Life Advocacy Briefing

February 13, 2012

Schedule Note / Fighting Obama for Religious Freedom / Marginalize ‘Values?’ At Your Peril
Pro-Life Bill Moving Toward House Action / Quoteworthy / Quoteworthy, Too
On Religious Freedom / March for Life Speech Transcripts

Schedule Note

OUR TECH WIZARD is traveling abroad this week and will not return in time for our usual publishing deadline. Consequently, our publishing next week will be delayed until Monday, Feb. 20. Those receiving Life Advocacy Briefing by electronic mail and fax should not expect it before Monday, and those receiving the Briefing by postal mail should expect it mid-week.


Fighting Obama for Religious Freedom

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL) & REP. STEVE CHABOT (R-OH) HAVE FILED identical bills to protect religiously scrupled Americans from the Obama Regime’s new rule mandating employers to include “free” sterilization and contraception – including abortifacients – in employee insurance coverage under ObamaCare.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2012 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions as S-2043, co-sponsored by 26 Senators. The same bill in the House, HR-3897, has been referred to the House Committee on Energy & Commerce.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) endorsed the twin measures in addresses to the House and Senate last Wednesday; we are publishing transcripts of those speeches in this edition of Life Advocacy Briefing.

These GOP Senators are co-sponsoring the Rubio measure: Jeff Sessions (AL), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Jon Kyl & John McCain (AZ), John Boozman (AR), Saxby Chambliss (GA), Mike Crapo & James Risch (ID), Dan Coats (IN), Jerry Moran (KS), Leader Mitch McConnell & Rand Paul (KY), David Vitter (LA), Susan Collins (ME), Roger Wicker (MS), Dean Heller (NV), John Hoeven (ND), Tom Coburn & James Inhofe (OK), Pat Toomey (PA), John Thune (SD), Lamar Alexander (TN), John Cornyn & Kay Hutchison (TX), Orrin Hatch & Mike Lee (UT). Readers can thank them by phoning 1-202/224-3121.

Here are the “findings” cited in the companion measures: “1) Religious freedom and liberty of conscience are inalienable rights protected by the Declaration of Independence and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution; 2) On Aug. 1, 2011, the Department of Health & Human Services issued a mandate requiring individual and group health plans to cover free sterilization and all Food & Drug Administration-approved contraceptives, including drugs that many believe induce abortions.”

Also, “3) The mandate’s exemption for ‘religious employers’ excludes those religious organizations, including charities, hospitals, schools or soup kitchens, that hire or serve individuals who do not share their religious tenets; 4) That narrow exemption, unprecedented in federal law, excludes thousands of religiously affiliated hospitals, schools, charities and businesses; and 5) Despite receiving thousands of comments protesting the absurdly narrow exemption, the Dept. of Health & Human Services nonetheless announced on Jan. 20, 2012, that it would not broaden the exemption but would instead give religious institutions an additional year to ‘adapt’ their consciences to the mandate.”

The measures go on to provide: “No guideline or regulation issued pursuant to Subsection (a)(4) or any other provision of the Patient Protection & Affordable Health Care Act [ObamaCare] or the amendments made by that Act shall (A) require any individual or entity to offer, provide or purchase coverage for a contraceptive or sterilization service, or related education or counseling, to which that individual or entity is opposed on the basis of religious belief; or (B) require any individual or entity opposed by reason of religious belief to provide coverage of a contraceptive or sterilization service or to engage in government-mandated speech regarding such a service.”

The bills then go on to bar imposition of fines or penalties on those who, by reason of religious belief, do not cooperate with the ObamaCare contraception/sterilization mandate.


Marginalize ‘Values? ’ At Your Peril

THE IMPOSITION BY OBAMA REGIME EXTREMISTS of their sterilization/contraception mandate has spurred feverish public discourse and injected an unexpected “value” issue into the nation’s political discourse. Conventional “wisdom” of the 2012 pundits – resurrecting the Clinton- era Carville campaign prescription, “It’s the economy, stupid!” – has fallen to the wayside in the face of the Obama Regime’s implacable instinct to tyranny.

The “talking heads” of the television news/views circuit spent last week debating how long the Obamistas would hold out for the latest iteration of their Planned Parenthood subsidy, and White House press secretary Tim Carney spent the week blithering the same empty lines over and over to a wondering press corps. At our deadline last week, the political pressure was building, as even some members of the President’s party were calling for him to retreat on this trespass of American liberty.

Roll Call editor David Hawkings was predicting the President would fold. “It’s a safe bet that by sometime tomorrow,” Mr. Hawkings wrote in his Daily Briefing Thursday, “[the President will] announce some sort of modification of the new Health & Human Services rule. That’s because the politics of the imbroglio are rapidly spinning away from him, with Republicans quickly united and galvanized by what they see as a winning election-year return to the culture wars – and a growing number of centrist Democrats in politically perilous circumstances pressing the White House for a quick about-face on its decision.”

