Life Advocacy Briefing

January 20, 2020

House Takes Vote on Nature of Unborn Children / Asserting Truth
Seeking Justice & Mercy / Dismemberment Ban on Nebraska Docket
Fighting Back / Showing His True Colors
The Case for Common Sense / House Voting Record

House Takes Vote on Nature of Unborn Children

REP. CATHY McMORRIS RODGERS (R-WA) FOUND A WAY last week to force the US House to record a roll call vote on the human nature of the unborn child, but the majority of House Members failed the test.  

It came on a bill by Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) seeking to regulate PFAS substances, which are believed to cause adverse health effects in human beings. The bill passed the House 247 to 159, but the roll call which interests us, as advocates for justice for all human beings, was on a procedural motion offered by Rep. Rodgers to add “‘unborn child’ to [the bill’s] list of subpopulations,” explains Calvin Freiburger for, “that would be particularly vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water. It defines ‘unborn child’ as a ‘member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development who is carried in the womb,’” language, notes Mr. Freiburger, “which has already been used in federal law in the [enacted] Unborn Victims of Violence Act.”

The roll call on Mrs. Rodgers’s motion to recommit the PFAS bill to add her amendment – essentially a roll call on the amendment itself – was defeated 187 to 219. We publish the voting record at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing, and we commend Rep. Rodgers for her ingenuity in getting around the House Democratic Leadership’s freeze on recorded Life votes.

In advocating for her motion, Rep. Rodgers told her House colleagues and the American public, quoted by Mr. Freiburger, “‘Most importantly, it protects the unborn child, something I hope everyone in this room can agree should be one of our greatest priorities: to protect people before they are born and at every stage of their lives. … I urge my colleagues to support science by supporting my motion to recommit.’”


Asserting Truth

SEN. MIKE LEE (R-UT) HAS FILED A BILL DECLARING “Abortion Is Not Health Care.” S-3173 was filed Jan. 9 and has been assigned to the Senate Finance Committee. Its synopsis is not yet published in the Congressional Record.

The Lee bill is co-sponsored by GOP Senators Tom Cotton (AR), Marco Rubio & Rick Scott (FL), David Perdue (GA), Joni Ernst (IA), Jerry Moran & Pat Roberts (KS), Cindy Hyde-Smith & Roger Wicker (MS), Steve Daines (MT), Ben Sasse (NE), Thom Tillis (NC), Kevin Cramer (ND), James Inhofe (OK), Tim Scott (SC) and Marsha Blackburn (TN).

Readers are encouraged to call their home-state US Senators and request them to co-sponsor S-3173. (Capitol switchboard 1-202/224-3121)


Seeking Justice & Mercy

NEBRASKA GOV. PETE RICKETTS (R) LAST WEDNESDAY PROCLAIMED Jan. 22 “a statewide day of prayer,” reports Calvin Freiburger for LifeSiteNews, “calling on his constituents to ask God to help end abortion in the United States.”

The date for the Day of Prayer to End Abortion is the 47th anniversary of the day of infamy when the US Supreme Court turned its back on God and the Constitution in demanding that Americans turn a blind eye to the intentional killing of preborn human beings.

“‘I do hereby urge all individuals to pray on their own or with others, according to their faith, for an end to abortion,’ the proclamation reads,” reports Mr. Freiburger. “It also encourages Nebraskans to ‘take direct action to aid mothers, fathers and families in need, especially those expecting a child who cannot provide for themselves.

“‘Nebraska state law states that it is “the will of the people of the State of Nebraska and the members of the Legislature to provide protection for the life of the unborn child whenever possible,’ the document notes,” writes Mr. Freiburger. “‘Nebraskans display our pro-life values in a multitude of ways, from the crisis pregnancy centers that provide free care for expecting parents to the prayer vigils held across the state every year.’”

The proclamation drew “pushback” the next day, Mr. Freiburger notes in a follow-up report. The Wisconsin-based, always umbrageous Freedom from Religion Foundation complained “that the state ‘has no business – and no power – to tell citizens when or whether to pray, much less what to pray about.’” In an open letter “lecturing [Gov.] Ricketts,” reports Mr. Freiburger, FFRF co-presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor claim …, ‘In issuing this call to prayer, you have abridged the freedom of conscience of citizens in your state.’”


Dismemberment Ban on Nebraska Docket

A STATE SENATOR IN NEBRASKA has filed a bill to ban dismemberment abortions. Sen. Suzanne Geist (R) has collected 20 co-sponsors on her legislation among the 49 members who opened their 2020 session last Wednesday. The partisan composition of the single-chamber legislature is 30 Republicans, 18 Democrats and one “Independent.”

