Life Advocacy Briefing

August 31, 2020

Appealing an Outrageous Ruling / Daleiden in Peril
‘Health Care’ Does Not Mean Abortion! / Sifting the Science
Noteworthy / Stepping Up / Facing Reality / Out of Step

Appealing an Outrageous Ruling

THE U.S. JUSTICE DEPT. PETITIONED THE SUPREME COURT last Wednesday to overturn a ruling by District Judge Theodore Chuang, an Obama appointee, which enjoined Food & Drug Administration (FDA) rules barring administration of RU-486 without an in-person doctor visit.

The ACLU had taken the regulation to court, reports Calvin Freiburger for, claiming “the requirement posed a ‘substantial obstacle’ during a pandemic.’” The Obama-appointed judge bought the claim and ruled that the rule must be overturned, “‘particularly in light of the limited timeframe during which a medication abortion or any abortion must occur.’” So, for Judge Chuang, apparently, abortion is an imperative.

“‘By suspending enforcement of the safety requirements on a nationwide basis, the district court has irreparably harmed both the government and the public more generally,’ the department argued” in its petition to the high court, Mr. Freiburger reports. “‘Even if the FDA ultimately prevails on the merits, the risks to patients, and any harms that materialize, cannot be undone. Those costs outweigh any burdens associated with a one-time clinic visit to receive a drug that is merely one means of obtaining an abortion.’”

Remarks Students for Life of America president Kristan Hawkins, quoted by Mr. Freiburger, “‘We shouldn’t have to go to court to defend health and safety standards endorsed by the FDA so that women won’t die or be harmed by chemical abortion pills … . The Trump Administration’s proactive petition represents just what pro-life Americans expect from their government – a commitment to mothers and their children, born and preborn.’”


Daleiden in Peril

U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE WILLIAM ORRICK HAS STEPPED UP his courtroom persecution of David Daleiden, the investigative journalist who busted Planned Parenthood’s involvement in trafficking of baby body parts.

On Aug. 19, the judge issued an order requiring the young muckraker to pay an appeal bond of $600,000, giving him less than two weeks to hand over the cash. The order comes in a civil case wherein a SanFrancisco jury last November, notes reporter Lianne Laurence, “took less than two days to find [the Center for Medical Progress] and its investigators guilty of multiple crimes, including violating the federal Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, wiretapping and engaging in civil conspiracy. They also rendered a judgment of $2.3 million in damages against the defendants, who include Daleiden, [Sandra] Merritt, CMP investigative journalist Geraldo Adrian Lopez and CMP founding board members.”

The defense attorneys, notes Ms. Laurence, “filed post-trial motions with [Mr.] Orrick asking for a new trial, a reduction of all charges and an end to the injunction banning the pro-life defendants from going undercover at Planned Parenthood conferences. ‘We challenged everything,’ said Peter Breen, senior counsel for the Thomas More Society, which is defending [Mr.] Daleiden. But [Judge] Orrick, who formerly sat on the board of a SanFrancisco nonprofit that houses a Planned Parenthood facility, denied all motions in his Aug. 19 ruling.”

The Chicago-based Thomas More Society, reports Ms. Laurence, “is helping [Mr.] Daleiden raise money to pay the bond, which will ‘secure our right to go on appeal and get this jury verdict overturned,’ [Mr.] Breen told LifeSiteNews.”


‘Health Care’ Does Not Mean Abortion!

THE STATE DEPT. HAS ISSUED A REPORT, writes Calvin Freiburger for, “on the impact of Pres. Donald Trump’s actions to prevent foreign aid money from supporting abortions abroad, concluding that his restoration and expansion of the Mexico City Policy has not harmed America’s support for legitimate women’s health services. …

“The action has been bitterly opposed by Democrats,” notes Mr. Freiburger, “and has resulted in international abortion providers Planned Parenthood and Marie Stopes losing millions because they refused to drop abortion in order to qualify for the money. [The London-based international abortion outfit] Marie Stopes also had to close hundreds of operations across Africa.”

The LifeSiteNews reporter notes, “A 2018 State Dept. review found that most recipients have complied with the new rules without issue. The department’s latest review,” writes Mr. Freiburger, “finds much the same result. ‘In total,’” the report indicates, “‘only eight out of 1,340 prime awardees with awards in place between May 2017 and September 30, 2018, have declined to agree to the policy, as well as a small portion of sub-awardees.’” So evidently, providers whose actual mission is to deliver health services have no problem with excluding elective abortions.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on Aug. 20, reports Martin Burger for LifeSiteNews, “praised the Trump Administration … for implementing pro-life policies in foreign affairs, specifically the so-called Mexico City Policy. ‘The Trump Administration deserves our praise,’” said Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, quoted by Mr. Burger, “‘for ensuring that US global health assistance funding actually promotes health and human rights and doesn’t undermine them by promoting abortion. …

“‘Killing innocent and defenseless unborn children through abortion is not health care,’ he continued. ‘Abortion violates an unborn child’s most basic human right, the right to life, and it also can wound the mother emotionally and physically. … Americans recognize this injustice,’” declared Archbishop Naumann, “‘and an overwhelming majority of them oppose giving tax dollars to organizations that are more committed to promoting abortion than providing health services.’”


