Life Advocacy Briefing

For the week of February 12, 2007

A Day to Remember / Keep Calling / Committee Skirmishes / Clear Momentum
/ Setback for Attempted Abortion Mandate / Texas Governor Elevates Sex Vaccine Issue /
March Speeches / House Debate

A Day to Remember

TODAY, MONDAY, FEB. 12, IS THE ANNIVERSARY of the birth of the Great Emancipator, President Abraham Lincoln, whose courage and faith helped America embrace the personhood of all human beings, notwithstanding the ignorant pronouncement by the Supreme Court. With thanks, we remember.

Keep Calling

WHETHER OR NOT YOU HAVE YET CALLED YOUR TWO U.S. SENATORS to urge opposition to forcing taxpayers to subsidize utilitarian experimentation on embryonic human beings, calls to the Senate are urgently needed now and may be placed via the Capitol switchboard at 1-202/224-3121.

The Senate will recess at the end of this week until Feb. 23, and our Capitol Hill sources tell us a vote could well arise before the President’s Day recess. With abortion backers in charge of scheduling legislation, predictions are guesses but should be taken seriously for the sake of the vulnerable little research subjects.

The message: Please vote against using our tax dollars for sacrificing human embryos for experimentation.


Committee Skirmishes

THE LIBERALS WHO DOMINATE THE HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE had to put up with a couple of pro-life amendments Wednesday, one offered by former committee chairman Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) to a bill aimed at curtailing cock fighting, the second a Hyde-style amendment offered by first-term Republican Rep. Jim Jordan (OH) to block tax funds from being used for abortions.

Rep. Jordan offered his amendment to a bill dealing with methamphetamine use on Indian reservations; he sought to amend a section relating to use of the drug by expectant and parenting mothers. His bid was rejected on a 20-to-15 party-line vote.

The Sensenbrenner amendment was offered to HR-137, sponsored by Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA), which would make a federal crime of buying and selling animals for the purpose of staging animal fights and would increase federal penalties for transporting animals across state lines for such a purpose.

It was that cross-border transportation provision that caught Rep. Sensenbrenner’s eye, and he proposed to attach the Child Interstate Notification of Abortion Act, which has repeatedly passed the House but sat dormant in the Senate. The pro-life measure would make it a federal crime to transport a minor across state lines for an abortion evading the minor’s home-state parental involvement laws.

“‘I recognize we are meeting here today to consider a bill to protect chickens,’ [Rep.] Sensenbrenner said” as quoted in Congressional Quarterly (CQ). “‘But isn’t protecting our nation’s young women … equally, if not more, important than our dinner entrée?’ …

“Rep. Robert C. Scott (D-VA) made a point of order,” reports Keith Perine for CQ, “that [Mr.] Sensenbrenner’s amendment was not germane to the animal fighting bill. Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-MI), sustained the point of order,” writes Mr. Perine.  Rep. Sensenbrenner then appealed the chairman’s ruling. The panel voted 18 to 14 to table his appeal, on a motion by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY).

Clear Momentum

THOUGH ABORTION BACKERS CELEBRATE CONTROL of the leadership in both houses of Congress, the nature of legislation being debated in the states must inspire unease in our opponents.

Virginia lawmakers, for example, are proposing defining a “felony to force, coerce or intimidate a minor girl – under 18 – into having an abortion,” reports Gudrun Schultz for Such coercion, force or intimidation would still be a crime if perpetrated on an adult woman, but the crime would instead be defined as a misdemeanor, with lesser penalties. This spotlight on a major cause of induced abortion has passed the House of Delegates by a 71-to-27 vote and must yet be passed by the Senate.

State legislators in South Dakota have passed a measure through the House, on a 43-to-24 vote, to require abortionists to show a sonogram of the targeted baby to the aborting customer before executing the child. Abortionists in South Dakota already use ultrasound, but the proposal would provide the mother must sign a waiver if she declines to view the picture of her developing baby. If an abortionist would fail to offer the mother such an opportunity, she could later sue him or her.

Lawmakers in Mississippiare advancing a similar bill requiring abortionists to offer every customer the opportunity of seeing her baby’s sonogram and listening to her unborn child’s fetal or embryonic heartbeat. “‘If you find yourself in that state [of distress in pregnancy], you’re not going to hear anything that’s being told to you,’” surmised Tanya Britton, president of Pro-Life Mississippi, quoted by Michael Foust for Baptist Press News. “‘But maybe that heartbeat – hearing that child’s heart – will make this child more real to you and will cut through all of the crisis and the panic that a woman may be experiencing.’”

Another abortion ban bill has been filed in South Dakota as well, but it has not yet advanced. South Dakota lawmakers passed a law banning abortion in 2006, only to see it overturned by a Planned Parenthood-initiated referendum in November. The new ban tacks backward to exclude protections for babies conceived in sex crimes or whose further gestation would seriously harm major body systems of the aborting mother.

Utah lawmakers have filed a similar ban-with-loopholes and are openly declaring their intention to provoke a lawsuit which could overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade edict. The Mississippi Senate has passed an abortion ban-with-loopholes permitting the killing of unborn babies conceived in a sex crime.

