Life Advocacy Briefing

April 24, 2023

Holding Our Breath / Senate Allows Abortion in Veterans Health Facilities
Florida Joins ‘Heartbeat Protection’ States / Willfully Targeting Babies & Moms
Political Reality / Details from the RU-486 Litigation / Senate Voting Record

Holding Our Breath

WE ANTICIPATE THE SUPREME COURT HAS SPOKEN in the lawsuit seeking to suspend FDA approval of the chemical abortion drug RU-486. Mid-week, the high court announced it expected to issue a ruling on Friday, just past our publication deadline for the week.

Whichever way the high court goes, this litigation is far from over. The Supreme Court’s ruling this week pertains only to a temporary injunction. Litigation will continue in the lower federal courts, with competing rulings already having occurred and appeals from both sides expected in a lengthy – probably years-long – process. We expect the Supreme Court will ultimately be asked to rule definitively. We pray the chemical abortion regime – which has become the principal instrument in the US for the killing of developing babies – will be slowed in the meantime and ultimately outlawed.

We have found news coverage of the litigation thus far to be predictably brief and somewhat confusing. Having found helpful a background memo from Life Issues Institute’s president, Brad Mattes, we have reprinted it near the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing.


Senate Allows Abortion in Veterans Health Facilities

THE U.S. SENATE LAST WEDNESDAY VOTED DOWN a motion to consider SJRes-10 by Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), providing Congressional disapproval of Biden Regime rules allowing Veterans Administration facilities to be used for abortion. This issue will need to be brought back before the Senate and the House, probably during VA appropriation deliberations, as the corruption of the VA by the abortion cartel cannot be tolerated. We publish the voting record at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing.


Florida Joins ‘Heartbeat Protection’ States

FLORIDA GOV. RON DeSANTIS (R) SIGNED a “Heartbeat Protection Act” on April 13, protecting developing babies once a heartbeat can be detected, around six weeks of gestation, succeeding a law which outlawed abortion after 15 weeks. The new law passed the Florida Senate by a vote of 26 to 13 and cleared the House just 10 days later by 70 to 40.

The new law, reports Joshua Arnold for The Washington Stand, also expands state support for pregnancy resource centers “to include parenting support, including ‘nonmedical material assistance’ such as ‘clothing, car seats, cribs, formula and diapers,’ as well as ‘counseling or mentoring, education materials and classes regarding pregnancy, parenting, adoption, life skills and employment readiness,’” authorizing “an annually recurring $25 million for this purpose. …

“The Heartbeat Protection Act also,” notes Mr. Arnold, “prohibits abortion-by-mail and state-funded travel for abortions in another state.”


Willfully Targeting Babies & Moms

A NEW LAW IN COLORADO has been signed by Gov. Jared Polis (D) threatening the license of “a healthcare provider” who, reports Calvin Freiburger for LifeSiteNews, quoting the statute,  “‘provides, prescribes, administers or attempts medication abortion reversal … unless the Colorado medical board, the state board of pharmacy and the state board of nursing, in consultation with each other, each have in effect rules finding that it is a generally accepted standard of practice to engage in medication abortion reversal.’ …

“Abortion pill reversal consists of administering extra progesterone to counteract mifepristone’s effects,” notes Mr. Freiburger, “ideally within 24 hours of taking the abortion pill.”

A lawsuit has already been filed against the law by Bella Health & Wellness, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, reports Mr. Freiburger. The lawsuit, he writes, “argu[es] that it targets providers acting on a religious conviction to serve pregnant women who change their minds about abortion, under penalty of crushing fines of as much as $20,000 per violation as well as risking their staff’s medical licenses.”

