Life Advocacy Briefing

July 6, 2009

Calls Needed Now! / Standing Up for Life / Casey Undercuts Abortion Exclusion Demand / Some Pro-Life Dems Standing Tall / Dr. Coburn Comes Through / From the Roots of our Founding / Obama Promotes Euthanasia / House Appropriations Committee Roster

Calls Needed Now!

A NASTY POLITICAL TRICK IS DEVELOPING among abortion advocates in the US House. Language approved by the Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on Financial Services would gut the long-standing ban on taxpayer funding of abortion in the District of Columbia, which could be termed “DC Hyde Amendment.”

The tricky language, introduced by the subcommittee’s chairman, Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY), would bar federal funds (except to kill babies conceived in sex crimes or to save the mother’s life) from DC abortionists, but it would permit the DC city government to use other public funds for abortion on demand. (Constitutionally, Congress is responsible for approval of all public funds spent in DC, whether federally or locally extracted.) Though bearing the appearance of a restriction, the Serrano amendment is actually a relaxation of existing law.

In reality, no lives will be saved by a DC spending provision that applies only to federal funds. The current language of the DC appropriations proposal is actually a threat to the next generation of DC residents and to their mothers. All that would be required for tax funds to flow to DC abortionists is for city officials or personnel to designate the subject funds “local.”

The annual DC spending measure is scheduled to be considered by the full committee tomorrow evening, Tuesday, July 7, at 7 p.m. EDT.

During that meeting, Representatives Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) and Lincoln Davis (D-TN) will offer a bipartisan amendment to reinstate the long-standing protection of DC Hyde (also known as the Dornan Amendment).

We are publishing the roster of Appropriations Committee members at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing. Readers are asked to contact as many members as possible to request their attendance and their support for the Tiahrt/Davis amendment to restore the Hyde Amendment to the District of Columbia. (Capitol switchboard: 1-202/225-3121)


Standing Up for Life

THE TIAHRT/DAVIS AMENDMENT GOT A BOOST last week from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, whose Pro-Life Activities chairman, Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, released a letter he has written to House Appropriations Committee members urging them not to permit tax funding of abortions in the District of Columbia.

“Cardinal Rigali said that the subcommittee’s action ‘effectively nullifies the Dornan Amendment,’ which for a total of 18 years has prevented public funding of elective abortions in the District,” reports

The Cardinal, reports LifeSite, called the Serrano proposal “misguided for three reasons. ‘First,’ he said, ‘public funding of abortion is rejected by the American people, as numerous surveys of public opinion have shown.’ He also noted,” reports LifeSite, “that Catholics recently sent ‘tens of millions of postcards to their elected Representatives in Congress opposing any weakening or reversal of current Appropriations riders on abortion.

“‘Second, no lawmaker or Administration can support such a policy change and still claim,’” said Cardinal Rigali in LifeSite, “‘to support “reducing abortions.” The evidence is overwhelming – and universally recognized by groups on all sides of the abortion issue – that the availability of public funds for abortion greatly increases abortions.

“‘Third, this action takes place as Congress is working to win broad support,’” he said, quoted by LifeSite, “‘for a much-needed major reform of our healthcare system. This is the worst of all possible times to be injecting the divisive issue of public abortion funding into the debate on government health policy.’” (Note: The Cardinal is correct in assuming abortion coverage would sink the President’s grandiose scheme for government-funded medical care. He is incorrect, however, in suggesting the issue should not be raised; in order to protect unborn children, it is necessary to exclude abortion explicitly. He is right in suggesting the Serrano language in the DC Appropriations measure is the exact wrong approach. Readers may note below, in our report of Sen. Casey’s interview with CNSNews, that the Senator from Pennsylvania is taking advantage of this slightly off-kilter point made by the Cardinal of Philadelphia to justify his own blind-eye approach to “healthcare reform” when we need him to stand up for the cause of Life.)


Casey Undercuts Abortion Exclusion Demand

A PROMINENT DEMOCRATIC SENATOR who claims to hold pro-life views, Sen. Robert Casey Jr. (PA), told Cybercast News Service ( last Wednesday “that the issue of abortion should not bog down passage” of what his party is calling healthcare reform.

“‘There is no reason why in a healthcare bill we have to have another debate about that issue (abortion),’” said Sen. Casey in a conference call interview, quoted by CNSNews. He said the abortion issue “‘hasn’t been an impediment [to the healthcare reform proposal], and I don’t expect it to be, and it shouldn’t be.’”

