Life Advocacy Briefing

June 25, 2012

Waiting / Faithful Focus on Freedom
Catholic Hospital Group Breaks with ObamaCare – Or Do They?
D.C. Abortion Ban Stands in House Spending Bill / Override Bait / A Modest Step Forward
Inevitable Fallout / Implications of the Anticipated Ruling


SINCE THE SUPREME COURT’s HABIT is to announce its rulings on either Monday or Thursday, we arrive at our press deadline fairly confident the Court has not yet released its edict on ObamaCare. Speculation continues to mount, as the Court is due soon to adjourn its spring term, and a decision is expected by the end of June.

To set the stage, we publish at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing an analysis issued Thursday by Americans United for Life (AUL), the pro-life pro-bono law firm, in its weekly BenchBriefs newsletter.

Reports last week indicated a sharply divided Court not yet ready to release its ruling. We ask our readers to pray fervently.

Should the Court strike down the entire law, we hope Congress will exhibit restraint and not seek a political response to what may become a manufactured demand to “do something.” The system of medical care in this country is in need of tweaking – and to some degree even significant reform – but voters should be given an opportunity in November to speak in favor of private-sector solutions.

Further, we believe Congress should prepare for the possibility that the President will assert extra-constitutional authority and preserve as much of his pet project as possible via executive order. Having defied Congress on immigration, will he next defy the Court on ObamaCare?


Faithful Focus on Freedom

THE U.S. CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS HAVE LAUNCHED a prayer-and-witness season called “Fortnight for Freedom,” beginning last Thursday and extending through July 4.

People of faith are invited to join, regardless of denomination, in focusing on what the bishops are calling, reports Kathleen Gilbert for, a “‘great hymn of prayer for our country.’”

The season is timed intentionally to cover the period surrounding the release of the Supreme Court’s ruling on ObamaCare, which has proved to clash inexorably with freedom of religion and conscience.

Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, reports Miss Gilbert, “said the uprising was not a crusade but a battle for America’s own integrity. ‘I am not calling for any Vatican takeover of America; I’m calling for an American takeover of America!’ said [Fr.] Pavone” in the story. “‘It’s fine to say we stand with our religious leaders, but let’s make it clear that they and we are standing with our Constitution and our great nation, rooted in God’s gift of freedom.’”


Catholic Hospital Group Breaks with ObamaCare – Or Do They?

A HEADLINE IN A PROMINENT NEWSPAPER seemed to be bearing good tidings in mid-June. But the withdrawal of the Catholic Health Assn. (CHA) from supporting the Obama/Sebelius mandate on contraception/sterilization coverage looks considerably less rosy when the fine print is examined.

The CHA, an unaffiliated association of “Catholic” hospitals, has given aid and comfort to the Obama Regime throughout the debate over ObamaCare. So recent criticism by its president, Sr. Carol Keehan, of the mandate regulation has been welcomed.

But the Cardinal Newman Society, a nonprofit organization which “seeks to … support education that is faithful to the teaching and tradition of the Catholic Church,” has parsed the CHA statement and found, “CHA is pushing for a new definition of religious organizations that could prove even worse that the Obama Administration’s current language. And if accepted,” the Society states in a commentary published by, “the CHA definition could be a disaster for the cause of religious liberty and for Catholic higher education.”

Readers wishing more information about the Cardinal Newman Society’s positions on this or other issues may visit the group’s Internet website; further detail on the Society’s concerns about the CHA and its position on ObamaCare and the regulation is available here.


D.C. Abortion Ban Stands in House Spending Bill

THE HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE ADVANCED the Financial Services appropriation bill last Wednesday after defeating an amendment to allow the District of Columbia, which is funded under the multi-purpose spending bill, to use tax dollars to kill preborn boys and girls.

The amendment was offered by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), who complained, reports Tim Craig for the Washington Post, “‘No other city is told how to spend its locally raised revenue, so why should we force the District?’” But no other city is subjected by the US Constitution, as the nation’s capital is, to appropriation and overall supervision by Congress. The Lee amendment received 21 votes but was opposed by 26 Members. Speaking in opposition to the proposal were Rep. Steve Austria (R-OH) and Financial Services Subcommittee chairman Rep. JoAnn Emerson (R-MO).