Dismemberment abortions – also known as “dilation and evacuation” abortions – are the most common method of killing preborn babies who have gestated beyond the first three months.

The proposal is opposed by Planned Parenthood as leader of the abortion cartel.


Fighting Back

OREGON RIGHT TO LIFE HAS FILED A COMPLAINT with the US Office for Civil Rights “challenging the abortion-related health insurance coverage,” according to a news release from the Bopp Law Firm, “mandated by Oregon’s Reproductive Health Equity Act, passed in 2017.

“Oregon requires a health benefit plan in Oregon to provide coverage for abortions,” explains the Bopp memo, as well as “contraceptives (including those that can act as abortifacients) and services related to both.”

The state requirement applies to all employers, including to organizations like Oregon Right to Life, and the mandate, says Bopp, “unconstitutionally burdens ORTL and violates the [federal] Weldon Amendment. Under Weldon,” explains the release, “‘none of the funds made available in this Act may be made available to [a State if it] subjects any institutional or individual healthcare entity to discriminate on the basis that the health entity does not provide, pay for, provide coverage of or refer for abortions.’ Because ORTL qualifies as a ‘healthcare entity,’” explains Bopp, “ORTL objects to providing coverage for abortion and abortifacients,” hence the violation of the Weldon Amendment in Oregon’s abortion coverage mandate legislation.”

Notes attorney James Bopp, ORTL’s legal counsel, “‘Oregon receives lots of federal funding that it is putting at risk’” with the enactment of the abortion coverage mandate. Comments ORTL’s executive director, Lois Anderson, in the Bopp Law release, “‘Under this mandate, we are literally being forced to violate our mission and very reason for existing.’”


Showing His True Colors

NEW JERSEY GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D) DONNED A PINK TIE, pink pocket square and pink socks, according to a report by Dave Andrusko in National Right to Life News, “to match the color of Planned Parenthood’s logos” while he signed legislation funneling “‘$9.5 million in state taxpayer money to family planning clinics such as Planned Parenthood,’” Mr. Andrusko writes, citing reporter Brent Johnson as source, “‘to make up for federal funding they forfeited by opposing a controversial abortion rule from Pres. Donald Trump’s Administration.’”

The gift of taxpayer money to the abortion industry is an immediate shot-in-the-arm to be paid out by June 30, the end of the current fiscal year.

“‘Today,’” said the governor, quoted by Mr. Andrusko, “‘we’re making a conscious decision to stand with Planned Parenthood and with all who stand for reproductive rights, and to stop Pres. Trump from harming our fellow New Jerseyans.’”

With “huge majorities in both houses,” notes Mr. Andrusko, New Jersey Democrats passed the measure last year by 25 to 15 in the Senate and 49 to 21 in the Assembly.


The Case for Common Sense

Jan. 9, 2020, Washington Update commentary by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins

            As many as 10,000 women walk through the doors of a Louisiana abortion clinic every year – and any one of them could face life-threatening complications. Imagine telling that mom that her doctor couldn’t admit her to a hospital to get help. The Center for Reproductive Rights can. In fact, they’re so heartless that they’re suing to keep these women from getting the emergency care they need. Why? Because at the deepest core of the abortion industry, they don’t care about patients. They care about profits. I know – because as a state legislator, I saw it.

            Twenty years ago, he was just a young attorney, fresh out of law school. And me? Well, I was a state representative in Louisiana. His name was Mike Johnson. He’d taken the case of a woman who almost died inside the Delta Women’s Clinic in Baton Rouge. It was her story, and the gruesome undercover video that followed, that laid the groundwork for me to author – and for the state to later pass – some of the first abortion clinic regulations in the country. Two decades later, that rookie lawyer is a prominent Congressman. And Wednesday, he joined me on [FRC’s podcast] “Washington Watch” to talk about how that case helped pave the way for one of the most important Supreme Court challenges in a generation [currently pending in the high court].

            “It started out,” he remembers, “as an injury case.” Mike’s client, one of his first, had been maimed inside the Delta Women’s Clinic in Baton Rouge, which, at the time, he points out, “was the largest abortion provider in our state. They had a huge volume of abortions, and they were pretty notorious for having substandard practices.” When he started to do a little digging on her case, Mike made a shocking discovery. Some time after Roe v. Wade, abortion businesses became exempt from meeting the requirements of other surgical centers. In other words, they weren’t subject to the same standards and emergency protocol as other outpatient surgery centers.

