Life Advocacy Briefing

For the week of April 16, 2007

Abstinence Ed Funding Threatened / Picking on the Little Ones /
/ ‘Upholding the Dignity of Human Life’: Pres Bush / Breakthrough!/
/ Seeing Reality / Correction from South Carolina /
Success in Latin America / Senate Voting Records

Abstinence Ed Funding Threatened

ONE OF THE MAJOR FIGHTS LIKELY TO BREAK OUT IN CONGRESS this spring is the need for extension (Capitol Hill term: reauthorization) of the Title V (Five) abstinence-until-marriage education program, which was surreptitiously dropped last fall from the massive Welfare Reform Reauthorization,  where it belonged.

Various abstinence education agencies and promoters around the country have founded the National Abstinence Education Assn. and opened a DC office to lobby Congress for the extension, according to Kaiser Daily Women’s Health Policy citing AP/International Herald-Tribune as source.

Title V is administered by the Administration for Children & Families in the Dept. of Health & Human Services. ACF’s director Wade Horn resigned earlier this month; acting director is John Cusey, former staff director of the US House Pro-Life Caucus.

Liberals leading Congress are not expected to look with favor on Title V reauthorization. This fight will need a massive outpouring from voters across America to overcome the “gotcha” attitude of Planned Parenthood and their fellow travelers in the sex promotion trade – and from their newly powerful allies in Congress.

Picking on the Little Ones

THE U.S. SENATE TOOK TIME AWAY FROM ITS ANT-WAR CAMPAIGN last Wednesday to pass two bills fostering federal subsidies for stem cell scientists.

S-5, sponsored by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), still must be passed by the US House, since the version which passed the Senate 63 to 34 Wednesday contains additional language beyond that already passed by the House on Jan. 11. Both versions of the legislation would gut President George W. Bush’s order limiting federal funding to experiments using cells from embryonic humans who have already been sacrificed. The President has pledged to veto the measure if it does arrive at his desk, and the Senate’s vote margin shows too little support to override his objection.

S-30, billed as the “ethical alternative,” was sponsored by Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) and would foster federal funding of experiments on stem cells derived from embryonic humans who have died naturally. Seen as non-controversial, the bill passed 70 to 28.

We publish the Senate voting records on these measures at the close of this week’s Life Advocacy Briefing, noting that several who advertise themselves as “pro-life” voted to target innocent embryonic human beings in voting for S-5, while the only Senators voting against S-30 (though some pro-life groups opposed it) have shown a consistent record in opposition to Life.

We note also that Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) announced to the Senate immediately after passage of S-30 that she would have voted “yes” on S-5 had she been in the chamber at the time. Even had all three of the absent Senators voted “yes” on the Harkin measure, it would still have fallen short of the support necessary to override a veto.

Our thanks to all who made calls to Senators to hold down the final passage margin; it was worth every ounce of effort.

‘Upholding the Dignity of Human Life’: Pres. Bush

PRES. BUSH REITERATED HIS OPPOSITION TO RELAXING LIMITS on federal subsidies to scientists who experiment on stem cells harvested from embryonic humans sacrificed for their use, during his speech Friday to the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast.

“Our Declaration of Independence states that our freedom rests on self-evident truths about the dignity of the human person,” he told the gathering at the Washington Hilton Hotel. “Throughout our nation’s history, Catholic Americans have embraced, sustained and given their lives to defend these truths. This morning,” he said, “we give thanks for the blessings of freedom, and we ask Almighty God to guide us as we renew our founding promise of liberty and justice for all. …

“Renewing the promise of America begins,” he declared, “with upholding the dignity of human life. In our day, there is a temptation to manipulate life in ways that do not respect the humanity of the person,” he said. “When that happens, the most vulnerable among us can be valued for their utility to others instead of their own inherent worth. We must continue to work for a culture of life, where the strong protect the weak and where we recognize in every human life the image of our Creator.”


