Life Advocacy Briefing

August 21, 2023

Employer Religious Rights Threatened by Proposed Reg
Laws Can Do Wonders When Enforced / In the Courts / Slippery Slope
Thinking It Through / More Advice on Handling ‘The Abortion Question’
Who Is For the Children?

Employer Religious Rights Threatened by Proposed Reg

PURSUING ITS UNCONSTITUTIONAL HABIT OF LEGISLATING BY REGULATION, the Biden Regime has issued regulations under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) – which was passed to address workplace conditions for expectant mothers – to “require religious employers to allow employees to have abortions and take contraception,” reports Matt Lamb for LifeSiteNews.

Readers are urged to file public comments on the proposed rule at Comments need not be signed.

At the time the PWFA was passed, “some pro-life groups warned that the law could violate the religious freedom of employers,” notes Mr. Lamb. And now the shoe is dropping. “The regulations would require employers to protect an employee’s ‘use of birth control’ and ‘having or choosing not to have an abortion.’” No exemption protection is offered to employers whose personnel policies support their religious views.

“‘Congress sought to help pregnant workers, not force employers to facilitate abortions,’ Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Julie Blake stated” quoted by Mr. Lamb. “‘The Biden Administration is hijacking a bipartisan law that doesn’t even mention abortion to forcibly require every employer in America to provide “reasonable accommodations” for their workers’ elective abortions.’”


Laws Can Do Wonders When Enforced

AN ORLANDO ABORTUARY MAY HAVE CROSSED A FINAL LINE in its seemingly habitual flaunting of Florida’s law providing a 24-hour waiting period for mothers seeking abortions. What else would you call 193 violations? This since the 2015 law became enforceable in 2022 when finally released by the courts. According to the LifeSiteNews report by Matt Lamb, citing CBS News as source, the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration “‘alleged that 193 abortions were performed at the facility from April 26, 2022, to May 7, 2022, without 24-hour waiting periods. … State law allows the agency to collect a maximum of $1,000 for each violation of the law.’”

Orlando’s American Family Planning facility, which, notes Mr. Lamb, is “affiliated with disgraced abortionist Steven Chase Brigham, remains closed,” for the time being. And if the maximum fine is levied, it could mean permanent closure. An order issued Aug. 14, reports Mr. Lamb, “gave the facility 30 days to pay up an amount that may bankrupt them or force their [permanent] closure.” Aww.


In the Courts

  • THE FIFTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS announced Aug. 16, reports the Washington Post, “it would restrict access to [RU-486] after finding that the federal government did not follow the proper process when it loosened regulations in 2016 to make the pill more easily available.” The panel is affirming at least part of a decision earlier this summer by Texas-based US District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk. The Justice Dept. announced it will appeal the ruling to the US Supreme Court. The baby-lethal drug “will remain available for now,” the Post assured its readers, “under existing regulations while the litigation continues, in accordance with a Supreme Court ruling this spring.”

  • A FEDERAL APPEALS COURT HAS REINSTATED a law in the US territory of Guam which requires “in-person consultation,” writes Bridget Sielicki for Live Action, “for women seeking abortion. The court’s decision,” she notes, “provides further protections for women who will no longer be able to access abortion by telemedicine.”

  • SIX PRO-ABORTION PROFESSORS & TWO TEACHER UNIONS are suing the State of Idaho to overturn a state law barring the spending of tax dollars to promote abortion, claiming, reports Calvin Freiburger for LifeSiteNews, the law ‘infringes on their freedom of speech to promote abortion in the classroom.” The report quotes Idaho Family Policy Center president Blaine Conzatti: “The suit is ‘meritless’ and … the law is about preventing publicly funded institutions such as universities from providing abortion referrals or dispensing abortion drugs, not academic debate. ‘The 1st and 14th Amendments to the US Constitution do not provide carte blanche legal protections for higher education faculty to advocate or engage in criminal behavior on the taxpayer’s dime,’ [Mr.] Conzatti said. ‘The “No Public Funds for Abortion Act” simply does not infringe on academic speech protected by the 1st Amendment, including classroom discussion on topics related to abortion.’”

  • A STATE-LEVEL DISTRICT COURT JUDGE IN NEBRASKA ruled on Aug. 11 that a law which bans abortion after 12 weeks can be enforced. The law, which also prohibits gender-altering surgery on minors, was challenged by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU.

  • THOUGH USUALLY A FAN OF LITIGATION, Planned Parenthood appears uncomfortable in court when named as a defendant. “Attorneys for the state of Texas and Planned Parenthood Federation of America met in court Tuesday to argue whether the abortion giant defrauded the state Medicaid program of $10 million it must repay,” reports Calvin Freiburger for LifeSiteNews. “Texas excluded Planned Parenthood from [Texas Medicaid] in 2016, prompting a years-long legal battle. In 2020,” notes Mr. Freiburger, “the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Texas’s right to exclude the abortion chain.” But Planned Parenthood continued to submit claims – and receive the sought reimbursement – under Texas Medicaid. The hearing last week was before US District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk. “PPFA is warning its supporters that it faces not just the prospect of returning $10 million but potentially paying fines of $1.8 billion, which it says could ‘shut down Planned Parenthood,’” an interesting fundraising tactic.


