In an interview on a Catholic radio program earlier this month, Fr. Frank Pavone, the head of Priests for Life, made the case for Donald Trump to a skeptical listener by explaining that while Trump may have the potential to kill people as president—whether it be by deliberately murdering the family members of suspected terrorists or launching a nuclear war—such a fear should be outweighed by Hillary Clinton’s support for the “raging holocaust” of abortion.
A caller to the “The Drew Mariani Show” told Pavone that he wouldn’t vote for either Clinton or Trump in the presidential election, pointing to Clinton’s support for abortion rights and Trump’s “statements about going after families of suspected terrorists or known terrorists,” explaining that while he thought “protecting infants in the womb is probably the most important thing,” there are “other lives at stake, there’s other issues that do have to deal with life.”
Pavone said that he agreed that it was an important question, and that he’d approach it by first establishing that all “lives are of equal value,” then figuring out if he was fairly interpreting a statement from a candidate or if it had been skewed by the media, and then asking if the president actually has “the power to unilaterally do that or are there people around him that are going to rein him in or put boundaries on what he can do.” (Pavone made a similar argument while defending Trump at the National Right To Life Convention last month, saying we’re not “voting for a dictator.”)
Finally, Pavone said, you must compare the cost to human life that both candidates might cause. In this case, he said (without naming candidates), while Trump has indicated that he might kill innocent family members of suspected terrorists or might be quick to drop an atomic bomb, Clinton would definitely continue the “raging holocaust” of legal abortion, which is “like several atomic bombs have already gone off on our own soil”:
And then, of course, the final element of the analysis as far as I’m concerned is, are we talking about a potential destruction of the innocent or an actual destruction of the innocent and in what numbers? Right now, we have a raging holocaust going on, and it’s not ‘maybe’ and it’s not ‘potential’ and it’s not ‘maybe we’re going to kill these families’ or ‘maybe we’re going to drop an atomic bomb.’ It’s like several atomic bombs have already gone off on our own soil when it comes to just the sheer numbers. And so, with abortion we’re talking about an actual, daily killing of the innocent as opposed to something that maybe, if we’re analyzing properly what he said, could be a potential killing of the innocent.
At last weekend’s National Right to Life Convention outside of Washington, D.C., there was one name that was on everyone’s minds, even if it was rarely uttered aloud: Donald Trump.
Speaker after speaker discussed the 2016 election while sidestepping what one conference-goer called the “elephant in the room,” Trump’s place at the top of the Republican ticket. But attendees were not about to let the topic go, and several speakers were pressed about the organization’s stance on the presidential election during question-and-answer sessions.
James Bopp, the legendary conservative attorney who serves as the National Right to Life Committee’s general counsel, was one of the few speakers to bring up the presumptive GOP nominee without prompting, never mentioning the candidate by name but saying that “there’s only one conclusion you can come to” in the race since the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, is “100 percent evil” and “will never make a correct decision on anything.”
Fr. Frank Pavone, the head of Priests for Life, made a similar argument after being pressed about his position on Trump at the conference, attempting to downplay the power that Trump would have and play up the influence that he would give to those around him, presumably people more in line with the anti-choice movement’s goals and messaging.
“When you think about it,” Pavone said, “the situation we have now is just a heightened version of what we face in any electoral choice, namely you’re choosing between two people, you know, you can have problems with both of them. A vote doesn’t mean that you agree with the person, a vote doesn’t mean that you think the person’s right. A vote is a transfer of power.”
“Remember that the presidency is more than the man or woman who occupies the Oval Office,” he added. “You’re putting a whole party into power. You’re putting a whole team into power. Every one of these candidates is surrounded by a large number of smart and influential people who are going to set boundaries and advise them and point them in the right direction. And not only that, but you have, we still do have checks and balances in our system. So if we were voting for a dictator it would be a very different scenario.”
Pavone mentioned that he had recently spoken with John Mashburn, a Trump aide whose hiring was meant in part as a bridge to abortion rights opponents.
Karen Cross, National Right to Life’s political director, was also confronted about Trump during a breakout session by an attendee who called the Republican candidate “the elephant in the room at this whole convention.”
Cross, whose presentation had been about the damage she said was caused by anti-choice activists who demand purity in their candidates and thus let pro-choice candidates win, also offered the Clinton-is-worse argument.
“We have to work against Hillary,” she said. “Hillary is 100 percent pro-abortion, she is the Emily's List, Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, voted and worked against — I mean, she's against the partial-birth abortion ban, she's spoken against the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, she has committed to appointing pro-abortion justices to the court. She is horrible.”
Yet she acknowledged that “this is the most different, most difficult election I've ever seen, ever.”
Mainstream anti-abortion groups have largely fallen in line behind Trump, despite their initial doubts. The Susan B. Anthony List, for instance, has said it will back Trump despite the fact that its president once signed a letter urging primary voters to “support anyone but Donald Trump,” calling into question his commitment to the anti-abortion cause and saying she was “disgusted by Mr. Trump’s treatment of individuals, women, in particular.” Americans United for Life has not taken an official position on Trump, but its acting president told The Washington Times in May that it would be impossible to support Clinton.
At the National Right to Life Convention, speakers focused on the goal of keeping a Republican majority in the Senate, while not dwelling on the risk that having Trump at the top of the ticket may pose to some of their favored candidates.
In one moment of dissonance, Raimundo Rojas, the National Right to Life Committee’s director of Latino outreach, who was giving a workshop on reaching Latino audiences, showed a slide detailing the performance of past Republican presidential candidates among Latino voters. He noted that ignoring or alienating the Hispanic media can spell doom for a candidate. He never mentioned Trump.
Fr. Frank Pavone, the head of Priests for Life, told Ave Maria Radio’s “Catholic Connection” yesterday that the choice in this year’s presidential election is not “complicated” because if a candidate supports abortion rights, they ought to be rejected as automatically as a candidate who supports terrorism since “abortion is no better than terrorism, in fact it’s worse.”
The program’s host, Teresa Tomeo, asked Pavone about the protests that a few anti-abortion groups are planning to hold around the Republican National Convention this month urging the party to keep a strong opposition to abortion rights in its platform.
“Of course, where there’s even more awareness needed is at the Democratic convention,” Pavone said. “There ought to be a picture of an aborted baby plastered on every person going to that convention. And they’re the ones who need to be shaken up even more.”
