Life Advocacy Briefing

August 3, 2009

Sotomayor Vote Expected / Pence Amendment Goes Down / Citizen Action Needed Now / Reality: Abortion Will Be Covered If Not Excluded / Moving Elders Aside? / Targeting the Message / Where Is the White House? / Where Is Planned Parenthood? Warning Our Seniors / House Voting Record

Sotomayor Vote Expected

THE U.S. SENATE IS EXPECTED TO VOTE THIS WEEK on the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the US Supreme Court. Calls to Senators, asking their opposition to the elevation of this abortion advocate, may be placed via the Capitol switchboard at 1-202/224-3121. The Senate is scheduled to begin its August recess at week’s end.


Pence Amendment Goes Down

THE PENCE AMENDMENT TO DISQUALIFY PLANNED PARENTHOOD from funding under Title X (Ten) – its principal federal funding source – was defeated July 24 on a 183-to-247 vote. The same amendment in 2007 drew 189 “yes” votes and 231 “no’s.”

We publish the voting record at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing, planning for next week the earlier promised publication of the roll call on the final passage of the Financial Services Appropriation bill, under which the District of Columbia will be permitted to use tax money to subsidize abortionists.


Citizen Action Needed Now

IF THE GOVT. TAKEOVER OF AMERICA’s MEDICAL SYSTEM is to be stopped in this roll-over Congress, it will require the concerted action of pro-life citizens demanding that abortion be excluded explicitly from its long reach.

Though the White House succeeded last week in pulling the so-called “blue-dog Democrats” back into line, enabling the House Committee on Energy & Commerce to mark up its version, the President’s party did not meet his demands of pushing through the massive legislation before the House broke at week’s end for the traditional August recess.

That gives those of us who cherish the right to Life the opening we need to get the attention of Congress on two vital issues: coverage of abortion in the government healthcare plan and coercion of elderly Americans to end their lives.

Though many Members of Congress and Senators will be traveling during August, most will be in their home districts or states during at least part of the recess. Local office contact information is available from public library reference desks. It is critical that pro-life citizens contact their lawmakers and insist that abortion be excluded.

One caution: Congressional staff members in some offices may have been instructed to inform callers that abortion is not mentioned in the proposal. This is a dodge and is not to be accepted at face value. What pro-life citizens must request is that the Member vote explicitly to exclude abortion and vote “no” if that is not accomplished.


Reality: Abortion Will Be Covered If Not Excluded

BETWEEN BUREAUCRATIC RULE-MAKING and pertinent judicial precedents, the only way to exclude abortion from government-funded medical plans is to exclude it explicitly in the text of the legislation. This has not yet been done in any of the various versions moved out of committees in both houses; in fact, amendments to exclude abortion have been defeated in each of the committees where they were offered.

Just such an amendment was offered last Thursday night by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) during the proposal’s markup in the House Committee on Energy & Commerce. His amendment was – briefly – adopted, but panel chairman Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) changed his vote to “yes” in order to qualify himself under the rules to make a motion to reconsider the vote once some time had passed. When he moved to reconsider the Pitts amendment, enough of his party members joined him in voting “yes” for reconsideration that the earlier vote was canceled, and the subsequent vote on “Pitts” came out the way Chairman Waxman desired – in defeat of the pro-life measure.

Further, in one of the Senate committees, as Life Advocacy Briefing reported some weeks ago, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) added an amendment making clear that “women’s health clinics” were to be covered. Asked by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) to admit that abortion would be one of the covered “services” of these “clinics,” Sen. Mikulski agreed. Given her consistent record of support for commercialized abortion, we’d guess that was actually the point of her amendment, and we thank Sen. Hatch for extracting the disturbing truth from the amendment sponsor.

In further Senate committee action, an amendment offered by Sen. Tom Coburn MD (R-OK) to clarify that nothing in the healthcare takeover legislation would invalidate state laws restricting abortion – such as parental notice and informed consent legislation – was voted down, suggesting that the Left plan to use the proposed Obamacare law as a stealth version of its abandoned Freedom of Choice Act, which would have enshrined abortion as a healthcare “right” and overridden all state and local laws protecting unborn boys and girls and their mothers from the abortion cartel.

Bottom line: Members of Congress and Senators must vote to exclude abortion explicitly from the government healthcare takeover proposal or vote “no” on the finished product.


Moving Elders Aside?

BURIED WITHIN HR-3200, the principal House version of the government healthcare takeover, is a nasty provision related to elder Americans, Section 1233.

The provision “encourages” medical providers to “counsel” their over-65 patients in end-of-life issues every five years. Read that again and call your Representative at his or her local office.

We publish near the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing a statement jointly issued July 23 by House GOP Leader John Boehner (OH) and GOP Policy Committee Chairman Thaddeus McCotter (MI), warning of the provision “targeting seniors.”


Targeting the Message

EVERY MEMBER OF CONGRESS HAS A TECHNICALLY EQUAL VOTE, but some Members are more important – tactically – than others in the healthcare takeover fight. Those Members are Democrats and wobbly Republicans.

