Americans United for Life

Virginia Recognized For Pro-Life Laws: Ranked No.10 In Country, Named "All Star" State

Americans United for Life, one of the nation's most preeminent pro-life organizations,  today announced that it has ranked Virginia as the 10th most pro-life state in the nation, and recognized it as an "All Star" state for passage of important pro-life legislation. Family Foundation of Virginia President Victoria Cobb said:

A long time goal of The Family Foundation is to make Virginia the most pro-life state in the nation. We are honored by AUL's recognition, but the thanks goes to voters who continue to send pro-life legislators to Richmond, and pro-life elected officials who stand for the unborn despite hysterical and vulgar attacks from abortion industry supporters. We have advanced the cause of life in recent years, but we have a long way to go. We will continue to fight for the pro-life cause until Virginia is safe for every unborn child.

According to AUL, Virginia was recognized as an "All Star" state because:

Virginia enacted an ultrasound requirement that is based, in substantial part, on AUL’s model language. Recognizing that the performance of an ultrasound is the "gold standard" of patient care, the measure requires the performance of an ultrasound before an abortion and that the woman be given an opportunity to view the ultrasound and have it explained to her.

In 2012, with the approval of comprehensive health and safety standards for abortion clinics, Virginia continued progress toward protecting women from the substandard conditions and practices that are all-too-common at some abortion clinics. The state Board of Health, with input and support from AUL, had been working on the standards since 2011, when the enabling legislation was signed into law by Governor Bob McDonnell.

Finally, with the assistance of AUL, Virginia enacted a measure permitting a family to bring a wrongful death (civil) action in the death of an unborn child. Virginia joined 39 other states that already permitted such lawsuits.

Today, the Senate Education and Health Committee rejected attempts to repeal both the abortion center safety and ultrasound law, and a Health, Welfare and Institutions subcommittee defeated a repeal of abortion center safety. Cobb said:

Protecting these important women's rights laws and ensuring the health and safety of Virginians should be paramount. We applaud the majority of the Senate Education and Health committee and the members of the HWI subcommittee that, today, rejected bills that would have reversed these advances.

The full text of AUL's announcement can be found here.

Attacks Continue On Pregnancy Care Centers

Thursday morning the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in which Virginia resides, heard oral arguments in two cases from Maryland concerning the unnecessary and unconstitutional regulation of pregnancy care centers. The cases stem from regulations passed in Baltimore and Montgomery County, that require PCCs to post signs and have personnel tell clients that they don't perform abortions, among other things. Essentially, it is the government compelling people in their private conversations to say specific things, a blatant violation of first amendment freedoms, which is likely why the PCCs have won in every court case so far, including an earlier 2-1 ruling by a three-judge panel in the Fourth Circuit. Attorneys for the PCCs said this would be a first of its kind violation of free speech if it's upheld in the courts.

But as we know in Virginia, the abortion industry's visceral hatred for anything that competes with its bottom line or offers an alternative to abortion is met with harassment and hostility. You may recall the effort by the abortion industry to regulate PCCs in Virginia just two years ago; an effort based on an "investigative report" by NARAL that was so void of fact or academic rigor that, after two hours of testimony by PCC leaders and clients, the patron of the legislation that would have regulated PCCs, Dr. Ralph Northam, a Democrat senator from Norfolk now running for lieutenant governor, asked that the subcommittee to defeat his own bill! How anyone can take NARAL's word on anything after that day is simply mind boggling.

But truth, facts and logic are no obstacle for the abortion industry. The mainstream media is so sympathetic to its cause that it can't bring itself to report about the bloody exam tables at abortion centers but is more than happy to complain that PCCs don't offer abortion. Consequently, these battles for life are bound to continue. In fact, PCCs are not health care facilities at all and don't do medical procedures, but offer counseling and support services, and referrals to doctors and medical facilities.

The cases should be decided by the court in the next eight to 10 weeks. The cases were heard "en banc," or by the full court, and those present didn't see any clear indication from all the judges on which way the case will go.