Pavone, who has urged anti-abortion activists to vote for Donald Trump despite their qualms, added that the whole election comes down to a choice about abortion rights. “You know, it’s not necessarily a complicated conversation with this election,” he said. “It’s a few very basic points. And I always go back to the position I have, is that if a candidate came up and said, ‘I support terrorism,’ you know, the conversation stops there. You don’t ask them, you don’t start comparing other positions, other issues. You support terrorism, you’re out. And abortion is no better than terrorism, in fact it’s worse.”
The reactions from anti-abortion groups to the Supreme Court’s decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt have started pouring in. Most repeat the claim that the Texas law in question, which was meant to regulate the majority of the state’s abortion providers out of existence, was in fact an honest attempt to protect women’s health and stand up to unscrupulous providers. A few linked the decision to the upcoming presidential election, urging voters to elect a president who will nominate justices hostile to Roe v. Wade, as Donald Trump has promised he will do.
“Women lost today as the Supreme Court sides with the abortion industry, putting profits over women’s health and safety by opposing life-saving regulations and medically endorsed standards of patient care. Sadly, the commonsense laws that protect women in real, full service healthcare centers won’t be in effect in Texas abortion clinics, but Americans United for Life will continue to fight – in legislatures and in the courts – to protect women from a dangerous and greedy abortion industry,” said AUL Acting President and Senior Counsel Clarke Forsythe. …
“In striking down these commonsense requirements, the Supreme Court has essentially accepted the abortion industry’s argument that it should be allowed to keep its profits high and patient care standards low,” said Forsythe. “It inexplicably turned a blind eye to what it has repeatedly held since Roe v. Wade: states may regulate the provision of abortion to protect maternal health. This ruling endangers women nationwide as health and safety standards are at risk.”
“Today’s abortion clinics are the true ‘back alleys’ of abortion mythology,” noted Denise Burke, Vice President of Legal Affairs at AUL. “They consistently operate in the ‘red light district’ of American medicine where the problem of substandard abortion providers is longstanding and pervasive. The fight against this public health crisis will continue, despite today’s ruling.”
Stephen Aden of the Religious Right legal group Alliance Defending Freedom linked the law to Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortion provider who was found guilty of a number of crimes related to a squalid clinic he ran, claiming that Texas’ law was “clearly designed to protect the health and safety of women in the wake of the Kermit Gosnell Scandal”:
“Abortionists shouldn’t be given a free pass to elude medical requirements that everyone else is required to follow. We are disappointed that the Supreme Court has ruled against a law so clearly designed to protect the health and safety of women in the wake of the Kermit Gosnell scandal. The law’s requirements were commonsense protections that ensured the maximum amount of protection for women, who deserve to have their well-being treated by government as a higher priority than the bottom line of abortionists. Any abortion facilities that don’t meet basic health and safety standards are not facilities that anyone should want to remain open.”
The Family Research Council similarly claimed that the Supreme Court decision “gives the abortion industry a free pass,” ridiculously claiming that abortion providers face less stringent regulation than hair salons and restaurants:
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement:
"The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down H.B. 2 undermines the health and safety of vulnerable women. This decision is a loss for women and gives the abortion industry a free pass. The need to regulate abortion facilities is necessary to protect women against cut-and-run abortionists at shoddy abortion facilities. Mandating basic and necessary health and safety standards such as trained staff, corridors that could accommodate a stretcher in case of emergency, admitting privileges to a hospital, and up-to-date fire, sanitation, and safety codes should be beyond the politics of abortion. When abortion facilities are not held to the same standards as other facilities, women’s lives are endangered. In 2011 alone, 26,500 women experienced abortion-related complications, and close to 3,200 women required post-abortion hospitalization. Hair and nail salons, public pools, restaurants, and tanning centers must meet basic health and safety standards—shouldn’t abortion facilities? Abortion facilities cannot be exempt from following basic health standards.
"While the need to protect the health and safety of women failed to remain at the forefront of the Supreme Court's decision, we will continue our work to protect women and children from the predatory abortion industry,” Perkins concluded.
FRC’s Arina Grossu, Director of the Center for Human Dignity, released the following statement:
“One cannot be pro-woman and stand for the substandard facilities that many abortion centers operate which risk women’s lives. Striking down abortion facility regulations leaves the door open for continued and rampant disregard for women’s health and safety. Status-quo is not good enough," concluded Grossu.
Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver also claimed that the Supreme Court was siding with abortion clinics’ bottom lines over the health of women:
“How foolish a decision by the Supreme Court to strike down common sense regulations regarding health and safety,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “They expect us to believe their opinion is based on the Constitution? It certainly is not. This is a sad day and another dark chapter in the history of America. Women should not be relegated to substandard facilities in order to save abortion providers a few dollars.”
The Susan B. Anthony List, which acts as the political arm of the anti-choice movement, turned the conversation to the election, while never quite mentioning Trump by name:
“Today’s tragic decision by the Court means that Texas women will not be protected from the unsanitary conditions and even Gosnell-like horrors that permeate the abortion industry,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List, referencing the 2013 trial of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, currently serving a life sentence for murdering babies after botched, late-term abortions, and for the negligent death of one mother, Karnamaya Mongar.
“The abortion industry cannot be trusted to regulate itself and they know it. That’s why they fought tooth and nail against common-sense health and safety standards and requirements for abortionists to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. We have documented page after page of incidents of abuse, negligence, and brutality since 2008. This decision means the filth and exploitation will continue unchecked.
“The stakes for the 2016 election could not be higher. The next president will be tasked with selecting Justice Antonin Scalia’s replacement and up to three others. We must elect a pro-life president and safeguard today’s pro-life majorities in the House and Senate. Only with a pro-life Congress and White House can we begin to address the havoc wrought by the Supreme Court on America’s unborn children and their mothers.”
Frank Pavone of Priests for Life also linked the decision to the election:
The Supreme Court is now the Supreme Medical Board, setting its own standards for patient care in the United States. This decision is an outrageous usurpation of legislative power and it only underscores the critical importance of electing a President who will nominate -- and Senators who will confirm -- justices to the Supreme Court who will adjudicate, not write the law.
