Life Advocacy Briefing

July 27, 2009

House Takes Up Planned Parenthood Defunding / Forcing Taxpayers to Cover Abortions
/ Good Chance to Weigh In /  House Committees Chew on Healthcare Takeover Bill /
Blessed Dissenters / Good Point, Mr. Tiahrt!
Roster: House Committee on Energy & Commerce / House Voting Record

House Takes Up Planned Parenthood Defunding

REP. MIKE PENCE SUCCEEDED last Thursday in persuading the House Rules Committee to permit House consideration of his amendment to disqualify Planned Parenthood (by name!) from funding under Title X (Ten), the federal government’s “family planning” program.

The amendment was scheduled for debate Friday while the House deliberated the annual spending bill for the Departments of Labor, Education and Health & Human Services. A vote on the amendment could have come Friday (after our press deadline) or Monday (today, July 27).

Pro-life citizens should call their US Representatives immediately to request: “If the HHS Appropriation hasn’t passed yet, please vote ‘yes’ on the Pence Amendment and vote ‘no’ on the bill if the Pence Amendment is not adopted. No tax money for abortionists!” Members may be reached via the Capitol switchboard at 1-202/224-3121.

Rep. Pence last offered such an amendment on July 19, 2007. That amendment, which drew 189 “yes” votes to 231 “no” votes, was considered before many of the more recent scandals involving Planned Parenthood: its willingness to receive donations for racist purposes, its deliberate deceptiveness in garnering zoning and building permits for its newest megamills, and its demonstrated involvement in coaching adolescent girls in evading parental involvement laws and refusing to report suspected cases of statutory rape to child protection authorities.

Rep. Pence cited some of the scandals, as well as PP’s shocking abortion toll (more than 305,000 US abortions last year), in a speech to the House last Wednesday announcing his amendment and calling on the Rules Committee to offer House Members an opportunity to vote on it. “The time has come,” he said, “to deny any and all federal funding to Planned Parenthood of America. The largest abortion provider in America should not also be the largest recipient of federal funds under Title X.”


Forcing Taxpayers to Cover Abortions

THE U.S. SENATE HAS UNVEILED its own version of the Financial Services Appropriation bill, which passed the House two weeks ago without the needed amendment to block public funding of abortions in the District of Columbia. (We publish at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing the voting record on a key procedural motion on this bill and expect to publish the final passage roll call next week.)

The Senate version, S-1432, obliterates the DC abortion funding ban, too, but it also has a second wrinkle. Missing from the measure is the long-standing exclusion of abortion coverage from the 8-million-member Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP). Not only would this policy change make taxpayers complicit in aborting the progeny of federal workers and their dependents; it also demonstrates the majority party’s intentions – in yet another signal – with respect to covering abortion in any government healthcare plan which may be adopted.

Message to Senators (Capitol switchboard: 1-202/224-3121): “Restore the DC Abortion Funding Ban in S-1432 and also restore the ban on abortion coverage in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan. Without those two amendments, please vote ‘no’ on the Financial Services appropriation bill.” The measure could likely clear the Senate before the Aug. 10 recess.


Good Chance to Weigh In

HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI (D-CA) LAST WEEK CLAIMED to have the votes to pass the government takeover of health care in the House chamber but indicated the House would wait for the Senate, suggesting implicitly that some of her party’s Members are demanding that the Senate vote first. (House Members have taken some politically tough votes in recent weeks, only to see the Senate fail to take up the same legislation.)

No sooner had she made her declaration than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced the Senate would not meet the President’s demand for passage of the massive proposal before the month-long summer recess begins in August. (The Senate is scheduled to recess from Aug. 10 till Sept. 8; the House break begins a week earlier.)

Consequently, constituents have a month to seek face-to-face meetings with House Members and Senators in their home states and should take advantage of that opportunity to insist they vote down the government takeover of our healthcare system and that they vote to explicitly exclude abortion from any healthcare legislation. Mail and phone calls to federal lawmakers should be directed to home-state offices during the recess (as well as to their Capitol Hill offices); contact information is available at any public library reference desk.


House Committees Chew on Healthcare Takeover Bill

THE CHAIRMEN OF THE THREE COMMITTEES WORKING ON HEALTHCARE takeover have advanced a massive measure numbered HR-3200 and begun hammering out the proposal’s provisions.