Said the Bella co-founder, quoted by Mr. Freiburger, “‘We opened Bella because of our belief that life is a precious gift from God, worthy of protection at all stages. … When a woman seeks our help to reverse the effects of the abortion pill, we have a religious obligation to offer every available option for her and her child.’ …

“Detractors argue that Abortion Pill Reversal is harmful and unproven,” writes Mr. Freiburger. “But as pro-life OB/GYN Dr. William Lile has explained, the technique is based on principles that are well understood from progesterone’s common, FDA-approved use in a variety of other pregnancy-related situations. APR has helped ‘thousands,’ according to Heartbeat International, which also publishes first-hand testimonials from women who have benefited from the technique. According to the Abortion Pill Rescue Network,” reports LifeSiteNews, “‘initial studies of APR have shown it has a 65-68% success rate.’” But clearly, the majority of Colorado lawmakers and Gov. Polis oppose the rescue of babies – and their regretful, aborting moms – in their state.


Political Reality

Excerpt from April 14, 2023, commentary by Joshua Arnold for The Washington Stand

             … When Roe was overturned, many of the pro-life policies conservatives had long promoted suddenly became possible. Yet at the same time, many Republicans instantly became too scared to talk about the Life issue, and the media [were] only too happy to give them a reason. The prevailing media narrative about the 2022 midterm election is that Republicans had a disappointing night, only barely taking back the House and missing almost every opportunity to pick up competitive seats. Aside from Florida and New York, the theory, up to that point, is fairly accurate. But the media builds on this narrative to argue that one of the main reasons why Republicans lost is because of abortion, with the obvious insinuation that Republicans should simply give up on the issue if they want to win future elections.

             But is this really true? Is protecting babies in the womb a political loser?

             Not in Florida. In April 2022, shortly before Roe was overturned, the Florida legislature passed a bill, signed by [Gov. Ron] DeSantis, protecting unborn babies after 15 weeks’ gestation. Then in November, after Roe’s downfall, Florida voters handed Republicans a legislative supermajority and re-elected the governor in a landslide. Having experienced the DeSantis Administration and Republicans rul[ing] the state for four years, Florida voters – including many independents and Democrats – responded with an emphatic verdict: Please give us more of this. During his 2018 campaign, DeSantis had pledged support for a Heartbeat bill. Now that Roe is out of the way, that campaign promise has become a reality.

             Not only in Florida. In the 2022 election, 11 governors who had signed laws to protect the unborn sought re-election. (For perspective, in 36 state gubernatorial elections, 28 incumbent governors sought re-election, including 15 Republicans.)

  • Kay Ivey (R-AL) signed a Life-at-Conception bill in 2019.
  • Governors Brian Kemp (R-GA) in 2019, Kim Reynolds (R-IA) in 2018, Mike DeWine (R-OH) in 2019, Henry McMaster (R-SC) in 2021 and Bill Lee (R-TN) in 2020 signed Heartbeat bills.
  • Governors Brad Little (R-ID) in 2021-2022, Kevin Stitt (R-OK) in 2021-2022 and Greg Abbott (R-TX) in 2021 signed both a Heartbeat bill and a Life-at-Conception bill.
  • DeSantis (R-FL) signed a 15-week limit in 2022.
  • Chris Sununu (R-NH) signed a viability limit in 2022.

             In fact, only four Republican incumbents who sought re-election in 2022 have not signed pro-life legislation: Governors Mike Dunleavy (R-AK), Kristi Noem (R-SD), Phil Scott (R-VT) and Mark Gordon (R-WY).

             All 11 governors to sign pro-life laws were re-elected by wide margins. The closest contest was in Georgia, a top Democratic target, where Kemp led Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams by 9.5% of the vote in a lopsided rematch of the 2018 contest, which he won by a narrow 1.4%. Kemp in Georgia and DeWine in Ohio also ran far ahead of the GOP candidates in those states’ hotly contested Senate races … . Kemp gained 5% more of the total vote than Herschel Walker, who trailed in the general election and then lost the run-off; DeWine gained 9.5% more of the total vote than J.D. Vance, who narrowly won. …

             Not in Congress, either. Republicans’ lead on the generic Congressional ballot slowly dwindled in July and August of 2022, after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, according to RealClearPolitics’ average of polls. In fact, Democrats held a brief advantage in early September, only weeks away from the start of early voting. The turning point came on Sept. 13, when Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced a bill to protect unborn children after 15 weeks’ gestation, FRC Action vice president Brent Keilen told The Washington Stand. “When the GOP started going on the offense on the Life issue, it also saw a surge in support in the polls,” Keilen explained. “It changed the national conversation.” Over the next two months, Republicans surged in the polls; on Election Day, the RCP average saw Republicans leading by 2.5%.