“The U.S. Supreme Court once again failed to protect the rights, health and safety of women and unborn children today in its Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision. Texas and many other states have enacted common sense laws that protect the rights of the unborn and the health and safety of thousands of women subjected to the horrific conditions of abortion clinics across the country, and its shameful that the Supreme Court overturned these safeguards. The Court’s failure today is another example of the urgency to elect a pro-life President in November who will be responsible for filling the enormous vacancy left by Justice Scalia’s passing and possibly fill other seats on the Court. The pro-life community must also unite to elect legislators across the country who will work to protect women and unborn children.”
Fox commentator Todd Starnes referenced the need for the anti-choice movement to ensure ideological purity among judges, even those nominated by Republican presidents:
Justice Kennedy sided against the unborn -- a justice appointed by a Republican president.
Russell Moore, the policy head of the Southern Baptist Convention, meanwhile, filmed a video outside the Supreme Court in which he claimed that the “sad and pathetic ruling that essentially leaves the abortion industry unregulated in a kind of wild west, laissez faire sort of situation in the state of Texas that we wouldn’t allow for any other industry.”
Christians, he said, “need to be standing up for our vulnerable unborn neighbors and their vulnerable mothers.”
In an interview with the New York Times Magazine published today, Donald Trump continued to revise his comment to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that there should be “some form of punishment” for women who have abortions.
Now he argued to me, rather unconvincingly, that he had been misinterpreted: “I didn’t mean punishment for women like prison. I’m saying women punish themselves. I didn’t want people to think in terms of ‘prison’ punishment. And because of that I walked it back.
Trump’s so-called “walk-back” is actually a stroll through the rhetoric and actions of the far Right. If women are “punishing themselves,” it is only because anti-abortion activists and Donald Trump want to stigmatize them for receiving a legal medical procedure.
One of the principal tactics of the anti-abortion movement is shaming women who are seeking out a safe and legal medical procedure. They stand at clinic doors harassing patients and set up “crisis pregnancy centers” to mislead women about abortion. States have passed laws forcing doctors to lie to patients, telling them abortion is linked to mental illness, despite research saying the opposite.
Perhaps Trump is just borrowing from the playbook of Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman, who recently endorsed his candidacy. In a 2003 book, the radical anti-abortion activist with ties to terrorists, claimed women who receive abortions, their families and their doctors have “personal bloodguilt” for their actions, which in turn makes the entire United States “bloodguilty.”
Trump's remarks also echoed those of Priests for Life's National Director Frank Pavone, who remarked in early April that the anti abortion movement does not aim to "imprison [women], we aim to liberate them from the shame and guilt and wounds abortion brings."
Trump’s penchant of shaming women in public forums is no secret, and his personal treatment of women in professional and personal settings has been the subject of dozens of column inches and countless cable news segments. His most recent statement should be cause for even greater concern. Trump now wants to take his Twitter rants and make them a matter of national policy.
Draper’s article points out that according to a senior campaign adviser, “Trump, a serial non-apologizer, initially saw nothing wrong with his remark and refused to walk it back.” It was “only when every network chief executive and over 100 media outlets besieged the Trump campaign with requests for additional comment on how women should be punished for abortions did the Trump campaign turn to an ally: Chris Christie, whose tenure as the Republican governor of the blue state of New Jersey had given him experience placating both social conservatives and the moderate voters Trump hoped to attract in the general election.” It turns out, according to Draper, “A member of Christie’s political team helped draft a statement that essentially repudiated Trump’s earlier one.”
What we’ve learned about Donald Trump’s beliefs is that before the media’s outcry he saw nothing wrong with women being jailed for having an abortion. Now, weeks after his campaign confronted a tsunami of pushback, his default position is to effectively shame women.
Father Frank Pavone, the head of Priests for Life, is one of the anti-abortion leaders who have reluctantly come around to Donald Trump now that he is the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, saying last week that for abortion rights opponents, the choice between Trump and a Democrat is a choice “between doubt and certainty.”
Pavone explained his thinking more in an interview Tuesday on Ave Maria Radio, saying that he reminds people who are having doubts about voting for Trump about the importance of Supreme Court nominations and presents them with an utterly depressing analogy:
Here’s the analogy I’ve been using for folks to consider: It’s like being on a runaway train. Let’s presume, it’s an odd situation, but let’s presume that you’re at the controls of a runaway train. And the train cannot be stopped and you know that at the end of the track it’s going to do damage, so you can’t stop the train. But supposed the only thing you could do is to switch the track that the train is on so that at the end of Track A it’s going to kill 10 people and at the end of Track B it’s going to kill 100 people. Now, you don’t want to kill anybody. Nobody wants to kill anybody. But you can’t stop the train.
So, what are you going to do? Are you going to say, ‘Oh, I’m not going to do anything’? Or are you going to do your best to switch it to the track where it’s going to do less damage. Now, some people say, ‘I don’t want to kill 10 people and I don’t want to kill 100 people, so I’m not going to do anything.’ Yeah, but if the train is on the track, then, to do the more damage, don’t you share responsibility for not doing something to try to minimize the damage?
This is not the choice between the lesser of two evils: We don’t choose evil at all. It’s a choice to limit evil. And the choice to limit evil is a good.
He added that according to the catechism, voting is “morally obligatory.”
In January, as Iowans prepared to cast their votes in the first-in-the-nation caucuses, several women leaders in the anti-abortion movement wrote an open letter urging Republicans in the state to “support anyone but Donald Trump.”
The activists, including Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser and Concerned Women for America CEO Penny Nance, wrote that Trump “cannot be trusted” to advance their anti-abortion policy goals or to nominate Supreme Court justices who would vote to reverse Roe v. Wade. They went on to describe his record of “disparaging” remarks about women:
Moreover, as women, we are disgusted by Mr. Trump’s treatment of individuals, women, in particular. He has impugned the dignity of women, most notably Megyn Kelly, he mocked and bullied Carly Fiorina, and has through the years made disparaging public comments to and about many women. Further, Mr. Trump has profited from the exploitation of women in his Atlantic City casino hotel which boasted of the first strip club casino in the country.
America will only be a great nation when we have leaders of strong character who will defend both unborn children and the dignity of women. We cannot trust Donald Trump to do either. Therefore we urge our fellow citizens to support an alternative candidate.
