Life Advocacy Briefing

July 19, 2021

Planned Parenthood Stumbling Over New Legal Approach
Stateside / In the Courts / Catching Up
Crossing a Line in Chicago / Headed for Reckoning?
Senate Voting Records

Planned Parenthood Stumbling Over New Legal Approach

PLANNED PARENTHOOD’s LAWSUIT against a new Lubbock, Texas, “sanctuary for the unborn” ordinance has been tossed out of court by a judge’s finding, reports LifeSiteNews.com (LSN), “that Planned Parenthood did not have standing to sue the city.” In banning abortions within the city limits, the Lubbock ordinance does not use criminal law but grants citizens a private right of action in the civil courts. Lubbock’s ordinance took effect June 1, and, notes LSN, “Planned Parenthood in Lubbock has been banned from committing abortions there since then.”

The same legal construction has now been used by the State of Texas in its enactment of the Texas Heartbeat Act, set to take effect Sept. 1. Like other Heartbeat Abortion laws, the Texas statute makes illegal an abortion committed once a targeted baby’s heartbeat can be detected. Unlike the Heartbeat law in other states, the Texas law does not seek criminal prosecution by established authorities but establishes a civil cause of action by any citizen.

Now Planned Parenthood has filed a lawsuit against the Texas Heartbeat Act, but the suit appears to face the same hurdle as the abortion behemoth’s Lubbock lawsuit.

The LSN report quotes Jonathan Saenz, president and attorney for Texas Values, who called the suit “a ‘complete joke,’ adding that it was a ‘desperate attempt’ by the abortion lobby to ‘intimidate and bully Texas citizens.’”

The filing, reports LSN, quoting Mr. Saenz, “‘sues government officials who are already excluded from being involved in the enforcement of this law.’” The Texas version of the Heartbeat Law is not based on criminal prosecution of an abortionist but “creates a civil liability,” reports LSN, “for a person who performs, aids or abets in an abortion after a heartbeat is detected and empowers citizens to file civil actions to enforce it. The Act is not enforced,” notes LSN, “by any officer or employee of a state or local governmental entity in the state.” We await with bated breath the outcome of this latest suit.

 

Stateside

  • A PRO-LIFE PROVISION IN NEW HAMPSHIRE’s BUDGET PROPOSAL has embroiled the state’s Republican governor in controversy, as Gov. Chris Sununu claims to be “‘pro-choice,’” notes Calvin Freiburger for com, yet has said he will not veto the budget “solely to stop a provision banning abortion past 24 weeks. “‘First, it is not my bill,’ the governor responded” to a pro-abortion complainer at a Chamber of Commerce forum, quoted by Mr. Freiburger. “‘It is the legislature’s proposal. And 43 other states have similar clauses, including Massachusetts and New York, who have almost the exact same law. No one is screaming at them,’” he said. “‘Do you want me to scrap a $13 billion budget for this one item? I will not do that.’” He insisted, notes Mr. Freiburger, “‘I am pro-choice. … I have always supported a woman’s right to choose and never opposed late-term abortions. If they keep it in the budget, and I suspect they will, I will not veto the budget.’” And in late June, he did indeed sign the budget measure, late-term abortion ban intact.

  • NORTH CAROLINA GOV. ROY COOPER (D) IN LATE JUNE VETOED the proposed “Human Life Nondiscrimination Act/No Eugenics.” The proposal would have prohibited abortionists, reports National Right to Life News editor Dave Andrusko, “from performing abortions if a woman is seeking it because of race, sex or a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome.” The governor called the proposal “‘unconstitutional’” and said it “‘damages the doctor-patient relationship with an unprecedented government intrusion,’” completely misrepresenting the nature of abortion commerce.

  • OHIO’s BUDGET BILL, enacted on July 1, includes provisions, reports com writer Raymond Wolfe, “that protect healthcare providers from having to commit abortions, transgender surgeries or other practices that violate their beliefs. A section in the bill … states that medical professionals and healthcare institutions can refuse to perform services based on ‘moral, ethical or religious beliefs or principles.’”

  • OREGON’s SENATE ON JUNE 10 VOTED DOWN 11-to-18 the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act, followed on June 15 by House rejection of the same proposal by vote of 22 to 37. “According to a June 10th Oregon Right to Life press release,” reports Live Action’s Laura Nicole, “78% of Oregonians favor outlawing infanticide,” a goal of the measure. “Preborn babies have no protections in the State of Oregon,” writes Ms. Nicole, “which has some of the most pro-abortion policies in the country.”

  • THE PENNSYLVANIA HOUSE HAS SENT TO THE STATE SENATE a bill banning abortions prompted by a Down Syndrome diagnosis. The vote was 120 to 83; ten Democratic Representatives were among the majority voting for the measure. Said sponsor Rep. Kate Klunk, quoted by Live Action’s Cassy Fiano-Chesser, “‘We truly have a responsibility to stand up for those who do not have a voice. … We have a responsibility to say an unborn child who has received a Down Syndrome diagnosis has a right to life and should not be discriminated against simply because they have one extra chromosome.’”

