Life Advocacy Briefing

November 14 , 2011

Senate to Take Up Pro-life Spending Amendments

FOUR PRO-LIFE AMENDMENTS COULD BE OFFERED when the US Senate takes up an appropriation bill – probably this week – combining Fiscal Year 2012 spending by the Department of State and related Foreign Operations agencies with funding of two other areas of government.

Readers are urged to call their US Senators (Capitol switchboard, 1-202/224-3121) and ask them to support all four of these pro-life reforms.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is expected to offer an amendment to delete language inserted in committee by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). This Hatch Amendment can be referred to as “The Reagan/Hatch Mexico City Amendment;” it would lift from the State Dept. spending bill a limitation on future Presidents that would prohibit them from reinstating Pres. Ronald Reagan’s Mexico City Policy, which disqualified abortion businesses and lobbyists from foreign aid. The current President rescinded the standing executive order protecting US taxpayers from abetting overseas abortions. Sen. Lautenberg wishes to make his action permanent, and Sen. Hatch wishes to leave available to the next President the option of reinstating the life-protective order.

Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) is preparing to offer an amendment to restore the Dornan Amendment which protects taxpayers from complicity in abortions committed in the District of Columbia. Language in the bill currently excludes the Dornan Amendment. The Johanns Amendment would reinstate the prohibition on taxpayer funding of DC abortions.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) would be defunded under an amendment to be offered by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS). The House version of the appropriation measure cuts $15 million from the UNFPA funding of $55 million sought by the Obama Regime. Sen. Wicker’s amendment would, more appropriately, wipe out the funding altogether. Senators should be reminded that UNFPA has been found complicit in Red China’s “one-child” depopulation pogrom of forced abortion and involuntary sterilization.

And the fourth amendment, to be offered by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), would restore a long-standing ban on coverage of elective abortions through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan.

Incidentally, all these amendments should make plain that the frequent, insincere claim that the Hyde Amendment “bans federal funding of abortion” government-wide is a myth. Legislation passed by the House earlier this year and languishing in the Senate is still needed to make the Hyde Amendment permanent and extend its principle across all agencies of government.


Big Win in Virginia

WHEN VOTERS WENT TO THE POLLS last Tuesday in Virginia, they not only awarded the GOP effective control of the commonwealth Senate but in one pivotal district, they elected a pro-life Republican over a powerful abortion advocate.

The winning margin for Senator-elect Bryce Reeves (R) was tight over veteran Democratic Sen. Edd Houck. Indeed, Sen. Houck did not concede loss until Thursday, but concede he did after Mr. Reeves picked up an additional four votes.

Tuesday’s results and Thursday’s concession produced a tie between the parties in the Senate, a tie which can, proposal by proposal, be broken by vote of the GOP lieutenant governor, who presides.

For advocates of Life, the Reeves victory was especially sweet, not only because the abortion issue divided the two candidates but also because of the role which Sen. Houck has long played.  Sen. Houck, as chairman of the Education & Health Committee, “has stood in opposition to countless pro-life legislation,” said Susan B. Anthony List (SBA) president Marjorie Dannenfelser, “preventing much of it from even reaching the floor for debate. With the election of Mr. Reeves,” she commented in an SBA news release, “we expect that common-sense pro-life legislation will now be able to move through the Senate and [be] signed into law.”

SBA had targeted Sen. Houck for defeat, investing some $25,000 in radio, print and mail campaigns, according to the news release, “to help ensure the defeat of Edd Houck.” The pro-life political action group called Sen. Houck “a consistent ally to the pro-abortion movement,” and as soon as his current term ends, they can call him “former Senator.”


‘Personhood’ Crashes in Mississippi

THOUGH POPULAR PRO-LIFE GOV. HALEY BARBOUR (R) ultimately endorsed the Personhood Amendment proposition on Mississippi’s ballot last Tuesday, the pro-life constitutional amendment was rejected, reports the Associated Press (AP) “by more than 55% of Mississippi voters, falling far short of the threshold needed for it to be enacted.”

Finger-pointing swiftly followed, of course, since Mississippi’s voters are known to be pro-life in overwhelming numbers. Certainly misleading scare ads from Planned Parenthood and its fellow travelers played a huge role. And Gov. Barbour attributes the loss, in part, to the fact that initiators of the referendum were actually from out of state, suggesting that Mississippians might better be able to assess their fellow voters and the strategies which might be effective in persuading them. There can be no doubt, as well, that the proposition’s reference to cloning as a means of reproduction – seeming on its face to legitimize an illicit scheme of the humanity manipulators – caused many pro-life citizens and some pro-life organizations to balk.

