Life Advocacy Briefing

March 5, 2012

Freedom Abridged, for Now / Ghastly Nominee / Shriveling the Market
Unconscionable Demand / Senate Voting Record / March for Life Speech Transcripts

Freedom Abridged, for Now

THE SENATE TABLED SEN. ROY BLUNT’s AMENDMENT last Thursday to bar the Obama Regime from enforcing its mandate on America’s employers to furnish insurance coverage for sterilization and contraception, including abortion-inducing drugs, in group insurance plans.

By a vote of 51 to 48, the Senate sided with Pres. Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in blocking a vote on the Freedom of Conscience Amendment, leaving the Obama Regime free to force even church-related employers – other than churches themselves – to violate their consciences.

In so doing, Senate Democrats – and one Republican, Olympia Snowe – voted to keep the hottest controversy so far of 2012 roiling and to keep the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and its Protestant and Jewish brothers in full battle mode; three Democratic Senators, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Casey of Pennsylvania and Manchin of West Virginia, voted with the GOP to seek to advance the Conscience Amendment. We publish the full voting record near the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing.

Sen. Reid may feel victorious now, but the people will have their say, and what many are saying is that the contraception mandate is a brutal signal of the tyranny contemplated by ObamaCare as it is scheduled to roll out. The mandate – and ObamaCare itself – must not be allowed to stand. And it is for just such needed policy redirections as this that our Founders designed frequent, regularly scheduled elections in this government of, by and for the people. 

Ghastly Nominee

THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE LAST THURSDAY advanced the nomination of Arizona Supreme Court Justice Andrew Hurwitz to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The panel’s vote was 13 to 5.

Mr. Hurwitz “takes partial credit for drafting opinions as a law clerk that the [US] Supreme Court would later use to frame its landmark decision in Roe v. Wade,” reports Caroline May in the Daily Caller. The claim, writes Ms. May, was “in a law review paper published in 2002,” a year before his appointment to the Arizona high court by then-Gov. Janet Napolitano (D).

Writing in his Bench Memos blog on the National Review Online website, respected judicial watcher Ed Whelan commented on Jan. 27, 2012, “After Justice [Harry] Blackmun’s death more than a dozen years ago, I hadn’t realized that there was anyone left who would defend the actual reasoning (if that term isn’t wholly out of place) of Roe v. Wade. As I’ve documented,” wrote Mr. Whelan, “even liberals who support a right to abortion condemn Roe in scathing terms. As one of [Mr.] Blackmun ‘s former clerks (“who loved Roe’s author like a grandfather) put it,” quoted by Mr. Whelan, “‘As a matter of constitutional interpretation and judicial method, Roe borders on the indefensible.’ So it’s a very unpleasant surprise,” commented Mr. Whelan, “to discover that perhaps the lone remaining defender of Roe has been nominated by Pres. Obama to a 9th Circuit seat.”

Reporting on the Hurwitz confirmation hearing Jan. 28, the Daily Caller reporter notes, “Based on his relatively easy questioning at Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing and laudatory comments of Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, it appears unlikely that he will face much in the way of Republican opposition.”

But why? Regardless of whether his earlier writings actually contributed to Roe v. Wade, his claim of philosophical fatherhood to the horrific edict ought to be enough to set him aside – even in the US Senate – especially in an election year.

“‘Whether or not it’s fair to fault [Mr.] Hurwitz for his role as a young law clerk,’” National Review’s Ed Whelan told Ms. May for her Daily Caller report, “‘it’s certainly proper in the confirmation process to hold him accountable for his ideological obtuseness three decades later.’”

But only five Judiciary panel members were evidently willing to hold him accountable in reviewing his elevation.  Sen. Kyl’s home-state pride aside, it behooves pro-life citizens to call on their Senators (1-202/224-3121) to defeat the nomination of Andrew Hurwitz to a federal judgeship – particularly on the Court of Appeals – even in the 9th Circuit. And it behooves the Senate to reject him.


Shriveling the Market

THE OBAMA REGIME’s HEALTH CHIEF, Kathleen Sebelius, declared before the House Ways & Means Committee last Tuesday, reports Fred Lucas for, “‘The private market is in a death spiral.’” The report does not indicate whether her tone was one of gloating.

Her startling statement came in response to questioning by Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), who, writes Mr. Lucas, “asked [Mrs.] Sebelius about the Administration’s assurances that people who liked their current health insurance plan would be able to keep it under the new law.” The deputy majority whip noted, reports Mr. Lucas, “‘According to Bloomberg (News), at least 9% fewer businesses are offering medical coverage than in 2010. There the rhetoric didn’t meet the reality, did it?’” he asked.

But then, many claim the killing of the insurance industry and of private medical care was the ultimate aim of ObamaCare to begin with, leaving Americans to beg for socialized medicine and offering government immense power over the citizenry. The Obama Regime’s sterilization/contraception mandate as an essential element of “preventive care” not only illustrates that power motive but also advances the shriveling of the private market. Relief from this scheme cannot come soon enough, as substantial damage is already being done. 

