Life Advocacy Briefing

May 4, 2020

Any Vaccine Must Be Ethical! / Protecting Human Life a Distraction?
International Planned Parenthood in Trouble? / Cracks Widening?
Hope & Help in Crisis / More Good News, Even Now
Biden Devolving / Kentucky’s Crisis of Confidence

Any Vaccine Must Be Ethical!

A ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP IN TYLER, TEXAS, HAS PUBLISHED a pastoral letter asking parishioners “to join him,” reports Martin Burger for, “in helping to bring to a ‘halt’ any development of a coronavirus vaccine derived from aborted babies.”

The LifeSiteNews report cites research by the pro-life group Children of God for Life, “which focuses,” notes Mr. Burger, “on the question of ethical vaccines.” That research shows that the pharmaceutical company Sanofi “is using a platform based on insect cells,” notes Mr. Burger. But CoGfL has also published concerns that other drug companies, including Moderna, are using human fetal cell platforms for COVID-19 vaccine development; Moderna’s vaccine is one frequently mentioned by medical journalists as showing promise.

Additionally, “several Catholic bishops and pro-life leaders,” notes Mr. Burger, “sent an open letter to the US Food & Drug Administration [FDA] [April 17] asking the government agency to ensure that Americans will have access to coronavirus vaccines that are ‘free from any connection to abortion. …

“‘To be clear,’” the letter stated, “‘we strongly support efforts to develop an effective, safe and widely available vaccine as quickly as possible,’” reports LifeSiteNews. “‘However, we also strongly urge our federal government to ensure that fundamental moral principles are followed in the development of such vaccines, most importantly,’” the bishops’ and pro-life leaders’ letter said, “‘the principle that human life is sacred and should never be exploited.’”

The Tyler bishop “concluded his April 23 letter,” notes Mr. Burger, “by urging the faithful ‘to pray with me for God’s conversion of hearts, which is the ultimate remedy for the culture of death in which we continue to be immersed.’” Amen!



Protecting Human Life a Distraction?

KENTUCKY GOV. ANDREW BESHEAR (D) VETOED a bill April 24, reports Calvin Freiburger for, “that would have both protected infants who survive attempted abortions [and] also authorized Republican state Attorney Gen. Daniel Cameron to suspend elective abortions during the coronavirus crisis.” The latter clause was necessary because the governor, who would ordinarily have held the power to suspend elective abortions, is not pro-life.

The governor “justified his stance,” writes Mr. Freiburger, “on the grounds that ‘I’m just not doing divisive issues right now’ because ‘we’ve got to defeat this coronavirus,’ and claimed that ‘existing Kentucky law already fully protects children from being denied life-saving medical care and treatment when they are born.’

“Pro-lifers argue,” notes Mr. Freiburger, “that while existing laws prohibit the direct killing of children, they fail to adequately address the prospect of physicians letting an ‘unwanted’ newborn die via neglect.”


International Planned Parenthood in Trouble?

THE INTERNATIONAL PLANNED PARENTHOOD FEDERATION (IPPF) is mourning, according to Nancy Flanders for Live Action News, “the closing of 5,633 member clinics due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and 23 others have reported a reduced ability to commit abortions.” Presumably, those closures are temporary, though even abortuaries could be struggling financially in a largely cash-based enterprise.

In America, the effect on abortuaries is mixed; though most states have ordered deferral of elective surgeries, some have carved an exception for surgical baby-killing. Ms. Flanders quotes IPPF, “‘In [US] states where a special exception has been carved out for abortion, Planned Parenthood abortion businesses have suspended actual healthcare services in favor of an “abortion-only” protocol.’ …

“The [international] group has expressed concern,” writes Ms. Flanders, “that when the pandemic is finally over, it will not be able to reopen all of its facilities – but that,” opines the Live Action News reporter, “might not actually have all that much to do with COVID-19. IPPF has refused funding from the United States in favor of continuing its international abortion business. Additionally,” she reports, “in 2019, IPPF faced major controversy and restructuring after allegations of sexual misconduct, fraud and bullying surged. Those allegations included the hiring of prostitutes for official organization functions. Trouble has been brewing for nearly a year,” she notes, “and led to the resignations of IPPF Director-General Alvaro Bermejo and another senior director.”


