Life Advocacy Briefing

July 5, 2010

Recess! / Hatch Nixes Kagan / Boehner on Board for ‘Permanent Hyde’ Vote
/ AUL Urges Senate: Investigate Kagan’s Discrepancies / Unseemly Conduct /
NJ Dems Put Planned Parenthood First / Here’s True Hope for Change
Bishops to Senate: Strip ‘Burris’


CONGRESS IS ON RECESS this week in recognition of Independence Day. Recess often offers opportunities for citizens to visit with – or confront – their otherwise distant lawmakers. We urge our readers to take full advantage of their Congressman’s and Senators’ home visits. Local office information is available for many via the Internet websites or and also via the reference desk at local libraries.

Recess – brief as it is — can also be a time to enjoy relief, recalling the New York court’s pronouncement in an 1800’s decision: “No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the Legislature is in session.”


Hatch Nixes Kagan

THE FRUSTRATING HEM-HAWING OF G.O.P. SENATORS over the nomination of Elena Kagan to the US Supreme Court was broken Friday by news from Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). The veteran member of the Senate Judiciary Committee announced he will oppose her confirmation. (Whether his announcement will stiffen enough GOP spines for a filibuster to block her elevation is yet to be seen.)

In a statement responding to a week of hearings characterized by dodging and weaving on the part of the nominee, Sen. Hatch noted, “I have carefully examined Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s record, actively participated in the entire Judiciary Committee hearing, and considered the views of supporters and opponents from Utah and across the country. Qualifications for judicial service include both legal experience and, more importantly, the appropriate judicial philosophy. The law must control the judge; the judge must not control the law.

“I have concluded that, based on evidence rather than blind faith,” stated Mr. Hatch, “Gen. Kagan regrettably does not meet this standard and that, therefore, I cannot support her appointment.

“Supreme Court Justices who, like Gen. Kagan, had no prior judicial experience did have an average of 21 years in private legal practice,” Sen. Hatch noted. “Gen. Kagan has two.

“The fact that her experience is instead academic and political only magnifies my emphasis on judicial philosophy,” he said, “as the most important qualification for judicial service.

“Over nearly 25 years,” he said, “Gen. Kagan has endorsed – and praised those who endorse – an activist judicial philosophy. I was surprised,” he said, “when she encouraged us at the hearing simply to discard or ignore certain parts of her record. I am unable to do that. I also cannot ignore disturbing situations in which it appears that her personal or political views drove her legal views. She promoted the Clinton Administration’s extreme position on abortion, including the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion. …

“Applying the standard I have always used for judicial nominees,” he concluded, “I cannot support her appointment to the Supreme Court.”


Boehner on Board for ‘Permanent Hyde’ Vote

PRO-LIFE LAWMAKERS IN THE U.S. HOUSE ARE NOT WAITING for an expected change in party control next year to go on offense.

Efforts are shaping up now to launch a full-throated campaign within the House to make the Hyde Amendment a statute of permanent law, and House GOP Leader John Boehner has vowed his support, telling the 40th National Right to Life (NRL) convention last Tuesday, reports Kathleen Gilbert for, “he would call on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to put legislation codifying Hyde Amendment restrictions on abortion to an immediate vote.”

The long-standing policy, which, since the early days under the dictates of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, has barred taxpayer funding of most Medicaid abortions, is carried out year after year by a provision in the annual appropriations law for the Dept. of Health & Human Services (HHS).

Pro-life lawmakers have feared, during these first two years of the Obama Regime, that radicals in the Congress and in the White House would seek to foist Medicaid coverage of abortion-on-demand onto the American people by simply dropping “Hyde” from the HHS appropriation bill. So far, that fear has not materialized; instead, the abortion industry and its fellow travelers bypassed the Hyde fight by forcing abortion coverage in ObamaCare while claiming not to.

The Boehner-endorsed legislation will soon be introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) for the purpose of making the Hyde Amendment permanent law.  Mr. Smith chairs the bipartisan House Pro-Life Caucus.

“‘It’s clear from the healthcare debate,’” Rep. Boehner said, quoted by Ms. Gilbert, “‘that the American people don’t want their tax dollars paying for abortion, and a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives agrees.’”

