Life Advocacy Briefing

April 20, 2020

We’re Back / Idaho Enacts ‘Trigger’ / Get Out of the Way!
Ghoulish Action / Lives at Stake in the Supreme Court
Resisting Actual Health Care

We’re Back

YOU PROBABLY DID NOT EVEN MISS US, since it was Holy Week we chose for a break from publishing Life Advocacy Briefing. We hope every one of our readers experienced a joyful break from the news of the day – not only “our” news but all of what is out there – in the celebration of God’s provision for His people.  

We indicated a few weeks ago that we might, during this time of societal suspension, occasionally take off a week, and that is still the case. We forecast occasional breaks now so that our readers do not become concerned if you do not see Life Advocacy Briefing from time to time; frankly, while America is closed down, news is limited by the cessation of legislative business across America. We will be here when news warrants; that might not be every week. Please do not worry about us if you do not see us once or twice more, but of course, we always appreciate your prayers in all circumstances.



Idaho Enacts ‘Trigger’

IDAHO HAS BECOME THE LATEST STATE to adopt “trigger” legislation, which would outlaw abortion upon a US Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade, without having to adopt new legislation in the anticipated post-Roe era. The legislation, passed in late March, was signed by Gov. Brad Little (R).

Said sponsor Sen. Todd Lakey (R), quoted by Kristin Burton Brown in a Live Action report, “‘Some of you may ask why now. We don’t know when the Supreme Court will change. … But it may happen in the nine months when we’re not in session. The ability to take action is a question of time. If this bill can save the life of one unborn child, then it is worth it. It becomes effective without a need for future legislative action.’”

The Live Action report quotes also the new law’s official “legislative statement of purpose … : ‘This bill becomes effective when the United States Supreme Court restores to the states their authority to prohibit abortion, or the United States Constitution is amended to restore to the states their authority to prohibit abortion. Upon the occurrence of these prerequisites, this statute makes the performance of an abortion a crime.’”

Unfortunately, the trigger law does allow an affirmative defense that the abortion was committed on a baby conceived in the commission of a sex crime.

Punishment for the crime of abortion, once the law becomes enforceable, is loss of medical license, a penalty which might need to be strengthened in the event that the law is triggered.

Still, it is good to see such progress in a state which has only now, as of March, withdrawn taxpayer funding from abortion shops.


Get Out of the Way!

INDIANA GOV. ERIC HOLCOMB (R) IS ONE OF THOSE who issued an executive order – in his case on March 30 – directing medical personnel, reports Bob Blake for, “to cancel or postpone ‘elective and non-urgent’ procedures.” It was issued in anticipation of a growing demand on medical facilities and personnel to care for COVID-19 patients.

In mid-April, reports Fort Wayne doctor Andrew Mullally in, some 76 health professionals sent a letter to the governor asking him to specify abortion as a non-essential procedure; his order left it to the “physician who is treating the patient,” notes Dr. Mullally, “to determine whether or not the procedure is essential.

“‘It is our medical opinion,’” the letter states, “‘that there is no such thing as an “urgent abortion.” ’ …

“The letter comes,” reports Dr. Mullally, “after abortion facilities in Indiana quickly made it known that they would not be closing their doors and would continue to perform abortions, putting patients at risk for contracting this virus while hoarding much-needed medical resources.”

The continued open-for-business status of a plethora of abortuaries during the nation’s medical emergency has generated controversy in several states.

But even commonsense actions as the doctors seek from Gov. Holcomb are too much for some of the sages in our federal judiciary. A three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals based in Denver ruled unanimously last Monday against barring abortions under Oklahoma’s COVID-19 executive order by Gov. Kevin Stitt (R), reports Danielle Wallace for Fox News, “postponing all ‘elective surgeries, minor medical procedures and non-emergency dental procedures.’ … On March 27,” notes Ms. Wallace, “his office released a statement clarifying that all abortions except for those that posed medical emergencies and were ‘otherwise necessary to prevent serious health risks to the unborn child’s mother’ were included in the ban.”

The Court last week upheld a loophole created by US District Judge Charles Goodwin, who, reports Ms. Wallace, “issued a temporary restraining order on April 6, blocking the ban and allowing medical providers to continue to perform abortions in Oklahoma until April 20.” The CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, Nancy Northup, was quoted in the Fox News story claiming, “‘Oklahoma’s true motive has never been more apparent. This has nothing to do with the current pandemic; it’s purely politics.’” 