But Sen. Casey’s comment “that abortion should not impede healthcare reform flies in the face,” notes CNSNews, of the insistence by the 19 House Democrats that abortion be very much an issue in any healthcare deliberation until its exclusion is established.

Sen. Casey was asked by CNSNews, “Will you also only support a health reform plan that explicitly excludes abortion coverage?” His response: “‘I can’t speak for what the House is doing and what Members are doing in the House, but in the Senate, I don’t think that it [the abortion issue] is going to be an impediment to getting this legislation passed.’”


Some Pro-Life Dems Standing Tall

A CRACK HAS DEVELOPED in the US House Democratic Party delegation over the President’s proposed takeover of America’s healthcare system. That crack is over the issue of abortion and its coverage – overtly or covertly – in any taxpayer-funded health plan which emerges.

Rep. David Boren (OK) organized a letter, co-signed by 18 of his Democratic colleagues, to Speaker Nancy Pelosi(D-CA) just before the week-long Independence Day recess from which Congress returns today. “It is imperative,” the letter opens, “that the issue of abortion not be overlooked. Plans to mandate coverage for abortions, either directly or indirectly [are] unacceptable.”

The letter was co-signed by Representatives Bobby Bright (AL), Jerry Costello (IL), Charlie Melancon (LA), Bart Stupak (MI), James Oberstar & Colin Peterson (both MN), Travis Childers & Gene Taylor (both MS), Mike McIntyre & Heath Shuler (NC), Steve Driehaus & Marcy Kaptur (both OH), Lincoln Davis (TN), Solomon Ortiz (TX), and from Pennsylvania, Kathleen Dahlkemper, Tim Holden, Paul Kanjorski and John Murtha. Messages of appreciation to these lawmakers are in order (Capitol switchboard: 1-202/224-3121).

The 19 pro-life Democrats warned Mrs. Pelosi, “We cannot support any healthcare reform proposal unless it explicitly excludes abortion from the scope of any government-defined or subsidized health insurance plan. We believe,” the letter said, “that a government-defined or subsidized health insurance plan should not be used to fund abortion.

“Furthermore, we want to ensure that the Health Benefits Advisory Committee cannot recommend abortion services be included under covered benefits or as part of a benefits package,” the Democrats said in the letter. “Without an explicit exclusion, abortion could be included in a government-subsidized healthcare plan under general health care. … Abortion,” they said, “must be addressed clearly in the bill text.”

Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) has also been campaigning within Congress to excise abortion from any healthcare plan under consideration, warning colleagues in a letter, “If the proposed plan moves forward without an explicit exclusion that ensures that abortion is excluded from any government-mandated or government-subsidized benefits, healthcare reform will be a death sentence for thousands of unborn children.”


Dr. Coburn Comes Through

SEN. TOM COBURN MD (R-OK) IS PURSUING HIS OWN STRATEGY to raise the abortion issue in the healthcare debate, provoking a fit from the abortion lobby.

Dr. Coburn has filed an amendment to the President’s package, reports Kathleen Gilbert for, “authorizing the institution of an Office of Unborn Children’s Health.” His amendment is one of “hundreds … filed so far with the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee,” writes Ms. Gilbert.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America president Cecile Richards, reports Ms. Gilbert, “referred to [Dr.] Coburn’s proposal in venomous terms in a column for the Huffington Post last week. ‘We got a small taste of how much fun is in store when more than 30 amendments were filed in the Senate this week to alter the health reform legislation and further erode women’s access to reproductive healthcare,’ wrote [Miss] Richards,” as quoted by Ms. Gilbert. “‘There was a lot of competition for the worst one, but our favorite was Sen. Tom Coburn’s amendment to create an “Office of Unborn Children’s Health.” No one’s totally sure who would staff it or exactly what they would be doing,’” she wrote, as reported by Ms. Gilbert. “‘But suffice it to say the perennial assault on women’s health care is upon us full force.’”


From the Roots of our Founding

Excerpted from The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

… We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, – That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.


Obama Promotes Euthanasia

June 29, 2009, Internet blog commentary by Jill Stanek ( citing June 25 Los Angeles Times as source

President Obama suggested at a townhall event Wednesday night that one way to shave medical costs is to stop expensive and ultimately futile procedures performed on people who are about to die and don’t stand to gain from the extra care. Read that again. Obama was subtly promoting euthanasia.

