Life Advocacy Briefing

August 24, 2020

Breakthrough / Dismemberment Ban Enacted in Nebraska
Upside-Down Priorities / Shift in Focus
Appealing for Executive Action / I.R.S. Appeal
Signers of ‘Abortion Is Not Health Care’ Letter


THE 8th CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS HAS OVERTURNED INJUNCTIONS on four Arkansas abortion restrictions enacted in 2017 and quickly enjoined by lower courts. “In its decision,” notes CBS News, “the federal court cited the Supreme Court’s most recent abortion ruling, which was initially heralded as a win for abortion rights supporters.” That was the high court’s rejection of Louisiana’s abortionist admitting rights requirement. And as CBS indicates, the 5-4 ruling was viewed at the time as a victory for the abortion cartel, but the basis for the concurring opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts is proving a signal to lower courts that there could be a majority ruling in favor of other pro-life statutes to come later before the nation’s chief tribunal.

“Notably, the 8th Circuit’s ruling cited June Medical Services v. Russo,” reports Calvin Freiburger for, the Supreme Court ruling in the Louisiana case. “Despite that ruling’s pro-abortion outcome,” writes Mr. Freiburger, “the 8th Circuit seized upon Chief Justice John Roberts’s acknowledgment that ‘the appropriate inquiry under Casey is whether the law poses “a substantial obstacle” or “substantial burden, not whether benefits outweighed burdens,”’” notes Mr. Freiburger. “Roberts also ‘emphasized the “wide discretion” that courts must afford to legislatures in areas of medical uncertainty,’ the 8th Circuit added,” reports LifeSiteNews.

The early-August Eighth Circuit ruling clears the way for Arkansas to begin enforcing the package of pro-life laws on Aug. 28.

Beginning on that date, notes CBS News, “doctors in Arkansas will be prohibited from offering patients dilation and evacuation abortions. According to the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, a professional medical group [which advocates abortion], that is the standard method of termination for patients in their second trimester.” Indeed, other reports indicate as many as 95% of second-term abortions are committed in this brutal manner. “Doctors who violate the ban,” reports CBS News, “could face up to six years in prison, a fine up to $10,000 or both, according to state law.” Such criminal penalties also jeopardize a “doctor’s” ability to acquire malpractice insurance, a significant deterrent.

“Three other first-of-their-kind regulations will also be implemented beginning later this month,” reports CBS News, “including one regulation that requires doctors notify local law enforcement when patients under 17 years old seek an abortion. The regulation expands upon an existing, uncontested state law that requires similar reporting for patients under 14 years old, designed as an effort to identify and thwart sexual abuse.”

Sex-selection abortions are thwarted under another law in the package upheld by the 8th Circuit; that law, notes CBS News, “requires physicians to obtain pregnancy-related medical records for their patients to ensure terminations aren’t influenced by sex selection. The fourth new law,” notes CBS News, “would force providers to involve family members of the patient in deciding how to dispose of fetal tissue from the abortion.”

Among the effects of banning dismemberment abortion, Kansans for Life executive director Kay Culp, in a 2019 interview with LifeSiteNews, is a thwarting of fetal tissue experimentation. “‘Dismemberment abortion facilitates fetal harvesting,’” she said in the interview quoted now by Mr. Freiburger. “‘Clinicians experimenting on aborted baby parts don’t want their research tainted by drugs, and they want fresh organs – packed for shipping within minutes of death.’” Harvesting by dismemberment is an essential element in such schemes, and the profits in baby body-parts trafficking may be the true basis for the abortion cartel’s alarm over the growing movement to outlaw dismemberment abortions in state legislatures across America.

The overturned injunctions had been obtained by litigation filed not by mothers seeking abortions but by an abortionist represented by the ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Rights, whose attorney Hillary Schneller, “told CBS News in a telephone interview … , ‘This collection of laws is particularly cruel and coercive.’”

How curious that a law criminalizing the limb-from-limb tearing apart of an innocent developing child should be called “cruel and coercive.” Or that such a charge could be leveled against a law which seeks to end the practice of killing developing babies on the excuse that they are not of the desired sex. At least in this case, the judges of the 8th Circuit did not see it that way, not at all.


