Life Advocacy Briefing

October 19, 2009

The True Bipartisans / Stand Up for the Unborn Child / Vatican Signs On in Own Letter to UN / Bishop Saltarelli RIP / Blowing a Bubble Around his Conscience / Calling Capitol Hill / Warning from Liverpool: ‘Death Pathways’ Coming? / A Few Other Reasons (Besides Abortion) to Oppose ObamaCare

The True Bipartisans

UNABLE TO RESIST A GOOD FAN-DANCE, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) last Tuesday dropped all pretense of deep thinking and did what everyone had expected the media tease to do: She joined the 13 Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee in advancing to the full Senate the emanation and penumbra known as the Baucus Bill imposing ObamaCare on America. (Senate Democrats plan to hammer out behind closed doors yet another proposal combining elements of “Baucus” and of the “HELP” bill, which was advanced by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions months ago; neither of these bills is likely to come before the Senate as developed in committee.)

As Ms. Snowe gyrated across the glowing media stage, the cheering squad bubbled over about the “bipartisanship” her vote allegedly signaled. But everyone knows the Maine Senator is not actually a Republican but just plays one on the ballot every six years. The true bipartisan alliance focused on “healthcare reform” [sic] is in the House, and it’s not seeking to advance socialized medicine.

No, the true bipartisan alliance features a stout team of pro-life Democrats, spearheaded by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), willing to be seen in public with House Republicans if that’s what it takes to stop the abortion machine being set up by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and her Senate counterpart Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).

Rep. Stupak is co-sponsoring with Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) an amendment to whichever House “healthcare” bill advances to House consideration. The amendment would attach the explicit language of the Hyde Amendment, which does not apply to any of the five pending bills as they have emerged from various committees in the two houses. Without an explicit exclusion of abortion from whatever ObamaCare measure might be enacted, abortion will surely be underwritten with taxpayer funds – certainly as long as Barack Obama and Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius have anything to say about it.

“‘There are many of us Democrats in the House who are philosophically, legally and morally opposed to public funding for abortions,’ [Rep.] Stupak told Cybercast News in a statement” quoted by writer Fred Lucas. “‘If our amendment is not made in order, we will try to shut down the rule, preventing the healthcare bill from coming to the floor for a vote,’ [Mr.] Stupak stated. ‘If the Speaker believes that abortion funding is not in the bill, then she should let me have my amendment, because [at worst] it would just be redundant.’”

Messrs. Stupak and Pitts, late last month, circulated a letter among their colleagues, addressed to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and asking for Rules Committee clearance of the Hyde/Stupak/Pitts Amendment. The letter was signed by 183 Members of the House and covered by a report in the New York Times.

Similar amendments have been rejected in the various committees, but the full House has yet to vote on excluding abortion.


Stand Up for the Unborn Child

THE CATHOLIC FAMILY & HUMAN RIGHTS INSTITUTE HAS LAUNCHED a petition to the United Nations “call[ing],” wrote C-Fam’s Austin Ruse in an electronic message, “for Member States of the UN to interpret the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as protecting the unborn child from abortion” and “call[ing] for special protection for the family.

“These are ideas that are right out of the original Universal Declaration,” noted Mr. Ruse, “but that have been forgotten over time. We must remind them!”

Mr. Ruse announced his organization is aiming for “a total of one million names by Dec. 1. That’s right,” he said. “One million names to stand up for the unborn child and the family.”

A similar petition was presented to the UN last year, gathering some “467,000 names in just a few weeks,” Mr. Ruse reported. “A few years ago,” he wrote, “opponents of the death penalty presented one million names, and they received global attention. Certainly,” he urged, “we can get that many for the defenseless unborn child!”

Apparently so. At the time Life Advocacy Briefing editor signed the petition Wednesday evening, the campaign had already netted more than 520,000 signers just hours after Mr. Ruse’s bulletin had begun circulating.

The petition, which appears in 15 languages, is available on the Internet


Vatican Signs On in Own Letter to U.N.

THE VATICAN IS WEIGHING IN WITH THE U.N., calling on the so-called General Assembly, reports Patrick B. Craine for, “to drop its population control agenda and recognize the right to life of the unborn child.” The appeal came in a letter submitted by Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Vatican representative to the UN.

The letter was occasioned by the 15th anniversary of the UN’s International Conference on Population & Development (ICPD), also known as “Cairo.”

