Life Advocacy Briefing

October 5, 2009

Sealing Abortion into the Deal / Surprise Win / Here Come the Spending Bills / ‘Mexico City’ / District of Columbia Abortion Funding / Federal Employee Health Benefits Program / Reasonable Alternative to ObamaCare / Ominous Moves in Washington / And in Chicago / Quotable / Discovering the Centers of Compassion / Text of Senate Finance Panel ‘Hatch’ Pro-Life Amendments / Senate Finance Committee Voting Records

Sealing Abortion into the Deal

THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE VOTED DOWN TWO AMENDMENTS last Wednesday which would have excluded most abortions from the Baucus Healthcare Plan and protected the consciences of medical providers whose practices would be subjected to bureaucratic control under the ObamaCare takeover scheme.

The amendments were offered by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), a committee member, and were voted down on near party-line roll calls of 10 to 13 in both cases. Sen. Kent Conrad (ND) broke ranks with his fellow Democrats and voted for the two amendments; Sen. Olympia Snowe (MD) predictably abandoned her Republican colleagues to vote “no.”

We publish the text of the amendments and the voting record for both – and for the abstinence education amendment cited below – at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing.


Surprise Win

WHILE THE FINANCE COMMITTEE WAS VOTING DOWN Sen. Hatch’s two pro-life amendments, the panel voted – over the objection of chairman Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) – to reinstate $50 million for abstinence education under Title V.

The reversal of Pres. Obama’s anti-virtue budget ax came on a 12-to-11 roll call, with Democratic Senators Conrad and Blanche Lincoln (AR) joining with all 10 GOP panel members to revive the abstinence-only education program begun under Pres. George W. Bush.  Sen. Lincoln, by the way, faces a tough fight for re-election in 2010.

The victory here is only a start, since it must yet pass both houses to become reality. And it has a competitor in an amendment by Chairman Baucus, which would provide for mixed-message sex education mentioning abstinence but also pushing contraception; that amendment was adopted 14 to 9, but we do not have the voting record available.


Here Come the Spending Bills

NOW THAT THE NEW FISCAL YEAR HAS BEGUN, Congressional Leaders could be moving toward the annual appropriations process which should have concluded before Oct. 1.

The House has passed all 12 of the major spending bills, but the Senate has passed only half, and only one spending bill has emerged from conference ready for final passage votes. A continuing resolution – attached to the Legislative Branch Appropriation conference report passed last week – is keeping the money flowing from the federal coffers until the Fiscal Year 2010 spending bills can become law, and as long as the continuing resolution governs, pro-life limitations remain intact.

Once the major spending measures start to move toward final form, three issues of concern to pro-life citizens stand out: the Mexico City Policy, abortion funding in the District of Columbia and coverage of abortion in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP).


‘Mexico City’

FIRST HANDED DOWN BY PRES. RONALD REAGAN at an international population conference in Mexico City, thepolicy bars US foreign aid (through the US Agency for International Development [USAID]) to entities which commit, refer for or lobby for abortion in other countries.  Pres. Obama unilaterally lifted the executive order imposing the ban as one of his first acts in office.

To make certain no future President could reinstate the policy by executive order, the Senate Appropriations Committee has inserted anti-Mexico City Policy language into the State/Foreign Operations Appropriation bill (S-1434) as an amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act, which is permanent law and not merely an annual appropriation measure subject to annual review. The House-passed version of the spending bill – though it does not reinstate “Mexico City” – has no such pernicious language barring its future return.

If the Senate version of “State/Foreign Ops” is adopted by both houses and signed by the President, massive efforts would be needed in future Congresses to restore a President’s authority to order such protections, and thousands of babies will lose their lives at US taxpayer expense.

Pro-life citizens are requested to call both their Senators and their US Representative to request that they support the House version of the State Dept. Appropriation and reject the Senate’s radical version. (Capitol switchboard: 1-202/224-3121; e-mail via or


District of Columbia Abortion Funding

NEITHER HOUSE NOR SENATE VERSION of the District of Columbia (DC) provision in the Financial Services Appropriation measure is acceptable.

