Life Advocacy Briefing

October 28, 2019

SanFrancisco Issues Travel Guide / Cleaning Up a Heartbeat Bill
Tracking the Candidates / 9th Circuit Does It Again
Useful Consensus / Eminently Good Sense / Priorities on Display

SanFrancisco Issues Travel Guide

THE CITY OF SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, HAS BANNED city employees from travel to 22 states which have abortion-restrictive laws that are somehow offensive to the bastion of radical libertinism. The city’s embargo echoes an effort launched in late September by Illinois State Rep. Daniel Didech (D-BuffaloGrove) to bar such travel by state workers but has an added twist: SanFrancisco is banning also city contracts with businesses based in blacklist territory.

“‘By limiting travel and contracting with certain states,’” said the city’s mayor, London Breed, quoted by Calvin Freiburger for LifeSiteNews, citing Fox News as source, “‘we are sending a clear message to states that disregard the right to abortion.’”

Those readers who wish to patronize states whose public policies tend to favor the right to life might wish to copy SanFrancisco’s list as a reverse guide. “Starting Jan. 1, 2020,” notes Mr. Freiburger, “the blacklist will apply to Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts [yes, even Massachusetts!], Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin – all of which,” he writes, “have ‘severe anti-choice policies’ on the books, according to city leaders.

“The blacklist appears to follow the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute’s overview of state abortion policies,” notes Mr. Freiburger, “which identifies all of the blacklisted states as banning abortion between 20 and 24 weeks of pregnancy – a point around which preborn babies are capable of feeling pain.”

The city’s move was, of course, endorsed warmly by Planned Parenthood Northern California. But “Pro-Life San Francisco executive director Terrisa Bukovinac responded in comments to the Daily Signal,” reports Mr. Freiburger. “‘It’s a PR tactic. This is an attempt to fire up their base,’” she said, “‘but I don’t think even they expect this to stand up to actual scrutiny in a courtroom.’” Nor even among thinking people, and there are a few left in California, even in SanFrancisco. “‘Killing other human beings,’” said Ms. Bukovinac, “‘is not progressive.’”


Cleaning Up a Heartbeat Bill

SOUTH CAROLINA’s LAWMAKERS ARE ADVANCING a “Fetal Heartbeat” bill to impose “criminal penalties,” writes Huffpost reporter Alanna Vagianos, “after cardiac activity is detected” in an unborn child. Such development can be detected, she notes, “as early as six weeks into pregnancy.”

The measure passed the lower house of the state legislature “earlier this year,” notes Ms. Vagianos, and is now in the Senate’s Medical Affairs Committee after advancing through subcommittee on a 4-to-3 vote. In the subcommittee, she reports, “Republican State Sen. Richard Cash successfully introduced an amendment to the bill to strip any exceptions for rape and incest.”

Bravo, Sen. Cash! Since when should a child suffer discrimination on the basis of an ancillary factor in his or her conception? “‘You are in fact killing an innocent human being,’” noted Sen. Cash to The State, quoted by Ms. Vagianos. “‘Whether you mean to or not, you are punishing a person wrongfully for something he or she had nothing to do with. … Anyone who is alive who was conceived in rape would probably be very glad that they are alive,’ he continued. ‘And would probably be very willing to discuss and argue with you about their right to life while in the womb.’” (Yes, this quote did appear in the Huffpost story.)

We would add, the so-called rape/incest exception so popular among squishy politicians actually serves the interest of the rapist, as part of the evidence of his crime is eliminated with abortion-on-account-of-rape, and the interest of the incest perpetrator, who can more likely persist in his odious bondage of his victim if evidence is eliminated through abortion. Why does this seem so hard to see?


Tracking the Candidates

NATIONAL RIGHT TO LIFE (NRL) NEWS COLUMNIST Dave Andrusko quoted most of the Democratic Presidential candidates who appeared in a CNN/New York Times televised debate Oct. 15 in which they were asked a direct question on abortion policy. After noting that Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT), “pro-abortion to the core, did not get a chance to voice his support for abortion-on-demand,” Mr. Andrusko quotes first Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA), whom he called “the front-runner.”

“In response to a popular ‘remedy’ from Democrats, which as posed by moderator Erin Burnett was ‘Would you consider adding more justices to the Supreme Court to protect Roe v. Wade?’, [Sen.] Warren responded,” writes Mr. Andrusko, “by combining fear – ‘But on Roe v. Wade, can we just pause for a minute here? I lived in an America where abortion was illegal and rich women still got abortions, because they could travel, they could go to places where it was legal’ – with a typical pro-abortion falsehood – ‘Three out of four Americans believe in the rule of Roe v. Wade.’ …

“In response to the same court-packing proposal,” writes Mr. Andrusko, ex-Vice Pres. Joe Biden “bragged, ‘when I defeated Robert Bork – and I say when I defeated Robert Bork, I made sure we guaranteed a woman’s right to choose for the better part of a generation. I would make sure that we move and insist that we pass, we codify Roe v. Wade. … And so I would not pack the Court. What I would do is make sure that the people that I recommended for the Court, from Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Elena Kagan, who used to work for me, to others, that they, in fact, support the right of privacy, on which the entire notion of a woman’s right to choose is based.’”