DURING THE SENATE DEBATE LAST WEEK on S-5, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) charged that scientists developing therapies through ethical research using adult stem cells “still haven’t provided the answer for juvenile diabetes” after “know[ing] about adult stem cells for 40 years.” He cited the story of a 12-year-old diabetic girl and said, “If adult stem cells could provide a cure for juvenile diabetes, she’d gladly take it.”

The Senator will no doubt be delighted to learn of the breakthrough, published in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. the day before the debate, wherein 93% of young patients using adult stem cell therapy were off insulin for the three years after the treatment ended till the publication of the research. The study was undertaken by American researcher Dr. Richard Burt working in Brazil.

Dr. Jay Skyler, of the University of Miami’s Diabetes Research Institute, called the development “‘the threshold of a very promising time for the field,’” reports the Associated Press (AP), which also quoted Dr. Gordon Weir of Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. “‘These are exciting results,’” said Dr. Weir. “‘They look impressive.’”

Since the diabetes research lobby has been one of the most insistent in support of killing embryonic humans for utilitarian experimentation, it will be interesting to see whether the truth makes a particle of difference when S-5 arises in the House.


Seeing Reality

A POWERFUL TELEVISION DRAMA AIRED SEVERAL TIMES LAST WEEK on various networks and reenacted the dramatic moment about eight years ago when an unborn baby reached out of his mother’s womb and grasped the finger of the surgeon who was working to correct his spina bifida.

The medically oriented drama House showed similar fetal surgery and the same powerful image of that baby, whose real-life name is Samuel Armas, grasping the finger of an atheistic surgeon who is moved – though not, apparently, converted by the experience. The House story line also showed a dramatic struggle of the baby’s mother to secure her baby’s needed surgery, with just one doctor – a woman – siding with her and with the baby’s right to life.

Those wishing to see the amazing photos of the actual touch from little Samuel Armas may do so at the Internet website of the photographer:

Correction from South Carolina

WE RECEIVED CORRECTED DETAILS from Holly Gatling, executive director of South Carolina Citizens for Life, related to our report about South Carolina’s “ultrasound” bill. Having based our report last week on mainstream media reports, we overstated the effect of the proposed legislation.

The proposal, which is an amendment to the 1996 Woman’s Right to Know law, would “requir[e] the abortionist to do the ultrasound [of the targeted, developing baby] and to review it with the woman,” Ms. Gatling writes in a memo to Life Advocacy Briefing. “Review,” she notes, “is the legal language that means essentially the same as disclose,” which is the term used in South Carolina’s 1984 informed consent case law. Nothing in the proposed law actually requires the aborting mother to look at her baby’s sonographic picture. We offer our thanks to Ms. Gatling and our regret at any misimpression our report last week might have given.

The reform was deleted from the overall bill in a State Senate subcommittee last Thursday, but the House sponsor “said the Senate version was [now] unacceptable,” writes AP writer Seanna Adcox. The House has already passed the bill with the ultrasound requirement in it and will have the opportunity to restore the provision when the bill returns from the Senate.


Success in Latin America

April 5, 2007, PRI Weekly Briefing by Carlos Polo for Population Research Institute

After the partial legalization of abortion in Colombia, the international pro-death movement expected a domino effect throughout Latin America. Monica Roa, the Colombian front man for the Center for Reproductive Rights, hurriedly visited Argentina, Peru and several other nations to propose legislation similar to that which passed in Colombia. …

As usual, they underestimated the Central Americans, Nicaragua in particular. Nicaragua last year abolished the sole exception of “therapeutic abortion,” and continues to move away from legalized abortion. Not only that, but its strong defense of Life is serving as the catalyst for renewed opposition throughout Latin America to abortion. The result is that the momentum has shifted, and the supposed domino effect is now occurring in the opposite direction. Just last month the Chilean Congress rejected a “therapeutic abortion” bill in record time.

