Life Advocacy Briefing

February 11, 2008

Urgent Action Needed / G.O.P. Protests Lantos Ploy / Pro-Life Prayer Focus Resumes
/ Cord Blood Cells Save Little Girl / Jaw Replaced with Cells Derived from Fat Tissue /
Advocating for Life: The March for Life Rally / Pro-Life Foreign Affairs Committee Members

Urgent Action Needed

ABORTION ADVOCATES IN THE U.S. HOUSE ARE SEEKING TO HIJACK the President’s Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) for their favorite special interest.

PEPFAR is scheduled for a reauthorization mark-up in the House Committee on Foreign Affairs this Thursday beginning at 9:30 a.m., and the bill being proposed by committee Chairman Tom Lantos (D-CA) would dramatically shift the strategic focus of the massive PEPFAR program, which has stressed sexual abstinence to prevent the spread of HIV in areas of most impact, such as Africa. It will also boost the spending level to $50 billion over five years, up from the current $15 billion; the President had proposed doubling the spending.

Pro-life Members are expected to offer amendments to the Lantos draft, and it is critical that all pro-life committee Members participate in the mark-up session, vote for the pro-life reforms and vote against the final proposal if the amendments fail. The pro-life Members of the committee are listed at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing. They may be contacted – without regard to district – via the Capitol switchboard at 1-202/224-3121.

The bill as proposed would strip out the provision requiring that at least one-third of PEPFAR funds be spent on “abstinence-until-marriage” and “be-faithful” advocacy programs, the only approach which has demonstrated efficacy in slowing the spread of the killer disease.

Even more ominous is what the Lantos draft adds, as notes a key Capitol Hill staff member: “There are provisions throughout the bill requiring integration and linkage with family planning programs. These provisions raise the specter of abortion,” writes the staffer in a memo to concerned groups, “by opening the $50 billion authorization to organizations that promote and perform abortion and cutting crucial faith-based groups out of participation in AIDS relief programs.” The life-protective Mexico City Policy does not apply to PEPFAR as the proposal stands.

Making the bill still more controversial is the recent revelation that the Global Fund to which the US contributes through PEPFAR has been active in Red China and may, notes the Capitol Hill aide, “be supporting organizations associated with [Beijing’s] coercive one-child policy.” The Global Fund is not currently limited by any pro-life protections, but the Lantos draft proposes increasing the US allocation for the Global Fund without reforming it.

In a despicable tactic, the virulently pro-abortion committee chairman Mr. Lantos invoked the memory of “[his] friend Henry Hyde” in objecting to “the conduct of some committee Republicans” in protesting his pro-abortion corruption of the PEPFAR program. “It is a shame,” he claimed, “that the current minority is failing to honor this spirit of compromise and is willing to endanger a valuable US foreign policy program addressing one of the most serious health care challenges that humanity faces today.”

If Mr. Lantos were so fondly remembering his “friend” and desiring to walk in his footsteps toward bipartisanship in the cause of saving lives, he would be giving his Planned Parenthood backers his regrets for not, this time, being able to do their bidding. Instead, he is ripping out the protective provisions which then-chairman Mr. Hyde secured.


G.O.P. Protests Lantos Ploy

THE EFFORT BY REP. LANTOS TO DIVERT P.E.P.F.A.R. FUNDS into the deep pockets of the abortion lobby drew fire last Thursday from House Republican Leader John Boehner (OH) and a collection of key GOP House Members.

Quoted by Associated Press (AP) writer Jim Abrams, Rep. Boehner “said the Democratic proposal to renew the five-year, $15 billion anti-AIDS effort ‘will undermine this valuable program as we know it, placing at risk the work it does on behalf of millions.’”

Republicans at the news conference “claimed,” reports Mr. Abrams, “that the Democratic-written bill undoes carefully crafted rules that allow money to go to family planning groups for AIDS work as long as no money is spent on abortions. That change, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) said at [the] news conference …, ‘would transform the program into a mega-funding pool for organizations with an abortion promotion agenda.’”

Said Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), chairman of the House Pro-Life Caucus, “As written, the bill shatters, and I hope not irrevocably, the requisite bipartisan cooperation and good will needed to craft a sustainable, more generously funded HIV/AIDS program. … No child should suffer the cruelty of abortion because US legislation integrated and enhanced the role of pro-abortion organizations in PEPFAR,” Mr. Smith said at the news conference, in remarks released by his office.

