Life Advocacy Briefing

For the week of May 07, 2007

Pres. Bush Issues Broad Veto Threat / RU Review Advances / Equal Treatment?
/ Warped View of Life / Disinvited / Merciless Speaker / Parents Can Prevail /
And in Missouri, They Can Sue / Hush! Don’t Tell the Donors! / ‘No Thanks!’ / Don’t Even Try It!


Pres. Bush Issues Broad Veto Threat

THE PRESIDENT HAS COME THROUGH WITH A THREAT TO VETO legislation which weakens protections for innocent human life.

His May 3 letter was addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and is reprinted at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing. It fulfills the request made of the President by some 155 Members of the House, who last month sent him a letter (reported then by Life Advocacy Briefing) noting that the President’s father had shortcircuited much Congressional mischief by such a pre-emptive threat while he was dealing with a Congress controlled by Democrats.


RU Review Advances

THE U.S. SENATE HAS ADOPTED AN AMENDMENT DIRECTING THE F.D.A. to review the American public’s experience with RU-486 within six months.

The amendment, offered by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), was adopted last Tuesday on a voice vote during consideration of the reauthorization of the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act, which governs the federal Food & Drug Administration.

Sen. DeMint and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) have both attempted to suspend marketing of the abortion drug ever since the baby poison was approved in 2000, when both advocates for Life were serving in the US House.

The newly worded amendment does not trigger instant suspension during review but does require the FDA to examine the drug’s lethal track record and could eventually result in withdrawal of the drug’s marketing clearance. Let us pray.


Equal Treatment?

IF POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION IS A PROBLEM, how about caring about postabortion depression?

That’s what Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA) insisted when scheduling two witnesses for a hearing last Tuesday before the Health Subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy & Commerce on HR-20. The Postpartum Depression Research & Care Act, sponsored by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), would direct the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to expand research into postpartum depression and direct the Dept. of Health & Human Services to issue grants for services to women suffering the condition and to their families.

The witnesses lined up by Rep. Pitts for the hearing were San Diego resident Michaelene Fredenburg, who has suffered severe emotional consequences from the abortion she underwent, and Bowling Green State University researcher Dr. Priscilla Coleman, an expert on postabortion depression. Their testimony was strongly but unsuccessfully resisted by Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and gives urgency to HR-1457, a Pitts measure to direct NIH to engage in research on postabortion depression and fund treatment programs. The Pitts bill, though, appears stuck in committee.


Warped View of Life

THE TEXAS CATHOLIC CONFERENCE (T.C.C.) HAS COME UNDER FIRE for opposing a bill in the state legislature which would extend by 11 days the current 10-day grace period offered under the state’s unique “futile care” statute, which empowers hospitals to refuse life-saving treatment sought by patients and their families. Under the current law, patients’ families who are notified of a hospital’s refusal to treat have just 10 days in which to find a facility that will treat their relative.

The TCC’s spokesman, Bishop Gregory Aymond of the Diocese of Austin, told the House Committee on Public Health, reports writer Hilary White, “‘The tradition of our church has always taught that a person should be allowed to die with dignity and have a peaceful death.’”

But prominent attorney and ethicist Wesley J. Smith “writes that the bishops have missed the point,” reports LifeSite, “and are endorsing a utilitarian principle that has endangered the lives of patients.’”

He scorned Bishop Aymond’s remark to the committee that the bishops “‘also realize that sometimes families, through no fault of their own, are really not able to make those decisions because of their involvement, because of their emotions.’”  Mr. Smith retorted, reports LifeSite, “‘This is little different than utilitarian bioethicists claiming that families shouldn’t be able to make such decisions because of the guilt they feel or misplaced religious belief.’

“The bishops, have confused the legitimate option for a patient to refuse unnecessary treatment, says [Mr.] Smith,” in the LifeSite story, “with an existing [Texas] law that allows hospitals to threaten the well-being of patients and impose the subjective opinion that a patient is not worth saving. …

“Elderly or brain-damaged patients, [Mr.] Smith writes,” as paraphrased by LifeSite, “are increasingly being refused ordinary care, such as antibiotics for infections, based on determinations of ‘medical futility,’ … [judging on] the patient’s likelihood of recovery or ‘quality of life’ issues.”



A CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL NEAR ST. LOUIS HAS DISINVITED Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) from speaking at her daughter’s graduation.

The invitation was rescinded, reports Focus on the Family’s Citizen Link, because of Sen. McCaskill’s backing of abortion and embryonic human sacrifice, a controversy of special intensity in Missouri because of last year’s statewide referendum putting unlimited state funding behind the lethal experimentation.  Sen. McCaskill was a leading advocate for the ballot proposition.


Merciless Speaker

SEN. McCASKILL’s COLLEAGUE HILLARY CLINTON, THOUGH, is scheduled to keynote a charity event for Mercy Home for Boys & Girls, a well-known Catholic charity in Chicago, despite the New York Senator’s radical views on abortion and child rearing. The annual Graduates Luncheon is scheduled for today, May 7.

Mercy Home spokesman Mark Schmeltzer told “the Catholic home was ‘happy to have someone of that high profile’ speaking at their event.” He insisted, reports LifeSite, that the invitation did not represent “‘an endorsement of any kind’” and maintained that the charity is “‘in complete endorsement of the Catholic Church and the church’s teaching as an entity of the Catholic Church.’”

As “happy” as the charity may be to showcase the notorious abortion backer, the Mercy Home website omits mention of her scheduled appearance in its announcement of the event.


Parents Can Prevail

ABORTION BACKERS IN THE ILLINOIS STATE HOUSE failed last week to pass legislation gutting the state’s soon-to-be-enforced Parental Notice of Abortion Act, enacted in 1995 and tied up in court ever since.

When the Illinois Supreme Court last fall removed what was believed to be the final obstacle to enforcement of the sensible reform, by adopting rules governing the law’s “judicial bypass” provision, the abortion lobby crafted an amendment to the law which would render it useless to Illinois families while maintaining a pretense of protection for families.

Readers may be somewhat bemused by the concept that gutting such a no-brainer as “parental notice” should be politically palatable. But the abortion lobby is absolutist and extreme, and in Illinois, one major abortion lobby front threatened lawmakers with $250,000 in opposition campaigning per incumbent legislator seeking re-election in 2008. That’s a lot of money in an Illinois legislative race, and the threat produced some wobbly knees among even some lawmakers who had been elected with pro-family backing.

A massive outpouring of phone calls from constituents, generated by Family-Pac and the Illinois Federation for Right to Life, as well as an aggressive lobbying effort by the Illinois Catholic Conference, stiffened some of those knees but highlighted for voters in other districts the perfidy of their legislators. The roll call wound up at 55 to 62 when HB-317 was called for a vote last week, with the width of the margin surprising lawmakers and lobbyists on both sides. Even in the most radical General Assembly ever to occupy the state capitol in Springfield, God still reigns, and voters still count.


And in Missouri, They Can Sue

MISSOURI’s SUPREME COURT LAST TUESDAY AFFIRMED the right of parents to sue anyone who helped their minor daughter circumvent the state’s Parental Consent law to procure an abortion, rejecting the claim of Planned Parenthood that the 2005 law violated free speech guarantees. The parents’ litigation rights provision is a civil penalty within the Parental Consent law. The provision is intended, in part, to discourage Missouri girls from going into Illinois, where a vicious late-term abortuary east of St. Louis attracts business through the promise of secrecy from parents, pending decisions by Illinois prosecutors to enforce the state’s 1995 Parental Notice law.


Hush! Don’t Tell the Donors!

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL U.S. IS TRYING TO KEEP SECRET its shameful endorsement of abortion.

Ryan Anderson reported in First Things, reports Gudrun Schultz for, “on a buried policy statement he unearthed from the members-only, restricted-content page of Amnesty International’s US website. The policy outlined AI’s new position on Sexual & Reproductive Rights that ‘includes support for abortion,’” reported Mr. Anderson.

