Life Advocacy Briefing

February 25, 2008

Have You Called Your Senator Yet?/ House Panel to Vote on Abortion Raid
/ Cabal Pushing Kosovo into Abortion Culture? / Still ‘In There’ /
Advocating for Life: The March for Life Rally / Letter to Pres. Bush Urging Opposition to PEPFAR Draft Bill / Pro-Life Foreign Affairs Committee Members

Have You Called Your Senator Yet?

THE U.S. SENATE IS ABOUT TO VOTE on a key amendment to extend the Hyde Amendment protection to prevent taxpayer complicity in abortion. Your Senator needs to hear from you right now with the message: “Please vote ‘yes’ on the Vitter Amendment to the Indian Health Care Act and vote ‘no’ on the Democratic substitute. No federal funding of abortion, please!” Calls may be placed via the Capitol switchboard at 1-202/224-3121.

The Vitter Amendment is needed because the Indian Health Care Improvement Act falls outside the limits and protections incorporated into the Medicaid Act, therefore the long-standing Hyde Amendment does not apply.  Sen. Vitter has recognized the reauthorization of the health welfare program for American Indians as a critical opportunity to apply the Hyde principle, which has already been achieved in such federal programs as benefits for military personnel and dependents, federal prisoners and participants in the Federal Health Employee Benefits Plan.

Senate Democrats have signaled their intention to gut the Vitter Amendment with a “first-degree” substitute amendment. Pro-life victory on both roll calls is critical.


House Panel to Vote on Abortion Raid

IN THE WAKE OF PRES. BUSH’s HEALTH PROMOTION TOUR of Africa last week, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs is scheduled Wednesday, Feb. 27, to mark up legislation to reauthorize the President’s Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), also known as the Global AIDs bill.

The abortion lobby is seeking to hijack this expensive program by stripping out provisions barring abortionists from participating, gutting provisions guaranteeing at least one-third of the funds are spent on abstinence and marital fidelity education initiatives and boosting the funding to $50 billion over the next five years. These and other atrocities – such as permitting the funding of outfits that advocate prostitution and sex trafficking – are incorporated in the “chairman’s mark” now being offered by the committee’s new chairman, Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA).

Amendments are critically needed, and those pro-life amendments need the faithful attendance of the pro-life Members of the Committee. We published the names of those Members two weeks ago and publish them again now (see the end of this Life Advocacy Briefing), as calls to these lawmakers are needed from every pro-life citizen, via the Capitol switchboard at 1-202/224-3121. Lawmakers’ secretaries should be advised that your call is being placed to the Member/s regardless of your district because of the lawmaker’s position on the Foreign Affairs Committee. The message: “Please attend the entire Foreign Affairs Committee markup session on the PEPFAR/Global AIDS bill; vote ‘yes’ on all pro-life amendments and ‘no’ on the bill’s advance if those amendments are not adopted.”

Near the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing, we publish a letter sent to the President earlier this month, initiated by Concerned Women for America and signed by many pro-life/family organizations including Life Advocacy, urging him to intervene in the PEPFAR fight.


Cabal Pushing Kosovo into Abortion Culture?

KOSOVO’s DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE from Serbia and the haste of the US to recognize the new country are problematic in many respects, not the least of which is the radicalization of family policy in the draft constitution being circulated for adoption in the next four months.

“The draft constitution,” reports Susan Yoshihara for Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-Fam), “would transform the traditional Muslim and Orthodox Christian society by removing all legal protection from unborn children and granting special rights on the basis of sexual orientation. Additionally,” she writes, “the draft document cedes the interpretation of social norms to international human rights bodies centered at the United Nations.

“Article 25 of the draft document on the ‘Right to Life’ removes protection from the unborn,” she reports.

“‘Direct applicability’ of eight international treaties would be imposed once Kosovo adopts the constitution,” writes Dr. Yoshihara, “including the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights and its Protocols. The committees appointed to monitor each of these treaties,” notes Dr. Yoshihara, “have come under fire recently for misinterpreting the documents to include abortion and other controversial ideas specifically left out of the documents by the nations that negotiated them.

“Nonetheless, the draft constitution states,” warns Dr. Yoshihara, “that interpretation of the rights contained in the documents will rely on ‘the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and other international bodies that oversee the implementation of internationally guaranteed human rights.’”