The abortion lobby seems to expect long-established legal systems to simply collapse before their misinformation campaign. … Instead, they are increasingly being defeated by a popular outcry.

Unlike Spain, where pro-choice [sic] health officials lied about women’s health issues, the prompt action of the Chilean Congress destroyed any opportunity for a pro-death public relations campaign. Compare this with Colombia, where a slick PR campaign fooled the public into accepting cleverly worded “pro-choice” tenets long enough for pro-death legislation to be passed. … The fact is, more and more citizens of Latin American countries are aware that they are being lied to and manipulated on these issues and are refusing to compromise. …

The European Union and other donors are threatening to cut aid to the poor country of Nicaragua if abortion isn’t legalized. This shouldn’t surprise us, since it is the practice of the Left everywhere to abrogate democracy when it suits them. When that fails, they seek to overturn decisions made by elected legislators through unelected judges by filing a flurry of lawsuits.

The focal point of the current struggle is the Supreme Court of Nicaragua. Radical feminist organizations, in conjunction with IPAS (the principal entity behind the infamous hand-held suction abortion machine), have argued that the law abolishing “therapeutic abortions” is not constitutional. On March 8, pro-abortionists barraged the Nicaraguan judges with a mass media campaign. They held public meetings in the streets and published two paid ads in LaPrensa, the most important newspaper in Managua, the capital city.

These meetings and ads featured the tired lie: Abortion must be legalized or women will die. One ad was paid for by the Inter-American Development Bank, a division of the World Bank, by the foreign aid ministries of the UK, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, and by the embassies of Germany, Austria, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, Iceland, Japan, Norway, [Red] China and Sweden. All this pressure on little Nicaragua because the people there value life. …

Pro-life forces massed at the Supreme Court on March 21. The judges in Nicaragua accepted, as is customary, testimony from the Catholic Church.  Dr. Roberto Sanchez, a respected jurist who may himself soon join the Supreme Court, testified that the law that abolished “therapeutic abortion” did not violate any constitutional principle. Rather, he said, it corrected a contradiction between the Constitution and the Civil Code of Nicaragua, the latter of which asserts that unborn babies are persons and enjoy several explicit rights.

In other testimony, Dr. Rafael Cabrera completely debunked the argument of the pro-abortion feminists that therapeutic abortion was necessary to save the life of the mother.  Dr. Cabrera, [a] gynecologist, presented a chart listing all the emergency medical situations that are used to claim that abortions are needed “to save women’s lives.” He explained each one in turn, clearly and convincingly demonstrating that a doctor with current technology is always able to offer his patients – born and unborn ones – the choice of life.

Dr. Edwin Rodriguez, a famous gynecologist whose students constitute the majority of practicing gynecologists in Nicaragua today, also presented testimony. At the end, one of the judges, a well-known pro-abortion feminist and unreconstructed Sandinista, asked Dr. Rodriguez about the “hard case” of terminal cancer. “Wasn’t an abortion necessary then,” she asked him.  Dr. Rodriguez showed that it was impossible for a woman to conceive in those circumstances.

All the while, the ordinary people of Nicaragua worry about the threat of international agencies and donor nations to cut off aid unless they sacrifice their little ones. How much does it cost to have sovereignty for a small Latin American country?


Senate Voting Records

S-5 – Stem Cell research Enhancement Act of 2007 – gutting the President’s limits on federal subsidies to scientists experimenting with stem cells harvested from embryonic humans who must be sacrificed for the experiments – Passed 63-34 (Democrats in italics; “Independent” marked with “I”; new Senators in ALL CAPS)

Voting pro-life/no: AL/Sessions & Shelby, AZ/Kyl, CO/Allard, FL/Martinez, GA/Chambliss & Isakson, ID/Craig & Crapo, IA/Grassley, KS/Brownback & Roberts, KY/Bunning & McConnell, LA/Vitter, MN/Coleman, MO/Bond, NE/Hagel & Nelson, NV/Ensign, NH/Sununu, NM/Domenici, NC/Dole, OH/Voinovich, OK/Coburn & Inhofe, PA/CASEY, SC/DeMint & Graham, SD/Thune, TN/CORKER, TX/Cornyn, WY/Enzi & Thomas.