The panel also approved an amendment offered by Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-MS) to bar abortion coverage in multi-state insurance plans to be established in 2014 under ObamaCare, should the massive healthcare takeover law survive the current legal challenge in the Supreme Court. The Nunnelee amendment carried 28 to 20.


Override Bait

NEW HAMPSHIRE’s GOVERNOR, Democrat John Lynch, vetoed a partial-birth abortion ban on June 15, claiming, writes Kevin Landrigan, staff writer for the Nashua Telegraph, “the bill was too onerous and potentially life-threatening.”

His principal complaint: The proposal, reports Mr. Landrigan, “would require that a second, independent physician verify the abortion should take place and be exempt from the ban because the mother’s life is at risk.”

So preventing theoretical delay in the extremely rare case of an abortion necessitated by risk to the physical life of the mother is worth spilling the blood of innocent little babies before they can take their first breath?

He also claimed the legislation was unnecessary because of the federal law barring it, according to the Associated Press. But the federal law applies only to cases where a connection to interstate commerce can be traced. And prosecutions under the federal law – by the US Justice Department – are likely to be few and far between; indeed, more probably none. State prohibitions are needed in every one of the 50 states, including New Hampshire, in order truly to stop the ghoulish practice.

The Speaker of the New Hampshire House, Republican William O’Brien “condemned [Gov] Lynch’s decision,” writes Mr. Landrigan, and declared, “‘Overriding this veto will be a priority, and I would hope that all the gubernatorial candidates of both parties will join in our efforts. … It is unfathomable,’” he said in the Telegraph story, “‘that Gov. Lynch would veto this responsible bill.’”

The legislature returns for a one-day session this Wednesday and is expected to take up the veto. Its initial passage came on roll calls exceeding the two-thirds necessary for override in both the House and Senate. It was just a year ago that the legislature overrode a Lynch veto of parental notification.


A Modest Step Forward

THANKS TO ABORTUARY LICENSING LEGISLATION enacted in response to the West Philadelphia “house of horrors” run by accused murderer Kermit Gosnell, Pennsylvania’s abortion industry is shrinking.

Of 22 existing abortion shops, reports Operation Rescue, “only one … in Harrisburg actually met all requirements and received a full license. Thirteen clinics, including all Planned Parenthood abortion facilities in the state, received provisional licenses [and] will continue to supply surgical abortions on a temporary basis for the next three to six months. If the clinics do not meet all of the requirements by that time, they will no longer be able to do surgical abortions,” OR reports.

One abortuary, the Allegheny Women’s Center, reports OR, “voluntary[il]y closed on June 15, 2012, rather than comply with the law. Five others will be forced to stop all surgical abortions” as of June 19.

Two of the state’s abortuaries, affiliated with the Universities of Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh, “have been placed under hospital regulations,” notes OR, whose president Troy Newman commented, “All but one clinic could not initially meet all the standards. That fact alone speaks volumes to the shoddy conditions that exist at abortion clinics,” he said, “not only in Pennsylvania but across the nation. These [licensing] laws are important tools with which we can hold accountable an abortion industry that has run amok for over three decades.”

Pennsylvania’s new law requires abortuaries “to submit to inspections,” notes OR, “and meet minimum safety standards.” It does permit dispensing of abortion pills if surgical licensing standards are not met.


Inevitable Fallout

Excerpted from a June 12, 2012, speech at the Victims of Communism Memorial in Washington, DC, by Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers. We ask our readers to read each paragraph with thoughtful reflection of the implications to real people.

… Affecting 1.3 billion people, the coercive enforcement of China’s One-Child Policy causes more violence against women and girls than any other official policy on earth and any other official policy in the history of the world.

  • Forced abortion is traumatic to women. This can happen up to the ninth month of pregnancy.  Some forced abortions are so violent that the women themselves die, along with their full-term babies. Forced abortion is official government rape.
  • Women who have violated the policy are often victims of forced sterilization, which can lead to life-long health complications. These forced abortions and forced sterilizations are often performed without anesthesia.
  • A document leaked out of China in November 2009 discusses methods of infanticide, including the puncturing of the skulls and injecting alcohol into the brains of full-term babies, usually girls, to kill them during labor.
  • Because of the traditional preference for boys, sex-selective abortion of girls is common – a form of “gendercide.”
  • Because of this gendercide, there are an estimated 37 million more men than women in China today. This gender imbalance is a major force driving sexual slavery of women and girls in Asia.
  • China has the highest female suicide rate of any country in the world – approximately 500 women a day. I believe this high suicide rate is related to forced abortion.

