Life Advocacy Briefing

November 21, 2011

Giving Thanks

WISHING OUR READERS A JOYFUL TIME of family and freedom in giving thanks to the One Who blesses us all with even our next breath, we will be taking a break next weekend for our own observance of Thanksgiving. Let us all be thankful that Congress will recess for that weekend.


Look Who’s Pushing Gramma Over the Cliff

PRES. OBAMA HAS NOMINATED Henry Aaron (not the ballplayer!) as chairman of the Social Security Advisory Board.

Mr. Aaron is an economist and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine. More to the point, he is, according to former Reagan domestic policy advisor Gary Bauer, writing in his Nov. 16, 2011, End of Day Report, “an outspoken advocate of government rationing for healthcare services,” making him a likely ally – not the needed counterbalance – to rationing chief Donald Berwick, who, as Mr. Obama’s director of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, is serving a recess appointment, as he could not be confirmed even in a Democratic Senate.

We hope the Senate will treat Mr. Aaron’s nomination with as much care and skepticism; the last thing Americans need is a gramma-dumper in charge of Social Security policy.


Strike It Down, Please!

THE U.S. SUPREME COURT AGREED LAST WEEK to consider the constitutionality of ObamaCare, particularly on the issue of the law’s mandate that every American purchase medical insurance. Plaintiffs are hoping to invalidate the entire Act through that issue; the law’s drafters failed to include a clause safeguarding the whole Act from invalidation of any one provision.

The Justices are expected to hear oral arguments in the case next spring, with a ruling expected in late June. On agreeing to hear the case, the Court scheduled an unusually long hearing of some five and a-half hours.

Incidentally, a story in the New York Times last Tuesday by Sheryl Gay Stolberg reminds us that the individual mandate in what became ObamaCare was a point of contention between then-candidate Barack Obama in 2008 and his primary opponent, then-Sen. Hillary Clinton. But it was then-Sen. Obama who was on the negative side of that question!

“‘If things were that easy,’ Mr. Obama told the talk show host Ellen DeGeneres in February of that year,” writes Ms. Stolberg, “‘I could mandate everybody to buy a house, and that would solve the problem of homelessness. It doesn’t.’ Now,” writes Ms. Stolberg, “Pres. Obama may wish he had stuck to those words” as the Supreme Court prepares to decide whether our Constitution guarantees individual citizens freedom of association and thought versus government compulsion.


Parliamentary Intervention Blocks Abortion Bid

RADICAL ABORTION PROVISIONS in the State Department & Foreign Operations Appropriation bill were among the factors which last week brought down a bid by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to attach the massive spending bill to a less controversial measure.

As a consequence, it now appears the four pro-life amendments we outlined last week will not be necessary; the Senate, we are told, will likely now take up the House-passed foreign aid bill, which incorporates the necessary pro-life provisions.

“Senate rules do not allow appropriations bills to be combined in the way that [Sen.] Reid attempted,” explains National Right to Life Committee in the Nov. 16, 2011, NRL News, “except by ‘unanimous consent,’ meaning that each Senator had the right to object and prevent the combination bill from advancing.

“Such ‘unanimous consent’ has been achieved for other multi-bills,” notes NRL News, “that did not contain pro-abortion provisions.” NRL News goes on to cite the leadership of Sen. David Vitter in “t[aking] to the Senate floor to deny [Leader] Reid the ‘unanimous consent’ that was required.” The Louisiana Republican, according to NRL, “was joined by other pro-life Senators, including Jim DeMint (R-SC), Rand Paul (R-KY) and Mike Lee (R-UT).”

We join NRL’s legislative director Douglas Johnson in saluting the pro-life intervenors “for courageously derailing the Abortion Express Train.”

Mr. Johnson warns in NRL News of likely future “attempts by the Senate Democratic Leadership to attach pro-abortion provisions to various funding bills for the rest of the year. ‘We’ll be keeping a hawk-like gaze on all of these appropriations bills,’ [Mr.] Johnson said.” And we at Life Advocacy hope to be able to alert the readers of our Life Advocacy Briefing.

