Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Another reminder that elections have consequences

Another federal budget, another year of Planned Parenthood receiving your tax dollars. You may be thinking that since the Republican Party controls Congress and the presidency, this ought to have been addressed by now. Why?

Well, it came down to one single vote in the U.S. Senate.

Frankly, not every Republican is prolife. Though the two major parties are becoming increasingly polarized on the abortion issue, it's a mistake to assume the position of any politician in any party.

Following the 2016 election, the prolife margin in the Senate was zero. Though the Republican majority was 52-48, two Senate Republicans are pro-abortion: Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska).

In March, 2017, Vice President Mike Pence had to cast a vote to break a 50-50 tie in the Senate regarding funding of Planned Parenthood. Congress removed an Obama Administration regulation meant to stop states like Michigan from shifting Title X family planning funding away from abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood.

That year prolifers in the Senate were on the verge of using a special budgetary provision to defund Planned Parenthood and repeal Obamacare, including Obamacare provisions that allow tax-funding to go to insurance plans that cover abortions. This combined effort failed in July, however, by one vote.

The expectation was that Senate Republicans would go back to the drawing board and come up with yet another plan that could garner 50 votes. Then in November, Roy Moore lost the Alabama Senate election to Doug Jones. Now there are only 49 prolife votes in the U.S. Senate.

Many people have strong opinions on Roy Moore, who was an extremely flawed candidate, but the practical reality of his loss and the decisions of Alabama voters means Planned Parenthood now has a Senate majority backing their tax-funding.

The votes aren't there to be had.

Some people are wondering why their prolife elected officials voted for this budget. Typically most elected officials vote for the budget. The politics over budget shutdown fights are not easy. Even Senate Democrats who thought they automatically get to win budget shutdown fights got their noses badly bloodied in January when they tried holding out for a controversial policy that opinion polls say a majority of Americans support.

We may wish the U.S. Senate had the votes, or that Congress settled on a different plan to achieve their promises in 2017, or that the Alabama election went differently, or that the politics and realities surrounding the federal budget operated differently, or that we don't even need to be arguing to stop tearing the arms and legs off of defenseless children in the womb in the first place. Wishing isn't good enough, though.

The current Senate margin may provide enough votes for the most important item—a fair Supreme Court justice to replace one of the justices who brings their abortion advocacy with them to the bench—with effort from prolifers. The margin is not enough, however, to get any prolife legislation to the desk of President Trump today. If you don't like that reality, it's time to go to some serious work.

Elections have consequences, and for prolifers we must recognize these consequences include the life and death of millions of people. Thankfully Michigan prolifers have a chance to address this reality in the 2018 election when they vote for a U.S. Senator to represent us in Washington, D.C. Are you prepared to go to work?

As Vice President Mike Pence said recently, "I truly do believe, if all of us do all that we can, that we will once again, in our time, restore the sanctity of life to the center of American law. But we have to do the work."

So, be frustrated, but it's important to understand how we got into this particular situation. Here's three important takeaways from this story:

  1. Don't assume politicians' positions on abortion. They can lie about them, change them, or the media might never bother to even tell you what their position is. Sometimes politicians don't even really know what they believe, or are open to a positive change. Sometimes the pressure becomes too much to bear and they crack.
  2. Prolifers need to make sound choices in primary and general elections. The RLM-PAC works hard to make sure every candidate receiving their endorsement actually has to sit down to an in-person interview, from U.S. Senators to drain commissioners. They do everything possible to make sure a candidate is who they say they are on our prolife issues. President Donald Trump and National Right to Life PAC endorsed Luther Strange over Roy Moore in the Alabama primary, and if every prolife voter had listened to them, Planned Parenthood might have been defunded today. Sometimes being successful means giving up on your personal preferences or preferred strategy.
  3. Prolifers need to be realistic. The effort to end tax-funded abortions in Michigan was a long and awful fight. We fought through multiple vetoes, a stunning last-minute betrayal by a prolife elected official, overcame a nearly hopeless election fight, and we even lost a budget shutdown fight along the way. Sound familiar? Tactics had to be changed and numerous pro-abortion officials had to be voted out of office. We eventually got our bill, however, and so many lives have been saved as a result. Nothing easy is going to be given to the prolife movement, not when you consider the monstrous nature of abortion.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Pulling back the curtain