Said Sen. Cory Booker (NJ) responding, notes Mr. Andrusko, “to what he would do as President when states pass pro-life legislation, said, ‘And so the way as President of the United States I’m going to deal with this is, first of all, elevating it like we have with other national crises to a White House-level position. And I will create the Office of Reproductive Freedom & Reproductive Rights in the White House and make sure that we begin to fight back on a systematic attempt that’s gone on for decades to undermine Roe v. Wade. I will fight to codify it,’” said Sen. Booker, quoted by NRL News, “‘and I will also make sure that we fight as this country to repeal the Hyde Amendment, so that we are leading the Planet Earth in defending the global assault we see on women right now.’

“As for [Sen. Kamala] Harris [CA],” writes Mr. Andrusko, “she warmed up by telling Republican state legislatures that ‘People need to keep their hands off of women’s bodies and let women make the decisions about their own lives.’ What would she do as President to thwart pro-life state legislation? Something everyone (except [Ms.] Harris) acknowledges a President can’t do: ‘My plan is as, as follows. For any state that passes a law that violates the Constitution, and in particular Roe v. Wade, our Dept. of Justice will review that law to determine if it is compliant with Roe v. Wade and the Constitution, and if it is not, that law will not go into effect. That’s called pre-clearance.’” Right.


9th Circuit Does It Again

A 3-JUDGE PANEL of the notoriously left-wing 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last Tuesday, reports Martin M. Barillas for, “ruled that the Trump Administration’s rules that allow exemptions for religious groups such as the Little Sisters of the Poor are contrary to the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare.” The decision was penned by Judge J. Clifford Wallace, a Nixon-appointed judge, joined by Clinton-appointed Judge Susan B. Graber. Dissenting was Judge Andrew Kleinfeld, an appointee of Pres. George H.W. Bush.

Judge Kleinfeld wrote in his dissent, quoted by Mr. Barillas, “‘No woman sued for an injunction in this case, and no affidavits have been submitted from any women establishing any question in this case about whether they will be deprived of reproductive services or harmed in any way by the modification of the regulation. This case is a claim by several states to prevent a modification of a regulation from going into effect, claiming that it will cost them money.’”


Useful Consensus

A RESEARCHER AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO’s Dept. of Comparative Human Development has published an article at the Internet research magazine, in which he states his “finding,” reports Calvin Freiburger for, “that 82% of Americans recognize ‘when life begins’ as important to understanding an issue, that 93% agree human life should be legally protected once it begins, and that 80% believe biologists were most qualified to answer when it begins.

“So he designed a survey,” writes Mr. Freiburger, “and sent it to the biology departments of more than a thousand academic institutions worldwide.” The responses proved very interesting indeed.

“‘As the usable responses began to come in,’” said researcher Steve Jacobs, quoted in the LifeSiteNews report from his Quillette commentary, “‘I found that 5,337 biologists (96%) affirmed that a human’s life begins at fertilization, with 240 (4%) rejecting that view.’” Yet, he wrote, according to Mr. Freiburger, “‘The majority of the sample identified [themselves] as liberal (89%), pro-choice (85%) and non-religious (63%). In the case of Americans who expressed party preference, the majority identified as Democrats (92%).’”

The findings of the survey, notes Mr. Freiburger, “are consistent with long-settled biological criteria, reflected in numerous mainstream scientific and medical textbooks, which establishes [sic] that a living human being is created upon fertilization and is present throughout the entirety of pregnancy,” a fact which can and should be asserted by pro-life front-liners in advocating the recriminalization of abortion. The justice in such a position should be obvious.


Eminently Good Sense

Oct. 10, 2019, Family Research Council Washington Update commentary by Katherine Beck Johnson

            When the Supreme Court agreed to hear June Medical Services v. Gee late last week, it took up what could turn into the biggest abortion case in years. It is certainly the biggest one since Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh have been on the bench.

            In taking Gee, the current justices could be signaling their willingness to allow states to regulate abortion for women’s health and safety. The first question in Gee involves Louisiana’s requirement that abortionists have admitting privileges at a hospital close to the abortion clinic. The second question is whether abortion providers, rather than women, can even bring suit challenging abortion regulations.

            Tony Perkins hosted Louisiana’s Attorney General, Jeff Landry, on Washington Watch (radio program and podcast) to discuss Louisiana’s commonsense law. Atty. Gen. Landry said, “This [pro-life law] is about women’s health and a double standard that the Court has allowed to begin to prevail around the country when it comes to the health care of women.” Louisiana’s law requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic.

            The goal of the law is to protect the health and safety of Louisiana women by ensuring that physicians at abortion facilities can treat patients at a local hospital in the event a woman is harmed during an abortion. This law brings abortion providers in line with mainstream medical standards in the state. Atty. Gen. Landry noted, “In Louisiana, a woman who goes to any other healthcare clinic receiving any other procedure under which she’s bodily sedated – that doctor is required to have admitting privileges. So why wouldn’t we require doctors at abortion clinics have the same?” Abortion providers can’t claim that abortion is a routine medical procedure yet argue that they do not have to abide by the same medical standards as other outpatient surgical centers.

