By Jennifer Popik, J.D., Director of Federal Legislation National Right to Life
Editor’s note. This appears on page one of the November digital edition of National Right to Life News. Please read the issue in its entirety and share it your pro-life family and friends
Amidst the flurry of impeachment action in the House of Representatives this past week, Democrats held two hearings aimed at expanding abortion.
On November 13th, the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee held a hearing on measure (H.J. Res. 79) that purports to retroactively erase the seven-year deadline that Congress attached to the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) when it sent it to the state legislatures in 1972.
This effort by congressional Democrats to revive the 1972 ERA is an unconstitutional exercise in “political theater,” driven in part by pressure from pro-abortion activist groups.
According to an analysis from National Right to Life Committee, “Once a court adopts the understanding that a law limiting abortion is by definition a form of discrimination based on sex, and therefore impermissible under an ERA, the same doctrine would invalidate virtually any limitation on abortion,” including “restrictions on tax-funded abortions” and “any federal or state restrictions even on partial-birth abortions or third-trimester abortions.”
The prime sponsor of the measure, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Ca.), told the New York Times she thought a vote of the full House was likely “before the end of the year.” While the measure passed on a 21-11 party-line vote, action is not expected in the Senate.
For more on this hearing, see page six.
However, the effort to expand abortion rights did not end there.
On November 14th, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform held a hearing titled, “Examining State Efforts to Undermine Reproductive Health Care.” According to Democrat staff, the hearing was intended to focus on how state policies “restrict comprehensive health services” and placed a special emphasis on Missouri which has a single abortion provider. The stacked panel was designed to create sympathy regarding access to abortion services in the state. Currently, the fate of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri is uncertain due to findings by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services [DHSS] that the abortion clinic was guilty of health and legal violations.
According to an October 28th AP story written by Jim Salter headlined, “Hearing Begins on Fate of Missouri’s Lone Abortion Clinic,”
Opening statements and testimony began Monday before a commissioner with the Missouri Administrative Hearing Commission. At issue is the state health department’s effort to revoke the license for Planned Parenthood’s clinic in St. Louis.
The state has said that part of the reason it is seeking to remove the license is a series of “failed abortions.” Assistant Attorney General John Sauer outlined details of those cases. In one, he said, a woman had to undergo up to five procedures over four days to complete the abortion. In another, a woman bled heavily after doctors failed to recognize a condition that put her at higher than normal risk.
Sauer cited a third incident where a woman had an abortion but later had to return for a second one because the doctor missed that she was pregnant with twins. Donna Harrison, an OBGYN called as an expert witness by the state who reviewed the records, said there was no indication that adequate follow-up exams were done on the patient.
In spite of the clinic’s numerous violations, pro-abortion House Democrats heaped praise and support on the clinic and its chief medical officer, Dr. Colleen McNicholas. In addition to McNicholas, several other pro-abortion witnesses testified.
Allie Stuckey testified as the sole minority pro-life witness.
In response to questioning from the pro-life Republicans, McNicholas said that she has no idea how many abortions she’s performed, and no idea how far along the largest baby she’s aborted was. She went on to claim she only aborts to viability but then claimed “viability is a complicated construct.”
Allie Stuckey, the lone pro-life voice, is a conservative commentator and hosts a podcast called “Relatable.” Ms. Stuckey spoke powerfully while being attacked by pro-abortion members. When no majority witnesses would describe what an abortion was, she pointed out that that abortion is “tearing a child apart limb by limb.” Stuckey also noted, “At what other stage of life, do we get to decide who dies because they’re not wanted?”
In response to a line of questioning from Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), McNicholas insisted that abortion “ is moral.….is important, it is healthcare, and I support people being the experts in their own lives in making decisions for themselves.”
In response, Ms. Stucky replied, “I don’t quite understand the logic of saying that killing the child in the womb is moral, is healthcare. In what other situation, besides when the child is defenseless in the womb, do we call killing someone ‘healthcare,’ do we call killing someone ‘moral?’”
While no vote was taken, and the hearing was not focused on any particular piece of legislation, the hearing showed the Democrats relentless push to legalize and normalize abortion without limits until the moment of birth.