Slippery Slope

Aug. 16, 2023, LifeSiteNews commentary by Jonathon vanMaren

             In American politics, abortion is the issue that reveals the most about the character of men and women claiming to be conservatives.

             To be pro-life, after all, is to recognize that abortion is an act of violence that ends the life of an innocent, helpless child in the womb, and to advocate protections for these children. Abortion is not merely an issue; it is the defining moral issue of our day. If you’re willing to sell out the most vulnerable, how can you be trusted on anything else? 

             Or as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis put it, “The people that aren’t supportive of the Life cause, they’re not people you want to be in a foxhole with on any other political battle. They are the first ones who will sell out to the DC establishment when the going gets tough.” 

             Many so-called pro-life Republicans were happy to use the prospect of overturning Roe v. Wade to drive socially conservative voters to the polls year after year, even when many of those voters weren’t particularly happy about many other aspects of the GOP’s agenda. But since the fall of Roe, many seem to be backing away from the issue, worried that it might cost them votes. Trump has done it; so has his opponent, Chris Christie, and plenty of others. Many appear to be far more worried about losing votes than losing lives. 

             Frustratingly, even some commentators are buying into the idea that pro-life laws turn off voters, despite the fact that governors who passed the strictest abortion bans were re-elected in wide margins even as populist candidates lost their bids. On Fox News last week, Sean Hannity pointed to the referendum vote in Ohio last Tuesday – in which voters rejected a ballot measure that would have raised the threshold for amending the state constitution from a mere majority to 60% – as evidence that pro-life policies might be a loser. 

             “We saw the vote in Ohio,” he told his guests, Mike Huckabee and Tudor Dixon. “The fear among many, many conservatives is this [a 15-week abortion ban] will chase away many suburban voters. Do you agree with that, Mike Huckabee?”

             Huckabee’s reply was bang on: “I do not. I think the problem is Republicans have done a very pitiful job of explaining that the difference is we want to protect life, Democrats want to take it right up to the point of birth. They want to butcher a fully developed child. We’ve got to take it to the Democrats. Quit playing defense. Let’s be clear about what we stand for.” 

             Dixon differed, suggesting that Republicans essentially abandon the fight for pre-born rights: “Their message is very strong on this. They’ve won over women. We saw it. We just saw it in Ohio. We have to start fighting on the cultural side of it, and we have to fight on the issues that matter to people politically on the political side in a different way.” 

             Again, I have to note here: she’s incorrect. As I noted in my analysis on the Michigan referendum last fall, we face three primary challenges in direct democracy initiatives: the abortion movement’s massive war chest; media collusion in lies about women dying as a result of abortion laws; and the refusal of some pro-life groups to actually address the truth about abortion head-on. (I discussed all of these issues, as well as the recent referendum results, with Ohio’s top pro-life leader, Mark Harrington of Created Equal, on my LifeSiteNews podcast this week.)

             Closing out the segment, Hannity went even further than Dixon. “I think the American people – and I consider myself pro-life, I believe in the sanctity of life, but I think politically that there is – Republicans have gotta say as Bill Clinton once said – I never thought I’d quote him – ‘rare,’ ‘legal,’” he said. “And I’d add the word[s], ‘very early in a pregnancy.’ That seems to be – politically – where the country is. Maybe I’m wrong. But we’ll see. That vote in Ohio is pretty, pretty sobering.”

             I seem to remember a different Hannity from back in the day when I was a teen following conservative politics. So a moment ago, I headed over to my bookshelf and grabbed a copy of his 2002 anti-Clinton book Let Freedom Ring: Winning the War of Liberty over Liberalism. I flipped to the chapter on abortion. Here’s what Hannity wrote [then]: “Protecting life is deeply important to me. It was important to me before my wife and I had kids but is even more so now because the stakes are so high. There is no more important issue.” That’s how plenty of Republicans used to talk before Roe v. Wade fell. Over the next couple of years, we’re going to find out who really believed it.


Thinking It Through

Aug. 16, 2023, LifeSiteNews promo

             On this week’s episode of The Van Maren Show [available at], Jonathon sat down with pro-life leader Mark Harrington to discuss the recent Ohio referendum and its implications for a proposed constitutional amendment to enshrine abortion “rights” up until birth.

             Harrington, founder and president of Created Equal, kicked off the show by reacting to the results of the Aug. 8 referendum, known as Issue 1. Ohioans were asked to vote “Yes” or “No” on raising the threshold to amend the state constitution from a simple 50%-plus-one majority to a 60% requirement.

             The “No” side won by a 57 to 43% margin, which was trumpeted as a pro-abortion victory ahead of November’s vote on the proposed abortion amendment.

             Harrington explained to Jonathon why the “Yes” side, backed by pro-lifers, failed to achieve victory: “First of all, it’s harder to pass a constitutional amendment when you’re on the ‘Yes’ side. You’re changing the status quo. Generally speaking, voters are loathe to do that… The other thing is that I just don’t think Ohioans bought the idea that there was a big enough problem, and that our solution was it, was the proper solution… I don’t think the Republican Party came with enough money and effort to push this over the finish line. And I just think … we lost on the messaging. The other side basically made this an issue of voter rights, that we were taking away the individual right to vote. But now all attention shifts to the November ballot initiative, the outcome of which will have significant consequences for Ohio and other parts of the United States fighting over abortion law since the fall of Roe v. Wade.