Bottom line: Too many factors contributed to the proposition’s defeat for anyone realistically to read voter sentiment into it. And a second lesson: Propositions will not prevail when their initiators plunge forward without regard to the cautions expressed by those fighting on the same side; division, whether planned or thoughtless, never contributes to success. It would be nice if the Mississippi surprise actually delivered that lesson.


Contributing to the Confusion

A PLANNED PARENTHOOD FRONT in Mississippi used a recording Gov. Haley Barbour’s voice in automated calls to the state’s voters during the weekend before the statewide Personhood referendum.

The recording was picked up from a media interview with Gov. Barbour the Wednesday before the vote, when he told the news media he had not yet decided how he would vote. In the excerpt used on the calls, he expressed reservations; Gov. Barbour ultimately backed the pro-life constitutional amendment. The calls began the following evening.

“On the call, an anonymous person asks the listener to hold for a message from [Gov.] Barbour,” reports the Associated Press (AP), via “Then comes a recording of [Mr.] Barbour expressing concerns about ‘unintended consequences’” of the proposal, which lost just days after the calls started.

The next day, the governor issued a statement, reports AP: “‘A pro-abortion group has called people’s homes,’” he said, “‘and deceived voters into thinking that I’m opposed to Initiative 26, the Personhood Amendment. As I’ve previously stated,’” he said, “‘I voted for the Personhood Amendment [by absentee ballot]. These misleading calls were made without my knowledge, without my permission and against my wishes. I have demanded this deception be stopped,’” he told AP in his statement, “‘and those responsible have assured me that no more calls will be made.’”

The calls were placed by an outfit called Mississippians for Healthy Families, a Planned Parenthood front established to thwart pro-life efforts in the state. The unethical theft of the governor’s voice and misrepresentation of his views should not be surprising to those who recognize that, fundamentally, those who make a living killing their fellow human beings are not to be honored as paeans of ethical values.


Guilty as Charged

THE GUILTY PLEAS KEEP COMING in the Philadelphia “house of horrors” case. In addition to the first two of abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s employees whose guilty pleas we reported in mid-October, Mr. Gosnell’s sister-in-law, Elizabeth Hamilton, has pled guilty to perjury.

And last week, clinic worker Lynda Williams pled guilty to two counts of third-degree murder, one in the death of a baby who survived a botched abortion and one in the death of a mother undergoing abortion in the now-closed “Women’s Medical Society” Philadephia abortuary. She also, reports Operation Rescue, “pled guilty to conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to participate in a corrupt organization and illegally administering drugs to women undergoing late-term abortions. [Ms.] Williams,” notes OR, “has only a 9th-grade education.” Prosecutors expect Ms. Williams to testify against Mr. Gosnell in exchange for a reduced sentence; her sentencing has been delayed until after the Gosnell trial. The abortuary owner himself is charged with seven murder counts and, reports OR, “faces a possible death penalty if convicted.”

Also last week, reports OR, Gosnell worker Steven Masoff – the first male defendant to enter a plea in the horrific case – “pled guilty to two counts of third-degree murder,” reports OR, “related to the stabbing deaths of two newborn infants after failed abortions. He confessed,” notes OR, “that he killed hundreds of babies in this way. He also pled guilty to numerous related charges.”

We urge our readers to take special note of the summary remarks of OR president Troy Newman in his report of this distressing story. “This case highlights the abortion cartel’s dirty little secret,” he said, “that abortion clinics routinely operate outside the law. While [Mr.] Gosnell’s case is extreme,” he said, “aspects of his ‘house of horrors’ inhabit every abortion clinic in the nation.

“This is what happens,” Mr. Newman said, “when states fail to enforce the laws and treat abortionists as if they are above it.” [Though some states do not even have laws to regulate abortuaries, Pennsylvania has such a law, but state officials routinely avoided inspecting the state’s baby-killing shops for political reasons.] “It is frightening to think,” said Mr. Newman, “that there are likely other abortionists as bad as [Mr.] Gosnell operating out there right now under the protection of a pro-abortion political climate. Our country,” he said, “still has lessons to learn from the Gosnell case.” Indeed.