After the hearing, we were thrilled to co-host a brief luncheon with Americans United for Life for several of the attorneys involved in the case and pro-life advocates. As always, we are so very grateful to AUL and the Alliance Defending Freedom for their advocacy on behalf of life, and all their great work. We are honored to have such Godly and capable partners in this work!

Rallies For Religious Freedom This Weekend!

This Saturday, October 20, tens of thousands of faithful citizens will gather in prayer and public witness in cities and towns all across the United States to oppose the HHS Mandate and stand up in defense of our religious freedoms and First Amendment rights. There are 130 rallies scheduled nationwide, including three in Virginia. Please plan to join these rallies and say no to the new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Mandate, which forces employers — including religious charities — to provide free contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs in their health plans or face massive fines.

Initially, this mandate has had the greatest impact on the Catholic Church. However, if it is not reversed, it has the potential to restrict the freedom of religion and conscience of every faith in the entire nation. It is important that those of us who cherish religious liberty, as handed down to us from our forefathers in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, let our voices be heard. We are joining with dozens of state and national pro-life organizations as part of the Stand Up For Religious Freedom Coalition in support of this effort, including Alliance Defending Freedom, Concerned Women for America, Americans United for Life, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and dozens more.

Don't fall for the opposition lie that this is about "birth control access" and "women's health." This simply is an effort by the federal government to force religious institutions and organizations to violate their faith principles and pay for abortion inducing drugs and sterilizations for girls as young as 12 years old. This is about the Left's alleged "wall of separation of church and state" being systematically violated by the state. It's about government control over how we practice our faith and forcing government dictates on it directly contrary to our beliefs. It is about government secularism imposing itself into religion in order to neuter it and its impact on society — a watered down faith is meant to drive people out of the pews and into government care, control and dependency.

All three rallies scheduled in Virginia Saturday are from noon until 1:00 p.m. If you are within driving distance of one of these events, please make every effort to attend.

We also have volunteers at each event with our 2012 Presidential and U.S. Senate Voter Guides, as well as Ballot Question 1, the proposed Virginia Constitutional Amendment to limit the government's power of eminent domain (vote yes). If you would like to pick up copies to distribute them to your church or civic groups, contact these volunteers ahead of time or while you are at the rallies. (You can also read, download and/or electronically share the voter guide at vavotes.net.) The names of our volunteers and their contact information are below, along with the rally details and event coordinator contact information.

Charlottesville

Jackson Park, Jefferson and 4th Street (map)

E-Mail the Charlottesville Rally Captain

TFF Charlottesville Volunteer: Chardon Jenks (434-977-1871) ecjenks@gmail.com

 

Lexington (Sponsored by Knights of Columbus Council 11557)

Hopkins Green, Jefferson and Nelson Streets (map)

E-Mail the Lexington Rally Captain

TFF Lexington Volunteer: Scott Sayre (540-463-2743) scott@sayreinc.com

 

Norfolk

Norfolk Federal Building, 200 Granby Street

Email the Norfolk Rally Captain

TFF Norfolk Volunteer: Daniel Heffington (515-257-3085) also True the Vote Volunteer Coordinator for Virginia)

Pro-Lifers Rally, Board Adopts Regulations!

The Virginia Board of Health Friday voted to adopt strong abortion center safety standards after a long day of competing protests, debate and tension. An estimated crowd of 500 people lined up at the building where the board met, evenly divided between pro-life Virginians and abortion supporters. It was a stark contrast to the June meeting where more than 100 abortion protestors dominated the day and where the board voted to water down abortion center regulations to exempt existing centers from important building standards required by the Code of Virginia. Because Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli refused to certify those regulations — they didn't meet the demands of the code — the board had to revisit the issue Friday. For weeks both pro-life and pro-abortion groups encouraged people to attend, and hundreds did, in addition to several dozen uniformed and plain clothes police who where there to ensure security.

The day began early, as Family Foundation staff began lining up outside the building at 6 a.m. to ensure we would be in the meeting room to testify. Only 100 seats were available in the room, and only those in the room could testify. After going through security checks, including metal detectors, we settled into the room for a long day.

