2018: A Year of Pro-life Triumphs and Challenges

Charlotte Lozier Institute  

It’s officially a new year. In this time of reflection and anticipation, it is often helpful to spend a little time reviewing accomplishments and setbacks from the year past and preparing for what may come as we begin 2019. 2018 has been a year of triumphs and challenges for those of us in the pro-life movement. As we seek greater recognition for the inalienable right to life of the unborn, let us look back on some of the more memorable events from 2018 for the pro-life movement.

 

Jan. 19, 2018 President Donald Trump addresses the March for Life by satellite from a live event for pregnancy center leaders and clients in the Rose Garden, becoming the first U. S. President to address the annual march by video link, protesting the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

 

Jan. 22, 2018 President Trump proclaims National Sanctity of Human Life Day.

 

Jan. 26, 2018 Planned Parenthood announces that Cecile Richards will step down after 12 years as president of the organization, during which time Planned Parenthood carried out 3.8 million abortions.

 

Jan. 29, 2018 the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, legislation to stop late-term abortion after five months of pregnancy, a point when science shows unborn children feel pain, is blocked by pro-abortion members of the U.S. Senate.

 

Jan. 29, 2018 clergy in Bethesda, Maryland gather together to bless a late-term abortion facility.

 

Feb. 12, 2018 Gloria Steinem steps in to “encourage” a hospital system in Toledo, Ohio to authorize a patient-transfer agreement with an abortion facility in order to keep it operating.

 

Feb. 23, 2018 the Trump administration announces that it will welcome grant applications for Title X funding from community- and faith-based organizations.

 

Mar. 3-4, 2018 University Hospitals in Cleveland’s fertility clinic loses around 4,000 preserved eggs and embryos through a system malfunction. Patients, many suffering from diseases which will prevent future conception, expressed their sadness that “now, they’re gone.”

 

Mar. 12, 2018 the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts rules that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts may not pursue litigation challenging new exceptions to the Obamacare contraception/abortifacient mandate.

 

Mar. 14, 2018 the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Western Division, grants a preliminary injunction against Ohio’s HB 214, a statute prohibiting an abortion where it is sought because of a prenatal diagnosis or potential diagnosis of Down syndrome.  The state continues to defend the statute.

 

Mar. 16, 2018 the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine releases a report asserting the safety of abortion procedures. Charlotte Lozier Institute Associate Scholars Michael J. New, Ph.D. and Donna Harrison, M.D. rebutted the assertion in National Review.

 

Mar. 19, 2018 Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant (R) signs the Gestational Age Act, prohibiting abortions after 15 weeks’ gestational age. The bill is immediately challenged.

 

Mar. 20, 2018 the United States Supreme Court hears arguments in the NIFLA v. Becerra case over a California law requiring pro-life pregnancy centers to post notices advertising abortion.

 

Apr. 28, 2018 Charlotte Lozier Institute Vice President Dr. James Studnicki and Dr. John W. Fisher publish a peer-reviewed paper rebutting arguments by Planned Parenthood that they “do more to prevent unintended pregnancy and the need for abortion than any organization in this country.” The paper instead demonstrates that Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion business, increases demand for abortion.

 

May 15, 2018 Louisiana’s Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards signs the Adoption Option Act, which requires the state’s Department of Health to provide online information clarifying the adoption process.

 

May 16, 2018 Minnesota’s Governor Mark Dayton (D) vetoes an informed consent statute presented to him by the legislature.

 

May 22, 2018 President Donald Trump addresses Susan B. Anthony List at its annual Campaign for Life Gala in Washington, D.C.

 

May 26, 2018 Ireland votes to overturn the country’s Eighth Amendment and thereby legalizes abortion.

 

May 29, 2018 the Supreme Court denies Planned Parenthood’s petition for a writ of certiorari to review an Eighth Circuit decision on the Arkansas Abortion-Inducing Drugs Safety Act, a statute which requires physicians prescribing abortion-inducing drugs to have a contract with a physician designated to handle complications.

 

June 4, 2018, the Supreme Court overturns a lower court decision involving the Trump administration’s life-affirming policy of not facilitating abortions for migrant teens, directing the lower court to dismiss the case as moot.

 

June 26, 2018 the Supreme Court rules in NIFLA v. Becerra holding in favor of pro-life pregnancy centers and overturning a California law requiring the centers to advertise abortion.

 

July 9, 2018 President Trump nominates Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court, quickly gaining the support of pro-life organizations around the country.

 

Aug. 11, 2018 Chelsea Clinton, speaking during a “Rise Up for Roepropaganda tour, asserts, misleadingly, that “American women entering the labor force from 1973 to 2009 added $3.5 trillion to our economy. The net, new entrance of women — that is not disconnected from the fact that Roe became the law of the land in January of 1973.”

 

Aug. 20, 2018 the Minnesota Court of Appeals holds against a 2016 challenge to the University of Minnesota’s use of aborted fetal tissue. The Court determined that the issue was moot following later legislative clarification of the relevant statute. Under the original law, the remains of aborted unborn children could only be used by researchers for very specific reasons but, under 2017 legislation, researchers may apply to a state board to use aborted fetal remains for a wider variety of medical research so long as they property justify the need to a state board.

 

Sept. 10, 2018 an opinion by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in the case of Comprehensive Health v. Josh Hawley holds that there has been no U. S. Supreme Court holding that “abortion was inherently safe.”

 

Sept. 12, 2018 Planned Parenthood names Leana Wen to replace Cecile Richards as president, only the second doctor to head the organization in more than 100 years.

 

Sept. 13, 2018 Chelsea Clinton makes headlines a second time by asserting that reversing Roe v. Wade would be “un-Christian.”

 

Sept. 13, 2018 the “documentary” Reversing Roe premiers on Netflix, garnering attention nationwide.