Among those participating in the news conference with Messrs. Boehner, Pence and Smith were GOP Representatives Marilyn Musgrave (CO), Steve Chabot (OH), Joe Pitts (PA) and Jeb Hensarling (TX). Participating with them were Concerned Women for America president Wendy Wright, National Black Pro-Life Union president Day Gardner, Prison Fellowship founder Chuck Colson, Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren, Nigerian obstetrician Dr. Obi Ideh and Bishop Harry Jackson, chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition.


Pro-Life Prayer Focus Resumes

PRO-LIFE CITIZENS IN NEARLY 60 U.S. CITIES HAVE EMBARKED on a “40 Days for Life” campaign of prayer, fasting, community outreach and continuous vigils at abortuaries. Locations and other details are available via the Internet website

The 40 days of intense focus on Life coincide with the Lenten season, which began last Wednesday, as did the campaign, which has been endorsed by Priests for Life leader Fr. Frank Pavone.

It echoes a 40-day campaign undertaken last fall and is led, as was last year’s vigil, by David Bereit, who issued a news release last week in which he noted Planned Parenthood’s response to the first such campaign.

“Planned Parenthood in particular has been keenly aware of the vigils conducted outside its abortion facilities,” noted the release. PP, of course, used the threat represented by concerted prayer as a lever to seek funds from its fellow travelers.  Mr. Bereit, in his news bulletin last week, highlighted the “marked impact” on PP of last year’s effort:

“In Indianapolis,” he noted, “a state-of-the-art PP abortion facility closed on at least two of their busiest abortion Saturdays. Sidewalk counselors believe,” he reported, “the number of abortions decreased from an average of 20 a day to as few as five a day.

“In College Station, Texas, local leaders noted numerous women asking for alternatives to PP,” reported Mr. Bereit, “because of the prayer presence. The number of new people getting involved in pro-life outreach greatly increased, and people were eager to continue praying at the clinic after 40 Days for Life was over.”


Cord Blood Cells Save Little Girl

A TODDLER SUFFERING ACUTE MYELOID LEUKEMIA HAS BEEN CURED by transplantation of frozen umbilical cord adult stem cells, reports CitizenLink.

Though adult stem cell therapy has been used successfully in numerous leukemia cases, the cure of the British two-year-old, who had been given just a 30% chance of survival, may be among the first to show efficacy from frozen stem cells taken from cord blood. The partial-match stem cells were brought into England from Tokyo when worldwide hunt was undertaken after no matching stem cells were found inventoried anywhere in Europe.


Jaw Replaced with Cells Derived from Fat Tissue

SURGEONS IN HELSINKI, FINLAND, HAVE REPLACED THE JAW of a 65-year-old man with a bone graft grown from his own fatty tissue stem cells, reports Hilary White for citing Reuters as source.

The stem cells “were cultivated for two weeks,” according to the report. “From the cells that developed, the scientists selected a set of cells called mesenchymal stem cells, those that give rise to bone tissue. These,” the report continues, “were placed in a scaffold created from a biomaterial that mimics the body’s natural bone-growth process.” That structure, notes the report, “was then placed inside the patient’s abdomen and allowed to grow for nine months” before being implanted in the man’s head with screws and microsurgery connecting blood vessels to his neck arteries.

“‘From the outside, nobody would be able to tell he has been through such a procedure,’” said Dr. Riitta Suuronen at a news conference, quoted in the LifeSite/Reuters report.  Dr. Suuronen is head of the Regea Institute of Regenerative Medicine and is a specialist in oral/maxillofacial surgery. The Institute, according to LifeSite/Reuters, is “a leader in the field of tissue engineering and started its tissue bank in 2005.”


Advocating for Life: The March for Life Rally

Transcripts of Congressional speakers, March for Life in Washington, DC, Jan. 22, 2008, transcribed by Life Advocacy Briefing from televised coverage

Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH): Good afternoon, everyone. How is everyone? [“Cold!”] Are we going to let a little rain keep our voices down? [“No!”] You know every year we are tested, when we march on this mall because of the weather. The weather wants to keep us away, but our hearts are on fire [cheers]; they’re on fire for the unborn.