Dismemberment Ban Enacted in Nebraska

NEBRASKA GOV. PETE RICKETTS (R) HAS SIGNED legislation barring dismemberment abortions in his state, reports Martin Burger for, “during a public ceremony on the steps of the state capitol.” Passage of the bill on Aug. 13 demonstrated the value not only of putting a worthy law on the books but also of the value of legislative debate in educating the public on the true nature of abortion.

“‘Throughout this year’s legislative session,’” said Nebraska Right to Life president Sandy Danek, quoted by Mr. Burger, “‘LB-814 sparked a statewide discussion about the harms of dismembering a living child and the intrinsic value of every human life.’” And she added a note on the benefit of citizen activism for the worthy cause: “‘This bill would not have been possible without thousands of pro-life Nebraskans, who provided research, education and advocacy in support of unborn lives.’”

In reporting on the dramatic course of the bill’s passage, the Catholic News Agency (CNA), reports: “The measure passed its first vote in Nebraska’s unicameral legislature on Aug. 5 by a 34-9 vote. Multiple senators attempted to filibuster the bill at that point, but the bill earned the 33 votes necessary to break the filibuster as [its sponsor] moved to invoke cloture.” The bill had been pending since January, offering ample opportunity for public input.

“Opponents of the Nebraska bill,” notes CNA, “have maintained that courts will deem the legislation unconstitutional under Roe v. Wade.” But the state’s attorney general issued an opinion, during the debate, that the bill is “‘likely constitutional,’ because it ‘does not appear that it will impose a substantial obstacle on abortion access in Nebraska,’” reports CNA. And a dismemberment ban was among the laws reinstated Aug. 7 in litigation challenging several Arkansas abortion restrictions.


Upside-Down Priorities

SOME PUBLIC OFFICIALS ARE SO BACKWARD in their thinking, they do not even realize how ludicrous their actions appear. Such is the case of the city council in Austin, which is both the capital and the most left-wing city in the state of Texas.

“The council recently approved its 2021 budget,” reports Calvin Freiburger for, citing CBN News as source. That budget, he writes, “cuts $150 million from the Austin Police Department to be spent on other services. … At the same time, the budget increases the funding for ‘abortion access’ to $250,000 under the auspices of ‘health and social services.’”

Austin’s mayor Steven Adler (D) called the budget “‘the most forward-looking budget in memory,’” reports Mr. Freiburger, citing KVUE as source. “‘This is really the budget where we launch our future … as a fairer, more just, more universally acceptable city. This budget,’” he continued, “‘is full of opportunity and hope … and reimagines public safety in so many new ways.’”

Responded Texas Right to Life, quoted by LifeSiteNews, “‘Abortion does nothing to improve the safety or wellness of our communities. … A procedure that always ends in the death of a preborn child and leaves women spiritually, mentally and oftentimes physically scarred cannot be said to promote safety and care.’”

LifeSiteNews characterized the action as “doubling down on [Austin’s] stance as a sanctuary city for the abortion industry.” The city has been in a constant abortion war with the Texas state government since the legislature in 2019 “passed a law,” notes LifeSiteNews, “prohibiting state and local government from using taxpayer dollars to support abortion businesses and their affiliates. However, the city of Austin circumvented this law by including a line item of $150,000 in the city’s budget for abortion logistical services. While the funding cannot pay for the abortion procedure directly, this money is earmarked for expenses related to abortion, including transportation to the appointment, lodging, childcare and legal services. The city contracted with Jane’s Due Process, an anti-Life organization that exploits underage girls by showing them how to obtain abortions without their parents’ involvement.” Lawsuits brought against the city’s actions in 2019 are continuing to languish in county courts.

“In setting the budget for 2021,” reports LifeSiteNews, “Austin has reaffirmed its commitment to killing preborn children with taxpayer dollars by increasing the funding allotted for ‘abortion access’ to $250,000.” The hike relates directly to the cut in police funding, because the monies cut from the police budget were allocated to “‘health and social services,’” which, notes LifeSiteNews, “unsurprisingly includ[es] ‘abortion access.’”