The Loving Option

NOVEMBER IS ADOPTION MONTH. Family Research Council Action hosted a presentation last Wednesday in Washington to commemorate the designation, featuring Ryan Bomberger of the Radiance Foundation addressing, notes Tony Perkins in FRCAction’s Nov. 7 Update, “the spiritual dimensions of adoption, the eugenics resistance toward it and the unleashing of purpose that results from adoption.”

Mr. Bomberger himself was conceived in rape, according to Mr. Perkins. He was adopted into a family of 15, “where ten of 13 children were adopted,” Mr. Perkins writes.

In marking National Adoption Month, Mr. Perkins cites the late Steve Jobs, classic author Charles Dickens and baseball hero Babe Ruth as examples of those who were “adopted as a child and grew to live a productive and notable life.”

In this age of diminished respect for preborn life and uncertainty about adoption, citing such examples will reach some who are on the fence, as we ask them to contemplate the world without those familiar human icons having been given a chance at life. For that matter, what would we have done without Jesus, adopted by Joseph and certainly the most celebrated “inconvenient” Conceptus of all.


Will Even This Slow Down the Death Panels?

“Raising Awareness” item in Nov. 10, 2011, Washington Update by Tony Perkins, president, Family Research Council

In the years since Terri Schindler Schiavo’s tragic death, scientists have made some earth-shattering discoveries about the 20,000 Americans who are currently in a vegetative state. According to new reports, these patients are more aware of their surroundings than doctors realized. While monitoring the electrical activity in their brains, researchers asked them to imagine doing two things – clinching their fists and wiggling their toes.

“In most of the cases,” the Washington Post explains, “there was nothing – no signs that any sentience lingered. But then one man and another – and, surprisingly, a third – repeatedly generated brain activity identical to that of healthy volunteers.

The bottom line is that “a significant proportion of patients diagnosed as being vegetative may in fact be aware.” That is bittersweet news for the Schindler family, who fought to save Terri’s life as her husband sued to euthanize her. Against the wishes of her family and countless organizations like Family Research Council, she was ultimately starved to death in 2005.

Had doctors known then what they do now, Terri might be alive today. For the thousands of men and women still trapped in their unresponsive bodies, this research should lend not just moral credibility but scientific creditability to their long-term care. Even ObamaCare, with its death panels and rationing boards, should face fresh challenges on how it handles end-of-life care.

The President’s law has the power to limit what doctors you see, what treatments are available and, in some cases, whether you’re eligible for care at all. Given how crudely the plan treats conscious patients, it doesn’t take much imagination to see how cases like Terri’s would end. Let’s hope Congress uses this new information to fight for stronger protections at every stage of human life.


Conscience Rights Threatened

Nov. 4, 2011, commentary by Brad Mattes, executive director, Life Issues Institute

As Planned Parenthood faces increasing scrutiny over pilfering your tax dollars – now there’s a Congressional investigation – their allies in the Obama Administration are vengefully on a mission to extinguish the conscience rights of pro-lifers; one individual and organization at a time.

Their latest target: The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

It’s now being reported that the US Dept. of Health & Human Services (HHS) refused to renew a $2.5 million grant to the Conference that helps them minister to human trafficking victims – an action the USCCB believes is being taken in part because of their conscientious belief that abortion is morally wrong.

According to Sr. Mary Ann Walsh, a spokes[man] for the bishops’ conference, HHS didn’t even explain why it turned down the church’s grant application.

At the same time, the pro-abortion department of “health” didn’t hesitate making one thing clear – their funding announcement stated a preference for distributing money to grantees that offer victims “the full range of legally permissible gynecological and obstetric care.” These are code words for abortion-on-demand.

In other words, the Obama Health & Human Services Dept. is admitting – in a not-so-hidden way – that their game of playing favorites tilts to their loyal abortion industry friends.

The department even went so far [as] to require groups applying for the special grant to provide an explanation of the limits of services provided by such organizations, a further indication of filtering out pro-lifers from helping others.

The Obama Administration’s discrimination against those who don’t conform to its pro-abortion agenda is appalling, but it’s really not at all shocking.

Along with a recent federal mandate that all healthcare plans must cover abortion-causing drugs, this latest move shows that Pres. Obama’s original claim to protect the conscience rights of medical staff was only lip service from the very beginning.

This Administration is intent on continuing the assault on the conscience rights of pro-lifers like you and me.

Recently, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (HR-1179/S-1467) was introduced in Congress. It seeks to protect the rights of those of us with moral and religious convictions from such intruding mandates. Please join me in contacting our Members of Congress in the House and the Senate to support this very important bill. [Capitol switchboard, 1-202/224-3121]