The State House in North Dakota has passed – 61 to 26 – a measure to outlaw abortions not necessary to save the life of the mother; the ban, which next goes to the State Senate, would take effect immediately upon the overturning of the Supreme Court’s usurpation of states’ authority to protect unborn children.

Regardless of the details of the pending legislation, the robust competition among state lawmakers to be first to restore protections for unborn children and their vulnerable mothers makes clear that public support for the “abortion rights” cause is diminishing dramatically.

Setback for Attempted Abortion Mandate

MILITANT FEMINISTS LAST WEEK SOUGHT TO RESURRECT the hoary old “Equal Rights Amendment” to the US Constitution, which expired in 1979 and was confirmed dead by the US Supreme Court in 1982.

Lining up 66 co-sponsors for a resolution to dust off the relic and ratify it in Arkansas, its backers expected easy passage in the House of Representatives, where it needed 50 votes, and geared up for battle in the Senate, which narrowly defeated a ratification resolution in 2005.

But Little Rock’s lawmakers were troubled by information from National Right to Life Committee, Arkansas Right to Life and other pro-life/family groups documenting the ERA/abortion connection. Such information as court mandates of tax-funded abortions in New Mexico and Connecticut, based on identically worded state constitutional provisions, prompted 20 of the co-sponsors to drop their support. Two of those original co-sponsors voted against the resolution when it fell in committee on a 10-to-10 vote.

Texas Governor Elevates Sex Vaccine Issue

TEXAS GOV. RICK PERRY (R) HAS IGNITED A FIRESTORM of controversy with an executive order mandating girls entering sixth grade to undergo vaccination for the dominant strain of the sexually transmitted human papilloma virus (HPV), which causes about 70% of cervical cancer cases.

The Food & Drug Administration released the Merck & Co. HPV vaccine Gardasil to the market last July, followed quickly by an FDA panel’s recommendation that girls aged 11 and 12 undergo the vaccination. Merck’s intense lobbying for vaccine mandates in various states has raised controversy, especially after the discovery of a hefty Merck grant to an outfit called Women in Government, in which many female state lawmakers participate. Legislation to mandate the vaccine is pending in Florida, Illinois, Indiana and Virginia.

But Gov. Perry short-circuited legislative deliberation on such a policy with his executive order, which includes state purchase of the vaccine for girls and women aged 9 to 21 who are eligible for public aid; some estimates range as high as $60 million annual cost to the state taxpayers. One of Merck’s lobbyists is Gov. Perry’s former chief of staff, according to the Kaiser Daily Women’s Health Policy bulletin, which reports assurance from the governor’s press secretary “that the governor has not spoken to anyone from Merck or to [his former aide] about the executive order.” The press secretary, reports Kaiser, claimed that the governor “‘views [HPV vaccination] as protecting life,’ adding,” said the spokesman quoted by Kaiser, “‘Not to pursue that opportunity, the governor believes that would be morally reprehensible.’”

But many pro-life/family groups and officeholders see the morality of the issue differently. Texas GOP State Sen. Jane Nelson, chairman of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee, has urged the governor to reverse his mandate and noted the lack of an emergency which could prompt such action. State Sen. Glenn Hegar (R) indicated he would file a bill to reverse the mandate; two other Republican lawmakers, Members of the Texas House, have already filed a bill prohibiting such an HPV mandate as a requirement for attending public school.

Stretching credibility, Gov. Perry declared the mandate is not a message to adolescents that vaccination against HPV is a spur to promiscuity. And an open border is not an invitation to illegal aliens, either, right?

March Speeches

Life Advocacy Briefing continues our publication of speeches from the Jan. 22, 2007, March for Life with speeches by two “exploratory” GOP candidates for President, Rep. Duncan Hunter (CA) and Sen. Sam Brownback (KS), the only Senator to address the rally.

REP. HUNTER: You know, I remember 1981, right here, Ronald Reagan made that great statement; he said, “Everybody who supports abortion has already been born.” And I’m thinking, this is the government that spends millions of dollars searching for life on distant planets. We ought to be able to see life in the beating heart of an unborn child.

Now, this Thursday, in South Carolina, Lynn and I are going to saddle up the motor home, and we’re going to start a campaign for the Presidency of the United States. And when we do that, I’ve looked carefully at the responsibilities of the President, and one of those responsibilities is to appoint judges. And we need judges who have a respect for life. If we have a judicial applicant, a judicial nominee, who can look at a sonogram of an unborn child and not see the value of human life, then from this person, if I should become President of the United States, he will not receive a judicial appointment. I’ll tell you what he will receive: He will get an appointment with an optometrist so he can get a pair of eyeglasses.

Ladies and gentlemen, thanks for everything that you do. Thanks for your effort, thanks for being out here on this cold day. We’ll see you down the line. God bless you.

SEN. BROWNBACK: Thank you, thank you, thank you. What a beautiful sight. What a beautiful sight. Thank you. Thank you very much. Good afternoon, fellow pro-lifers. It is a beautiful day for life. We recognize the tragedy of life in Roe versus Wade, but that tragedy will not always stand. Roe is going to be overturned, and it needs to be.