            “Apparently, in our state and in a number of others, they never went back [to change that]. There was a loophole in the law. So abortion clinics from somewhere around 1973 to around 1998 in our state went completely unregulated.” A reporter for WAFB, who happened to be one of my interns when I was broadcasting, snuck a camera into the clinic and exposed the horrible, unsanitary conditions to the world. “They got video – famous video now – of rusted surgical instruments that they were using on these poor women. It was a complete health crisis,” he said.

            The Louisiana House chamber had just undergone a technology upgrade which, for the first time, allowed video to be played on the floor to accompany debate. The shocking footage led to the overwhelming approval of the clinic regulations that the state has added for the last two decades. And that has triggered this hugely significant challenge at the Supreme Court.

            “When all of those dominoes began to fall back in early 1999,” Mike explained, “when you began to pass the enabling legislation to allow for clinic regulations in our state, a number of other states soon followed suit. Texas did, and a number of others. And all of those regulations were immediately challenged by the abortion industry. They simply didn’t want to be regulated. You know, this is a cash-cow operation. They had no oversight whatsoever … ; and so they challenged every one of them over and over and over. And for decades now …, all the commonsense health and safety regulations that are put in place by state legislatures to protect women – who are in the most vulnerable situation of their lives – they’ve all been challenged in court.”

            In the Gee case that will be decided by the Justices in June, the industry is taking aim at a specific requirement: that doctors performing abortions must have admitting privileges in a hospital within 30 miles. Now, if you asked most women, that only makes sense. If something goes wrong in a procedure (and all too often, it does), these patients deserve to know that they’ll be taken care of. That’s standard operating procedure in even your local dentist office! But for some reason, when it comes to abortionists, some states let them off the hook.

            The Trump Administration, 207 Members of Congress and groups like FRC think it’s time to put women’s health first. In separate amicus briefs, we argue that the state has a right to regulate the medical industry. Nothing about the law should be controversial for a business that insists it cares about women. In FRC’s brief, we take issue with the fact that the Center for Reproductive Rights is even challenging the law, since they claim to be suing on behalf of women.

            First of all, women can speak for themselves. FRC’s Travis Weber pointed this out in our discussion Wednesday on “Washington Watch.” As he explains, the plaintiffs have to have standing to sue. And here, “you have abortion activists challenge this law, supposedly claiming to represent women who want abortions. Yet, as we argue in our brief, there’s no legal basis for them to be able to sue on behalf of these women. The women could go into court if they wanted to and file suit against this law. They have that right.”

            And the reality is, women may actually want their abortion providers to be held accountable to higher standards of care. What patient wouldn’t want their doctors to ensure the quickest help if the unimaginable happens? So why would the Court allow activist groups, with purely selfish and economic motives, speak for them?

            Good question – one that, if the Justices get right, could change the entire landscape of American abortion law, for the better.


House Voting Record

Motion to Recommit HR-535 with instructions to add McMorris-Rodgers pro-life amendment – Failed 187-219 – Jan. 10, 2020 (Democrats in italics; “Independent” marked “I”)

Voting “yes”/pro-life: Brooks, Byrne, Palmer, Roby, Rogers/AL; Young/AK; Biggs, Gosar, Lesko, Schweikert/AZ; Hill, Westerman, Womack/AR; Calvert, Cook, LaMalfa, McCarthy, McClintock, Nunes/CA; Buck, Lamborn, Tipton/CO; Bilirakis, Diaz-Balart, Dunn, Gaetz, Mast, Posey, Rooney, Rutherford, Spano, Steube, Waltz, Webster, Yoho/FL; Allen, Carter, Collins, Ferguson, Graves, Hice, A.Scott, Woodall/GA; Fulcher/ID; Bost, R.Davis, Kinzinger, LaHood, Lipinski, Shimkus/IL; Baird, Banks, Brooks, Bucshon, Hollingsworth, Pence, Walorski/IN; King/IA; Estes, Marshall, Watkins/KS; Barr, Comer, Guthrie, Massie, Rogers/KY; Abraham, Graves, Higgins, Johnson, Scalise/LA; Harris/MD; Amash(I), Bergman, Huizenga, Mitchell, Moolenaar, Upton, Walberg/MI; Emmer, Hagedorn, Peterson, Stauber/MN; Guest, Kelly, Palazzo/MS; Graves, Hartzler, Long, Luetkemeyer, Smith, Wagner/MO; Gianforte/MT; Bacon, Fortenberry, Smith/NE; Amodei/NV; Smith, VanDrew/NJ; Katko, King, Reed, Stefanik, Zeldin/NY; Bishop, Budd, Foxx, Holding, Hudson, McHenry, Meadows, Murphy, Rouzer/NC; Armstrong/ND; Balderson, Chabot, Davidson, Gibbs, Gonzalez, Johnson, Jordan, Joyce, Latta, Stivers, Turner, Wenstrup/OH; Cole, Hern, Lucas, Mullin/OK; Walden/OR; Joyce, Keller, Kelly, Perry, Reschenthaler/PA; Duncan, Norman, Rice, Timmons, Wilson/SC; Johnson/SD; Burchett, DesJarlais, Fleischmann, Green, Kustoff, Roe, Rose/TN; Arrington, Babin, Burgess, Cloud, Conaway, Crenshaw, Cuellar, Flores, Gooden, Hurd, McCaul, Olson, Ratcliffe, Roy, Taylor, Thornberry, Weber, Williams, Wright/TX; Bishop, Curtis, McAdams, Stewart/UT; Cline, Griffith, Riggleman, Wittman/VA; Herrera-Beutler, Newhouse, McMorris-Rodgers/WA; McKinley, Miller, Mooney/WV; Gallagher, Grothman, Sensenbrenner, Steil/WI; Cheney/WY.