COVID-19-inspired abortion bans have been ordered by governors in Alabama, Texas, Iowa and Ohio, notes Ms. Wallace, in addition to Oklahoma. All have been challenged in court by Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Though the Texas ban was blocked by a federal district judge, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the injunction and permitted Texas to include elective surgical abortions in the order by Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to “postpone all procedures deemed ‘not medically necessary’ as the state geared up for an influx of patients suffering from COVID-19,” writes Ms. Wallace.


Ghoulish Action

VIRGINIA GOV. RALPH NORTHAM (D) CHOSE GOOD FRIDAY, reports writer Doug Mainwaring, for “what has been described as a ‘signing spree,’” signing into law before the April 11 deadline “measures passed by the state legislature” during its recently adjourned session. Among the laws he signed, writes Mr. Mainwaring: “the so-called ‘Reproductive Health Protection Act,’ loosening several protective restrictions for the unborn that had previously been enacted.” The new law takes effect July 1.

Two Roman Catholic bishops were quoted by Mr. Mainwaring from a joint statement: “‘We are deeply saddened and disappointed by his signature of this legislation. … That he would take this action on Good Friday, one of the most solemn days for Christians, is a particular affront to all who profess the Gospel of Life,’ they continued.”

Among the legislation’s provisions is a repeal of health and safety protections at abortuaries, allowing non-doctors to commit first-trimester abortions and removing informed consent requirements, including, the bishops noted in the Mainwaring report, “‘the opportunity to view an ultrasound.’”

The bishops predicted the radical legislation will reverse Virginia’s “‘life-saving progress’” of the past eight years, when the abortion toll in the state has dropped by 42%.


Lives at Stake in the Supreme Court

March 27, 2020, commentary by Priests for Life national director Fr. Frank Pavone

            The Louisiana abortion business at the center of a US Supreme Court case has been caught violating an order to cease performing elective surgical procedures that would include abortion during the [COVID-19] pandemic. It’s certainly not the first time this Shreveport mill and others in the state have put women’s safety way down the list of priorities.

            The Supreme Court is currently contemplating important questions surrounding a Louisiana state law requiring hospital admitting privileges for abortionists. Among the amicus briefs submitted to the Court in support of the law are several that outline in compelling detail the health and safety deficiencies of Louisiana abortionists and their abortion businesses, including June Medical Services, which does business under the name Hope Medical Group for Women in Shreveport.

            Deficient doesn’t even begin to describe the conditions in these houses of horror.

            “Louisiana abortion clinics … have a long history of professional disciplinary actions and substandard medical care,” according to a brief submitted by 207 Members of Congress in support of the law.

            In 2010, health investigators found an “immediate jeopardy” condition at Hope Medical Services, where staffers failed to monitor the level of consciousness of patients who were under sedation. The abortionist also was cited for failing to ask patients if they had prior complications with anesthesia.

            This is the kind of thing that kills people. Laura Hope Smith died of an anesthesia overdose in 2007 in Massachusetts. Kermit Gosnell killed Karnamaya Mongar with an overdose in 2009 in West Philadelphia.

            But at Hope Medical, those serious deficiencies were probably cleared up in the 10 years since they were first reported, right? Wrong. In 2011 the business was cited for failing to document the name and strength of stored medications, and for storing them improperly. In 2012, Hope was failing to clean and sterilize instruments after they were used on patients. The very minimum they could do to ensure their patients’ safety was too much for the abortion workers to take on.

            Hope Medical isn’t the only substandard abortion business in Louisiana. Delta Clinic in Baton Rouge also had an immediate jeopardy finding in 2009 for “failing to follow standards of practice for administering conscious sedation by placing syringes in a non-sterile bag; failing to document medication, time and dose; failing to monitor cardiac status; and failing to document start and end times of abortion procedures,” according to the brief. Just last year, Delta had another immediate jeopardy situation when it did not have I-V fluids on hand for a patient experiencing heavy bleeding after an abortion. She had to be transferred to a hospital, where she underwent a hysterectomy and had both her fallopian tubes removed. Two years prior, the business was cited for failure to properly sterilize medical equipment.

            The Women’s Health Care Center in New Orleans was written up in 2015 when it failed to keep a written record for a woman who continued to have heavy bleeding eight days after a chemical abortion. She ultimately was picked up by a clinic staffer and taken to the hospital. That same year, inspectors faulted the business for failure to disinfect its ultrasound probe.