Unconscionable Demand

Feb. 26, 2012, “The Cardinal’s Column” by Francis Cardinal George OMI, Catholic New World

[Beginning with a paragraph teaching about the Catholic Church’s Lenten rules encouraging Catholics “to ‘give up’ something voluntarily for the sake of others”]

… This year, the Catholic Church in the United States is being told she must “give up” her healthcare institutions, her universities and many of her social service organizations. This is not a voluntary sacrifice. It is the consequence of the already much discussed Dept. of Health & Human Services regulations now filed and promulgated for implementation beginning Aug. 1 of this year.

Why does a governmental administrative decision now mean the end of institutions that have been built up over several generations from small donations, often from immigrants, and through the services of religious women and men and others who wanted to be part of the church’s mission in healing and education? Catholic hospitals, universities and social services have an institutional conscience, a conscience shaped by Catholic moral and social teaching. The HHS regulations now before our society will make it impossible for Catholic institutions to follow their conscience.

So far in American history, our government has respected the freedom of individual conscience and of institutional integrity for all the many religious groups that shape our society. The government has not compelled them to perform or pay for what their faith tells them is immoral. That’s what we’ve meant by freedom of religion. That’s what we had believed was protected by the US Constitution. Maybe we were foolish to believe so.

What will happen if the HHS regulations are not rescinded? A Catholic institution, so far as I can see right now, will have one of four choices: 1) secularize itself, breaking its connection to the church, her moral and social teachings and the oversight of its ministry by the local bishop. This is a form of theft. It means the church will not be permitted to have an institutional voice in public life. 2) Pay exorbitant annual fines* to avoid paying for insurance policies that cover abortifacient drugs, artificial contraception and sterilization. This is not economically sustainable. 3) Sell the institution to a non-Catholic group or to a local government. 4) Close down.

In the public discussion thus far, efforts have been made to isolate the bishops from the Catholic faithful by focusing attention exclusively on “reproductive” issues. But this acrimony could as easily focus next year or the year after on assisted suicide or any other moral issue that can be used to distract attention from the attack on religious liberty. Many will recognize in these moves a tactic now familiar in our public life: Those who cannot be co-opted are isolated and then destroyed. …

The provision of health care should not demand “giving up” religious liberty. Liberty of religion is more than freedom of worship. Freedom of worship was guaranteed in the constitution of the former Soviet Union. You could go to church, if you could find one. The church, however, could do nothing except conduct religious rites in places of worship – no schools, religious publications, healthcare institutions, organized charity, ministry for justice and the works of mercy that flow naturally from a living faith. All of these were co-opted by the government. We fought a long cold war to defeat that vision of society.

The strangest accusation in this manipulated public discussion has the bishops not respecting the separation between church and state. The bishops would love to have the separation between church and state we thought we enjoyed just a few months ago, when we were free to run Catholic institutions in conformity with the demands of the Catholic faith, when the government couldn’t tell us which of our ministries are Catholic and which are not, when the law protected rather than crushed conscience. The state is making itself into a church. The bishops didn’t begin this dismaying conflict nor choose its timing. We would love to have it ended as quickly as possible. It’s up to the government to stop the attack. …

[Here the Cardinal cites a page in a Chicago Archdiocese directory listing all Catholic hospitals and healthcare institutions within the Archdiocese (Cook & Lake Counties, Illinois) and advises] Two Lents from now, unless something changes, that page will be blank. …

I ask lay Catholics and others of good will to step back and understand what is happening to our country as the church is despoiled of her institutions and as freedom of conscience and of religion become a memory from a happier past. … We should both work and pray to be delivered from … the  suffering being imposed on the church and on society.

*Life Advocacy Briefing editor’s note, quoting J. Lester Feder, writing in “According to the [Congressional] Research Service, insurers and employers that do not comply with the contraception coverage rule could face federal fines of $100 per day per employee” plus exposure to civil suits.


Senate Voting Record

Motion to Table Blunt Freedom of Conscience Amendment – March 1, 2012 – Adopted (killing amendment) – 51-48 (Democrats in italics; “Independents” marked “I”)

Voting “no” / pro-Life: AL/Sessions & Shelby, AK/Murkowski, AZ/Kyl & McCain, AR/Boozman, FL/Rubio, GA/Chambliss & Isakson, ID/Crapo & Risch, IN/Coats & Lugar, IA/Grassley, KS/Moran & Roberts, KY/McConnell & Paul, LA/Vitter, ME/Collins, MA/Brown, MS/Cochran & Wicker, MO/Blunt, NE/Johanns & Nelson, NV/Heller, NH/Ayotte, NC/Burr, ND/Hoeven, OH/Portman, OK/Coburn & Inhofe, PA/Casey & Toomey, SC/DeMint & Graham, SD/Thune, TN/Alexander & Corker, TX/Cornyn & Hutchison, UT/Hatch & Lee, WV/Manchin, WI/Johnson, WY/Barrasso & Enzi

