Author archives: Mary Jayne Caum

Arkansas Is on Its Way to Protecting All Unborn Life

by Mary Jayne Caum

March 4, 2021

That government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” - President Abraham Lincoln

Yesterday, the Arkansas House of Representatives followed the will of the Arkansas citizenry and voted to protect an inherent right of all people: the right to life.

Recognizing that life begins at conception, AR SB 6, the Arkansas Unborn Child Protection Act, sponsored by Senator Jason Rapert and Representative Mary Bentley, specifically calls on the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the erroneous decisions of Roe, Doe, and Casey. Anticipating critics’ claim that stare decisis must stand and past Supreme Court decisions are untouchable, SB 6 provides a brief history to answer this claim by detailing in the legislative findings the Supreme Court’s egregious mistakes of the past: Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson. SB 6 explains how the Supreme Court denied the personhood of African Americans throughout the United States in the Dred Scott decision and later reaffirmed this racist and inhumane position when it denied African Americans equal protection in Plessy’s “separate but equal” doctrine. By highlighting these two decisions of the Court, not only does SB 6 explain how our top court has erred, but it places Roe, Doe, and Casey alongside Dred Scott and Plessy as atrocious decisions. As SB 6 explains, the American people have corrected the judicial sins of Scott and Plessy, and the Supreme Court has overturned these unjust precedents.

The erroneous stare decisis of Scott and Plessy were overturned and invalidated by the Civil War Amendments and Brown v. Board of Education. SB 6 calls on the Supreme Court to again listen to the American people and overturn the Roe, Doe, and Casey decisions. By criminalizing abortion at all stages except when the life of the pregnant mother is at risk, the Arkansas legislature has upheld the ideals of our Declaration of Independence and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address by legally recognizing the government’s responsibility to honor and protect all people’s right to life, including the unborn. While explicitly protecting the pregnant women whom the abortion was performed on from prosecution, SB 6 designates the crime of abortion as an “unclassified felony.” The penalty for committing this felony of abortion is either a fine of $100,000 or up to 10 years imprisonment, or both. By criminalizing this crime against humanity, SB 6 punishes the perpetrator while protecting both the mother and child from legal or physical harm.

SB 6 is a bold bill that, if signed by Governor Asa Hutchinson, would demonstrate the will of a number of American people that the government should protect innocent lives, not sanction their destruction. While calling on the Supreme Court to overturn the bad precedent of Roe, Doe, and Casey, SB 6 outlines how the Court has made horrific mistakes in the past—such as Scott and Plessy—that were later corrected by the American people through both the legislature and the judiciary. In Roe, Doe, and Casey, the Court should do the same. Although our government has ignored the will of the American people and the cries of her massacred unborn children for almost 50 years now, SB 6 marks a return to government of, by, and for the people. By calling on the Supreme Court to overturn mistaken and dangerous precedent, SB 6 is upholding the ideals of government of and by the people. By protecting our most vulnerable, SB 6 signals the return of government for the people.

We pray SB 6 and many more like it are enacted and the Supreme Court overturns its erroneous rulings so government for the people—including innocent unborn people—shall not perish from the earth.

Arkansans, please tell Governor Asa Hutchinson to sign SB 6 and enact this historic pro-life bill!

Mary Jayne Caum is a Government Affairs Research Assistant at Family Research Council.

Kansas’s Value Them Both Amendment Would Be a Win for Life

by Mary Jayne Caum

January 22, 2021

Today is the somber 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a day that stripped the American unborn of the most fundamental of rights: the right to life.

On this anniversary of judicial activism, the Kansas House of Representatives voted to return the right to regulate abortion back to the people in an effort to protect both mothers and their unborn children. The House voted in favor of the Value Them Both Amendment in an effort to correct the overreach of the Kansas Supreme Court. Although the Kansas Constitution does not mention abortion, in 2019, the Kansas Supreme Court reinterpreted the state Constitution to include a right to abortion. Since then, pro-life activists have been working to correct this blatant judicial activism.

The Value Them Both Amendment rejects the false idea that abortion is a mother’s “right.” This Amendment would protect mothers from an unregulated abortion industry, rather than allowing the state Supreme Court to dictate the terms of abortion to Kansas voters. It empowers the citizens of Kansas to enact common-sense regulations for the dangerous abortion industry, and to preserve several pro-life laws that are already on the books but are now threatened by the Supreme Court’s activism.