Dear Lifesaver,

It is one of the most memorable scenes in one of the most watched movies in film history. Dorothy Gale of Kansas, the Scarecrow, Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion are returning to Emerald City having defeated the Wicked Witch of the West. Now it’s time for the Wizard of Oz to keep his promise and send Dorothy home.

Instead, the Wizard uses fear and intimidation to conceal his true identity and the motives of his heart. In a last-ditch effort to keep the charade going, he thunders number 24 of the 100 greatest movie lines of all time: “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”

Abortion providers and all those who prop up this corrupt industry use the exact same tactics as the Wizard of Oz. Consider these similarities:

  • The image they portray is a complete farce. They do not support women. They victimize women and their innocent children for a profit. 
  • The promises they make are all smoke and mirrors! Abortion never solves a thing; it’s just a doorway to more heartache and regret. 

Every day the abortion industry uses fear and intimidation to pad their pocketbook. I’ve often said that an abortionist is nothing more than a bully with a scalpel!

Like Toto, we need to pull the curtain back! When we do so, we will expose the abortion industry for who they really are and lay bare the intentions of their hearts.

But I must tell you, it’s crowded behind that curtain! In virtually every sector of our society, you will find people who are pushing the buttons and pulling the levers to deceive and intimidate. It’s a long list:

  • The media and news commentators
  • Educators, counselors and school administrators
  • Doctors, nurses and health systems
  • Pastors and denominational leaders (yes, it’s true!)
  • Hollywood celebrities and entertainers
  • Professional athletes
  • The list goes on...

You can clearly see, we have our work cut out for us. But, today, as I sit down to write this month’s newsletter, we are micro-focused on a group of some of the greatest pretenders: politicians!

Now let me hasten to say, the unborn child and women in crisis are valiantly represented today by many fine men and women in both Lansing and in Washington, D.C. But, at the same time, there’s curtain-pulling work needing to be done.

That’s exactly what we intend to do in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections.

Priority number one will be to prepare for the primary elections which take place on Tuesday, August 7. Then immediately, we will turn our attention to the general election, Tuesday, November 6. The list of offices up for election is long.

Please help us pull the curtain back! We cannot allow pro-abortion politicians to hide from the truth! In the days ahead, we must serve the unborn and our fellow citizens by thoroughly vetting these candidates for public office.

We need to do our best to explain where these candidates stand on the life and death issue of abortion. Then we need to pull the curtain back and invite concerned citizens from Marquette to Monroe to join us as we step into that ballot box!

Don’t underestimate the importance of your participation! Your gift of $10, $20, $25, $50 or even $100 represents an incredibly important investment in our curtain-pulling work! Go to www.RTL.org and give online right now.

Make no mistake about it, we will face strong opposition at every step of the way. You will hear political parties, political action committees and the candidates themselves say,“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”

Please join us right away with your most generous financial contribution possible and your continued prayer support. Thank you!

With deepest appreciation,
Barbara Listing, President Right to Life of Michigan

P.S. As far as the womb goes, “There’s no place like home!” (Number 11 out of the 100 greatest movie lines of all time.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Tough day for California & abortion industry in Supreme Court

Today the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in NIFLA v. Becerra. The Supreme Court is facing the question if the state of California can force prolife pregnancy centers to advertise free abortions.

The consensus opinion between court watchers seems to be that California had a horrible day in court. Even abortion supporters agree:

Certainly the law is problematic on 1st Amendment grounds; you can't force someone to speak. California and several justices appeared to try to liken these forced advertisements to informed consent before an abortion. There's a big difference however; California's law is not requiring centers to provide informed consent of ultrasound procedures. That would not be objectionable. Instead, it forces prolife pregnancy centers to deface their own advertisements and advertise in their clinics for a hotline for free, tax-funded abortions.