Voting “no”/anti-Life: Sewell/AL; Gallego, Grijalva, O’Halleran, Stanton/AZ; Aguilar, Barragan, Bass, Bera, Brownley, Carbajal, Cardenas, Chu, Cisneros, Correa, Costa, Cox, Davis, DeSaulnier, Eshoo, Garamendi, Gomez, Harder, Huffman, Khanna, Lee, Levin, Lieu, Lofgren, Lowenthal, Matsui, McNerney, Napolitano, Panetta, Peters, Porter, Rouda, Roybal-Allard, Ruiz, Sanchez, Schiff, Sherman, Speier, Swalwell, Takano, Thompson, Torres, Vargas, Waters/CA; Crow, DeGette, Neguse, Perlmutter/CO; Courtney, DeLauro, Hayes, Himes, Larson/CT; Blunt-Rochester/DE; Castor, Crist, Demings, Deutch, Frankel, Hastings, Lawson, Mucarsel-Powell, Murphy, Shalala, Soto, Wasserman-Schultz, Wilson/FL; Bishop, Johnson, McBath, D.Scott/GA; Case/HI; Bustos, Casten, D.Davis, Foster, Garcia, Kelly, Krishnamoorthi, Quigley, Rush, Schakowsky, Schneider, Underwood/IL; Carson, Visclosky/IN; Axne, Finkenauer, Loebsack/IA; Davids/KS; Yarmuth/KY; Richmond/LA; Golden, Pingree/ME; Brown, Hoyer, Raskin, Ruppersberger, Sarbanes, Trone/MD; Clark, Keating, Kennedy, Lynch, McGovern, Moulton, Neal, Pressley, Trahan/MA; Dingell, Kildee, Lawrence, Levin, Slotkin, Stevens, Tlaib/MI; Craig, McCollum, Omar, Phillips/MN; Thompson/MS; Clay, Cleaver/MO; Horsford, Lee, Titus/NV; Kuster, Pappas/NH; Gottheimer, Kim, Malinowski, Norcross, Pallone, Pascrell, Sherrill, Sires, Watson-Coleman/NJ; Haaland, Lujan, Torres-Small/NM; Brindisi, Clarke, Delgado, Engel, Espaillat, Higgins, Jeffries, Lowey, C.Maloney, S.Maloney, Meeks, Meng, Morelle, Ocasio-Cortez, Rice, Rose, Suozzi, Tonko, Velazquez/NY; Adams, Butterfield, Price/NC; Beatty, Fudge, Kaptur, Ryan/OH; Horn/OK; Blumenauer, Bonamici, DeFazio, Schrader/OR; Boyle, Cartwright, Dean, Doyle, Houlahan, Lamb, Scanlon, Wild/PA; Cicilline, Langevin/RI; Clyburn, Cunningham/SC; Cohen, Cooper/TN; Allred, Castro, Doggett, Escobar, Fletcher, Garcia, Gonzalez, Green, Jackson-Lee, Johnson, Veasey, Vela/TX; Welch/VT; Beyer, Connolly, Luria, McEachin, Scott, Spanberger, Wexton/VA; DelBene, Heck, Jayapal, Kilmer, Larsen, Schrier, Smith/WA; Moore, Pocan/WI.

Not voting: Aderholt/AL; Kirkpatrick/AZ; Crawford/AR; Hunter, Pelosi/CA; Buchanan/FL; Lewis, Loudermilk/GA; Gabbard/HI; Simpson/ID; Payne/NJ; Nadler, Serrano/NY; Walker/NC; Evans, Fitzpatrick, Meuser, Smucker, Thompson/PA; Brady, Carter, Gohmert, Granger, Marchant/TX; Kind/WI.