The next stop for the Value Them Both Amendment is the Kansas Senate. If you (or your friends and family) live in Kansas and believe Kansans, not unelected justices, should determine abortion policy, contact your Kansas Senator today.

A Christmas Carol for Life

by Mary Jayne Caum

December 14, 2020

When approached on Christmas Eve to make a donation to the poor, Scrooge asked, “Are there no prisons? … And the Union workhouses? … Are they still in operation?” The philanthropists in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol sadly informed Scrooge that these wretched institutions were still running. Scrooge stated that the poor should look to these institutions instead of looking for a handout. When the philanthropists informed Scrooge that many would rather die than go to the prisons or workhouses, Scrooge retorted, “If they would rather die … they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

Every Christmas season since I was a small child, my family inevitably watches A Christmas Carol together (the George C. Scott version, of course). Every Christmas season, I am shocked by Scrooge’s callous and inhumane response to poverty and suffering. Sadly, despite Dickens’ efforts, there are still those among us who would rather decrease the “surplus population” than help the less fortunate. In fact, these modern-day Scrooge’s tell us we will be helping the less fortunate by decreasing the surplus population.

Since the 1960s, abortion supporters have argued in favor of using abortion as a means of population control. To legitimize abortion as a method of population control, abortion supporters argued that we should not allow “the unwilling to bear the unwanted.” This popular phrase perfectly encapsulated their willingness to kill off the surplus population, and to this day abortion is used by prominent politicians as a solution to the world’s economic problems.

The late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg explained in an interview the link between abortion and decreasing the surplus population, “Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.” It is unclear from her comments exactly which population Justice Ginsburg was referring to, but it is clear she believed abortion could be used to decrease the surplus population.

In an effort to transform Scrooge before it was too late, a deceased friend of Scrooge, Jacob Marley, visited Scrooge to warn him of his apparent destiny and of the ghosts who will soon visit Scrooge. While trying to explain to Scrooge how the old miser will likely suffer the same fate as Marley if Scrooge does not cease being selfish, Scrooge continued to prattle on about finances and business without recognizing his own selfishness and Marley’s warnings. Frustrated at Scrooge’s narrow mindedness and callousness towards humanity, when Scrooge commented on what a great businessman Marley was, Marley shouted, “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business.”

Jacob Marley was right. Mankind is our business. We should not work to decrease the “surplus population”—whatever that means—through abortion. Instead, we should welcome every life with love and charity. Each life has inherent value and dignity. Since each person is made in the image of God and is designed by God for a purpose, no baby is unwanted or worthy of death. This Christmas season, let us dedicate ourselves to life. Let us again make mankind our business. We must admonish the Scrooges in our midst who advocate for decreasing the surplus population, and instead commit to caring for those around us in need.

To accomplish this goal of caring for the unborn, please consider donating to your local pregnancy resource center or the Human Coalition to help end abortion and encourage women with unplanned pregnancies to give life to their precious child.

Mary Jayne Caum is a Government Affairs Research Assistant at Family Research Council.

Of Dogs and Unborn Babies

by Mary Jayne Caum

November 19, 2020

For the last two weeks, fallout from the election chaos has dominated the news cycle. Because of this, state and local initiatives have largely gone unnoticed. But two important laws were on the ballot in Colorado: (1) Proposition 115 and (2) a repeal of Denver’s pit bull ban.

Proposition 115 was a state-wide initiative to ban late-term abortions throughout Colorado. If successful, it would have been illegal to commit an abortion in Colorado once an unborn child reaches 22 weeks gestation. Proposition 115 specified that committing an abortion on an unborn child who has reached at least 22 weeks gestation would be a misdemeanor and any abortionists who violated this law would be subjected to professional penalties including suspension of their medical license. Of course, the measure did exempt from prosecution the woman who underwent the abortion. It also allowed an abortion after 22 weeks gestation when the life of the mother was at risk. Despite scientific and philosophical support for banning these late-term abortions, Colorodans voted to continue the dangerous and deadly practice.           

In Denver, Colorado, another measure was in the hands of the citizenry. For 30 years, it has been illegal to own a pit bull in Denver. This law banning pit bulls resulted from several pit bull attacks in Colorado in the 1980s, and the stigma surrounding certain breeds including pit bulls. For years, pit bulls have been stigmatized as an inherently aggressive breed waiting to tear you limb from limb. However, the facts simply do not align with this myth. The National Geographic reports that there is no scientific evidence to support the idea that pit bulls are inherently aggressive and dangerous. Changing attitudes towards pit bulls combined with widespread initiatives to destigmatize the breed resulted in Denver’s decision to lift the ban on pit bulls. Personally, this author supports Denver’s decision to allow pit bulls. As a dog mom, it warms my heart to see dogs rescued, given a chance, or destigmatized. While I applaud the people of Denver’s decision to legalize pit bulls, I do find Colorado’s stance on human life and animal life troubling.            