Voting “yes” / anti-Life: AK/Begich, AR/Pryor, CA/Boxer & Feinstein, CO/Bennet & Udall, CT/Blumenthal & Lieberman (I), DE/Carper & Coons, FL/Nelson, HI/Akaka & Inouye, IL/Durbin, IA/Harkin, LA/Landrieu, ME/Snowe, MD/Cardin & Mikulski, MA/Kerry, MI/Levin & Stabenow, MN/Franken & Klobuchar, MO/McCaskill, MT/Baucus & Tester, NV/Reid, NH/Shaheen, NJ/Lautenberg & Menendez, NM/Bingaman & Udall, NY/Gillibrand & Schumer, NC/Hagan, ND/Conrad, OH/Brown, OR/Merkley & Wyden, RI/Reed & Whitehouse, SD/Johnson, VT/Leahy & Sanders (I), VA/Warner & Webb, WA/Cantwell & Murray, WV/Rockefeller, WI/Kohl

Not voting: IL/Kirk


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 Representatives Mike Kelly, Mike Pompeo, Jeff Landry, Sean Duffy, G.T. Thompson, Randy Hultgren and Louie Gohmert.

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA): Hi, I’m Mike Kelly from northwest Pennsylvania, from the Keystone State. The rain can’t dampen our spirits, and this Administration can’t dampen our mission. We’re here today for one reason and one reason only, and that is: Defend Life. You are truly occupying Washington. Thank you for what you are doing. God bless you.

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS): Good afternoon. I’m Congressman Mike Pompeo from the great state of Kansas. It was just 20 years ago, 20 years ago, in my hometown in Wichita – the summer of mercy – where a flame was lit, and all of you here today are a testament to that great commitment to protect every human life from conception till natural death. Thank you so much for what you’re doing. It is truly the Lord’s work. We have a big fight ahead of us for the next eleven months and years to come. We’ve made a ton of progress. Thank you for what you do, and may God bless each and every one of you.

Rep. Jeff Landry (R-LA): Good afternoon, my name is Jeff Landry, and I’m from the great state of Louisiana. That’s right. This year Louisiana made the Union’s top state for pro-life issues. Yes, for the second time in three years, Louisiana has been named the most pro-life state in the Union. So that means the rest of you all have to be challenged. You have to take us down! So remember, I want you to take that challenge on. Please pray for life, preach for life, and politic for life. Thank you all.

Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI): How is everybody doing? I’m Sean Duffy from the great state of Wisconsin. Happy to be here with all of you. You know, you are all the unsung heroes of the greatest civil rights battle of our generation. Today you’re not only marching on behalf of the millions of babies who have lost their lives to the violence of abortion, but you’re also standing with their mothers, who have quietly suffered from the greatest lie ever told – the lie that their babies were not wanted and that their babies were not human. Thank you for exposing that lie. Keep up the fire. Keep the faith. God bless, and game on!

Rep. GT Thompson (R-PA): Hi, I’m Congressman G.T. Thompson from the state of Pennsylvania. I want to thank you so much for being here on behalf of the unborn today. I know you’ve traveled a long distance; you’ve personally sacrificed to be here. But I’ve got to tell you – it’s worth it, and you’re making a difference. You’re making a difference for the unborn. Each one of us here today can give thanks to our Creator for Life and thanks to our mothers for delivering us alive. I’m proud to say, I am 100% pro-life, and I’m proud to stand with you on the fundamental and the Constitutional right to life. Thank you for what you do.

Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL): Hey, everybody, my name is Randy Hultgren from Illinois, just outside of Chicago. Thank you for being here. I am here in Congress to fight for Life. There is no more important fight that we’re going to have over this next year and these next months than the fight for Life. Thank you for being here. I am so encouraged by all the young people that are here. And that’s why Planned Parenthood is seeing they’re dying, because we got the young people committed to Life. God bless you. Be praying for our leaders. Be praying for this election. Let’s come back next year and celebrate winning the fight for Life. God bless you all.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX): Howdy. I’m Louie Gohmert from the state of Texas, and we are all here as dear friends for Life. Right? Ben Franklin called it The Sacred Writing; The Sacred Writing says, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord. The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the person who has a quiver full of them.” 50 million dead babies is not a reward; it’s an indictment. My dear friends for Life, the same selfish arrogance and reckless disregard that would allow Life to be taken and one generation to take life after life after life from a future generation would also allow a generation to forge chains made of mountains of debt to set on those they do allow to be born. It’s wrong. And the beginning is with the indictment for allowing so many unborn to be killed. Having allowed my child – a preemie, prematurely born 10 weeks – to hold onto my finger for eight hours non-stop, I came to know, they want to live. They want to live. Let me just finish this with a statement you ought to know. It ought to be inscribed on your heart, and I want you to finish the one-word end of the statement: Liberty and the pursuit of happiness can never begin until you allow: Life. Thank you. God bless you for being here.