Life Advocacy Briefing

February 18, 2008

Calls Needed Now in Abortion Funding Fight / PEPFAR Markup Delayed
/ Sweet Victory / Court OKs Feeding Tube Removal / The Healthy Choice /
Advocating for Life: The President at CPAC / Advocating for Life: The March for Life Rally

Calls Needed Now in Abortion Funding Fight

WHEN THE SENATE RECONVENES NEXT MONDAY NIGHT, following a week-long recess in recognition of Presidents’ Day, one of the first items on the agenda will likely be the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, to which Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) will attempt to attach an amendment incorporating the pro-life principle of the Hyde Amendment to the federal government’s health care program for indigent American Indians. The Hyde Amendment has long limited taxpayer subsidy of abortion but only in the Medicaid program.

Democrats have signaled they will attempt to eviscerate the Vitter Amendment with a substitute.

Calls to Senators are urgently needed, to their in-state offices as well as to their Capitol Hill offices via the Capitol switchboard at 1-202/224-3121. Telephone numbers for their in-state offices should be available through the reference section of any public library.

Pro-life citizens and officials should request Senators to “vote ‘yes’ on the Vitter Indian Health Care Amendment and ‘no’ on the Democrats’ first-degree amendment on abortion funding.”

 

P.E.P.F.A.R. Markup Delayed

THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE’s MARKUP of legislation to reauthorize the President’s Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has been delayed by the passing last week of the committee’s chairman, Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA), who was managing the bill.

Rep. Lantos reportedly succumbed to esophageal cancer. His vice chairman, Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), will assume the chairmanship at least temporarily and announced the rescheduling of the markup for the week of Feb. 25. Like the Senate, the House will recess this full week in recognition of Presidents’ Day. Both committee leaders have amassed a solidly pro-abortion voting record.

The passing of the bill’s manager Mr. Lantos does not make opposition to the measure any less urgent; in fact, it is critical that panel Members understand that sympathy for the late chairman cannot suffice as an excuse either to vote for the bill or to stay away from the battle that must ensue in the markup session.

The bill as written by House Democrats would boost spending on PEPFAR to $50 billion over the next five years and would permit International Planned Parenthood Federation and other abortionists to tap into the funds from which they are currently barred. It would also gut the hard-won provision guaranteeing at least one-third of the funds are spent on teaching abstinence until marriage and fidelity within marriage as the most certain means of preventing infection with HIV, the virus which causes AIDS.

Calls may be placed via the Capitol switchboard at 1-202/224-3121 and should focus on committee Republicans, all of whom have pro-life voting records. They should be asked to vote for pro-life amendments to the PEPFAR bill and to vote against the bill’s advance from committee if the amendments fail. Readers who have already placed such calls after reading our coverage last week are urged to call again now and again early next week as the committee session approaches.

 

Sweet Victory

WE DON’t OFTEN REPORT ON CONGRESSIONAL PRIMARIES, but last Tuesday’s victory in Maryland was too sweet to leave unremarked.

Pro-life conservative State Sen. Andy Harris defeated US Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R) in a primary challenge that was long overdue.  Rep. Gilchrest’s left-leaning record singled him out even in big-government-friendly Maryland, and the probable election later this year of Sen. Harris will bring a breath of fresh air and principled leadership to a seat that has belonged to the abortion lobby for some 20 years.  We extend our congratulations to Sen. Harris and to all who aided his inspiring victory.

 

Court OKs Feeding Tube Removal

AS THE OBSERVANCE OF ‘TERRI’s DAY’ APPROACHES, commemorating the March 31, 2005, killing of the brain-injured Terri Schiavo, a battle is raging among family members concerning a similarly situated young woman in Delaware.

Chancery Court Master Sam Glasscock III issued a ruling in late January authorizing the removal of a feeding tube by which 23-year-old Lauren Richardson is being fed and hydrated since suffering a brain injury from an accidental drug overdose in Aug. 28, 2006. The ruling was sought by Miss Richardson’s mother Edith Towers, who claimed her daughter had said she would not want to live in her current condition. [Indeed, she would probably opt for therapy!]