An unborn child is viable somewhere around 22-24 weeks gestation. Neonatal medicine defines viability, “as the gestational age at which there is a 50% chance of survival with or without medical care.” Therefore, last week in Colorado, the voters elected to continue aborting viable babies while lifting a ban on pit bull ownership in Denver. Critics may claim I am comparing apples and oranges. Colorado is not populated by Denver alone. However, almost 6 million people live in Colorado, while almost 3 million people live in metro Denver. So it is safe to say that the attitudes of individuals in metro Denver represents the mindset of at least half of Colorado. With that in mind, let us return to the point of this article: the inherent worth of a child vs. the inherent worth of an animal.

As a Christian, I believe both man and beast have value. However, man is worth so much more. Because humans are made in the image of God, we have inherent worth and dignity. Our value is so great, God sacrificed His holy and glorious Son and raised Him from the dead to purchase us from the grips of sin and death. While reflecting upon His creation, God deemed nature and its animals “good” while praising man as “very good.” No matter how much we try to devalue life in our society, men and women are inherently priceless and imbued with a dignity God did not bestow on any of His other creations.

This is not to say we should be cruel to our animals. One of the wisdom books in the Bible espouses its readers, “the righteous care for the needs of their animals.” Therefore, according to God’s Word, one of the distinguishing features of a righteous person is the manner in which he treats animals. For this reason, I rejoice when another shelter dog is rescued, a dog fight organizer is prosecuted, and a pit bull is allowed to be loved.

However, we cannot confuse our duty to properly care for animals with the inherent worth and dignity of our fellow man. After creating man, God exhorted Adam to have dominion over the animals God created. Abortion fundamentally rejects the dignity and worth of every human being. Instead of recognizing the humanity of every unborn child, we devalue and sacrifice our unborn children in the name of convenience, preference, and career advancement. As a society, we cannot continue down this path of devaluing human life. 

While we pat ourselves on the back for being progressive and rejecting the fallacious notion that certain dog breeds are inherently aggressive, let us not forget our fellow man. It is a well known fact that when an abortion is committed against a child around 22 weeks gestation, the abortionist’s preferred method of murder is dismemberment abortion (also known as D&E: dilation and evacuation abortion). Although Denver was correct to statutorily reject the idea that pit bulls inherently desire to tear humans limb from limb, Colorado was wrong to leave unborn infants vulnerable to abortionists who tear these innocent children limb from limb.

Sadly, I believe the prophetic words of G.K Chesterton have been realized, “Wherever there is animal worship there is human sacrifice.” Let us reverse this trend of human sacrifice. Let us honor our Creator by protecting His creation: both animal and human. While enjoying the companionship of our furry friends, we should continue to recognize the inherent worth and dignity of each human individual—born and unborn.

Mary Jayne Caum works in State & Local Affairs at Family Research Council.

What Harper Lee and John Donne Can Teach Us About Protecting All Life

by Mary Jayne Caum

July 25, 2019

Almost sixty years ago, Harper Lee taught us that it is a sin to kill a mockingbird because of their innocence. However, more than 600,000 “mockingbirds” are killed each year. These mockingbirds are infants in the womb; infants who are devalued, targeted, and exterminated. Sadly, this is not the first time in American history human life has been devalued.

In 1857, the United States Supreme Court erroneously declared, “[T]he negro race [is]… a separate class of persons… not regarded as a portion of the people or citizens of the Government…” In the Dred Scot decision, the Supreme Court essentially proclaimed that African Americans were only partially human. Later, with the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the American people rejected this false opinion and recognized the inalienable rights of newly freed slaves. Over one hundred years later, in 1973, the Supreme Court would once again declare a class of people only partially human. However, as with Dred Scot, the American people should discard the tenants of Roe v. Wade and recognize the inherent dignity of infants developing in the womb.

