Life Advocacy Briefing

September 7, 2020

Time to Weigh In / Seeking to Reverse RU-486 – For Good!
Pill Reversal Law Challenged in Court
Planned Parenthood Backs Down on One Abortion Limit
Taking Austin to Court / Battle Looming
Equipping Ourselves for the Battles

Time to Weigh In

AMONG THE BILLS WHICH HAVE PASSED THE HOUSE this summer are three which, though focused more broadly, have abortion implications worthy of our readers’ attention. Indeed, we urge our readers to contact their home-state US Senators to urge that pro-abortion provisions be removed and pro-life provisions restored. [Capitol switchboard: 1-202/224-3121]

The one most likely to come before the Senate this month is HR-7608, the State, Foreign Operations & Related Programs Appropriation Act of 2021, a massive appropriation bill for the coming fiscal year.

The bill, according to Eagle Forum, “hurts many pro-life protections, like the Kemp-Kasten Amendment.” And it includes permanent repeal of the Mexico City Policy, which, notes Eagle Forum, “prevent[s] taxpayer funds from being used to fund [or promote] abortion abroad.”

The Kemp-Kasten Amendment bars funding of “any organization or program which, as determined by the President of the United States, supports or participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.” It is Kemp-Kasten which effectively denies funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Also deposited in the Senate – though less likely to be considered while the GOP controls the agenda there – are HR 51, which awards statehood to the District of Columbia, and HR-1425, which undermines the Hyde Amendment while “enhancing” ObamaCare.


Seeking to Reverse RU-486 – For Good!

TWENTY U.S. SENATORS HAVE PETITIONED THE F.D.A. (Food & Drug Administration) to revoke its late-2000 marketing approval of the French abortion drug RU-486.

The letter “applaud[s]” the FDA for recent efforts, reports National Review’s (NR’s) Alexandra DeSanctis, “to enforce safety protocols around the chemical abortion pill,” standards which Democratic politicians have petitioned the FDA to drop. But the letter also declares, “‘We believe this deadly pill should never have been approved … . As you are surely aware,’” the senators write, according to Ms. DeSanctis, “‘pregnancy is not a life-threatening illness, and the abortion pill does not cure or prevent any disease.’

“In its conclusion,” reports NR, “the letter points out that Mifeprex [RU-486] poses a higher risk of complication than surgical abortion in the beginning of pregnancy, and somewhere between 5% and 7% of women require follow-up surgical abortions.” Noting that the letter signers “support” the “FDA’s Risk Evaluation Mitigation Strategy for the abortion pill, … ‘these measures alone fail to protect the thousands of women harmed even by compliant usage of this drug – or the millions of children killed.’”

The abortion drug which former Pres. Bill Clinton (D) reportedly directed the FDA to unleash on the market in the waning days of his regime, “has caused the deaths of millions of unborn babies and at least 24 women,” writes reporter Dorothy Cummings McLean. Included in the Senators’ letter, she notes, was this charge: “‘According to FDA reporting, the abortion pill has taken more than 3.7 million preborn lives, caused 24 maternal deaths and resulted in at least 4,195 adverse maternal reactions including hemorrhage, excruciating abdominal pain and severe life-threatening infections.’” Knowing that, how can the FDA justify continuing the nod given to this lethal drug?

The NR writer notes that Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) has “led more than 70 Congressmen in sending a similar letter to the FDA.”

The Senators signing the Sept. 1 letter were listed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), joined by GOP Senators Tom Cotton (AR), Kelly Loeffler (GA), Mike Crapo & James Risch (ID), Mike Braun (IN), Joni Ernst (IA), Pat Roberts (KS), Cindy Hyde-Smith & Roger Wicker (MS), Steve Daines (MT), Kevin Cramer & John Hoeven (ND), Rob Portman (OH), Jim Inhofe & James Lankford (OK), Mike Rounds (SD), Marsha Blackburn (TN), Mike Lee (UT), Michael Enzi (WY).


Pill Reversal Law Challenged in Court

THE ABORTION CARTEL IS TAKING TENNESSEE TO COURT again, this time seeking to block a statutory requirement, reports Calvin Freiburger for, “requiring that abortion-minded women seeking abortion pills be given information on how to reverse” the action of the pill regimen in the event they change their minds.

The statute directs, writes Mr. Freiburger, “anyone dispensing abortion pills must inform women of the possibility of reversal in person or by phone (depending on how the drugs are being dispensed), as well as post the information in the waiting areas of any facility that commits more than 50 abortions per year. Failure to comply,” he notes, “could result in a $10,000 civil penalty as well as a felony charge.”

The abortion pill reversal technique, according to Heartbeat International, writes Mr. Freiburger, “has helped more than 1,000 women save their babies since 2007.”

The state’s GOP governor, Bill Lee, notes LifeSiteNews, “has vowed to do ‘whatever it takes in court’ to defend and uphold the pro-life law.”


Planned Parenthood Backs Down on One Abortion Limit

PLANNED PARENTHOOD HAS WITHDRAWN its lawsuit challenging Indiana’s law requiring abortionists to perform an ultrasound at least 18 hours before doing his or her deed.