In a nationally televised event at the White House, Obama said families need better information so they don’t unthinkingly approve “additional tests or additional drugs that the evidence shows is not necessarily going to improve care.”

He added: “Maybe you’re better off not having the surgery but taking the painkiller.” Or maybe, Pres. Obama, the decision should be left to the patient and patient’s family?

This prime-time ratings fiasco was hosted by ABC News, with 164 invited guests, pre-screened questions and no rebuttal time for the opposing view on Obama’s rationed healthcare boondoggle. Thus, this was no surprise:

The audience, which included doctors, patients, health insurers, students and people with ailing relatives – clearly was unhappy with the current healthcare system. [Host Charlie] Gibson asked for a show of hands to see how many wanted to leave the system unchanged. No one raised a hand. This was a set-up. It was not media reporting. It was an unpaid infomercial.

Gregg Cunningham of the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform blog had this to say about Obama’s ominous comments during the “propaganda special extraordinaire”:

Who will decide whether “you’re better off” without the surgery? Not your doctor but Mr. Obama. Does Mr. Obama really know “who is about to die” and who “don’t stand to gain” from extra care? And what care is “extra?” As usual, Mr. Obama illustrates his point with a very dishonest, false dilemma. Of course you don’t do a hip replacement on his very elderly grandmother whose very aggressive and terminal cancer meant she might not have survived the surgery. But the type of treatment decisions often criticized by rationing radicals are [sic] seldom that obvious.

Mr. Obama is willing to interfere in the relationship between a doctor and his patient when the doctor is trying to save a life but not when the doctor is trying to take a life. Is this the most anti-life President in American history?

And this, from the Canada Free Press: But who is it that will present the “evidence” that will “show” that further care is futile? Are we to believe that Obama expects individual doctors will make that decision in his bold new government controlled healthcare future? If he is trying to make that claim, it is a flat-out untruth, and he knows it. … [N]o doctor will be deciding if you are too old or infirm to get medical care. It will be a medically untrained bureaucrat that sets a national rule that everyone will have to obey. There won’t be any room for your grandma to have a different outcome than anyone else’s. …

Ah, but we are told that Obama’s ideas on health care are “evolving” … . Originally, he said it was “health care for all,” but … it seems he’s “evolved” to say that only those worth the bother should get health care. The rest should be left to die and/or suffer. …

And whatever happened to the Left’s mantra that health care is a “right” and that money should never enter into a life-or-death decision? Now The One [sic] is saying it’s just too darn expensive to save the old and infirm.


House Appropriations Committee Roster

Democratic Representatives: Chairman David Obey (WI) and Ed Pastor (AZ); Marion Berry (AR); Sam Farr, Michael Honda, Barbara Lee, Lucille Roybal-Allard & Adam Schiff (CA); John Salazar (CO); Rosa DeLauro (CT); Allen Boyd & Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (FL); Sanford Bishop (GA); Jesse Jackson Jr. (IL); Peter Visclosky (IN); Ben Chandler (KY); C. A. Ruppersberger (MD); John Olver (MA); Carolyn Kilpatrick (MI); Betty McCollum (MN); Steven Rothman (NJ); Maurice Hinchey, Steve Israel, Nita Lowey & Jose Serrano (NY); David Price (NC); Marcy Kaptur & Tim Ryan (OH); Chaka Fattah & John Murtha (PA); Patrick Kennedy (RI); Lincoln Davis (TN); Chet Edwards & Ciro Rodriguez (TX); James Moran (VA); Norman Dicks (WA); and Alan Mollohan (WV).

Republican Representatives: Ranking Member Jerry Lewis (CA) and Robert Aderholt & Jo Bonner (AL), Ken Calvert (CA), Ander Crenshaw & Bill Young (FL), Jack Kingston (GA), Mike Simpson (ID), Mark Kirk (IL), Tom Latham (IA), Todd Tiahrt (KS), Harold Rogers (KY), Rodney Alexander (LA), JoAnn Emerson (MO), Dennis Rehberg (MT), Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ), Steven LaTourette (OH), Tom Cole (OK), Zach Wamp (TN), Frank Wolf (VA), and John Carter, John Culberson & Kay Granger (TX).

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