When a life is devalued, it is easy to destroy. In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court devalued the life of infants in the womb by saying the state only has an interest in protecting children once they reach “viability” (which is an elastic term that changes with every advancement in neonatal intensive care technology). Roe explained that a child can be protected after viability because, “the fetus then presumably has the capability of meaningful life outside the mother’s womb.” However, the Court failed to explain what meaningful life means. Self-sufficiency? Wealth? Excellent health? Mental capacity? Even outside the womb, no child can survive without being fed, clothed, nurtured, and loved. Having to rely on someone does not devalue your life. Arguing that babies should be aborted simply because they cannot have a “meaningful life” is the same argument slave owners perpetuated.

Slave owners argued that African Americans were inherently inferior and “benefited” from the heinous institution of slavery. Masters contended that no slave could lead a meaningful life absent of slavery. Furthermore, pro-slavery advocates such as Stephen Douglas argued that slave owners had as much right to control their slave’s destiny as if the slave was a pig. Douglas wrongly contended that slaves had the same right, dignity, and freedom as pigs.

Today, children in the womb are labeled an inconvenience, not a person; a burden, not a soul. With the Supreme Court’s endorsement, the right to kill infants in the womb was created. Now, children are torn apart limb from limb through “dilation and evacuation” (D&E) dismemberment abortions. Shockingly, the disdain that some in our society have for life does not cease even when a child enters the world.

If a child survives a late-term abortion procedure, abortionists in some states now have the option to ignore the child gasping for life on the table and deny the struggling infant medical care. (Please join FRC’s End Birth Day Abortion campaign to fight this grave evil.) Abandoning a vulnerable infant is the logical outgrowth of the pro-abortion argument. As ethicist Peter Singer disturbingly explained in his well-known work Practical Ethics:

A week-old baby is not a rational and self-conscious being, and there are many nonhuman animals whose rationality, self-consciousness, awareness, capacity to feel, and so on, exceed that of a human baby a week or a month old. If the fetus does not have the same claim to life as a person, it appears that the newborn baby does not either, and the life of a newborn baby is of less value to it than the life of a pig…

Harkening back to the advocates of slavery, Singer compares infants with pigs. Pro-abortion advocates argue that women should be able to control the destiny of their unborn child as if that baby were a pig. We must reject this modern form of rationalizing slavery and once again recognize the inherent worth and dignity found in each person no matter their race, socio-economic status, or stage of development.

Like the abolitionists of old, we must promote the dignity of all people, realizing that, as poet John Donne observed, “any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.” Our hearts should ache for every dismembered, partially born, and abandoned baby whose life was declared meaningless. Pro-life advocates cannot stop proclaiming the truth and fighting for the rights of the vulnerable. As we fight for babies in the womb, let us be encouraged by the truth that one day our Heavenly Father “will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

We must protect children in the womb from abortion’s pain and death, remembering that it is a sin to kill the mockingbirds in our midst.

Mary Jayne Caum is a Policy intern at Family Research Council.

Court Rulings on the Protect Life Rule Leave Abortion Advocates Stunned

by Connor Semelsberger, MPP , Mary Jayne Caum

July 15, 2019

Across the United States, courts tasked with hearing the lawsuits against the Trump administration’s pro-life rule changes to the Title X Family Planning Program agree, “the Government is likely to prevail.”

When the Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published the Protect Life Rule, pro-abortion groups such as Planned Parenthood lost no time in filing lawsuits to halt the Rule’s implementation. Believing they would be assigned a favorable judge, opponents of the Rule filed suit in the Ninth Circuit and other friendly courts. Although opponents obtained an advantageous ruling at the district court level, ultimately a three-judge panel in both the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (9th Circuit) and the Fourth Circuit (4th Circuit) decided to lift the preliminary injunctions and allow the Rule to be implemented temporarily. Opponents of the Rule suffered another failure when an 11-judge panel sitting en banc in the 9th Circuit reiterated that the Rule should be implemented while the merits of the case are heard. Lastly, a district judge in Maine refused to halt the Rule’s implementation while the merits of the case are litigated. That totals four devastating and seemingly unexpected adverse rulings opponents of the Protect Life Rule have suffered thus far. 

In each Court Opinion, the various courts explain the Protect Life Rule should go into effect during the lawsuit, because HHS will likely prevail in defending the Rule. This legal conclusion is reached for primarily two reasons: precedent and statutory interpretation. The Supreme Court Decision Rust v. Sullivan upheld regulations nearly identical to the Protect Life Rule. Additionally, the Rule adheres to applicable statutes. Therefore, courts across the nation conclude that HHS is likely to succeed on the merits because of the precedent established by Rust and the Rule’s lawful adherence to statutory law. An issue brief published by Family Research Council has further information on the legal arguments surrounding Title X. 

