Life Advocacy Briefing

December 11, 2023

Spending Fight Looms / Thank You, Coach / Idaho Seeks Justice
‘Heartbeat’ Wins Again in South Carolina
Good News They Don’t Want You to Know
Somebody Tell CNN / Trouble Brewing in House Conference

Spending Fight Looms

HR-5894 HAS EMERGED FROM COMMITTEE and is likely to be peppered with amendments. It is a major spending bill for the Departments of Health & Human Services and of Education and is seen by LifeSiteNews reporter Matt Lamb as “one of the first big tests for new Speaker of the House Mike Johnson [R-LA] and his ability to pass pro-life and pro-family bills” in a House whose already tiny-majority-GOP caucus is shrinking.

Citing Axios as source, Mr. Lamb notes the bill “‘would … eliminate federal Title X [Ten] grants to family planning clinics, including Planned Parenthood.’ It would also prevent Medicare and Medicaid from paying for so-called ‘gender transitions’ for individuals who struggle with gender confusion, according to the analysis from Axios. The legislation would also prohibit funding post-graduation medical training unless the program made abortion training ‘opt-in’ versus ‘opt-out.’ …

“The bill also protects the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits direct payment of abortions from taxpayer funds,” notes Mr. Lamb, “and would also prohibit funding for Pres. Joe Biden’s executive orders to expand the killing of preborn babies in the wake of the Dobbs decision. …

“‘The bill also makes sure,’” said HR-5894 sponsor Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), quoted by Mr. Lamb, “‘that taxpayer funds are not used to circumvent state laws restricting access to abortion and ensures that federal research funds are not used on human fetal tissue obtained from an elective abortion.’”

Despite the narrow dominance of Republicans in the House – and the Republican Party’s long-standing opposition to abortion – the survival of the pro-life provisions in this massive bill is not assured. Just one Democratic Member ever votes for the cause of Life (Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas, whose support is sporadic), and some of the GOP Members elected in 2022 are virtually untested. One veteran Republican, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA), has apparently decided to lurch left, telling Politico, as quoted by Mr. Lamb, that he “opposes the provisions to defund abortion. … He said those parts ‘have no place in any of these bills – zero.’” Oh really?!

Mr. Fitzpatrick might not be alone in his caucus. We publish at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing a commentary left over from Nov. 13, warning of defections on abortion funding policy in the financial services appropriations bill.

The White House, of course, is opposed to the bill, which, the Biden Regime claims, reports Mr. Lamb, “‘puts radical right-wing politics over the needs of the American people by eliminating consequential programs Americans rely on every day and instead seeks to forcibly inflict deeply unpopular policies with poison pill riders.’” So twisted.

Readers are asked to contact your Representative and ask him or her to stand with Rep. Aderholt in maintaining the pro-life reform provisions of HR-5894. Capitol switchboard: 202/224-3121.


Thank You, Coach

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER CHARLES SCHUMER (D-NY) CAME UP WITH a work-around last week and forced a Senate vote on military promotions, ending the near-nine-month stand-off with Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL). The stalemate has ended, with the Pentagon persisting in its pernicious policy of abetting servicewomen’s options for aborting their unborn child, offering transfers of duty and/or travel expenses at taxpayer expense.

Sen. Tuberville was right to call out this abuse of power in such a stalwart manner. We salute and thank him, and we thank those Senators who refrained from undercutting him, as some of his GOP colleagues did. (See earlier editions of Life Advocacy Briefing.)


Idaho Seeks Justice

THE STATE OF IDAHO HAS FILED AN EMERGENCY APPEAL with the US Supreme Court, seeking a stay, reports Ashley Sadler for LifeSiteNews, of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling against the state’s pro-life trigger law, enacted in 2020 to be enforceable in the event that the notorious Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision was overturned.

Abortionists in Idaho face imprisonment up to five years and medical license suspension if they violate the statute, which outlaws abortion on babies who were not conceived in a sex act or on babies whose existence threatens the life of the mother.

“Pro-lifers point out,” notes Ms. Sadler, “that the deliberate killing of a preborn baby is morally unjustifiable and never medically necessary.” That is why Idaho has made such an action illegal.

But the largely radical 9th Circuit took the side of the Biden Regime, which argued, reports Ms. Sadler, “that a federal Medicare statute, the Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act (EMTALA) ‘requires abortions in violation of this law if an emergency room doctor thinks it is appropriate.’ …

“Idaho Republican Attorney General Raul Labrador,” a former GOP Member of Congress, “said the ‘premise’ put forward by the Biden Administration ‘is meritless’ since abortion is notably absent from the language of the legislation, Bloomberg Law reported,” quoted by Ms. Sadler.

Said Tyler Brooks, senior counsel with the Thomas More Society, reports LifeSiteNews, “‘Trying to force a physician to take the life of an unborn child under a law that is expressly designed to save lives is not only contradictory but also ludicrous. … An elective abortion is an intentional choice to kill a preborn baby, and emergency medical treatment is intended to preserve life.’”