The difference between this meeting and the one in June was remarkable. That day, the room was dominated by radical pro-abortion protestors and, quite honestly, it was a very spiritually dark day. Friday was radically different. In the room were dozens of pro-life supporters, including several pastors. Those who attended both meetings could feel the difference in the atmosphere. A few pastors who attended our Pastors Summit in Richmond Thursday were there, as were several from the Virginia Assembly of Independent Baptists.

We could feel the prayers of pastors and pro-life Virginians! I cannot express enough of my gratitude for all of you who attended today's meeting, or who prayed for us. The support was incredible, and I have no doubt it made an impact on the results. During a year where elected officials and others have been viciously attacked by the abortion industry and media, and abortion supporters have mobilized in large numbers, pro-life Virginians needed to show up and prove again that we are the dominant voice in Virginia . . . and show up we did!

Public testimony was extended to one hour (normally 20 minutes) in an attempt to accommodate the crowd. In my testimony, I told the board that after the uncovering last week of more than 80 health and safety violations in nine abortion centers, the industry, which has claimed for years to be safe and in no need of oversight, was not in a position to be trusted and therefore should have no say in how it is regulated. Several other pro-life organizations also testified including the Virginia Catholic Conference, Virginia Assembly of Independent Baptists, Family Research Council and the Rutherford Institute. Others attending included the Virginia Society for Human Life, Students For LifeAmericans United for Life and Concerned Women for America Virginia. Our special thanks to Alliance Defending Freedom, which sent a letter to members earlier this week to clarify the board's legal authority and to other groups who encouraged the turnout.

In addition, Delegate Kathy Byron (R-22, Lynchburg) testified that the General Assembly did not intend to exempt any abortion centers. In 2011, Delegate Byron amended SB 924 to include abortion centers. She said that during the legislative debate, the intent was clear and that the bill was passed by chambers controlled by different parties. Her testimony was crucial to clarify some misunderstanding on the board over whether the General Assembly wanted existing abortion centers to be "grandfathered in" without the building standards. We so appreciate Delegate Byron's willingness to once again stand up for life in a hostile atmosphere, as she did time and again during this year's General Assembly.

Representatives of the abortion industry continued their pattern of deception. Incredibly, one person testified that the industry “supports regulations” but just opposed the building standards. The same individual has testified several years in a row at the General Assembly against bills that would have required only licensing, inspections and emergency equipment!

They also attacked The Family Foundation's release this week of inspection records showing widespread health and safety violations, saying that the centers inspected had received their licenses anyway and that the violations were minor. We don't consider a bloody patient table minor. We don't consider a freezer two-thirds filled with fetal remains and blood minor! But they do. The fact is, however, that those centers were not licensed until after they submitted plans to correct the violations and those centers are now subject to unannounced inspections. For years, they fought against the very inspections they now say they support and that uncovered the problems listed.

But the primary target of the abortion industry was, and still is, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. They continued their assault because he made the decision to uphold the law of Virginia and not certify the regulations in June. Of course, I'm sure they'd rather pick on the AG and cry "politics" instead of having to answer to questions about bloody patient tables, frozen fetal remains and untrained staffs.

The board, however, was not fooled. By an overwhelming vote of 13-2 it rejected several more attempts by one board member to water down the regulations and then voted to adopt the standards by the same vote.

While a major victory, the process to finalize these standards is not finished. They must go through several more steps in the next several months, including two lengthy public comment periods. It is crucial that pro-life Virginians make their voice heard once again during that time. If you spoke or wanted to speak Friday, please write your comments down and hold on to them for submission during the public comment period. We will provide ample notice.

Thanks again to everyone who attended Friday's meeting, testified or prayed. A special thank you to those post-abortive women who attended, some speaking publicly for the first time. We are so grateful and encouraged by your support, and I know the Board of Health members were as well. To get a feel for what it was like at the meeting, please click here for a series of photos.

Pro-life Virginians were not out manned at the crucial Board of Health Meeting Friday. For more scenes from the historic vote, click here or the image above.

General Assembly Issue Two: Eliminate ObamaCare Induced Abortion Funding In Virginia

This is the second in a series about key issues facing this year’s General Assembly. Issue One, Life Defined And Protected, was posted yesterday.

