Life Advocacy Briefing

November 14, 2022

Message to the Supreme Court / Inching Ahead / Another Bit of Good News
Some Referendum Results Distressing / Bidding for Attention
Preventive Medicine / Looking Back, Looking Forward

Message to the Supreme Court

NO PERSON SHALL BE … DEPRIVED OF LIFE, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation … .” Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

No State shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men … .” Declaration of Independence. 

Next time you are asked to affirm the right to life of all innocent persons, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Supreme Court, please take note of the founding – and still operative – documents of our nation. The right to life of innocent human beings is universal, not to be limited by a patchwork of state laws. Some principles are universal.


Inching Ahead

THOUGH STOPPING SHORT OF REFLECTING THE CONSTITUTION, the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling overturning Roe v. Wade is having beneficial effects in some of the 50 states.

A “Society of Family Planning” report cited by National Right to Life News editor Dave Andrusko laments – on behalf of its abortion cartel colleagues – “‘overturning Roe has meant at least 10,000 fewer legal abortions.’” Nice start.

“To illustrate the impact of state laws protecting women and children vs. those that don’t,” notes Mr. Andrusko, the report’s authors write, “‘In all states that saw declines in their abortion numbers – which include the 15 states in which abortion was banned or severely limited over the summer – the number of abortions fell by about 22,000. Some of those women appear to have traveled out of state, because in other states, the number of abortions rose by an aggregate of about 12,000. But nationwide, the movement of abortions from states with bans and restrictions to those with fewer restrictions on access wasn’t enough to make up the shortfall.’

“Shortfall?” asks Mr. Andrusko. “That over 10,000 babies did not lose their lives is not a ‘shortfall’ but a cause for celebration!’”


Another Bit of Good News

A 3-DECADE-OLD ABORTUARY IN MILWAUKEE HAS CLOSED ITS DOORS, and the building owned by Affiliated Medical Services (AMS) is on the market, reports Mary Zwicker for LifeSiteNews.

“‘No one ever got better by walking through the doors of AMS or any abortion center,’ said Dan Miller, the state director of Pro-Life Wisconsin, in an e-mail to LifeSiteNews,” writes Ms. Zwicker. “‘They never offered health care, only death to children.’

“Abortions became illegal on June 24 in Wisconsin,” notes Ms. Zwicker, “after the Supreme Court’s decision returned the state to its 1849 law that strictly prohibits abortions except to save the life of the mother.”

Mr. Miller described the closure of AMS as “‘an answer to our prayers,’” reports LifeSiteNews. “‘News of its closure made my heart sing with great joy,’ he told LSN. ‘Prayer is powerful! God does hear our prayers!’”

The LSN story also quotes the CEO of AMS, Dennis Christensen, speaking in a CBS interview: “‘I think it’s unlikely that our legislature will get its act together to allow abortions in the near future in Wisconsin,’” he said, “‘and I’m getting on in years.’”


Some Referendum Results Distressing

FROM WHAT WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO DETERMINE from media reports as of this writing, ballot propositions in California, Michigan and Vermont have been adopted by voters to proclaim a “right” in their state constitutions to abort persons in their states on their way to birth.

On the same day, voters in Kentucky appear to have rejected a ballot proposal, reports Ashley Sadler for LifeSiteNews, “which would have affirmed that the state constitution ‘does not secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.’” Kentucky has a trigger law which took effect upon the Supreme Court’s handing down of its Dobbs decision last June. The ballot proposition was designed, notes Ms. Sadler, “to [safeguard] the state’s pro-life laws in the courts if challenged by pro-abortion groups.” The tally as of Thursday, with 95% of the ballots counted, showed 52.4% of the voters opposing the measure, according to the New York Times. The effect of the narrow loss cannot be assessed until such litigation arises.

And Montana voters have rejected a referendum to require “‘all medically appropriate and reasonable actions’ to preserve the life of an infant born alive,” reports Amy Beth Hanson for Associated Press, “including after an attempted abortion. … Supporters,” she writes, “said the proposed law was meant to prevent the killing of infants outside the womb after failed abortions, which already is illegal. … Opponents argued the proposal could rob parents of precious time with infants born with incurable medical issues if doctors are forced to attempt treatment.” The measure was opposed by 52.6% of the voters, the New York Times was reporting Thursday.

Vermont appears to lead the contest among abortion supporters pushing state constitutional amendments via referendum. According to Calvin Freiburger of LifeSiteNews, the Vermont ballot measure “expressly guaranteeing ‘an individual’s right to personal reproductive autonomy,’ including abortion,” was approved by more than 77% of the state’s voters.