Cracks Widening?

PLANNED PARENTHOOD NORTH AUSTIN (TX) HAS FIRED 20 employees after learning about their attempts to unionize, reports Casey Fiano-Chesser for Live Action News (LAN).

The former senior medical assistant, Ella Nonni, told KXAN/Austin, according to LAN, “there isn’t enough personal protective equipment (PPE), and staffers are being forced to do unnecessary work for patients in person – potentially putting them at risk for contracting COVID-19. She also said Planned Parenthood refused to give them paid sick leave if they did contract COVID-19.”

“‘There’s this big disconnect between the people managing us and the work that is being done on the ground,’ she explained,” reports Ms. Fiano-Chesser. “‘The reality is that a lot of our services, while vital, are not urgent.’ After expressing these concerns to the CEO last Monday, [Ms.] Nonni said they were all fired. …

Planned Parenthood staffers were recently fired in New York as well,” reports LAN, “with the abortion organization claiming it was due to COVID-19. Yet anonymous staffers claimed Planned Parenthood merely exploited the pandemic, saying ‘the crisis gave leadership cover to implement layoffs and closures it had already been planning.’”


Hope & Help in Crisis

THE ABORTION PILL RESCUE NETWORK IS SEEING A RECORD NUMBER of phone calls for abortion pill reversals, the communications director of Heartbeat International has told Live Action News, reports LAN’s Anna Reynolds. The reversal hotline is a service of HI.

“The abortion pill reversal method is available to mothers who begin the abortion pill regimen and regret their decision,” explains Ms. Reynolds. “Because chemical abortion is a two-step procedure, it may be possible to stop the death of the preborn baby and continue the pregnancy if the mother receives appropriate medical intervention.”

The Heartbeat spokesman “stressed that the nursing team answering the hotline and the provider network that manages the abortion pill reversal are available to care for women immediately,” reports Ms. Reynolds. “She wrote, ‘We understand this is a stressful time for many, and some women are starting chemical abortion because that is the only option they can see.’ Many of the calls the hotline receives,” reports LAN, “are ‘from the abortion facility parking lot or from the car on the drive home, because the regret is immediate.’”

Heartbeat International also operates a hotline they call “Option Line,” available to other expectant mothers in distress. Option Line, notes Ms. Reynolds, “has seen a 30 to 50% increase in calls for assistance during the pandemic. While the abortion industry has capitalized on this time of uncertainty and fear to increase the number of abortions, despite the fact that abortion is never necessary,” writes Ms. Reynolds, “pro-life groups are still connecting women with immediate resources and assistance.”


More Good News, Even Now

THE BUSINESS EMPIRE OF NOTORIOUS FLORIDA ABORTIONIST James Pendergraft appears to be crumbling at last. “‘God is, and has been, hearing our prayers!’” declared Michele Herzog, branch manager for Pro-Life Action Ministries in central Florida, quoted by Cheryl Sullenger in an Operation Rescue (OR) report.

Three abortion shops with ties to Mr. Pendergraft, reports Mrs. Sullenger, “have recently been placed up for sale. The facilities include EPOC in Orlando, Women’s Center of Fort Lauderdale and Women’s Center of Hyde Park in Tampa.”

Florida revoked the Pendergraft medical license in December, 2018, notes Mrs. Sullenger, “after OR reported his arrest and conviction in South Carolina for operating an illegal rolling abortion business out of his van, from which he also sold illegal drugs; Pendergraft was not licensed to practice in South Carolina.”

