NRL News

Five Takeaways from NRLC President Carol Tobias’ Testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee

by | Jul 16, 2014


By Dave Andrusko

The "Abortion Without Limits Until Birth" bill "seeks to strip away from elected lawmakers the ability to provide even the most minimal protections for unborn children, at any stage of their prenatal development." - National Right to Life President Carol Tobias, testifying against S.1696.

The “Abortion Without Limits Until Birth” bill “seeks to strip away from elected lawmakers the ability to provide even the most minimal protections for unborn children, at any stage of their prenatal development.” – National Right to Life President Carol Tobias, testifying against S.1696.

Please, even before you finish the first paragraph of this post, take five minutes to read “U.S. Senate Democrats launch push for “the most radical pro-abortion bill ever considered by Congress” and “NRLC President Tobias challenges Senate Democrat leadership to put every senator on record on two major abortion-related bills

After you do, please consider the following five takeaways from NRLC President Carol Tobias’ testimony Tuesday to the Senate Judiciary Committee on the so-called “Women’s Health Protection Act” (S. 1696).

#1. Mrs. Tobias set the table early in her remarks by flatly stating that if truth in advertising were to play any role, a more accurate title for S. 1696 would be the “Abortion Without Limits Until Birth Act.” The remainder of her testimony (which can be read in its entirety here) offered multiple, detailed examples proving this characterization was absolutely accurate.

#2. For veteran pro-lifers, S. 1696 is reminiscent of the “Freedom of Choice Act” which appeared on its way to quick passage in 1993, given that Democrats controlled the presidency and both houses of Congress. Only, as Mrs. Tobias told senators, it is even more extreme than a measure that was eventually shelved, thanks to a hard fought national educational campaign directed by National Right to Life. Then, as now, the purported “goal” masked how out-of-whack the measure was with public opinion.

Twenty plus years ago, we were assured FOCA was simply a “codification of Roe v. Wade” when, in truth, as Mrs. Tobias explained, “the language of the legislation would have invalidated a great number of state laws that enjoyed (then and now) broad popular support.” The sole redeeming quality to the 1993 version of FOCA was that it applied only to state laws.

What about S.1696? Not only would it apply to state laws, it “would apply also to previous acts of Congress limiting abortion, with the exception of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003.” Tobias accurately observed, “Pro-abortion advocates seek to advance this legislation behind a smokescreen of highly generalized and demagogic rhetoric about ‘women’s health’ – and perhaps initially, the mainstream news media will be uninterested in engaging in detailed exploration of the sweep of the bill, and disinclined to get specific about the types of state laws that are targeted by this proposal.”

#3. Among the many keen points Mrs. Tobias made was to debunk the cover story floated by supporters of S. 1696–that it is necessary to “remove barriers to constitutionally protected reproductive rights.” It is not. Let me offer a long but telling quote:

“But this is not a bill to vindicate constitutional rights. New laws pertaining to abortion are generally quickly blocked by the federal courts, if they actually transgress the constitutional doctrines enunciated by the U.S. Supreme Court. In reality, the central purpose of this bill is precisely to invalidate many state laws, and a significant number of federal laws, that have been upheld by the federal courts, or that are likely to survive federal judicial scrutiny if they are ever challenged.

“It is in large part because they have failed to persuade federal courts to invalidate certain types of reasonable laws that they dislike – laws that have broad popular support, and that were enacted through the normal processes of democracy — that groups such as Planned Parenthood (the nation’s largest abortion provider) and the Center for Reproductive Rights are now demanding that Congress drive this federal pro-abortion bulldozer from coast to coast, scraping everything flat.”

The Abortion Establishment has never had much use for popular democracy, even less so since 2011. As pro-abortion Los Angeles Times columnist Robin Abcarian bemoaned earlier this week, “[W]e do know that more than four times as many bills aimed at limiting abortion access (93) were passed between 2011 and 2013 than had been passed in the previous decade (22).”

Click here to read the July issue of
National Right to Life News,
the “pro-life newspaper of record.”

#4. As little coverage as the 2013 trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell received, the mention of his murderous rampage still makes his compatriots in the abortion industry very, very nervous. You would think (but you would be wrong) that supporters of S.1696 would be keen to stay as far away from Gosnell as possible. In fact, as Mrs. Tobias told the Senate Judiciary Committee, “S. 1696 would greatly impede the ability of states to curb the activities of those abortion providers who most frequently injure or kill women, or exploit them in various ways – an area in which many jurisdictions have been unduly lax for decades.” Which respect to Gosnell specifically, she reminded the committee

“It is noteworthy that S. 1696 would invalidate at least one of the Pennsylvania laws under which Gosnell was convicted – a law that limits the circumstances under which abortions can be performed after 24 weeks of gestation – and would also invalidate the requirements for tighter oversight of abortion providers that were enacted in the wake of the Gosnell scandal, which reflected the detailed, damning findings of the grand jury that investigated the history of Gosnell’s activities.

#5. If you’ve had a chance to read yesterday’s posts, you already know that there are at least 10 more “takeaways.” Let me end with this one. It’s not just that S. 1696 would give the equivalent of diplomatic immunity to the likes of Kermit Gosnell; or that virtually every protective state and federal law would be under the gun (including those with huge majority support among the public); or that its proponents hold high the flag of contempt for democracy; or even that “conscience protection laws” would instantly be under siege, with the result that “many dedicated medical professionals would be driven from their chosen fields of medicine, because they will not participate in the killing of their unborn patients.” The irony here is almost too much to bear: “the net effect of these professionals leaving the field,” Mrs. Tobias said, “will be to the detriment of women’s health.”

Its proponents are determined to use the power of the federal government to invert a distinction the Supreme Court recognized as early as 1980: that “Abortion is inherently different from other medical procedures, because no other procedure involves the purposeful termination of a potential life.”

The evil genius of S. 1696 is that abortion would indeed be “inherently different” from other “medical procedures,” but now “in a new, inverted, and perverse sense.” Mrs. Tobias observed

“Under S. 1696, elective abortion would become the procedure that must always be facilitated, never delayed, never impeded to the slightest degree. The practices of the abortion industry, or any segment of that industry, or even of an individual practitioner, would be granted extraordinary immunity from constraints or accountability. Each abortionist would become, in effect, a legislature onto himself or herself.”

In conclusion, please ponder this from Tobias:

“the bill requires each state legislature, and Congress, to defer to the personal judgment of each abortionist. It instructs the courts that a law ‘impedes access to abortion services’ – and is, therefore, presumptively invalid –if it ‘interferes with an abortion provider’s ability to provide care and render services in accordance with her or his good-faith medical judgment.’ One could hardly draft a more sweeping federal grant-of-immunity to the abortion industry as a whole, and to each individual abortionist – including the Gosnells.”

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Categories: Legislation