Now, as Trump becomes the presumptive Republican nominee, the anti-choice movement has to decide whether to take its chances with him.
Nance, sounding distraught, told a radio interviewer this morning that a third party presidential candidacy was out of the question and that the choice was between Trump and a “devastating” Hillary Clinton presidency.
Dannenfelser, who once said that Trump “disqualified himself as the GOP nominee” when he said that the abortion laws “are set” and “we have to leave it that way,” signaled that she was ready to pivot her message yesterday when she wrote a blog post praising Trump for making “a huge pro-life hire” in John Mashburn, a former staffer to North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis and someone whom Dannenfelser described as an ally to the anti-abortion movement.
“Congratulations on your new hire, Mr. Trump,” Dannenfelser wrote. “If elected, no doubt John Mashburn will serve you well as you fulfill your campaign promises to defund Planned Parenthood, advance and sign into law the popular Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and appoint Justices to the bench who will protect and defend the Constitution.”
Mashburn has previously worked for right-wing groups including the American Civil Rights Union and the Carleson Center for Public Policy.
In the end, the game for anti-choice groups comes down to the Supreme Court. A coalition of leading groups have unified behind a campaign pressuring Republican senators to keep up their blockade of President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland. Just yesterday, the Susan B. Anthony List, CWA and Iowa Right to Life delivered a petition to Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, urging him to continue to refuse to hold hearings on a Supreme Court nominee until the next president is sworn in.
Their hope, it seems, is that a candidate they are “disgusted” by and “cannot trust” will win the presidency and at least give them a Supreme Court pick who will advance their agenda.
And while Trump is the candidate whom they have repeatedly painted as a worst-case scenario, these activists must be relieved that he has outsourced the duty of selecting future Supreme Court justices to the anti-choice Heritage Foundation.
UPDATE 5/5/16: The Washington Times reports that the Susan B. Anthony List and Priests for Life will both be supporting Trump. Priests for Life's Frank Pavone explained that when it comes to the Supreme Court, "the difference here is between doubt and certainty.”
Between Mr. Trump and likely Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton — the only presidential candidate ever endorsed by Planned Parenthood — Father Frank Pavone says the decision is easy.
Fr. Pavone said his group will work to convince pro-life activists to support Mr. Trump in the general election.
“Withholding support [from Mr. Trump] at this point is in effect support for Hillary,” he said. “Sometimes people might feel like, ‘I feel better in my conscience because I didn’t cast a vote for him and I didn’t cast a vote for Hillary either.’ [But] you can influence the election by not voting.”
Mallory Quigley, director of communications for the Susan B. Anthony List, said her group will also support Mr. Trump, citing his campaign promise to defund Planned Parenthood and support for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks of fertilization.
“I think achieving these goals would be a huge accomplishment, bigger than any pro-life advancement that we’ve seen in our lifetime,” Ms. Quigley said, adding, “We’re expecting Trump to be a man of his word and follow through, just as he would on any issue.”
Clarke Forsythe, acting president and senior counsel for Americans United for Life, would not commit to supporting Mr. Trump in the general election, but said supporting Mrs. Clinton — whose position on abortion he compared to the North Korea regime’s — is untenable.
Mr. Forsythe said in a statement that AUL “will be carefully and closely watching Donald Trump between now and election day, to see whether he lays out pro-life policies as well as to learn what his recommendations will be for the GOP party platform.”
But following the death of former Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, Fr. Pavone said Mr. Trump is now the pro-life movement’s last, best hope of retaining a majority on the bench.
When it comes to the Supreme Court, Donald Trump has mentioned Scalia as a model,” he said. “Well, that’s music to our ears, naturally. We know what we’re going to get with Hillary. Even if people have doubts about what kind of people Donald Trump would nominate, the difference here is between doubt and certainty.”
Fr. Pavone said Mr. Trump is not the ideal pro-life candidate, but added that a healthy dose of pragmatism is necessary in any election.
“You don’t compromise on your goals or your principles,” he said. “At the same time, you look at the situation and you say, ‘How far can we go in these circumstances?’ Well, either one or the other is going to be president, so we want the better of the two.”
“We know 100 percent where Hillary Clinton stands,” Ms. Quigley noted. “She supports abortion up until the moment of birth for any reason. She has yet to name a single instance in which she would stand in and protect the life of the child, even sex-selection abortions, abortions for disability, up until the very moment of birth.
“We’ve made the judgment that this is what we need to do.”
Also displeased with the Catholic school’s welcoming of Richards was Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, who said on a Catholic radio program on Tuesday that inviting Richards was the equivalent of trying to “understand terrorism” by inviting “representatives of ISIS” to campus or inviting “the biggest mobsters to come in because we have to understand both sides of the debate about organized crime.”
In an interview with Teresa Tomeo on Ave Maria Radio’s “Catholic Connection,” Pavone blasted Georgetown for “adding to confusion, contention and division within the church on the most important issue of our day,” asking if there are “no better speakers in the world to stimulate the intellects of these students than people who preside over killing hundreds of thousands of children every year.”
He said he didn’t buy the argument that inviting someone like Richards to speak was allowing “inquiry into all different positions.”
“I mean, do we inquire, do we try to understand terrorism by inviting representatives of ISIS to come and speak?” he asked. “Or let’s get some of the biggest drug dealers in the country to come and talk about their business because, after all, we have to understand both sides of the issue of drug abuse. Why don’t we invite the biggest mobsters to come in because we have to understand both sides of the debate about organized crime? Are they doing that? Maybe I’m missing it, but do these universities invite these kinds of people too?”
“You know,” Tomeo said, “this is what I don’t get, why this issue is only talked about in terms of ‘both sides’ of a controversial issue when it comes to abortion and artificial contraception or even so-called same-sex marriage.”
“Yeah, the fact is the other side of these things is so totally bankrupt, unacceptable, outrageous, and has no place in civilized society that that should be self-evident right from the start,” Pavone responded. “Why do you have to think twice about why it’s wrong to kill a baby? See, that’s what I don’t understand either. I mean, you mean to tell me these students have to think twice about whether killing a child is wrong?”
We’ll just note that conservatives have been wringing their hands for years about intolerant liberals supposedly shutting down opposing speech on college campuses.
