Last week was pretty much business as usual for the pro-life movement in Washington . . . as the country heads into what may be the most important presidential election in our lifetimes.
On Monday, the Supreme Court issued a non-decision in the Little Sisters of the Poor case (Zubik v. Burwell). The vote was 8-0 to let the lower court decisions stand. This gives protection for the time being to the Little Sisters (and other nonprofits and colleges brave enough to join the lawsuits) and protects them from complicity in the federal requirement to provide abortion-causing drugs and devices to their employees.
The non-decision did not settle anything permanently. If the next president succeeds in getting a pro-abort justice on the Supreme Court the HHS Mandate will no doubt be revisited by the Court—and the outcome will not be so favorable.
Bottom line: Who gets elected president will determine the fate of conscientious objection protection regarding federal abortion mandates.
On Tuesday, the House Appropriations Committee considered the Legislative Branch Appropriations bill, which funds the running of Congress.
On behalf of the pro-choice lobby, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN)—between 1999 and 2016 she received $135,984 in donations from EMILY’s List—offered an amendment to shut down the Select Panel on Infant Lives. Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), who serves both on the Appropriations Committee and the Select Panel, led the opposition, reporting that fetal-tissue traffickers have failed to comply with Congressional requests for information.
The amendment failed by a vote of 20-28, cast along party lines, except for Rep. David Jolly (R-FL), who voted with the pro-choice side. Jolly is running for the Republican nomination to replace Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate.
A similar amendment is part of the Senate-passed version of this appropriation bill, so the issue will be contested again soon. In any case, the Select Panel sunsets at the end of this session of Congress.
Bottom line: Who gets elected to the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives in November will determine whether Planned Parenthood’s baby-body-parts traffic will ever be fully investigated—or prosecuted.
On Wednesday, the empire struck back. Planned Parenthood launched a $30 million campaign to elect its friends to the Senate and Congress. The announcement came as part of a massive “Power of Pink” grassroots training session: 1,000 PP volunteers were instructed to focus on “down ballot” races, that is, state legislative races.
It’s at the state level that PP’s agenda of sex education, legal abortion, and reproductive health care is losing ground as initiatives succeed in state after state to protect women’s health from substandard abortion clinics. As these public health measures have been implemented, PP has seen shrinking profit margins; so like any other business, it is investing heavily to support candidates who will keep its future secure. But nobody knows how many millions of dollars PP is spending at the state level.
At the federal level, PP will focus its efforts in Nevada, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Hampshire, Florida, and Colorado. Three or four of those states are still home to lots of Reagan Democrat voters, aka “Catholic sensibility” voters—people who may vote pro-life if they know who the pro-life candidates are.
Bottom line: The pro-abortion forces are not counting on their existing allies (read: the Democrat Party) to turn out their voters or to train their volunteers. Question: How many pro-life volunteers are being trained right now to identify and turn out voters across the country?
Also on Wednesday, Donald Trump, putative Republican presidential candidate, released his list of possible Supreme Court nominees. The purpose of the list was to establish Trump’s bona fides with pro-lifers and conservatives. It was successful: The pro-life response was positive.
On Thursday, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton reminded the world of her foreign policy priority: gender equality, including sexual and reproductive health rights.
There wasn’t much American press about her speech (by video) at the Women Deliver international conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. But then, Hillary’s call to “break down the barriers” is hardly newsworthy—just another restatement of code words in the propaganda battles of the day.
Women Deliver is the “leading global advocate for girls’ and women’s health, rights, and wellbeing,” thanks in part to an $80 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which supplements support the group receives from various governments. Another featured speaker in Denmark was Frances Kissling.
After 25 years of sowing dissension as president of Catholics for a Free Choice, Kissling, the founding president of the National Abortion Federation, became professor of reproductive health ethics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Bioethics. She’s also president of the Center for Health Ethics and Social Policy. (See how our enemies reward their friends! Why didn’t some Catholic college in a similar fashion reward Richard Doerflinger for his years of leading the pro-life secretariat of the USCCB?)
Bottom line: Many pro-lifers are debating with their consciences about whether they can cast a ballot for a candidate who is less than they would wish for—even one who is ostensibly pro-life. They’re wondering whether the devil they know is better than the devil they don’t know. At least with Hillary Clinton, there are no doubts about where she stands on life issues.
Just an ordinary week as efforts to protect innocent human life head to November . . . twenty-two more weeks to go.