Indeed, during a panel discussion on Fox News Special Report last Wednesday, several such Democrats were cited as breaking publicly with the President over the issue and calling on him to reverse course: Senators Joe Manchin (WV) and Robert Casey (PA), Representatives John Larson (CT) and Dan Lipinski (IL), former Democratic National Committee chairman and former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (now a candidate for the US Senate), as well as Sen. Joe Lieberman, elected as an Independent but truly a lifelong Democrat. Thursday evening, the same news source reported Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and even Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) had joined the fray against the mandate.

How ironic that scant months ago, in a New Hampshire Presidential debate, the media “moderators” sought to trip up both former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum on “the contraception issue,” as though to make them politically untouchable for their respective involvements in such a matter of “privacy.” It turns out to be a matter for public policy after all, provoked by the one who is seen by most media maestros as the embodiment of “cool.” It turns out that “values” are important to Americans even in 2012, and so is our freedom of conscience.

Editor’s note: We offer this caution about any White House feint toward compromise or retreat on the mandate: Don’t be a Stupak. Do not accept at face value any such seeming retreat. This White House – quite capable of smoke and mirrors – is utterly incapable of engaging a reverse gear.

Certainly the White House gave no indication of budging on Thursday, when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) refused to allow debate on an amendment by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) to attach the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to a pending bill – even while some of Mr. Reid’s Democratic colleagues were publicly protesting the mandate.


Pro-Life Bill Moving Toward House Action

THE HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE HAS MARKED UP a bill by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) to outlaw abortions committed for purposes of sex- and race-discrimination.

HR-3541 could be available for consideration in the full House soon, and readers are urged to contact their respective Members of Congress (1-202/224-3121) to seek “yes” votes for the Susan B. Anthony & Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act.

The bill has 84 co-sponsors, who should be thanked for standing with Rep. Franks for justice and mercy for preborn boys and girls. Other Members should be asked to sign onto the measure before it passes the House.

Here are the co-sponsors of HR-3541: Republican Representatives Martha Roby (AL); Jeff Flake (AZ); Rick Crawford & Tim Griffin (AR); Wally Herger & Duncan Hunter (CA); Jeff Miller, Bill Posey & Dennis Ross (FL); Paul Broun, Tom Graves, Jack Kingston, Austin Scott & Lynn Westmoreland (GA); Randy Hultgren, Adam Kinzinger & Don Manzullo (IL); Dan Burton, Mike Pence, Todd Rokita & Marlin Stutzman (IN); Steve King (IA); Tim Huelskamp & Kevin Yoder (KS); Rodney Alexander, Charles Boustany, John Fleming, Jeff Landry & Steve Scalise (LA); Roscoe Bartlett & Andy Harris (MD); Bill Huizenga, Thaddeus McCotter & Tim Walberg (MI);

Also Republican Representatives Michele Bachmann & Chip Cravaack (MN); Alan Nunnelee (MS); Todd Akin & Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO); Jeff Fortenberry (NE); Scott Garrett & Christopher Smith (NJ); Stevan Pearce (NM); Howard Coble, Renee Ellmers, Walter Jones & Patrick McHenry (NC); Steve Austria, Steve Chabot, Bill Johnson, Jim Jordan, Robert Latta & Jean Schmidt (OH); Tom Cole & James Lankford (OK);

And GOP Representatives Mike Kelly (PA); Jeff Duncan, Trey Gowdy & Joe Wilson (SC); Diane Black, Marsha Blackburn, John Duncan & Phil Roe (TN); Kevin Brady, Quico Canseco, John Carter, Michael Conaway, Blake Farenthold, Louie Gohmert, Ralph Hall, Sam Johnson, Kenny Marchant, Michael McCaul, Randy Neugebauer, Ted Poe & Lamar Smith (TX); Rob Bishop (UT); Randy Forbes & Bob Goodlatte (VA); Sean Duffy (WI), and Cynthia Lummis (WY).

And Democratic Representatives Dan Lipinski (IL), Collin Peterson (MN) and Dan Boren (OK).



U.S. SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL) at Susan B. Anthony List Feb. 1, 2012, banquet (video available on YouTube): “The issue of Life is not a political issue, nor is it a policy issue; it is a definitional issue. It is a basic core issue that every society needs to answer. The answer that it gives on that issue ends up defining which kind of society you have. … This is an issue that – especially for those that enter the public arena and refuse to leave our faith behind – speaks to more than just our politics. It speaks to what we want to do with the opportunity we have been given in our life, to serve and to glorify our Creator.”


Quoteworthy, Too

ETHICS & PUBLIC POLICY CENTER FELLOW YUVAL LEVIN on the contraception/ sterilization mandate: “What is at issue in the controversy over the Administration’s rule is not just the question of religious liberty but the question of non-governmental institutions in a free society.” [It in fact seeks to implement the anti-American spirit of ObamaCare’s individual mandate.]


On Religious Freedom

House Speaker John Boehner’s Feb. 8, 2012, address to the US House concerning the controversial Obama/Sebelius contraception/abortifacient/sterilization insurance mandate; see HR-3897.

My colleagues: In recent days, Americans of every faith and political persuasion have mobilized in objection to a rule put forward by the Obama Administration that constitutes an unambiguous attack on religious freedom in our country.