             Harrington stressed that a winning pro-life strategy for the November vote will focus on the repugnance and injustice of late-term abortion, as well as the possibility that the amendment would “[open] the door to wiping out parental rights when it comes to abortion or, for that matter, maybe even ‘gender reassignment’ surgeries.”

             “I think hopefully the pro-life movement is waking up to the notion that if we don’t win Ohio, we’re in trouble,” he said. “We’re 0 for 6 now when it comes to constitutional amendments. And we’ve got to get our act together and make this a national referendum on abortion, and that if we can defeat it here, we can … have our beachhead to which we can take this message across the country. But if we lose here, the reverse is true.”

             “Right now, the Ohio heartbeat bill is being held up by the Ohio Supreme Court. If we win in November, it’s highly likely that’ll go right into effect. And then we’ve got a strong, strong anti-abortion law in effect and being enforced in the state,” he added. [Amen]


More Advice on Handling ‘The Abortion Question’

Aug. 11, report by S.A. McCarthy for The Washington Stand

             A top conservative is urging GOP politicians not to shy away from being pro-life but to go on the offensive instead. On Wednesday, former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that Republicans must advance the pro-life cause “head on.” She urged pushing Democrats to admit the extremes of their pro-abortion positions and, in order to help pro-life candidates achieve this, laid out a three-point plan.

             First, McEnany said, “talk about supporting mothers.” A majority of pro-life pregnancy resource centers and other pro-life organizations work hard to provide for vulnerable mothers – not just while they’re pregnant, but into the early years of childhood too, gifting mothers with diapers, baby formula, blankets and food, as well as emotional, medical and even financial support. Abortion advocates often claim that pro-lifers are only “pro-life until birth,” but McEnany’s advice puts pro-abortionists on the defensive while calling on Americans to support mothers.

             McEnany’s second point is to emphasize compassion in rhetoric. She pointed to the recent success of pro-life legislature in Kansas, when a doctor’s testimony on caring for babies who survived abortions swayed even Democratic legislators to override Governor Laura Kelly’s (D) veto of the Born-Alive bill, requiring medical care for babies who survive abortions.

             The final point McEnany advocated was exposing “the extremism of Democrats.” She said, “I’d love to see a Presidential candidate look at Joe Biden and say, ‘President Biden, when does [an unborn] baby feel pain?’ I don’t think he could answer that question. Why isn’t every Democrat in America being asked that question?”

             McEnany’s clarion call comes ahead of abortion-related ballot initiatives to be voted on in the coming months in several states. In Arizona, for example, abortion activist organizations like NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood are launching a political action committee to focus on enshrining abortion into the state’s constitution. Groups in Florida, Iowa, Missouri, and Nebraska are trying to put a constitutional “right” to abortion on the ballot, too. A similar proposal will be voted on in Ohio in November. Notably, voters in Ohio just rejected a proposal requiring a 60% majority to approve amending the state’s constitution – as opposed to a simple majority – which critics point to as an indicator that abortion is likely to become a constitutional guarantee in the Buckeye State.

             According to Axios, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is urging Democrats to double down on pro-abortion rhetoric in light of the Issue 1 failure. A memo circulated amongst Democrats argues that abortion is “still a major motivating factor even after the [2022] midterms.” The memo further states, “It is crucial that Democrats remind voters early and often that … MAGA Republicans are focusing their power on advocating for dangerous and unpopular abortion bans.” [sic]

             Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America called on conservatives not to shy away from advocating pro-life principles, saying in a statement, “So long as the Republicans and their supporters take the ostrich strategy and bury their heads in the sand, they will lose again and again.”

             Some Republicans seem to be taking that advice – and McEnany’s – seriously. For example, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee addressed the Ohio ballot initiatives and said, “If [Ohio Democratic Sen.] Sherrod Brown wants to run on his support for child gender reassignment surgery and painful abortions up to the moment of birth, we’ll welcome that.” …


Who Is For the Children?

Aug. 14, 2023, Breakpoint commentary by John Stonestreet & Maria Baer

             Massachusetts is rejecting would-be adoptive parents if those parents are Christians and thus denying a home to children in need, according to a new lawsuit. Mike and Kitty Burke went through all the classes, background checks and home assessments required to become adoptive parents, and scored highly. Yet, they were rejected because, as state officials wrote in their report, the couple’s Christian faith meant they are “not supportive” of kids who identify as LGBTQ.

             Right now, in Massachusetts more than 1,500 kids are in need of a foster home. Not only do advocates deny biology and sexualize children by suggesting their sexual preferences are their identity, but they also deny kids loving parents as if it is better to not have a home than to be in a home with a religious mom and dad.

             This is not an isolated incident. A mom in Oregon was also rejected from fostering kids for the same reason. Again, it’s the children who are harmed.