Life Advocacy Briefing

August 24, 2009

We’re Here After All / Do Not Weary in Doing Good! / Compromise or Subterfuge?
/ No Doubt About It: Abortion is Covered / The Man Behind the Curtain /
Suit Filed Challenging Obama Stemcell Guidelines
/ Tell the Truth!
Abortion Harms Mothers
/ Care vs. Control

We’re Here After All

NEWS COMPELS US TO PUBLISH this week’s Life Advocacy Briefing despite having written last week that we might take a break. We still hope to do so next week but hope the information below will help to equip readers for action as responsible citizens. Congress resumes its session on Tuesday, Sept. 8, the day after Labor Day.


Do Not Weary in Doing Good!

TWO WEEKS LEFT BEFORE CONGRESS RETURNS FROM RECESS. Are you making it your business to take advantage of this month-long hiatus in Congressional action, this month-long delay in the President’s attempt to seize control of America’s medical delivery system? Are you contacting – or in many cases, confronting – your US Representative and/or Senators?

Do not be deceived by media reports about compromise and retreats in the “healthcare” debate. This leviathan is a long way from “final passage.” One version, originating in the Senate, is still in the Committee on Finance and changes shape weekly, even daily, even during the recess, as committee members and staff talk out compromises and stake out ground.

The Finance Committee’s ranking member, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), assured the public last week that the “end-of-life counseling” provision had been taken out of the legislation. His statement was seen as a response to the outcry which followed Sarah Palin’s highlighting of “death panels” in the legislation.

But even Sen. Grassley’s assurance is inadequate for two reasons: The House has not removed “end-of-life” pressure sessions from its version and could insist on it in the eventual conference, and the counseling provision is only one small but glaring symptom of the “death panels” to which former Gov. Palin refers. In reality, the entire structure of the proposal is a set-up for “death panels,” for the underlying goal of ObamaCare is the rationing of medical services; that is how the President and his fellow travelers in Congress mean to cut expenses for health care while covering more people.


Compromise or Subterfuge?

ANOTHER POINT OF CONTENTION which seems to be changing – but might not be – is the whole question of government control, what the Obama Regime calls “the public option.”

Conflicting statements by Administration spokesmen, including the President himself, have suggested of late that Mr. Obama might be steering away from the government takeover. Do not be deceived.

For starters, the Left wing of the President’s party has reacted viscerally to the mere hint that the government takeover might have to be jettisoned in order to achieve passage of “healthcare reform,” declaring that without “the public option,” any bill passed is “not healthcare reform at all.” The trial balloon was quickly punctured.

Now, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) is pressing for a shift to “co-ops” rather than outright government service delivery. But he quickly adds that such non-profit structures would “have to be” financed by government at the outset, suggesting government funding could eventually phase out. What was it the late President Ronald Reagan once said – “The closest thing to eternal life on earth is a government program.” Once the funds start to flow, so will the regulations (a/k/a control).

From the beginning, Pres. Obama has said his goal is government health care but that it might need to be implemented in stages. Just think of Sen. Conrad as a stagecoach driver.


No Doubt About It: Abortion is Covered

ONE THING IS SURE ABOUT THE ‘HEALTHCARE’ TAKEOVER: All the competing proposals which are moving in Congress share several common elements, notably including direct, universal tax funding of abortion.

Other controversies – such as those we’ve covered above – have taken center stage in the public debate, but the inclusion of abortion is unquestionable despite repeated entreaties by pro-life citizens and such influential organizations as the US Conference of Catholic Bishops that abortion be explicitly excluded.