This rule would require faith-based employers – including Catholic charities, schools, universities and hospitals – to provide services they believe are immoral. Those services include sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs and devices, and contraception.

In imposing this requirement, the federal government has drifted dangerously beyond its constitutional boundaries, encroaching on religious freedom in a manner that affects millions of Americans and harms some of our nation’s most vital institutions.

If the President does not reverse the Department’s attack on religious freedom, then the Congress, acting on behalf of the American people and the Constitution that we’re sworn to uphold and defend, must.

The House will approach this matter fairly and deliberately, through regular order and appropriate legislative channels. Because it has primary jurisdiction on the issues involved, the Energy & Commerce Committee is taking the lead on the legislative process that will be necessary to enact an effective and appropriate solution. Chairman Upton convened a hearing late last year and began laying the groundwork for legislative action when this flawed rule was first proposed, and I welcome his efforts to consider all possible options as his committee proceeds with its efforts.

This attack by the federal government on religious freedom in our country must not stand and will not stand.

Feb. 7, 2012, address to the Senate by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY); see S-2043.

Madam President, throughout my Senate career I have spent a lot of time defending the First Amendment. Most of it I spent defending one particular clause of that amendment – the one relating to the right of free speech – but recent events have shown quite unexpectedly the urgent need to defend another clause in the First Amendment. I am referring, of course, to the right of free exercise of religion.

Make no mistake: The Obama Administration’s decision to force religious hospitals, charities and schools to comply with a mandate that violates their religious views is abhorrent to the foundational principles of our nation. No one in the United States – no one – should ever be compelled by their government to choose between violating their religious beliefs and being penalized for refusing. Yet that is precisely what this mandate would do.

One out of six patients in America is treated at a Catholic hospital. Catholic Charities is the largest provider of social services to poor children, families and individuals in America. The Catholic Church runs the largest network of private schools in this country. These institutions have thrived because they have been allowed to freely pursue their religious convictions in a country that, until now, respected their Constitutional right to do so. But this ruling should send a chill up the spine of people of all religious faiths and even those with no faith at all, because if the state – in this case, the federal government – is allowed to violate the religious rights of one religion, then surely it can violate those of others. If the rights of some are not protected, the rights of all are in danger. Isn’t that what history clearly teaches? Isn’t that what the Constitution is all about?

The Obama Administration has crossed a dangerous line. The Founders knew that the right of religious belief is inviolable. They gave this God-given right the pride of place they knew it deserved, right there in the First Amendment, so that Americans would never have to fear its loss. Unfortunately, because of the actions of this Administration, Americans now do.

This is a huge mistake that I hope the Administration is currently reconsidering, and if they do not, Congress will act. The First Amendment rights of the American people must be protected. Those of us who recognize the fundamental importance of religious freedom to our nation will see to it that it is respected by this government and restored in full.


March for Life Speech Transcripts

Continuing our series of Congressional speeches at the March for Life, Jan. 23, 2012; transcribed by Life Advocacy from recorded-live video. Our speakers today are the Majority Whip, Majority Conference Chairman, and the chairman of the Republican Policy Committee.

Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-TX): Good afternoon, I’m Kevin McCarthy from California. I’m the Majority Whip of the House. You know, when I stood here a year ago, we committed to finding a way to ensure Life is protected on every stage. What a difference one year makes. Despite being met with obstacles, the House stood strong, and we succeeded in reinstating the ban on federal and local funds being used for abortions right here in DC. This may not be California weather, but the one thing it does do – it reinstates to everyone in this Capitol, in this country, our dedication to the sanctity of Life. I pledge to you again, as House Republicans we will continue to stand hand-in-hand as we persist in our mission to promote the sanctity of Life. Let us find even more powerful ways to remind all of our fellow citizens what is written in Psalm 127, Verse 3: “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord.” Thank you, and God bless.

Majority Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX): Good afternoon. Jeb Hensarling from Dallas, Texas. It is cold, it is rainy – and there is no such thing as a bad day to march for Life. Ten years ago next month, my first-born was put in my arms, and I celebrated a child of God. When my wife said she was pregnant, I knew as a matter of faith, she carried life. When I saw that first sonogram, science confirmed what I knew by faith: That she carried life. And on February 28, 2002, Claire Suzanne Hensarling exercised her constitutional right to be born and came into this world. And as a United States Congressman, I will never rest until every child in America – born and unborn – has their unalienable right to life protected. March on!

Republican Policy Committee Chairman Tom Price (GA): Good afternoon, I’m Tom Price from the State of Georgia. God bless you. You know, as a physician, I know that life is so very, very basic. We all know that life is so very, very precious. We also know that life is so very, very innocent. And it’s also so very, very threatened. As those who oppose the sanctity of Life try to change the definition to suit their purposes, our task becomes greater. As this Administration turns its back on the sanctity of Life, our task becomes greater. And as popular culture and education diminish the sanctity of Life, our task becomes greater. So I have one question for you: Are we up to the task? You bet we are! God bless you; God bless America, and keep fighting for freedom and for Life.