With the midterms looming, liberal Democrats look set to take a shellacking—due in large part to soaring consumer prices, record-high inflation, and an unstable stock market. Voters rank the economy as their top concern.
Yet the president and his allies are placing all their bets on abortion on demand—until birth—as the defining issue of this election cycle. They even oppose the born-alive bill in Congress that would outlaw infanticide. Why? Not because the American people love this position on abortion (they actually despise it), but because liberals in Congress and the White House are entirely beholden to their radical base.
The White House led with its July 8 executive order on "Protecting Access to Reproductive Healthcare Services." The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), meanwhile, issued abortion-related "guidance" under, of all things, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the law regulating how health care providers handle patients' information.
HHS then began a disinformation campaign alleging miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy treatments were somehow at risk even though not a single state prohibits such treatments—nor will they. That fact didn't matter.
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HHS next issued guidance purporting to require "emergency" abortion care under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) in a poorly veiled attempt to get around the state pro-life laws that sprang to life after the Dobbs v. Jackson decision. EMTALA, however, is a particularly inappropriate vehicle for this scheme because it ensures that pregnant mothers and their unborn children cannot be denied emergency medical care due to their inability to afford it. In fact, EMTALA explicitly acknowledges that unborn children have a right to life-saving medical treatment.
Meanwhile, the Department of Veterans Affairs issued an interim final rule that removes prohibitions on coverage for abortion and abortion counseling services for VA beneficiaries. By issuing an immediately effective rule, the VA bypassed the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act. Shortly thereafter, it grotesquely bragged that it had performed the first abortion in VA history.
Not to be outdone, the Department of Justice joined the abortion fray by launching a reproductive rights "task force." And, in an excessive show of force, the DOJ arrested at least a dozen pro-life demonstrators, in some cases at gunpoint, charging them with violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. What the DOJ has failed to do, however, is investigate or levy charges for violations of the FACE act on behalf of the 86 churches and 74 crisis pregnancy centers that have been vandalized since the Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade in June—even though churches and crisis pregnancy centers are also protected under that law.
Unsurprisingly, the White House has been silent on the surging wave of confirmed violence.
The most recent federal abortion initiative stems from an unlikely source: the Department of Defense. A newly released memo makes it clear that the Pentagon will subsidize abortion tourism, providing "travel and transportation allowances for Service members and their dependents," including out of state. That ignores, of course, the Hyde provisions in federal law (10 USC 1093) that generally prohibit the DOD from using funds or facilities for abortion.
But wait, there's more!
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The memo also indicates that the Pentagon will "develop a program to support Department of Defense health care providers who are subject to adverse action, including civil or criminal penalties or loss of license or reprimand, for appropriately performing their official duties, to include the indemnification of any verdict, judgment, or other monetary award consistent with applicable law."
In other words, if a Pentagon doctor performs an abortion in a state that prohibits it, the DOD stands at the ready with an open checkbook to make that doctor "whole" if he is prosecuted for violating state law. The message is clear: "Flout the law. Do the abortion. We have your back. The Pentagon will guarantee you your job and will compensate you for any loss." Taxpayer dollars meant for maintaining military readiness and combat lethality are being pledged without condition to the abortion gods—likely in violation of federal law.
The administration and congressional liberals sense their time in power is coming to a close. They are scrambling to lock in radical abortion policies while they can. But as they will soon discover, America stands for life over death.
This piece originally appeared in Newsweek on 11/08/2022