Life Advocacy Briefing

September 22, 2008

 

The Time to Act Has Come / Where to File Official Comments on Conscience Rule / Take Time to ‘Lobby’ Congress, Too / Patiently, Persistently Pressing the Obvious / Confronted by a Survivor / Double-Minded? / Quoteworthy / Draft Letter to Secretary Leavitt from Members of Congress / Isn’t It Past Time to Defund Planned Parenthood?

The Time to Act Has Come

THE CLOCK HAS ALMOST RUN OUT on your opportunity to weigh in on the Health & Human Services (HHS) Department’s proposed regulation to implement statutory law protecting the consciences of health care workers and organizations from being forced to commit or abet abortions.

Deadline for public comments on the rule is this Thursday, Sept. 25, and according to our Capitol Hill source, “pro-abortion groups have been flooding HHS with form letters opposing the regulation.

“It is important that pro-life groups also demonstrate,” urges our source, “that Americans want HHS to enforce laws protecting the freedom of health care providers to refuse to participate in abortion-related activities. After the comment period ends,” continues the source, “the [HHS] Secretary must review the comments before issuing a final rule.”

That is why Life AdvocacyBriefing has repeatedly published the address to which public comments may be submitted and will reprint that information below, so that our readers may step up to the challenge of outdoing the abortion lobby in commenting on this commonsense, worthy regulation proposal. The time has come and nearly gone. Will you act today?

 

Where 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 Sept. 25. 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.

 

Take Time to ‘Lobby’ Congress, Too

READERS ARE ASKED ALSO TO CONTACT U.S. HOUSE MEMBERS to request they sign onto a letter being circulated by Rep. Dave Weldon (R-FL) and Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) urging the Secretary of Health & Human Services to finalize his proposed Provider Conscience Protection regulations swiftly.

Members may be contacted via the Capitol switchboard at 1-202/224-3121 and may be advised to sign onto the letter by contacting Dr. Weldon’s designated staff members at Michelle.Kirtley@mail.house.gov or Derek.Baker@mail.house.gov no later than noon Thursday. (These electronic mail addresses should be used only by Members of Congress and not by members of the public, please.) The draft letter is published near the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing.

Some 132 Members of the House signed a letter in July urging Secretary Leavitt to issue the regulations.

 

 

Patiently, Persistently Pressing the Obvious

SEN. JAMES INHOFE (R-OK) ADVANCED A PROPOSAL in the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works last Wednesday to include unborn human lives along with born people in a bill being offered by the panel’s chairman, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA).  Sen. Inhofe is the committee’s Ranking Member (leading Republican).

S-3494 relates to estimates by the Environmental Protection Agency assigning a dollar value to human life for purposes of making EPA policy.  Sen. Inhofe explained to the committee his amendment “directs EPA to also establish and properly consider the statistical value of the conceived, unborn life. Given this committee’s recent focus on children’s health,” said Sen. Inhofe, “it seems only consistent that we would want EPA to also properly value the life of the least protected class – the unborn children.”

The amendment did not pass the left-leaning committee, but some of the debate was worthy of note, particularly statements by the chairman/sponsor herself, whom regular Life Advocacy Briefing readers will recognize as one of the Senate’s most determined – if confused – advocates for the abortion industry. “Twice in the midst of the debate,” notes our Capitol Hill source, “[Sen.] Boxer stated that pregnant women carry children.” And here’s a direct quote from Mrs. Boxer, transcribed from the committee video: “You can talk about it any way you want, but she’s carrying a child.”

Congressional Quarterly staff writer Colby Itkowitz quoted Mrs. Boxer: “‘I’d like to state the obvious. When a woman is pregnant, and I was,’” as Mrs. Boxer always likes to point out, “‘you’re carrying a child. If you protect the woman,’” she said, according to CQ, “‘you’re protecting the entire pregnancy.’”

No matter how often Sen. Inhofe has to flummox Sen. Boxer, we at Life Advocacy thank him for leading on acknowledging and protecting prenatal babies at every opportunity and from every creative angle.

 

Confronted by a Survivor

A PUBLIC ADVOCACY (527) GROUP called “BornAliveTruth.org” and operating an Internet website in that name has produced a television ad featuring pro-life speaker and author Gianna Jessen, who survived a saline abortion 31 years ago.

The ad challenges Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) on his radical record in repeatedly opposing, while an Illinois state legislator, proposals to, as Miss Jessen puts it in the ad, “afford these [abortion survivor] babies their most basic human right. …

“Just as abuse victims share their stories to educate the public, fight for the common good and hope that as a result, politicians do what’s right,” says Miss Jessen in the ad transcript published on the website, “I felt it was important to come forward and give these newborn babies a voice. I am living proof,” she declares, “these babies have a right to live.”

The ad is airing on television in Ohio and New Mexico and can be viewed at the website www.bornalivetruth.org.

 

Double-Minded?

A HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR, who has lately added “informal advisor to the Obama campaign” to his resume, wrote a column in the Sept. 14 Boston Globe (owned by the New York Times) raising alarms for the abortion claque in the event Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is elected President and has an opportunity to nominate Supreme Court Justices.