As we noted this morning, the hubbub over Donald Trump’s comments about legal punishment for women who have abortions has shone a spotlight on the anti-abortion movement’s uncertainty about how to handle women who seek illegal abortions if the procedure is recriminalized.
While many in the anti-choice movement try to avoid talking about this issue publicly, it is something that activists who are more thoughtful than Donald Trump probably can’t help but consider as they shape their views.
Frank Pavone, the head of Priests for Life, gave an interesting glimpse into the way some anti-choice activists think about the punishment issue this week when he said that if abortion is recriminalized, women who have abortions are unlikely to face murder charges because they could show that they faced “pressure” or “confusion” in their decision. When he was pressed further on the issue, Pavone floated the possibility of legal punishment for “accomplices” — like someone who brings a woman to get an abortion — and seemed to suggest that the law could also punish women who are insufficiently remorseful about having the procedure.
This is not the first time that Priests for Life has tried to address the issue. A few years ago, Bryan Kemper, who heads youth outreach for Priests for Life through his group Stand True Ministries, grappled with this question on his blog and concluded that if abortion is to become illegal nationwide, as is the goal of the anti-abortion movement, then women who obtain abortions would indeed have to be treated as murderers.
Kemper wrote in 2012 that the question of what to do about women who have abortions if the procedure is recriminalized is “one of the toughest questions to answer as a pro-lifer” but that the obvious answer is unavoidable if you “truly believe that a child in the womb is a full human person.” He continued:
I admit there is an emotional element to this that can blur the issue. I know that no one wants to go throwing thousands of women in prison. It is sincerely a tough question.
Lets change the direction we look at this however. Just like in my debates against pro-abortion advocates, I would steer away from the distractions and focus on the core issue. What is abortion? Abortion is the killing of a human person. Just like stabbing a three old on a playground is killing a human person, stabbing a baby in the womb is also killing a human person.
If we establish a Human Life Amendment to the Constitution declaring that children are full human persons from the moment of fertilization, then we must treat them as such.
When the woman in Texas drowned her five children several years ago, what was your thought on her punishment? Did you believe because she had some rough times at home she should be excused from what she did? The fact is, she killed her five children and had to answer to the law. While we might feel sorry for her emotional state, we must also want justice for the five children who were killed.
In the same way, we must look at the children in the womb as equal in value as the children who were drowned and demand justice for them also. We can certainly feel empathy for what a woman might be going through, however, that cannot change the fact that she has broken the law and ended the life of her child. We know there is forgiveness is Christ, but justice must also be served. If we make a separate law and separate punishment for someone who has an abortion then we are saying that the child in the womb is somehow not as valuable then any other human person killed. If we say that intentionally killing one child is less of a crime then intentionally killing another child, then our whole argument for life is destroyed.
Donald Trump’s comment last month that if abortion is recriminalized, a woman who obtains the procedure will have to face “some form of punishment ” was a disaster for his presidential campaign, but did a public service in exposing the real consequences of the anti-choice movement's agenda.
Abortion rights opponents who have spent years claiming that their efforts to restrict abortion are about protecting women were suddenly faced with a direct question: If you believe that abortion is murder, why shouldn’t a woman who chooses an abortion be treated like a murderer?
Most anti-choice leaders respond with some version of the argument that in the case of an abortion, a woman is a victim rather than a perpetrator, along with vague assurances that no public officials would actually choose to legally punish women for the procedure.
One of these is Frank Pavone, the head of Priests for Life, who responded to Trump’s comment by saying: “We don't aim to imprison [women], we aim to liberate them from the shame and guilt and wounds abortion brings. The punishment should be for the abortionist, not the baby's mom.”
But Pavone had a hard time keeping up this argument when, in a recent radio appearance, a sympathetic caller pressed him on the logical fallacy.
Pavone was a guest on "The Drew Mariani Show" on Relevant Radio on Tuesday when a listener named Cory called in to say that he thought Trump was being “remarkably philosophically consistent” on the issue of punishing women for abortion. If a fetus is the equivalent of a five-year-old, he asked, why wouldn’t a woman who has an abortion face the same punishment as a woman who hires someone to kill her five-year-old?
“Because, I mean, we certainly don’t allow a woman who’s an accomplice in the murder of a five-year-old or a six-year-old the privilege of being a victim,” he said. “So I’m not exactly sure how we — we’re not really being that philosophically consistent here with this.”
Pavone responded that the difference was “psychological” and that a woman who had an abortion would probably face a lesser charge because of the amount of “pressure” and “confusion” that she was under to seek the procedure, much like “mitigating circumstances” can mitigate murder charges in the case of a “born person.”
Pavone added that it would also make sense to spare women from punishment so that they would report abortion providers to the authorities, who could then “go after that abortionist and stop him and save other lives.”
Cory, however, was not satisfied with this answer. He pointed out that many women who have abortions “don’t mind having gone through it and they don’t regret it” and repeated that he thought “there should be some sort of legal consequence for a woman who volitionally goes into an abortion clinic knowing what’s going to happen.”
“There has to be some sort of legal consequence, otherwise I just fear that we’re not being logically consistent on this issue,” he said.
Pavone’s answer was essentially “we’ll see.” He told Cory that once an abortion ban is enacted, there would be many options for enforcing it, including penalizing “accomplices” who help a woman get an abortion.
“I mean, the abortionist has to get punished, but what about the person who brings her to or pays for the abortion?” he asked. “So the law can look at a lot of things.”
Pavone then seemed to open the door for the possibility of punishing women who are insufficiently remorseful about having an abortion. “What you have to do,” he said, “is look at each circumstance very carefully, and just like we do with the murder of born people, what were the — how guilty, how responsible, how free was this person, how much did they know and intend what was going on?”
Jay Sekulow, who heads the Religious Right legal group founded by Pat Robertson, has similarly hinted at his willingness to accept legal punishments for women who choose abortions for what he deems to be the wrong reasons.
Fr. Frank Pavone, the head of Priests for Life, sent out a press statement today seeking to “correct the record” on reports that Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump had blown off a planned conference call with a group of anti-choice activists he organized yesterday.
Pavone declined to go into details, but said that the Trump campaign did not “break any commitment, promise, appointment, or expectation” and that he has extended to Trump a “standing invitation to dialogue.”