In one of those ballyhooed “townhall meetings” Aug. 10, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) freely admitted this atrocity in an exchange with a youthful constituent, Ignacio Reyes, who asked her, “‘We know that over 90% of abortions are purely elective, not medically necessary. Why is this being covered when abortion is clearly not health care?’ …

“As the applause for [Mr.] Reyes subsided,” writes Peter J. Smith for, “[Rep.] Lofgren … responded that the proposed Congressional reforms included ‘a basic benefit plan developed by health professionals. Abortion will be covered as a benefit by one or more of the healthcare plans available to Americans [at taxpayer expense, as contemplated], and,’” said Mrs. Lofgren in the LifeSiteNews report, “‘I think it should be.’” That response, reports Mr. Smith, “elicit[ed] jeers and protests from the crowd.” (Exciting video footage of the exchange can be viewed on the Internet website

Family Research Council/Action has posted a 30-second ad on the Internet website capsulizing the injustice being contemplated in a government-run healthcare system which denies certain treatments to older people while forcing those same taxpayers to pay for abortions. The ad can be viewed at


The Man Behind the Curtain

ONE OF THE CENTRAL FIGURES in the “healthcare” debate now raging is the brother of White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.  Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel has attracted attention not only because of his radical views but also because of his standing as “healthcare policy advisor” to the President.

Several E. Emanuel quotes published in a recent memo by Life Issues Institute’s Bradley Mattes are chilling but helpful in illustrating the philosophy behind the Obama scheme to seize control of Americans’ healthcare and thereby our lives. After all, “Zeke,” as White House press secretary Robert Gibbs calls this powerful counselor, is cited by Mr. Mattes and numerous others as “a chief architect behind the healthcare plan.

“‘[Dr. Emanuel] was quoted in 1996,” writes Mr. Mattes, “saying medical benefits of a government-controlled healthcare plan would not be given to ‘individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens.’ Just in case you’re wondering if you’ve read this right,” writes Mr. Mattes, “Dr. Emanuel clarifies by adding, ‘An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia.’ … But wait, you say,” writes Mr. Mattes, “that quote is over 10 years old. Surely he’s got a different opinion now. Not so.

“Dr. Emanuel defended discrimination against senior citizens,” warns Mr. Mattes, “when he wrote the following in the Jan. 31, 2009, issue of the medical journal Lancet, ‘Unlike allocation by sex or race, allocation by age is not invidious [offensive] discrimination.’ The ‘allocation’ he’s talking about,” explains Mr. Mattes, “is healthcare services, many of which are critical to sustaining life or at the very least, a better quality of life. We’re talking about everything,” notes Mr. Mattes, “from life-saving bypass surgery to joint replacements.”


Suit Filed Challenging Obama Stemcell Guidelines

THE CHRISTIAN MEDICAL ASSN. & NIGHTLIGHT CHRISTIAN ADOPTIONS have filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the District of Columbia challenging, writes pro-life blogger Jill Stanek quoting a news release, “‘the controversial guidelines for public funding of embryonic stemcell research that the National Institutes of Health [NIH] issued on July 7, 2009.’ …

“An attorney for the plaintiffs called NIH’s plan to fund everything but harvesting ‘pure sophistry,’” writes Mrs. Stanek. “The lawsuit contends,” writes Mrs. Stanek, “NIH guidelines violate the ban because they allege the guidelines were ‘invalidly implemented, because the decision to fund human embryonic stemcell research was made without the proper procedures required by law and without properly considering the more effective and less ethically problematic forms of adult and induced pluripotent stemcell research.’”

Mrs. Stanek goes on to quote attorney Sam Casey, charging, she writes, “the NIH rebuffed public opinion. ‘The majority of the almost 50,000 comments that the NIH received were opposed to funding this research, and by its own admission, NIH totally ignored these comments,’ wrote [Mr.] Casey.”


Tell the Truth!

A FEDERAL JUDGE HAS ORDERED PLANNED PARENTHOOD to comply with South Dakota’s statute requiring abortionists to inform their customers of the human nature of their prenatal children.

In issuing a summary judgment, the court, reports the pro-life Alpha Center in a news release, reminded the operators of the only abortuary in the state that the federal Circuit Court of Appeals had earlier ruled “that the required disclosure that ‘an abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique living human being’ was a statement of fact and there was no evidence that it was not true and accurate.”

