Life Advocacy Briefing

April 6 , 2009

 

Time to Protest ‘Conscience Rule’ Repeal / Thank You for Trying, Dr. Coburn / Pull Dawn Johnsen, Please! / Toomey to Challenge Specter? / Tiller Acquitted But Not Off Hook / ‘Good Riddance’ / Sebelius OKs Ultrasound Law / Letter to President Requesting Nomination Withdrawal / Senate Voting Record

Time to Protest ‘Conscience Rule’ Repeal

THE U.S. CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS IS OFFERING an alternate method for registering protest with the Dept. of Health & Human Services on the proposed repeal of the HHS regulation protecting conscience rights for medical personnel and institutions who/which object to committing or abetting abortions. USCCB offers information and a message transfer tool at its Internet website, www.usccb.org/conscienceprotection.

Deadline for registering your opinion is this Thursday, April 9. The official method of responding to the proposal is via electronic mail to “proposedrescission@hhs.gov,” putting “Rescission Proposal” in the subject line.

 

Thank You for Trying, Dr. Coburn

SEN. TOM COBURN MD SOUGHT TO AMEND the Budget Resolution in the Senate last Thursday with provisions for conscience protections for both patients and healthcare providers.

The amendment, reports the Senate Republican Policy Committee in an analysis, would have “explicitly prohibit[ed] discrimination or coercion against healthcare providers who object to performing or participating in specific surgical or medical procedures or to prescribing certain pharmaceuticals on the grounds that such actions violate their moral or religious convictions.” It also, according to the analysis, “contain[ed] language forbidding government coercion of patients to enroll in specific health insurance plans or to see pre-selected medical providers.”

Since the amendment was rejected on a 41-to-56 roll call, only an overwhelming outcry from the American people can stop the Obama plan to trample on the consciences of medical personnel and drive pro-life physicians and nurses out of their professions and conscientious medical facilities out of business. (See “Conscience Rule” item at the opening of this bulletin.) We publish the voting record at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing.

 

Pull Dawn Johnsen, Please!

SIXTY-TWO MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE HAVE PETITIONED Pres. Obama to withdraw the nomination of Dawn Johnsen to head the Office of Legal Counsel in the US Dept. of Justice, an office from which she would rule on policies across the executive branch.

Ms. Johnsen is a hysterical abortion advocate, as illustrated by quotes from an amicus brief she authored in a Supreme Court case, quoted by the House Members in their letter to the White House. We publish that letter near the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing, with thanks to Rep. Steve King (R-IA) for authoring and circulating it.

The Johnsen nomination is pending in the US Senate. Readers are asked to call their US Senators and request that they reject the Dawn Johnsen nomination. (Capitol switchboard: 1-202/224-3121) House Members do not have an opportunity to vote on Presidential appointments, but Senate Republicans, according to Roll Call, are considering filibustering Ms. Johnsen’s nomination and should be encouraged to do so; this nominee is truly a radical.

 

Toomey to Challenge Specter?

THE FORMER CONGRESSMAN WHO CHALLENGED Sen. Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania Republican primary five years ago hinted broadly during a March 28 Pennsylvania Leadership Conference in Harrisburg that he would challenge the leftish Senator again in 2010.

“‘It is very, very likely,’” Patrick Toomey told “a mostly supportive audience of hundreds,” reports Bradley Vasoli of The Philadelphia Bulletin, “‘that very, very soon I will be a candidate for the United States Senate.’”

Former Rep. Toomey nearly toppled Mr. Specter in 2004, despite endorsements of the Senate veteran from both Pres. George W. Bush and Specter colleague, then-Sen. Rick Santorum, who lost the general election in 2006 in part because of his involvement in the earlier match-up.

Mr. Toomey compiled a solid pro-life voting record during his House tenure and is currently chairman of the Club for Growth, a respected major pro-capitalism, pro-freedom organization. He is the second conservative to make known an intention to contest Mr. Specter’s hold on the seat.

