Life Advocacy Briefing

October 6, 2008


Investigation Overdue / Signers of the Letter to HHS / House OKs Senate Prenatal Diagnosis Bill / Presuming to Speak for You / Schwarzenegger Signs Abetted Suicide Bridge / Lefty Backs Life in Washington State / Text of the Congressional Letter to Secretary Leavitt / Bottom Line – Defund Planned Parenthood

Investigation Overdue

SOME 83 MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE ARE PRESSING the Dept. of Health & Human Services (HHS) for an investigation into whether the State of Illinois is abusing the federal Medicaid program by seeking reimbursement for abortions which fall outside the narrow limits of the Hyde Amendment.

Under the long-standing amendment first and famously offered by the late Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R-IL), the federal Medicaid program can subsidize only abortions necessary to save the physical life of the mother or, in later iterations since the Clinton regime, abortions to eliminate babies conceived during the commission of a sex crime. Even with the rape/incest loophole, the number of tax-funded Medicaid abortions is expected to be exceedingly scant and has been minuscule.

Indeed, the number of Medicaid-reimbursed abortions nationwide was 196 in 2006, reports Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink, but in 2007, notes CitizenLink, “the number jumped to 458.

“In 2006, Illinois reported 84 federally funded abortions in cases of rape,” a number which even then was high as a share of the nationwide funded death toll. But in 2007, Medicaid reimbursement for abortions committed in Illinois, allegedly limited as under the Hyde Amendment, “jumped to 363,” reports CitizenLink, accounting for the entire nationwide increase.

The Sept. 26 letter from the 83 Congressmen, which seeks “detailed information regarding this increase” – specifically the Illinois increase – is the second letter Members of Congress have sent to HHS seeking such an investigation; the other was sent in June by Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Bart Stupak (D-MI), co-chairmen of the House Pro-Life Caucus. We publish the text of the letter near the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing and list the signers of the letter next.


Signers of the Letter to HHS

HERE ARE THE 83 U.S. HOUSE MEMBERS, arranged here by state, seeking a probe of possible subversion of the Hyde Amendment. Readers are asked to thank those Members who signed, and should a reader live in the district of a Member whose name does not appear here, it would be useful to contact that Member – in the home district soon, presumably – and call his or her attention to this issue, asking every Member of Congress to insist that the Dept. of Health & Human Services – or the Governor of Illinois – explain the incredible increases in Medicaid abortions in Mr. Hyde’s home state.

Republican Representatives: AL/Robert Aderholt; AZ/Trent Franks, Rick Renzi & John Shadegg; AR/John Boozman; CA/Elton Gallegly, Wally Herger, Duncan Hunter, George Radanovich & Dana Rohrabacher; CO/Doug Lamborn, Marilyn Musgrave & Tom Tancredo; FL/Tom Feeney & Dave Weldon; GA/Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey, John Linder & Lynn Westmoreland; ID/Bill Sali; IL/John Shimkus; IN/Dan Burton, Steve Buyer, Mike Pence & Mark Souder; KS/Jerry Moran & Todd Tiahrt; KY/Geoff Davis; and LA/Rodney Alexander & Steve Scalise.

And Republican Representatives: MD/Roscoe Bartlett; MI/Pete Hoekstra, Thaddeus McCotter, Mike Rogers & Tim Walberg; MN/Michelle Bachmann; MS/Chip Pickering; MO/Todd Akin; NE/Jeff Fortenberry; NJ/Scott Garrett & Chris Smith; NC/Howard Coble, Virginia Foxx, Robin Hayes, Walter Jones, Patrick McHenry & Mike McIntyre; OH/Steve Chabot, Jim Jordan & Jean Schmidt; OK/Mary Fallin & John Sullivan; PA/Phil English, Tim Murphy & Joe Pitts; SC/Bob Inglis & Joe Wilson; TN/Marsha Blackburn, David Davis & Zach Wamp; TX/Joe Barton, John Carter, Mike Conaway, Louie Gohmert, Ralph Hall, Jeb Hensarling, Sam Johnson, Kenny Marchant, Michael McCaul, Randy Neugebauer, Ron Paul & Lamar Smith; VA/Randy Forbes, Virgil Goode & Bob Goodlatte; and WI/Jim Sensenbrenner.

