Life Advocacy Briefing

January 24, 2022

Get Ready! / Abortion on the Ballot in Michigan?
Still Standing for ‘Hyde’ / Hyde Amendment Endorsers
Missing on ‘Hyde’ Appeal / What Next?

Get Ready!

Jan. 22, 2022, commentary by Penny Pullen, president, Life Advocacy Resource Project

             While the Supreme Court mulls its upcoming ruling in the Dobbs case reviewing the constitutionality of Mississippi’s post-15-week abortion ban, pro-life citizens – particularly those involved in pro-life advocacy or ministry organizations – are contemplating (or should be) the impact the Court’s ruling will have on society and on their own work.

             Based on history, it is important for all of us to do that, for the questions and comments of the Justices during the Dobbs oral arguments December 1 suggest a majority on the high court will – at the least – conclude that the Mississippi statute can stand. Beyond that, it is, as many observers have stated, entirely possible that a majority of the Justices will go so far as to vacate the 1973 Roe v. Wade opinion that upended America’s jurisprudential embrace of the right to life of all human beings, born and unborn.

             Much as we long for that outcome, we need to face the expected late-June Dobbs ruling not just as cause for celebration (ranging from modest to jubilant) but as a time when America will be shaken up as a result. There are two camps in the abortion wars, after all. It is critical that the pro-life side gear up, for the abortion cartel most surely are doing that even now. Why do I think this? Because of what I observed (and experienced) the last time the abortion lobby feared Roe was going down.

             It was the Supreme Court’s Webster decision in 1989 that brought the most volcanic change in abortion-lobby behavior. Since Webster is seldom cited, we’ll quote here from the Wikipedia definition of the case: “Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, 492 U.S. 490 (1989), was a United States Supreme Court decision on upholding a Missouri law that imposed restrictions on the use of state funds, facilities, and employees in performing, assisting with, or counseling an abortions [sic]. The Supreme Court in Webster allowed for states to legislate in an aspect that had previously been thought to be forbidden under Roe v. Wade (1973).”

             While the high court deliberated on Webster, in the early months of 1989, the abortion industry and its political allies developed a strong defense of their lucrative industry, expecting that Roe could be overturned. The high court, as it turned out, took a middle ground, upholding a reasonable state-legislated limit on how abortionists did their business but clinging to its wrongly decided Roe “precedent.” The abortion cartel’s conclusion: We’re going to have to fight this out in the political realm and not depend solely on the Court. And the political realm in which they placed their chips was the states.

             In 1989, I was a Representative in the Illinois General Assembly. Over my years of membership in the Illinois House, I had become one of the leading voices for the right to life of unborn children. Much of the legislation being enacted during the 1980s was regulatory; Roe v. Wade stood as a barrier to bold initiatives, but every time a colleague or I sought merely to regulate abortion, we had to fight Planned Parenthood and other abortion lobbyists to enact legislation bringing to Illinois a minor regulation here or there. I was honored to sponsor a major bill criminalizing the intentional homicide of an unborn child by means other than abortion; it established a principle without actually interfering with the abortion lobby, and one of our committee witnesses testified he was personally “pro-choice” when it came to abortion but was at the committee to endorse my proposal – a memorable moment!

             The Webster ruling scared the abortion lobby, though, giving them impetus to develop obfuscating language like “pro-choice” (not mentioning abortion), and to build networks of volunteers and paid operatives to mount political campaigns to take out overt pro-life lawmakers and intimidate wobblers into submission.

             In the summer of 1989, the abortion lobby moved its developing political machine into Virginia, whose legislators are elected in odd-numbered years. Their suddenly well-funded, carefully planned attacks on pro-life lawmakers there drew blood in November that year. Abortion had never before been an issue in state legislative campaigns, and some of the Virginia General Assembly’s pro-life members had not thoroughly thought out their stand. Their constituents had not thought through the issue, either, and were thus gullible to attacks of “extremism” against lawmakers they had thought they knew.

             Not knowing how to respond to the attacks, too many of the Virginia lawmakers defensively insisted they were not extreme and proved it by abandoning their pro-life stand in “the hard cases,” such as when a young woman’s pregnancy results from a sex crime. Running for the tall grass only made matters worse, and many of these nominally pro-life legislators lost their elections that year. The abortion lobby was emboldened and sharpened its verbal weapons as it moved on to flood other states with sudden controversy.