For more than a decade, Congress has barred the DC city council from using tax funds – either federal or local – to pay abortionists to kill babies not conceived in sex crimes or whose continued gestation is not threatening to their mothers’ lives. (The Constitution provides that the federal government has the final say over spending in the capital district.)

Liberal lawmakers in the House of Representatives and on the Senate Committee on Appropriations excised long-standing pro-life language barring Congressionally appropriated local funds from paying for abortion, leaving intact only the ban on federal tax funds’ use. If HR-3170 and/or S-1432 are passed without extending the prohibition to local funds, babies’ lives will be forfeited in greater numbers, the abortion industry will thrive in the nation’s capital, and taxpayers will be footing the bill.

Pro-life citizens are requested to call both their Senators and their US Representative to request that they refuse to support any version of the Financial Services Appropriation bill which allows for tax-funded abortions in DC. (Capitol switchboard: 1-202/224-3121; e-mail via or


Federal Employee Health Benefits Program

EVERY YEAR SINCE F.Y. 1984 – with the exception of the first two years under Pres. Bill Clinton – Congress has barred abortion coverage in the Health Benefits Program providing taxpayer-subsidized medical insurance for federal workers and their dependents.

In its Financial Services spending bill, S-1432, the Senate Appropriations Committee is subsidizing medical insurance for federal employees and their dependents with no prohibition on abortion coverage. The House-passed Financial Services bill, HR-3170, preserves the FEHBP abortion coverage ban.

It is critical that pro-life citizens contact both their Senators and their US Representative to insist that the final conference report of the Financial Services Appropriation bill explicitly exclude abortion coverage in the federal employees’ insurance program. (Capitol switchboard: 1-202/224-3121; e-mail via or


Reasonable Alternative to ObamaCare

THOSE HOPING TO BACK AN ALTERNATIVE to the takeover of America’s medical care system might wish to take a look at HR-3400, sponsored by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), along with 44 co-sponsors.

The “Empowering Patients First Act” addresses distinctive problems in the private-sector healthcare delivery system, providingfor tax incentives for maintaining health insurance, health insurance pooling for patients with pre-existing conditions and for small business, interstate coverage adding competition among insurers, medical liability reforms, provider conscience protections, protection against rationing, incentives to reduce physician shortages and repeal of unused “stimulus” funds to offset costs.

The House Leadership has referred the measure to no fewer than eight House committees, none of which has yet taken action.


Ominous Moves in Washington

AUSTRALIA’s KEVORKIAN IS OPENING A NORTH AMERICAN BEACHHEAD in Bellingham, Washington. Philip Nitschke is calling his expanded outfit Exit International.

The news comes from Rita Marker of the International Task Force on Euthanasia & Assisted Suicide, who notes that Mr. Nitschke “has publicly called for assisted suicide drugs to be available over the counter for anyone of any age.”

Ms. Marker also notes the troubling slide toward coerced suicide in a hospital training program in western Washington State for crisis/hostage negotiators.  “A social worker from the hospital’s oncology department gave a two-hour presentation,” she writes, “about issues facing cancer patients that could cause them to be suicidal. … But rather than focusing solely on preventing suicide – as would have been the case prior to the passage of Washington’s [doctor-abetted suicide] law,” writes Ms. Marker, “[the social worker] discussed all ‘end-of-life options,’ including ‘death with dignity’” as provided for in the Washington law.

“She didn’t stop there,” writes Ms. Marker. “She provided [the participating] negotiators with a brochure from Compassion & Choices [nee The Hemlock Society], complete with the tollfree number to contact C&C volunteers who will help suicidal patients get prescriptions for deadly drug overdoses. So much,” declares Ms. Marker, “for suicide prevention!”