Also, Democratic Representatives: IL/Jerry Costello; MI/Bart Stupak; MN/Jim Oberstar & Collin Peterson; MS/Gene Taylor; TN/Lincoln Davis; and WV/Alan Mollohan.


House OKs Senate Prenatal Diagnosis Bill

JUST TWO DAYS AFTER THE SENATE PASSED IT, the US House agreed to passage of the Prenatally Diagnosed Condition Awareness Act, offering “scientifically sound information and support services,” as reads the official Congressional synopsis, “to patients receiving a positive test diagnosis for Down Syndrome or other prenatally and postnatally diagnosed conditions.”

As when the Senate passed the measure, the House passed it without a recorded roll call, preserving the record of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in having blocked any Life-related roll call record for her Members for the entire 2008 session of Congress.

S-1810 was sponsored by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) and will now go to the White House for the President’s signature. Its companion measure was offered in the House by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

The proposal would give parents a place to turn when prenatal genetic diagnosticians advise them to abort their possibly disabled children.


Presuming to Speak for You

DID YOU FILE ‘PUBLIC COMMENTS’ on the Health & Human Services (HHS) Department’s proposed “medical provider conscience rules” before the late September deadline? If you live in any one of 13 states, someone else filed comments for you, and the input was not necessarily what you would have said.

The attorneys general of 13 states have sent a letter to HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt protesting the regulation being proposed to improve enforcement of Conscience Protection statutes, protecting the jobs of health care workers who refuse to participate in abortion on religious or moral grounds.

The circulated letter “said the rule is too vague in defining abortion,” reports Associated Press (AP) writer Patrick Sanders, “and may be interpreted to include birth control. ‘It threatens to drastically discourage and even deter a woman’s right to choose,’ Connecticut AG Richard Blumenthal said,” writes Mr. Sanders.

(Readers may recognize the ubiquitous use of the “vagueness” charge in every abortion lobby lawsuit challenging pro-life statutes. In actual fact, the department held back the rule for months while refining it to remove any possibility of vagueness, drawing criticism from some pro-life organizations which had hoped the department would go further than the issue of abortion in protecting conscience rights.)

The Blumenthal-et-al letter continues, “‘This proposed rule unconscionably puts personal agendas before patient care,’” reports AP, “‘failing even to acknowledge the rights of rape victims and others to access birth control and related vital health services.’” [We know what that means!]

Joining Connecticut’s Mr. Blumenthal were the attorneys general, reports Mr. Sanders, from Arizona, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah and Vermont.


Schwarzenegger Signs Abetted Suicide Bridge

CALIFORNIA GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R) SIGNED LEGISLATION last Tuesday to require doctors to provide patients with information about suicide, inching his massive state toward the abetted suicide regime which is destroying the culture of neighboring Oregon.

Though we at Life Advocacy consider the enactment of this new law a significant news event, we were unable to find reports of the bill signing except as Internet web-log entries. We did discover in scanning the Sacramento Bee that the governor by last week’s deadline had vetoed some 35% of the bills which reached his desk this year, reportedly a modern record. Yet he could not bring himself to veto the bill promoting medically induced suicide.


Lefty Backs Life in Washington State

IN A SURPRISING MOVE, professional Hollywood leftist Martin Sheen has come over to the side of Life in the Washington State referendum on abetted suicide, producing a radio spot warning Washington voters to vote against the November ballot initiative which, reports Hilary White for, “proposes to allow doctors to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to patients who request them.”

In his radio ad for the initiative opponents, Mr. Sheen declares, reports LifeSiteNews, “‘It’s a step backwards, and I urge you to vote no.’ He called it a ‘dangerous idea that could hurt thousands of low-income people who need medical care.’ …

“[Mr.] Sheen warned the initiative would undermine efforts to provide quality health care for poor and low-income disabled people,” reports LifeSiteNews, “presenting medical insurers with suicide as a cheaper alternative. The initiative, he said, could ‘open up a loophole’ in the law that could be used to ‘cut payments for the disabled and working poor, encouraging them to use assisted suicide.’”