Last General Assembly session, just before Congressional liberals rammed through their government-run health insurance overhaul (see ObamaCare411.com), Virginia responded to the mood of its citizens and passed the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act. Once the federal health insurance changes were signed into law, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli quickly filed suit in federal court to defend (see video) the constitutional rights of Virginians

Legal challenges aside, ObamaCare is scheduled to be fully implemented by 2014. While we hope Virginia's lawsuit will succeed, no one can, with anything close to certainty, count on the courts to invalidate the law or on Congress to repeal it (see 21StateLawSuit.com). 

We especially are concerned about the provisions of the law that allow for abortion funding. That's because ObamaCare puts states in charge of their own health insurance exchanges for individuals and small businesses. If enacted today, Virginia could potentially include, in its exchange, plans that cover elective abortion. In fact, Pennsylvania and Maryland already have moved to include such plans (see CNSNews.com). Without intervention by the General Assembly, pro-family citizens opposed to abortion would be mandated to fund this unethical destruction of human life. Virginians may be divided on the issue of abortion, but a vast majority are opposed to publicly funding it with their hard earned tax dollars.

However, there is a clause in the federal health insurance plan that allows states to opt out of abortion funding in their state run exchanges. Such action also fulfills the executive order signed by President Obama that theoretically protects Americans from funding abortion through the health insurance scheme. According to Americans United for Life, a total of 25 states, including Virginia, have either opted out or have plans to introduce legislation with the hope of preventing health insurance companies in the exchange from providing abortion coverage. 

Toward that end, The Family Foundation is supporting legislation introduced this session by Senator Mark Obenshain (R-26, Harrisonburg) and Delegate Ben Cline (R-24, Rockbridge) that would prevent insurance plans in the Virginia exchange from providing abortion coverage. Especially in today's financial climate, it is unconscionable to mandate Virginians to underwrite a publicly unsupported issue resulting in the destruction of human life.

Merry Christmas From Planned Parenthood!

It's the Christmas season. A time for merriment, joy, sharing and generosity, and, most importantly, celebrating a birth — the birth of the Word made flesh, the Christ child, the King of Kings. Of course, there is the other side of the Biblical story, that of King Herod murdering every boy of two years or younger. That's where Planned Parenthood comes in. This year it has reprised its sick fundraising ploy of selling gift certificate "stocking stuffers" as presents that can be used for, among other things, abortion services. It started this at least two years ago in certain localities as we reported at the time (see commentary and video). No matter how old, it is no less appalling. Now, it has taken it nationwide to, as Americans United for Lifesays, "evangelize for the unholy gospel of taxpayer-funded abortion." It calls the campaign, "Choice on Earth," a despicable twist on what people pray for this time of year — Peace on Earth. Planned Parenthood has no shame in flaunting a horrendous act in the face of a Holy time of year.

According to Dr. Charmaine Yoest of AUL (see FoxNews.com), Planned Parenthood is seeking more than just a few sales to supporters or, worse yet, unsuspecting women, to fill its coffers. It has a bigger fish in mind:

Clearly, Planned Parenthood isn't interested in peace. They are interested in only one thing: using your tax dollars to expand access to abortion services. Now, more than ever, it's time to cut off their financial lifeline.

Here are the facts: Planned Parenthood receives over $350 million of your tax dollars each year. ... Indeed, tax dollars are the lifeblood of the Planned Parenthood empire.

The one bright spot is that a new Congress takes office in about a week. It's time the federal government stops funding Planned Parenthood. The nation's largest abortion provider may claim it needs the money, but just because no one wants its sick gift certificates is no reason for Congress to take Americans' hard-earned earnings and "spread it around" to nefarious groups such as Planned Parenthood.

Abortion Industry Opposes Safety, Loses Case It Brought Against Its Own Standards

Last week, in a victory for women's rights, abortion center regulations that were passed into law more than a decade ago finally went into effect in Arizona when a court there ruled the law constitutional (see Americans United for Life blog). It took that long because of an irony only the abortion industry could engineer: Pro-abortion groups sued Arizona to stop the law — even though the language in the law used Planned Parenthood's and the National Abortion Federation's own suggested safety regulations! The same people who claimed they had standards of care didn't want to be held accountable to their very own standards! For several years The Family Foundation has advocated for common sense standards of care for women who go to abortion centers in Virginia. These facilities essentially are unregulated, viewed as doctor's offices by state regulators, instead of as the outpatient surgery centers they are.