For now, we encourage our readers to thank Senators Vitter, DeMint, Paul and Lee, who can be contacted via the Capitol switchboard at 1-202/224-3121 or by electronic mail to each via


U.S.A.I.D. Grantee Pushed for Abortion Okay in Kenya: G.A.O.

AN OBAMA REGIME GRANTEE IN KENYA HAS BEEN FOUND, reports Christine Dhanagom for, to have been pushing “for liberalization of the government’s abortion laws during the country’s debate over the draft constitution.”

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found in a report released last Monday that the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), upon noting that Kenya’s first constitution draft made no mention of abortion, “advised” the Kenyan constitution drafting panel, reports Ms. Dhanagom, “to ‘consider adding language to make clear that the fetus lacks constitutional standing and that the rights of women under these articles therefore take priority.’

“When a Kenyan government committee, the Parliamentary Select Committee, recommended that a second draft specifically prohibit abortion except when the mother’s life was at stake,” writes Ms. Dhanagom, “the IDLO again inserted itself, pushing for a broadly written ‘health-of-the-mother’ exception.”

Tragically, the constitution approved by voters last August “included a health exception clause,” writes Ms. Dhanagom, “similar to what the IDLO had advocated. … According to the GAO report,” reports LifeSiteNews, “the Kenyan committee that drafted the constitution ‘has indicated that it generally considered IDLO’s advice when revising the draft constitution.’”

Funding for IDLO’s activities in Kenya, reports Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ), was provided, reports Ms. Dhanagom, “by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to the tune of $400,000 in US taxpayer money.”

Mr. Smith further stated, reports Ms. Dhanagom, “that the Obama Administration had funneled a total of $18 million towards efforts to influence constitutional changes in Kenya. ‘The Obama Administration basically hired surrogates to do its dirty work of abortion promotion in Kenya,’ said [Rep.] Smith, who chairs the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health & Human Rights,” reports LifeSiteNews. “‘US policy on international constitutional reform is, by law,’” he said, “‘supposed to be abortion-neutral.’”

The LifeSiteNews reporter reminds us that the Siljander Amendment, named for former Rep. Mark Siljander (R-MI), “has been included in the State, Foreign Operations Appropriations Act every year since 1984 [and] prohibits the use of foreign aid money to lobby for or against abortion.”

Mr. Smith noted in the LifeSiteNews story, “‘As the GAO points out, it is likely that several other countries will be amending or creating new constitutions in the foreseeable future, and this US taxpayer-funded effort to change Kenya’s pro-life laws,’” he said, “‘raises red flags as to how US monies may be used to impose legalized abortion on other countries through their constitutions.’”


Good News!

THE LOS ANGELES ABORTUARY WHERE THE PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTION technique was devised has shut down, presumably forever, undoubtedly for good.

Once a “secret abortion clinic,” reports Operation Rescue (OR), “where women in their latest terms of pregnancy would submit to experimental abortion procedures,” Eve Surgical Center was the business home of abortionist James McMahon, whose death in 1995 from a brain aneurysm unfortunately has not spared distressed expectant mothers and their vulnerable babies from the horrors of his skillful imagination.

Mr. McMahon shared his horrifying invention with others of his ilk, including Ohio abortionist Martin Haskell, who delivered a chillingly graphic paper on the technique at a 1992 conference of the National Abortion Federation. His horrific disclosures launched an epic battle to outlaw the dastardly practice, which eventually saw the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban upheld by the US Supreme Court. (Many states, however, have yet to outlaw the practice and are relying on federal prosecutions which are not happening and cannot be pursued in our federalist system without an interstate commerce connection.)

Now his “baby” has closed after killing untold numbers of prenatal boys and girls since he opened shop in the 1980s.

Here is how then-Los Angeles Times feature writer Karen Tumulty described Mr. McMahon’s invention in 1990, reprinted last week by in a report distributed by OR: “[Mr.] McMahon has developed his own method that he calls intrauterine cranial decompression. He arranges the fetus so that he can remove it feet first. Before the skull emerges, he ‘collapses’ it by inserting a three-millimeter instrument known as a cannula and extracting its fluid. By keeping the fetus intact, he says, he runs less risk of internal injury to the woman. ‘I want to deal with the head last, because that’s the biggest problem,’ he adds levelly,” quoted by Ms. Tumulty. “‘From my point of view, the fetus is a potential problem to the patient.’”