Pavone said that his group believes that the legal punishment for abortion “should be for the abortionist, not the baby's mom,” but claimed that women who “have had abortions are already in prison.” (He meant this metaphorically, although it is also literally true.)
“We don't aim to imprison them, we aim to liberate them from the shame and guilt and wounds abortion brings,” he said.
He added that people like Trump who believe in punishing women for abortion are “much easier to bring to the right position” than those who are pro-choice:
Much has been made of his recent comments about who should be punished for abortion. As for punishing the woman, those who have had abortions are already in prison. As the Pastoral Director of the world's largest ministry of healing after abortion, Rachel's Vineyard, and also of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, by which those who have had abortions speak out about their experiences, I know this very well.
We don't aim to imprison them, we aim to liberate them from the shame and guilt and wounds abortion brings. The punishment should be for the abortionist, not the baby's mom. I have not spoken to Mr. Trump about this, but do look forward to doing so, and I am confident that he will listen to the voices and testimonies of women who suffer from abortion.
But Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have also made comments recently on abortion, including in a Town Hall on Fox News with Bret Baier. Sanders could name no circumstance, and Hillary hardly any, in which they thought it would be OK to make a single abortion illegal. That position is out of step with the American people. And neither of them has corrected or edited those comments.
Those who -- mistakenly -- think there should be a punishment for the women are much easier to bring to the right position than those who take the even more outrageous, offensive, and disastrous position -- like Sanders, Clinton, and the Democratic platform -- that the dismemberment and decapitation of children should continue in a practically unlimited way.
In the former position, there's an acknowledgment that society has to do something about the massive holocaust of children. In the latter position, there is a blatant disregard for the most fundamental right, the right to life.
Update: Trump reportedly failed to call in to the Priests for Life conference, even further confusing his already confused place in the “pro-life” movement.
Update II: In a statement on Thursday, Pavone said that reports of Trump's snub were "incorrect" and that neither "Mr. Trump nor anyone associated with him or his campaign cancelled a meeting or phone call with pro-life leaders, nor did they break any commitment, promise, appointment, or expectation."
Add this to the growing list of Donald Trump’s contradictory positions on reproductive rights: Trump, who has repeatedly said that Planned Parenthood does “very good work for millions of women,” is scheduled to speak today to an anti-choice organization that has been threatening to help infiltrate the women’s health provider in order to take it down.
The director of Priests for Life, Fr. Frank Pavone, has been on the frontline of the anti-abortion movement for decades and is currently leading an “ongoing campaign of prayer and fasting with the specific intention of ending abortion in the United States and ending the evils perpetrated by Planned Parenthood.”
“The troubles for Planned Parenthood have only just begun,” Pavone promised at the rally.
He added a “message to Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry”:
“Be on your toes because we are in your midst, we are behind your doors, we are in your secret meetings, we are working for you and with you though you know it not, but in His good time the God who reveals all secrets will reveal that too.”
Mike Bickle, the far-right pastor whose endorsement was recently embraced by Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign, joined a group of anti-abortion activists today in linking a blizzard that hit the East Coast last month to a Supreme Court decision on abortion rights in North Dakota.
Bickle joined anti-abortion activists including Priests for Life’s Alveda King, the Family Research Council’s Pierre Bynum and Mark Gonzalez of the United States Hispanic Prayer and Action Network in signing a statement distributed by the Texas based Justice Foundation calling for a month of “national prayers and repentance” leading up to the Supreme Court arguments in Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, the Texas abortion laws case.
“We fear that the judgment of Almighty God, which is designed to be merciful, and the wrath of God, will come upon the United States of America,” the statement warns, noting that a blizzard hit Washington on the same day that the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling striking down North Dakota’s restrictive anti-abortion “heartbeat” bill.
These leaders agree with the statement: "We tremble for our country when we remember that God is just and that His justice never sleeps. We fear that the judgment of Almighty God, which is designed to be merciful, and the wrath of God, will come upon the United States of America. God hates the shedding of innocent blood." But there is hope for our nation if Christians will pray! "If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land." II Chronicles 7:13-14. We believe that the role of the SCOTUS is to affirm God given rights to every individual throughout ALL stages of LIFE.
We are calling for national prayers of repentance from February 3 to March 4. On January 22, the Jonas storm, which also means Jonah, hit Washington, D.C. That same day the Supreme Court denied North Dakota the right to ban abortion and help women with child care. We urge everyone to pray every day for the Supreme Court and America to repent. From February 3 to March 4, we are urging prayer groups to cooperate in mobilizing the Body of Christ to 24/7 non-stop prayer for the SCOTUS.
On March 2, the Supreme Court will hear the Texas case which calls for ambulatory surgical centers and hospital admitting privileges. We all will have another opportunity to repent for the sin of abortion through this case.
On Thursday morning, about 50 protesters gathered in the bitter cold in front of a new Planned Parenthood facility that is under construction in northeast Washington, D.C. Although local protesters have been picketing the construction site for months, yesterday’s protest brought in activists from around the country who were in town for the March for Life, becoming something of a reunion for the old guard of the anti-abortion “rescue” movement.
Although the event was fairly small, the mood was hopeful, even victorious.
Daleiden, who is now being sued by Planned Parenthood for racketeering, told the crowd that the facility under construction behind them looked “kind of like fortresses or the castle of an evil baron in a fairy tale” but that Planned Parenthood was “stopped in their tracks” and “the days of legalized, state-subsidized, industrial-scale child-killing in our country are numbered.”
He said that 2016 would be a “historic, watershed year” for opponents of legal abortion, citing the congressional select committee investigating his allegations about Planned Parenthood and the upcoming Supreme Court hearing in Whole Women’s Health v. Texas, which he said “will be something that will continue to break down the fortress.”
Father Frank Pavone, the head of Priests for Life, also acknowledged the link between Daleiden’s work and the rescue movement. He noted that Mark Crutcher, whose unsuccessful “sting” operation 15 years ago inspired Daleiden’s attempt to frame Planned Parenthood for mishandling fetal tissue, is now creating a national training facility to build what Crutcher hopes will be “a whole army of David Daleidens.”
“The troubles for Planned Parenthood have only just begun,” Pavone said, adding that he thought that Daleiden’s operation would lead to prosecutions and then praising Crutcher’s effort to build “a new army of people into the abortion industry undercover.”