After he lost his Florida license, Mr. Pendergraft “was forced to transfer ownership,” writes Mrs. Sullenger, “of his four abortion facilities, although he maintained ownership of the property and was suspected of continued involvement in the abortion businesses based on evidence compiled by OR with the aid of local pro-life activists.”

The Pendergraft record includes a 2011 jury order that he pay “a stunning $36,737,660.16 in compensatory and punitive damages,” reports OR, “in a malpractice case brought by a woman who suffered a traumatic, Gosnell-like late-term abortion attempt at the Orlando Women’s Center in 2001, in which her baby daughter survived but suffered several serious disabilities. Nineteen years later,” writes Mrs. Sullenger, “attorneys are still trying to collect on that judgment.”


Biden Devolving

April 29, 2020, Washington Update commentary by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins

            Forget falling asleep on the job. Joe Biden is falling asleep applying for it! In a virtual event with Hillary Clinton Tuesday, the former Vice President was so disinterested that he seemed to close his eyes and nod off. But amazingly, that wasn’t the most concerning thing about the “Women’s Town Hall on COVID-19.” Biden’s abortion views were. And unfortunately, no one’s been able to open his eyes on those either.

            He was pictured to the left of Clinton, which was fitting – since for ten months, that’s exactly where Biden has managed to be on almost every issue. On screen, Obama’s second-in-command shook his head in agreement as Hillary talked about this being a “high-stakes time, because of the pandemic.” But this is also, she went on, a really “high-stakes election. And every form of health care should continue to be available, including reproductive health care for every woman in this country … . So I can only say ‘Amen’ to everything you’re saying – but also to, again, [remind] people that this would be a terrible crisis to waste … .”

            In other words, they want [to] use these deaths to lobby for more deaths. Like House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) said: “This is a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.” And that vision, as Biden has articulated over and over again, is: More abortion, fewer limits, higher funding. After all, he insisted last night, “Abortion” is an “essential healthcare service.” In fact, he told viewers, “It’s being used as a political wedge now, and it shouldn’t be.”

            He’s right. Rather than kick and scream about the shutdown, abortion groups should have seen the devastation and offered to do their part. Instead, they packed women into waiting rooms like sardines and carried on – defying government orders and putting more communities at risk. The killing can’t wait, they said. Not even when almost 60,000 Americans have lost their lives to a virus their pet procedure could help spread. Nothing, Biden insisted – not even a global pandemic ravaging our nation – should ever stand in the way of “a woman’s constitutional right.” Including, apparently, the safety of other people. “Health care delayed,” he argued, “means health care denied.”

            “Well, look,” Clinton smiled, “I think you’re going right down the path that people need to follow you on.” But as most pollsters will tell you, getting Americans to follow Biden – at least on this issue – is a tall order. Abortion extremism isn’t where most people are – and come this fall, it may not be where their votes are either. Even using the data from liberal-leaning organizations, the Washington Post argues that Americans aren’t nearly as “absolutist” on abortion – unless the subject is regulating it. A clear majority of people in this country (69%, based on the Left-leaning Kaiser Family Foundation’s numbers) agree: Abortion should be severely limited.

            So if viewers are tuning in to see the Joe Biden they used to know, they’re wasting their time. The former VP shed his “moderate” label faster than most people can say “Hyde Amendment.” This isn’t the second coming of Barack Obama, or even Hillary Clinton. This is a radically aggressive campaign that is only marginally more sane than Bernie Sanders’s was. “On nearly every major issue, Biden has either exponentially increased the scope of what Clinton proposed or advocated for new ideas that most Democrats would have up until recently considered fringe,” McClatchy’s Alex Roarty warned. “Many Democrats see Joe Biden as a voice of ideological restraint in a party rapidly moving to the Left,” he wrote. They’re wrong.

            On abortion, the Vice President is so extreme that he wouldn’t just allow abortion right up to the moment of birth – he’d order you to pay for it! And millions of abortions the world over. The one-time defender of the Hyde Amendment traded his 40 years of integrity for the support of groups like Planned Parenthood last year – ending any veneer of rationality. From there, he swore to appoint only rabid abortion activists to the bench and bulldoze every state pro-life law.

