Life Advocacy Briefing

December 28, 2009

Nelson Caves In, the Senate Acts / Back to the House / House Targets / Christmas Gift?
Harry Reid Trashes ‘Hyde’ / Senate Voting Record / The Nightmare Before Christmas

Nelson Caves In, the Senate Acts

WITH HEAVY HEART & HOPE FOR 2010, we report passage of the Reid/ObamaCare abomination last Thursday morning, Christmas Eve, after Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) sold out. Unless our readers have been wrapped in cotton – or mothballs – for the past week, you know this from mass media sources. Yet we must acknowledge it and look to the next step, though the holiday week stretches before us.

We publish the Senate final passage roll call near the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing; we will publish other relevant roll calls when space permits in future editions.


Back to the House

THE NEXT STEP IS RESPONSE BY THE U.S. HOUSE, and that shoe could drop very quickly when the House returns from recess Jan. 12. Normal procedure would call for a bill of this magnitude – and bearing so many major differences between House and Senate versions – to go into conference, where selected Members from each body would hammer out differences and produce yet another version as a compromise. In such a conference, the Stupak/Pitts/Hyde Amendment would compete with the Nelson/Casey/Reid/Boxer/Schumer amendment on abortion funding.

Increasingly, though, House Members are bracing for the prospect of an immediate House vote on the Senate’s healthcare takeover proposal. In that scenario, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) would put to a vote a motion for the House to agree with the Senate on passage of HR-3590; should that vote be successful, the measure would go directly to the White House for some sort of historic signing ceremony.

This is why we at Life Advocacy are taking the extraordinary step of sending a Life Advocacy Briefing to our subscribers during this holiday week. There is no time to waste.

Since even accessible Congressional offices are at skeletal staff levels this week, we encourage readers to begin with electronic mail via the House website – yes, the action is back in the House now – at Readers may also wish to call district offices, whose contact information may be obtained via the House website or by calling the reference desk at any local public library. Some enraged citizens are organizing rallies at district offices or other places where House Members are likely to be found during this holiday season; we encourage that as well. America is at stake. Do whatever you can, including alerting friends and recruiting them into the effort to “say ‘no’ to the ‘healthcare’ scheme – say ‘yes’ to America as we have known it!’”

Next Monday, Jan. 4, Congressional offices should be back to full or near-full strength. Begin then calling via the Capitol switchboard at 1-202/224-3121.

This message is especially urgent for those who live in or near the districts of House Democratic Members who voted for the Stupak/Pitts/Hyde Amendment. They will suffer the most intense pressure from the radical House Democratic Leadership and from the abortion industry and other lobbies which influence their party, not to mention the fully engaged White House.

Before the bill had even passed the Senate, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) was disclosing pressure from “the White House and the Democratic Leadership in the House,” reports Pete Winn, senior writer/editor for Cybercast News Service (, “not to speak out on the ‘compromise’ abortion language in the Senate version of the healthcare bill.

“‘They think I shouldn’t be expressing my views on this bill until they get a chance to try to sell me the language,’ [Rep.] Stupak told in an interview [Dec. 22]. ‘Well,’” he said, quoted by Mr. Winn, “‘I don’t need anyone to sell me the language. I can read it. I’ve seen it. I’ve worked with it. I know what it says. I don’t need to have a conference with the White House. I have the legislation in front of me here.’”

Kudos to Rep. Stupak; that sort of spine is rare in Washington and never more needed.

We publish below the list of those House Democrats who voted “yes” on Stupak/Pitts/Hyde – to explicitly exclude abortion funding from the House “healthcare” measure – when it was considered before House passage. Please realize, the philosophical bent of most of these Members will be to vote for the overall bill, and tremendous partisan pressure will be brought to bear on them to accept the Nelson/Casey/Reid/Boxer/Schumer Trojan Horse and just get it over with. These Members have stood up to the Left and the Leadership against great pressure before; they must be encouraged to do so again.