That law had been enjoined from enforcement since 2017, but in July, reports Calvin Freiburger for, “the US Supreme Court ordered the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider two rulings against the law. …

“Under the new agreement, the requirement will not take effect until January, 2021,” notes Mr. Freiburger, “giving staff at Planned Parenthood’s Fort Wayne facility time to train in the use of its new ultrasound machine. …

“‘For women considering abortions, ultrasounds are an important part of informed-consent counseling,’” said Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, quoted by Mr. Freiburger. “‘Empowering women with knowledge is fully consistent with the US Constitution.’” It will also save babies’ lives.


Taking Austin to Court

A LAWSUIT HAS BEEN FILED against the city of Austin, Texas, to stop the state capital’s government from further actions to aid abortion businesses in violation, notes the Thomas More Society, of state law.

The state has enacted legislation, notes, imposing “criminal liability on anyone who ‘furnishes the means for procuring an abortion knowing the purpose intended.’ The Thomas More lawsuit “also alleges that the city’s expenditures violate the state constitution’s gift clause, which prohibits transfers of public funds to private entities unless the payment serves a legitimate public purpose and affords a clear public benefit received in return.”

The pro-life pro-bono law firm’s clients in the case are several individual taxpayers and also, notes LifeSiteNews, “Texas Values, an Austin-based non-profit.”

The leftwing Austin city council “recently passed a budget,” reports LifeSiteNews, “that gives $250,000 in taxpayer money to organizations that provide travel, lodging and other logistical support to pregnant women seeking to abort their unborn children. But the Texas Constitution prohibits cities from enacting ordinances that are ‘inconsistent’ with the ‘general laws enacted by the legislature of this state.’” That clause, notes LifeSiteNews, “include[s] the state’s pre-Roe v. Wade abortion statutes, which have never been repealed and which continue to outlaw all abortions (and all conduct that aids or abets abortion) unless the mother’s life is in danger.” Though those statutes cannot be enforced until Roe is overturned, they stand as the declared public policy of the state.

“‘The city cannot hide behind Roe v. Wade because there is no constitutional right to taxpayer funding of abortion,’” noted Thomas More special counsel Erick Kaardal in the LifeSiteNews report. “‘And the city must obey and respect the state’s abortion statutes until they are repealed by the legislature that enacted them.’”


Battle Looming

Aug. 31, 2020, Washington Update commentary by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins

            How do you stop people from fighting an unpopular political agenda? Well, if you’re a House Democrat, you turn it into a race debate. Based on their latest comments, that’s how the far-Left has decided to tackle the country’s objections to taxpayer-funded abortion. Their goal is to frame it as an issue of injustice, so that even if people don’t agree with it, they’ll be too scared of being labeled to push back. But after 43 years of this bright red line called the Hyde Amendment, will Americans really be so quick to cross it?

            “It’s an issue of discrimination,” Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) insisted, “against low-income women, women of color … .” She, like other female Democrats, is starting the drumbeat for next year’s Congress, when her caucus plans to stop supporting one of the only true legislative compromises left in DC: the ban on taxpayer-funded abortion. Of course, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-SanFrancisco) has been on board with the idea for years but understood that starting a war on this rider – which is a part of almost every domestic spending bill – would grind Congressional business to a halt. After all, this isn’t just a policy that Republicans support, but members of her own party, too. In fact, it’s such a contentious idea that even Barack Obama didn’t have the stomach to call for the Hyde Amendment’s repeal.

            But now, with Democratic candidate Joe Biden throwing his lot in with the fringe elements of his party, Pelosi and Company think they have a chance to take the country where no one imagined it would go. During a subcommittee meeting earlier this year, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) warned her Members: “Although this year’s bill includes it, let me be clear, we will fight to remove the Hyde Amendment to ensure that women of color and all women have access to the reproductive health they deserve.” Starting in 2021, they have declared, House Democrats will “challenge the status quo.”

            It’s a nice messaging tool for their base, but a war over the Hyde Amendment would face some serious obstacles – not the least of which are Americans’ strong feelings on the issue. Despite four years of pushing the party into some of the most radical terrain in Democratic history, liberals’ position on the Hyde Amendment is still a far cry from most voters’. As recently as the 2020 Marist Poll, six in 10 Americans (60%) objected to tearing down the wall between taxpayers and abortion, including 37% who identify as “pro-choice.”

            Making matters even more complicated, millennials aren’t exactly on the free abortion bandwagon. Only 7% of the 18-to-34 crowd agree with the DNC’s national platform on abortion – which is no legal limits and forced funding by taxpayer dollars. Memo to Nancy Pelosi: Not only are millennials one of the larger voting blocs in America, they’re also one of the most cautious when it comes to taking human life. If the Left thinks it can slap a racist sticker on the Hyde Amendment and topple the four decades-old policy, they’re mistaken. A surprising number of young people are more concerned about the racism of the abortion industry, not a law that’s saving “mostly non-white lives.”