His message helps reinforce the point being made by opponents of the initiative, reports LifeSiteNews, “that with private and public health insurers looking for ways to cut costs of health care, terminally ill patients are most vulnerable to ‘triaging,’ in which further treatment is regarded as ‘futile’ when suicide is available legally. In Oregon,” notes LifeSiteNews, “the state health plan pays for assisted suicide but does not fund some chemotherapy for people with cancer.”


Text of the Congressional Letter to Secretary Leavitt

Dear Secretary Leavitt:

In June of this year, Members of Congress raised concerns about data indicating that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services funded more than double the number of abortions funded in the prior year.

According to the “FY2009 Moyer Material” submitted in March 2008, in FY2007, 458 abortions were funded, up from 196 in FY2006 and 150 in FY2005. According to the attached document provided by the US Dept. of Health & Human Services (HHS), the spike is attributable to an increase in abortions paid for under the rape exception. In addition, the increase is entirely concentrated in the state of Illinois. The number of rape abortions has increased from 20 in FY2005 to 84 in FY2006 and 363 in FY2007.

We find this dramatic increase surprising, especially since corollary increases do not appear in any other state. Please provide detailed information regarding this increase. In particular:

  • Was the increase in funded abortions concentrated in a particular region of Illinois, a particular medical facility or a particular network of facilities? If so, what region, medical facility or network of facilities is associated with the increase?
  • What actions have you taken to verify that the abortions paid for were in fact performed on women who became pregnant as a result of rape? Does the evidence suggest that these abortions were lawfully funded?
  • If these abortions were not lawfully funded, have the funds been recovered? If not, what process is underway to ensure that the funds are recovered?

As you know, Congress has long held that US taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize abortion except in very limited scenarios, so we are alarmed that the clear intent of the law might have been subverted.

Therefore, we are deeply concerned by the failure to provide a timely response to the inquiry submitted by Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Bart Stupak (D-MI), and hope for a more prompt response to this letter. Please address our questions no later than October 26, 2008, and include supporting documentation.


Bottom Line – Defund Planned Parenthood

July 9, 2008, special order speeches in the U.S. House; source: Congressional Record. Please note: Despite the futility of seeking to defund Planned Parenthood in the current Congress, Life Advocacy Briefing salutes the House Members who participated in the series of educational speeches promoting the Pence Amendment to defund Planned Parenthood, and we have published the “special order” speeches as 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 we conclude the series with the concluding remarks by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), chairman of the House Pro-Life Caucus, who led the special order.

REP. SMITH: … Madam Speaker, let me conclude with just a couple of comments. First of all, I think most people need to realize who Margaret Sanger really was. And I’ve read her books; I’ve read her writings.

She wrote in a book called “The Pivot of Civilization” that “We are paying for,” and I quote her, “and even submitting to the dictates of an ever-increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who should never have been born at all.” In Chapter Five, she has a chapter called the “Cruelty of Charity” and takes to task those who would provide maternal health care and outreach to those women, poor women especially, in her writings. And I will put them in the [Congressional] Record. She says that “such benevolence is not merely superficial and near-sighted, it conceals a stupid charity.” To her, these babies and these mothers should have never been born.

Let me conclude, Madam Speaker: Abortion mills don’t nurture, they don’t heal, they don’t cure disease. Abortion is violence against children. Some abortion methods dismember and rip apart the fragile bodies of children. Other methods chemically poison children. Abortion has turned children’s bodies into burned corpses, a direct result of the caustic effect of poisoning. Consider a dismemberment abortion; this is called the D&E abortion. It is used later term, at least from the 20th week or so onward. These children, Madam Speaker, feel pain.

My colleagues will remember that last Congress we brought forward a bill called the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act, which would at least inform the woman that a child at this age feels excruciating pain. Sadly, the abortion lobby, including Planned Parenthood, lobbied vigorously against informing women that these children feel such excruciating pain, sometimes as much as four times that which would be felt by a newborn or a child later in his or her life.

We need to, again, Madam Speaker, respect all human life. In the life of an unborn child, birth is just part of a process. It’s an event in a child’s life; it is not the beginning of life. These children deserve their fundamental human rights.


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