             “Republicans have owned this issue for almost four decades,” said Family Research Council president Tony Perkins on Newsmax. “And they just need to continue doing what led us to this point: talking about the humanity of the unborn, the benefit of the mothers.”

             In May 2022, shortly before the Dobbs ruling, an FRC-commissioned poll asked 1,000 registered voters, “Do you support or oppose protecting unborn children when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is usually around the sixth week of pregnancy?” Forty-seven percent supported protecting unborn children, while only 33% opposed it. The media have touted polls that frame the issue as “banning abortion” or similarly slanted language. But when pro-life policies are presented for what they actually do – protect unborn life – they enjoy broad support.

             One explanation for the Life issue’s apparent liability in the 2022 midterm election is that Republicans hardly talked about it. While Democrats spent nearly $358 million in abortion-related ads across House, Senate and governors’ races, Republicans spent only about $37 million. In other words, Democrats spent nearly $10 promoting abortion to every one dollar Republicans spent highlighting the life of the unborn.

             The same discrepancy resurfaced in a recent race for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, where pro-abortion Janet Protasiewicz trounced a conservative opponent by 11 points. According to Politico, “Abortion was mentioned in roughly a third of television ads coming from Protasiewicz’s campaign and other allied groups, according to data from the ad tracking service AdImpact. It was virtually non-existent in ads from the other side, appearing in just one percent of ads.”

             “If you’re in a debate, and you keep your mouth shut, guess what? You don’t win,” said Perkins. Keilen agreed. “If conservative candidates are silent, that allows the other side to define the terms and control the entire debate. That is a losing strategy. Conservatives should be clear about their pro-life positions and why they think it’s important to protect both mother and unborn child.”

             “What’s extreme is refusing to draw any line on abortion and being willing to abort a baby up until the moment of birth. That’s what’s extreme. And that’s the position of this Administration and the Democratic Party,” said Perkins.


Details from the RU-486 Litigation

April 13, 2023, commentary by Bradley Mattes, CEO, Life Issues Institute

             The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled on [Judge Matthew] Kacsmaryk’s opinion. This legal tug-of-war has the potential to change the landscape of abortion in America, second only to the reversal of Roe v. Wade.

             By a vote of 2-1, the 5th Circuit upheld some of Kacsmaryk’s ruling. Chemical abortion pills will be available but only up to seven weeks, not 10. And they cannot be dispensed by mail. Either side may appeal this decision to the Supreme Court.*

             Here’s a brief rundown on the situation with US Dist. Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk – why the FDA was sued, the judge’s ruling and some responses from the other side.

             The plaintiffs suing the FDA include four pro-life medical organizations: Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, American Assn. of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists, American College of Pediatricians and Christian Medical & Dental Assn. Plus four doctors: Shaun Jester, Regina Frost-Clark, Tyler Johnson and George Delgado.

             They sued the FDA for its sloppy and politically motivated approval of chemical abortion in 2000. The plaintiffs also say the FDA [later]:

  • Changed the dosage and method of administration
  • Reduced the three required in-person office visits to one
  • Expanded the list of who can prescribe and administer the pills beyond medical doctors
  • Dropped the requirement that abortionists report complications from chemical abortion pills [They are now required to report only drug-related fatalities, hiding 95% of the problems caused by the pills.]
  • Allows abortionists to send chemical abortion pills through the mail, a violation of federal law

Key Statements by Judge Kacsmaryk

“The Court does not second-guess FDA’s decision-making lightly. But here, FDA acquiesced

on its legitimate safety concerns – in violation of its statutory duty – based on plainly unsound reasoning and studies that did not support its conclusions.”