            There isn’t a starker policy difference anywhere than the one reflected in these two parties. Look at what the Trump Administration has done in just three and a-half short years: Appointing almost 200 constitutionalist judges; ending overseas abortion funding, Title X abortion funding, fetal tissue experiments and healthcare mandates; reinstating conscience protections; opposing the UN’s assault on human life; returning the freedom to states to defund Planned Parenthood; siding with pro-lifers in court; issuing citations to states that would order abortion coverage in health insurance, and more. Imagine what this list of accomplishments would look like if someone with Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden’s agenda were President. We don’t have to imagine. It wouldn’t exist.


Kentucky’s Crisis of Confidence

April 27, 2020, Washington Update commentary by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins

            If there’s anything this crisis should have taught us, it’s the value of fighting for every life. So when Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear chose this moment to tell newborn children that they don’t deserve medical care, the state was stunned. “Reprehensible” was all state Atty. Gen. Daniel Cameron could say when he heard the news that Beshear had vetoed the Born-Alive Protection Act Friday. “The governor had a choice,” he shook his head, “and he used it to defend the indefensible.”

            When reporters took time out of the press conference to ask the governor about it, his response was astounding. “[I’m] just not doing divisive issues right now,” he told them. But what could possibly be divisive about a bill that even 77% of “pro-choicers” support? Instead, he went on about how the infanticide issue would just pull people “one way or the other – creating discord in the middle of a time when we’ve got to be together. I just didn’t think it was the right direction for us to go.”

            He didn’t think giving medical care to a fully born human child was the “right direction to go.” More than that, he thinks Kentucky doesn’t have time to save abortion survivors and handle the coronavirus at the same time – as if a single signature of his would suddenly stop every other emergency response in the state. “We have got to have 100% of our effort aimed toward [the virus],” he said defensively.

            State House Speaker David Osborne (R) couldn’t have been more upset, telling reporters he was “outraged and saddened over the decision to veto a bill aimed at protecting human life.”

            “The governor, who claims to have everyday family values, vetoed a bill that would require babies born after failed abortions to receive life-saving medical care,” Cameron argued, calling it “an affront to the people of Kentucky.”

            The timing, people pointed out, was also interesting – late Friday, before the weekend. Obviously, Beshear was trying to draw as little attention to the veto as possible. If that was the strategy, Planned Parenthood’s gushing praise didn’t help. Without the slightest bit of irony, the local chapter insisted, “A global pandemic is not the time to play political games with people’s lives.” No, it’s time to save them – which is what this law would have done.

            Fortunately for Kentucky, Osborne isn’t giving up. “This is not the end of this issue. The House Majority Caucus has been called the most pro-life in the history of our Commonwealth, and we will continue to fight for human life.”

            Meanwhile in Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, who has done the right thing on issues like the Heartbeat Bill, couldn’t bring himself to enforce his own emergency order when it came to the state’s abortion clinics.

            A week ago, he said that “time-sensitive” elective medical procedures could resume, an indication the coronavirus crisis is easing in the state. Some outpatient surgery centers had apparently been defying the Louisiana Dept. of Health (LDH) order to stop operating anyway, namely three abortion clinics in the state.

            State Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry’s office investigated the clinics to determine if they were in violation of LDH’s emergency order. The report was given to Gov. Edwards, but instead of closing the clinics, he gave them his blessing to continue – without restraint.

            Here’s a legitimate question: If abortion clinics can operate now with the governor’s full blessing, then why can’t churches and small businesses, who are in an even better position to adhere to the CDC’s distancing guidelines and sanitation protocols?  Gov. Edwards is expected to make an announcement about the reopening of the state soon, and we hope logic will apply. If the public health crisis has diminished to the point that the abortion industry can resume (rather, continue) operation, it stands to reason that others should as well.