Life Advocacy Briefing

April 8, 2024

More than a Bumper Sticker / Buckle Your Seatbelts, Florida Pro-Lifers!
Out of the Bag? / The Paramount Right of Conscience
No Reason to Hide / A Pro-Life Model

More than a Bumper Sticker

WE RECENTLY SHARED WITH OUR SUPPORT TEAM a presentation which we view as “a pro-life model” – and we share it with our readers now at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing. It is from the Oct. 11, 2012, Vice Presidential debate, and we offer it as an illustration of persuasion by not only thinking through the reality of the abortion issue but also as an example of taking into account the likely knowledge level of the audience, sharing facts with them.

Then-Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan stands his ground, uses logic and opens a new way of thinking to many in his audience. What a blessing that he had so much time to roll out his response to a question that was framed as a trap. That time frame is not always available, but in every instance we can think of – beyond a literal bumper sticker – “the abortion question” can be answered in more words than are typically employed by our pro-life frontliners.

Speaker Ryan did not assume that his audience was already firmly aligned on this critical issue. He developed the issue through facts without either betraying or trying to cover the conscience he brought to the question, demonstrating character as well as giving his audience an opportunity to grasp the realities involved in what has too often become a divisive political issue rather than a matter of principle.

Readers will find it at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing. We commend it to you as another in a series of models.


Buckle Your Seatbelts, Florida Pro-Lifers!

THE VOTERS OF FLORIDA WILL FACE A REFERENDUM PROPOSITION this November to add a pro-abortion provision to the state constitution. The proposition is the response of the abortion cartel to the recent signing by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) of a “heartbeat abortion law,” barring abortions once a baby’s heartbeat can be detected, typically at around six weeks’ gestation. 

The referendum became official April 1 with a ruling by the state supreme court that the proposition met requirements of the state constitution for a petition-initiated constitutional amendment vote.

The court approved a public vote on adding the following language to the state’s charter: “Section __. Limiting government interference with abortion.—Except as provided in Article X, Section 22, no law shall prohibit, penalize, delay, or restrict abortion before viability or when necessary to protect the patient’s health, as determined by the patient’s healthcare provider.”


Out of the Bag?

AN E-MAIL MEMO FROM MAT STAVER OF LIBERTY COUNSEL, a pro-life legal group, reports that the Food & Drug Administration “made a shockingly racist declaration to the US Supreme Court” in a lawsuit challenging FDA approval of the RU-486 abortion drug for marketing in the US.

“The FDA told the Court,” writes Mr. Staver, “that poor kids should be aborted because they are more likely to be unfit for school, for adulthood and for society.”

Calling the statement “outrageous,” Mr. Staver adds, “Equally outrageous is what pro-abortion states like New York and California are doing to encourage doctors in their states to break the laws of other states,” when it comes to abortion.

“New York and California have recently passed ‘shield laws,’” Mr. Staver explains, “that promise to ‘shield’ abortion doctors from facing penalties for providing mail-order abortions to women in states where the abortion is banned,” a growing problem, fostered by the convenience of chemical abortions, once the FDA dropped its safeguard for in-person dispensing only.

Mr. Staver cites an example of the hustle: “Dr. Linda Prine … is one of the doctors using New York’s ‘shield law’ to flagrantly violate other states’ laws that prohibit or restrict mail-order abortion drugs. As the New York-based Coalition for Telemedicine’s co-medical director, Prine says she is sending out up to 10,000 abortion pills a month to women she has never met in person, on whom she has never performed an examination, and who live in states where Prine’s practice is illegal. That’s 10,000 children a month Prine and her ilk are killing across state lines,” notes Mr. Staver, “1,000 women whose lives she is putting in danger because her desire to get rich off selling abortion pills outweighs her concern for patient safety.”

Here is something Congress could act on, a matter of interstate commerce. And pro-life Congressional candidates ought to consider warning their prospective voters about the FDA’s eugenic excuses.

We should add this note from Mr. Staver, a fact with which we were unacquainted: “The patent to RU-486/mifepristone is owned,” he writes, “by The Population Council, a racist and eugenic group formed in 1952 by John D. Rockefeller III. The Population Council’s mission then and now is to ‘reduce human population.’

“These people unabashedly wrote,” reports Mr. Staver, “that some people are ‘less desirable’ in the gene pool and were human ‘weeds’ that needed to be eradicated. The group claimed ‘unfit, poor and unintelligent people were more fertile than fit people.’ Then the group produced and supported ‘research’ claiming that minorities consistently made ‘wrong choices with respect to family planning because they were incompetent, unmotivated or influenced by their own or their family’s culture.’”

Such facts might be tough for the average voter to hear, and pro-life spokesmen would do well to acknowledge that, but voters deserve to know the nature of those who back the candidates and officials who claim to be “pro-choice” or advocates for “women’s health.”