The young patient’s father Randy Richardson, from whom Mrs. Towers is divorced, is appealing the court order and challenging the medical diagnosis of “persistent vegetative state,” stating, reports John Jalsevac for LifeSiteNews.com, “that his daughter, while severely handicapped, is both responsive and not terminally ill. He has said that with therapy his daughter could be re-taught to eat and would have no need of the feeding tube. …

[Mr.] Richardson claimed that Lauren can indicate to nurses in her hospice when she is uncomfortable,” reports LifeSite. “A video released [in late January],” writes Mr. Jalsevac, “shows Lauren sitting up in a wheelchair, looking around and apparently responding to her father.”

Mr. Richardson, who “has repeatedly expressed his willingness to take care of his daughter,” writes Mr. Jalsevac, has taken his daughter’s case to the media, explaining, reports LifeSite, “‘It’s not in my nature to speak to newspapers … . But if I don’t, who will? I love my daughter. She’s committed no crime,’” Mr. Richardson said, quoted by Mr. Jalsevac, “‘and doesn’t deserve to have this death imposed on her.’”

Among those weighing in on Mr. Richardson’s side of the controversy is the late Terri Schiavo’s brother Bobby Schindler, who warned, reports Mr. Jalsevac, “The West is moving in the direction of judging people’s worth based upon quality of life and not intrinsic dignity. ‘I think our culture has shifted to a quality-of-life assessment, where we are making life-and-death decisions now on someone’s quality of life,’” charged Mr. Schindler. “‘We are discriminating against people with disabilities. We’ve lost our sense of compassion,’” he said in the LifeSite report.

“‘We’re talking about basic care here,’ Mr. Schindler emphasized,” in the LifeSite story, referring specifically to the Richardson case. “‘We’re talking about food and water,’” he said. “‘I don’t think I can emphasize that enough. It’s just food and water. So what can we do?’” he asked, as quoted by Mr. Jalsevac. “‘We can recognize these people as people in need of our love and compassion. We can do what we are supposed to do. And that’s care for them,’” Mr. Schindler said, “‘not simply create ways to justify killing them.’”

 

The Healthy Choice

PROJECT REALITY HAS RELEASED A NEW TOOL for training abstinence teachers and for promoting the adoption of abstinence-until-marriage curriculum in middle and high schools.

The new Project Reality instrument is an online teacher training in the abstinence pioneer’s Game Plan and Navigator curricula.

The course takes four hours to complete and can be interrupted and resumed according to one’s own schedule. A promo for the course can be viewed at www.abstinencetraining.com. A few complimentary registrations for the training are available; contact Project Reality at 1-239/659-1095 or contact the coordinator via electronic mail at Theresa@ProjectReality.org.

 

Advocating for Life: The President at C.P.A.C.

PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH CITED ‘DEFENSE OF LIFE’ as a key element in his legacy during his little reported Feb. 8 speech in Washington to the Conservative Political Action Conference (C-PAC).

“On matters relating to America’s moral compass,” the President declared, “we have defended human life. We promoted strong families. We confronted the crippling cycle of drug dependency. We challenged the critics, the self-proclaimed experts, and the status quo,” Mr. Bush said. “Both sides made their case. The results are in,” he said. “And they’re proving us right.” …

“We believe that all human life is precious and deserves to be protected,” Mr. Bush said to applause. “In 2001,” he continued, “I had a grave decision to make on the question of embryonic stem cell research. I believed we could empower scientists and researchers to discover cures for terrible diseases – without crossing a moral line. So I authorized research on existing stem cell lines,” he said, “and stood against any effort to use federal tax dollars to support the destruction of human life.

“Our critics,” he noted, “had a different view. They thought my defense of life was short-sighted and harmful. When I vetoed two bills that sought to use tax dollars to destroy human embryos,” Pres. Bush said, “some academics described my position as ridiculous and scientifically naïve. One publication predicted our plan would not hold up over the long haul.

“Then last November,” he recalled, “scientists announced a landmark achievement. They found a way to reprogram adult skin cells to act like embryonic stem cells. This discovery,” he said, “has the potential to end the divisive debate over stem cell research. It will allow us to expand the frontiers of medicine while maintaining a culture of life. In the coming year,” he said, “we will increase funds for this type of ethical research. And I will continue to push for a ban on the buying, selling, patenting or cloning of human life,” as he did in his State of the Union address just a few days earlier.