Each pro-life citizen ought first to contact his or her own Member of Congress and two Senators but then also to contact as many others as possible, starting with in-state Democratic Members and/or Republicans who are not solidly pro-life. Numbers of contacts matter to Members of Congress; readers can be certain the abortion lobby is doing everything possible to generate calls and visits to gettable Members. It is up to engaged pro-life citizens to aid US lawmakers in grasping where the majority of citizens line up – on the pro-life side of the abortion issue.


Where Is ‘the White House’?

REGARDLESS OF WHETHER UNFETTERED ABORTION is one of Pres. Barack Obama’s goals in his medical system takeover scheme – as many of us believe – the White House has made it clear the President won’t in the least mind if that is one result.

In a July 19 New York Times report, White House budget director Peter Orszag, reports Kathleen Gilbert for, “refused to rule out taxpayer money paying for abortion under the bill. ‘I am not prepared to say explicitly that right now,’ said [Mr.] Orszag. ‘It’s obviously a controversial issue, and it’s one of the questions that is playing out in this debate.’” Playing out so far to the advantage of the President’s pals in the abortion industry.


Where Is Planned Parenthood?

PLANNED PARENTHOOD FEDERATION of AMERICA HOSTED a Capitol Hill day July 17, bringing more than 300 staff, board members and volunteers to Washington to lobby Congress on “the importance,” reads a PP/Rocky Mountains news release, “of making women’s health a priority in healthcare reform.”

“Making women’s health a priority” is, of course, code language for massively increasing the already massive flow of taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood. And “women’s health” is code language for abortion, among other “services.”

The principal messages of PP lobby day, according to the Rocky Mountain affiliate: “Any healthcare reform effort must include access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare, and women’s access to essential community providers must be protected.” PP clinics, which the outfit is calling “community health centers” are, the PP/Rocky Mountains release opines, “an integral part of the nation’s healthcare system.” Just in case you doubted that abortion will be “in healthcare” unless explicitly excluded, remember who will be writing the regulations: PP’s best pals.


Warning Our Seniors

Boehner-McCotter statement on end-of-life “counseling” provision in HR-3200

Section 1233 of the House-drafted legislation encourages healthcare providers to provide their Medicare patients with counseling on “the use of artificially administered nutrition and hydration” and other end-of-life treatments, and may place seniors in situations where they feel pressured to sign end-of-life directives they would not otherwise sign. This provision may start us down a treacherous path toward government-encouraged euthanasia if enacted into law. At a minimum, this legislative language deserves a full and open public debate – the sort of debate that is impossible to have under the politically-driven deadlines Democratic leaders have arbitrarily set for enactment of a healthcare bill.

This provision of the legislation is a throwback to 1977, when the old Dept. of Health, Education & Welfare proposed federal promotion of living wills for cost-saving purposes described as “enormous.” At that time, the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago decried this effort by saying: “The message is clear: government can save money by encouraging old people to die a little sooner than they otherwise would. Instead of being regarded with reverence and cherished, human life is subject in this view to a utilitarian cost-benefit calculus and can be sacrificed to serve fiscal policy and the sacred imperative of trimming a budget.”

With three states having legalized physician-assisted suicide, this provision could create a slippery slope for a more permissive environment for euthanasia, mercy-killing and physician-assisted suicide, because it does not clearly exclude counseling about the supposed benefits of killing oneself.

Healthcare reform that fails to protect the sanctity and dignity of all human life is not reform at all.


House Voting Record

Pence Amendment to HHS Appropriation Bill – Disqualifying Planned Parenthood from Title X funding – July 24, 2009 – Failed 183-247 (Democrats in italics) (*Delegates from territories are permitted to vote on amendments, so long as their votes do not affect the outcome.)