Of course, the abortion industry, led by the $1 billion behemoth Planned Parenthood, NARAL and the ACLU have  fought desperately against even the simplest of regulations, such as licensing and inspections of abortion centers, and a requirement to have resuscitation equipment on premises.

In recent years, opponents to safety have championed the so-called NAF standards as proof that no state regulations are needed. A thorough review of NAF's "standards," however, reveals that they are even less protective than the one requirement we do have in Virginia — that a doctor must perform the abortion procedure. Incredibly, NAF would allow nurses to perform this invasive surgery. (With fewer doctors willing to perform abortions, the industry is getting desperate.)

Arizona's new regulations include a proposal that The Family Foundation  also has supported, that doctors performing abortions have admitting privileges at an accredited, local hospital. Decent medical care requires that a doctor performing a surgery should have some responsibility for follow up care should something go wrong. This is the very least we can do to ensure women’s health. Again, this proposal has not seen support in the General Assembly.

The Arizona regulations were instituted after a woman died at an abortion center due to substandard care — the doctor involved was convicted of manslaughter in the case! Sadly, the death of a woman in Virginia a few years ago resulted in no outrage from women's advocates in the General Assembly. In fact, it met with a shrug and "no" votes against better standards. Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-35, Springfield) shouted "That [death] has been beaten to death here" during debate over abortion center safety in one Senate Education and Health Committee meeting.

However, there may be hope in the future, given a recent legal opinion issued by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. The Family Foundation once again will support abortion center safety standards in the upcoming 2011 General Assembly session. We owe it to the women of Virginia.

Tell Warner And Webb To Vote "No" On Kagan

Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved Elena Kagan for a place on the U.S. Supreme Court. We urge Virginians to contact U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb now and urge them to vote "No" on her confirmation. A few days ago, The Family Foundation signed on to a letter written by Americans United for Life that will be sent to senators urging them to conduct a thorough investigation regarding Ms. Kagan prior to voting on her confirmation.

While there are several reservations about her qualifications for the court, it is her judicial philosophy that gives us the most pause. At 50 years old (16 years younger than the average age of the current Supreme Court justices), Ms. Kagan's impact, if confirmed, will last much longer than most justices. Therefore, it is even more critical that her judicial philosophy is properly vetted, her integrity examined, and her commitment to respect the constitution and the laws of our nation determined. Failure to uphold the law is refusing the people their freedom to self-govern.

Ms. Kagan has done precisely that. As Solicitor General, she failed to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in Gill v. Office of Personnel Management (see PointofLaw.com). The Department of Justice, along with Ms. Kagan, stated that it does "not believe that DOMA is rationally related to any legitimate government interests in procreation and child-rearing." Not only is this utter disrespect for the God-given institution of marriage, but also a disowning of the binding laws of our land. Take a guess at how Ms. Kagan would rule on a Supreme Court challenge to DOMA . . . or any other enshrined law of the land for that matter?

Additionally, Ms. Kagan is implicated, despite her recent denial in Senate testimony, in unethical actions while she was an adviser to then-President Bill Clinton, where she manipulated and even rewrote memos from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. That organization wrote that there was never a defense for partial birth abortion, but she altered ACOG's definition of partial birth abortion in order to nullify the meaning of the memos (see LifeNews.com). 

It is markedly clear from her actions as solicitor general on the DOMA issue, her integrity in her relations with ACOG, and her contempt for the military (as Harvard Law School Dean, she banned the Pentagon from recruiting on campus) that Elena Kagan will be an activist justice making law, rather than a justice interpreting the law. This approach, and her leftist agenda, is contrary to how the majority of Virginians view the role of the U.S. Supreme Court. It is about time that our two U.S. Senators live up to their self-labeled titles of "radical centrist" and "moderate," show some independence, and vote with the majority of Virginians and not simply as puppets of Harry Reid.

