Life Advocacy Briefing

August 7, 2023

A Small Victory at the V.A. / Battle Royal / The Challenge Persists
Making Matters Worse / Taking the Prize?
Setting the Record Straight / Fundamental Considerations

A Small Victory at the V.A.

THE DEPT. OF VETERANS AFFAIRS ANNOUNCED IN LATE JULY it would not after all require VA doctors and nurses to commit abortions if such actions conflict with their religious views.

The action appears to stem from a lawsuit filed against the VA by a nurse who had sought a religious accommodation to be excused from such duty. According to the Daily Citizen, “the VA told her that no such accommodations process existed,” precipitating the suit.

There is no indication the VA will not press forward in its Biden Regime policy of offering abortions to veterans and their dependents, but conscientious personnel will no longer be in jeopardy for their beliefs.


Battle Royal

A CONGRESSIONAL PRIMARY in Bucks County (suburban Philadelphia) bears watching – and participation – by pro-life citizens across the country.

Mark Houck, who has become celebrated as a pro-life hero because of his brutal treatment by the FBI and his exoneration from charges he assaulted an abortuary guardian, announced last week he is running for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 1st District.

His opponent? Four-term Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R), who promotes his independence, who proudly endorses the long-dead Equal Rights Amendment and who previously served as Supervisory Special Agent for the FBI and National Director for the FBI’s Campaign Finance & Election Crimes Enforcement Program, as well as a national supervisor for the FBI’s Political Corruption Unit, according to his campaign website.

Among all the GOP Representatives in the House, Rep. Fitzpatrick exhibits a wobbly voting record. On July 13 of this year, he voted with Democrats against Rep. Ronny Jackson’s (R-TX) amendment to block the Pentagon from spending taxpayers’ money in support of abortion, one of only two Republicans to do so. (The other was a first-term Republican from California, John Duarte.) In the last Congress, he voted for the pro-abortion “Equality Act,” against a procedural motion to table a DC statehood bill, for requiring taxpayers to cover contraceptives for veterans, and to interfere with state laws concerning cross-border abortions.

Suburban Bucks County might be a challenging place to put the abortion issue front and center in an election, but Mark Houck is a unique candidate with strong communication skills and, because of the disturbing overreach of the FBI and his stunning victory in court – as well as growing ambivalence in Rep. Fitzpatrick’s voting record – we will watch the race with interest.


The Challenge Persists

A POLL TAKEN IN LATE JUNE by the Associated Press/NORC presents both good news and warnings for those who advocate the right to life for developing babies. One thing the results clearly show: Americans do not have a grasp on the reality of abortion. It is the duty of the pro-life community – including especially our front-line candidates and officials – to open their eyes to the truth.

The good news relates to America’s proudly pro-abortion President. “Respondents were asked,” reports Ryan Foley for the Christian Post, “to weigh in on [Pres.] Biden’s performance and his handling of abortion policy. The Democratic President, who is running for re-election next year, has an approval rating of 41%, while 58% disapprove of his job performance.

“On the issue of abortion policy, … Biden’s approval rating on that issue strongly mirrors his overall approval rating. Thirty-nine percent of those surveyed indicated that they approved of his handling of abortion policy, while 58% expressed disapproval.”

The poll goes on to show public support for legal abortion, in a general sense, following decades of abortion advocacy by the news media and in massively funded political campaigns fueled by the abortion cartel. And Mr. Foley’s depiction of the questions asked in the poll suggests the poll may have been designed by abortion backers. On just one question reported by Mr. Foley, a significant majority of respondents supported the pro-life view: 68% expressed “opposition to allowing abortions 24 weeks into a pregnancy.” On other policies, respondents sided with legalized abortion, conflicting with their response on the President’s abortion policies.

A note of good news: Mr. Foley reports that in June, “Rasmussen Reports published findings that showed a slight majority of US voters (52%) now approved of the Dobbs decision, while 44% still disapproved.”


Making Matters Worse

AN OUTFIT CALLED ‘REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM ALLIANCE’ staged its inaugural meeting late last month in LosAngeles, reports the Daily Citizen, citing the Washington Times as source.

The meeting gathered 21 of the 24 Democratic governors “‘to devise ways to expand abortion access in their states,’” reports the Times, according to Daily Citizen, “‘and help women from red states terminate pregnancies.’”

The gathering was led by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is rumored to be eying a run for President in the event Pres. Joe Biden bows out of the 2024 race. “‘The group said governors shared pro-choice victories they achieved over the past year to “build a firewall for reproductive freedom in the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned last summer.”’”


Taking the Prize?