The Paramount Right of Conscience

April 1, 2024, Breakpoint Daily commentary by John Stonestreet & Shane Morris

             At the heart of many culture war issues is the question of whether religious organizations and individuals have the right to order their lives around their deeply held beliefs. While most Americans grant that we all have a right to believe what we do, the First Amendment guarantees the “free exercise” of religion. It’s essential to understand what exactly that entails.

             Over the last 15 years, the constitutional guarantee of free exercise has been tested again and again, mostly by a new set of so-called “rights” associated with abortion, homosexuality and transgenderism that have been written into state and federal law. As a result, a group of nuns have been forced to go to court so they would not have to provide insurance coverage for birth control. Pro-life pregnancy care centers have been forced to argue that they should not be forced to advertise abortion “services.” Religious organizations, ministries and student groups have been forced repeatedly to defend why they shouldn’t be required to hire people who do not hold their beliefs. When taken together, there has been a concerted push to make progressive views on sex and gender mandatory for everyone. If successful, this would effectively abolish America’s “first freedom” which the American founders intended.

             The ability for nonprofit organizations to hire people who share their beliefs and mission is equivalent to their right to exist. If laws like this one in Virginia are not challenged, Christians and members of other religions will be, in effect, forced to affirm wrong ideas about diversity-equity-and-inclusion dogma in order to take part in society.

             Even further upstream from these bad laws is a bad idea identified by Chuck Colson many years ago from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who repeatedly used the phrase “freedom of worship.” As Chuck pointed out then, being free to worship only acknowledges the right to believe in one’s heart, home or house of worship. This is a very different thing from what the American founders intended by the “free exercise” of religion. And yet, more elected officials have, either in word or deed, embraced this impoverished concept in the years since. This is the most important threat to First Amendment rights.

             Faith is deeply personal, but it’s not private. The idea that organizations like pregnancy care centers or Christian schools should not be allowed to operate or hire according to their beliefs is dangerous and deeply un-American. As long as there are laws on the books and policies in place that try to force religious Americans to leave their consciences at home or in church, we should defend our first freedom. The world – and our nation – is better with it than without it. …


No Reason to Hide

March 19, 2024, commentary by Suzanne Bowdey, editorial director of The Washington Stand

             If Democratic strategists are hoping for a repeat of 2022 – when abortion saved their political bacon – things aren’t exactly aligning the way they’d hoped. A repeat of the midterms seems unlikely, now that voters have two more years of Biden catastrophes to stack on top of their fears about his mental cognizance. Not to mention that, with the slight blip of the IVF debate, Americans don’t seem nearly as consumed by the abortion issue as this White House.

             Compared to the border crisis and inflation, abortion is a distant third in voters’ priorities. When Rasmussen asked more than 900 Americans about their focus for this year’s election, 91% said economic issues are either “important” or “very important.” Another 79% are worried about the millions of migrants [illegally] entering the US, calling immigration “very important” in 2024. To the dismay of DNC headquarters, abortion was a distant third, with 71% calling the issue “important” and far few (44%) categorizing it as “very important.”* (Democrats, unsurprisingly, make up the bulk of the concern.)

             For the GOP, who’s been a ball of mixed messaging on the Life issue since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, this November is a chance at redemption. After Members’ skittishness cost them valuable ground in the House, more Republicans are telling candidates to pump up the volume on abortion. It’s time, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) argues, to stop running scared on Life and start leaning into it.

             In an internal memo to candidates, NRCC leadership tells hopefuls that they should “confidently articulate” their position – and “being unwilling to stake out a clear [stance] with voters is the worst possible solution.” Former Republican National Committee Chair[man] Ronna McDaniel had been adamant about that during her tenure, insisting that conservatives’ silence on abortion is what let the Democrats’ lies about the GOP’s agenda go unchallenged.

             Even now, former Trump advisor and longtime pollster Kellyanne Conway found, Americans believe the media’s distortions on the GOP’s stance. When she surveyed 60 competitive House districts this year, the Wall Street Journal reported, one-third of people “associated Republicans with wanting to outlaw all abortions, while a similar number showed respondents saw Democrats favoring abortion for any reason at any time.” The latter is where pro-lifers should devote their energy, the NRCC insists. Voters by and large favor some restrictions on abortion – usually drawing the line in the early stages of the second trimester.** That puts them “more in [sync] with the GOP than Democrats,” the group argues.

             In other words, the Republican Party has a “brand problem, not a policy problem,” the memo insists. The solution, then, is pushing back on the Democrats’ extremism – not pretending the issue doesn’t exist. As a party, we need to express sympathy for women, Chair[man] Richard Hudson (R-NC) urged, discuss “common sense” solutions, and above all, refuse to let the other side define us.

             House Republican Conference Chair[man] Rep. Elise Stefanik (NY) agreed. “We believe it’s important for our Members to engage on this and not stick their heads in the sand, which I think some potential candidates had done in the past.”

             Family Research Council’s Mary Szoch added her voice to the growing chorus of pro-lifers urging courage. “During the 2024 election cycle,” she told The Washington Stand, “Republicans should not be afraid to boldly articulate that they will defend unborn babies. They should not back down from the discussion, but,” she added, “they also should not allow Democrats to frame the issue.”