 

Sept. 20, 2018 the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii cites the NIFLA v. Becerra case in striking down a Hawaii statute requiring pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise abortions inside their facilities.

 

Sept. 26, 2018 the Trump administration’s life-affirming policy of not facilitating abortions for migrant teens garners additional negative media attention.

 

Sept. 26, 2018 the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia rejects Planned Parenthood’s “cumulative undue burden” argument, stating that “[t]his type of freestanding, collective claim is unfamiliar to abortion jurisprudence” but does not resolve the entire case. This reflects a new tactic employed by abortion businesses to argue that new, common-sense pro-life laws constitute an undue burden on the “right to abortion” when considered cumulatively with other such restrictions already enacted by the state’s legislature.

 

Sept. 26, 2018 the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upholds a Louisiana admitting privileges statute.

 

Sept. 29, 2018 California Governor Brown vetoes legislation that would have required college campus health centers in the state system to provide abortion-inducing drugs to students.

 

Oct. 6, 2018 Justice Brett Kavanaugh is sworn in as the 114th Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

 

Oct. 10, 2018 Pope Francis, speaking during his general audience, compares the act of abortion to hiring a hitman “to solve a problem.”

 

Oct. 10, 2018 Manishkumar Patel is sentenced to 22 years in prison after being found guilty of spiking his girlfriend’s drink with an abortion-inducing drug.

 

Oct. 12, 2018 the movie Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer is released in theaters nationwide, earning $1,162,988 in its first weekend. The movie makes it into the “top ten opening movies in the country” despite receiving very little media attention, most of which was hostile.

 

Oct. 12, 2018 the State of Indiana files a petition for a writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court following injunctions against two life-affirming state statutes: one requiring humane disposal of human fetal remains and the other protecting unborn children from abortions sought due to their sex, race, or potential disability. The state asks the Supreme Court to consider whether the reason for an abortion, i.e., discriminatory intent, may stand as an exception to the general rule of abortion-on-demand.

 

Oct. 18, 2018 Kennesaw State University agrees to change school policies that were previously used to suppress the speech of a student organization seeking to provide students with a pro-life display on campus.

 

Oct. 19, 2018 the Alabama State Supreme Court upholds the capital conviction of a man convicted of killing both his wife and unborn child. In a concurring opinion, Alabama State Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker askes the United States Supreme Court to reconsider and reverse Roe v. Wade, calling Roe an “increasingly isolated exception to the rights of unborn children.”

 

Nov. 6, 2018 by the time polls close, pro-life Susan B. Anthony List supports pro-life candidates with more than 2.7 million voter visits, 1,092,983 voters reached online, 352,261 voters reached over the phone, and more than $28 million raised and spent.

 

Nov. 6, 2018 Alabama and West Virginia voters pass pro-life state constitutional amendments ensuring that the right to life of the states’ most vulnerable will be protected. A similar initiative is defeated in Oregon.

 

Nov. 6, 2018 despite losing the U.S. House of Representatives, the pro-life movement celebrates victory in the midterm elections as the U. S. Senate welcomes a pro-life majority.

 

Nov. 10, 2018 religious leaders in Ohio bless another abortion facility.

 

Nov. 13, 2018 The Agenda Project re-releases a disturbing ad depicting a baby girl and asserting that “she deserves to be a choice,” prompting backlash for the correlation between the born baby depicted in the ad and the unborn children who are “not chosen” and therefore killed by abortionists.

 

Nov. 15, 2018 the Department of Health and Human Services places the Religious Exemptions and Accommodations for Coverage of Certain Preventive Services Under the Affordable Care Act in the Federal Register, officially providing accommodations for organizations and businesses with moral or religious objections to the ACA’s contraception requirement.

 

Nov. 16, 2018 Susan B. Anthony List and Charlotte Lozier Institute each submit an amicus curiae brief to the United States Supreme Court asking the court to uphold life-affirming Indiana statutes. One brief asks the Court to consider “whether…abortion precedents protect the eugenic practice of Down syndrome discrimination abortion.” The second, filed along with Americans United for Life, addresses the question of how human fetal remains from abortions may be disposed of.

 

Nov. 19, 2018 pro-life U.S. Senate candidate Rick Scott, endorsed by Susan B. Anthony List, is officially declared the winner in the Florida Senate race.

 

Nov. 20, 2018 Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act is struck down by U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves.

 

Nov. 27, 2018 pro-life U.S. Senate candidate Cindy Hyde-Smith, endorsed by Susan B. Anthony List, wins her runoff in Mississippi.

 

Dec. 10, 2018 the United States Supreme Court declines to hear Gee v. Planned Parenthood of Gulf Coast, effectively leaving in place lower court rulings that determined that individual states could not deny Planned Parenthood taxpayer funding via Medicaid.

 

Dec. 13, 2018, a hearing “Exploring Alternatives to Fetal Tissue Research” is held in the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Healthcare, Benefits, and Administrative Rules and Government Operations for the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Charlotte Lozier Institute Associate Scholar Tara Sander Lee, Ph.D. and CLI Vice President David Prentice testify before the subcommittee.

 

Dec. 13, 2018 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit lifts in part an injunction against the Religious Exemptions and Accommodations for Coverage of Certain Preventative Services Under the Affordable Care Act but leaves in place part of the injunction.

 

Dec. 14, 2018 Ohio passes two life-affirming pieces of legislation: one to end dismemberment abortion and the other to protect unborn babies once a heartbeat has been detected. Departing Gov. John Kasich vetoes the heartbeat protection legislation but signs the dismemberment abortion ban into law.

 

Dec. 17, 2018 Mississippi’s attorney general files an appeal to the Fifth Circuit to overturn the Nov. 20 District Court decision to strike down the state’s Gestational Age Act.

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