Life Advocacy Briefing

September 27, 2010

Military Abortion Ploy Stalled / Thanks! / How It Happened, We Think
/ G.O.P. Releases ‘Pledge’ to Unify House Campaigns /
Pro-Life Women to Crack Open Senate Club? / Senate Voting Record / Pledge Excerpts

Military Abortion Ploy Stalled

THE MOTION TO PROCEED to the Defense Authorization Act failed last Tuesday on a vote of 56 to 43, having needed 60. We publish the Senate roll call near the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing.

Among the issues making the bill and the motion controversial is the Burris Abortion Amendment. The amendment was attached in committee before the Senate recessed in August.

Though the defeat of this motion was a great victory – and we thank and congratulate our readers who called their Senators for having weighed in on the radical scheme to force abortions on military facilities and medical personnel – the fight is far from over.

The abortion lobby is believed to be one of the interests to which the Senate Majority Leader apparently intends to pander with anticipated action in the “lame-duck” session, scheduled for after the election when defeated Senators will be looking to their potential future as lobbyists or Presidential appointees rather than to pleasing or appeasing their constituents.

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.



SOME OF THE FOLKS TO WHOM THANKS ARE DUE are seldom found in that category. One who stood out to us in last week’s debate was Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins, who can so often be counted on by Senate Democrats to vote with them that when she does adhere to the GOP conference on a controversial issue, her stand makes a difference.

Last week, Sen. Collins not only voted but spoke against the cloture motion on the Defense Authorization bill. Her stated reason? She objected to moving forward with no assurance – and much doubt – that Republicans would be given any or much opportunity to offer amendments to the massive policy measure.

Though we are under no illusion that Sen. Collins would have voted to strip the Burris Amendment from the Defense bill, we thank and salute her for fighting to preserve our right to have an amendment offered to protect the military from the radical schemes of the White House and the Senate and House Democratic Leadership. When Sen. Collins signaled she would not support “cloture,” most observers saw the motion by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) as doomed; for now, they were right.

(We were, on the other hand, saddened to see that Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) further distanced himself from his pro-life constituents by voting to advance the bill with no assurance that the Burris Amendment could be reconsidered.)


How It Happened, We Think

BACK IN THE DAYS that our editor was a state legislator, lawmakers in Illinois had a rather nasty habit of building what were ruefully called “Christmas trees,” bills on which were hung a dazzling variety of “ornaments” that strongly resembled pork. Some of these were omnibus appropriation bills on which “district projects” were hung; some were semi-substantive, such as legislation establishing “convention or civic centers” in various specified districts or adding geographically targeted casino licenses to the state’s gambling law.

A funny thing happened when the ornaments became too numerous or too heavy. The tree tended to collapse. The bills got so expensive or so controversial that the ornament-hanging process made the legislation too hot for lawmakers to vote for.

It could be that the “Christmas tree” syndrome similarly weighted down the Defense Authorization bill last week.

In his zeal to appeal to a variety of Democratic-leaning special interest groups, Majority Leader Harry Reid not only hung the Burris Amendment on the Pentagon policy measure as a sop to the abortion lobby; he also made sure the homosexualist lobby would owe him for the amendment which would have repealed the long-standing statutory ban on open homosexual behavior in the military.

And as the cloture motion vote approached, he and his sidekick, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), let it be known they intended to tack on a provision offering amnesty and citizenship to the children of illegal aliens who serve in the military. That might have appeal for the apologists for illegal aliens, but it added millions more Americans to the ranks of outraged phoners and e-mailers contacting US Senators, making the annual Defense Authorization measure too hot for endangered Democrats like Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln to support.

So with a strong sense of irony, we “thank” Sen. Reid for hanging too many baubles on the tree, buying us time to further fight the Burris atrocity. Nice job, Senator!


G.O.P. Releases ‘Pledge’ to Unify House Campaigns

HOUSE REPUBLICANS THURSDAY UNVEILED their long-awaited Pledge to America, a lengthy document intended to unify GOP Congressional campaigns with a consistent agenda.

