Life Advocacy Briefing

November 15, 2010

Battle Underway Over Consequential Committee Post / Voters Thwarted by ‘Paperwork’
Burris Amendment to Go Away / Senators to Join Brief in Suit to Overturn ObamaCare
New Phenomenon: Pro-Life Women Governors / Clear and Soon-to-be-Present Danger
Quotable / Quotable, Too / Evangelical Vote Key to Election Victories
McConnell Letter to Colleagues

Battle Underway Over Consequential Committee Post

WITH THE SELECTION OF REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH) AS HOUSE SPEAKER a virtual certainty in the coming 112th Congress, the developing fight over the chairmanship of the House Committee on Energy & Commerce is taking center stage among incoming Members. It is a question to be determined by the House GOP Steering Committee, but even Members-elect who do not serve on the Steering Committee can exert some influence. (Aside from the Appropriations Committee, Energy & Commerce is second only to “Judiciary” in power over Life-related legislation.)

The panel’s Ranking Member, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), would need a “rule waiver” to assume the chairmanship as would be expected, because of a House Republican Conference rule limiting the terms of committee leaders. He is reportedly seeking such a waiver, but many Members oppose weakening the committee term-limit rule imposed during the mid-’90s, the last time Republicans gained a milestone majority.

Rep. Barton’s ironic barrier has prompted Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), next ranking in seniority, to mount a strong campaign for the post. Much of Rep. Upton’s campaign appears to revolve around his claim of “Reagan Republicanism,” but much of Rep. Upton’s voting record calls such characterization into question.

Rep. Upton is known among his colleagues as a backer of environmental extremism, such as his leadership on the outrageous legislation outlawing incandescent light bulbs. (Environmental regulation routinely comes before the committee he is seeking to chair.) And his detractors are circulating a single-spaced page-long list of his pro-big-government, anti-Republican votes. But not much attention is being paid to Rep. Upton’s voting record departures from his claim, during Hugh Hewitt’s radio program last week, to being “pro-life.”

Among Rep. Upton’s swerves from the party line is his advocacy for federal funding of experimentation on living (thereby killed) embryonic human beings.

The most recent of his anti-Life votes was the one he cast during the 111th Congress, voting on July 24, 2009, to aid the majority party in defeating the landmark amendment by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) to disqualify abortionists – like Planned Parenthood – from taxpayer funding under Title X (Ten) “family planning” grants and contracts.

Known to be challenging the Upton bid are Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) and Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), each of whom has significant seniority on the committee and both of whom scored 100% pro-life on the 2009-2010 Life Advocacy House Voting Record Index, as did Rep. Barton. (But we should note:  Rep. Barton is, like Mr. Upton, an advocate for embryo vivisection and has so voted in previous sessions.)


Voters Thwarted by ‘Paperwork’

THE LONG-ANTICIPATED ‘LAMEDUCK’ SESSION will bring lawmakers back to Capitol Hill this week, but one Senator who should be taking his seat immediately will have to wait for election authorities in Illinois to complete their paperwork before he can join the lameduck Senate to which he was elected. Newly elected Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Chris Coons (D-DE) have been installed without delay to fill the unexpired terms of the late Sen. Robert Byrd (WV) and now Vice President Joe Biden (DE).

Mr. Kirk was elected Nov. 2 both to a six-year term beginning in January and, in a concurrent special election, to the balance of the term to which Pres. Obama was elected six years ago and to which Sen. Roland Burris was appointed by ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. A federal judge ordered the special election and ordered Sen. Burris to vacate the office as soon as his successor’s election was certified. The paperwork is projected to arrive in Washington more likely after Thanksgiving than before, and that delay is generating growing anger among both Illinois voters and Capitol Hill Republicans. When Mr. Kirk does take his place, Senate Democrats will number only 48, with Republicans numbering 42 for the remainder of the lameduck session.


Burris Amendment to Go Away

POLITICAL SOBRIETY APPEARS TO HAVE LANDED in one corner of Capitol Hill. Leaders of the Senate Committee on the Armed Services are reportedly aiming to resolve their differences on the pending Defense Reauthorization Act and get it passed during the lameduck session.

That resolution of differences appears to involve a reduction of controversy, and that goal means good news for the cause of Life.

