existing.’”


In the States

  • OREGON GOV. KATE BROWN (D) SIGNED INTO LAW last Tuesday a bill striking one of the few remaining safeguards in the state’s doctor-abetted suicide law. “The change,” reports Samantha Gobba for World magazine, “does away with a 15-day waiting period if a physician predicts a patient has fewer than 15 days to live. ‘[Removing] the waiting period makes it even easier for a bad actor to coerce or force someone to end their own lives,’ Liberty Pike, communications director for Oregon Right to Life, told me,” writes the World reporter. “‘And the number of reasons that somebody might want to do that are various and sundry to be sure,’” she said, “‘whether it’s financial motivation or the caregiver is tired of being involved in the process – whatever it might be.’ … Under the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, enacted in 1998,” writes Ms. Gobba, “the state has seen an increase in lethal prescriptions nearly every year since. Last year,” she reports, “249 Oregonians died from ingesting lethal drugs prescribed under the Act.” A spokesman for National Right to Life, Jennifer Popik, told Ms. Gobba, “‘Expansion of these laws is dangerous territory.’”

  • TEXAS GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R) SIGNED A LAW July 18 “requiring life-saving treatment,” writes Calvin Freiburger for, “for infants born alive after failed abortions, a basic legal protection the US House of Representatives still refuses to emulate.” The new Texas law simply “requires that for any child born alive after an attempted abortion,” reports Mr. Freiburger, “doctors ‘must exercise the same degree of professional skill, care and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious physician would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age,’ specifically including ‘immediate’ transfer to a hospital” – violations punishable by “fines starting at $100,000,” reports LifeSiteNews.


Huge Hypocrisy

July 24, 2019, Washington Update commentary by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins

            New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) seems incredibly concerned with animal cruelty. But when it comes to newborn babies? Not so much. The man behind the infamous light display for infanticide has apparently decided that it’s mean to declaw cats. Dismembering tiny humans, on the other hand, gets a hearty standing ovation.

            For American states, it’s a first. When the far-Left governor inked his name on a law that makes it a crime to surgically remove a cat’s claws, pro-lifers couldn’t help but see the irony. “Declawing is a cruel and painful procedure that can create physical and behavioral problems for helpless animals, and today it stops. By banning this archaic practice, we will ensure that animals are no longer subjected to these inhumane and unnecessary procedures,” Cuomo said in a statement.

            Funny, he didn’t seem to mind the inhumanity of leaving a perfectly healthy newborn abortion survivor to die – or the “cruel and painful procedure” that literally rips a living child to pieces. Where was Cuomo’s horror at the kind of surgery that, Dr. Anthony Levatino explains, involves “reaching into a woman’s uterus with forceps and grabbing whatever is there. Maybe you rip off a leg, which is about four inches long, then you pull out an arm, the spine. The skull is the most difficult part. Sometimes there’s a little face staring up at you.”

                Unlike kittens, babies don’t survive that inhumanity. Which is apparently just fine with this governor of double standards.


The Long Slog Through the Courts

July 22, 2019 commentary by Ryan Everson, Washington Examiner

            A new report from Susan B. Anthony List’s Charlotte Lozier Institute details the many abortion laws that are currently enjoined as they sit in the courts. While many of these laws pose a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, it is unlikely that these legal challenges will be heard or decided by the Supreme Court before the 2020 election.

            The report, written by CLI scholar Mary Harned, organizes the pending abortion laws into four categories: 1) limits on tax funding for abortion providers; 2) restrictions on abortion procedures and discriminatory abortions; 3) health, safety and informed consent laws; 4) gestational limits on abortion. The legislation in the fourth category poses the most direct challenge to Roe v. Wade and its progeny.

            Addressing the first category, several states have enacted laws to disqualify abortion providers from participating in Medicaid programs. Several circuit courts have ruled on these laws, and the results have been mostly favorable for the abortion industry. Kansas and Louisiana appealed to the Supreme Court on the matter in 2018, but the Supreme Court declined to hear the cases, so there is no federal precedent.

            In the second category, 12 states have enacted bans on dilation and evacuation abortions, which are performed in the second trimester. As a video from Live Action demonstrates, this gruesome procedure involves ripping the baby’s limbs off one at a time.

            In three states – Mississippi, North Dakota and West Virginia – dilation and evacuation bans are active and have not been challenged in court. In the other nine states, the law is enjoined in court. A few weeks ago, the Supreme Court declined to review Alabama’s dilation and evacuation ban. Harned told the Washington Examiner that the Supreme Court likely declined to hear the case because there is not a “circuit split” on the issue, as every circuit court to rule on dilation and evacuation bans has struck them down.