Sifting the Science

THE REPORT IS IN from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Human Fetal Tissue Research Ethics Advisory Board, recommending no taxpayer dollars be spent on 13 of the 14 research proposals it reviewed, showing once again that personnel decisions count in forming government policy; as we reported last week, a strong majority of the pivotal board members have demonstrated pro-life convictions.

“‘The board assessed considerations,’” the report explained, quoted by Calvin Freiburger for, “‘as to whether the nature of the research involved is such that it is unethical to conduct or support the research.’” Concerns included “‘scientific justification for the use and quantity of human fetal tissue proposed and the use of alternative models,’” the Board explained. Also, “‘the core ethical principles and procedures used in the process for obtaining written, voluntary, informed consent for the donation of the tissue.’”

We should note, though fetal tissue experimentation is always ethically wrong when the tissue being used is taken in the course of elective abortion – and can add an incentive for choosing abortion – there is such a thing as ethical fetal tissue experimentation, such as tissue derived from natural miscarriage and tissue from cord blood.

Though the report does not identify the specific proposed projects being reviewed, it does exhibit the objections raised by the Board’s majority. “Among the things they faulted rejected projects for,” reports Mr. Freiburger, “were failure to specify how much tissue they wanted to use, failure to adequately explain why there was no other alternative than fetal tissue, concerns about the proposals’ informed consent procedures [and] inadequate safeguards to ensure tissue suppliers would not illegally profit off selling the tissue. …

“The review of fetal tissue proposals fulfills a promise the Trump Administration made,” notes Mr. Freiburger, “after a 2018 scandal in which a Food & Drug Administration notice surfaced detailing a contract to the fetal tissue procurement firm Advanced Bioscience Resources Inc. to acquire ‘tissue for humanized mice.’ … Dozens of pro-life leaders and House Members successfully pressure the FDA and Health & Human Services to terminate the contract, but concerns remained,” explains the LifeSiteNews writer, “over nearly $100 million in tax dollars that continued to pay for other research using tissue and organs from aborted babies.”



FORMER REAGAN DOMESTIC POLICY CHIEF GARY BAUER reports in his Aug. 19 End of Day Memo for supporters of his Campaign for Working Families: “Yesterday, we joked that the Left would probably attack Pres. Trump after he issued a posthumous pardon for women’s rights advocate Susan B. Anthony for her 1872 conviction for voting illegally. Well, we were partially right. Left-wing reporters at the New York Times published a story blasting Susan B. Anthony as ‘an increasingly divisive figure’ who was against abortion.’”


Stepping Up

Aug. 19, 2020 BreakPoint commentary by John Stonestreet & Roberto Rivera

            Recently, political scientist Michael J. New described the results of what’s being called “the largest known in-depth interview study of American attitudes on abortion” as “nuanced.” A better term would be “complicated,” or maybe even “not-at-all coherent.”

            This new study out of Notre Dame, entitled “How Americans Understand Abortion,” not only sought to determine what Americans believe about abortion but why they believe it and which factors influenced those beliefs. Anyone who opposes abortion and is committed to protecting the preborn can learn much from the results. For example, I found it fascinating that, according to the study, most Americans are simply not “particularly knowledgeable about the details of abortion.”

            Those of us neck-deep in the issue may find it unbelievable that anyone could be “unfamiliar with basic facts about fetal development or public policy” or what Roe v. Wade actually did to America, or where state abortion laws currently stand. But many are, which makes the task of education – especially about the science and politics of abortion – a priority for pro-lifers. In fact, data suggest that many Americans would be shocked to learn how permissive our nation’s abortion laws are.

            Another lesson to learn from this Notre Dame study is that we must do a better job publicizing the “life-affirming work done by the thousands of pregnancy help centers in the US.” Much of the support for legal abortion is based on the fear “that children born after unintended pregnancies would be neglected” and that “women would be adversely impacted by carrying an unintended pregnancy to term.”

            In other words, people are simply unaware that these old arguments, which date back to even before Roe itself (i.e. “who will care for these women and children”), have been substantially answered in incredible ways by pro-lifers everywhere. Easing concerns about whether help is available for women in unexpected or crisis pregnancies will be essential to any effective pro-life apologetic.

            The most important lesson from this study, however, is just how deeply moral relativism is shaping the abortion debate. Though a large percentage of Americans dislike abortion, they are uncomfortable with making abortion illegal. The data are incredible. Even those who think that abortion should be legal know that something is wrong with it. And yet, they simply can’t imagine an alternative to the status quo.

            “Successful pro-life outreach to this group,” New suggests, “is the key to creating a durable pro-life majority that will restore legal protection to the unborn.”