           Illinois was next, and I was targeted in the 1990 March primary, challenged by a political unknown whose willingness to embrace unfettered abortion drew hundreds of thousands of dollars from Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Rights Action League and a newly formed state-based abortion PAC. Though I did not back away from my pro-life stand, I did not know how to combat the leviathan’s arrival in my previously conventional, politically favorable suburban district, where I had not faced a primary challenger in years and had always handily defeated my general election opponents. On primary day, the returns showed me down by 31 votes, and a six-month recount and court proceeding put me back on the ballot for a six-week general election campaign. My opponent’s campaign never stopped, and the rematch in the 1992 primary took me off the ballot for what would have been my ninth term.

           I brought in a professional strategist for that 1992 round, and I have never regretted the advice he gave me. We took the abortion issue to my opponent, and seasoned political observers on the scene concluded that I won the abortion issue in that campaign. The damage done to my reputation among voters in the uncertainty surrounding the 1990 battle – plus abortion lobby attacks from places as far away as New York and San Francisco into my Chicago suburban district – was too much for us to overcome, and I soon found myself planning a future I had not expected.

           All this to say, it is critical that pro-life politicians and activists be ready for the next onslaught. Life Advocacy Resource Project was founded to pass along to pro-life communicators – especially the front-liners – the lessons I learned the hard way. We have been doing that since 1992 and have achieved successes in many contests. We stand ready for our front-liners this year.

           Our candidates and officials should not be reticent about raising the abortion issue and illustrating the extreme positions taken by their political opponents who favor “abortion rights” but never elaborate on the implications of their stand. Since the Roe edict was passed down in 1973, after all, there have been more than 63 million abortions committed in the United States. Numbers from the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion “research arm,” indicate at least ten percent of those babies killed by abortion were very late in their development. As many as five to six million American babies, then, were killed even though they could have lived outside the womb (or had come close to reaching that ability). The Mississippi law being debated in the Supreme Court this year gives such unborn human babies the right they deserve – to live. And political candidates and officials who oppose the Mississippi law can and should be called out for their extremism. Our pro-life candidates should be encouraged to challenge their abortion-backing opponents on this injustice.

           It is critical, too, that ordinary pro-life citizens prepare for the coming fight. Among the ways we all can do that is by putting more emphasis on donating cash and volunteer time to pro-life ministries such as pregnancy care centers. Whether the Supreme Court in June overturns Roe or even falls short but upholds Mississippi’s law, ministries offering alternatives to abortion for distressed moms are going to need to be strengthened. An onslaught is coming – in the political world and also in the world of service to expectant mothers. Let’s prepare our candidates – and our front-line ministries – to meet the coming challenge with joy and also with both discernment and courage. Amen.


Abortion on the Ballot in Michigan?

THE ABORTION LOBBY IN MICHIGAN HAS LAUNCHED a petition drive for a 2022 ballot proposition to make abortion legal in the state, anticipating potential overturning of the Roe v. Wade precedent by the US Supreme Court. Before the question can reach the ballot, the petition language is to be examined by a Board of State Canvassers “for technical compliance with language and form,” reports Beth LeBlanc for the Detroit News. Then signature collection will commence and will need to amass 425,059 signatures, she notes – “about 10% of the votes cast in the 2018 general election, to get on the 2022 ballot.”

The ballot proposition – if its language and petition signatures are approved for the ballot – elevates the abortion issue in Michigan election campaigns in 2022, as every candidate for whatever office is likely to be confronted with questions about support or opposition to the proposition.

Michigan currently has a law on its books making abortion illegal; the 1931 statute cannot be enforced as long as Roe stands but would be enforceable with the end of Roe. The sponsoring “coalition,” notes Ms. LeBlanc, “filed language with the state” early this month “to launch a ballot initiative that would amend the Michigan Constitution to ‘explicitly affirm’ reproductive rights, including abortion, the group announced.”

The dormant Michigan law is particularly helpful, since it outlaws not only surgical abortion but also chemical abortion, whose use is growing via the RU-486 abortion pill regimen. The Detroit News reporter writes, the law “makes it a felony to administer medicine or use ‘any instrument’ to produce a miscarriage.”