I heard Congressman Paul say that he over his lifetime delivered 4,000 babies, 4,000 wonderful voices for life, but ladies and gentlemen, young men and young women, every day, 4,000 babies’ voices are silenced with abortion. The motto this year is no exceptions, no excuses, no compromise. We must stand firm and say “no” to abortion and to end it. [cheers]

I share Cincinnati with Congressman Chabot. Today is his birthday. Do you know what kind of a birthday gift he wants? He wants a gift to promote life and end abortion. Let’s help him get that gift. [cheers]

And our struggle is not easy. I am a woman who is pro-life, and let me tell you, I’ve got a huge target on my back, by folks like NARAL and Emily’s List. [boos] They don’t like me, because I won’t be silent. [cheers] And it’s folks like you – especially the young folks in this audience – that give me the courage to continue, to keep my voice heard in the halls and the walls of Congress until we end abortion. [cheers]

And so I say to you, thank you so much for having the courage to stand here today. Thank you for keeping your hearts afire and your voices heard. You are wonderful Americans. Thank you for what you do, not just for all of us in the United States but all of the unborn, who want their voices to be heard, too. Thank you. God bless you and the United States.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX): I’m Louie Gohmert, and I am from the State of Texas. I know I sound like a New Yorker, but I’m from Texas. Isn’t it thrilling to be here in the nation’s capital? [“Yes!”] Isn’t it exciting to be here with so many friends with hearts of one accord. [“Yes!”] There’s a lot of beauty and glory around us here, isn’t there? [“Yes!”] Shouldn’t every child, born and unborn, have the chance to experience it? [“Yes!”] As King David said, in essence, You, Lord, did form us in our mother’s womb; You did weave us in our mother’s womb; You formed our inward parts; we should give thanks to You, for we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works, O Lord, our souls know so very well.

You know we’re here not too far from where one great American, Martin Luther King, Jr. [cheers] – he had a dream. Part of that dream was that, as he said, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and little white girls as sisters and brothers. [cheers] My dear friends, they have to be born to do that. [cheers] Thank you for keeping the dream alive that one day all God’s children, red and yellow, brown and black and white, will be able to at least have the chance to breathe in this air, to look around and hold hands with each other, and say the words that are on the capstone of the Washington Monument, in Latin but meaning in English: “Praise be to God.” [cheers] Thank you, God bless you.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH): Thank you. Former President Teddy Roosevelt said this. He said, “I preach not the life of ease but rather the life of strenuous effort.  Far better to dare mighty dreams, to attempt glorious triumphs, even though checkered by defeat, than to live in that gray twilight which knows neither victory nor defeat.”

I want to thank all of you for having the courage to step off the sidelines, to get out of the twilight, and get in the game to make a difference and stand up for the truth. I learned a long time ago that anything of meaning or significance requires people taking that risk of getting off the sidelines and getting in the game. So thank you so much for what you’re doing.

We’re going to win, because the truth’s on our side. We’ll win in spite of sometimes the treatment we get from the media. We don’t always get a fair shake from the national press. I love the – I shared this morning with a group from Ohio – I love the line that Cal Thomas had: He said, I wake up every morning, I read my Bible and the New York Times so I can see what each side is up to.  [laughter] There’s some truth to that. So keep fighting, and we’re going to win.

I’ll finish with the story from Scripture that’s so inspiring – you’re all familiar with it – when the Israelites were camped against the Philistines. And every day the Philistine giant walked out to issue the challenge: ‘Who will fight Goliath?’ The Israelites’ response was, ‘He’s so big, we could never defeat him.’ But David’s response was, ‘He’s so big, I can’t miss.’ [cheers] That’s the attitude you have, and that’s why we’re going to be successful. Thank you, and God bless you.


Pro-Life Foreign Affairs Committee Members

Republican Representatives: Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL), Ranking Member, and Jeff Flake (AZ); John Boozman (AR); Elton Gallegly, Dana Rohrabacher & Edward Royce (CA); Thomas Tancredo (CO); Gus Bilirakis & Connie Mack (FL); Donald Manzullo (IL); Dan Burton & Mike Pence (IN); Jeff Fortenberry (NE); Christopher Smith (NJ); Steve Chabot (OH); Gresham Barrett, Bob Inglis & Joe Wilson (SC); Michael McCaul, Ron Paul & Ted Poe (TX); Robert Wittman (VA). Also, Delegate Luis Fortuno (R-Puerto Rico). (Under current House rules, territorial Delegates have full voting rights in committee and limited voting rights on amendments considered in the House.)

All the GOP committee Members, including Del. Fortuno, are considered “pro-life” and need to be contacted to urge participation in the Feb. 14 mark-up of PEPFAR and their support for pro-life amendments and their “no” vote to the bill should the amendments fail.


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