‘Heartbeat’ Wins Again in South Carolina

SOUTH CAROLINA’s SUPREME COURT HAS AGAIN REJECTED an abortion cartel attempt to undo the state’s Heartbeat Abortion Ban. The case does not appear to be over, however. The high court’s rejection was of a motion to bypass lower courts and take up the question directly.

Still, notes Matt Lamb for LifeSiteNews, “the ruling from the Supreme Court of South Carolina is the latest victory for the Palmetto State’s efforts to restrict abortion. The state’s highest court upheld the law in August after it was rewritten to survive legal challenges.

“Planned Parenthood said that ‘around 91%’ of its clients seeking abortions in Columbia and Charleston were turned away,” reports Mr. Lamb, “after the court ruled in favor of the Heartbeat Law in August.” A wound to the bottom line, for sure.


Good News They Don’t Want You to Know

November 24, 2023 LifeSite News blog by Jonathon VanMaren

             It is true that since the overturn of Roe v. Wade, the pro-life movement has faced a series of challenges. Most notably, the abortion movement has won seven straight abortion referendums, highlighting their advantage in direct democracy initiatives. (I recently reviewed the flaws in the pro-life movement’s strategy for First Things and on the podcast.) I observed that despite these setbacks – which should certainly provoke a re-evaluation of our strategy – it is unwarranted to claim, as some do, that Dobbs was a “pyrrhic victory.” Tens of thousands of lives have been saved.

             On Nov. 21, for example, CNN ran this headline: “Births have increased in states with abortion bans, research finds.” According to the article: “Nearly a quarter of people seeking an abortion in the United States were unable to get one due to bans that took effect after the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, researchers estimate. In the first half of 2023, states with abortion bans had an average fertility rate that was 2.3% higher than states where abortion was not restricted, according to the analysis – leading to about 32,000 more births than expected. The findings are based on preliminary births data from the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. The research has not yet been peer-reviewed, but experts say the data paints a clear picture about the direct impact of abortion restrictions.”

             Abortion activists, as you might expect, see this rise in the birthrate as a negative thing. In their view, these are babies that would have been aborted under Roe but have not been aborted under Dobbs, and thus their very existence is actually tragic.

             Alison Gemmill, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said as much to CNN. “It’s an assault on reproductive autonomy,” she declared. “We don’t always detect signals in these population aggregates, because there’s a lot of variation when you group everybody together. The fact that there is a signal at the population level means that something’s really going on. It’s pretty strong evidence.”

             Indeed, CNN explicitly states that the rising birth rate is evidence that abortion is necessary: “After the Dobbs decision, fertility rates increased most significantly in states with longer travel times to the nearest abortion providers, the new research found, including a 5.1% increase in Texas and a 4.4% increase in Mississippi. … Rising birth rates could indicate that unmet need persists, despite an increase in the number of abortions in the year post-Dobbs.” More babies being born, according to this analysis, is evidence not that pro-life laws work the way they should but that there is an “unmet need” for feticide.

             CNN’s choice of photo for the article was actually the tiny foot of a newborn baby.

             In fact, CNN actually goes so far as to claim that not being aborted negatively impacts the child. “Earlier research has found that there are many consequences of unintended birth, affecting the health and livelihood of the mother, the child and the family in general.” In other words, the child would be better off dead – killed by an abortionist using forceps or a suction aspirator. In particular, CNN warns that “abortion bans have especially affected Hispanic women, with a 4.7% increase in fertility rate in the first half of 2023, as well as younger women, with a 3.3% increase among those in their early 20s.”

             Pro-life statistician Michael New had a different take in his own analysis of the data. “Overall, birth data are a very reliable way to demonstrate the lifesaving impact of pro-life laws,” he wrote. “Abortions are difficult to measure, since women can obtain abortions in other states or obtain chemical abortion pills through the mail. Furthermore, the results of this Institute for Labor Economics study are broadly consistent with my Charlotte Lozier Institute study of November, 2022, and with the June, 2023, study in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. Both showed an increase in Texas birth rate after the Texas Heartbeat Act took effect.”

             The pro-life movement has faced setbacks. But one fact remains: Babies are being born who would have ended up in dumpsters behind abortion clinics. Abortion activists mourn this fact. We should celebrate it.

[Life Advocacy Briefing editor’s note: It was not long ago, was it, that opinion pushers in the US were bemoaning the loss of life through the Chinese virus. Now these same Left-leaning pundits are decrying the addition of lives through adoption of enlightened policies which promote Life.]


Somebody Tell CNN

Wisdom from American poet, biographer, journalist & editor Carl Sandburg, quoted from the website

             A baby is God’s opinion that life should go on. A book that does nothing to you is dead. A baby, whether it does anything to you, represents life. If a bad fire should break out in this house and I had my choice of saving the library or the babies, I would save what is alive.

             Never will a time come when the most marvelous recent invention is as marvelous as a newborn baby. The finest of our precision watches, the most super-colossal of our supercargo plants, don’t compare with a newborn baby in the number and ingenuity of coils and springs, in the flow and change of chemical solutions, in timing devices and interrelated parts that are irreplaceable. A baby is very modern. Yet it is also the oldest of the ancients.