And in Chicago

THE CHICAGO CITY COUNCIL IS CONSIDERING AN ORDINANCE to bar pro-life sidewalk counselors from approaching closer than eight feet to anyone within 50 feet of an abortion clinic. Those wishing to help protect the free speech rights of pro-life citizens are invited to contact the Pro-Life Action League at 1-773/777-2900.

The ordinance was reportedly drafted in consultation with Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties [sic] Union (ACLU). The full city council is expected to vote on the measure this Wednesday, Oct. 7, at 10 a.m.


Discovering the Centers of Compassion

A COMPREHENSIVE REPORT WAS RELEASED last week on the compassionate services of pregnancy care centers throughout the country. The report can be viewed on the Internet at

“A Passion to Serve, A Vision for Life” was published jointly by Family Research Council and Heartbeat International, whose president Peggy Hartshorn PhD said in a Heartbeat news release, “This report shines a light on the positive contributions of pregnancy centers, maternity homes, adoption agencies and pregnancy help medical clinics. These faith-based organizations, 40,000 volunteers strong, brighten a woman’s future,” she said, “with the support she needs to bring new life into the world. This is one of the greatest volunteer service movements in the history of our country.” And among the most unsung.



Robin F. Wilson JD, professor of law at Washington & Lee University, in the Arizona Daily Star, Sept. 21, 2009 (“Human Research Oversight is Too Lax”): “The progress of science is important. But the lives of individual participants in scientific experiments are just as important. A single human being cannot be sacrificed to advance the interests of science.”


Text of Senate Finance Panel ‘Hatch’ Pro-Life Amendments

Amendment #C13 to Baucus Healthcare Plan

A Federal agency or program, and any State or local government that receives Federal financial assistance under this Act (or any amendment made by this Act), may not

    1. Subject any individual or institutional health care entity to discrimination, or
    2. Require any health plan created or regulated under this Act (or any amendment made by this Act) to subject any individual or institutional health care entity to discrimination, on the basis that the healthcare entity does not provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.

Definition: In this section, the term “health care entity” includes an individual physician or other health care professional, a hospital, a provider-sponsored organization, a health maintenance organization, a health insurance plan, or any other kind of health care facility, organization, or plan.

Amendment #C14 to Baucus Healthcare Plan

No funds authorized or appropriated under this Mark may be used to pay for any abortion or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion, except in the case where a woman suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would, as certified by a physician, place the woman in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, or unless the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest.

Nothing in this amendment would preclude an insurance issuer from offering a separate, supplemental policy to cover additional abortions. Such a supplemental policy would be funded solely by supplemental premiums paid for by individuals choosing to purchase the policy.


Senate Finance Committee Voting Records

  1. Hatch Amendment to reinstate $50 million for Title V abstinence education programs – Sept. 29, 2009 – adopted 12-11 (Democrats in italics)

Voting “yes” / pro-life: Bunning, Conrad, Cornyn, Crapo, Ensign, Enzi, Grassley, Hatch, Kyl, Lincoln, Roberts, Snowe

Voting “no” / anti-life:Baucus, Bingaman, Cantwell, Carper, Kerry, Menendez, Nelson (FL), Rockefeller, Schumer, Stabenow, Wyden

  1. Hatch Amendment #C13 to Baucus Healthcare Plan to bar discrimination against medical personnel who refuse to participate in abortion and
  2. Hatch Amendment #C14 to bar coverage of abortion –
  • (2 & 3 ) Identical roll calls – Sept. 30, 2009 – each failed 10-13 (Democrats in italics)

Voting “yes” / pro-life: Bunning, Conrad, Cornyn, Crapo, Ensign, Enzi, Grassley, Hatch, Kyl, Roberts

Voting “no” / anti-life:Baucus, Bingaman, Cantwell, Carper, Kerry, Lincoln, Menendez, Nelson (FL), Rockefeller, Schumer, Snowe, Stabenow, Wyden


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