Next comes California, with 46% of the votes counted as of Thursday. The enshrining of abortion in the state constitution passed with 64.9% of voters affirming it, reports the New York Times, which explained, “the State Constitution would be amended to protect a person’s reproductive freedom in their most intimate decisions,’ including the right to abortion and contraceptives.” Note the use of the noun “person” instead of “woman.”

In Michigan, a state constitutional amendment – initiated by petition – cements into state policy and law a tossed salad of provisions enshrining both abortion and “sterilization” rights for persons of any age. The confusing, radical proposition, the campaign for which was reportedly funded by millions of dollars from billionaire George Soros’s “Open Society Policy Center,” drew approval by 56.7% of Michigan voters, according to the New York Times, shocking the long-respected Right to Life of Michigan, which issued a statement by its president Barbara Listing, quoted by LifeSiteNews:

“‘We are deeply saddened by the tragic passage of one of the most dangerous ballot proposals to face voters in Michigan history, Proposal 3. RLM staff, our statewide affiliates, thousands of volunteers and donors, and our many state and local partners selflessly sacrificed their time, talent and treasure to educate voters on this extreme proposal, standing courageously for the dignity of human life and parental rights.

“Our efforts to educate voters on the true threats of Proposal 3 faced incredible odds that were ultimately insurmountable. The larger coalition to defeat Prop. 3 was outspent by a margin of more than 2 to 1. Out-of-state billionaires from New York and California funded a disinformation campaign to lure voters. … Michigan voters accepted assurances Prop. 3 did nothing more than repeal the 1931 law” which makes abortion illegal but which is currently enjoined by a Planned Parenthood-connected Michigan judge.

“‘History is on the side of those who stand to defend the vulnerable, even when it is not easy,’” declared Ms. Listing, reported by LifeSiteNews. “‘May we never accept the lie that standing up for the dignity of human life is somehow extreme, a political liability or not worth the cost.’”


Bidding for Attention

WITH THE PROSPECT OF A WIDE-OPEN BATTLE for the Democratic Presidential nomination, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) stuck up his hand in a “look-at-me” gesture just days before the general election.

On Friday, Nov. 4, Gov. Newsom granted a pardon, reports Calvin Freiburger for LifeSiteNews, “to a woman who committed illegal abortions in the first half of the 20th century.”

This abortionist – who operated long before California decriminalized the killing of preborn children in 1967 – was convicted in 1949 “of abortion,” notes Mr. Freiburger, “and conspiracy to commit abortion.” She carried on her killing spree from 1934 to 1948.

The baby killer, reports LifeSiteNews, “served 19 months in jail and 27 months on parole [and] passed away in 1976, but not,” writes Mr. Freiburger, “before declaring her ‘conscience is clear’ because her killing of unwanted babies ‘helped humanity.’” We will never know whom we lost.

So much for Gov. Newsom’s taste in heroines. Worth remembering.


Preventive Medicine

THE CITY OF BRISTOL, VIRGINIA, HAS ‘TAKEN THE FIRST STEPS,’ reports Carole Novielli for Live Action, to enact “a zoning ordinance to ‘protect unborn life.’” Concerned that the city “could become a magnet for abortion businesses,” notes the Live Action reporter, Virginia’s Family Foundation “led the proposal [and] organized 200 supporters outside the council chambers to make Bristol a ‘safe zone for life.’”

The proposal was passed on Oct. 25, reports Ms. Novielli, by a unanimous vote and states, “that the City of Bristol ‘wishes to eliminate the particularly gruesome and barbaric practice of killing unborn babies through the “medical” procedure of elective abortions’ and that the city also ‘seeks to preserve the integrity of the medical profession by not having medical professionals engage in intentionally killing unborn human life.’”

Bristol is home already to one abortuary, which will come under the zoning restriction if any changes are made to the property. The resolution is designed, in the short term, to prevent the siting and operation of any further such businesses; it arises from growing concern that Bristol is located very close to Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia, all of which have enacted laws banning most abortions in the wake of the Dobbs ruling. The one abortuary in Bristol, Virginia, relocated there from its original operation in Bristol, Tennessee; the two cities are divided by the state line.

Said city councilman Kevin Wingard, quoted by Ms. Novielli, citing the Bristol Herald Courier as source, “‘I have been on this council for six years, and this is by far the most important issue that has come before this council. … I believe this council has the full authority to stop other abortion clinics from coming here. We already have one that moved across the state line, and it is my opinion one is too many, and I don’t want to see a second or third.’”