             A baby doesn’t know he is a hoary and venerable antique – but he is. Before man learned how to make an alphabet, how to make a wheel, how to make a fire, he knew how to make a baby – with the great help of woman, and his God and Maker.


Trouble Brewing in House Conference

Nov. 13, 2023, commentary by Suzanne Bowdey, editorial director at The Washington Stand, Family Research Council

             There’s a reason Congress hasn’t passed all 12 appropriations bills since 1997 – it’s a messy, tedious and time-consuming process. But more than that, it has the uncomfortable tendency to expose a party’s deep ideological cracks. Those differences of opinion can be fatal for spending debates, especially when you’re the party in charge. And while none of this is news to House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), it will be news if he can find a way to work through it.

             When Johnson was promoted, he knew the appropriations part of his to-do list would be a challenge. Like everyone else, he’d watched former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) get stung by the GOP’s moderates more than once. In July, the group of a dozen or so even managed to temporarily sink the Agriculture funding bill, claiming that conservatives shouldn’t try to limit abortion drugs by mail.

             Now, days away from a potential government shutdown, almost a dozen of those same agitators are doing their best to kill pro-life language in the Financial Services package – setting up an interesting showdown over a core value of Johnson’s and the rest of his party.

             At the center of this brouhaha is a 2014 DC law that Family Research Council actually fought alongside other conservative groups: the so-called Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act. Democrats in the District [of Columbia] claimed it would protect employees who support abortions from intolerance at work. In actuality, pro-lifers argued, it’s a backdoor attempt to force Christian and other conservative employers to pay for the taking of innocent life and also force them to hire people openly hostile to their values.

             Then-Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Casey Mattox blasted DC for trying to strip the conscience rights of organizations under such an innocuous sounding proposal. “The government has no business forcing pro-life organizations to hire those who oppose their mission or to force any employer to pay for abortions,” he insisted. “…[T]his is a cynical bill targeted at religious and other pro-life groups. It is illegal and doomed to defeat. The District should spare its taxpayers the expense of defending it.”

             It was such a contentious issue that the House voted to strike down the policy in 2015 – the first time it had exercised its authority over DC on “ideological grounds” in 35 years. Unfortunately, the Senate never followed suit, so the policy has been entangled in lawsuits and Congressional squabbling ever since. Almost a decade later, Republicans continue to insist – as they did in this draft bill – that it should be stopped.

             The GOP’s liberal social wing disagrees. As many as 10 of them, including Representatives Nancy Mace (SC), Marc Molinaro (NY), Anthony D’Esposito (NY), John Duarte (CA), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA) and Don Bacon (NE), claim to be in districts where these innocuous provisions don’t fly. “A lot of us in swing districts – and a lot of us that want to be very respectful of where the American people are and aren’t on these social issues – are standing our ground and setting some limits as to what can get jammed into these bills,” Duarte told the Washington Post.

             Molinaro went so far as to argue that Congress shouldn’t be meddling in DC policy – a ridiculous suggestion, considering that the House has the Constitutional duty to provide oversight for the District, a non-state. “The city of Washington, DC, has established a non-discrimination provision,” he said. “It is both their right to do so within the city – but it is also not something the House should seek to eliminate and undermine those protections.”

             If conservatives insist on including this language, Molinaro vowed, the bill will be dead on arrival. Those threats are vexing to Members like Rep. Troy Nehls, who just want to move the ball forward on a provision that was never controversial until now. “You get all these individual Members that say, ‘I don’t like that. … If I don’t get what I want, I’m going to take my sack lunch, and I’m going home.’ I think that’s what we’re seeing play out here.”

             Gumming up the wheels over something like this is “absurd,” Family Research Council’s Quena Gonzalez argued. “Every year since [2014], whether Republicans have been in the majority in the House or in the minority in the house, Republicans have supported a policy rider [to undo this law]. … This has not been controversial,” he reiterated to Washington Watch guest host and former Congressman Jody Hice. “Republicans in the house passed this every year, and moderate Republicans never objected. So it’s a little wild to hear them saying now that this is ‘off-the-wall’ or ‘crazy’ policy. This is standard policy. It’s one of dozens of pro-life riders that we see pass every year.”

             For it suddenly to become “a big deal,” Gonzalez pointed out, “is really a false assertion. … There are, so far, six Republicans who have gone on record as opposing [Financial Services] funding bill on this very benign, regularly presented and regularly passed provision that I just described. … [And] some of these folks actually ran as pro-life, so it’s quite surprising to see them come out.”

             The reality is, Speaker Johnson has a razor-thin majority in the House. “He can only lose four votes. If he loses five Republican votes, he cannot pass a bill that Democrats oppose. … I think some of these moderate to left-leaning Republicans on the Life issue have decided that suddenly they’re senators and they can put a hold on the law. And that’s just not how the House works. And so, they need to be called to account. The House of Representatives is called the People’s House, and the people need to call their House.”

             It’s unconscionable that a handful of Republicans would decide to exploit the GOP’s narrow majority for the sole purpose of furthering Joe Biden’s abortion agenda. Frankly, FRC’s Meg Kilgannon told The Washington Stand, “the fact that Republicans dare to support this effort is astonishing and disqualifies them as representatives of the Republican Party or GOP values.”