  • TEXAS GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R) SIGNED in mid-June a bill banning all abortions, set to take effect, notes Clare Marie Merkowsky for LifeSiteNews.com, “whenever the US Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. … “If the Supreme Court overturns [Roe],” notes Ms. Merkowsky, “all abortions will be completely banned or banned to the extent that the [prospective] Court ruling allows, with exemptions for mothers whose lives are at risk or ‘substantial impairment of major bodily function,’” language which National Right to Life Committee some time ago developed as a compromise.

 

In the Courts

  • US DISTRICT JUDGE JAMES PATRICK HANLON ISSUED a temporary injunction in late June against Indiana’s new law requiring abortuaries to furnish information on abortion pill reversal to mothers seeking to abort their babies via chemical abortifacients such as RU-486, opining that abortion-cartel plaintiffs would likely prevail in their claim that the requirement undermines their First Amendment rights.

  • A CEDAR RAPIDS JUDGE named Mitchell Turner has blocked Iowa from enforcing a 2020 law, reports Calvin Freiburger for LifeSiteNews.com, “requiring women to wait at least 24 hours before aborting their babies, citing pro-abortion judicial precedent and state legislative procedure.” Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) will appeal the ruling, according to a report by National Right to Life News editor Dave Andrusko. “The US Supreme Court,” notes Mr. Freiburger, “expressly upheld 24-hour waiting periods in 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey.”

 

Catching Up

WE HAVE JUST LEARNED, through the FRC Action commentary which we have published near the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing, about a recorded Senate vote that we missed reporting in early March on an amendment proposed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to bar Planned Parenthood from receiving small business bailout funding under the Chinese-flu-stimulated American Rescue Act. We apologize for having missed such a critical vote, and we thank Sen. Paul for his leadership in this and for securing a recorded roll call on the question. We publish the roll call at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing.

 

Crossing a Line in Chicago

July 13, 2021, Washington Update commentary by Meg Kilgannon, Family Research Council Senior Fellow for Education Studies

             Chicago Public Schools’ top doctor Kenneth Fox has been a pediatrician for 30 years. As Chicago schools move to make condoms available to students in the name of “prevention.”  Dr. Fox is leading the way. According to an article in the Chicago Sun-Times, Fox believes, “‘Young people have the right to accurate and clear information to make healthy decisions. And they need access to resources to protect their health and the health of others as they act on those decisions.’”

             On the right to accurate and clear information for “young people” to make healthy decisions, we agree. We would strongly disagree, however, that distributing condoms in schools is a “resource to protect their health.” The healthiest sexual “context” is in marriage between a man and a woman. Children are not able to consent to sex at the age of 10 or 11 in fifth grade. Making condoms available to children at that age is the opposite of a “healthy decision.” It may even facilitate the exploitation of children.

             Efforts like these in Chicago Public Schools are a hallmark of Comprehensive Sexuality Education. Scout Bratt of the Chicago Women’s Health Center said as much. “The idea is to say we are educational centers, we are community health centers essentially, and we know to invest in young folks’ health and well-being by providing comprehensive sex ed, it means we also need to provide the resources.” For those of us who want to protect children’s innocence and honor parental rights, the tendency to view schools as access points to children or vehicles for the delivery of “social services” is a problem. Schools are institutions for learning, not “community health centers.”

             When adults make policies about protecting children that involve giving condoms or other contraceptives to students at school (meaning outside parental supervision), one has to wonder, who actually benefits? It is never beneficial for a 10-year-old to be sexually active. The very suggestion that prepubertal children have sexual agency is disturbingly repugnant. Children do not have a “right” to have sex. Children are not sex objects and can never meaningfully consent to sexual acts. Adults cannot claim these false rights for children – and adults who try must at the very least be viewed with suspicion. If the justification for giving condoms to children is a problem with sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy in that age cohort, why are adults in Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Dept. of Public Health expecting children to solve that problem? Why wouldn’t adults intervene in the life of that child to find out why a 10-year-old boy or girl thinks they need a condom? What is happening in that child’s life that leads them to need access to contraceptives? The appropriate “resource” for children in this situation is not simply “health care” but law enforcement and the protection of adults.

             FRC’s Mary Szoch explains, “Family Research Council opposes exposing children (or anyone) to explicit material, encouraging children in any way to have sex or commit sexual acts, and creating a hypersexualized culture that will certainly have damaging long-term consequences for children. Family Research Council believes our culture should promote the virtue of chastity and teach that the appropriate context for sexual intimacy is in a loving marital union between a man and a woman.

             “When fifth graders are at school, they should be learning American history, practicing multiplying fractions, performing experiments that demonstrate how the water cycle works and reading literature that expands their minds and teaches moral truths. No part of 5th grade curriculum should involve access to condoms and the promotion of sexual activity, which obviously is exploitation of minors.” …

             Parents in Chicago Public Schools must oppose this program and protect their children. And they must demand public officials who also protect children. To report an issue at your public schools, contact FRC through our tip line: tipline@frc.org.