            In other words, in addition to the beautiful and brilliant work of caring for children and women in crisis – work the pro-life movement has excelled in for decades – we have to learn to make the case for Life. By “we,” I mean “you” and “me.” We need to know the science surrounding abortion so that “they” will know the science is on the side of Life. We need to know how embryology and ultrasounds have only strengthened the case for the humanity of the fetus.

            The case is incredibly strong, in fact, but, as this study reveals, we can’t assume that Americans know. And if they know, we can’t assume they’ve connected the dots to the immorality of taking innocent preborn lives.

            The case that abortion is wrong must be made alongside the case that abortion should be illegal, and not just by the “pro-life professionals.” If the Supreme Court manages to overturn Roe v. Wade – and we should pray it does – the status and safety of preborn children will be decided on a state-by-state basis.

            Local law matters when it comes to abortion as much or even more than national law. After all, the law is a moral teacher. Many Americans think abortion should be legal simply because it is. That’s why pro-abortion forces oppose any restriction on abortion whatsoever as outrageous infringements on women. They must not allow a pro-life foot in the door.

            Those of us who care about the unborn must help people know what they should know about abortion so they can make the connections they currently aren’t making. The next Colson Center online short course, to be offered in September, will help you do just that. Pro-life apologist Scott Klusendorff will, over four successive Tuesdays, equip you to defend Life and oppose abortion. Learn how to make the case for Life with others in less than a minute. Learn the five bad ways people argue about abortion, how to answer objections to the pro-life position clearly and persuasively and how to take the next (or maybe even first) step to putting your convictions to action. Come to to register for our next short course: “Champion Life: How You Can Oppose Abortion & Defend the Unborn.” All sessions are recorded for your review or in case you need to miss a live class session. [Price $49; Tuesdays in September, beginning Sept. 8]


Facing Reality

Excerpts from Aug. 25, 2020, Republican Nat’l Convention speech by former Planned Parenthood worker Abby Johnson, transcribed and paraphrased by

            “I truly believed I was helping women. … But things drastically changed in 2009.” That year a trio of incidents opened her eyes: being chosen as employee of the year and attending the organization’s gala, where the Margaret Sanger Award, named for Planned Parenthood’s infamous racist founder, is presented; being ordered to double the abortions performed at her facility because “abortion is how we make our money;” and having to participate in an ultrasound-directed abortion.

            “Nothing prepared me for what I saw on the screen: an unborn baby fighting back, desperate to move away from the suction. … And I’ll never forget what the doctor said next: ‘Beam me up, Scotty.’ The last thing I saw was a spine twirling around in the mother’s womb before succumbing to the force of the suction. …

            “For most people, abortion is abstract. They can’t conceive of the barbarity. … For me, abortion is real. I know what abortion sounds like. I know what abortion smells like. Did you know abortion had a smell? I do.

            “I now support Pres. Trump because he has done more for the unborn than any other President. … That’s something that should compel you to action.”


Out of Step

July 31, 2020, National Review commentary by Alexandra DeSanctis

            As John McCormack noted earlier this morning, several House Democrats are pushing a bill creatively titled the “Abortion is Health Care Everywhere Act of 2020,” which they describe as the first legislative effort to repeal the Helms Amendment.

            Since the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, Congress has routinely attached the Helms Amendment to fiscal bills to prohibit US foreign aid from directly funding “performance of abortion as a method of family planning or to motivate or coerce any person to practice abortions,” a policy that the Democratic sponsors of the new legislation decry as “deeply rooted in racism.”

            The Helms Amendment goes hand in hand with the Mexico City policy, which every Republican Presidential administration since Ronald Reagan has enacted to prevent non-governmental organizations that provide or promote abortion overseas from receiving US funding. Under Pres. Trump, that policy was expanded to apply to all foreign-health assistance provided by government agencies, including the State Dept., the US Agency for International Development, the Office of the US Global AIDS Coordinator, and the Defense Dept.

            According to the Washington Post, if elected, Joe Biden will follow the example of his Democratic predecessors in reversing the policy as soon as he takes office. “Biden will use executive action on his first day in office to withdraw the Mexico City ‘global gag rule,’” his spokesperson said, using the parlance of those who promote unlimited legal abortion.

            Meanwhile, in his “unity taskforce” recommendations developed in cooperation with Sen. Bernie Sanders, Biden asserts, “Democrats believe that every woman should be able to access high-quality reproductive healthcare services, including safe and legal abortion.”

            The vague wording leaves room for Biden to claim he’s telling the truth, but public opinion on abortion is actually much more complex than he makes it sound. A Gallup poll from last summer, for instance, found that less than 40% of Democrats believe abortion should be legal under any circumstances.

            Meanwhile, it’s certainly not the case that Democrats favor taxpayer-funded abortion, let alone overseas. According to a 2018 survey from Marist/Knights of Columbus, Democrats were almost evenly split on whether taxpayer dollars should fund abortion in the US, with about 45% saying they oppose the practice. In 2017, the same survey found that an overwhelming majority of Democrats (70%) opposed taxpayer-funded abortion around the globe.

            On this element of abortion policy, as with abortion policy more generally, Biden is out of step not only with the average American but with voters in his own party.