One of the principal provisions which rendered the measure controversial before the Senate recessed for the elections was the Burris Amendment, attached in committee, which would remove the long-standing ban on abortions in US military facilities. Another was Senate liberals’ attempt to remove the statutory prohibition on open homosexuality in the military.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has for months led a protest within the Senate over corrupting the mission of the armed services by imposing such noxious social experiments on the military.

It now appears, in the wake of voter rejection of radical social engineering, that Sen. McCain will prevail with a quiet acquiescence of the committee chairman, Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), who is reportedly opting for discharging his responsibility to get the bill passed rather than continuing to pander to the largely vanquished left wing of his party.

Bottom line: Thanks to the outpouring of protest from the pro-life community, observers now expect the military abortion ban will remain in place without even having to take a vote.


Senators to Join Brief in Suit to Overturn ObamaCare

AMONG THE EXPECTED RESULTS of last week’s electoral turnovers is the likelihood that several more states – with new governors and attorneys general entering office – will join the lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of ObamaCare.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) launched an effort among Senate Republicans last week to file an amicus curiae brief in the lawsuit already filed and led by Florida’s outgoing Attorney General Bill McCollum. The text of the amicus brief, which focuses on the requirement that individual Americans purchase health insurance and on the conversion of the Commerce Clause into “an impermissible federal police power” extends through some 14 double-spaced pages. We are publishing at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing the letter from Sen. McCollum to his colleagues, summarizing the brief.


New Phenomenon: Pro-Life Women Governors

ALL FOUR OF THE PRO-LIFE WOMEN running for governor across the country won their races Nov. 2, in most cases by wide margins. Pro-life women governors, according to Americans United for Life (AUL) Action, now outnumber women governors siding with the abortion cartel.

“Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer cruised to re-election victory winning by 13 points,” reports AUL Action. (Gov. Brewer had earlier succeeded to the governor’s office from the lieutenant governor post to which she was previously elected, when elected Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano was tapped by Pres. Obama early in 2009 to be his Homeland Security Secretary.)

“Susana Martinez in New Mexico,” reports AUL Action, “won decisively by eight points and is the nation’s first female Hispanic governor. Congresswoman Mary Fallin soundly defeated Jari Askins by 20 points” to become Oklahoma’s new pro-life governor. “And  South Carolina elected Nikki Haley by a four-point margin.”

Pro-life women in office, we have observed, are the class most feared by the abortion lobby and its radical feminist sisters. Their very identity undermines the stereotype most favored by abortion advocates and their fellow travelers in the media, who claim somehow that legalized abortion is necessary and good for the advance of women, when in reality, the segment of society who benefit most from the commercialization of abortion is those men who enjoy a sexually irresponsible lifestyle and can conveniently do away with the evidence and consequence of their habit without having to pay child support. (This comment is not intended to condemn males generally but is intended to inject a bit of reality and logic into the debate.)

While expressing appreciation to the ladies who offered themselves as political targets for the noisy feminists, we ask our readers to uphold them in prayer as they embark upon their new stewardship.


Clear & Soon-to-be-Present Danger

ATTENTION IOWA, INDIANA & MARYLAND! Notorious partial-birth abortionist LeRoy Carhart is planning to take over an abortion shop in Iowa and open two new late-term operations in Indiana and Maryland.

The Nebraska pariah “has raised $1.5 million in private funds to open” what he plans to call “the Carhart Center for Sexual & Reproductive Health,” reports Stephanie Samuel, correspondent for The Christian Post, and plans to open the first “center” in Maryland on Dec. 6. His reopening of the Iowa shop is expected in January, and, reports Ms. Samuel, “There is no word yet when the Indiana clinic will open.”

The Bellevue abortionist said last Tuesday he is “expanding his operations,” but in view of his remarks about “harassment by the courts,” it is likely the pro-life gains last week in the Nebraska state government may be driving him to abandon the state he has long infested with his targeting of late-term gestating babies.

Iowa pro-life groups are reportedly conferring to develop an aggressive plan to protect their state; Maryland and Indiana advocates would be wise to do the same.



Dr. Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life, commenting in an AUL Action e-newsletter on the 10-year litigation over Arizona’s comprehensive abortuary regulations, challenged by Planned Parenthood and other advocates of commercialized abortion: “This case reveals another dark side of abortion – women’s lives are at stake in under-regulated, under-monitored abortion clinics. If the abortion industry really cared about women, it would not fight regulations designed to protect a woman’s health.” (The regulatory statute, known as Lou Anne’s Law after the horrific 1998 abortuary death of 33-year-old Lou Anne Herron, took effect Nov. 1.)