First at bat was the Committee on Education & Labor, which labored over the measure from July 15 through July 17, ultimately advancing the bill on a 26-to-22 roll call. Two amendments were offered in the committee by Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN), first to prevent an abortion mandate and second to prevent taxpayer-subsidized abortion. Both failed 19 to 29; in each case, 17 Republicans and two Democrats (Representatives Kildee and Altmire) backed the amendments, and 27 Democrats plus two Republicans (Representatives Castle and Biggert) opposed them.

Ways & Means took up HR-3200 on July 16 and passed it 23-18 in the early hours of July 17.  Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) offered an amendment to prevent an abortion mandate; his amendment was rejected 18 to 23 with all Republicans and three Democrats (Representatives Tanner, Pomeroy and Pascrell) voting in favor. On a second amendment, by Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), to prohibit taxpayer subsidies for abortion, all Republicans and four Democrats (the above three plus Rep. Artur Davis).

Next up is the House Committee on Energy & Commerce, whose chairman, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), has delayed consideration, apparently in order to muster enough backing to get the massive healthcare takeover bill out of his committee. Representatives Joe Pitts (R-PA) and Bart Stupak (D-MI) are believed to be prepared to offer the same amendments as have been attempted in the other two panels. Pro-life citizens should immediately contact the committee’s Members to request their support for excluding abortion from HR-3200. (We publish the roster below, just ahead of the Tiahrt Motion voting record.)


Blessed Dissenters

TWENTY HOUSE DEMOCRATS SENT A LETTER July 17 to their party’s House Leaders warning they “cannot support any healthcare reform proposal unless it explicitly excludes abortion from the scope of any government-defined or -subsidized health insurance plan.” Their letter is one element in a growing rumble over the massive Healthcare Takeover from some elements within the House Democrats.

Rep. Mike Ross(AR) did not sign the pro-life letter but is leading seven Energy & Commerce Democrats believed to be holding up the Healthcare Takeover bill because of concerns over out-of-sight costs of Obamacare. (The “Blue Dog Coalition,” as they are known on Capitol Hill, were summoned to the White House last Tuesday for a little mutual-understanding session with the President.) Those wishing to thank and encourage Rep. Ross may contact him via his Capitol Hill office (tollfree) at 1-800/223-2220 and/or at his home district office in Prescott, Arkansas, at 1-870/887-6787. Without question, he will be experiencing immense pressure from the White House, the Speaker’s office and other elements of his party. His efforts are helpful; he should be encouraged also to add his voice to his fellow Democrats who are insisting that abortion be excluded explicitly from any healthcare plan.


Good Point, Mr. Tiahrt!

WHEN REP. TODD TIAHRT STATED THE OBVIOUS recently, he probably had no idea he would be attracting a firestorm of hypocritical umbrage.

But as Charlie Butts and Jody Brown write in, the Internet news service of American Family Assn., the eight-term Kansas Republican “is facing criticism for telling the truth.”

He commented recently that tax-funded abortions “would encourage single moms living below the poverty level to abort their unborn children,” report Mr. Butts and Ms. Brown. “[Rep.] Tiahrt then made this supposition: ‘If you take that scenario and apply it to many of the great minds we have today, who would we have been deprived of? Our President grew up in similar circumstances. If that financial incentive was in place, is it possible that his mother may have taken advantage of it?’”

Rep. Tiahrt is not the first to make the connection between abortion and the President’s troubled beginnings. Under the theme “Life: Imagine the Potential,” has posted on the Internet website a beautiful video showing a sonographic video of an unborn baby in the womb with the text: “This child’s future is a broken home; he will be abandoned by his father; his single mother will struggle to raise him; despite the hardships he will endure; this child will become (video morphing into a full-color photo of Pres. Obama) the 1st African-American President.” Nearly 22,500 people have viewed the powerful video, by YouTube’s published tally, and they have awarded it four-and-a-half stars (out of a possible five).

Yet when Rep. Tiahrt made the same point, a hue and cry arose, and now, reports OneNewsNow, “some in the liberal press and Congress are demanding an apology.”

Those who wish to contact Rep. Tiahrt to thank him for telling the truth about tax-funded abortions may do so through his Capitol Hill office at 1-202/225-6216 and/or through his Wichita office at 1-866/668-8478.