Please contact Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb and urge them to vote "No" on the confirmation of Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court. Click here to contact Senators Warner and Webb.

Participate In Friday's The March For Life Online!

A note from FRC's Tony Perkins:

Tomorrow, the Family Research Council will join tens of thousands of Americans on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to march in remembrance of the tens of millions of unborn children whose lives were ended as a result of Roe v. Wade. Before the March for Life begins, FRC will once again host Blogs for Life, the fifth annual gathering of pro-life bloggers and new media activists. The event will also be webcast live from 8:30-11:30 a.m., so no matter where you live, you can go online to hear speakers such as:

Congressman Todd Akin, (R-Mo.); Congressman Jim Jordan, (R-Ohio); Jill Stanek, Blogger and Speaker, JillStanek.com; Charmaine Yoest, Ph.D., President and CEO of Americans United for Life; Dr. David Prentice, Senior Fellow, Family Research Council; Joseph Farah, Founder and CEO, WorldNetDaily; Kristen Day, Executive Director, Democrats for Life; Marjorie Dannenfelser, President, Susan B. Anthony List, and more.

If you are unable to travel to our nation's capital for the March for Life, you can join FRC on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade by participating in the Virtual March for Life — a creation of our friends at Americans United for Life. To do this, visit the website join the Virtual March, and choose the avatars with the "FRC" T-shirts. You'll be marching with us (virtually) on the National Mall (we promise there won't be any blue creatures or flying things). It's a great way to speak up for life if you can't be in Washington on Friday.

Register now for the Blogs For Life Webcast!

Sincerely,

Tony Perkins

UR Law Students Host Title X Debate

The Richmond Federalist Society and the University of Richmond Law Students for Life are sponsoring a debate at noon on Title X funding, October 21, at the University of Richmond School of Law. The debate participants are William Saunders, senior vice president of legal affairs and lead counsel for Americans United for Life, and Stephanie Toti, staff attorney for the U.S. Legal Program at the Center for Reproductive Rights. Ms. Toti argued against Virginia's partial birth abortion law in front of  the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals during that drawn out, two-year process. There's less doubt as to Mr. Saunders' position. The two should provide for an engaging give and take, to say the least. To RSVP, or for more information, please contact Carl Tate at t82028@aol.com.

24,000 Signed Up For Tonight's Pro-Life Webcast, More Welcome!

As of earlier today, 24,000 people have registered for the pro-life Webcast we mentioned Tuesday (see here). Of course, more are welcome. It begins at 9:00 p.m. and will last for about 70 minutes. Click on the above link for more details or visit stoptheabortionmandate.com (click here). Below is a list of featured speakers, an all-star line-up of individuals and organizations who and which do non-stop work in the defense of innocent, unborn life. Participating in an event with them is sure to be a very highly educational and motivating experience, and very much worth your time. One person we are particularly happy to see participate is Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life. She is particularly helpful to us during the General Assembly in lobbying for pro-life legislation.

CONGRESSMAN CHRIS SMITH, U.S. House of Representatives MARJORIE DANNENFELSER, Susan B. Anthony List FR. FRANK PAVONE, Priests for Life CONGRESSMAN JOE PITTS, U.S. House of Representatives KRISTAN HAWKINS, Students for Life of America DOUGLAS JOHNSON, National Right to Life Committee DR. JAMES DOBSON, Focus on the Family DR. CHARMAINE YOEST, Americans United for Life TOM MINNERY, Focus on the Family KRISTEN DAY, Democrats for Life PEGGY HARTSHORN, Heartbeat International DR. RICHARD LAND, Southern Baptist Convention ERLC MELINDA DELAHOYDE, Care Net DAY GARDNER, National Black Pro-Life Union CARMEN PATE, Point of View Radio Show DAVID BEREIT, 40 Days for Life (moderator)

Register For Pro-Life Webcast Thursday, Help Stop Abortion Mandate In "Health Care Reform" Legislation

