Life Advocacy Briefing

September 1, 2008

 

Conscience Rule Needs Your Comment / How to File Official Comments on Conscience Rule / Above Her Pay Grade? / Quoteworthy / Thank You Still Needed / Shedding Science for Politics / Making the Case for Defunding Planned Parenthood

Conscience Rule Needs Your Comment

THE ABORTION LOBBY IS FROTHING over the rule issued by the Dept. of Health & Human Services Aug. 21 to implement existing federal legislation barring discrimination against health care workers who refuse to participate even indirectly in abortion.

The regulation seeks to underscore the conscience rights of pro-life medical personnel, but the abortion industry sees it as a dark plot to force them to hire pro-life nurses!

The public is invited to comment on the regulation, and the abortion lobby will take full advantage of the 30 allotted days to whine and distort and protest.

It behooves advocates for pro-life medical personnel – this means you! – to write positive comments to Secretary Michael Leavitt. Lengthy, erudite commentary is not necessary. Simple endorsement of the rule is all that is necessary. (See our Aug, 25, 2008, Life Advocacy Briefing for more detail about the purposes and implications of the rule, or read about it in the Aug. 22 entry on Secretary Leavitt’s weblog, which can be found at the Internet address http://secretarysblog.hhs.gov.)

 

How to File Official Comments on Conscience Rule

COMMENTS MAY NOT BE FILED BYFACSIMILE but may be filed by one of four means – electronically, by postal mail, by express or overnight mail, or by hand or courier – before the third week in September. Do not submit duplicate messages; use only one means.

The proposed regulation itself is 42 pages long and can be read via the Internet at http://hhs.gov/news/press/2008pres/08/20080821reg.pdf. Its official designation, which should be cited in comments submitted in support, is “45 CFR Part 88 RIN 0991-AB48, Provider Conscience Protection.”

To comment by electronic mail, address your comments to consciencecomment@hhs.gov. Attachments, notes the rule, “should be in Microsoft Word, WordPerfect or Excel;” Microsoft Word is preferred.

To comment by postal mail or by express or overnight mail, send one original letter and two copies to: Office of Public Health & Science, Dept. of Health & Human Services, Attn: Brenda Destro, Hubert H. Humphrey Building, 200 Independence Ave. SW, Room 728 E, Washington, DC 20201.

To deliver comments by hand or courier, deliver one original and two copies to the same address as by mail. Access to the Humphrey Building “is not readily available to persons without federal government identification,” notes the rule, so commenters by hand or courier “are encouraged to leave their comments in the mail-drop slots located in the main lobby of the building. A stamp-in clock is available,” assures the rule, “for persons wishing to retain proof of filing by stamping in and retaining an extra copy of the documents being filed.”

Comments will be published, as they are received, at the Internet website www.Regulations.gov.

 

Above Her Pay Grade?

HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI (D-CA) HAS PUNCHED A HORNET’s NEST with her ignorant statement on NBC-TV’s “Meet the Press” on Aug. 24 claiming uncertainty in Catholic Church hierarchy as to when life begins.

The lady from San Francisco fashions herself “‘an ardent, practicing Catholic,’” quoted by Gary Bauer in his Aug. 27 End of Day memo to supporters of Campaign for Working Families. She claimed that the question of the beginning of life is “‘an issue that I have studied for a long time.’” The conclusion reached by this scholar? Quoting Mr. Bauer’s report: “‘What I know is,’” said Mrs. Pelosi, “‘over the centuries, the doctrines of the church have not been able to make that definition. … St. Augustine said at three months. We don’t know. The point is,’” said one of Washington’s most powerful officials, “‘is that it shouldn’t have an impact on a woman’s right to choose. … I don’t think anybody can tell you when life begins, human life begins.’”

It did not take long for the response from actual Catholic sources, from lay leaders to cardinals and bishops to Catholic Congressmen. Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl quoted Catechism 2270-2271 in a letter to the Speaker, reports Tim Waggoner for LifeSiteNews.com, declaring as a teaching of the church: “‘Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. … Since the first century, the church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable.’”

Acknowledging that early church leaders and theologians in the first few centuries after Christ’s Resurrection were uncertain on the question of when human life begins, Denver’s Archbishop Charles Chaput, reports Mr. Waggoner, “issued a release on [Mrs.] Pelosi’s remarks. … None of the early Fathers [of the church] ‘diminished the unique evil of abortion as an attack on life itself, and the early church closely associated abortion with infanticide. In short, from the beginning, the believing Christian community,’” said Archbishop Chaput in the LifeSiteNews story, “‘held that abortion was always gravely wrong. … Catholics who make excuses for it – whether they’re famous or not,’” he said, “‘fool only themselves and abuse the fidelity of those Catholics who do sincerely seek to follow the gospel and live their Catholic faith.’”