The One-Child Policy is causing a slow-motion demographic disaster. Not only does the nation now suffer from a destabilizing gender imbalance, but also, there are not enough young people to sustain China’s rapidly aging population. Why, then, does China continue this policy?

I believe that China’s One-Child Policy is keeping the regime in place. It is social control, masquerading as population control. The Chinese Communist Party wields forced abortion as an instrument to keep its people down. The infrastructure of population control coercion can be turned in any direction, to crush dissent. The use of a system of paid informants to identify illegally pregnant women tears at relationships of trust. If you cannot trust anyone, you cannot organize for democracy.

The true spirit of Communism is most clearly seen in the faces of the Chinese population control police as they drag women away, beat them, strap them down to tables and force them to abort babies that they want, up to the ninth month of pregnancy. …


Implications of the Anticipated Ruling

From the June 21, 2012, BenchBriefs newsletter of Americans United for Life

Any day, the US Supreme Court is expected to decide the fate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Pres. Obama’s controversial healthcare law. One of three outcomes is likely: (a) the Court will uphold the entire law; (b) the Court will strike down the entire law; or (c) the Court will strike down one or more provisions of the law as unconstitutional – such as the “individual mandate,” a requirement that most Americans purchase insurance – while permitting the rest of the law to stand.

“The invalidation of the entire ACA is the only true ‘win’ for unborn children, their mothers and the majority of Americans who do not want to pay for abortions or abortion coverage,” said AUL president and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest.

Fundamentally, anti-Life provisions and mandates are woven into the very fabric of the ACA, and these problems will not be adequately addressed if the Court only strikes down the “individual mandate.”

For example, the “abortion premium mandate” directly violates the conscience and free exercise rights of millions of Americans by forcing those who inadvertently, or through employment, enrolled in insurance plans that cover abortion to pay a separate “abortion premium” that will be used exclusively to pay for abortions. Notably, even if the Court strikes down the “individual mandate,” it will not necessarily strike down the “abortion premium mandate.”

This week, AUL filed another comment with the Dept. of Health & Human Services (HHS) opposing the life-ending drugs mandate in the “preventive care” guidelines, as well as the continued trampling of First Amendment conscience rights [by regulations issued in furtherance of the ACA].

Currently, 47 states have laws preventing the coercion of conscience, an effort that AUL helped champion. But under the Obama Administration’s healthcare law, states that have stronger conscience protections than the healthcare law must yield to the dictates of the federal government. …

“Regardless of the Court’s decision, Congress needs to take strong, decisive action to protect unborn children and their mothers, prevent taxpayer funding for abortions and insurance coverage for abortion, and protect rights of conscience,” said [Dr. Yoest].

If the Court upholds the Obama Administration’s healthcare law, the ACA, or portions of it, Congress must act quickly to repeal the harmful provisions in the law. Lawmakers in Washington have already introduced several pieces of legislation that would do just that:

  • The Protect Life Act. HR-358/S-877 modifies the ACA to comprehensively prohibit both funding for abortion and insurance coverage for abortion through the healthcare law. The Protect Life Act also strengthens the conscience protections contained in the ACA, guarantees respect for state conscience protections, and ensures that healthcare professionals have adequate means to enforce their basic civil right to provide care without being forced to participate in abortion.
  • The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. This legislation would create a comprehensive prohibition on the use of federal funds for abortion and insurance coverage for abortion and includes strong conscience provisions. This bill is broader than the Protect Life Act in that it addresses all federal funding, not just that authorized or appropriated through the ACA.
  • The Respect for Rights of Conscience Act. HR-1179 amends the ACA to protect the right to provide, purchase or enroll in healthcare coverage that is consistent with one’s religious beliefs and moral convictions. It also ensures that no requirement in the ACA creates new pressures to exclude those exercising such rights from health plans.