|A Publication of the Republican National Coalition for Life||March/April 2004 - No. 53|
Ashcroft Stands Up To Abortionists |
By Phyllis Schlafly
Abortion has been legal for over thirty years, yet little is publicly known about the practices of this billion-dollar industry. American taxpayers foot many of the costs but are left in the dark about what they fund.
That may soon change, thanks to the courageous defense by Attorney General John Ashcroft of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban. His Department of Justice is battling three lawsuits that seek to overturn this statute, which President Bush signed into law last November.
First, liberals pretended that partialbirth abortion does not exist, and now they claim the practice is medically necessary. If Bill Clinton or John Kerry were president, the abortionists would win by default, but Attorney General Ashcroft is now the man in charge.
He is the former Attorney General, Governor and Senator from Missouri, the Show Me state. To the abortionists he says, Show me why you claim it is "medically necessary" to terminate the life of a partially born child.
His Department of Justice has issued subpoenas for records about abortions performed by plaintiffs and their witnesses. When they ultimately take the witness stand to argue "medical necessity" for their abortions, U.S. attorneys can cross-examine them based on their own records.
No patient names will be revealed, as the government has already agreed to delete personal identifiers from the records. The issue is the conduct by the doctor, not the patient.
Requiring disclosure of material central to a lawsuit is Litigation 101, basic to the Anglo- American legal system. For hundreds of years, trials have relied on this adversarial system to sift fact from fiction.
Most people accept these rules of fairness. But abortionists are accustomed to withholding information about abortion, like its correlation with breast cancer.
Planned Parenthood, a large provider of abortions, opposes the subpoenas. Last year it received $254.4 million in taxpayers’ money, but it does not want to disclose medical details of its abortions performed by potential witnesses at affiliated facilities.
Planned Parenthood pulled in another $228.1 million from corporations, foundations and other donors. The Packard Foundation, endowed by the late founder of Hewlett-Packard (which now owns Compaq computers), gives many millions annually to pro-abortion groups..
Above all are the profits from the abortions themselves. The former Republican counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Manuel Miranda, recently observed that clinics derive an average of $1,000 for each abortion performed.
In its 2002-2003 Annual Report, Planned Parenthood reported a hefty operating gain of $36.6 million. At a time when most companies are struggling to remain profitable, Planned Parenthood reported a 200 percent increase over last year's $12.2 million gain.
In a riveting interview, Miranda explained that the political fight over abortion is about "profits," not just "rights." The national Democratic party is increasingly dependent on contributions from abortionists and their allies to fund campaigns for federal office.
"The abortion clinics’ lobby is an industry as large as any industry that lobbies in Washington," Miranda added. "What would be truly shocking to the American people is the profit motive that is involved."
Partial-birth abortions are likely the most profitable operation of all because much higher fees can be charged late in pregnancy, and a dead but nearly full-term baby can be exploited for body tissue and parts. Disclosure of details about these abortions, often performed at taxpayer-funded facilities, would allow the public to take a new look at this industry that profits from causing death.
"The Congress has enacted a law with the President’s signature that outlaws this terrible practice," Ashcroft said in discussing the subpoenas. "We sought from the judge authority to get medical records to find out whether indeed the allegation by the plaintiffs, that it’s medically necessary, is really a fact."
Yet a Chicago federal judge appointed by President Jimmy Carter, Charles Kocoras, allowed Northwestern University to withhold the abortion records for a doctor-plaintiff operating at its facility. The doctor, Cassing Hammond, is a member of Northwestern’s staff and medical school faculty and is one of those suing to overturn the ban on partial-birth abortions.
If Kocoras's ruling stands, then Ashcroft may move to prohibit this doctor from testifying. At any rate, the ongoing cover-up of partial-birth abortions cannot last.
District Judge Richard Conway Casey, presiding over the lawsuit in New York, ordered compliance with the medical record subpoenas. "I will not hear me out loud and clear I will not let ... the doctors hide behind the shield of the hospital," he said at a hearing on the issue.
"Is that clear? I am fed up with stalls and delays," he told the abortion proponents. "The information relevant to this case will be produced. Otherwise, I will entertain whatever actions the government wishes to seek."
Disclosure of the information may prove to be the lawsuits' greatest influence. It is long overdue for the American people to learn the truth about the abortion industry.