New York-based Cardinal Edward Egan was particularly disdainful of the Speaker and her comments. “‘What the Speaker had to say about theologians and their positions regarding abortion,’” said Cardinal Egan as quoted by Mr. Waggoner, “‘was not only misinformed, it was also, and especially, utterly incredible in this day and age. … No one with the slightest measure of integrity or honor could fail to know,’” Cardinal Egan continued, “‘what these marvelous beings manifestly, clearly and obviously are, as they smile and wave into the world outside the womb.

“‘Anyone who dares to defend that they may be legitimately killed because another human being “chooses” to do so or for any other equally ridiculous reason,’” asserted Cardinal Egan in the LifeSiteNews report, “‘should not be providing leadership in a civilized democracy worthy of the name.’”

Ten Roman Catholic Members of the US House sent the Speaker a letter, reports Mr. Waggoner, “asking her to publicly rectify her misrepresentation of Catholic teachings.

“‘As fellow Catholics and legislators, we wish you would have made a more honest effort,’” they wrote to Speaker Pelosi, quoted by LifeSiteNews, “‘to lay out the authentic position of the church on this core moral issue before attempting to address it with authority,’ said the Congressmen. ‘Your subsequent remarks mangle Catholic Church doctrine regarding the inherent sanctity and dignity of human life, therefore,’” they added, quoted by Mr. Waggoner, “‘we are compelled to refute your error.’”

The 10 signers were Representatives Thaddeus McCotter (MI), Steve Chabot (OH), Virginia Foxx (NC), Phil Gingrey (GA), Peter King (NY), Steve King (IA), Daniel Lungren & Devin Nunes (both CA), John Sullivan (OK) and Patrick Tiberi (OH).

 

Quoteworthy

EWTN Television Network host Father Mitch Pacwa SJ in an Aug. 26 commentary directed at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “If you are ignorant and you don’t know [when life begins], then you [should] go on the side of safety and protecting rights. You don’t bomb a city where there might be a lot of civilians. You say, ‘Well, I’m not sure.’ Well, then be on the side of safety. Protect the lives of the innocent, the non-combatants. Same with the unborn children. You must also go on the side of your ignorance to say then, ‘If I don’t know, then I’ll protect all the more. I don’t want to act while I’m ignorant.’”

 

Thank-You Still Needed

TO SEND A THANK-YOU TO VANDERBURGH COUNTY COMMISSION leader Jeff Korb, try this electronic mail address: jkorb@vanderburghgov.org. (He has led his colleagues in regulating the abortion industry at the county level; see Life Advocacy Briefing, Aug. 25, 2008.)

We received the following message from Commissioner Korb last week and conclude he and his fellow commissioners still need to hear encouragement from our readers: “It’s been a pretty rough week for us in the newspapers. We still did the right thing. I find it interesting how asking a physician to be accountable for their actions and keeping the safety of a patient as the most important thing can be such an affront to the abortion supporters. Truthfully we did not even see it as an abortion issue. Public safety. Pure and simple. Thanks for the encouragement.”

 

Shedding Science for Politics

Aug. 26, 2008, PRI Weekly Briefing by Colin Mason for Population Research Institute

The American Psychological Association (APA) has arbitrarily decided that abortion doesn’t hurt women. Ever.

In a new draft report released on Aug. 12th by the secretly appointed “Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion,” the APA flatly claims that there is no evidence that abortion leads to psychological problems in women. According to the APA, “the relative risk of mental health problems is no greater if they have a single elective first-trimester abortion than if they deliver that pregnancy.” Really. …

The APA’s ideological bias in this report is so evident that a member of this professional body has broken ranks to oppose it.  Dr. Rachel M. MacNair, a member of the APA’s Board of Division 48, accuses the APA of reinventing science to serve its ideology.

“We have known for a long time that the word ‘choice’ in the abortion debate doesn’t mean what it means in regular English,” MacNair writes in a recent article entitled “Tales from an Insider: How the APA Denied Abortion’s Mental Health Risks.” “Now we find that ‘science’ means what the American Psychological Association says it means, rather than what those of us trained in a university might have been taught.”

MacNair reveals that the APA’s task force was selected without peer review and without balance, pointing out that there was never any “call for nominations. Membership had been decided by Division 35, psychology of women, and the Council apparently rubber-stamped the selection.” In addition to this, MacNair states that three of the task force’s six members were “outspoken defenders of abortion, and the remaining three had no public statements of positions.”

