Life Advocacy Briefing

November 11, 2019

Thankful / Phone Calls in Order! / Model Victory / Lifting a Burden
U.S. Wins One for Life at the U.N. / Mixed Results / In the Courts
Hurdle for the Good Guys / Doing the Right Thing


HOW THANKFUL WE ARE, as Americans, for the sacrificial service of our nation’s military veterans, defending the Constitution, the Flag, America’s Declaration of Independence and the people of our nation. We salute those who have served and those who are serving. We thank God for such selfless dedication, and we pray for more heroes to come alongside and behind those who have already given so much.


Phone Calls in Order!

READERS ARE ASKED TO CALL Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to thank him for pulling the State & Foreign Operations Appropriation bill from consideration and to urge him to insist that any future version of the measure exclude the Shaheen Amendment to fund outfits that promote abortion overseas and to fund the notorious United Nations Population Agency (UNFPA).

Messages for Sen. McConnell may be phoned to 1-202/224-3135.

The Shaheen Amendment is worded in such a way as to “create a chilling effect,” notes Lisa Correnti, reporting for Center for Family & Human Rights (C-Fam), “for USAID to partner with pro-life, pro-family or faith-based contractors. It will directly undermine USAID’s New Partnership Initiative (NPI),” she writes, “that helps in-country community and faith-based organizations to partner with USAID. Pro-life organizations could be found in violation of discrimination … for not providing abortion.”


Model Victory

KUDOS TO THE PARENTS & CHURCH FOLKS in southwest Washington State, who rallied fellow citizens to block adoption by the Battle Ground School District of a Planned Parenthood sex education curriculum called FLASH. Not surprisingly, the curriculum – among other features which Mission America president Linda Harvey, writing for, calls “pornographic” and “pro-abortion” – “funnel[s] girl clients into Planned Parenthood clinics.”

The Southwest Washington State chapter of Parents Rights in Education and other parent groups, notes Ms. Harvey, “orchestrated a huge turnout by local churches. The Slavic/Russian community rallied for a protest in Olympia that ended up drawing more than 2,000 people, and much prayer and fasting, along with meaningful dialogue with officials, turned a predictably comfortable win by radicals into a thumbs-down loss.

“And Planned Parenthood is furious,” reports Ms. Harvey. “They immediately scheduled meetings with the ACLU, a letter-writing campaign, strategy sessions and more in an attempt to quickly reclaim this territory.” But the vote has been taken, and the people – for a change – have spoken.

How did it happen in Washington State? “The parent groups,” writes Ms. Harvey, “attributed their success to being on their knees to God because ‘without His help, we knew we would not win this struggle.’ Many people were praying for them as well,” she reports. “They also knew the objectionable FLASH curriculum inside and out, so they knew its weaknesses, and they went one-on-one with board members with very productive dialogue. They also maintained a professional demeanor throughout. This is how we can win,” she asserts. “Prayer, research, hard work and boldly standing for the truth.” Amen.


Lifting a Burden

THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCED Nov. 1 it will not enforce Obama-regime rules, reports Calvin Freiburger for, “forcing faith-based adoption and foster agencies to place children in same-sex households and proposed new rules specifically recognizing the religious and conscience rights of such organizations.”

Though apparently dropping “sexual orientation” language from “‘non-discrimination’ rules governing federal funds to adoption and foster agencies,” writes Mr. Freiburger, “the Trump Dept. of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced it will be replacing it with a new rule that retains most of the old rule’s non-controversial language. However,” he notes, “it will revise certain provisions to bring them in line with ‘applicable nondiscrimination provisions passed by Congress and signed into law, including legislation ensuring the protection of religious liberty … .’

“‘We commend the Administration for acting to change a 2016 regulation that threatened to shut out faith-based social service providers, namely adoption and foster care agencies that respect a child’s right to a mother and a father,’ the US Conference of Catholic Bishops said in a statement,” quoted by Mr. Freiburger. “‘We are alarmed and saddened that state and local government agencies in multiple jurisdictions have already succeeded in shutting down Catholic adoption and foster care agencies as a result of their Catholic beliefs. At a time when over 400,000 children are in foster care, we need to take steps to increase – not decrease – their opportunities to be placed with safe and loving families’” – and the number of agencies eligible to furnish services to foster children and adoption-minded families.

Said Catholic Assn. Foundation legal advisor Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, quoted by LifeSiteNews, “‘Agencies that find loving foster and adoptive homes shouldn’t be subject to ideological shakedowns by the government,’” as occurred, she said “‘in the waning days of the Obama Administration with no legislative or judicial mandate.’”

We publish a commentary about this rule change at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing, demonstrating what it means to real people.


U.S. Wins One for Life at the U.N.

IN A BLOW TO THE INTERNATIONAL ABORTION LOBBY, the Trump Administration succeeded in keeping “abortion-related language” out of a UN Security Council resolution, reports Dr. Susan Yoshihara for Center for Family & Human Rights (C-Fam). The exclusion is, she writes, “a blow to Europeans who insist that abortion be funded as humanitarian aid.”