Though earlier reports, during the latter days of the August Congressional recess, suggested the document would be so focused on fiscal and economic issues as to bypass altogether the cause of Life, the “pledge” does set its sights on repeal and replacement of Obamacare and permanent, government-wide prohibition on taxpayer-funded abortion.

At the close of this Life AdvocacyBriefing, we publishexcerpts from the document as released in draft form shortly before Thursday’s news conference in Virginia, which featured House GOP Leader John Boehner (OH) and a host of other House Republican leaders and idea-generators within the GOP conference.

Republican Members called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-SanFrancisco) to keep the House in session to take up the agenda. The Speaker responded by canceling Friday’s session.


Pro-Life Women to Crack Open Senate Club?

DESPITE CONVENTIONAL ‘WISDOM’ THAT THE 2010 ELECTIONS are all about jobs and fiscal issues, the Associated Press (AP) woke up last Thursday to the reality that, to quote the headline, “abortion [is] an issue in Senate races.”

The report by AP writer David Crary analyzes the prospects for voters in as many as four states to elect pro-life women to the upper chamber in Congress. “An unusually large contingent of female Republican candidates with strong anti-abortion views,” writes Mr. Crary, “is heating up debate on the issue and could change the political equation in the next Congress.”

Mr. Crary goes on to note that “all 17 women now in the Senate, including four Republicans, support relatively broad abortion rights.” But, he writes, “Of the four new [pro-life] Republican challengers, only Christine O’Donnell in Delaware – the TEA party favorite who’s never held elective office – is viewed as a long shot six weeks out from the Nov. 2 election.

“Carly Fiorina in California, Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire and even Sharron Angle in Nevada – the former state legislator running against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid – all,” writes Mr. Crary, “seem to have solid prospects.”

The AP reporter goes on to quote Marjorie Dannenfelser of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, “which supports anti-abortion female candidates and vows to spend at least $3 million on key Senate races. In the current Senate, [Mrs.] Dannenfelser said” in the AP story, “‘Barbara Boxer goes unchallenged telling our pro-life men they cannot speak for women.’”

Mr. Crary acknowledges that “abortion rights groups” are not giving up on their fellow-traveling incumbents in the target races, specifically mentioning Planned Parenthood affiliates and EMILY’s List. But it could be challenging indeed for the usual smear merchants to make the case that such women as Carly Fiorina and Sharron Angle are “extreme” on abortion when these candidates are advancing reasonable, appealing arguments for their pro-life stands, rather than falling for the wrong-headed conventional advice of avoiding the issue at all costs.

Contrasting with the tiresome, strident Barbara Boxer, Mrs. Fiornia, writes Mr. Crary, “says her views derive in part from her inability to have children and her husband’s own life story. ‘I believe in the sanctity of life,’ she said in a television interview,” notes Mr. Crary. “‘In my case, my mother-in-law was told to abort her child, who became my husband. She chose something different, obviously, and that made all the difference in her life and mine and certainly his.’”

In Nevada, reports Mr. Crary, the embattled Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid “has run ads painting himself more reasonable on the issue than [his opponent Sharron] Angle. In one such ad,” notes Mr. Crary, “a narrator suggests that ‘extreme’ is the appropriate word for a candidate [Mrs. Angle] who ‘says a teenage rape victim should be forced to have the baby,’” one of the National Abortion Rights Action League’s favorite smears against principled pro-life candidates.

Mrs. Angle, writes Mr. Crary, “has strived to convey her views in gentler terms – in one interview, she suggested pregnant teens could turn ‘a lemon situation into lemonade’ by not having an abortion [a/k/a giving birth to the baby]. In another interview,” Mr. Crary reports, “after saying there should be no exceptions for rape and incest, she added, ‘I believe that God has a plan and a purpose for each one of our lives and that He can intercede in all kinds of situations.’” That kind of approach might draw snickers from the hard-bitten harridans of the abortion lobby, but it has a ring of normalcy, authenticity and idealism which, to the average American – indeed, seemingly even to AP writer David Crary – is a most reasonable and appealing approach.