The Vatican letter “condemned the interpretations of the ICPD goals regarding maternal health that result in the promotion of abortion and birth control,” writes Mr. Craine. The archbishop noted that under a stipulation attached to the Cairo agreement, “‘No UN agency can be allowed to promote abortion. … Suggesting that reproductive health includes a right to abortion,’” the archbishop wrote, quoted by LifeSite, “‘explicitly violates the language of the ICPD, defies moral and legal standards within local communities and divides efforts to address the real needs of mothers and children. …

“‘Too often in addressing the role of the ICPD on maternal health,’” the letter stated, quoted by LifeSite, “‘attempts are made to promote a notion of sexual and reproductive health which is detrimental to unborn human life and the integral needs of women and men within society.

“‘Efforts to address maternal mortality, obstetric fistula, child mortality, prenatal and antenatal care, sexually transmitted diseases and other health matters,’” the letter continued, “‘are hampered by sanitary policies which fail to take into account the right to life of the unborn child and promote birth control as a development policy and disguised health service.’”

The archbishop reminded UN officials that “when the member states met in Cairo in 1994,” writes Mr. Craine, “‘many of them were under the impression that a population explosion was going to occur and hamper the ability to achieve adequate global economic development. Now, 15 years later,’” he said in the letter, quoted by LifeSite, “‘we see that this perception was unfounded.’ Instead,” writes Mr. Craine, “many developed countries now face demographic decline, even to the point where some countries are advocating higher birthrates for the sake of the economy.”


Bishop Saltarelli R.I.P.

A ROMAN CATHOLIC LION FOR LIFE PASSED AWAY 10 days ago at age 77 and was buried last Wednesday. Bishop Emeritus Michael Saltarelli had suffered from bone cancer.

“Bishop Saltarelli had stood against pro-abortion politicians during his 12 years as Bishop of Wilmington [Delaware] before his retirement last year,” writes James Tillman for He was noted for having told an interviewer in 2008 “that even should then-Senator Biden become Vice President, he would not be permitted to speak at Catholic high schools” within the Wilmington diocese, notes Mr. Tillman.

Bishop Saltarelli authored a Statement on Catholics in Public Life, published by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, in which, writes Mr. Tillman, he “compared the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade to their decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford. He said,” writes Mr. Tillman, “that both ‘have a comparable corrosive effect on public life, politics and society.’

“He continued,” reports LifeSite: “‘No one today would accept this statement from any public servant: “I am personally opposed to human slavery and racism but will not impose my personal conviction in the legislative arena.” Likewise none of us should accept this statement from any public servant: “I am personally opposed to abortion but will not impose my personal conviction in the legislative arena.”’”


Blowing a Bubble Around his Conscience

AFTER SHUTTING OFF A RESPONSE SURVEYING DEVICE ON HIS PHONE (1-312/744-3300) following the outraged response of pro-life citizens and other advocates of freedom, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley said last week he would sign the free-speech shutdown ordinance passed by the City Council to prevent sidewalk counselors from saving the lives of babies and protecting the health of their mothers.

The pending ordinance would criminalize pro-life citizens if they approach within eight feet of a woman within 50 feet of an abortuary. Though ridiculing a similar ordinance in 1996, saying, reports James Tillman for, it “would require ‘measuring tapes,’” this time Mayor Daley claimed the ordinance “would ‘try to make sure nobody is harassed,’” Mr. Tillman writes.

“Mayor Daley, who says he is Catholic, explained that he separates his religion from his politics,” writes Mr. Tillman. “‘My religion is very personal,’” he said in the LifeSite story. “‘Religion does not play a part when I make a decision on behalf of the people of Chicago. It is a decision I have to make as a mayor, not as a Catholic. … That is separate for me.’”


Calling Capitol Hill

WE’ve BEEN ADVISED by a Capitol Hill contact that the Capitol switchboard is being jammed these days by calls to 1-202/224-3121, as Americans are seeking to advise and entreat their elected Representatives and Senators.

“You may get a message,” our contact advised, “that says, ‘All circuits are busy at this time’ if you call when it’s especially busy. If you get this message, just hang up and start calling district offices instead. Then try the switchboard again later.” (District office telephone numbers may be obtained from public library reference desks; calls to district offices are always a good idea.)