Then he added in the Tumulty interview: “‘Frankly, I don’t think I was any good at all until I had done 3,000 or 4,000.’”

It may come as no surprise to our readers that such a house of horrors operated in defiance of license suspensions by state authorities, both under its founder and under the ownership of Christopher Dotson, a graduate of Harvard Medical School to whom the widow McMahon sold the business in 1996, and who, at age 80, is now trying to sell his $9 million (current market price) Beverly Hills mansion.

Mr. McMahon’s successor, notes, “has had a total of 63 civil cases filed against him in LosAngeles County Superior Court, including 17 for medical malpractice … and one for paternity. The [state’s] medical board disciplined [Mr.] Dotson for causing the death of Ramona Jackson in 1992,” reports, “but ignored the death of Oriane Shevin in 2005, despite a $1 million settlement in the wrongful death case against [abortionist] Dotson.”


The ‘Right’ to Shift Responsibility?

Oct. 24, 2011, commentary by syndicated columnist Star Parker via, excerpted

Last week, the House passed with bipartisan support the Protect Life Act, which amends the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (“ObamaCare”) to assure that no taxpayer dollars will be used to fund abortions. It also assures that healthcare providers who do not wish to provide abortions are not forced to by government. …

After the bill passed, I was asked on a PBS talk show, To the Contrary, if Republicans were being frivolous in taking up Congressional floor time to deal with abortion when what Americans want today is Congressional action on the economy.

My response was, “No, we can walk and chew gum at the same time, and actually in light of ObamaCare, it is critical for lawmakers to protect healthcare workers and hospitals with a conscience clause.”

In fact, the attention that the bill has gotten in the short time since it passed the House indicates that the level of interest in abortion – and the potential use of taxpayer funds for it – remain high.

Two high-level Democrats – former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz of Florida, the Democratic National Committee chairwoman – issued statements criticizing the bill shortly after it passed.

According to Pelosi, the provision assuring that healthcare providers, including hospitals, are not forced to provide abortions, even though they receive Medicare and Medicaid funding, means “that women can die on the floor and healthcare providers do not have to intervene.”

Wasserman-Schultz said, “This extreme legislation is dangerous for women’s health and does nothing to address the jobs crisis facing American families.”

Liberals love to frame the killing of developing humans as being about women’s lives, health and rights. But, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, about 3% of abortions are performed for reasons of a woman’s health. Abortions that are performed because a woman’s life is in danger amount to a fraction of 1%. That leaves more than 96% for convenience, with some 50% repeat customers.

Regarding abortion, the liberal agenda is really about two things: One, an alleged right to sexual promiscuity; and two, an alleged right to have others bear social and financial responsibility for that promiscuity.

Fortunately, a sizable part of the American population doesn’t see things this way. And, fortunately, a sizable part of our population remains in awe of the miracle of life and our responsibilities toward all aspects of life, both in and outside the womb.

It doesn’t take that much thought to realize the fallacious thinking that suggests that matters of economy and matters of morality have nothing to do with each other.

Disrespect for life and disrespect for property go hand in hand. We can’t divorce our sexual promiscuity from our financial promiscuity. Restoring personal responsibility in both areas is what we need today to get our nation back on track.


A Prayer of Thanks

Text, released by Priests for Life national director Fr. Frank Pavone, of a prayer to be used by Catholics at the start of Advent, the opening prayer for a Mass For Giving Thanks to God for the Gift of Human Life, offered here as a model for use at the Thanksgiving feast table.

God our Creator,
we give thanks to You,
Who alone have the power to impart the breath of life,
as You form each of us in our mother’s womb –
Grant, we pray, that we, whom You have made stewards of creation,
may remain faithful to this sacred trust
and constant in safeguarding the dignity of every human life.