IN A PRESS RELEASE issued July 31 by Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D), posted by Illinois capitol reporter Rich Miller, the abortion fanatic declares he has “joined state leaders, healthcare providers and advocates to announce several initiatives and programs targeted to lower barriers of access to reproductive care for families.

“These programs focus,” states the release, “on navigating systems, reducing costs for patients and supporting healthcare facilities, building on years of investment in and prioritization of reproductive care in the public health system.”

Buckle your seatbelts, taxpayers of Illinois. Gov. Pritzker is set on using you to drain his state of even more citizens, unborn and born.

To demonstrate his pride in a shameful enterprise, Mr. Pritzker said in the release, “‘Unlike some other states, in the 14 months since the Supreme Court made the archaic and destructive decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Illinois has doubled down on our commitment to protect and expand reproductive rights for patients and providers alike. … This most recent batch of nation-leading policy expands access even further – because in the Land of Lincoln, we will not go backwards. Illinois will remain a safe haven for women – and I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure widespread, equitable access to reproductive rights.’”

The news release goes on to quote the state’s abortion fanatic lieutenant governor, Juliana Stratton (D) and then lists “initiatives” compounding the state’s radical abortion policies, including a proposal for a “hotline for abortion service navigation,” available to aborting mothers from out of state as well as to the citizens who will be paying for it. Also, “creation of a family planning program for Medicaid, … Reproductive Health Facilities Capital Grant program,” and “authorization of reproductive health reimbursement for state employees who work out of state.”

If pro-life candidates in Illinois cannot figure out anything else to contrast their position on abortion with their opponents’ stand, outlining this rape of the taxpayers would be a good place to start.


Setting the Record Straight

July 12, 2023, commentary by Chuck Donovan & Abigail Adams of Charlotte Lozier Institute, reprinted from The Daily Signal

             Media outlets on the Left constantly berate pro-lifers and accuse them of forgetting about children after they’re born. They push false narratives that the pro-life movement wants to deprive women of opportunities and prevent children from obtaining a safe and fair upbringing. In actuality, pro-lifers have a long history of assisting women and families with options, material and a hopeful message that supports their lives.

             Concretely, pro-life states across the country have spent the first six months of 2023 enacting a wide array of measures to support mothers and their children, especially in the post-Roe v. Wade era.

             New research shows 60% of women with a history of abortion would have preferred to give birth if they had received either more emotional support or had more financial security, indicating “choice” is more complicated and a lot less free than the abortion lobby would have Americans believe.

             Pro-life states are stepping up to address reasons women might feel abortion is their only option, making Life a realistic answer for millions of pregnant mothers across the country. Several new state budgets are expanding funding for alternatives to abortion programs, which provide life-affirming services to women.

             Texas’s biennial budget provides $70 million per year to the state’s alternatives to abortion programs. Tennessee’s new budget provides abortion alternative services with $20 million for the upcoming fiscal year of 2024. Florida’s Heartbeat Protection Act provides alternatives to abortion services with $30 million over the next two years. Governors in each of those states are helping to take the lead. Pro-life states are clearly putting their money where it counts to uplift the lives of mothers and babies.

             Tax credit policies have likewise been expanded, incentivizing donations to life-affirming resources and lightening the load of parents raising their children. Pro-life states, such as North Dakota, Utah and West Virginia, have increased the value of state adoption tax credits. That makes the decision to adopt easier and supports children who desperately need a home. Many pro-abortion states, such as New York, do not even have adoption tax credits. Moreover, the adoption tax credits in pro-life states are often much higher, such as in Missouri, where the limit is $10,000, while California’s limit is $2,500.

             In addition to those adoption tax credits, some states also offer tax credits to businesses that donate to pregnancy resource centers. Those states, including Louisiana and Kansas, incentivize financial support for organizations that affirm and support Life.

             Adoption remains an expensive proposition in the United States, with a private adoption costing as much as $60,000, yet the adoption of each child into a permanent home results in positive family building and is accompanied by some financial savings.

             The combination of federal and state adoption credits now means roughly half the cost of a higher-cost private adoption is covered by these policies. The federal credit is $15,950 for 2023. Each child who finds a loving “forever” home? Priceless.

             Child-support enforcement and expansion have also become a focus of recent state pro-life legislation. Several states have enacted measures that enable mothers to seek child support beginning during their pregnancies. Georgia law clarifies that once a fetal heartbeat is detected, child support payments must begin. Legislation across the nation, such as in Utah, ensures that men pay 50% of women’s pregnancy care and baby-delivery needs. Those actions guarantee that those co-responsible for the pregnancy participate in supporting the mother and child. By beginning payments when the child is in the womb, mothers have financial support through any challenges arising in their pregnancies.

