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In Congress, Life Can Change in an Infant

Tony Perkins · Feb. 9, 2019

Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) has had a few days to think about her decision to become the new face of the Democrats’ infanticide agenda. At the time, she didn’t have much to say – because what can you say when your party wants to normalize killing a baby on its birth day? Now, a half-week into the backlash, she’s settled on this rationale. Taking an innocent life, she concluded, is a personal decision. A slogan that ought to play exceedingly well in 2020.

The choice to leave a perfectly healthy baby in a room of medical waste to die, she told a reporter, is up to “a woman and her doctor.” And “Congress [and] politicians should not get in between…” That argument might work for some when the mother is a handful of weeks along. But a newborn, outside the womb, who could fill the arms of millions of loving couples? All ethical issues aside (and there are plenty), the purpose of government – the Constitution tells us – is to “promote the general welfare.” Part of Congress’s job is passing laws that protect people from harm. If hurting a child is a “personal decision,” then why isn’t spousal abuse? Or drunk driving? Or anything that endangers the lives of others?

In a civilized society, there should brightly colored moral lines that neither party will cross. When Democrats did, it put every American on notice that there is no bridge too far, no policy too extreme. As Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebr.) said earlier this week, who would have thought that any leader – let alone the House speaker – would block legislation that makes it illegal to leave a newborn baby to die? “This is morally repugnant. Passing the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act shouldn’t be hard – there are only two sides to this debate: you’re defending babies or you’re defending infanticide.”

It should be, Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) argued, the “simplest vote you will ever take.” And yet, Democrats didn’t take it. In the face of overwhelming backlash, a party in full-blown damage control dug in even deeper – refusing not just Thursday, but Friday, to even bring the bill to the floor. For so many Americans, the footage of Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) asking to move the Born-Alive bill by unanimous consent was a powerful indication that the Left has no intention of listening to their constituents – or what’s left of their conscience.

“The request cannot be entertained,” the chair, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) said once, then again. Scalise asked for an exception. Denied. “The gentleman was not recognized for the unanimous consent,” Cuellar bellowed, despite supporting this same legislation last session. With dozens of his caucus’s pro-life women standing behind him, Scalise looked at the dais and said, “If this unanimous consent cannot be entertained, I would urge the speaker and the majority leader to schedule the Born-Alive bill immediately,” he fired back, “so that we can stand up and protect the sanctity of human life.” The room erupted into cheers from conservatives, who got on their feet in a raucous ovation.

Every day, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) warned, Republicans will demand a vote on this bill – no matter how many liberals stand in their way. “If the Democrats object,” he said, “we’ll ask again, and again, and again, because it is just right. It’s not a partisan issue – it’s about saving lives.” And the longer it takes, the steeper the price for Democrats. Already, Rasmussen polling warns, they’re in a political no-man’s-land with this radical agenda. Only 21 percent of Americans agree with them that abortion should even be legal in the last three months of pregnancy. Imagine how low that number would be if they’d asked about the Democrats’ other agenda: infanticide.

The Democrats are desperate for people to believe that this is a “fake issue.” It isn’t. The CDC put the number of reported babies who’d been born alive during an abortion (and left to die) at 143 between 2002-14. Even they warned that the estimate was almost certainly low. After all, former FRCer Arina Grossu pointed out, “They don’t reflect the facilities that didn’t choose to report information about babies born alive at their center after an attempted abortion. Kermit Gosnell is only one abortionist who was responsible for ‘hundreds of snippings’ of born-alive babies, yet he did not report them to the CDC. His numbers alone exceed the "definitive” numbers of the CDC collected data… How many other abortionists and facilities currently fail to report babies born alive in their facilities and get away with infanticide without any criminal penalties?“

It’s not a redundant issue. And it’s not an unnecessary one. This is a pivotal and devastating turning point for a party that thought it had a shot at beating Donald Trump in 2020. For the first time in history, American presidential candidates will have to defend a kind of violence that even their own base cannot stomach. "It is an albatross around Democrats’ neck,” CNBC pointed out. One that strongly suggests, an Obama strategist mourned, they “never learned the lesson of 2016.”

Originally published here.

SCOTUS Hasn’t Had the Final Stay in La.

In a country that’s already on edge over the issue of abortion, Thursday night’s news about Louisiana’s clinic law set off plenty of panic. Thanks to some misleading headlines, a lot of people were under the impression – wrongly – that the Supreme Court had struck down the state’s policy on hospital admitting privileges. They didn’t – but, as Chief Justice John Roberts made everyone quite aware, the law still has plenty of hurdles ahead.

Like other state measures regulating abortion, the liberal groups challenging Louisiana’s barely waited for the governor’s signature to dry before taking the case to court. In some instances, the law is put on hold – like this one has been since 2014. Louisiana leaders were hoping, once the suit wound its way through the legal process, that an appeals court would at least let the policy take effect while the judicial questions were sorted out. Not too long ago, the Fifth Circuit Court granted that wish, ruling 2-1 that the state could implement the law since they didn’t believe it placed an “undue burden” on women to travel to a doctor with hospital admitting privileges.