Among the many threats to our way of life by the Obama administration is its insistence on forcing you to fund abortions with your hard-earned tax dollars as part of its proposed multi-trillion dollar hijacking of our best-in-the-world health care system, proving the lie of  "safe, legal and rare." Didn't the president say at Notre Dame and to Pope Benedict recently that he wanted to "reduce abortions"?  But the monstrosity proposed by the administration and its radical leftist lackeys in Congress goes far beyond making "access" to health care available to all. It includes a sweeping reversal of long held bi-partisan policies that Americans should not be forced against their conscience to fund abortions with tax dollars. Not only that, but this legislation requires pro-life doctors and nurses to choose between their careers and their conscience through government mandated abortions

It comes as no surprise, then, that two of the most radically leftist organizations, Planned Parenthood and the National Organization for Women, are the legislation's primary backers, pushing this provision as if their lives depended on it. With that kind of leftist fanaticism attemping to ram through this bill, it is essential that pro-life Americans rise up!

To learn how you can help stop this tragedy from happening, log on to a one-time-only live Webcast this Thursday — July 23 — at 9:00 p.m. 

The Webcast will feature pro-family leaders, including Focus on the Family's Dr. James Dobson, Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, Tony Perkins of Family Research Council, Dr. Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life, and other national leaders on the front lines fighting for the pro-life cause.

There's no charge to participate. It will last approximately 70 minutes and viewers will be able to ask questions. To learn more about this important Webcast, and to register for it, click here to visit  StopTheAbortionMandate.com.

We urge you to take the time Thursday evening to participate in this one-time only national event. Help spread the word by forwarding this link to as many of your pro-life friends as possible and ask them to join the fight as well.

"The First Thing I'd Do Is Sign FOCA"

Those were Barack Obama's words to Planned Parenthood leaders. Not the eloquent, oblique style he normally utters. It's blunt, which is appropriate for the horror thatis FOCA. Why is his statement so important? FOCA is the so-called "Freedom of Choice Act" sponsored by some of the extreme left wing's most radical members of Congress. Orwellian as it sounds, it's not about freedom or choice (see our commentary here). In fact, it would nullify every state regulation of abortion the courts have upheld, including parental notification and consent laws, and partial birth abortion laws (see a print ad/open letter to Senator Obama from Americans United for Life, here).   With that in mind, here's a video similar to the Catholic Vote video that has received rave reviews nationally that we've posted here before (see here). This new one is an all-inclussive Christian video and includes a great archival photo of Billy Graham and President Ronald Reagan among other new scenes. It runs about 3:30. (Also see this video on why Christians should vote.) Please forward this link to all you think should see this inspiring, moving artistry to inform their conscience about Tuesday's election:

Update: Fourth Circuit Hears Appellate Arguments On Partial Birth Ban

The hearing in front of the full U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on the constitutionality of Virginia's law banning partial birth abortion — or infanticide — was heard in front of a packed courtroom this morning, starting at 9:00 (see Richmond Times-Dispatch article). So packed, that several extra chairs were brought in and people still were standing, crowding each other along the wall. Several late arrivers were left to stand outside, with a couple trying to peek through the door window. William Thro, Virginia's former solicitor general, who has argued this case at each stage of appeal (see previous commentary that explains the case), argued for the commonwealth, although he recently accepted the job as university counsel at Christopher Newport University. He was bombarded with questions by judges Blane Michael and Diana Motz (see previous commentary). Those two were the majority on the three judge panel (see previous commentary) that heard the previous appeal of this case around this time last year (a federal district judge originally ruled the law unconstitutional). Judge Motz wrote the opinion (see previous commentary). Judge Roger Gregory joined them in adversarial questioning of Mr. Thro. There are 11 judges on the full court.

On the other hand, there seemed to be enough interest in sustaining the law from Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III, Chief Judge Karen Williams, Judge Robert King and perhaps Judge Steven Agee, especially as they questioned the attorney representing the pro-abortion appellees.

We'll have a more detailed analysis later this afternoon. We are about to hear from Mr. Thro who will review the case to a luncheon sponsored by Americans United for Life.

For the opinion from the panel's decision, which includes Judge Neimeyer's dissent, click here.