“So our message to Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry today is very simple,” he said. “Be on your toes because we are in your midst, we are behind your doors, we are in your secret meetings, we are working for you and with you though you know it not, but in His good time the God who reveals all secrets will reveal that too.”
“We will see the end of this Holocaust,” he declared.
Joan Andrews Bell, known in the movement for having spent years in jail for various violations of trespassing laws during abortion clinic protests, spoke briefly, saying, “I want you to know that the rescue movement isn’t dead. Jesus rescued us on the cross, he rescued us. And every single one of you ... you are part of the rescue movement, you are rescuing babies.”
Monica Miller, another longtime leader of the rescue movement, compared the efforts of protesters to the civil rights movement, saying that anti-abortion activists must be willing to give up their livelihoods and even their lives for the cause.
“To stop abortion, to be involved with this injustice, to want to see it end, you can’t live a normal life anymore,” she said. “All that’s gone. All your plans of having, ‘Oh, let’s get married, we’ll have children, we’ll buy the house, this is going to happen next and this is my plan,’ all that’s gone. You’re not going to live a normal life anymore. Are we willing to really allow ourselves to be spent, to allow ourselves to be spent so that others may live? And that means are we willing to allow our property to be taken, our jobs to be lost, our reputations to be lost, are we willing to go to jail, are you willing to die, give up your life for this social justice, moral spiritual cause?”
She urged activists to use any peaceful means necessary to prevent the new Planned Parenthood building from opening, including blocking its doors or handcuffing themselves to construction equipment, using old-school rescue movement tactics.
“On the day that this death mill will open, will there be anybody here, will somebody lay their body in front of the door, will you handcuff yourself to construction equipment?” she asked. “Come on guys, think about it, let’s be creative, what are you willing to do to stop this place from being built? Non-violent action, laying down your life, allowing yourself to absorb the violence without retaliating against it, but laying down your life so that others may live.”
Another direct-action tactic on display was a large poster with pictures of the owners of the construction company building the Planned Parenthood building, urging activists to call them and accuse them of “killing children.”
At one point a man who said he had a child in the school near the construction site, which had to close for the day to avoid the protest, started yelling at the speakers. Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition, who has been leading protests in front of the building site and emceed Thursday’s rally, responded that he should instead be blaming Planned Parenthood for opening its building in the location.
Shortly after the disruption, one speaker led the crowd in a short exorcism of the construction site to “take out the demons that hover above this place.”
Frank Pavone, the president of Priests for Life, said this week that although he doesn’t support blaming anybody for an anti-abortion crusader’s murder spree at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado last month, if anybody were to blame for such “deranged acts of violence” it would be pro-choicers who are “poisoning the moral climate in our nation.”
“It’s a silly thing to be blaming responsibility on one another for these kinds of things,” Pavone said in an interview on the Ave Maria Radio network on Monday. “We don’t know who this man was, what’s going on inside his head. God knows if anyone will ever be able to figure it out.” (In fact, the alleged shooter was fairly clear about his motivation.)
“But if the other side, if the pro-aborts,” he continued, “are going to go down this road of saying — as they have done for decades, by the way, this is like the 500th time we’ve been through this with them — if they’re going to go down this road of blaming the violence on the rhetoric, well then you know what? If we’re going to take up that argument, which I don’t think we should take up anyway, but if we are and if we have to respond to it, then they’re the ones at fault. Because which side of this debate is saying that sometimes it’s okay to kill an innocent person? Which side is saying that, that sometimes it’s okay to choose to end a life to solve a problem?”
“This is the argument against them, so they better keep quiet and stop this nonsense of blaming Carly Fiorina or me or the whole pro-life movement for these deranged acts of violence,” he said. “If they’re going to start going down that road, they’re the ones that have to take responsibility for poisoning the moral climate in our nation by saying that sometimes you can kill a baby to solve a problem. You don’t think some kind of crazy people are going to pick up that logic and say, ‘Well then sometimes you can kill born people to solve a problem’?”
Something that’s important to understand about the anti-abortion movement’s ongoing efforts to discredit Planned Parenthood is that for many in the movement, the women’s health provider is already guilty of committing a crime by providing abortions. But since abortion is legal in the United States, Planned Parenthood’s adversaries have been trying desperately for years to find actual crimes that the group is guilty of in order to bring it down. This summer’s smear videos from the Center for Medical Progress grew out of that line of thinking.
Priests for Life’s Father Frank Pavone, who says he was “close to” the Center for Medical Progress officials who led the most recent attack on Planned Parenthood, made this point very clearly in a conference call for anti-abortion activists that he hosted last night along with the Susan B. Anthony List’s Marjorie Dannenfelser. (GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina also spoke on the call.)
Pavone told the activists on the call that a key part of his strategy is to “expose the abortion industry” and “rip the veil off what’s going on behind the closed doors of the abortion clinics.”
“And when we look there,” he said, “we see the truth that I have often reiterated, that you cannot practice vice virtuously. If you have such a seared conscience that you’re killing babies, well, friends, you’re going to be doing a lot of other evil things as well: medical malpractice, sexual abuse of patients, violation of OSHA standards, insurance laws, money laundering, all kinds of fraud and, yes, even the sale of body parts. All of this and much more is going on in the abortion industry.”
In other words, if you are such a depraved person that you will provide abortions, then you are probably a sexual predator, fraudster, and any other sort of criminal as well and thus Planned Parenthood is probably selling fetal tissue for profit just because it is used to doing “evil” things and is just waiting to be exposed.
Pavone also boasted of his role in a previous, similar attack on Planned Parenthood orchestrated by Mark Crutcher of Life Dynamics, which we wrote about in a recent report.
In a conference call with anti-abortion activists last night, Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina promised that, if elected, she would “nominate pro-life justices” to the Supreme Court along with signing a budget defunding Planned Parenthood and pushing through a national 20-week abortion ban.
“Here’s what I will do and here’s what I want people to hold me accountable for,” she said on a conference call hosted by the Susan B. Anthony List's Marjorie Dannenfelser and Priests for Life's Frank Pavone. “If President Obama vetoes our attempts between now and the election — which, unfortunately, sadly, he may — I will deliver a budget that defunds Planned Parenthood. I will nominate pro-life justices. I will get the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protect Act passed.”