            Texas passed a similar bill that required admitting privileges, along with other abortion regulations, that the Supreme Court struck down in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt in 2016. In Hellerstedt, the Supreme Court held that Texas’s admitting privileges requirement created an undue burden on abortion because it led to the closure of many abortion clinics.

            The Fifth Circuit upheld Louisiana’s regulations and distinguished them from Texas’s regulations in Hellerstedt. The 5th Circuit found that, unlike in Texas, many of the abortionists in Louisiana could receive admitting privileges. Many of the abortionists just “sat on their hands” rather than diligently attempt to receive admitting privileges. In addition, the 5th Circuit held that Louisiana provided evidence that Texas had not: Louisiana’s requirement promoted women’s health and safety. For example, Louisiana hospitals have more intense and rigorous background checks, whereas the abortion clinics do not even perform criminal background checks. Thus, the 5th Circuit held that Louisiana’s reasonable health requirement was constitutional.

            The abortion providers who advocate against basic health standards do not have women’s best interest in mind and therefore should not be permitted to represent these women in court. This is the second question the Supreme Court granted cert to decide in Gee: Do abortion providers automatically have standing to bring a case against any abortion regulation? If Louisiana wins, there would be large implications for abortion litigation. Most of the landmark abortion cases, such as Planned Parenthood v. Casey and Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, were brought by the abortion industry, not women. Atty. Gen. Landry highlighted the double standard when it comes to abortion providers in court. He said, “We treat the abortion industry differently than we treat all other parties when they come before the court. In almost any other matter, the court requires that the party before them is actually [an] aggrieved party.” Yet abortion providers, not women, are the ones to bring suit against sensible regulations that protect the health and safety of women.

            Why do health standards for women aggrieve abortion providers? The abortion industry argues for less medical and safety protections for women under the façade of women’s advocacy. The Supreme Court should recognize that abortion providers do not represent women’s best interests and should affirm the 5th Circuit’s holding that Louisiana’s regulations are constitutional. The reasonable admitting privileges requirement allows continual care in the hospital for women who suffer from botched abortions. The Supreme Court should rule that Louisiana and other states are able to protect women’s health without the abortion industry interfering for their own political and financial profit.


Priorities on Display

Oct. 23, 2019, Washington Update commentary by Connor Semelsberger for Family Research Council

            In May, 2018, the Trump Administration proposed changes to the rules which govern the Title X [Ten] Family Planning Program. These changes, finalized on March 4, 2019, are known as the Protect Life Rule. This rule provides existing and prospective Title X grantees with a straightforward choice: comply with the rule and separate their family planning services from abortion activities or choose to relinquish their federal grant funding.

            Now that the Protect Life Rule is going into effect, abortion advocates are not happy. In August, Planned Parenthood and several pro-abortion states made headlines when they refused to separate their family planning services from their abortion activities. They instead chose to withdraw from the Title X program, prioritizing abortion procedures and referrals over providing affordable family planning services to women in need.

            Ever since these pro-abortion groups decided to forgo federal funding, they have been attempting to pin the blame for the loss of federal funds on anything and everything but their own love of abortion. Just this week, the Kaiser Family Foundation and Power to Decide, two abortion-friendly groups, published reports that attempt to paint Planned Parenthood as an essential, irreplaceable provider of quality family planning care. They assert that, without Title X federal funding going to Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups, there will be a dramatic decline in family planning services.

            These misleading claims ignore several key facts. First, states that chose to withdraw from the Title X program – Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts and Washington – almost immediately earmarked state funds to replace the lost federal funding. Therefore, clinics in these states will not see any decrease in family planning funding. Second, the Dept. of Health & Human Services (HHS) recently announced $33.6 million in additional Title X grants to make up for any gaps that were left when grantees withdrew from the program. Finally, the Protect Life Rule removed the requirement that all grantees provide abortion referrals to their patients. This will expand the number of providers and improve the quality of family planning care available to women across America, because additional pro-life and faith-based providers who have a moral objection to abortion are now eligible to apply for Title X grants.

            The ongoing attacks on the Trump Administration for implementing the Protect Life Rule are just another example of radical liberals wanting to delegitimize our government institutions. The groups that withdrew from the Title X program and refuse to accept responsibility for their own choice believe that they, as past grant recipients, get to dictate the terms and requirements of the grant. But the authority to make rules governing grants rests instead with the federal government, which is beholden to taxpayers. All reasonably-minded organizations know that if they accept federal or even state grant money, they are beholden to the rules and requirements set by the government. This obligation to comply with rules governing grants is a primary reason why many faith-based organizations have not applied for Title X grants in the past. In 1993, the Clinton Administration issued the requirement that all grantees provide abortion referrals to their patients.

            Pro-abortion groups want to issue commands to the government and create politicized legal battles when they do not get their way. Meanwhile, this Administration went through the federal rulemaking process, accepting public comments and adhering to what is required by law. … However, ever since HHS took a strong pro-life stance under the leadership of Pres. Trump, pro-abortion groups would rather undermine the process than play by the rules.