After a unanimous vote to adopt the cleansed resolution, America’s UN ambassador, Kelly Craft, said, reports Dr. Yoshihara, “‘We cannot accept references to “sexual and reproductive health,” nor any references to “safe termination of pregnancy” or language that would promote abortion or suggest a right to abortion.’ …

“This is the second time in recent months,” writes Dr. Yoshihara, “that the Europeans were defeated in attempts to include abortion in the Women Peace & Security agenda. They were stopped in April,” she notes, “when the US threatened to veto the last iteration of the resolution.”


Mixed Results

LAST TUESDAY’s ELECTIONS IN A FEW STATES did not bring good news for pro-life citizens.

A pro-life Republican was elected governor in Mississippi, but public statements from his Democratic opponent suggest the abortion issue did not divide the two men and therefore was not likely a motivating factor for voters.

Where the election did alter the abortion-issue outcome, changes in the political demography of the northern Virginia suburbs last Tuesday flipped both houses of the legislature to Democratic control, serving the interests of abortion extremist Gov. Ralph Northam in a most distasteful and tragic outcome. Gov. Northam still has two years to go on his term and cannot seek re-election. The outcome in Virginia has put the commonwealth on the immediate target list for advocates of enshrining abortion into the US Constitution via ratification of the so-called Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Court-ordered legislative redistricting played a role in the reversal of party rule.

Pro-life citizens mourn especially the apparent loss of Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R), a pro-life champion, to an abortion advocate, former Gov. Steve Beshear’s son Andy, the state’s attorney general. Though the two were poles apart on abortion, the most critical issue appears to have been Gov. Bevin’s attempt to reform the costly teacher pension system with a benefits cut, mobilizing the powerful teachers unions throughout the state. At this writing, Gov. Bevin is seeking a recanvass of the votes and has not conceded, though Mr. Beshear claimed victory on election night. The Republican Party continues its solid control of both houses of the legislature and succeeded in electing all the other statewide officials last Tuesday.


In the Courts

  • FEDERAL DISTRICT JUDGE PAUL ENGELMAYER last week barred the Trump Administration, reports Calvin Freiburger for, from enforcing “a rule protecting healthcare workers from being forced to participate in abortions, claiming it was ‘unconstitutional.’” The New York-based judge is an appointee of ex-Pres. Barack Obama. The ruling came in a suit brought by 23 states and municipalities, which claimed the rule was “‘impermissibly coercive’ toward state and local governments that would be tasked with enforcing it as a condition of federal funds.” Readers who respond to such a statement by scratching their heads are to be forgiven and even respected.


Hurdle for the Good Guys

Oct. 31, 2019, Washington Update commentary by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins

            Justice may be blind, but the American Bar Assn. is not. That’s the biggest takeaway from Wednesday’s Senate hearing, when 9th Circuit Court nominee Lawrence VanDyke became the ABA’s latest contestant on “conservatives don’t have talent.” Like most of this President’s picks, VanDyke probably braced himself for the Kavanaugh Treatment. But he never imagined the country’s largest attorney organization would stoop to label him “not qualified.”

            How can a judicial nominee who graduated magna cum laude, “edited the Harvard Law Review, clerked for a top circuit judge, litigated extensively at the district and appellate levels and served as solicitor general of two states be deemed ‘unqualified’?” the editors of the Wall Street Journal ask. “Only if the group making the judgment is the liberal lawyers’ guild known as the American Bar Assn., and the nominee in question is a Republican – and worse, an evangelical Christian.”

            Ignoring his years of experience and credentials that are “right out of central casting” for an appellate judge, Article III’s Mike Davis insisted, the ABA’s rating dropped like a bomb. Blasting VanDyke as “arrogant, lazy” and “an ideologue” who “does not have an open mind,” the report was such an over-the-top thrashing that experts like Carrie Severino said it was time for the Senate to end the group’s role. In fact, the report was so wildly vitriolic (unsurprising, since it was authored by a donor to one of VanDyke’s political opponents in Montana) that even Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) thought the ABA should be brought in to explain.

            At one point, the ABA even attacked VanDyke’s religious beliefs, implying that he wouldn’t be fair to members of the LGBTQ community – a charge so vicious and unfounded that Lawrence broke down in tears when Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) asked him about it. “I did not say that,” he insisted, his voice breaking. “I do not believe that. It is a fundamental belief of mine that all people are created in the image of God and they should all be treated with dignity and respect.”

            For now, the group’s standing committee stands by its trashing of Trump’s pick as “impartial.” But Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) – like Hawley – continues to be astonished that his chamber still takes the ABA seriously. As far as he and many others are concerned, the group has lost all credibility as a “neutral arbiter” and “should be treated no differently than any other special interest group.” Until there’s a thorough investigation into the association’s prejudice, he called for “suspend[ing] the unique access” that the ABA has to the confirmation process.

