While left-leaning media outlets warn of dire consequences for the pro-abortion cause should Brett Kavanaugh become the Supreme Court’s newest member, gubernatorial and Congressional candidates across the country promise to implement new protections for unborn children.
Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson hopes to enact a “heartbeat bill” if he’s elected. The measure would follow Iowa’s blueprint by prohibiting doctors from aborting a fetus which has a measurable heartbeat. “[Iowa’s law] said if you can hear and feel a heartbeat, then that is a living child, and you shouldn’t be able to abort it,” Johnson told Minnesota Public Radio.
Meanwhile, Illinois Congressman Peter Roskam seeks to base his re-election bid on a strongly pro-life platform. In a televised debate with his Democratic opponent Sean Casten, Roksam stated that he is “not going to be defensive about being pro-life” and denounced Casten’s support for taxpayer-funded abortions.
When Casten attempted to characterize abortion as simply “a medical procedure like a gall bladder surgery,” Roskam pointed out the obvious: “Abortion is not gall bladder surgery.”
Finally, both Republican incumbent Mia Love and Democratic candidate Ben McAdams have touted their pro-life values in Utah’s most hotly contested congressional race. Love deemed herself “one of the main spokespersons here in Congress on the pro-life issue,” and highlighted her consistent pro-life track record. “[My] stance has always been the same. No abortions; to protect life at all stages of development, except in cases of rape, incest or life of a mother.”
For his part, McAdams stated he has “deeply held beliefs about the sanctity of life and what we can do to promote the sanctity of life. . . . I think abortion is far too common in America, and we should be taking steps to reduce abortion.”
Thus, fears regarding abortion access may dominate headlines–but pro-life voters should consider the positive implications of widespread state and federal support for abortion restrictions. Should pro-life campaign promises come to fruition, more unborn children will have a chance at life.
In 2017, former New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman filed a lawsuit against pro-life activists who demonstrated outside Choices Women’s Medical Center, an abortion clinic, in New York’s Queens district.
According to Schneiderman’s lawsuit, the protesters violated women’s access to “reproductive health care” by obstructing the entrance to the abortion clinic and harassing those who attempted to enter. The suit therefore requested a federal judge to halt the pro-life demonstrations via a preliminary injunction, and to shield the clinic with a 16-foot buffer zone.
In a victory for the pro-life movement, however, Judge Carol Bagley Amon ruled on July 20th that Schneiderman “failed to show” that the pro-life activists “had the intent to harass, annoy, or alarm” anyone who entered the abortion clinic.
“The interactions on the sidewalk outside Choices [Women’s Medical Center] were generally quite short, and there is no credible evidence that any protester disregarded repeated requests to be left alone over an extended period or changed his or her tone or message in response to requests to be left alone in a way that suggested an intent to harass, annoy, or alarm,” Judge Amon stated in a written opinion.
The decision drew predictable criticism from the National Organization for Women (NOW), a pro-abortion group. “What’s happening now is crossing a line,” claimed Jean Bucaria, deputy director for NOW’s New York City chapter. “You shouldn’t have to be screamed at, yelled at or harassed to get to a doctor.”
Despite Judge Amon’s ruling to the contrary, Queens councilman Rory Lancman echoed Bucaria, arguing that the pro-life activists’ demonstrations constituted an attempt to shame and intimidate women seeking abortion: “What’s the value of having abortion rights if you can’t get to the clinic without being harassed or humiliated?”
Amy Spitalnick, a spokeswoman for New York’s current attorney general, similarly advanced the narrative that the pro-life demonstrations amounted to “harassment.”
Nevertheless, Judge Amon found that witness testimony against the protesters overstated the “impropriety of the [protesters’] conduct” and did not consider “mitigating circumstances.” Amon opted to rely most heavily on security camera footage from the abortion clinic, rather than evidence from covert body cameras and microphones carried by pro-abortion operatives who attempted to enter the clinic.
Stephen Crampton of the Thomas More Society, a Chicago law firm which regularly represents pro-life groups, recognizes that Schneiderman’s lawsuit stemmed from partisan motives rather than a concern for fairness. “In our view the attorney general should have never brought this case,” Crampton stated. “This was more about politics than justice.”
Indeed, justice demands that the unborn receive their right to equal protection under the Constitution. To that end, New York’s pro-life protesters acted nobly. Judge Amon’s ruling confirms that they did so within the bounds of the law.
Planned Parenthood’s regional Pacific Northwest chapter has filed a lawsuit against the state of Idaho in an effort to undermine transparency on abortion.
The suit concerns a new Idaho regulation requiring doctors to report complications of abortion procedures, such as bleeding or allergic reactions to anesthesia. Abortion providers must also document their clients’ previous number of abortions and some personal characteristics like age and race.
Planned Parenthood has asked Idaho’s U.S. District Court to void the regulation. The abortion giant argues that Idaho’s law lacks safeguards to protect patients’ personal information from the public eye, and unjustly targets abortion providers while exempting other doctors from the reporting requirement. Further, Planned Parenthood complains that the statute is poorly worded, which could spell legal trouble for abortion providers who incorrectly report complications due to the law’s imprecise verbiage.
Ultimately, however, pro-abortion activists fret that Idaho’s regulation demonizes individuals seeking “abortion care.” “This is another attempt by Idaho politicians to shame and stigmatize [abortion clients] and to spread the myth that abortion is dangerous,” said Planned Parenthood lawyer Hannah Brass Greer.