 

Headed for Reckoning?

July 12, 2021, Washington Update commentary by FRC Action director Matt Carpenter

             … Much of the blame for our nation’s current predicament lies at the feet of politicians who have not abided by our nation’s Constitution or listened to the voice of the voters who sent them to Congress. With razor-thin margins in Congress, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have often had to rely on moderate or liberal Republican Members of Congress to advance the pro-abortion agenda of the abortion lobby and “woke” capital – and in Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, they have often found an ally.

             Earlier this year, Sen. Murkowski voted against an amendment to the American Rescue Plan Act by Sen. Rand Paul that would have prevented Planned Parenthood from receiving federal loans as part of the Paycheck Protection Program and another amendment which would have prevented aborted fetal remains from being used in research. These votes fly directly in the face of a clear majority of voters who according to a recent poll, oppose using taxpayer funding to pay for abortion (55%) and oppose the use of aborted fetal tissue for research (57%). …

             To date, Murkowski has earned a paltry 73% on the FRC Action scorecard in the current Congress, which is somehow an improvement over her other scores in recent years of zero percent (2019), 50% (2018), 50% (2017), 60% (2015) and 46% (2013). As voters begin to review the records of the elected representatives ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, it is precisely these social and cultural issues that will define the primaries – a development that does not portend favorably for Murkowski.

             It should come as no surprise, then, that not only has Murkowski drawn a credible challenger in her 2022 primary race in former Commissioner for Administration of Alaska Kelly Tshibaka, but also the Alaska GOP recently endorsed Tshibaka over Murkowski by greater than a three-to-one margin (58-17). The move by the state party to ditch neutrality and endorse a challenger to an incumbent Senator is no small development. And in fact is as clear a signal as we have seen so far that the grassroots momentum building is directly set against our nation’s political establishment – a political establishment that readily uses the hard-earned dollars of taxpayers to fund abortion at home and abroad, harm women’s sports, allow abortion providers to transfer fetal remains for profit, endanger children with harmful, irreversible and invasive gender transition procedures and drugs, reinstitute race-based division in our major institutions including schools and the military, and more.

             As followers of Jesus, we know our nation is no less susceptible to idolatry than any other nation on earth. We also understand the only way our nation will live up to its founding ideals is if we turn back to the Lord in repentance and make His ways our ways. With the midterm elections coming up, millions of American voters will look for leaders to stop our nation from backsliding and reorient our nation toward the truth. …

             If recent developments in Alaska are any indicator – and we have reason to believe they are – incumbents who have ignored the boundaries of the Constitution and the will of the voters, who have voted with the pro-abortion, pro-LGBT, woke agenda, are in for a rude awakening, come primary season.

 

Senate Voting Records

Paul Amendment to Senate Version of HR-1319 – to Exclude Planned Parenthood from Small Business Covid Relief Funding – March 6, 2021 – Failed 47 to 51 (Democrats in italics; “Independent” marked “I”)

Voting “yes” / pro-Life: Shelby & Tuberville/AL, Boozman & Cotton/AR, Rubio & Scott/FL, Crapo & Risch/ID, Braun & Young/IN, Ernst & Grassley/IA, Marshall & Moran/KS, McConnell & Paul/KY, Cassidy & Kennedy/LA, Collins/ME, Hyde-Smith & Wicker/MS, Blunt & Hawley/MO, Daines/MT, Fischer & Sasse/NE, Burr & Tillis/NC, Cramer & Hoeven/ND, Portman/OH, Inhofe & Lankford/OK, Graham & Scott/SC, Rounds & Thune/SD, Blackburn & Hagerty/TN, Cornyn & Cruz/TX, Lee & Romney/UT, Capito/WV, Johnson/WI, Barrasso & Lummis/WY.

Voting “no” / anti-Life: Murkowski/AK, Kelly & Sinema/AZ, Feinstein & Padilla/CA, Bennet & Hickenlooper/CO, Blumenthal & Murphy/CT, Carper & Coons/DE, Ossoff & Warnock/GA, Hirono & Schatz/HI, Duckworth & Durbin/IL, King(I)/ME, Cardin & VanHollen/MD, Markey & Warren/MA, Peters & Stabenow/MI, Klobuchar & Smith/MN, Tester/MT, Cortez-Masto & Rosen/NV, Hassan & Shaheen/NH, Booker & Menendez/NJ, Heinrich & Lujan/NM, Gillibrand & Schumer/NY, Brown/OH, Merkley & Wyden/OR, Casey/PA, Reid & Whitehouse/RI, Leahy & Sanders/VT, Kaine & Warner/VA, Cantwell & Murray/WA, Manchin/WV, Baldwin/WI.

Not voting: Sullivan/AK, Toomey/PA.