Also, giving people diapers and advice isn't like a surgical procedure. Diaper rash can be truly awful, but you don't need informed consent before purchasing Pampers, and informed consent for diapers would not include advertising for free abortion.

In the oral arguments the justices seemed to focus on how the law was specifically targeting prolife pregnancy centers, exempting almost every other entity that comes into contact with pregnant women. Even the very pro-abortion justices were troubled by the focused nature of the law.

It's obvious to everyone that the law targets prolife pregnancy centers. California legislators, the media, prolife and pro-abortion groups, even the justices themselves all knew the genesis of this law. In particular pro-abortion groups billed it as addressing the problem of "fake clinics." That's how the law was thought up, lobbied, written, sold, and defended.

California's Deputy Solicitor General tried to do the impossible, however, in arguing that the law was really about reaching low-income women with pertinent information. In an act of sheer mendacity, he even threw away a lifeline from Justice Elena Kagan when she suggested the law is about dealing with a specific problem of deceptive centers, and that maybe that's a legitimate purpose for the law being so specific about prolife pregnancy centers.

You can read the oral arguments for yourself, but this is essentially how that argument went:

California: We're targeting prolife pregnancy centers! They are fake clinics!
Supreme Court: So, you're targeting prolife pregnancy centers it seems?
California: No, of course not your honor. Who? Us?
Supreme Court: Hmm, are you sure about that?
California: Well, maybe we're targeting them just a tiny bit, but really it was just in the back of our mind what those filthy fake clinics were up to when we crafted our FACT Act to STOP THE LIES!!!

It's always difficult predicting what the U.S. Supreme Court will do, even when the oral arguments appear to be pretty decisive. We'll go out on a limb, however, and say prolifers should be optimistic that today was the beginning of the end of California's Reproductive FACT Act (they capitalized FACT, in case you miss that part).

Such a victory would be important to pregnancy centers in other states facing repeated attacks on their 1st Amendment rights by hostile pro-abortion legislators.

The Supreme Court's decision in this case is expected to be released around June.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Do we need abortion for Down syndrome?

Luke Pardue
Luke Pardue, human being
Have you ever met someone with a genetic disease? Chances are you have. There is also a chance that you have met someone who has a disease, but you have no idea that they do.

Down syndrome is one genetic disease that might be more apparent than some. As many know, there are several different tests that a mother can have while she is pregnant to find out if their baby will have this genetic disease.

Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus recently wrote an opinion piece about the topic. She notes several states are seeking to ban abortion on eugenic grounds. She wrote that if she had found out she was potentially having a baby with Down syndrome, abortion would have been her first pick.

She isn’t the first one to write about this issue, but her argument might be the most lifeless.

Since her March 9 article was published, many people (even members of Congress) have taken to news and social media to share their first-hand experience with Down syndrome, either through their own pregnancy or a person they know.

Down syndrome takes place in about 1 in every 700 births. Many of these women are told by their physicians or others that abortion is the best option for them. In her opinion piece, Ruth Marcus even wrote, "I’m going to be blunt here: That was not the child I wanted."

That's what the entire abortion debate boils down to, isn't it? This child is not what I want. This child is not good enough for me.

Just because these babies are a little different, or need a little extra care does not make them any less precious.

This latest opinion piece echoed the same sentiment of news out of Iceland that Down syndrome has been largely "eliminated" there. In reality, they didn’t eliminate Down syndrome, they just kill any baby unfortunate enough to have a positive text result before birth.

One big problem with prenatal testing is that it opens up the door to abortion for any characteristic. You can test for all sorts of things today, even physical features like hair or eye color. This problem is mentioned by Ruth Marcus, but waved away in her commitment to abortion-on-demand for any reason. What if Marcus' parents didn't like her hair or eye color? What if she had a genetic disorder herself?