            Louisiana’s abortionists are as bad as the businesses where they work. Doctor A. James Whitmore III was aborting children at Delta Clinic when he was found to be using surgical instruments that were “rusty, cracked and unsterile.” For one second-trimester patient, he failed to call an ambulance for three hours. When the patient eventually got to a hospital, she needed a total hysterectomy.

            Whitmore is far from the only rogue in the gallery, leading the brief’s authors to conclude: “Louisiana’s abortion doctors’ multiple professional disciplinary actions for substandard medical care and blatant disregard for their patients’ health and safety – in addition to the numerous health and safety violations of Louisiana abortion clinics – demonstrate that abortion providers’ interests are at odds with their patients’ interests.”

            A separate brief, filed by Louisiana state legislators, bolsters the arguments made by the Members of Congress in their filing.

            According to that brief, abortion businesses and the ways they failed women in the state included two that stand out:

  • Causeway Medical Clinic in Metairie was cited for violation 14 times between 2007 and when it closed in 2016. Shortcomings included failure to determine viability of a child, not monitoring patients’ vital signs during the abortion procedure, unsanitary conditions, expired medications and failing to ensure parental consent for minor abortions.

  • Bossier City Medical had “been cited for violations eight times since 2004, including for failing to obtain a controlled dangerous substances license, … for not monitoring patients’ vital signs after being given narcotics and for unsanitary conditions.” This business is also closed.

            Whitmore is mentioned in this brief as well, along with Dr. David Lee Golden, who told a woman in excruciating pain to go home and rest. She went instead to a hospital, where doctors found the head of her child still in her womb. She underwent a total hysterectomy. Dr. Golden appears again in the legislators’ brief. After performing what he suspected was an incomplete abortion on a woman, he kept her, bleeding, on the table for seven hours and then had an employee drive her to the hospital. Physicians, unaware that she had had an abortion, waited three days before performing surgery. The woman’s uterus was torn, and her baby’s skull was still inside her. She, too, left the hospital unable to ever again bear children.

            “These examples illustrate the high cost of Louisiana abortion facilities’ medical incompetence and failure to screen doctors,” the brief states. “Women’s lives are endangered, and their ability to have children is ripped away. The costs are so great and the situation so dire that the legislature felt compelled to act.”

            The [US] Supreme Court is expected to rule on the Louisiana case in June. But even if the Justices allow the law to stand and abortionists are required to at least be competent enough to qualify for hospital admitting privileges, our movement will work and pray that women in the state choose other options when facing an unexpected pregnancy.

            By choosing life for their babies, the life they save may also be their own.


Resisting Actual Health Care

March 30, 2020, Commentary by Cheryl Sullenger, vice president, Operation Rescue

            It was a weekend characterized by stay-at-home orders, hand-washing decrees, social distancing and limits on groups to under 10 people, but at the Hope Clinic for Women in Granite City, Illinois, those rules that all Americans were expected to follow, were blatantly ignored. At that abortion facility, it was a weekend to pack in the women like sardines so they could be herded through the clinic for abortions. It was in a very real sense, a germ-sharing party in progress.

            License plates reflected a booming interstate commerce, with cars coming from six different states, in violation of the National Coronavirus Taskforce recommendations to avoid travel from state to state in order to limit the spread of the virus. At least one car came from as far away as Florida. It was estimated that perhaps as many as 40 women reported to the Hope Clinic for Women on the morning of Saturday, March 28, 2020.      The parking lot was so full it could not hold another vehicle. Drivers were dropping women off and returning later to collect them for transport home. …

            Shortly after 11 a.m., a Granite City ambulance arrived. A black woman, who one pro-life activist identified as a known abortion patient, was taken out of the clinic on a gurney and loaded into the ambulance while one clinic worker in blue surgical scrubs cavalierly gave the thumbs-up sign to the pro-life activists, who watched with concern for the injured woman. Nothing to see here; move along.

            While the clinic worker wore a mask and gloves, the ambulance crew wore only gloves. Several states, such as Iowa, have ordered abortion facilities to halt elective abortions in order to conserve the supply of personal protective equipment for hospital workers and first responders. No such order is in place in Illinois [at this writing]. …

            “With women coming from six different states for abortions and being forced together into an overcrowded waiting room, the threat exists that when the women go home, they could take the virus with them and spread it into their home communities,” said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue. “The Hope Clinic is not only placing the lives of women at risk with botched abortions, as they did over the weekend, but are also endangering Americans over a vast geographical region and could be prolonging the current health crisis. … For the good of the public, Illinois must shut down their abortion mills.”