Roster: House Committee on Energy & Commerce

Republicans: Ranking Member Joe Barton (TX) and Representatives John Shadegg (AZ), Mary Bono-Mack & George Radanovich (CA), Cliff Stearns (FL), Nathan Deal & Phil Gingrey (GA), John Shimkus (IL), Steve Buyer (IN), Ed Whitfield (KY), Steve Scalise (LA), Mike Rogers & Fred Upton (MI), Roy Blunt (MO), Lee Terry (NE), Sue Myrick (NC), John Sullivan (OK), Greg Walden (OR), Tim Murphy & Joseph Pitts (PA), Marsha Blackburn (TN), Michael Burgess & Ralph Hall (TX).

Democrats: Chairman Henry Waxman (CA) and Representatives Mike Ross (AR); Lois Capps, Anna Eshoo, Jane Harman, Doris Matsui & Jerry McNerney (CA); Diana DeGette (CO); Christopher Murphy (CT); Kathy Castor (FL); John Barrow (GA); Bobby Rush & Jan Schakowsky (IL); Baron Hill (IN); Bruce Braley (IA); Charlie Melancon (LA); John Sarbanes (MD); Edward Markey (MA); John Dingell & Bart Stupak (MI); Frank Pallone (NJ); Eliot Engel & Anthony Weiner (NY); G.K. Butterfield (NC); Zachary Space & Betty Sutton (OH); Mike Doyle (PA); Bart Gordon (TN); Charles Gonzalez & Gene Green (TX); Jim Matheson (UT); Peter Welch (VT); Rick Boucher (VA); Donna Christensen (Delegate: Virgin Islands); Jay Inslee (WA); Tammy Baldwin (WI).


House Voting Record

Motion to table motion to appeal the ruling of the Chair disallowing consideration of the Tiahrt motion to recommit HR-3170 to committee with instructions to amend the measure to prohibit public funding of abortion in the District of Columbia – July 16, 2009 – Adopted – 225-195 (Democrats in italics)

Voting “no” / pro-life: Aderholt, Akin, Alexander, Altmire, Austria, Bachmann, Bachus, Bartlett, Barton (TX), Berry, Biggert, Bilbray, Bilirakis, Bishop (UT), Blackburn, Blunt, Boccieri, Boehner, Bonner, Bono-Mack, Boozman, Boren, Boustany, Brady (TX), Bright, Broun (GA), Brown (SC), Ginny Brown-Waite, Buchanan, Burgess, Burton (IN), Buyer, Calvert, Camp, Campbell, Cantor, Cao, Capito, Carter, Cassidy, Castle, Chaffetz, Childers, Coble, Coffman (CO), Cole, Conaway, Costello, Crenshaw, Culberson, Dahlkemper, Davis (AL), Davis (KY), Davis (TN), Deal (GA), Dent, L. Diaz-Balart, M. Diaz-Balart, Donnelly (IN), Dreier, Driehaus, Duncan, Ehlers, Ellsworth, Emerson, Fallin, Flake, Fleming, Forbes, Fortenberry, Foxx, Franks (AZ), Frelinghuysen, Gallegly, Garrett (NJ), Gerlach, Gingrey (GA), Gohmert, Goodlatte, Gordon (TN), Granger, Graves, Griffith, Guthrie, Hall (TX), Harper, Hastings (WA), Heller, Hoekstra, Hunter, Inglis, Issa, Jenkins, Johnson (IL), Sam Johnson, Jones, Jordan (OH), King (NY), Kingston, Kirk, Kline (MN), Lamborn, Lance, Latham, LaTourette, Latta, Lee (NY), Lewis (CA), Lipinski, LoBiondo, Luetkemeyer, Lummis, Daniel Lungren, Mack, Manzullo, Marchant, Marshall, McCarthy (CA), McCaul, McClintock, McCotter, McHenry, McHugh, McIntyre, McKeon, McMorris-Rodgers, Melancon, Mica, Miller (FL), Miller (MI), Gary Miller, Moran (KS), Tim Murphy, Myrick, Neugebauer, Nunes, Oberstar, Olson, Paul, Paulsen, Peterson, Petri, Pitts, Platts, Poe (TX), Posey, Price (GA), Putnam, Radanovich, Rehberg, Reichert, Roe (TN), Rogers (AL), Rogers (KY), Rogers (MI), Rohrabacher, Rooney, Ros-Lehtinen, Roskam, Ross, Royce, Ryan (WI), Scalise, Schmidt, Schock, Sensenbrenner, Sessions, Shadegg, Shimkus, Shuler, Simpson, Skelton, Smith (NE), Smith (NJ), Smith (TX), Souder, Stearns, Stupak, Taylor, Terry, Thompson (PA), Thornberry, Tiahrt, Tiberi, Turner, Upton, Walden, Wamp, Westmoreland, Whitfield, Wilson (SC), Wittman, Wolf, Young (AK), Young (FL).