            Even liberals at Slate have made the argument that abortion funding “isn’t as popular as Democrats think it is.” Over the past three years, William Saletan cautions, surveys have “debunk[ed] much of what the Left believes – not just about public support for government-funded abortions but also about how attitudes on that issue intersect with gender, class and reproductive freedom … .” He rattles off statistics showing what a miscalculation this anti-Hyde crusade is. At the end of the day, Americans may agree with the legality of some abortions, “but on the question of direct payments, most voters agree with the GOP. If Democrats make that question a litmus test, they’ll regret it.

            Of course, the far-Left has never let public opinion get in the way of a bad policy agenda. But, as far as outgoing Congressman Dan Lipinski (D-IL) is concerned, the warning signs are all there – House leaders just aren’t heeding them. Rallying with other pro-lifers at a side event during the Democratic National Convention, he told the story of several Democrats who came to him during his eight terms in Congress and explained that they left the party “because of the Life issue. … We are in the mainstream,” he insisted, about the growing pro-life contingent, “and we cannot back down,” he said. “I think it’s a moral imperative that we protect Life.”


Equipping Ourselves for the Battles

Aug. 31, 2020, BreakPoint commentary by John Stonestreet

            Last Wednesday during a new segment on the BreakPoint Podcast, in which Shane Morris and I field questions from listeners, we tackled the following question/lecture: “If abortion is so evil, then why does God abort millions of fertilized eggs every day? With you folks, almost everything is black and white. No nuance. If a fetus has deformities to prevent it from living a few hours after birth, then why put the mother through this trauma?”

            Questions like this, especially in light of the incredibly strategic cultural moment we are in right now when it comes to defending innocent preborn life, [are] why we called an audible for the next Colson Center Short Course. Four Tuesday nights in a row, beginning Sept. 8, you can be trained to be a pro-life advocate by the best. The course is called “Champion Life: How to Oppose Abortion and Defend the Unborn,” by Scott Klusendorf of the Life Training Institute. You will leave each week’s teaching prepared to do just what the subtitle says: oppose abortion and defend the unborn.

            In fact, the first week’s class will enable you to navigate conversations we often find ourselves in, not dissimilar to what Shane and I heard from our listener: A flurry of questions mixed with an accusation or two. We have to start by defining exactly what abortion is.

            My friend Greg Koukl often will use the following helpful scenario to do just that: Imagine your 10-year-old son walks up behind you and asks, “Hey, Mom! Hey, Dad! Can I kill this?” Every parent knows that the only right response is a question, “What is this?” If it’s a cockroach, sure. If he’s holding his little brother by the neck, he’s going to need counseling.

            Medical science, embryology and technologies like ultrasound have settled, beyond a doubt, that abortion takes a human life. Neither a male sperm cell nor a female egg cell are human beings, but once they unite, there is a different kind of entity: a distinct human life.

            From this starting point, we can tackle our listener’s first question: Why is abortion wrong when embryos naturally die by miscarriage every day? The answer is found by applying the same rules to these preborn humans as we would to humans outside the womb. Millions of people die every day, so why should we be so against murder?

            The difference between millions of people dying every day by natural causes and those who die by murder is intent. It is wrong to take an innocent human life – any innocent human life. Fertilized eggs, embryos, fetuses, newborns, teenagers and adults are all human beings.

            Assuming that different rules apply as long as the human is in utero is a category mistake.

            On this same foundation, we can address the question of fetuses with life-threatening diseases or deformities. Suppose Grandpa is found to have a terminal illness and will die in weeks. He’s suffering, and his medical expenses will place enormous financial burdens on his family. Should we kill him? Should we, as in the case of abortion, kill him without his consent?

            Of course not. Why? Because it is always wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human being.

            Of course, when pro-abortion advocates offer this scenario, it’s often a red herring, a distraction that’s offered as an argument. Consider that about 70% of American children diagnosed before birth with the non-life-threatening condition Down Syndrome are killed in the womb. Even if we were to grant that it’s okay to abort babies in rare cases where deformities are life-threatening – and I won’t grant that – would our listener be for protecting those babies with non-life-threatening deformities?

            Or consider those who argue abortion should be allowed in cases of rape and incest. Again, it is wrong to take any innocent human life, but the vast majority of babies are not conceived this way. The extremely rare exceptions of rape, incest and life-threatening deformities have nothing to do with taking the life of babies that are simply not wanted.

            We shouldn’t be stumped by these kinds of questions. We must know how to define terms, how to ask the right questions back and how to identify category errors. This is why the upcoming short course is so very important. Every Christian needs to be prepared to oppose abortion and defend the pre-born.

            If Roe v. Wade were to be overturned at the Supreme Court, the legal battle for Life would shift to the states. So, I repeat, every Christian needs to be equipped to oppose abortion and defend the unborn. Please, sign up for our Champion Life short course at And again, it starts Tuesday, Sept. 8.

[Life Advocacy Briefing editor’s note: Mr. Stonestreet’s discussion of the so-called “rape/incest” challenge appears to be granting exceptionalism to that scenario. We do not believe that was his intent, based on the consistent pro-life ethic of BreakPoint generally. And we do not endorse any hedging on this loophole in Life protection. Abortion is never the solution to a challenging emotional situation. Abortion is cruel in such instances not only to the baby but also to the mother.]