 

Tiller Acquitted But Not Off Hook

WICHITA BABY-KILLER GEORGE TILLER WAS ACQUITTED in late March on 19 violations of the Kansas late-term abortion law. The charges pertained to financial connections between Mr. Tiller and fellow abortionist Ann Kristin Neuhaus, who routinely signed off on the medical excuse for late-term abortions at the Tiller mill.

But Mr. Tiller is not yet free of legal jeopardy. The Kansas Board of Healing Arts has brought 11 counts against the late-term specialist in administrative proceedings which could lead to discipline all the way to license revocation. “‘Disciplinary action could include revocation, suspension, fines or other limitations,’” a board spokesman confirmed to WorldNetDaily.com (WND). “‘The criminal case and outcome is not determinative of the board’s administrative case.’”

Operation Rescue (OR) president Troy Newman told WND he was “‘encouraged by this news from the [board]. … We have never put all our hope in the criminal prosecution and continue to work through a number of avenues to ensure that one day [Mr.] Tiller will be brought to justice.’”  Mr. Newman expressed hope “‘that the board will conduct a fair and impartial examination of the facts,’” noting that “the state agency recently has undergone an overhaul of administrative staff. Former executive director Larry Buening, who had a long-time friendship with [Mr.] Tiller,” notes WND citing OR as source, “and chief counsel Mark Stafford resigned in disgrace after failing to properly discipline physicians amid other allegations of incompetence.” The board, notes WND/OR, “requires a lower burden of proof than a criminal case, which requires a determination of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

 

‘Good Riddance’

CALIFORNIA’s MEDICAL BOARD HAS REVOKED THE LICENSE of abortionist Nolan Jones, owner of a string of abortion mills in what LifeSiteNews.com terms “strip malls in seedy areas of Southern California to take advantage of low-income and Hispanic women.

“When he got in trouble or fell behind on bills,” reports LifeSite citing Operation Rescue as source, “he would close up his abortion facilities and reopen in another location under a new name.”  Mr. Jones had purchased six of his abortuaries from illegal abortionist Bertha Bugarin.

The charges which led to his license revocation involved “falsif[ying] the medical records of two non-abortion patients,” reports LifeSite, “and violat[ing] his probation on other charges.” He had been disciplined by the state licensing board at least four times previously, reports LifeSite, “for offenses ranging from botched abortions to negligence during childbirth that led to the death of a wanted baby.” A San Bernardino hospital terminated his privileges in 1997.

“[Mr.] Jones had also racked up a staggering amount of financial liability and unpaid bills,” reports LifeSite, “declaring bankruptcy in 2003 with approximately 100 creditors and nearly $100,000 in credit card debt. At one point,” notes LifeSite, “a pro-life supporter observed an eviction notice in the back seat of [Mr.] Jones’s car. [The abortionist] appeared to be homeless and sleeping inside his abortion facilities. ‘That man’s life is a train wreck,’” said Operation Rescue president Troy Newman in LifeSite. “‘We pray for [Mr.] Jones’s repentance and salvation, but as far as his abortion career goes, it is good riddance. … [He] was one of the most incompetent and dishonest abortionists in the country,’” noted Mr. Newman, “‘and that is saying a lot. His license should have been taken years ago.’”

 

Sebelius OKs Ultrasound Law

KANSAS GOV. KATHLEEN SEBELIUS (D) RESOLVED HER DILEMMA by doing something she’s not done before: Faced with a popular pro-life proposal on her desk, she signed it.

The bill – now law – requires abortionists to offer every customer an opportunity to view an ultrasound image of her unborn child at least 30 minutes before the execution. The governor had vetoed similar legislation in past years, but this time the bill passed by such overwhelming majorities that her veto would certainly have been overridden. And in the past, she has not simultaneously been seeking confirmation for a major federal appointment; she is undergoing confirmation deliberations in the US Senate for Secretary of Health & Human Services. She no doubt hopes her signature on such a reasonable, pro-mother/pro-child measure could moderate her implacable image in favor of unfettered abortion. Whatever the reason, progress and has happened in Kansas, babies and their moms will be saved. Praise the Lord!

Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, Mrs. Sebelius gave what the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) described in a news release as “non-responses” last Tuesday to the only Life-related questions asked by Senators on the Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions. Those questions, asked by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), concerned protecting conscience rights for medical providers who object to committing or abetting abortions and concerned support for the long-standing Hyde Amendment, which protects taxpayers from forced complicity with prenatal baby killing.

“Americans – and women in particular – deserve answers about Gov. Sebelius’s ties to the abortion industry,” commented SBA List president Marjorie Dannenfelser. “As Secretary of Health & Human Services, [Mrs.] Sebelius will wield great influence with regard to national abortion policy, particularly the use of taxpayer funds to provide and promote abortion on demand.”  Mrs. Sebelius, as Kansas governor, has tied herself tightly to the abortion industry, even using the governor’s mansion to fete notorious late-term baby butcher George Tiller.

 

Letter to President Requesting Nomination Withdrawal

Dated March 24, 2009, authored by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and signed by GOP Representatives Robert Aderholt (AL); Trent Franks & John Shadegg (AZ); John Boozman (AR); Elton Gallegly & Darrell Issa (CA); Doug Lamborn (CO); Gus Bilirakis & Jeff Miller (FL); Paul Broun MD, Phil Gingrey MD, Tom Price & Lynn Westmoreland (GA); Donald Manzullo (IL); Dan Burton, Mike Pence & Mark Souder (IN); Todd Tiahrt (KS); Brett Guthrie (KY); John Fleming & Steve Scalise (LA); Roscoe Bartlett (MD); Pete Hoekstra & Thad McCotter (MI); Michele Bachmann & John Kline (MN); Travis Childers & Gregg Harper (MS); Todd Akin, Roy Blunt & Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO); Jeff Fortenberry (NE); Scott Garrett & Chris Smith (NJ); Virginia Foxx, Walter Jones, Patrick McHenry & Sue Myrick (NC); Steve Austria, John Boehner, Jim Jordan, Robert Latta & Jean Schmidt (OH); Tom Cole (OK); Joseph Pitts & Glenn Thompson (PA); Gresham Barrett, Bob Inglis & Joe Wilson (SC); Marsha Blackburn, Phil Roe MD & Zach Wamp (TN); John Carter, Mike Conaway, Sam Johnson & Lamar Smith (TX); Rob Bishop & Jason Chaffetz (UT); Eric Cantor & Bob Goodlatte (VA); Cynthia Lummis (WY); also by Democratic Representative Gene Taylor (MS).

After you rescinded the Mexico City Policy, you stated, “No matter what our views, we are united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, reduce the need for abortion and support women and families in the choices they make. To accomplish these goals, we must work to find common ground.” In an effort to find common ground, we have serious concerns about your decision to nominate Dawn Johnsen to head the Office of Legal Counsel. We are concerned about her personal, pro-abortion agenda and how it will negatively impact America’s future.

In the past, you have promised to hold judicial nominees to a standard – a standard that respects the Constitution and resists the temptation to substitute personal ideology for legal reasoning. While the Office of Legal Counsel is not a judicial nomination, it will still provide you, the Executive Branch, and the US Department of Justice with legal counsel, and it should be held to the same standards.  Ms. Johnsen does not meet this standard. As you may know, Ms. Johnsen has been a strong advocate for abortion. In the Supreme Court amicus brief that she authored, Ms. Johnsen wrote, “While a woman might choose to bear children gladly and voluntarily, statutes that curtail her abortion choice are disturbingly suggestive of involuntary servitude, prohibited by the Thirteenth Amendment, in that forced pregnancy requires a woman to provide continuous physical service to the fetus in order to further the state’s asserted interest.”  Ms. Johnsen also included, “the woman is constantly aware for nine months that her body is not wholly her own; the state has conscripted her body for its own ends. Thus, the abortion restrictions ‘reduce pregnant women to no more than fetal containers.’”