These legal proclamations are devastating for pro-abortion groups because it undermines a significant portion of their industry. The clear separation that the Protect Life Rule establishes between family planning funding and the abortion industry is contrary to their worldview. If the Protect Life Rule is ultimately upheld, abortion providers must adhere to the regulations in order to continue receiving Title X funds. If abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood refuse to comply, however, those Title X family planning funds can be diverted to other healthcare clinics such as Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), Rural Health Centers, and Pregnancy Resource Centers which provide certain services that would be eligible for Title X funding under the Protect Life Rule

Since taking office, President Donald Trump and the U.S. Senate have worked together to confirm 127 federal judges. Several of these judges were vital to lifting the preliminary injunction against the Protect Life Rule, including two in the 9th Circuit, two in the 4th Circuit, and one in the United States District Court for the District of Maine. The ability of President Trump and the U.S. Senate to confirm constitutionally-minded judges shows that elections have consequences and that victory in the courts is crucial.

Without a favorable ruling on the merits, abortion referrals will continue, co-mingling of funds will perpetuate, and precious babies developing in the womb will perish. Courts must continue to discard the shallow political arguments opponents of the Rule are making and choose to uphold the law. The survival of countless lives depends upon future legal victories. 

Mary Jayne Caum is a Policy intern at Family Research Council. Connor Semelsberger is Legislative Assistant at Family Research Council.

Pro-Life Title X Rule Upheld, For Now

by Connor Semelsberger, MPP , Mary Jayne Caum

June 21, 2019

On a recent humid June day in the nation’s capital, the debate over President Donald Trump’s Protect Life Rule governing the Title X Family Planning Program heated up. Led by Chairwoman Diane Degette (D-Colo.), the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing to promote the continued relationship between these family planning funds and the abortion industry. Dr. Diane Foley from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) defended the Protect Life Rule against attacks that this rule change will limit a woman’s ability to receive proper family planning services, by ensuring that doctors can continue to provide non-directive counseling on all healthcare options as the statute lays out.

As a key pro-life issue for the Family Research Council, we submitted a letter to the record outlining specifically how this final rule draws a clear line between family planning funds and the abortion industry without reducing the quality of care for each patient.

Dr. Foley went even further to say that the Protect Life Rule will provide a broader array of family planning services by encouraging innovative approaches for care in rural communities and removing the abortion referral requirement, thus allowing faith-based providers to apply for Title X grants, as outlined in our brief on the Protect Life Rule. Although Dr. Foley continually reminded the subcommittee that the Title X statute specifically states abortion cannot be used as a method of family planning, Democrat Members could only see the issue through the lens of abortion access. Rep. Jan Schakowky (D-Ill.) put it most bluntly when she said, “This is about abortion, this is about trying to limit women from having their full reproductive rights.”

Within 24 hours of the subcommittee hearing on Title X, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit granted HHS’s motion to stay the preliminary injunction, which would allow the Protect Life Rule to go into effect until the lawsuit is resolved. While this Order does not decide the fate of the Protect Life Rule, the Court’s Order was encouraging. Typically, the 9th Circuit has been critical of the Trump administration’s policies. As exemplified by the lower courts granting preliminary injunctions to halt the implementation of the Protect Life Rule, courts will often ignore the law to advance a political agenda.

Surprisingly, the 9th Circuit lifted the nationwide preliminary injunction and insisted that delaying the implementation of the Protect Life Rule would be detrimental to both HHS and the American public. Listening to the concerns expressed by HHS, the Court feared that if the preliminary injunctions remained in place, the law would be violated and taxpayer money would fund abortions. Moreover, the Court concluded that HHS would likely be victorious in this lawsuit.

Additionally, the Court reaffirmed the validity of Rust v. Sullivan (a Supreme Court case which upheld regulations nearly identical to the Protect Life Rule). Furthermore, the Court emphasized that the restrictions on abortion referrals does not violate the non-directive counseling requirement. Although Democrats on Capitol Hill continue to claim the Protect Life Rule violates existing law, the Order from the 9th Circuit states otherwise. Hopefully, this temporary win for the Protect Life Rule will be a sign of what is to come from the ongoing legal battle.

Connor Semelsberger is Legislative Assistant at Family Research Council. Mary Jayne Caum is a Policy intern at Family Research Council.

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