The draft constitution is being circulated by “the Constitutional Commission of Kosovo,” whose chairman, reports Dr. Yoshihara, “stated this week that ‘commission members will visit municipalities and organize meetings’ inside Kosovo for public comment on the document before it reaches the 120-day deadline for adoption mandated [!] by UN Secretary Gen. Ban Ki-moon on March 26, 2007.”

The document was proffered to the Kosovo commission by an outfit called “The Venice Commission, established in 1990,” writes Dr. Yoshihara, ostensibly “to assist former Communist countries’ transition to democracy.” The Venice Commission, an advisory body to the Council of Europe, got the document from “a non-governmental organization,” reports Dr. Yoshihara, “called the Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG),” which authored it in 2004, readymade to impose international rule on whatever people might break away from an existing government.

After receiving the draft from PILPG, “European lawyers” at the Venice Commission “evaluated and assessed the document, and Americans also worked on it ‘quietly,’” according to Professor Bruce Hitchner of Tufts University, who spoke to C-Fam about the process.  Prof. Hitchner was one of the original authors. Though both the US and the Vatican are members of the Venice Commission, writes Dr. Yoshihara, “it is unclear if either government was aware of the radical nature of the new Kosovo constitution.”

Notwithstanding Pres. Bush’s initial reaction to Kosovar “independence” as an expression of sovereign democratic impulses, it is apparent that internationalist imperialists are seeking to impose on the citizens of Kosovo a framework that could not truly be characterized either as sovereignty or as independence.


Still ‘In There’

A MINNESOTA WOMAN WHO HAD BEEN LABELED ‘BRAIN DEAD’ by doctors in mid-January is today awake and walking, reports

Grieving relatives had taken 65-year-old Rae Kupferschmidt home to die, reports LifeSite, after doctors removed her breathing tube in preparation for her passing. She had been felled by a massive cerebral hemorrhage.

“While friends and family gathered to say a last good-bye,” reports LifeSite, her daughter “used an ice cube to wet her mother’s dry lips. When her mother sucked on the ice cube, [the daughter] thought it was only an instinctive reaction.” But when she applied the ice cube again, she told LifeSite, her mother “‘just about sucked the ice cube out of my hand.’” The younger woman leaned down, asking “‘Mom, Mom are you in there?’” When her mother “‘shook her head and mouthed “Yes,”’” the daughter told LifeSite, “‘We all just about fell over.’”

Rushed back to the hospital, Ms. Kupferschmidt underwent surgery to drain the blood clot from her skull, and “now undergoing physical therapy,” reports LifeSite, she “can walk with the aid of a walker” and is expected “to be walking on her own within weeks.”


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. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD): Maryland, where are you? [cheers] Yeah, okay! [cheers] This is my sixteenth year; thank you very much for being here for me. Here is an article in our Frederick paper just last week – number of abortions lowest in 30 years. [cheers] – down 25%. … Abortions down 25%. You did it. Keep on keeping on. Thank you. Thank you. [cheers]

Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ): There is no way to tell you what a privilege it is to be with all of you here today. I am reminded that the first time I ever came to Washington, DC, it was as one of you. I came to this march over 20 years ago, and now God has allowed me to come to the United States Congress, as much as for anything else, for this issue. [cheers]

Some of the previous speakers have spoken of how many children have died. We’re now going to pass 50 million this year. And I am reminded that that is 16,000 times the number of lives that we lost on September 11th. And ladies & gentlemen, I want you to know there comes a time, as it did in the days of slavery, when America’s greatness will no longer allow her to be blinded by such an unspeakable evil. The people of this nation are beginning to realize that every abortion really does kill a little baby. And they’re asking themselves a destiny question: Will we allow ourselves to be dragged by those who have lost their way into a darkness where the light of human compassion has gone out and the predatory survival of the fittest prevails over humanity? Or, or will we as Americans embrace our destiny to lead the world to cherish and honor the God-given miracle of each and every human life?