Shift in Focus

AFTER A WEEK OF LEFT-WING TRASH TALK at the Democratic Party’s national telethon, the Republican National Convention will feature this week such notable speakers as former Planned Parenthood official Abby Johnson, who now heads an organization offering sanctuary to staffers fleeing the abortion industry, and Covington, Kentucky, student Nicholas Sandmann, who, notes reporter Calvin Freiburger, “found himself at the heart of a national firestorm when the press erupted with claims that a video showed him and his classmates harassing Native American activist Nathan Phillips outside the Lincoln Memorial;” Mr. Sandmann was in the nation’s capital for the 2019 March for Life.

The appearances will apparently be part of a GOP effort to expose bias in social media and carries through on remarks by White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany in May, when she declared, reports Mr. Freiburger, “‘No one believes in the First Amendment more than the President, and the President will take action to ensure that Big Tech does not stifle free speech. … It’s not just bias aimed at Pres. Trump and his employees,’” she added. “‘It’s also aimed at everyday Americans. It is aimed at the movie Unplanned [the story of Abby Johnson], as Twitter suspended their accounts and came up with an excuse in the aftermath.

“‘Another example,’” Ms. McEnany continued, quoted by LifeSiteNews, “‘is that liberals are allowed to incite violence against the Covington kids, who were in the end proven right; their video was taken out of context. Yet these individuals were let or allowed by Twitter to incite violence.’”

Mr. Sandmann has since successfully sued several news outlets for their shameful attacks on him and attempts to destroy his reputation and future.


Appealing for Executive Action

FRUSTRATED BY THE INABILITY OF CONGRESS to address America’s abortion policy, a collection of pro-life US Senators and House Members have sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asking him to revise an IRS rule which includes abortion as “medical care” for purposes of income tax deductibility.

The letter appears to have been organized and circulated by Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) and Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH). We publish excerpts and the list of signers at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing, and we encourage readers to call home-state Senators and Representatives to thank them for taking this action. [Capitol switchboard: 1-202/224-3121]


I.R.S. Appeal

Excerpts from Aug. 12 letter to Treasury Secy. Steven Mnuchin

            Abortion is not health care. Any procedure for which a successful outcome depends on the death of a living human being, born or unborn, cannot be health care. For this reason, the willful killing of an unborn child has for over two millennia been considered explicitly proscribed by the Hippocratic Oath as inherently contrary to the ethical practice of medicine. We write to urge you to take swift action to issue new regulations to protect innocent human life by ending tax breaks for abortion under the guise of medical care. The IRS should not consider abortions (except when the mother’s life is physically endangered) to be medical care. Similarly, the IRS should not treat premiums for health insurance that covers such abortions as medical care, unless in compliance with the law’s separate accounting requirements for coverage of non-medical care.

            When the deduction for medical care was first enacted in the Revenue Act of 1942, abortion was a crime in virtually every state. However, shortly after Roe v. Wade, the IRS imposed on the then-three-decade-old statute a meaning of “medical care” that would have been unthinkable to the 77th Congress that enacted it. Under Rev. Rul. 73-201 (1973), the IRS wrongly holds that amounts paid for any legal abortion are tax deductible as “medical care” under … the Internal Revenue Code … and even prominently lists them as such in its Publication 502. This holding, in turn, creates tax breaks for abortions through the medical expenses deduction as well as through health flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts, health reimbursement arrangements and other tax-preferred health accounts and tax breaks that incorporate Sec. 213(d)’s definition of “medical care.” The holding violates Sec. 213(d)(1)(A) and its governing regulations and ought to be reversed with regard to abortion. Therefore, we urge you to revise the regulatory definition of “medical care” in Treas. Reg. 1.213-1(e)(1) to exclude amounts paid for any abortion (except when the mother’s life is physically endangered).

            … While we believe Congress should amend the statute to exclude categorically any health insurance that cover such abortions, enforcing the law’s separate accounting requirements is an important intermediary step. Therefore, we also urge you to revise the regulations implementing these separate accounting rules in Treas. Reg. 1.213-1(e)(4) to exclude amounts paid for any premiums for medical insurance that covers such abortions … .