Despite Planned Parenthood’s efforts to erode abortion providers’ accountability to elected public officials, at least 20 states have passed laws requiring doctors to report patient outcomes after abortion procedures. Pro-life activists should welcome these efforts to increase transparency on abortion practices. The well-being of both unborn children and their mothers is at stake.
Columnist Jason L. Riley describes abortion’s “outsize toll” on the African American population in an opinion piece published by the Wall Street Journal earlier this month.
Riley hopes to reshape the conversation on abortion sparked by President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee: “As Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination tees up another national debate about reproductive rights, is it too much to ask that abortion’s impact on the black population be part of the discussion?” Riley asks.
Riley first documents blacks’ evolving views on abortion since Roe v. Wade in 1973. Prior to Roe, African Americans viewed abortion less favorably than their white counterparts, according to Riley. Fannie Lou Hamer and Whitney Young, both prominent civil rights activists, regarded the practice as genocidal. Jesse Jackson, meanwhile, deemed abortion “murder” and stated that blacks “used to look for death from the man in the blue coat and now it comes in a white coat.”
Now, however, African Americans espouse radically different views on abortion: modern black civil rights leaders routinely partner with abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood, Riley notes. A telling Pew Research report conducted in 2016 reveals that 62% of black Americans believe abortion should be legal “in all or most cases,” compared with 58% of whites and 50% of Hispanics.
Pro-abortion attitudes have taken a devastating toll on America’s black population. Riley points to New York City, where every year the number of aborted black babies outweigh the number of black children who survive pregnancy. As a result, ugly inequalities mark comparisons between black and white abortion rates: black mothers in New York terminate pregnancy at three times the rate of white mothers, while births heavily outnumber abortions among whites and other non-black ethnic groups.
Similar disparities exist in other regions of the United States: Riley cites a 2014 study which found that nation-wide, black women received 36% of all abortions, even though they account for just 13% of America’s female population. Higher abortion rates among black women persist even after controlling for income.
Riley concludes with a sobering assessment of abortion’s impact on black Americans:
“When you combine the amount of black violent behavior directed at other blacks with the number of pregnancies terminated by black women, the rate at which blacks willingly end the lives of one another is chilling. . . . Racial disparities in abortion rates are no less disturbing than racial disparities in income, crime, poverty and school suspensions. Why are people who want to lecture the rest of us about the value of black lives pretending otherwise?”
Email Jason L. Riley at Jason.Riley@wsj.com or reach him via Twitter at @jasonrileywsj
In May, Iowa’s legislature enacted a “fetal heartbeat” abortion ban which prohibits doctors from terminating fetuses with a detectable heartbeat. A Michigan-based pro-life organization sees that law as an important starting point for further pro-life legislation. The group seeks to make Iowa’s abortion ban even more comprehensive by extending legal protection to unborn children conceived in rape or incest.
The group, “Save the 1,” has a special interest in protecting children conceived in rape, incest, and sex trafficking: All of the organization’s members either became pregnant or were themselves born under such circumstances.
Jennifer Christie, a board member for Save the 1, feels children conceived through mal-intent deserve just as many protections as other unborn children. “I have a 3-year-old son and he plays with Legos and he pronounces hospital ‘hostable’ and he sleeps with a bunny slipper and he was conceived in rape,” she told the Des Moines Register. “And his heart beats like everybody else’s.”
Earlier this week, Save the 1 filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit brought by Planned Parenthood against the state of Iowa. The lawsuit disputes Iowa’s new heartbeat statute on the grounds that the law violates women’s rights to due process, liberty, safety, happiness, and equal protection under the law.
Save the 1, meanwhile, argues that the same fundamental rights listed by Planned Parenthood also extend to unborn children conceived in rape or incest. Thus, Iowa’s heartbeat legislation should not be repealed, but rather expanded to increase protections for the unborn.
Attorney Rebecca Kiessling, acting president and founder of Save the 1, clarified her organization’s stance on the heartbeat measure. “We support the heartbeat bill. We want to see the legislation upheld,” Kiessling stated but added that she desires the measure to become more comprehensive in the future.
South Carolina governor Henry McMaster has reduced state funding for abortion providers, reports the Los Angeles Times. McMaster vetoed a $16 million budget item which would have directed funds to Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics.
“I have stated many times I am opposed to what Planned Parenthood is doing. And the veto I have is the most direct way,” McMaster told reporters during a formal news conference.
McMaster’s veto fulfills a campaign promise to pro-life voters who seek to decrease state funding for South Carolina abortion mills. Planned Parenthood denounced McMaster’s political integrity as a “stunt,” arguing that his veto will do little to prevent abortions in the state.
“It’s clear that the governor is singularly focused on his election bid in November and that is at the expense of South Carolina women. The veto does not ‘defund’ Planned Parenthood, but it will ensure that South Carolinians who use Medicaid as their primary insurance will be unable to access affordable, basic healthcare,” said Vicki Ringer, a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman.
In fact, McMaster’s veto removed less than half of the proposed $34 million allocation for “Family Planning” in the legislature’s budget, leaving in place sufficient funding for Medicaid patients who benefit from South Carolina’s prescription drug program.
Despite McMaster’s inclusive concern for both unborn children and Medicaid recipients, however, South Carolina lawmakers remain determined to oppose his pro-life agenda. “You are voting for a budget with an illusion at the expense of a reality,” Rep. Kirkman Finlay (R-Columbia) told colleagues during legislative debates in June.