             Terminology, Szoch said, is important. “The discussion about abortion isn’t one over ‘health care’ or ‘women’s rights.’ It’s about mothers, their babies and an explosive industry that profits from killing innocent human beings up until the moment of birth.”

             Frankly, she said, “Every GOP candidate should know the evils perpetuated by the abortion industry: Kermit Gosnell, Ulrich Klopfer, Cesare Santangelo – all three have committed horrific crimes against humanity – some prosecuted, some not. All three are abortionists. Melissa Ohden, Claire Cullwell and over 1,500 others are the people that abortionists tried and failed to kill. GOP candidates should know their stories and reference them often.”

             Right now, Szoch lamented, “Democrats are using the stories of tragic diagnosis of life-limiting fetal anomalies to justify killing unborn babies with disabilities. Members of the GOP should condemn these actions and they should do so boldly. The abortion industry preys upon moms in need – candidates should look for life-affirming ways to support moms. Supporting pregnancy resource centers is a great place to start. Most importantly, candidates must remember that words mean nothing if they’re not backed up by actions. The best campaign strategy is to build up a culture of life through everyday actions.”

             And while every Republican candidate should fearlessly articulate their position on defending the unborn, Szoch insisted, “they must remember that first, they have to live it.”

*We at Life Advocacy wonder, when we see poll reports like this, whether pollsters take into account how many of those who proclaim “abortion” as the most important issue are actually pro-life. For many of us, abortion is the most important issue. We should not be counted as those who favor killing.

**Congressional (and Presidential) candidates, in our view, should not be drawing lines as to when killing is permissible. There are plenty of issues – such as cross-border abortion lures and VA and DOD abortion policy – which can and should be addressed by Congress while not undercutting pro-life efforts at the state level. Further, we point to the total lack of federal prosecutions under the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act as an example of how likely a federal 15-week ban is to curb the abortion cartel.


A Pro-Life Model

Oct. 11, 2012, Vice Presidential debate segment, transcribed by Catholic Studies Senior Fellow George Weigel, first published by National Review Online

Moderator Raddatz: This debate is, indeed, historic. We have two Catholic candidates, first time on a stage such as this. And I would like to ask you both to tell me what role your religion has played in your own personal views on abortion.

Rep. Ryan: None. (Ms. Raddatz’s jaw drops. The Vice President is rendered temporarily speechless. The audience gasps.  Cong. Ryan lets his surprising answer sink in a moment and continues.)

             Let me explain, Martha. When I say “none,” I’m speaking about abortion, as I assume you were, as a public policy issue. My opposition to the abortion license that Roe v. Wade created is based on science and reason.

             Biology and embryology teach us that the product of human conception is a human being – nothing more but certainly nothing less. No scientifically literate person denies that; it’s a fact, not an opinion. As for reason, well, an elementary sense of justice – of fairness – teaches us that innocent human life is inviolable and merits the protection of the laws. That’s the same sense of justice that tells us not to discriminate against another because she’s not a he, or because her pigmentation is different from mine, or because his parents came to this country from Belarus ten years ago; it’s the same sense of justice that has made America the most racially egalitarian society in human history. Science and reason have made me a pro-life public official. Science and reason are what the Supreme Court ignored in 1973 in Roe v. Wade and in 1992 in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The so-called pro-choice position is the unscientific position, and it’s the unreasonable position.

             But my faith does shape my thinking on these questions, and let me tell you how. What my faith adds to the mix is a deep sense of compassion and an urgent sense of responsibility for women caught in the dilemma of a crisis pregnancy. My faith teaches me that those women in crisis pregnancies should not be left alone, clinging to some spurious “right.” My faith, and the experience of the pastors of many denominations with whom I’ve discussed this, teach me that the termination of a pregnancy by abortion often multiplies the trauma of unwanted or unplanned pregnancy. My faith teaches me that I have an obligation, not only to that unborn child but also to his or her mother.

             My faith, which instructs me to honor the dignity of every human person, helps me understand the implications of what science and reason teach me. And one “dignitarian” implication of science and reason is that the pro-life position is the pro-feminist position, because abortion on demand has been a great deal for irresponsible and predatory men – and a very bad deal for women.

             And I’m not alone in this, Martha. There are thousands of crisis pregnancy centers across our country, where women who have been abandoned by those irresponsible or predatory men can find the compassion and care they deserve from people who take the unique dignity of women seriously – people who are eager to help a woman in a crisis pregnancy bring a child to term and then put that child up for adoption or bring a child to term and then raise it with love in a caring community. In all the arguing about abortion these past 40 years, the tens of thousands of volunteers who staff those crisis pregnancy centers are almost never mentioned. But they are real American heroes, offering women in crisis something more – something more humane – than a technological quick fix to a terrible problem.

             No woman in America has to face a crisis pregnancy alone. That’s something we should all be proud of. And we should thank God for inspiring men and women across America with the faith to go beyond the obvious facts of science and the obvious dictates of reason in offering compassionate care to women in crisis pregnancies.