            In all but the most extreme circumstances, abortion is an elective procedure that has nothing to do with “the prevention or alleviation of a physical or mental defect or illness.” Pregnancy is a natural condition of the human body, for both the mother and her unborn child, and only rarely, if ever, does a pregnancy physically threaten the life of the mother in such a way that a the mother’s death can only be averted by abortion, rather than through other means such as early induction or Caesarean section. Therefore, the IRS must cease considering abortions … to be medical care under Sec. 213(d) and its implementing regulations.

            Even without relying upon the regulations or legislative history, the IRS’s treatment of abortions as medical care also conflicts with the statutory text of Sec. 213(d)(1)(A) – “amounts paid … for the purpose of affecting any structure or function of the body” … – because the statute only references one person’s body, not a second body that may be secondarily affected. The primary purpose of an abortion, however, is not to affect the body of the mother but, tragically, to destroy the body of the unborn child growing within her – a child who has her own unique DNA. An abortion is considered “successful” not simply when the mother’s pregnancy is terminated (since childbirth also does this), but only when the result is a dead unborn child. …

            Again, abortion is not health care, neither for the mother nor her unborn child. The IRS’s treatment of amounts paid for abortion … as medical care under Sec. 213(d)(1)(A) is wrongheaded and contrary to the law. … We urge you to take swift action to issue new regulations to protect innocent human life by ending tax breaks for abortion under the guise of medical care.


Signers of ‘Abortion Is Not Health Care’ Letter

            Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH), joined by GOP Senators John Boozman (AR), Marco Rubio (FL), Kelly Loeffler (GA), James Risch (ID), Joni Ernst (IA), Jerry Moran (KS), Rand Paul (KY), Bill Cassidy & John Kennedy (LA), Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS), Josh Hawley (MO), Steven Daines (MT), Ben Sasse (NE), Thom Tillis (NC), Kevin Cramer (ND), Rob Portman (OH), James Inhofe & James Lankford (OK), Tim Scott (SC), Michael Rounds (SD), Marsha Blackburn (TN) and Michael Enzi (WY).

            Also GOP Representatives Robert Aderholt & Mo Brooks (AL); Andy Biggs, Paul Gosar & Debbie Lesko (AZ); Rick Crawford (AR); Doug LaMalfa (CA); Doug Lamborn (CO); Gus Bilirakis, Neal Dunn, Matt Gaetz, Brian Mast, John Rutherford, Ross Spano, Greg Steube, Michael Waltz & Ted Yoho (FL); Rick Allen, Doug Collins, Jody Hice & Barry Loudermilk (GA); Russ Fulcher (ID); Mike Bost, Darin LaHood & John Shimkus (IL); Jim Banks & Jackie Walorski (IN); Steve King (IA); Brett Guthrie (KY); Ralph Abraham, Garret Graves & GOP Whip Steve Scalise (LA); Andy Harris (MD); Jack Bergman, Bill Huizenga & John Moolenaar (MI); Tom Emmer & Jim Hagedorn (MN);

            And GOP Representatives Trent Kelly & Steven Palazzo (MS); Vicky Hartzler,  Billy Long & Jason Smith (MO); Greg Gianforte (MT); Jeff Fortenberry (NE); Ted Budd, Gregory Murphy & David Rouzer (NC); Steve Chabot, Bob Gibbs, Jim Jordan, Robert Latta (OH); Kevin Hern (OK); John Joyce, Fred Keller, Mike Kelly, Scott Perry, Guy Reschenthaler & Glenn Thompson (PA); Jeff Duncan, Ralph Norman & Joe Wilson (SC); David Kustoff, Phil Roe & John Rose (TN); Jodey Arrington, Brian Babin, Bill Flores, Louie Gohmert, Pete Olson, Chip Roy, Randy Weber, Ron White, Roger Williams (TX); Rob Wittman (VA); Mike Gallagher & Glenn Grothman (WI); Carol Miller & Alex Mooney (WV).