            And thanks to this Administration, groups like the ABA – who’ve been hiding out as “neutral” parties for years – are starting to be exposed for their unapologetic left-leaning stance. As painful as this parade of character assassination has been for the President’s picks, it could force the Senate to reconsider how it conducts its confirmation business. If not, this process – one that’s stood up to centuries of partisanship – may never be the same.  

            That would be a tough sell for liberals, Davis argued on [Family Research Council’s podcast] Washington Watch. “Democrats feel like they’re beholden to the ABA because of the millions of dollars in campaign contributions from trial attorneys across America. When Democrats control the White House or … the Senate, they basically outsource their Constitutional duty to provide advice and consent to the ABA.” They don’t mind using the ABA’s bogus ratings as political fodder, especially when it hangs good men like Lawrence out to dry. Fortunately, Mike went on, “Pres. Trump and the Republican Senate see right through that. They understand that it’s their duty to be independent.”


Doing the Right Thing

Nov. 4, 2019, Washington Update commentary by FRC Action president Tony Perkins

            “Leaving the hospital without my daughter was the single hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Adrian remembers. She thinks about watching the hospital clock tick down to the moment she’d have to say good-bye. In those final minutes, she thought her heart might shatter. “I was broken.” She swaddled the tiny fingers and toes one last time before a hand came to rest on hers. It was her adoption social worker. Adrian looked into her face and knew she was doing the right thing.

            This wasn’t supposed to happen to people like her. A junior at a Christian college, Adrian remembers the terror of holding a positive pregnancy test in her hands. “I recoiled in fear and shame,” she says. How would she explain this to her parents? “I held several leadership positions at the Christian university I attended. I was a Resident Assistant in a dormitory. I was an editor for our campus newspaper and editor-in-chief of our school magazine. I was an A-student. … An unplanned pregnancy was not part of my meticulously planned life. … Loneliness enveloped me.”

            Scared about her friends’ reactions and losing her positions at school, she hid her pregnancy for the entire spring semester. She dreamed about life as a mom, but over time, Adrian admits, “those dreams faded with the realization that I wasn’t prepared to be a parent. At the time, I wasn’t capable of giving my baby everything she deserved. In the end, my boyfriend and I made the heart-wrenching decision to move forward with an adoption plan.”

            If she couldn’t keep the baby, then Adrian says the one thing she could control was who could. Since it was her choice to carry her daughter to term, she wanted the freedom to choose the parents. It was her deepest desire to put her baby in a home with a married mom and dad who “shared the same Christian faith and family goals that I did.” Having that choice, she explains, gave her peace. “The moment I walked into Hope’s Promise, a faith-based adoption agency located in Castle Rock, Colorado, I knew I’d found a safe place.”

            Years later, the thought of someone taking that away from her – or any young mom – is horrifying. “Birth moms have a right to have their voices heard,” she insists. When liberal activists started punishing adoption agencies for placing kids in homes with matching beliefs, Adrian refused to stay silent. She watched as the dominoes started to fall in places like Philadelphia, Massachusetts, Illinois, California and DC, where groups like Hope’s Promise were given a choice: start ignoring the wishes of moms like Adrian, pay crushing fines or shut down. Every woman who makes the courageous decision to give up her baby “deserves the same right to choose which agency will represent her in the adoption process.”

            The Trump Administration couldn’t agree more. And on Friday, the first day of National Adoption Month, HHS kicked off the celebration by announcing a change years in the making. For the first time since Barack Obama, adoption agencies won’t have to violate their faith – or parents’ wishes – in placing kids. Under a new rule proposed by the President’s team, faith-based providers will be able to continue to serve their communities in a manner consistent with their religious beliefs.

            That doesn’t mean same-sex couples can’t adopt children. The liberal media – and its hysterical headline writers – would love for you to believe that. But this rule has nothing to do with outlawing gay adoption or discrimination of any kind. The same adoption agencies that matched other families with kids before this bill will still be matching them with kids after. That’s because this debate has never been about banning LGBT adoption – it’s about letting everyone operate by their own set of beliefs.

            “Choosing to place your child for adoption is the hardest decision that I’ve ever made,” birth mom Kelly Clemente says, “but what gave me reassurance was that at least I had control over the family that I was choosing. And for me that did include faith. They were committed to raising that child in a Christian home. I can understand why people might perceive that as intolerance, but what I would tell them is that when you’re pregnant, that child is yours. If your priority is matching that family’s faith to yours, that’s your prerogative.”

            Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), one of the biggest champions of religious freedom in adoption and foster care, wants people to know, “This is not a fight that conservatives or the faith-based community started. … The Left’s faith-shaming cannot be permitted to close the doors of one more adoption or foster care center in our country. For all the parents and providers who have been targeted and bullied by activists both inside and outside of government, [this new HHS rule proposal] is a sign of hope.”