Senate Voting Record

Cloture Motion to Proceed to Consideration of Defense Authorization Bill with no agreement to permit amendments – S-3454 – Sept. 21, 2010 – Failed 56 to 43, needing 60 (Democrats in italics; “Independents” marked “I;” New Senator in ALL CAPS)

Voting “no” / pro-life: AL/Session & Shelby, AZ/Kyl & McCain, AR/Lincoln & Pryor, FL/LeMieux, GA/Chambliss & Isakson, ID/Crapo & Risch, IN/Lugar, IA/Grassley, KS/Brownback & Roberts, KY/Bunning & McConnell, LA/Vitter, ME/Collins & Snowe, MA/Brown, MS/Cochran & Wicker, MO/Bond, NE/Johanns, NV/Ensign & Reid*, 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, 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, MI/Levin & Stabenow, MN/Franken & Klobuchar, MO/McCaskill, MT/Baucus & Tester, NE/Nelson, 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/GOODWIN & Rockefeller, WI/Feingold & Kohl.

Not voting: AK/Murkowski.

*Sen. Reid’s “no” vote preserves his prerogative to bring the motion forward again as a reconsideration of this motion’s rejection.


Pledge Excerpts

Excerpts from draft document released in advance of the Sept. 23, 2010, news conference in which House GOP Leader John Boehner and colleagues unveiled the Republican “Pledge to America”

… In a self-governing society, the only bulwark against the power of the state is the consent of the governed, and regarding the policies of the current government, the governed do not consent.

An unchecked executive, a compliant legislature and an overreaching judiciary have combined to thwart the will of the people and overturn their votes and their values, striking down long-standing laws and institutions and scorning the deepest beliefs of the American people. …

Like free peoples of the past, our citizens refuse to accommodate a government that believes it can replace the will of the people with its own. The American people are speaking out, demanding that we realign our country’s compass with its founding principles and apply those principles to solve our common problems for the common good. …

We pledge to honor the Constitution as constructed by its framers and honor the original intent of those precepts that have been consistently ignored – particularly the Tenth Amendment, which grants that all powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively or to the people.

We pledge to advance policies that promote greater liberty, wider opportunity, a robust defense and national economic prosperity.

We pledge to honor families, traditional marriage, life, and the private and faith-based organizations that form the core of our American values. …

Our plan stands on the principles of smaller, more accountable government; economic freedom; lower taxes; fiscal responsibility; protecting life, American values and the Constitution; and providing for a robust national defense.

Our plan puts forth a new governing agenda that reflects the priorities of the American people – priorities that have been ignored, even mocked by the powers-that-be in Washington. …

Of course, Americans remember that Pres. Obama argued his government takeover of health care was the single most important thing we could do to address our growing debt crisis.  This notion has since been thoroughly discredited; we now know that the new healthcare law will mean more financial pain for seniors, families, employers and the federal government. We offer a plan to repeal and replace the government takeover of health care with commonsense solutions focused on lowering costs and protecting American jobs. We will enact real medical liability reform; allow Americans to purchase health coverage across state lines; empower small businesses with greater purchasing power; and create new incentives to save for future health needs. We will protect the doctor-patient relationship and ensure that those with pre-existing conditions gain access to the coverage they need. We will permanently end taxpayer funding of abortion and codify the Hyde Amendment. …

Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to using tax dollars to pay for abortion, and the executive order issued by Pres. Obama in conjunction with Congressional passage of the healthcare law is inadequate to ensure taxpayer funds are not used in this manner. …

We will establish a government-wide prohibition on taxpayer funding of abortion and subsidies for insurance coverage that includes abortion; this includes enacting into law what is known as the Hyde Amendment. We will also enact into law conscience protections for healthcare providers, including doctors, nurses and hospitals. …

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