Voting anti-life/yes: AK/Murkowski & Stevens,AZ/McCain,AR/Lincoln & Pryor, CA/Boxer & Feinstein, CO/Salazar, CT/Lieberman (I), DE/Biden & Carper, FL/Nelson, HI/Akaka & Inouye, IL/Durbin & Obama, IN/Bayh & Lugar, IA/Harkin, ME/Collins & Snowe, MD/CARDIN & Mikulski, MA/Kennedy & Kerry, MI/Levin & Stabenow, MN/KLOBUCHAR, MS/ Cochran & Lott, MO/McCASKILL, MT/Baucus & TESTER, NV/Reid, NH/Gregg, NJ/Lautenberg & Menendez, NM/Bingaman, NY/Clinton & Schumer, NC/Burr, ND/Conrad & Dorgan, OH/BROWN, OR/Smith & Wyden, PA/Specter, RI/Reed & WHITEHOUSE, TN/Alexander, TX/Hutchison, UT/Bennett & Hatch, VT/Leahy & SANDERS (I), VA/Warner & WEBB, WA/Cantwell & Murray, WV/Byrd & Rockefeller, WI/Feingold & Kohl.

Not voting: CT/Dodd, LA/Landrieu, SD/Johnson.

S-30 – HOPE Act – increasing federal subsidies for research on stem cells taken from embryonic humans who have already died – Passed 70-28 (Democrats in italics; “Independent” marked with “I”; new Senators in ALL CAPS) (Note: Life Advocacy has some reservations about this bill but lists the “yes” votes as those voting “pro-life” because the measure was characterized as a pro-life alternative to S-5.)

Voting pro-life/yes: AL/Sessions & Shelby, AK/Murkowski & Stevens,AZ/Kyl & McCain, AR/Pryor, CO/Allard & Salazar, DE/Biden & Carper, FL/Martinez, GA/Chambliss & Isakson, HI/Akaka, ID/Craig & Crapo, IN/Lugar, IA/Grassley & Harkin, KS/Brownback & Roberts, KY/Bunning & McConnell, LA/Landrieu & Vitter, ME/Collins & Snowe, MA/Kennedy & Kerry, MN/Coleman & KLOBUCHAR, MS/Cochran & Lott, MO/Bond & McCASKILL, NE/Hagel & Nelson, NV/Ensign, NH/Gregg & Sununu, NM/Domenici, NC/Burr & Dole, ND/Conrad & Dorgan, OH/BROWN & Voinovich, OK/Coburn & Inhofe, OR/Smith, PA/CASEY & Specter, RI/Reed & WHITEHOUSE, SC/DeMint & Graham, SD/Thune, TN/Alexander & CORKER, TX/Cornyn & Hutchison, UT/Bennett & Hatch, VT/Leahy, VA/Warner & WEBB, WV/Byrd, WY/Enzi & Thomas.

Voting anti-life/no: AR/Lincoln, CA/Boxer & Feinstein, CT/Lieberman (I), FL/Nelson, HI/Inouye, IL/Durbin & Obama, IN/Bayh, MD/CARDIN & Mikulski, MI/Levin & Stabenow, MT/Baucus & TESTER, NV/Reid, NJ/Lautenberg & Menendez, NM/Bingaman, NY/Clinton & Schumer, OR/Wyden, VT/ SANDERS (I), WA/Cantwell & Murray, WV/Rockefeller, WI/Feingold & Kohl.

Not voting: CT/Dodd, SD/Johnson.




Permission granted to quote with attribution. Reproduction rights granted only by express authorization.