In the commentary, though, Cass Sunstein makes some admissions of interest to the pro-life community, worth quoting here.

“With an excellent chance to reconfigure the Supreme Court,” he writes, “[Sen.] McCain, if elected, might well be able to get what the antiabortion movement wants … . As it was written in 1973,” Prof. Sunstein opines, “Roe v. Wade was far from a model of legal reasoning, and conservatives have been correct to criticize it. The court failed to root the abortion right in either the text of the Constitution or its own precedents.

“Moreover, it ruled far too broadly,” writes Mr. Sunstein. “In its first encounter with the abortion question, the Court failed to focus on the particular abortion restrictions at issue … . Instead,” he notes, “the Court took the highly unusual step of setting out a series of rules for legislatures to follow. It is no wonder,” he asserts, “that millions of Americans felt – and continue to feel – that the Court refused to treat their moral convictions with respect.”

 

Quoteworthy

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, in a Sept. 15, 2008, speech at Utah State University, quoted by Brian Maffly in the Salt Lake Tribune: “I’m questioning the sanity of having value-laden decisions being made by unelected judges. Nothing I learned at Harvard or in my practice of law qualifies me to decide whether there is a right to abortion or to assisted suicide.”

 

Draft Letter to Secretary Leavitt from Members of Congress

This letter is being circulated among their colleagues by Rep. Dave Weldon and Rep. Bart Stupak. It is directed to Health & Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt to endorse the HHS Department’s proposed Provider Conscience Protection Regulations

We were encouraged to see that you have published draft regulations implementing the federal statutes protecting the rights of conscience for those in the medical profession. When finalized, these regulations will provide much needed protection for those who refuse to provide, assist in or refer for abortion.

In the years since conscience laws have been enacted, most recently in the Hyde-Weldon conscience protection provision, I continue to receive reports of individuals who have left their jobs because they were being forced to participate in abortion-related activities against their conscience. These regulations will help ensure that these individuals, hospitals, health care plans and other health care entities know about the protection offered them by the law. Furthermore, the regulations will alert state and local governments and other federally funded entities that they must comply with the non-discrimination statutes.

We commend you on your efforts to faithfully implement Congressional intent in developing these regulations, and we urge you to expedite finalization of this rule so that medical professionals can regain the freedom to practice their professions in a manner consistent with their deeply held views on abortion.

 

Isn’t It Past Time to Defund 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 speech is by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ).

REP. FRANKS: … Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, has long since passed away, but the legacy of her work lives on, Madame Speaker. She once said, “We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.”

Her insidious vision, of a world where her ideal of the “survival of the fittest” is advanced through race-targeted abortions, continues to thrive through the deliberate expansion of Planned Parenthood clinics in the high-minority populations of this country. Both the Alan Guttmacher Institute and the Centers for Disease Control have reported that a huge majority of abortion clinics are located in minority neighborhoods, and some experts estimate that number to be higher than 75 percent.

While African Americans represent approximately 13 percent of our population, more than 35 percent of abortions are performed on African Americans. In fact, more than one in three abortions performed by Planned Parenthood are performed on little African American babies. Recent Internet postings reveal Planned Parenthood’s willingness to accept donations specifically earmarked for the abortion of an African American baby. In other words, Madame Speaker, a willingness to accept money specifically designated to kill a baby for no other reason than that he or she was black.

One hundred and fifty years ago, the infamous Dred Scott decision in the United States Supreme Court declared that the black man was not a person under the Constitution. That decision put the Supreme Court’s legal imprimatur on a practice that had brutally enslaved more than four million innocent human beings from Africa. It took a horrible civil war to reverse that despicable decision. It also took the courage – and ultimately the life – of President Abraham Lincoln, who had guided America through those dark moments because he believed in a day that would one day come when the black man and the white man could walk together in the sunlight of human freedom.

And more than a century later, Dr. Martin Luther King stood on the steps of the memorial dedicated to President Lincoln and gave a speech that would forever change the course of history, because it reminded America of her creed that all men are still created equal, and it helped Americans to finally begin, once and for all, to put away the evil of bigotry and prejudice against their fellow human beings of a different skin color. It was a great day, Madam Speaker.

But only ten years later, our memories would wane again and another Supreme Court decision called Roe v. Wade, along with the help of Planned Parenthood, precipitated the murder of more than twelve million African American babies.

Madam Speaker, every victory gained in the battle to defeat slavery, every accomplishment that came through the civil rights movement is being completely overshadowed by this unspeakable tragedy.

It is time that Americans stood up together again and remembered that we are the same America that rejected human slavery and worked to overturn decisions by our own courts, whether in the Dred Scott decision of 1857 or the Jim Crow laws that continued through the 1960s. And we are still courageous and compassionate enough to stop the funding of a bigoted organization like Planned Parenthood.

Madam Speaker, it has been said that a government is what it spends. For this government to continue to appropriate one more penny of the American taxpayers’ money to an organization that kills unborn children on the basis of race or for any other reprehensible reason is a disgrace that undermines the core essence of America and betrays everything that our soldiers lying out in Arlington National Cemetery died to preserve.

 

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