When she ran for Senate in California in 2010, Fiorina said that abortion rights would not be a litmus test for her votes on Supreme Court nominees.
Fiorina, who has come under fire for a series of falsehoods on the campaign trail, including repeatedly describing a video of Planned Parenthood that does not exist, also told participants that her main strategy for handling hostile questioning is to always “speak the truth.”
“You know, the truth shall set you free,” she said. “We all know this, we read it in the Bible. The truth shall set you free.”
“Don’t worry so much about finding exactly the right words, if that’s what you’re worried about,” she advised. “Worry about, concentrate on speaking the truth. Speak what you know to be the truth. that’s a powerful thing, it’s always a powerful thing, and that’s what I will keep doing. No one is going to frighten me into silence.”
Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, has made no secret of her admiration for Fiorina, telling call participants that Fiorina is a model candidate for her organization, which largely endorses female candidates opposed to abortion rights.
In a blog post on Priests for Life’s website on Friday, the group’s director of African American outreach, Alveda King, insisted that there is a need to “connect some dots” between terrorism and legal abortion, which she called terrorism “in the womb.”
“Terrorism, be it in the womb, from distant shores, behind the domestic walls of our homes, or wherever it occurs, terrorism by any other name is still the same,” she wrote.
Writing that “Killing is fast becoming the choice many people are ‘choosing’ in order to fix their problems,” King asked, “Is there any wonder that mass killings are occurring on a regular, almost daily, basis?”
What we are missing here is the not so subtle connection to what on the surface seems to be random violent outbreaks in the atmosphere. Yet as Rev. Pavone points out, the problems with the Colorado Springs shooting is not the pro-lifers referring to abortion as murder but rather the abortion industry’s utter lack of respect for life and choosing its solution to solving someone’s problem by killing their child.
Although the Colorado Springs shooting was abortion related, we should consider that there is a common denominator; an utter lack of respect for life. Whether there are various underlying causes for the lack of disregard of the rights of others, consequent actions lead to outcomes such as these mass shootings, high abortion rates, high levels of incarceration, suicide and many other threats to the human family.
Terrorism, be it in the womb, from distant shores, behind the domestic walls of our homes, or wherever it occurs, terrorism by any other name is still the same.
Killing has been a part of humanity since Cain killed Abel. Throughout history humans have been killing for greed, convenience, emotional pain, and the like in order to acquire what others have; whether it be land, money, power, or [and we can fill in the blanks here].
Human life has long been devalued to the point that life has often become disposable as long as we can’t see the danger to our own. Herein lies the Catch 22: we disregard others to save ourselves – sadly not realizing that we are universally connected to our human family.
With the passage of time America has joined the rest of the world in rubber stamping the killing of our babies in the womb, as well as the sick, the elderly and in alarmingly increasing numbers, the poor.
With this acceptance of devaluation of humanity, the consciences of men, women and children have been numbed. The answer to one’s problem becomes the dehumanization and elimination of those who would interfere with what someone wants.
Is there any wonder that mass killings are occurring on a regular, almost daily, basis?
Let’s connect some dots.
Have an unplanned pregnancy? Illness? Getting too old? Other problems? Eliminate your problems with abortion or euthanasia.
Killing is fast becoming the choice many people are “choosing” in order to fix their problems. Killing of another or of self both devalue and destroy life.
We must wake up and recognize that the taking of any life, born, unborn, sick, handicapped, elderly, those of faith outside of ours — is wrong.
Frank Pavone, the head of Priests for Life, explained a key part of his movement’s strategy for stopping abortion rights yesterday, telling a Catholic radio network that “pro-life” activists must resist Planned Parenthood’s efforts to “destigmatize abortion” by reinforcing anti-abortion stigma and lifting it “up high for people to see.”
“They survive, these Planned Parenthood efforts survive to the extent that abortion is destigmatized,” Pavone told Ave Maria Radio’s “Catholic Connection” program. “To the extent that you cannot get the stigma out of it, that you cannot get people to say they don’t regret it, that you cannot get people not to cringe when they hear the details of abortion, that is a plus for our side that we have to continue to exploit, in the best sense of the term. We exploit the stigma of abortion, we lift it up high for people to see, we reinforce it.”
He added that lifting up this stigma is important for stopping Planned Parenthood from “convincing medical students and doctors and nurses to take part in abortion” and thus causing a shortage of providers.
Priests for Life and its allies are challenging the mechanism allowing religiously affiliated nonprofits to opt out of the Affordable Care Act's contraception coverage mandate by informing the government that they will not provide such coverage to their employees. In other words, they are not required to provide health coverage for contraceptives, but are still claiming that their religious liberties are being violated because they have to file paperwork informing the government that they are opting out of the requirement, which allows the government to arrange coverage through a different mechanism.
Even the requirement that groups with religious objections to birth control file a form that might lead to a woman getting health coverage for contraception, King writes in a press release today, is not a valid law because “[i]n order for the laws of a nation to be valid, they must at the very least harmonize with, and not contradict, the law of God,” and the HHS mandate does not meet this requirement.
Understanding that the U. S. Supreme Court speaks and rules from a position of common law — human law, and operating under a measure of authority to govern, in America theirs is the highest rule of law that humans can make. Yet the rule of the SCOTUS is not the final word.
In the end, natural law, God's law will always trump common law. Do not fear or be confused or deceived. Remain prayerful. Keep looking up. God will have the final word in this matter.
As to the decisions before us regarding the HHS Mandate, in contrast to God's law, the civil laws and common laws of nations are not written on anyone's conscience or mind.
They are not written in the physical creation. Nor are they appended to the Bible. The civil laws of nations are only written in their own law books.
Consequently, the validity and force of such laws are based solely on national authority. There is no other supporting evidence or "witness" to testify for the validity of specific civil laws.
Consequently, in order for the civil laws of any nation to be authoritative, they must at least be supported by the testimony of another source and that they are consistent with God's delegation of authority to civil governments.
This is more thoroughly explained in Romans 13:
"Let every soul be in subjection to the higher powers: for there is no power but of God..."
In order for the laws of a nation to be valid, they must at the very least harmonize with, and not contradict, the law of God.
Unfortunately, for women, the HHS Mandate does not conform to this formula which is why I stand with Priests for Life in the complaint against the HHS Mandate.