MacNair also points out that the APA’s assertion that the task force proclamation was based upon a collection of studies is patently false. According to MacNair, the APA based its conclusions on only one study, and in the end even this study did not even support its pro-abortion conclusions. “I was startled to dig in and realize that the new rationale for the conclusion was based on only one study,” MacNair recalls. “(The study used) British women where there was a screening requirement we don’t have in the U.S. …The study doesn’t support the conclusion, since it did find more drug overdoses in women who had abortions compared to others.” …

If the APA wishes to be taken seriously as a scientific organization, it had better do its homework before publishing its “conclusions.” It new report is simply ideology masquerading as science. It besmirches the name of the organization in whose name it was published.

 

Making the Case for Defunding Planned Parenthood

July 9, 2008, special order speeches in the U.S. House; source: Congressional Record. Please note: We at Life Advocacy Briefing are not expecting that this Congress will actually take up the Pence Amendment to defund Planned Parenthood in this election year; nevertheless, we find the “special order” speeches a compelling tool for educating the American people about the injustice in the massive subsidies taxpayers are forced to remit to Planned Parenthood. This week’s is by Rep. Bill Sali (R-ID).

REP. SALI: Madame Speaker, Mother Teresa once said: “Any country that accepts abortion is the poorest of the poor.” On that basis, I fear that our own great country is in serious trouble.

While current law forbids family planning agencies from using federal funds for abortion, those same organizations are able to receive those Title X funds for their other family planning services, even if the organizations also provide and even promote abortion.

Today, as long as the bookkeeping of the two divisions is kept separate, these organizations can reallocate their resources and free up money for providing abortions. In other words, it appears that an accounting gimmick masks the way Planned Parenthood uses federal dollars to fund its abortion services.

As many know, Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of abortion in the country, performing more than 264,000 abortions in 2005 alone. However, Planned Parenthood receives more than $336 million from the federal government each year. Planned Parenthood affiliates enjoy special access to discount drugs, grants through the Title X program and a 90% federal Medicaid match for family planning activities. In effect, Congress is playing favorites by subsidizing the largest business in the abortion industry.

Now lest there be any confusion, abortion is an “industry” in every sense of the word. Abortion providers rake in over $400 million a year from women and girls who believe that they are receiving a simple health service. However, to the tune of $372 per abortion on average, abortion-providing businesses are turning a major profit. For instance, while Planned Parenthood reports that it is a “non-for-profit” organization, it had an “excess of revenue over expenses” of almost $56 million in 2005 and $112 million in 2006. Remember, this is the same organization that receives over $336 million in government grants and contracts each year.

I find it outrageous that taxpayer dollars are subsidizing abortion in the United States. The absurdity of this abuse is illustrated by the long-standing Mexico City policy. Instituted by Ronald Reagan in 1984, this policy prohibits foreign aid from going to nongovernmental organizations which provide or promote services related to abortion. If we recognize the importance of prohibiting foreign abortion providers from receiving our taxpayer dollars, how can our domestic policy be any different?

I also adamantly oppose funding for an organization like Planned Parenthood that is alleged to have committed substantial fraud. The former vice president of finance and administration of the Los Angeles Planned Parenthood affiliate estimates that affiliates in California overcharged state and federal governments by $180 million, despite internal and external warnings that its billing practices were improper. If Planned Parenthood is able to abuse its government support by as much as $180 million in California alone, imagine the possible magnitude of its fraud nationwide.

The federal government clearly has a significant interest in identifying and recovering those excess payments. However, I believe that any funds that support abortion are “excess payments.”

We in the federal government have no business providing money to help end a human life. As the Declaration of Independence makes clear, our nation was founded on the idea that our Creator has endowed every person with “certain unalienable rights,” the first of which is life. Now, 232 year after our predecessors signed that document in that First Continental Congress, now we have to ask, how is it possible that we in Congress are allowing the money of unsuspecting ordinary Americans to support businesses that specialize in terminating human life, when our Declaration of Independence recognizes that those are unalienable rights, the right to life?

We in Congress are charged by our nation with the responsibility to ensure oversight of federal funds, and it is abundantly clear that providing “excess” funds to abortion providers is not the proper use of taxpayer dollars. I call on my colleagues here in the House to end taxpayer subsidies of abortion by ending federal support for Planned Parenthood. Let us thereby begin to restore the richness of spirit that Mother Teresa spoke about so eloquently.

 

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