House Targets

HOUSE DEMOCRATS WHO VOTED ‘YES’ ON STUPAK/PITTS/HYDE when it was adopted Nov. 7 by a vote of 240 to 194 (and now constituting the top target list for contacts urging opposition to House agreement with the Senate-passed Reid/Obama “health care” proposal): AL/Bright, Davis; AR/Berry, Ross, Snyder; CA/Baca, Cardoza, Costa; CO/Salazar; GA/Barrow, Bishop, Marshall; IL/Costello, Lipinski; IN/Donnelly, Ellsworth, Hill; KY/Chandler; LA/Melancon; ME/Michaud; MA/Lynch, Neal; MI/Kildee, Stupak; MN/Oberstar, Peterson; MS/Childers, Taylor; MO/Skelton; NM/Teague; NC/Etheridge, McIntyre, Shuler; ND/Pomeroy; OH/Boccieri, Driehaus, Kaptur, Ryan, Space, Wilson; OK/Boren; PA/Altmire, Carney, Dahlkemper, Doyle, Holden, Kanjorski, Murtha; RI/Langevin; SC/Spratt; TN/Cooper, Davis, Gordon, Tanner; TX/Cuellar, Ortiz, Reyes, Rodriguez; UT/Matheson; VA/Perriello; WV/Mollohan, Rahall; WI/Obey. [Rep. Griffith from Alabama was a Democrat at the time of the Stupak vote and is now a Republican, thus no longer subject to pressure from the Pelosi Leadership.]


Christmas Gift?

SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI HAD EARLIER CHIRPED that her party would deliver to the American people a “Christmas gift” in the form of socialized medicine (our term, not hers!).  Some have called it “coal in the stocking.”

But we noticed a different Christmas gift her party delivered this holiday season: Rep. Parker Griffith of Alabama – delivered to the GOP as a new Member right about the time his Democratic colleagues in the Senate were voting to end 32 years of taxpayer protection from subsidizing abortion. Even with the Republicans suffering deep minority status in the House and truly unable to offer any enticements to Democratic Members to join the fold, Rep. Griffith crossed the aisle just before Christmas to become the newest Republican Member of the House. We thank him for his pro-life voting record and congratulate him on finding a home which may prove to be more friendly – and we thank him for adding to the pro-life majority within the GOP.


Harry Reid Trashes ‘Hyde’

Dec. 22, 2009, PRI Weekly Briefing by Steven W. Mosher, president, Population Research Institute

Henry Hyde, whom I knew personally, was a pro-life hero. For over three decades the amendment which bears his name [forbade] the federal government from funding abortions. Henry was convinced that abortion was the taking of an innocent human life and insisted that, as a minimum, Americans should not be forced to pay for it with their tax dollars.

The Senate “healthcare” bill trashes that principle. According to Sen. Sam Brownback, “Despite the promises of the Obama Administration and the Democratic leadership that the healthcare bill would maintain the status quo on the issue of abortion, the legislative language revealed by Majority Leader Harry Reid late last week radically changes that status quo and sets the tragic precedent of providing federal funding for abortion.”

How can this be so? Most of the press accounts, following Democrat talking points, have intentionally obscured the truth. They have portrayed Harry Reid’s efforts to bribe various senators into supporting the bill as a process of “compromise” and “give-and-take,” especially on the issue of abortion. They have claimed that the bill maintains “neutrality” on the issue of abortion and does not change the status quo. This is nothing more than a rhetorical smokescreen. While the House bill, thanks to the Stupak Amendment, prohibits federal funds from being used to pay for elective abortions, the Senate bill actually allows funds to be expended for this purpose.

Let me explain. It is true that the bill allows each of the 50 states to “opt out” of providing insurance coverage of abortions. But if even one state decides to provide insurance coverage for abortions, all taxpayers, regardless of where they live, will see their tax dollars used to fund elective abortions in that state. In other words, as Sen. Brownback makes clear, “even taxpayers in states that opt out of providing abortion coverage cannot opt out of paying for elective abortion.” This provision effectively kills the Hyde Amendment.

Nor is this the only abortion problem with the bill. Each state will have the authority to provide access to two multistate plans through the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), but only one of these can exclude abortions. None of the federally administered health programs, like OPM’s, Medicare, Medicaid, TriCare and the Children’s Health Insurance Plan, currently cover[s] elective abortions. If Reid’s bill becomes law, a federally funded and managed healthcare plan will cover elective abortions for the first time.

Moreover, since federal law trumps state law, the bill would also overturn existing state laws restricting abortion. Looked at this way, the “healthcare” bill is kind of a back-door Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). The bill also gives enormous power to the executive branch, which will be able to force private health plans to cover abortion by the simple expedient of defining them as “preventive care.” If you don’t believe that Obama’s health czar won’t use this authority to promote abortion, you haven’t been paying attention.

A final flaw in the current bill is its lack of protection for freedom of conscience. Language prohibiting discrimination against healthcare providers who decline to provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions is nowhere to be found.

The Senate bill is an abortion bill masquerading as a “healthcare” bill. And it must be stopped.