Quotable, Too

Adult stemcell research pioneer Dr. Colin McGuckin, speaking to a conference hosted by Ireland’s Youth Defence pro-life group, on the drive for celebrity as motivation for the underwriting agencies’ continued pursuit of embryo vivisection, quoted by Hilary White for “History shows that the last hundred years in medicine will be some of the most embarrassing in the history of human development, because the cult of celebrity [has] affected every part of humanity. Being famous seems to be the only route forward for doing anything useful in life to most children.’”


Evangelical Vote Key to Election Victories

Nov. 3, 2010, news release from Faith & Freedom Coalition

According to a post-election survey conducted by Public Opinion Strategies for the Faith & Freedom Coalition, the largest single constituency in the electorate in the 2010 midterm elections was self-identified evangelicals, who comprised 29% of the vote and cast an astonishing 78% of their ballots for Republican candidates.

The turnout by conservative people of faith represented a 5% increase in evangelical turnout over 2006 – enough to eliminate Democratic gains in that year – and was the largest ever recorded in a midterm election. Because the evangelical vote is concentrated in the South and the Midwest, these voters had an exaggerated impact on [Nov. 2’s] GOP gains, contributing to the vast majority of US Senate and House victories by Republican candidates.

The survey also found that 52% of all self-identified members of the Tea Party movement are conservative evangelicals. This is consistent with polling data by other organizations conducted before Election Day.

Evangelicals were joined by frequently-church-attending Roman Catholic voters, who constituted 12% of the vote and cast 58% of their ballots for Republican candidates, as opposed to 40% of their ballots for Democrats, according to CNN exit polling.

“People of faith turned out in the highest numbers in a midterm election we have ever seen, and they made an invaluable contribution to the historic results, including the election of a Republican majority in the House and significant gains in US Senate seats, governorships and hundreds of state legislative seats and local offices,” said Ralph Reed, founder and chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition. “This survey, along with numerous exit polls, makes clear that those who ignore or disregard social conservative voters and their issues do so at their own peril.”


McConnell Letter to Colleagues

Nov. 9, 2010, letter from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to fellow Republican Senators inviting their signatures on an amicus brief supporting the invalidation of ObamaCare

Dear Colleague:

Last Tuesday, Americans cast votes reflecting what they had been telling Washington for many months: they oppose a 2,700-page healthcare law that dramatically increases spending and expands the reach of the federal government into their healthcare decisions. While I strongly believe that we should repeal the law and replace it with the types of commonsense reforms Americans support, I also strongly support the efforts of over 20 states that have challenged this law in the courts.

Senate Republicans have long expressed grave misgivings about the constitutionality of Public Law 111-148 (2010), otherwise known as the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (or “PPACA”). During last December’s floor debate, Senate Republicans unanimously supported two constitutional points of order lodged against the legislation by Senators Hutchison and Ensign. I intend to submit, as amicus curiae, the attached brief reiterating these constitutional concerns to the federal court in Florida that is hearing the challenge to the law brought by numerous states, the National Federation of Independent Business and individual citizens.

The brief essentially makes two points. First, it asserts that the Individual Mandate in the PPACA is an unprecedented and unauthorized extension by the Congress of its authority to “regulate Commerce among the several states. …” (US Const. Art. 1, Sec. 8, clause 3.) For the first time, the Congress is not regulating an economic activity in which its citizens have chosen to engage but rather is mandating that its citizens engage in economic activity – that they purchase a particular product – to begin with, and it would allow the federal government to punish those who make a different choice.  Second, the brief argues that if the Individual Mandate is deemed constitutional, there will no longer be any meaningful limit on Congress’s power to regulate its citizens under the Commerce Clause. Congress’s specific power under that Clause will be transformed into a general police power, all but eliminating the Constitutional distinction between federal and state regulatory authority in our federal union.

As the Supreme Court has noted, the framers of our Constitution conceived of limitations on government “to ensure protection of our fundamental liberties.” By preventing “the accumulation of excessive power,” the Constitution is designed to reduce “the risk of tyranny or abuse from either” state or federal government. (Gregory v. Ashcroft, 501 US 452, 458 – 1991.) The PPACA would remove an important bulwark of this protection. I hope you will join me in arguing to the court in the attached brief why that should not happen.


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