             Amid these encouraging decisions supporting moms and babies, many pro-abortion government leaders are taking action to prevent moms from getting the support they need. Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) repeatedly vetoed tax credits for donations and funding toward alternatives to abortion.  Gov. Roy Cooper (D) of North Carolina likewise vetoed a popular bill that protected life in the womb and provided pregnancy support services. Thankfully, the Kansas and North Carolina pro-life legislatures overrode many of their governors’ vetoes. By contrast, in Minnesota, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor legislative majority stripped the omnibus bill of provisions that would make a wide array of baby products, such as cribs and carseats, exempt from sales taxes.

             Recent state legislation clearly highlights that pro-lifers have been the most active in protecting children in and out of the womb. With these recent policies, moms will be empowered to choose life for their children, and men will be encouraged to do their part. The children whose lives are being protected through state Heartbeat bills continue to be supported throughout childhood by these pro-life safety-net policies.

             On the other hand, states with radical pro-abortion policies repeatedly leave their mothers who do choose life in the lurch. This isn’t the narrative many in the left-wing want Americans to hear, but it is the real story on the ground, as the nation seeks a way forward out of abortion-on-demand.


Fundamental Considerations

July 27, 2023, BreakPoint commentary by John Stonestreet & Maria Baer

             Perhaps the most helpful framework for wrestling with moral issues comes from T.S. Eliot. To paraphrase, we can only know what we should and should not do with something if we first know what that something is for. For example, before we decide what we should do with human life (whether we should take it, make it or remake it), we should know what human life is for.

             Recently, Dr. Kristin Collier, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Michigan and a speaker at this year’s Colson Center National Conference, published an important essay in the healthcare journal BMJ Leader. In it, she called doctors and the medical profession in general to return to this essential question. In fact, Dr. Collier entitled the piece, “What Is Medicine For?”

             “Today, medical leaders are participating in an industry dominated by the production of science and technology. But what is scientifically possible for the body and what is humane for the person are different questions which medicine must answer together.”

             In other words, Dr. Collier says, doctors shouldn’t only ask what medicine can do. They must first ask what medicine is for. This is even more important in an age of increasingly complex ethical dilemmas in medicine. For example, consider the abortion pill reversal regimen which, according to estimates, has led to the saving of more than 4,000 lives. Medication abortions consist of two pills, the first of which starves the baby by cutting off the mother’s production of progesterone. The abortion pill reversal is essentially a blast of progesterone, something commonly administered to women in fertility treatments. Abortion advocates in medicine and public policy oppose allowing women to even consider this option, even falsely claiming that supplemental progesterone is, or at least might be, unsafe.

             So is supplemental progesterone “good” or “bad?” On the one hand, it can be administered to save a child’s life. On the other hand, it can be used in a process that leads to the creation of an excessive number of embryos, many of which will be abandoned, discarded or subjected to medical experimentation.

             This is where Dr. Collier’s question is critically important. What is medicine for? Is the telos (or intended goal) of medicine to give us what we want, or to serve healing? And is health merely the “absence of disease or pain,” or something else?

             Dr. Collier rightly points out that to answer these questions, we must first answer another, deeper one: What does it mean to be human? A holistic view, which integrates biomedical science with theological and philosophical realities, understands health as rightly ordered relationships with our bodies, with the world around us, with others, and with the God Who made us.

             Medicine has made many things possible. But it’s a profound and consequential mistake to assume that because we can, we therefore should. We can cut off or carve up healthy body parts in a misguided attempt to relieve the psychological pain of gender dysphoria. We can use surgical instruments or chemical drugs to kill babies in their mothers’ womb or to create babies in laboratories to be sold to adults who have no biological connection to them. We can even prescribe lethal drugs to patients who say they want to die. But to use medicine like this violates the moral boundaries of our relationships to our own bodies, our relationships with each other, and our relationship to God, Who made our bodies, Who has a specific design for marriage and family, and Who forbids the taking of human life.

             A Biblical view of health and healing presumes a few things: First, that the absence of disease and suffering is not the full Biblical picture of living well; second, that while physical death is a reality for each of us, it has not rendered living meaningless, so we shouldn’t fight the end of life as if it has; third, that our obligations to God, to the world around us, to ourselves and to each other may come into conflict with our desire to not be in pain – physical or mental – and when they do, we ought to prioritize those relationships.

             The Christian witness in the next 20 years is going to not only involve Christian doctors practicing medicine well. It will also involve Christian patients suffering well, dying well and helping others die well as human beings made in the image of God, whose ultimate hope is in His salvation, not medical technology.