Rep. Boehner last Tuesday received the NRL’s Legislator of the Year 2010 award “for his work combating the pro-abortion federal healthcare bill,” reports LifeSiteNews. In May, Americans United for Life (AUL) presented Mr. Boehner the Henry Hyde Defender of Life award.

In his NRL convention remarks, Rep. Boehner “called the [coming Smith] legislation ‘the next objective for pro-life America,’” reports Ms. Gilbert. He went on, she writes, to “criticize the Executive Order that Pres. Obama signed to assuage pro-life Democrats that the Hyde Amendment would be upheld in the new [healthcare takeover] legislation but that analysts say only reiterated what was already stated in the [ObamaCare] bill.”

And Rep. Boehner again challenged the White House, as he has in recent weeks, to enforce that executive order. He said he had been told by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that “the administration,” reports LifeSiteNews, “was ‘working on it.’”


A.U.L. Urges Senate: Investigate Kagan’s Discrepancies

AMERICANS UNITED FOR LIFE PRESIDENT CHARMAINE YOEST PhD CALLED for an investigation, during her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday, of “‘discrepancies that have arisen this week’ regarding actions [Elena] Kagan took while working for then Pres. Clinton on the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban legislation,” AUL reports in a news release.

“‘Based on our research, we believe that Ms. Kagan will be an agenda-driven Justice on the Court,’” Dr. Yoest told the Senate panel, quoted in the AUL release, “‘and that she will oppose even the most widely accepted protections for unborn human life.’ …

“[Ms.] Kagan appears to have personally lobbied the American Medical Assn. (AMA) and the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (ACOG) to change their medical findings on partial-birth abortion,” notes the news release, “to favor the position taken by the Clinton White House.

“Her actions to mute the voices of the doctors on the issue of abortion were a concern,” notes the release, “for both Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL).” These two Senators, notes AUL, “questioned Dr. Yoest extensively on abortion, which (Sen.) Sessions called ‘an intense social issue and moral issue.’”


Unseemly Conduct

THOUGH HE DID NOT MENTION THE EXCHANGE in his statement, the ping-pong in which Elena Kagan engaged in trying to dodge questioning by Sen. Orrin Hatch may have influenced his rejection of her nomination.

The episode centered around “a 1996 Clinton White House memo,” reports Byron York in the Washington Examiner, “aimed at altering a key medical group’s opinion of whether partial-birth abortion is medically necessary. The memo, reported [Tuesday] by National Review,” writes Mr. York, “has caused a stir in conservative circles, because it appeared that [Ms.] Kagan, then a White House policy aide, put words in the medical group’s mouth in order to soften its position on the controversial procedure.

“But when Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch brought the subject up with [Ms.] Kagan,” writes Mr. York, “he had a hard time getting her to admit that she did, in fact, write the document in question.”

Hatch: “Did you write that memo?”

Kagan: “Senator, with respect, I don’t think that that’s what happened – ”

Hatch: “Did you write that memo?”

Kagan: “I’m sorry – the memo which is?”

Hatch:“The memo that caused them to go back to the language of ‘medically necessary,’ which was the big issue to begin with – ”

Kagan: “Yes, well, I’ve seen the document – ”

Hatch:“But did you write it?”

Kagan: “The document is certainly in my handwriting.”

If that exchange does not chill further consideration of this disrespectful, agenda-driven nominee, we wonder what it would take to bring more of his colleagues into the decisive declaration made Friday by Sen. Hatch. Filibuster, anyone?


N.J. Dems Put Planned Parenthood First

UNABLE TO RESTORE $7.5 MILLION in taxpayer funding to New Jersey’s “family planning” shops, including Planned Parenthood, in GOP Gov. Chris Christie’s budget, the majority Democrats in the New Jersey legislature have passed a supplemental measure to fork over the largesse.

Gov. Christie has not indicated whether he would veto the freestanding bill; he has 45 days to decide.

“Family planning” funds elimination was among the first cuts the new governor made when he began to wrestle with the budget soon after taking office in January. He followed it by withdrawing a federal waiver request made by his predecessor, effectively barring Planned Parenthood from certain federal funds as well.