Voting “yes” / pro-life: Aderholt, Akin, Alexander, Austria, Bachmann, Bachus, Bartlett, Barton (TX), Bilbray, Bilirakis, Blackburn, Blunt, Bonner, Bono-Mack, Boozman, *Del.Bordallo, Boren, Boustany, Brady (TX), Bright, Broun (GA), Brown (SC), Brown-Waite, Buchanan, Burgess, Burton (IN), Buyer, Calvert, Camp, Campbell, Cantor, Cao, Carter, Cassidy, Chaffetz, Childers, Coble, Coffman (CO), Cole, Conaway, Costello, Crenshaw, Culberson, Davis (KY), Davis (TN), Deal (GA), Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Mario Diaz-Balart, Donnelly (IN), Dreier, Duncan, Ehlers, Ellsworth, Emerson, Fallin, Flake, Fleming, Forbes, Fortenberry, Foxx, Franks (AZ), Gallegly, Garrett (NJ), Gerlach, Gingrey (GA), Gohmert, Goodlatte, Granger, Graves, Griffith, Guthrie, Hall (TX), Harper, Hastings (WA), Heller, Hensarling, Herger, Hoekstra, Hunter, Inglis, Issa, Johnson (IL), Sam Johnson, Jones, Jordan (OH), King (IA), King (NY), Kingston, Kline (MN), Lamborn, Latham, LaTourette, Latta, Lee (NY), Lewis (CA), Linder, Lipinski, LoBiondo, Lucas, Luetkemeyer, Lummis, Daniel Lungren, Mack, Manzullo, Marchant, Marshall, McCarthy (CA), McCaul, McClintock, McCotter, McHenry, McIntyre, McKeon, McMorris-Rodgers, Melancon, Mica, Miller (FL), Miller (MI), Gary Miller, Mollohan, Moran (KS), Tim Murphy, Myrick, Neugebauer, Nunes, Olson, Paulsen, Pence, Peterson, Petri, Pitts, Platts, Poe (TX), Posey, Price (GA), Putnam, Radanovich, Rahall, Rehberg, Reichert, Roe (TN), Rogers (AL), Rogers (KY), Rogers (MI), Rohrabacher, Rooney, Ros-Lehtinen, Roskam, Royce, Ryan (WI), Scalise, Schmidt, Schock, Sensenbrenner, Sessions, Shadegg, Shimkus, Shuler, Shuster, Simpson, Skelton, Smith (NE), Smith (NJ), Smith (TX), Souder, Stearns, Sullivan, Taylor, Terry, Thompson (PA), Thornberry, Tiahrt, Tiberi, Turner, Wamp, Westmoreland, Whitfield, Wilson (OH), Wilson (SC), Wittman, Wolf, Young (AK), Young (FL).

Voting “no”/ pro-abortion:Abercrombie, Ackerman, Adler (NJ), Altmire, Andrews, Arcuri, Baca, Baird, Baldwin, Barrow, Bean, Becerra, Berkley, Berman, Berry, Biggert, Bishop (GA), Bishop (NY), Blumenauer, Boccieri, Boswell, Boucher, Boyd, Brady (PA), Braley (IA), Corrine Brown, Butterfield, Capps, Capuano, Cardoza, Carnahan, Carney, Carson (IN), Castle, Castor (FL), Chandler, *Del.Christensen (Virgin Is.), Chu, Clarke, Clay, Cleaver, Clyburn, Cohen, Connolly (VA), Conyers, Cooper, Costa, Courtney, Crowley, Cuellar, Cummings, Davis (AL), Davis (CA), Davis (IL), DeFazio, DeGette, Delahunt, DeLauro, Dent, Dicks, Dingell, Doggett, Doyle, Driehaus, Edwards (MD), Edwards (TX), Ellison, Engel, Eshoo, Etheridge, *Del.Faleomavaega (Amer. Samoa), Farr, Fattah, Filner, Foster, Frank (MA), Frelinghuysen, Fudge, Giffords, Gonzalez, Gordon (TN), 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), Jenkins, Johnson (GA), E.B. Johnson, Kagen, Kanjorski, Kaptur, Kennedy, Kildee, Kilpatrick (MI), Kilroy, Kind, Kirk, Kirkpatrick (AZ), Kissell, Klein (FL), Kosmas, Kratovil, Kucinich, Lance,  Langevin, Larsen (WA), Larson (CT), Lee (CA), Levin, Lewis (GA), Loebsack, ZoeLofgren, Lowey, Lujan, Lynch, Maffei, Maloney, Markey (CO), Markey (MA), Massa, Matheson, Matsui, McCollum, McDermott, McGovern, McMahon, McNerney, Meek (FL), Meeks (NY), Michaud, Miller (NC), George Miller, Minnick, Mitchell, Moore (KS), Moore (WI), Moran (VA), Murphy (CT), Murphy (NY), Patrick Murphy, Murtha, Nadler (NY), Napolitano, Neal (MA), Norton, Nye, Oberstar, Obey, Olver, Ortiz, Pallone, Pascrell, Pastor (AZ), Payne, Perlmutter, Perriello, Peters, *Del. Pierluisi (Puerto Rico), Pingree (ME), Polis (CO), Pomeroy, Price (NC), Quigley, Reyes, Richardson, Rodriguez, Ross, Rothman (NJ), Roybal-Allard, Ruppersberger, Rush, Ryan (OH), *Del. Sablan (Northern Mariana Is.), Salazar, Linda Sanchez, Loretta Sanchez, Sarbanes, Schakowsky, Schauer, Schiff, Schrader, Schwartz, Scott (GA), Scott (VA), Serrano, Sestak, Shea-Porter, Sherman, Sires, Slaughter, Smith (WA), Snyder, Space, Speier, Spratt, Stark, Stupak, Sutton, Tanner, Teague, Thompson (CA), Thompson (MS), Tierney, Titus, Tonko, Towns, Tsongas, Upton, VanHollen, Velazquez, Visclosky, Walden, Walz, Wasserman-Schultz, Waters, Watson, Watt, Waxman, Weiner, Welch, Wexler, Woolsey, Wu, Yarmuth.

Not Voting: Barrett (SC), Bishop (UT), Boehner, Capito, Dahlkemper, McCarthy (NY), McHugh, Paul, Pelosi, Rangel.

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