In a segment which took on the tones of a campaign stump speech, the President compared the philosophy he shares with the C-PAC participants with that of “the other side,” including this ringing declaration: “On the rights of the unborn – the most vulnerable among us,” he said, “one side supports abortion on demand. You and I believe in the worth of every human being, the matchless joy of adoption and the right to life.” Amen.

 

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. Scott Garrett (R-NJ): Good morning. This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us give thanks and rejoice in it. [cheers]

Thank you all for traveling here and traveling in your long bus rides and your plane rides and everything else – and the bumpy rides – thank you for taking part in this day, and as you stand there with us, shivering – are you shivering [ yes!], so am I, we come here today obviously with mixed emotions.

For on the one hand we are encouraged. We are encouraged that we come here to mark this anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and we draw comfort in our encouragement that we have not forgotten this day over 35 years. We come here encouraged that we stand firm in reminding our fellow citizens that all men are created by our Creator with certain inalienable rights and most important of all of them is the protection of life [cheers]. And we come here encouraged also, as I look upon this crowd, as so many young people have joined us with this fight for life as well. Thank you. [cheers]

But on the other hand we come here, we mourn as well. We mourn for the millions of babies who have been mercilessly killed before they could even take their first breath. And we come here and grieve for the mothers and fathers who suffer from the emotional pain of having an abortion. And we come here, and we lament the continuing decline in morality and civility and the respect for life. And for me, coming from New Jersey, I am additionally disheartened by the reports that have come out that my state has the second highest abortion rate in the nation.

And so it is in moments like these that we must turn our gaze upward and remember the one Person, the one God Who created life. For He is the one Who governs the universe. And it is He Who commands us to run and not be weary, to walk and to not faint. And so today, we ultimately find encouragement for we know that the battle is not over, the battle is not ours alone, and that might is on our side of right. And I leave you with a prayer that someday we will experience a January 22nd free of those mixed emotions and that we will be able to wholeheartedly celebrate a renewed culture of life, and that is because of you.

And I leave with a paraphrase of those lyrics – that so many elected officials may come to these microphones now – and as we take the microphones, I know that we will succeed not because of who we are but because of what you do, and not because of what we have done but because of what you have done. You, the defenders of life. God bless you all. [cheers]

Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI): Go blue, go green, go white! Michigan! What a privilege. I’m Congressman Tim, and this is my wife Sue; we’re the Walbergs, and we’re pro-life. [cheers] I want to give a shout out to my hometown. Adrian College Students for Life are here. We appreciate them coming all the way and taking a stand. I want to inform you as well that less than an hour ago the Michigan State Senate passed a partial-birth abortion ban. [cheers] I’m proud of Michigan, and I’m proud of all of you across the United States who are pro-life.

Just this past week I came back from Afghanistan and Iraq. One day traveling back from Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, to the airport in an armored vehicle, I looked outside, and I saw two beautiful young children, eight years and younger. They were doing things that little children do. They were playing; they were running and racing our vehicle. I looked at their faces; I saw the excitement of little kids. I saw the enjoyment of life, in a war zone. I saw faces that were not unlike what I see in my own hometown. Yet they were covered with soot, and they were in ragged clothes, but they were full of life. And I thought, those two little children could at some point in time, if the insanity that goes on with the war, with the insanity of terrorism, could have explosives strapped to them, and they could become suicide bombers with their lives given in a barbaric, a barbaric way.

As I thought of that, I came back to this wonderful land of freedom and opportunity, a land that is full of education and civilization, people that are well fed and well clothed, people that are educated. And yet, if you stop to think about it, those two little faces are not unlike the almost fifty million children that have not been given a voice except ours, who were brutally and with barbarism, sacrificed for materials or future or goals without the understanding that they are gifts of God.

You are standing here today fighting that war for the lives of these young children. God bless you. May we keep on till someday we stand here in victory, having not only saved more lives but ended abortion and its blight upon the lives of young children. But stand here again realizing that we would continue in victory so that victory would remain. God bless America, but God bless America as we do what causes Him to bless us. Thank you for being here today. We’re the Walbergs; we’re for Life.

 

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