Realizing that the decision could temporarily shut down two of Louisiana’s three remaining abortion centers, extremists asked the Supreme Court to step in and delay the law. Last night, with the help of Justice Roberts and the four activist justices of the court, SCOTUS did. Obviously, the result was hugely disappointing to pro-lifers, who’d hoped to finally set the wheels in motion for the safety standards they’d passed almost five years ago. And it was all the more surprising that a George W. Bush appointee to the court joined with the liberal wing to stop them.

Like a lot of people, I hate to see the justices step in and stop any reasonable clinic regulations like this one. After all, this issue actually has nothing to do with abortion. It’s about women’s safety, which the other side claims to care about – but refuses to prove in any case involving medical standards. All Louisiana was trying to do – and I know, since I authored the first regulation of its kind as a state legislator in the 1990s – is ensure that if something goes wrong during the procedure (and all too often, it does), the doctor has an agreement with a local hospital (in this case, no more than 30 miles away).

This should be standard medical practice. After all, most doctors – whether they’re in a dental office or a surgical center – are required to have admitting privileges with a local hospital. But for some reason, when it comes to abortionists, a lot of states let them off the hook. That’s deeply concerning, given the complications that arise with a procedure as dangerous as abortion. As our new Top 10 Myths about Abortion publication points out, the risk of death by abortion increases 38 percent each week after the first two months. Regardless of how you feel about abortion, everyone should agree that women deserve to know their doctors have taken the necessary precautions.

Of course, as a lot of people point out, it’s difficult for abortionist to get these privileges. A lot of times, the Washington Post points out, “hospitals are reluctant to enter into such relationships with physicians who specialize in such a controversial procedure.” Others object on religious grounds or don’t want the liabilities associated with abortionists’ terrible track records. Or, they only admit in-state physicians – which throws a wrench into the most radical abortion wing, who flies abortionists in and out of the state, leaving women completely alone for any post-surgery issues.

In any case, it’s a common-sense law that the Left is eager to eliminate. The media’s celebration Thursday night, however, may have been premature. Five justices may have put the brakes on the policy now, but there’s no way of knowing how the court will rule if and when the case comes before them. Based on Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh’s dissents, there is good reason to think the president’s new justices would like to see the lawsuit resolved.

On one hand, it’s disappointing that Louisiana can’t move forward with a democratically-enacted policy. On the other, we support the rule of law. And short-circuiting the process wouldn’t help nearly as much as a full and complete vindication.

Originally published here.

Trump Adopts a Kids-First Mentality

If anyone’s looking forward to the weekend, it’s the White House speechwriting team. The last five days have been a whirlwind for the president – first at the State of the Union address, and then Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast. In both instances, he wowed – not just conservatives, but all Americans with his powerful defense of the values that lead to a great nation. Just when it didn’t seem possible that he could be more engaged in these core values issues, he proved that two years in the White House has only made him more passionate about life, religious liberty, faith, and American potential.

In the shadow of New York’s late-term abortion law, this White House has hit back – pushing and fighting for the dignity of every person. That started at the State of the Union with, arguably, the most pro-life defense of the unborn any president has ever given and carried right on through Thursday’s breakfast. But it wasn’t just children in the womb that President Trump championed. In a room of more than 3,000 political and religious leaders, he made a point of driving a stake into the ground on adoption too.

At one point in the breakfast, he pointed to a table with Melissa and Chad Buck from Holt, Michigan. He explained that in 2009, when they decided to adopt. “Soon,” the president explained, “they got a call about three young siblings in a terribly abusive home. Melissa and Chad had only a few minutes to decide, and they said yes to all three. Today, the Bucks have five beautiful adopted children. As Melissa has said, they are the sweetest, most lovable children. They have the most unique gifts. Two of them have joined us for this breakfast, 10-year-old Max and nine-year-old Liz. To Max, Liz and the entire Buck family, thank you for inspiring us all.”

But that’s not where the story ended. President Trump took the opportunity to hit back at anyone working to silence or shut down faith-based adoption groups. When the applause died down from the introduction, he made a point of saying that “Unfortunately, the Michigan adoption charity that brought the Buck family together is now defending itself in court for living by the values of its Catholic faith.” He paused. “We will always protect our country’s long and proud tradition of faith-based adoption. My administration,” he said, “is working to ensure that faith-based adoption agencies are able to help vulnerable children find their forever families while following their deeply-held beliefs.”

The audience – in the room and watching by TV – couldn’t help but cheer. For years, groups like FRC have been fighting to protect organizations like this one on a national scale. Last week, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wy.) and Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) took a big step in that direction, introducing a House and Senate version of the Child Welfare Inclusion Act that would stop LGBT activists from forcing foster and adoption groups to either surrender their beliefs on marriage or close.

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), the House’s ranking member on Ways & Means, has promised that he and other conservatives are “committed to fighting for every foster and adoptive child and those parents seeking to grow or start a family.” And Americans will be relieved to know that when they do, this president has their back.

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.

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