Everyone should have a conversation with someone who lives with a genetic disease, especially someone who has a genetic disease that was detected in the womb, but is able to live a completely normal life. Maybe someone like Ruth Marcus will come to realize that we are more than our defects.

Many babies who have genetic diseases often aren’t even given the opportunity to live because they are merely classified as a "burden." Well, every person is a burden at multiple times in their life. Is society only meant for the fit, wealthy, and independent? Is eugenics worth embracing?

There are also cases where women are told that their child might have a genetic disease when they are born, but when they are born they have no such disease. Apparently the lives of these children with false positives are simply collateral damage in our quest to avoid having to deal with the disabled.

Our society is obsessed with avoiding discrimination in any form and overturning every bastion of privilege, but unfortunately our society seems only too willing to discriminate against people based on their number of chromosomes.

No, Ruth Marcus, we don't need to be able to get rid of people with Down syndrome. We need a society where every human life is valued for what they are, not what they can or can't do for you.


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Forcing the abortion agenda at the Supreme Court

Choice: the word is a rallying cry for the abortion industry, which holds personal autonomy as a supreme value in our culture. Even in their minds, however, some choices are more equal than others.

In two weeks the next major abortion case will come before the U.S. Supreme Court: NIFLA v. Becerra. On Tuesday, March 20, the Court will hear oral arguments about whether or not the state of California can force prolife pregnancy centers to advertise for free taxpayer-funded abortions.

California's 2015 Reproductive FACT Act law was specifically written to target prolife pregnancy centers; other medical and non-medical facilities that offer similar or related services are not required to give free advertising to abortion clinics.

The case should be an open and shut decision based on the First Amendment, but when it comes to abortion, throw out the law, the U.S. Constitution, and reality itself. The decision will hinge on the personal biases of the judges involved, in this case likely Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Learn more about the case here.

California is not alone. On Saturday the Washington State House approved a bill forcing any health insurance plan in the state that covers maternity care to also cover elective abortions.

Oregon took similar action in 2017, requiring insurance plans to provide free abortions.

While many politicians hold themselves out as "pro-choice" or "personally opposed to abortion," they are in reality pro-abortion. When they have the reigns of power, they move to force people to participate in abortions.

The abortion industry wants:
  • taxpayers to cover every abortion for free. They believe every person must help enable every abortion to take place.
  • every hospital, doctor, nurse, health insurance company, and everyone else connected to the health industry to either participate with abortions or help promote them. They believe no person of any belief ever has the right to conscientiously object.
  • to shutter every prolife pregnancy center. They don't want any person helping a woman through a crisis pregnancy unless they are willing to help her have an abortion, even as they accuse prolife people of refusing to help them.
  • to stop any protection for women facing abortion coercion. The abortion industry knows a significant number of women coming to them for abortions are not doing so by free will. They believe abortion coercion is not a problem and they refuse to do anything about it.
  • taxpayers to fund programs overseas that pressure prolife countries to change their laws, and to fund coercive population control programs in horribly repressive countries. They believe China's one-child policy was a good thing, because too many human beings is a bad thing.

This should be no surprise. Planned Parenthood's founder, Margaret Sanger, praised the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Buck v. Bell upholding forced sterilization programs. Today Planned Parenthood is forced to limply disavow Sanger's support for forced sterilization. They claim they care about liberty and the conscience of individuals.

The reality, however, is that the abortion industry and their supporters will not rest until there's not a single person left in the public square expressing the view that every human being has moral worth. They shrug their shoulders at the horrors of population control programs in places like China.

It's the prolife movement that truly values personal autonomy. We firmly believe in it, because it's part of our basic, unalienable human dignity. We know, however, that your autonomy ends when it directly impacts the life of another human being, because they have the same personal autonomy you have.

Personal autonomy is the reason abortion is wrong—a human being's life is taken from them simply because their existence is an inconvenience. If we can declare entire classes of innocent human beings unpersons, what's the point of personal autonomy after all?