“‘The new policy has three basic goals,’” wrote Mr. Anderson as quoted by LifeSite: “‘(1) provide access to abortion in what they claim will only be “particular circumstances,” (2) ensure that women have access to medical care after botched – whether legal or illegal – abortions, and (3) eliminate all penalties against women seeking abortions and against abortion providers.’”

AI’s opposition to criminal penalties for abortionists, notes LifeSite, places the supposed human rights advocate in the camp of those who oppose the recent Supreme Court ruling in Gonzalez v. Carhart, which upheld criminal penalties against those committing partial-birth abortions.

The Chairman of AI’s Sexual & Reproductive Rights Working Group, Karen Schneider, posted a letter on the members-only website page, reports LifeSite, in which she underscores the secrecy of the endorsement. “‘It is very important to be aware of the following,’” Ms. Schneider states, according to Mr. Anderson: “‘This policy will not be made public at this time. As the IEC [Amnesty International’s International Executive Committee] has written to all sections, “There is to be no proactive external publication of the policy position or of the fact of its adoption issued. This means no section or structure is to issue a press release or public statement or external communication of any kind on the policy decision.”’”

But the secrecy will not hinder AI’s adherence to its policy in its pressure on governments around the world.


‘No Thanks!’

NEWS THAT THE DUTCH GOVERNMENT IS NOW PERMITTING an abortion boat to carry the Dutch flag into international waters and chemically abort the progeny of Ireland, Poland and Malta has led the Malta Home Affairs Ministry to warn, reports Gudrun Schultz for citing the Malta Star as source, “it would respond in ‘strict accordance’ with Maltese law if the ship attempted to sail into Malta’s waters.” Malta outlaws abortion.

“‘If the abortion ship enters Maltese territorial waters,’” Malta’s Gift of Life’s CEO Paul Vincenti, “told the Star,” reports LifeSite, “‘We intend to mobilize the island. … They have no right,’” he declared, “‘to enter into a country where 93% are pro-life.’”

Another Maltese newspaper, the Times of Malta, notes, reports LifeSite, that the boat’s license “restricts abortion activity” not only to targeting babies up to seven gestational weeks but also to countries where the boat operators can strike an agreement with an on-shore hospital for the sake of handling complications. Whether Maltese hospitals – or those in Ireland or Poland – would cooperate with the nefarious Women on Waves is an open question.


Don’t Even Try It!

May 3, 2007, Text of the President’s letter to the Senate Majority Leader

I am concerned that this year the Congress may consider legislation that could substantially change Federal policies and laws on abortion, and allow taxpayer dollars to be used for the destruction of human life. I am writing to make sure that there is no misunderstanding of my views on these important issues.

Our Nation was founded on the belief that every human being has rights, dignity, and matchless value. Every child should be welcomed into life and protected in law. The advancement of science and medicine need not conflict with the ethical imperative to cherish and protect every life. In fact, advances in science have made it possible to see life developing at earlier stages and underscores Americans’ obligation to protect helpless and innocent life from destruction, whether it is in the womb or elsewhere. These issues are deeply emotional and are made even more complicated when the American taxpayer is asked to fund efforts that end human life.

As you know, current law prohibits Federal funding for abortion, both domestically and internationally, except in cases of rape, incest, or where the life of the mother is endangered. Recent legislative practice has ensured that taxpayer funds do not underwrite organizations that perform or promote abortion as a method of family planning.* Current U.S. law protects human embryos. The standing pattern is that appropriate conscience protections must be in place for health care entities, and that taxpayer dollars may not be used in coercive or involuntary family planning programs.

I urge that these and other existing, important protections be respected and continued. I believe it is the most basic duty of government to guard the innocent. With that in mind, I will veto any legislation that weakens current Federal policies and laws on abortion, or that encourages the destruction of human life at any stage.

Signed, Sincerely, George W. Bush

* Life Advocacy Briefing editor’s note: This protection applies only to the foreign aid budget. Title X (Ten) “family planning” underwriting of notorious abortion committer Planned Parenthood continues unabated.


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