Alternatively, advised our friend, the switchboard number “may ring many, many times with seemingly no end in sight, but the key is to let it ring.” Our contact said she had dialed 1-202/224-3121 and let it ring some 20 times before the operator answered. “So just stay on the line,” she said, “if you get ringing.”


Warning from Liverpool: ‘Death Pathways’ Coming?

Oct. 12, 2009, commentary by bioethicist Wesley J. Smith on his Secondhand Smoke Internet blog

The UK’s Liverpool Care Pathway has apparently killed its first (reported) victim. The Pathway treats dying patients as members of a category instead of as individuals. Rather than give patients the individualized treatment their respective symptoms and conditions warrant, the Pathway sedates patients thought to be near death and withholds food and fluids until death. About 16.5% of deaths in the UK are now, apparently, via the Pathway, a far higher percentage than hospice professionals tell me require sedation to control symptoms.

Yesterday I reported on a case in which a woman misdiagnosed as dying was spared dehydration only due to the persistence of her daughter. I asked at the time how many other such cases there are. We now know of at least one – only the ending wasn’t happy. A man misdiagnosed with recurrent cancer was apparently sedated and dehydrated to death.

From the story: “A grandfather who beat cancer was wrongly told the disease had returned and left to die at a hospice which pioneered a controversial ‘death pathway.’ Doctors said there was nothing more they could do for 76-year-old Jack Jones, and his family claim he was denied food, water and medication except painkillers. He died within two weeks. But tests after his death found that his cancer had not come back, and he was in fact suffering from pneumonia brought on by a chest infection. To his family’s horror, they were told he could have recovered if he’d been given the correct treatment.

“Today, after being given an 18,000-pound pay-out over her ordeal, his widow Pat branded his treatment ‘barbaric’ and accused the doctors of manslaughter.” If the charges are true, at the very least this is negligent homicide!

What does the hospice have to say? “Mrs. Jones believes her husband was treated under the Liverpool Care Pathway, but insiders said it was only implemented after he died to help provide comfort to his wife and daughters.” What? A care plan was implemented after he died? That makes zero sense. There needs to be an urgent criminal investigation to find out what’s what.

The bigger question is whether the Pathway will be curtailed so that the lives of other patients are not endangered or cut off from being lived to the last drop by being treated via checklist as members of a category. I doubt it. In the UK – where the National Health Service is melting down and utilitarian bioethicists have been handed tremendous control over the ethics of care – I am beginning to suspect that the very sick, disabled and elderly are looked upon as burdens that society can no longer afford.


A Few Other Reasons (Besides Abortion) to Oppose ObamaCare

Oct. 13, 2009, commentary by Gary Bauer from his End of Day Report to supporters of his Campaign for Working Families

Today’s Wall Street Journal reports that the American Medical Assn., the American Hospital Assn. and the insurance industry are having second thoughts about their support for ObamaCare as key details are being determined. That’s good news. Too bad it took them this long!

As the Journal notes, there’s an old saying in Washington, “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.” Every industry and trade association wanted to be at the table and on good terms with this new, historic Presidency. Some industries cut deals with the administration behind closed doors. But business is learning the hard way that soaring popularity is not an automatic prescription for sound policy. Deals can be denied. When socialists run Washington, DC, business is on the menu whether it’s at the table or not.

Yesterday, the insurance industry released a study conducted by the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. The study found that under ObamaCare, health insurance premiums will go up, not down. If ObamaCare passes, families would pay $4,000 more than if Congress did nothing at all. Predictably, the White House and its liberal allies like AARP are firing back, calling the report an attempt to “sabotage” the plan and “deplorable scare tactics.”

Forget the insurance industry’s study. Look at life experience! As we have reported, a number of states have experimented with key elements of ObamaCare, and all of them have experienced higher costs. Other industrialized nations with socialized medicine have seen their healthcare costs rise faster than ours. There is no evidence that government can do anything more efficiently than the private sector.

But even though the insurance companies were willing to accept tremendous changes, it still wasn’t enough. There is talk about a “windfall profits” tax on insurance companies, and many liberal Democrats are demanding a “public option” to drive private insurance companies out of business.

This ought to be a lesson to every industry and trade association. Washington today is dominated by socialists and cultural radicals who wake up every morning with an ingrained hostility toward business and economic growth. They are committed to the “fundamental transformation” of America, “spreading the wealth around” and “redistributive change” through higher taxes and bigger government – a bad combination for small business owners, entrepreneurs and their employees.

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