             “Why did it take two decades for judicial review in federal court? … Simply put, FDA stonewalled judicial review – until now. Before plaintiffs filed this case, FDA ignored their petitions for over 16 years, even though the law requires an agency response within ‘180 days of receipt of the petition.’”

             “Women who have aborted a child – especially through chemical abortion drugs that necessitate the woman seeing her aborted child once it passes – often experience shame, regret, anxiety, depression, drug abuse and suicidal thoughts because of the abortion.”

Pro-abortion response

             Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and [Rep.] Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), extreme pro-abortion Members of Congress, immediately asked the Biden Administration to blatantly ignore the rule of law and dismiss the FDA [Kacsmaryk] ruling.

             The other side could not match the accuracy and medically sound arguments of the plaintiffs, so they personally attacked Judge Kacsmaryk. Attacking the messenger is a strategy they invoke repeatedly. The LosAngeles Times characterized Judge Kacsmaryk and others like him as “far-right federal judges” who are “increasingly unconstrained” with “no sense of accountability.”

             It attacked Kacsmaryk for the words he used in his opinion, including “abortionists” “kill” an “unborn child” or “unborn human.” Words are effective, which the Times fully understands. They are experts at keeping their readers in the dark when it comes to abortion.

             The Washington Post declared Judge Kacsmaryk “the worst federal judge in America” and a “zealot.” It foolishly and untruthfully claimed chemical abortion pills were safer than Tylenol. Those who ink such irresponsible statements are either ignorant or lying.

             Related emergency room visits by women taking chemical abortion pills increased more than 500% between 2002 and 2015. After 2015, the FDA began hiding complications unless they resulted in a woman’s death – a coverup of approximately 95% of all complications from the abortion pill.

             A wild card is the same-day ruling by US District Judge Thomas Rice, giving cover to the blue states whose state attorneys general sought protection to continue distribution of the pills. It’s unknown what the impact of this conflicting ruling will be.

             If pro-life forces prevail in the courts, it has the potential to send shockwaves throughout the abortion industry while saving millions of babies.

*Life Advocacy Briefing editor’s note: The US Supreme Court has stated it will rule on a petition for a preliminary injunction of the Kacsmaryk ruling. Its ruling is expected on Friday, April 21, just past our publication deadline.


Senate Voting Record

Procedural Motion to consider SJRes-10 to bar abortions in VA facilities – April 19, 2023 – Failed – 48-51 (Democrats in italics; “Independents” marked “I”) (New Senators in ALL CAPS)

Voting “yes”/pro-Life: BRITT & Tuberville/AL, Sullivan/AK, Boozman & Cotton/AR, Rubio & Scott/FL, Braun & Young/IN, Ernst & Grassley/IA, Marshall & Moran/KS, McConnell & Paul/KY, Cassidy & Kennedy/LA, Hyde-Smith & Wicker/MS, Hawley & SCHMITT/MO, Daines/MT, Fischer & RICKETTS/NE, BUDD & Tillis/NC, Cramer & Hoeven/ND, VANCE/OH, Lankford & MULLIN/OK, Graham & Scott/SC, Rounds & Thune/SD, Blackburn & Hagerty/TN, Cornyn & Cruz/TX, Lee & Romney/UT, Capito & Manchin/WV, Johnson/WI, Barrasso & Lummis/WY.

Voting “no”/anti-Life: Murkowski/AK, Kelly & Sinema(I)/AR, Padilla/CA, Bennet & Hickenlooper/CO, Blumenthal & Murphy/CT, Carper & Coons/DE, Ossof & Warnock/GA, Hirono & Schatz/HI, Duckworth & Durbin/IL, Collins & 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 & FETTERMAN/PA, Reed & Whitehouse/RI, Sanders(I) & Welch/VT, Kaine & Warner/VA, Cantwell & Murray/WA, Baldwin/WI.

Not voting: Feinstein/CA.