            Also within this category, 15 states have passed laws prohibiting abortions based on the child’s sex, race or genetic anomalies such as Down syndrome. In May the Supreme Court considered such a law in Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana & Kentucky Inc. but declined to rule on this provision of the law because there was no circuit split. In a Per Curiam opinion, the Supreme Court said, “Only the 7th Circuit has thus far addressed this kind of law. We follow our ordinary practice of denying petitions insofar as they raise legal issues that have not been considered by additional Courts of Appeals.”

            In the third category of laws, one of particular interest is an Indiana law that requires women to wait 18 hours after an ultrasound to get an abortion. The 7th Circuit Court shot it down, but Indiana is appealing to the Supreme Court once again to see if they have better luck with this law.

            Both of these Indiana laws … have a much smaller impact than gestational bans on abortion, but they still save lives. Additionally, under the “undue burden” standard established in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, these laws could certainly be passed without technically overturning any previous decisions. For example, a court could decide by its own judgment that banning abortions on babies with Down syndrome does not impose an “undue burden” on women and uphold the law. These laws are much more likely to be upheld than laws that pose more of a “burden” to women seeking abortions.

            Laws in the fourth category, which are abortion bans based on gestational age, pose the most direct challenge to Roe. An example of this would be “heartbeat laws” that ban abortion after six weeks. Mary Harned told the Washington Examiner that such a law will probably not come before the Supreme Court prior to the 2020 election. “That is unlikely. They are early in the appeals process,” Harned said. “Further, the court is unlikely to take a gestatonal ban case without a circuit split.” …

            Final takeaway: There has never been a more hectic time to follow American abortion legislation than right now, and anti-abortion advocates should be energized by the opportunities that lie before us.


Such Naivete Could Not Last

July 25, 2019, commentary by Nicole Russell for the Washington Examiner

            Leana Wen, now the former president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, was fired from the organization over what she calls “philosophical differences over the best way to protect reproductive health.” A few days later, she penned an op-ed in the New York Times explaining what happened and why, from her perspective. What she reveals about the organization’s goals and methodology is not only unsurprising but confirms what conservatives have been claiming about Planned Parenthood for years.

            Wen first writes that while she understood Planned Parenthood certainly performed abortions, she didn’t believe that should be the organization’s primary goal. “While the traditional approach has been through prioritizing advocating for abortion rights … I believed we could expand support for Planned Parenthood – and ultimately for abortion access – by finding common ground with the large majority of Americans who can unite behind the goal of improving the health and well-being of women and children.” Wen admits “there was immediate criticism that I did not prioritize abortion enough.”

            It’s not clear if Wen is genuinely surprised at Planned Parenthood’s goal to eschew even the optics of being an organization that provided health care while actually focusing more on abortions, but she certainly seems like it. Conservatives have claimed for years, correctly, that Planned Parenthood’s sole mission is to perpetuate murder-at-will through abortion for any reason at nearly any cost. Even so, Wen seems to have bought into the myth that Planned Parenthood still does provide some health care, writing, “People depend on Planned Parenthood for breast exams, cervical cancer screenings, HIV testing and family planning.”

            While some of these things are offered at some locations, it’s not always available, and statistics show that it’s certainly not what people depend on Planned Parenthood for. According to their own annual report from 2017-2018, as the Heritage Foundation’s Melanie Israel writes, Planned Parenthood “performed 332,757 abortions during the reported year, the most the abortion giant has reported since 2011-2012. In contrast, non-abortion services have declined significantly. Planned Parenthood reported a decrease in the provision of various services in 2017-2018.” Again, even as Planned Parenthood tried to revitalize their marketing campaign with false messages, conservatives often pointed out the statistics that didn’t match their ad campaigns.

            Trying to re-manufacture and sell the idea, as Wen hoped they would, that Planned Parenthood was not “just a political entity and show that it was first and foremost a mainstream health organization,” may have been a somewhat noble goal, except that it started with the wrong premise. It would be as if Philip Morris, after selling cigarettes since the 1800s, tried suddenly to sell them alongside bananas in the supermarket.

            In closing, Wen wrote, “We need to stop treating those whose views differ from our own with scorn and suspicion, and instead work together to safeguard our health, our rights and our future.” Perhaps this is ultimately why Wen was fired, because she tried so hard to deflect from Planned Parenthood’s goals. But they had no desire to divert attention from their real mission. And besides, has anyone ever known Planned Parenthood to really safeguard a person’s health?