Senate Voting Record

Final passage of HR-3590 – ObamaCare  – Dec. 24, 2009 – Adopted – 60-39 (Needed 60) (Democrats in italics; “Independents” marked “I”)

Voting “no” / pro-life: AL/Sessions & Shelby, AK/Murkowski, AZ/Kyl & McCain, FL/LeMieux, GA/Chambliss & Isakson, ID/Crapo & Risch, IN/Lugar, IA/Grassley, KS/Brownback & Roberts, KY/McConnell, LA/Vitter, ME/Collins & Snowe, MS/Cochran & Wicker, MO/Bond, NE/Johanns, NV/Ensign, NH/Gregg, NC/Burr, OH/Voinovich, OK/Coburn & Inhofe, SC/DeMint & Graham, SD/Thune, TN/Alexander & Corker, TX/Cornyn & Hutchison, UT/Bennett & Hatch, WY/Barrasso & Enzi.

Voting “yes” / pro-abortion: AK/Begich, AR/Lincoln & Pryor, CA/Boxer & Feinstein, CO/Bennet & Udall, CT/Dodd & Lieberman (I), DE/Carper & Kaufman, FL/Nelson, HI/Akaka & Inouye, IL/Burris & Durbin, IN/Bayh, IA/Harkin, LA/Landrieu, MD/Cardin & Mikulski, MA/Kerry & Kirk, MI/Levin & Stabenow, MN/Franken & Klobuchar, MO/McCaskill, MT/Baucus & Tester, NE/Nelson, NV/Reid, NH/Shaheen, NJ/Lautenberg & Menendez, NM/Bingaman & Udall, NY/Gillibrand & Schumer, NC/Hagan, ND/Conrad & Dorgan, OH/Brown, OR/Merkley & Wyden, PA/Casey & Specter, RI/Reed & Whitehouse, SD/Johnson, VT/Leahy & Sanders (I), VA/Warner & Webb, WA/Cantwell & Murray, WV/Byrd & Rockefeller, WI/Feingold & Kohl.

Not voting: KY/Bunning.


The Nightmare Before Christmas

Dec. 22, 2009, FRC Washington Update by Tony Perkins, president, Family Research Council

It’s going to be tough sledding for Senate Democrats over Christmas – and not because of the snow. America’s rage over the leadership’s bill is exploding on all sides. With today’s early morning vote for cloture (the second of three), the Democrats are one step closer to their flights home, where rallies are already taking place at local offices. The biggest bulls-eye seems to be squarely on Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), who sold out his pro-life soul faster than you can say “Medicare exemption.”

Surprisingly, most of the fury over Nelson is homegrown. His state colleague, Sen. Mike Johanns (R), couldn’t distance himself from the Cornhusker fast enough, calling Nelson’s betrayal of his pro-life principles “reprehensible.” On the floor, Sen. Johanns said, “Nebraskans are frustrated and angry that our beloved state has been thrust into the same pot with all of the other special deals that get cut here. In fact, they’re outraged that a backroom deal for our state might have been what puts this deal across the finish line.” Even Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman, whose budget stands to profit from the deal, said he wants no part of these special favors and made it quite clear that “the responsibility for this special deal lies solely on the shoulders of Sen. Ben Nelson.” If the beleaguered Senator hoped to find solace in the arms of the pro-abortion crowd, he was mistaken. They are just as irate. Some are even suggesting that the President sacrifice healthcare reform to squash the Nelson “compromise.” Yesterday, the pro-abortion caucus in Congress met with insurance providers and lawyers to find ways to understand it and defeat it.

But they needn’t have worried. In a new video uncovered today, [Health & Human Services] Secretary Kathleen Sebelius praises Nelson’s language, because, according to the woman in charge of these reforms, it ensures that everyone will pay for abortion – no matter how the funds are divided up. Surely that news won’t sit well with voters, who are breaking on the pro-life side of this debate by a massive margin. According to a new Quinnipiac poll, Americans – by a huge three-to-one margin – are overwhelmingly opposed to using taxpayer dollars to fund abortion. Seventy-two percent of the country is now firmly on the side of Rep. Bart Stupak’s (D-MI) solution to ban the government’s financial involvement in the procedure. House and Senate conferees would do well to heed that warning when they come together to iron out their differences with the final bill, else this bill could collapse because of it.

While ObamaCare may seem inevitable, it is not! Disagreement over abortion is one of the many reasons this fight is far from over. Over at [FRC Action’s] The Cloakroom Blog [ – 21 December, 2009 – “Abortion One of Eight Smooth Stones to Kill the Healthcare Goliath”], you can check out at least seven more obstacles that could kill the bill for good. Why not take part in Number One: Public Revulsion? Ring in the New Year by ringing up your leaders! Join us in spending the next couple weeks calling, e-mailing and visiting your House and Senate leaders.

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