The pro-abortion campaigners are pursuing the referendum route because, as Ms. LeBlanc reports, “Democratic-sponsored bills introduced in the Michigan House and Senate [which] … seek to repeal the 1931 law … have little chance of moving through the GOP-controlled chambers.” Make that, no chance!

The petition initiators, notes Ms. LeBlanc, are a “ballot group” called “Reproductive Freedom for All,” a coalition of the American Civil Liberties Union [ACLU] of Michigan, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan and Michigan Voices,” which defines itself on its Internet website as “a backbone organization that seeks to help build civic engagement capacity in progressive nonprofit groups that are led by and engage BIPOC people.” BIPOC is defined by CBS News as “Black, Indigenous, People of Color.”

The proposition contains language which purports to provide for “the state to regulate ‘abortion care after fetal viability,’” notes the Detroit News, “so long as it does not prohibit abortion that is medically needed to protect the ‘life or physical or mental health’ of the woman,” a loophole which is consciously deceptive and included only to appear reasonable to voters who are not schooled in legal gymnastics. Further, “the language blocks the state,” reports Ms. LeBlanc, “from penalizing someone for their ‘pregnancy outcomes’ or for penalizing someone who aided in an abortion if it was with the consent of the woman” bearing the child.

Declared the executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, quoted by the Detroit News, “‘We are exploring a ballot measure that would preserve every individual’s constitutional right to make the very personal decision about reproductive health care, including abortion, and keep those decisions between the individual and their medical professional. … We all have the right to determine our own futures.’”

“Right to Life of Michigan,” reports Ms. LeBlanc, “said it would continue to fight to uphold and respect ‘the humanity of the unborn. … The humanity of unborn children cannot be denied,’” said RtLM president Barbara Listing, quoted in the Detroit News story, “‘as technology and science have proven, without a doubt, that they are human and deserve legal protection.’”

The Michigan Catholic Conference also weighed in, calling the petition campaign “‘a sad commentary on the outsized and harmful role the abortion industry plays in our politics and state,’” reports Ms. LeBlanc. “‘For decades, abortion has been touted as the only option, harmless and easy, yet we know this is a lie,’ said Rebecca Mastee, a policy advocate for the conference,” quoted in the Detroit News story. “‘Abortion hurts women.’” And kills children.


Still Standing for ‘Hyde’

NEARLY 200 MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE HAVE SIGNED A LETTER to the House and Senate Republican Leaders urging continued efforts to reinsert the long-standing Hyde Amendment into the relevant appropriations bills. Social spending bills such as the annual appropriation for the Dept. of Health & Human Services have, since 1976, included a provision, renewed each year, barring the spending of tax dollars on abortions. The provision was first offered by the late Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R-IL) and continues to bear his name but has been dropped in the massive HHS appropriation bill passed by the House for this fiscal year and, so far, stalled in the Senate.

The letter was initiated by House Pro-Life Caucus Chairman Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and directed to Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (KY), House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA), House GOP Whip Steve Scalise (LA) and House GOP Conference Chairman Elise Stefanik (NY). We thank the lawmakers who signed the letter, all of whom are Republicans, and we list their names below. Readers will also find the names of those Republican Members whose signatures do not appear on the letter as released; their signatures might be missing for a variety of reasons. Readers who live in their states might wish to inquire of them whether they continue to support the Hyde Amendment. [Capitol switchboard: 1-202/224-3121]


Hyde Amendment Endorsers

Republican Representatives who signed the letter to Leaders urging efforts to reinstate the Hyde Amendment, listed alphabetically by state: Aderholt, Brooks, Carl, Moore & Palmer (AL); Biggs, Gosar, Lesko & Schweikert (AZ); Crawford, Hill, Westerman & Womack (AR); Calvert, Garcia, Issa, LaMalfa & Valadao (CA); Boebert, Buck & Lamborn (CO); Bilirakis, Buchanan, Cammack, Diaz-Balart, Donalds, Dunn, Franklin, Gaetz, Mast, Posey, Rutherford, Steube, Waltz, Webster (FL); Allen, Carter, Clyde, Ferguson, Hice, Loudermilk, A.Scott (GA); Fulcher, Simpson (ID); Bost, R.Davis, LaHood, Miller (IL); Baird, Banks, Bucshon, Hollingsworth, Pence, Spartz, Walorski (IN); Feenstra, Hinson, Miller-Meeks (IA); LaTurner, Mann (KS); Barr, Massie, Rogers (KY); Graves, Higgins, Letlow (LA).