In 2006, Ms. Johnsen stridently attacked the Supreme Court’s decision in Gonzalez v. Carhart upholding Congress’s ban on partial-birth abortion, a procedure the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan described as “too close to infanticide.” She asserted that because of the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the partial-birth ban, “every first-year law student’s constitutional law casebook” now contains “gruesome descriptions designed to make abortion sound like infanticide.”  Ms. Johnsen’s position has condemned virtually every type of regulation of abortion conceived by a legislature, no matter how mild the regulation or how shocking the practice regulated, as unacceptable.

As we search for “common ground,” we believe it is important to recognize that Ms. Johnsen has no interest in reducing the number of abortions, stating, “Progressives must not portray all abortions as tragedies. … Senator Hillary Clinton, in a 2005 speech commendable for setting forth a pro-choice, pro-prevention, pro-family agenda, took the aspiration a step in the wrong direction when she called for policy changes so that abortion ‘does not ever have to be exercised or only in very rare circumstances.’”

It is evident that Ms. Johnsen does not meet the standard you embraced on the campaign trail nor does she promote the “common ground” that you promised the American people after rescinding the Mexico City Policy. Instead, this divisive nominee’s intemperate positions and her indifference towards those who hold contrary views do not reflect the sober judgment required to lead the Office of Legal Counsel.

We respectfully request that you withdraw your nomination of Ms. Dawn Johnsen. The Office of Legal Counsel needs a leader who will place the rule of law above political philosophy or personal agenda. Thank you for your time and consideration of our request. Signed sincerely.

 

Senate Voting Record

Coburn ‘Conscience Protection’ Amendment to Senate Budget Resolution – April 2, 2009 – Rejected 41-56 (Democrats in italics; “Independents” marked “I”)

Voting “yes” / pro-life: AL/Sessions & Shelby, AK/Murkowski, AZ/Kyl & McCain,AR/Pryor, FL/Martinez, GA/Chambliss & Isakson, ID/Crapo & Risch, IN/Lugar, IA/Grassley, KS/Brownback & Roberts, KY/Bunning & McConnell, LA/Vitter, MS/Cochran & Wicker, MO/Bond, NE/Johanns & Nelson, NV/Ensign, NH/Gregg, NC/Burr, OH/Voinovich, OK/Coburn & Inhofe, PA/Casey, SC/DeMint & Graham, SD/Thune, TN/Alexander & Corker, TX/Cornyn & Hutchison, UT/Bennett & Hatch, WY/Barrasso & Enzi

Voting “no” / pro-abortion: AK/Begich, AR/Lincoln, CA/Boxer & Feinstein, CO/Bennet & Udall, CT/Dodd & Lieberman (I), DE/Carper & Kaufman, FL/Nelson, HI/Akaka & Inouye,IL/Burris & Durbin, IN/Bayh, IA/Harkin, LA/Landrieu, ME/Collins & Snowe, MD/Cardin & Mikulski, MA/Kerry, MI/Levin & Stabenow, MN/Klobuchar, MO/McCaskill, MT/Baucus & Tester, NV/Reid, NH/Shaheen, NJ/Lautenberg & Menendez, NM/Bingaman & Udall,NY/Gillibrand & Schumer, NC/Hagan, ND/Conrad & Dorgan, OH/Brown, OR/Merkley & Wyden, PA/Specter, RI/Reed & Whitehouse, SD/Johnson, VT/Leahy & Sanders (I), VA/Warner & Webb, WA/Cantwell & Murray, WV/Rockefeller, WI/Feingold & Kohl

Not voting: MA/Kennedy, WV/Byrd; Vacancy: Minnesota

 

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