And I just want you to all know, I want you to all know, standing here as pro-life Members of Congress, all of these that have come before and will come behind me, there has never been a stronger commitment on the part of pro-life Members of Congress to bring this genocide to an end. [cheers] And I want to implore each one of you to help us do that by praying and working to elect a pro-life President in 2008. [cheers]

And now as you look out at this overcast, cold day in Washington, DC, I ask you to be encouraged and to remember one thing: that the day will someday come soon when the warm sunlight of life will break through these clouds and shine once again on the faces of unborn children in America. And when that day comes, history will record that it was people like you, that walked in the cold rain and the wind in Washington, DC, and held onto the hand of little unborn babies and refused to let go until the storm was gone. God bless you all. Let’s get it done. [cheers]


Letter to Pres. Bush Urging Opposition to P.E.P.F.A.R. Draft Bill

Signed by Wendy Wright, president, Concerned Women for America, and 42 other leaders, including Penny Pullen, president, Life Advocacy Resource Project, dated Feb. 13, 2008

Dear Mr. President:

On behalf of the following organizations, we support bipartisan efforts to reduce the transmission and devastation of HIV/AIDS. However, we are deeply concerned with several provisions in Rep. Tom Lantos’s* draft legislation to reauthorize PEPFAR. We ask you to publicly express opposition, including your intention to veto, any PEPFAR bill that undermines pro-life and pro-family policies.

Numerous provisions in Rep. Lantos’s bill require the integration of “family planning” programs with HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs to refer for family planning services which may include abortion.

The US already provides about $430 million each year for international family planning, yet Rep. Lantos’s draft legislation would transform PEPFAR from an HIV/AIDS focused program into a family planning focused program. This bill requires not only that HIV/AIDS programming be integrated with and provide referrals to “family planning” services, but it also authorizes onsite provision of contraceptives, either directly or by referral. Foreign abortion groups who cannot currently obtain US funding for family planning would be able to do so through PEPFAR.

This draft legislation also emasculates the abstinence requirements. Pursuant to PEPFAR, at least 33% of the total prevention funds needed to be expended on abstinence and be-faithful programs.  Rep. Lantos’s draft legislation removes this 33% requirement. The majority of HIV infections in countries with the most severe HIV/AIDS crisis occur through sexual transmission. Prevention strategies that focus solely on contraception have, in this situation, been wholly ineffective. The success of the abstinence strategy will be crippled if the 33% spending requirement is not reinstated.

In addition, the proposed reauthorization would remove a current provision that prohibits any HIV/AIDS funding from going to any group or organization that does not have a policy explicitly opposing prostitution or sex trafficking. This provision is important to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of this provision stating, “It would make little sense for the government to provide billions of dollars to encourage reduction of HIV/AIDS behavioral risks, including prostitution and sex trafficking, and yet to engage as partners in this effort organizations that are neutral toward or even actively promote the same practices sought to be eradicated. The effectiveness of the government’s viewpoint-based program would be substantially undermined, and the government’s message confused, if the organizations hired to implement the program by providing HIV/AIDS programs and services to the public could advance an opposite viewpoint in their privately funded operations.”

The draft legislation also increases funding for the Global Fund from $1 billion to $2 billion per year without any transparency requirements. There is strong evidence to suggest that the Global Fund, which receives approximately 1/3 of its funds from the US, has already funded groups in China known to be involved in China’s egregious one-child policy. The Global Fund must be held accountable through greater transparency and accountability before it receives additional funding.

The current PEPFAR legislation also includes a conscience clause that stipulates that an organization cannot be required to promote a prevention method or treatment program to which they have a religious or moral objection. However, Rep. Lantos’s bill would essentially render it irrelevant. While the conscience clause protects faith-based organizations from being forced to engage in programs and activities deemed objectionable, it does not prevent these groups from being discriminated against when funding decisions are being made.

We appreciate your steadfast commitment to protecting pro-life and pro-family policies. We respectfully request that you publicly express opposition, including a veto threat, to any legislation that undermines these policies.

*Rep. Lantos passed away just after this letter was drafted. The bill is now being handled by  Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), who, as vice chairman of the committee, has succeeded to the chairmanship.


Pro-Life Foreign Affairs Committee Members

CALLS ARE NEEDED (Capitol switchboard: 1-202/224-3121) to the pro-life Members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee asking for their attendance at the Feb. 27 markup of the Global AIDS reauthorization, their support for pro-life amendments and their opposition to the bill if the amendments fail.

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


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