Looking Back, Looking Forward

Nov. 10, 2022, LifeSiteNews blog by Jonathon VanMaren

             The Republican red wave turned out to be a ripple, with a few distinct silver linings in Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s election tsunami and the election of candidates like JD Vance of Ohio.

             But the real tragedy of the mid-terms was the abortion referendums. In Michigan, Prop. 3 was passed, legalizing abortion up until birth and including a slew of other bad policies. California’s referendum also enshrined abortion until birth in the state constitution; Vermont, too, voted to constitutionally protect “reproductive rights.” In Kentucky, a ballot measure that would have denied any constitutional protections for abortion narrowly failed, although this result will have no effect on the abortion ban passed by the legislature, should it survive a legal challenge before the Kentucky Supreme Court.

             If you include the failure of the pro-life amendment in Kansas in August and the stunning rejection of an amendment that simply would have mandated care for babies who survive an abortion in Montana, it is clear that the pro-life cause has not fared well with direct democracy.

             I asked Dr. Michael New, a fellow at the Charlotte Lozier Institute and a prestigious pro-life scholar and statistician, what these recent losses mean for the pro-life movement – and what the way forward should be.

             Dr. Michael New: Direct democracy poses some unique challenges for pro-lifers. There is a body of academic research which shows that money plays a large role in the outcome of ballot propositions. Very often, pro-lifers find ourselves outspent by our opponents. We still need to raise money, campaign aggressively and try some new messaging. Personally, I think opponents of Prop. 3 in Michigan should have argued that it would have struck down limits on Medicaid funding of abortion and represented an “abortion tax increase.”

             In the aftermath, we need to hold supporters of legal abortion in these states accountable. Groups supporting legal abortion argued that Proposal 3 did not jeopardize Michigan’s pro-life parental involvement law and would not require the state Medicaid program to starting paying for elective abortions. If subsequent judicial rulings (1) strike down the state pro-life parental involvement law and/or (2) require the state Medicaid program to start covering elective abortions – pro-lifers need to publicize this aggressively. Voters need to realize that they were misled by pro-abortion groups.

             Jonathon VanMaren: Is direct democracy a dead-end for the pro-life movement?

             Dr. New: Direct democracy is not a dead-end; pro-lifers used direct democracy to end taxpayer funding of abortion through West Virginia’s Medicaid program in 2018. We used direct democracy to enact pro-life parental involvement laws in Florida, Alaska and Montana. That said, direct democracy campaigns do pose some unique challenges for pro-lifers. We need to learn from what happened in states like Kansas and Michigan and move forward.

             Jonathon VanMaren: Can any of these losses be blunted or undone?

             Dr. New: Yes. Proposal 3 will strike down Michigan’s pro-life parental involvement law and require the state Medicaid program to start covering elective abortions – pro-lifers should use direct democracy to restore these policies. Pro-life parental involvement laws and limits on taxpayer funding of abortion both poll well. A future ballot campaign would have a strong chance of success.

             Jonathan VanMaren: What is your advice for a way forward?

             Dr. New: Pro-lifers were never promised a smooth glide path to victory. There will inevitably be some setbacks along the way. As always, we need to keep praying and maintain our educational, service and legislative activities. The Dobbs decision gave us some great opportunities to legally protect preborn children. We have taken advantage of this opportunity and should continue to do so.

             I also want to add that there were some positive developments for pro-lifers on Tuesday. Some of the strongest performing Republican candidates were GOP Governors Greg Abbott (TX), Brian Kemp (GA), Ron DeSantis (FL) and Mike DeWine (OH). All these governors signed strong pro-life laws and did not hide from the abortion issue. They also faced strong, well-funded Democratic opponents. All of these Republican governors prevailed by large margins.

             Jonathon VanMaren: Overall, where is the pro-life movement now, compared to the beginning of the year?

             Dr. New: The pro-life movement is in a much better position now than it was at the beginning of the year. Since January, Roe v. Wade has been overturned, and 13 states are now protecting all preborn children. Additionally, Georgia is protecting preborn children after a fetal heartbeat could be detected, and Florida is protecting preborn children after 15 weeks’ gestation. There is a good chance that other states will enact strong pro-life laws in the future.

             A study from the Society of Family Planning found that in the two full months after Dobbs, 10,000 fewer abortions took place. My recent Charlotte Lozier Institute study of the Texas Heartbeat Act has found that starting between March 2022 and July 2022, it has saved over 5,000 lives. Pro-life laws are stopping abortions and saving lives! Pro-lifers should be excited! Here and there in 2022, we have encountered some setbacks at the ballot box; however, the future is still ours!