I want to tell you one of the reasons, real quick, why I am strongly pro-life. There are many. And it’s right to be pro-life. But one of them is a little girl I met about seven years ago in China by the name of Jen-Ye-Dan. She had been dropped by a caring mother, mother who cared for her, but she had been dropped at the orphanage. And I met her there, and this past Saturday, she stood on the stage next to me. Her name now is Jenna Joy Brownback, and she is my daughter. I mention her because some woman in China who I probably will never meet fought for her life. And because she fought for her life, I get to tuck her in at night and give her a kiss. Somebody fought for her life. You are fighting for somebody’s life, and this is critical; it’s important so people like her can live. And I might also add, two weeks ago, she won the spelling bee contest in her third-grade class.

Life is beautiful and there is nothing to be ashamed about being pro-life. We want and we need a culture of life that respects and loves all life and needs to affirm life from conception to natural death. Life is too precious to do otherwise. We must be advocates for the dignity of every life and never fail to stand up for life and give witness to its beauty in all its variety.

The unborn person is unique, is sacred, is beautiful, worthy of our protection of our laws, worthy of life, and this protection must include those special unborn children with developmental disabilities. We must stand for them. I don’t know – you probably know this number – but nearly 80% of the children diagnosed with Down’s syndrome in the womb are aborted. Eighty percent. These are beautiful children. And if somebody is pregnant with a Down’s Syndrome child now, don’t abort. There are people on waiting lists, waiting to adopt. They want to adopt children. Please, give them life.

For the same reasons, the elderly and ill that are suffering, are sacred and beautiful and worthy of our embrace and protection, and they’re worthy of dignity. The downtrodden and the poor, here and around the world, are most beautiful and worthy of our utmost effort. Will we be worthy of them? Mothers who have had abortions – or encouraged someone to have an abortion – are in need of our support and prayers. Will we reach out to them in their difficulties? Those who disagree with us about abortion are in need of our love and prayers. All of them – especially public officials – need to hear the truth about the sacredness of every human life, and we always must speak the truth gently and not in bitterness.

Our nation is at a crossroads. Will we embrace a culture in love with life in all its variety or will we judge some lives as being more valuable than others? It is a central question of our times.

Our presence here today carries one simple but profound message: We choose life. Thank you. God bless you all. Keep pushing for life.

House Debate

The Jan. 11, 2007, House debate on HR-3 – the legislation to force taxpayers to subsidize embryo-killing experimentation – brought forth effective, persuasive appeals on both sides of the ethical divide. We are publishing excerpts from the Congressional Record transcript of that debate from the various pro-life speeches given, and we urge readers to attend carefully to the arguments made in opposing HR-3. We continue this series of speech excerpt transcripts here.

REP. TIM MURPHY (R-PA): Mr. Speaker, over 200 years ago, Thomas Jefferson told us: “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just and that His justice cannot sleep forever.” Although he was talking about the issues of the day, those words ring true for all of us here in this chamber, because all of us want to do the right and the just thing. …

I believe life begins at conception. Others do not. If we are to err on any side, on what side should we err? …

When I would be involved in pursuing medical research studies at the University of Pittsburgh, we had to put forth our study in front of the Human Subjects Review Panel. They scrutinized research very carefully to make sure it did no harm to anyone. Sometimes what one researcher considered to be a small and innocuous risk, others said, No, you cannot get involved in that portion of research. … That was because we were guided by the ethical principle of “first, do no harm.”

But here we are faced with recent studies that say amniotic stem cell research has tremendous promise, and for some reason we are rushing this week to say we must pass this bill on embryonic stem cell research when perhaps we should really be pursuing further scientific information so this House can do its job with hearings, with gathering information to give us the knowledge we need and pray for the wisdom we seek.

I hope in all of this that we would continue to be guided by the idea of first doing no harm, and I would hope that we would also look at the fundamental basis of this bill that refers to the idea that these children would otherwise be discarded. I don’t think that is a road we want to use.

REP. MIKE PENCE (R-IN): … The late President Ronald Reagan wrote, “We cannot diminish the value of one category of human life, the unborn, without diminishing the value of all human life.” …

I believe that life begins at conception and that a human embryo is human life. And I believe it is morally wrong to create human life to destroy it for research. But I believe it is also morally wrong to take the taxpayer dollars of millions of Americans who believe that life begins at conception and use it to fund research that they find morally offensive.

This debate, then, Mr. Speaker, is not about what an embryo is. This debate is about who we are as a nation. Not, will we respect the sanctity of human life, but, will we respect the deeply held moral beliefs of nearly half of the people of this nation who find the destruction of human embryos for research to be morally wrong. …

Last year here in Congress, I was surrounded by dozens of snowflake babies, Mr. Speaker, children born from frozen embryos. I couldn’t help but think of that ancient verse: “I have set before you life and blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”

It is my fervent hope, Mr. Speaker, and my prayer, as we stand at the crossroads of science and the sanctity of life, that we will choose life.



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