Also, Representatives Harris (MD); Bergman, Huizenga, McClain, Meijer, Moolenaar, Walberg (MI); Emmer, Fischbach, Hagedorn, Stauber (MN); Guest, Kelly, Palazzo (MS); Hartzler, Long, Luetkemeyer, Smith, Wagner (MO); Bacon, Fortenberry, Smith (NE); Smith (NJ); Herrell (NM); Garbarino, Jacobs, Tenney, Zeldin (NY); Bishop, Budd, Cawthorn, Foxx, Hudson, McHenry, Murphy, Rouzer (NC); Armstrong (ND); Balderson, Carey, Chabot, Davidson, Gibbs, Gonzalez, Johnson, Jordan, Joyce, Latta, Turner, Wenstrup (OH); Bice, Cole, Hern, Lucas, Mullin (OK); Bentz (OR); Joyce, Keller, Kelly, Meuser, Perry, Reschenthaler, Smucker, Thompson (PA); Duncan, Mace, Norman, Timmons, Wilson (SC); Johnson (SD); Burchett, Fleischmann, Green, Harshbarger, Kustoff, Rose (TN); Arrington, Babin, Brady, Burgess, Carter, Cloud, Crenshaw, Ellzey, Fallon, Gohmert, Gonzales, Gooden, Granger, Jackson, McCaul, Nehls, Pfluger, Roy, Sessions, Taylor, Weber, Williams (TX); Curtis, Moore, Owens, Stewart (UT); Cline, Good, Wittman (VA); Beutler, Rodgers (WA); McKinley, Miller, Mooney (WV); Fitzgerald, Grothman, Steil, Tiffany (WI); Cheney (WY).


Missing on ‘Hyde’ Appeal

Republican Representatives whose signatures do not appear on the Smith letter requesting renewed GOP Leadership efforts to include the Hyde Amendment in the Health & Human Services Appropriation, listed alphabetically by state: Rogers (AL); Kim, McCarthy (recipient), McClintock, Nunes, Obernolte, Steel (CA); Gimenez, Salazar (FL); Greene (GA); Kinzinger (IL); Estes (KS); Comer, Guthrie (KY); Scalise (recipient) (LA); Johnson (LA); Upton (MI); Graves (MO); Amodei (NV); VanDrew (NJ); Katko, Malliotakis, Reed, Stefanik (recipient) (NY); Fitzpatrick (PA); Rice (SC); DesJarlais (TN); VanDuyne (TX); Griffith (VA); Newhouse (WA); Gallagher (WI).


What Next?

Jan. 4, 2022, End of Day commentary by American Values chairman Gary Bauer

             In the next six months, the Supreme Court will issue a decision that could finally erase abortion on demand from our society. The high court’s decision is expected to allow pro-life states to regulate abortion in ways that reflect their pro-life values.

             But the socialist political Left is in absolute meltdown. They are so vested in the continued destruction of innocent preborn babies. Some leftists are threatening to pack the Supreme Court with more liberal Justices who would preserve abortion on demand.

             How desperate is the Left to continue the destruction of innocent human life? A couple of pro-abortion law professors just urged Joe Biden to issue regulations allowing abortion centers on federal property – thus freeing them of any state restrictions on abortion.

             Just imagine our majestic national parks defaced by abortion centers. Imagine going to your local IRS or FBI office. While there, you can walk across the hall and get an abortion. Another suggestion was that these death-dealing sites could be built on Native American tribal lands.

             This horrible idea should go nowhere. But the Left is so desperate to preserve abortion that we can’t rule it out.

             Isn’t it odd that while we mourn the death of any individual from Covid, our government is desperately trying to take more lives by preserving abortion on demand?

             I’ve always worried that God would remove His hand of protection from American because of abortion. If we open abortion centers on federal property, that could be the end of America.

[Life Advocacy Briefing editor’s note: We urge our readers to take this “idea” seriously, given the cockeyed policy prescriptions that our public officials – and especially the Biden bureaucracy – have pursued and even put into place. Be ready to shout “no!” if any public official hints at such an outrageous “solution” to the actions being taken by various states to drive abortion from their borders.]