Voting “yes” / pro-abortion: Abercrombie, Ackerman, Adler (NJ), Andrews, Arcuri, Baca, Baird, Baldwin, Barrow, Bean, Becerra, Berkley, Berman, Bishop (GA), Bishop (NY), Blumenauer, Boswell, Boucher, Boyd, Brady (PA), Braley (IA), Corrine Brown, Butterfield, Capps, Capuano, Cardoza, Carnahan, Carney, Carson (IN), Castor (FL), Chandler, Chu, Clarke, Clay, Cleaver, Clyburn, Cohen, Connolly (VA), Conyers, Cooper, Costa, Courtney, Crowley, Cuellar, Cummings, Davis (CA), Davis (IL), DeFazio, DeGette, Delahunt, DeLauro, Dicks, Dingell, Doggett, Doyle, Edwards (MD), Edwards (TX), Ellison, Engel, Eshoo, Etheridge, Farr, Fattah, Filner, Foster, Frank (MA), Fudge, Giffords, Gonzalez, Grayson, Al Green, Gene Green, Grijalva, Gutierrez, Hall (NY), Halvorson, Hare, Harman, Hastings (FL), Heinrich, Herseth-Sandlin, Higgins, Hill, Himes, Hinchey, Hinojosa, Hirono, Hodes, Holden, Holt, Honda, Hoyer, Inslee, Israel, Jackson (IL), Jackson-Lee (TX), Johnson (GA), E.B. Johnson, Kagen, Kanjorski, Kaptur, Kennedy, Kildee, Kilpatrick (MI), Kilroy, Kind, Kirkpatrick (AZ), Kissell, Klein (FL), Kosmas, Kratovil, Kucinich, Langevin, Larsen (WA), Larson (CT), Lee (CA), Levin, Lewis (GA), Loebsack, Zoe Lofgren, Lowey, Lujan, Lynch, Maffei, Maloney, Markey (CO), Massa, Matheson, Matsui, McCarthy (NY), McCollum, McDermott, McGovern, McMahon, McNerney, Meek (FL), Meeks (NY), Michaud, Miller (NC), George Miller, Minnick, Mitchell, Mollohan, Moore (KS), Moore (WI), Moran (VA), Murphy (CT), Murphy (NY), Patrick Murphy, Murtha, Nadler (NY), Napolitano, Neal (MA), Nye, Obey, Olver, Ortiz, Pallone, Pascrell, Pastor (AZ), Payne, Perlmutter, Perriello, Peters, Pingree (ME), Polis (CO), Pomeroy, Price (NC), Quigley, Rahall, Rangel, Reyes, Richardson, Rodriguez, Rothman (NJ), Roybal-Allard, Ruppersberger, Rush, Ryan (OH), Salazar, Linda Sanchez, Loretta Sanchez, Sarbanes, Schakowsky, Schauer, Schiff, Schrader, Schwartz, Scott (GA), Serrano, Sestak, Shea-Porter, Sires, Slaughter, Smith (WA), Snyder, Space, Speier, Spratt, Stark, Sutton, Tanner, Teague, Thompson (CA), Thompson (MS), Tierney, Titus, Tonko, Towns, Tsongas, VanHollen, Velazquez, Visclosky, Walz, Wasserman-Schultz, Waters, Watson, Watt, Waxman, Weiner, Wexler, Wilson (OH), Woolsey, Wu, Yarmuth

Not Voting: Barrett (SC), Hensarling, Herger, King (IA), Linder, Lucas, Markey (MA), Pelosi, Pence, Scott (VA), Sherman, Shuster, Sullivan, Welch

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