The Sioux Falls-based pregnancy center further reports that “an audio tape has surfaced” in the past few days “that reveals PP of Sioux Falls is in violation of this law even after [the earlier] 8th Circuit Court decision” under which it ought to be operating in keeping with state law.

Remarked Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman in his own OR release, “If the laws already on the books were properly enforce, every abortion clinic in the country would be forced to close. That’s not because the laws are so strict that compliance is unattainable. It is because abortionists have an arrogant sense that any law regulating or restricting the sacrosanct act of abortion is just an anti-abortion plot against them, therefore they are under no obligation to obey. They truly think and act,” said Mr. Newman, “as if they are above the law.”


Abortion Harms Mothers

THOUGH USUALLY CONTENDING THAT LEGALIZED ABORTION is “necessary” to reduce maternal death in the developing world, International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the world’s largest abortion purveyor, “has recently acknowledged,” writes Aracely Ornelas for Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute, “an alarming ‘surge’ in maternal deaths in South Africa … . Maternal deaths increased by 20% in the period 2005-2007,” reports C-Fam in its Friday Fax bulletin, “in South Africa, a country that since 1996 has had one of the most permissive abortion laws on the African continent.”

Most maternal deaths in South Africa are attributable to the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, but “IPPF acknowledges,” reports C-Fam, “that a portion of deaths are ‘due to complications of abortion’ in a country where the procedure is legal and widely available.”

It turns out the African nation with the lowest maternal mortality rate is Mauritius, an island nation some 560 miles east of Madagascar in the southwest Indian Ocean. Laws in Mauritius, reports Friday Fax, “are among the continent’s most protective of the unborn.” Ethiopia, on the other hand, has decriminalized abortion in recent years, notes Friday Fax, and “has failed to lower dramatic maternal death rates. Ethiopia’s maternal death rate,” reports C-Fam, “is 48 times higher than in Mauritius.”


Care vs. Control

Aug. 6, 2009, syndicated column by Thomas Sowell; copyright, Creators Syndicate, Inc.

As someone who was once rushed to a hospital in the middle of the night because of taking a medication that millions of people take every day without the slightest problem, I have a special horror of life-and-death medical decisions being made by bureaucrats in Washington about patients they have never laid eyes on.

On another occasion, I was told by a doctor that I would have died if I had not gotten to him in time, after an allergic reaction to eating one of the most healthful foods around. On still another occasion, I was treated with a medication that causes many people big problems and was urged to come back to the hospital immediately if I had a really bad reaction. But I had no reaction at all, went home, felt fine, and slept soundly through the night.

My point is that everybody is different. Millions of children eat peanut butter sandwiches every day, but some children can die from eating peanut butter. Some vaccines and medications that save many lives can also kill some people.

Are decisions made by doctors who have treated the same patient for years to be overruled by bureaucrats sitting in front of computer screens in Washington, following guidelines drawn up with the idea of “bringing down the cost of medical care?” The idea is even more absurd than the idea that you can add millions of people to a government medical care plan without increasing the costs. It is also more dangerous.

What is both dangerous and mindless is rushing a massive new medical care scheme through Congress so fast that Members of Congress do not even have time to read it before voting on it. Legislation that is far less sweeping in its effects can get months of hearings before Congressional committees, followed by debates in the Senate and the House of Representatives, with all sorts of people voicing their views in the media and in letters to Congress, while ads from people on both sides of the issue appear in newspapers and on television.

If this new medical scheme is so wonderful, why can’t it stand the light of day or a little time to think about it?

The obvious answer is that the Administration doesn’t want us to know what it is all about, or else we would not go along with it. Far better to say that we can’t wait, that things are just too urgent. This tactic worked with whizzing the “stimulus” package through Congress, even though the stimulus package itself has not worked.

Any serious discussion of government-run medical care would have to look at other countries where there is government-run medical care. As someone who has done some research on this for my book Applied Economics, I can tell you that the actual consequences of government-controlled medical care is not a pretty picture, however inspiring the rhetoric that accompanies it.

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