The tough-choices governor has caught attention throughout the country by standing up to government unions and other special interests to pull his state back from the fiscal brink. Voters’ alarm at New Jersey’s immense deficit was among the strongest currents which carried him into office last November, and he appears to be following through on expectations.


Here’s True Hope for Change

WE COULD ADD A REPORT EVERY WEEK on the amazing promise of adult stemcell research and the therapies and cures already available through this ethical means of exploring God’s creation. We don’t report weekly, because so much else is also going on. But occasionally, we must highlight a breakthrough. And for those especially concerned about this aspect of the cause of Life, we encourage regular visits to the excellent, informative Internet website maintained by DoNoHarm,

One current advance that caught our eye is this story combining reports from researchers at the University of California at Irvine and from researchers in the Dominican Republic, published earlier in June by

“New reports indicate that real hope for ‘miracle’ treatments using adult stem cells is on the way,” writes LifeSite’s Peter J. Smith, “for those suffering from diseases afflicting both the brain and the heart.”

The Irvine researchers “say they have discovered the method and mechanisms,” writes Mr. Smith, “by which adult stem cells can repair and replace damaged tissue in the brain. The discovery,” he reports, “could lead to treatments for individuals with multiple sclerosis and other brain inflammation diseases.”

The study in California has so far been limited to mice, but researchers believe their findings will apply in humans as well.

In the Dominican Republic, a doctor is treating a Washington State teen, reports Mr. Smith, with adult stem cells taken from her own blood for a rare congenital heart disease called Eisenmenger syndrome. The disease causes blood to leak through a hole in her heart wall and is complicated, in this girl’s case, by secondary pulmonary hypertension. The lung condition is caused by too much blood flowing into her lungs. The treating physician is hoping the stemcell therapy will improve her breathing and in so doing will give her enough strength to allow surgeons to repair her heart.


Bishops to Senate: Strip ‘Burris’

June 29, 2010, news release from US Conference of Catholic Bishops denouncing the Burris Amendment to the Defense Authorization bill (for full text of the USCCB letter, go to the Internet address: )

A Senate committee amendment that would authorize the performance of elective abortions at military hospitals in this country and around the world is “misguided” and should be removed from the National Defense Authorization Act (S-3454), said the chairman of the US Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities. In a June 29 letter, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston urged Senators to remove this amendment on the grounds that it breaks with longstanding federal and military policies on government promotion of abortion.

Cardinal DiNardo said it was disingenuous to suggest, as the amendment’s proponents have, that the amendment is “moderate” in requiring patients at military facilities to pay for their abortions. “Which is a more direct governmental involvement in abortion: That the government reimburses someone else for having done an abortion or that the government performs the abortion itself and accepts payment for doing so?” the Cardinal wrote. He cited a 1989 ruling by the US Supreme Court saying that “the state need not commit any resources to facilitating abortions, even if it can turn a profit by doing so.”

Cardinal DiNardo also noted the longstanding nature of the current policy against providing abortions at military health facilities, which has been in place for 22 years with the exception of 1993-1995.

“During the brief period when these facilities were told to make abortions available, scarcely any military physician could be found in overseas facilities who was willing to perform abortions,” the Cardinal added.

Cardinal DiNardo also said that the current military policy is in keeping with federal policy in general, noting: “Other federal health facilities also may not be used for elective abortions, and many states have their own laws against use of public facilities for such abortions.”

Calling on the Senate not to approve the bill unless it maintains current law, as the bill approved by the House of Representatives already does, Cardinal DiNardo concluded that “this amendment presents Congress with the very straightforward question whether it is the task of our federal government to directly promote and facilitate elective abortions. During the recent healthcare reform debate, the President and Congressional leadership assured us that they agree it is not.”

Archbishop Broglio of the Archdiocese of Military Services had written an earlier letter to the Senate against the proposed policy change. Cardinal DiNardo endorsed his letter as well, noting that it urges Congress “not to impose this tremendous burden on the consciences of Catholic and other healthcare personnel who joined our armed services to save and protect innocent life, not to destroy it.”



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