Phyllis Schlafly is the National Chairman of RNC/Life and President of Eagle Forum
The U.S. Senate has blocked another of President Bush's judicial nominees. However, this time there is a twist: it is not Democrats, but rather pro-abortion Republicans who blocked a vote on Leon Holmes for U.S. District Judge in Arkansas.
Arlen Specter (R-PA), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Susan Collins (R-ME), expressed doubts about Holmes' suitability for the judicial seat, based on some of his judicial writings.
In one of Holmes' writings, he objected to a rape exception in a proposed constitutional amendment banning abortion. He called the rape exception a "red herring" and said that "conceptions from rape occur with approximately the same frequency as a snowfall in Miami." (Life Dynamics News, February, 2004)
Senator Specter, who is expected to assume the chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is ardently pro-abortion. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who supports Roe v. Wade, is reportedly preparing for a challenge to Texas Governor Rick Perry in 2006.
When things break down, one must go back to basics to find out why. This is why it so important for Americans to understand how our judiciary is supposed to work. Widespread ignorance about the court system lets malignant abuses flourish and multiply with no cure in sight.
All Americans learn in grade school that our form of government has three branches: legislative, executive and judicial. The powers of each branch are carefully delineated in the Constitution the legislative branch makes the laws, the executive branch enforces the laws, and the judicial branch interprets the laws. This separation of powers was designed to prevent the concentration of too much power in the hands of any one person or group; the powers of the other branches were intended to operate as a system of checks and balances.
And right from the start, the judiciary was supposed to be the "weakest" and the "least dangerous" branch. As explained in The Federalist No. 78, the executive holds the power of the sword and the legislative holds the power of the purse, while the judiciary has "neither force nor will, but merely judgment." In other words, the courts must depend entirely on the persuasive force of their legal reasoning as the basis for maintaining their respect and support within our system of government.
But beginning about 50 years ago and accelerating ever since, the judiciary strayed from its limited role of interpreting the laws and started dictating what the laws should be. The vehicle it used in this process was the Constitution. Under the traditional view of judicial review, the courts would compare statutes with the Constitution to ensure that Congress was not exceeding its limited powers. Things began to change when the courts realized that they could use the Constitution as a sword instead of a shield. When confronted with laws they did not agree with, the courts started to "interpret" the Constitution in new ways that would allow them to strike down those laws.
In order to disguise what was really going on, they portrayed the Constitution as a "living document" which was merely adapting itself to new conditions in our society. But in reality, the judiciary had abandoned "judgment" in favor of "will" it was no longer interpreting the Constitution, but rather was imposing its own views by manipulating the words (such as "due process") that appear on the parchment. The result is best captured in this famous dialogue from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass: "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master that's all."
The courts quickly learned that they are the masters in our society. Every time they dreamed up a new "interpretation" of the Constitution as a means of imposing a particular policy they preferred, their policy choice became "the supreme Law of the Land" and thereby completely removed the issue from the realm of politics. Consequently, the policy can no longer be changed or modified by the people or their elected representatives, as envisioned by our Founding Fathers. Once a policy choice has been embedded in the Constitution by the courts, it can be changed only by the lengthy and difficult process of adopting an amendment to the Constitution. The judges themselves are not elected and they have lifetime tenure, so they and their policies are effectively insulated from all political accountability. In place of persuasive legal reasoning, they depend on the ingrained respect of Americans for the "rule of law" as the only prop for their judicial dictatorship.
Each time the courts got away with a daring new "interpretation" of the Constitution, it whetted their appetite for bolder and more expansive exercises of their newfound power to dictate the outcome of all policy disputes in our society. Perhaps the most dramatic example of this judicial usurpation of political power is Roe v. Wade, which was immediately recognized by Justice White, in his dissenting opinion, as nothing more than a "raw exercise of judicial power.
The court system will not give up this power voluntarily, which is why all attempts to legislate around Roe have been held unconstitutional. The fight to end abortion will never succeed if it is limited to an argument about abortion policy. Pro-lifers must recognize that their attack on abortion is also an attack on judicial power and therefore must deal with the fundamental question of who holds the ultimate political power in our society. If ours is a "government of the people, by the people, for the people," we must take the courts out of the equation permanently and decisively. The only way we can do so is by amending the Constitution to recognize and protect human life from conception to natural death. The sooner we face this reality, the sooner we will restore our nation, "conceived in liberty," to the Culture of Life that is our rightful heritage.
Reprinted with permission from January-February 2004 issue of "Celebrate Life" magazine.
Republican National Coalition for Life Box 618 Alton Illinois 62002|
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