Life Advocacy Briefing

October 1, 2012

Voting Record Index Coming Soon / Akin Back in the Game? / The Quotable Mr. Ryan
Conscience Right Prevails / Updates Announced to Planned Parenthood Boycott List
Quackery Promoted / Religious Reservations about the Democratic Platform
Contributing to the Sexual Delinquency of Minors

Voting Record Index Coming Soon

CONGRESS HAS RECESSED UNTIL AFTER THE NOV. 6 ELECTION. Time now to breathe a sigh of relief! (A New York court decision quoted often by conservative legislators reads, “No man’s life, liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session.”)

For us at Life Advocacy, the election-season recess is a signal that it is time to publish our annual Voting Record Index showing our compilation of votes cast affecting the right to Life during the past year, and, in even-numbered years, during the past two years.

Expect soon – in time to educate fellow pro-life voters – the index for both House and Senate for the 112th Congress – the good, the bad and the ugly!

 

Akin Back in the Game?

TWO POLITICAL HEAVYWEIGHTS HAVE RALLIED to the candidacy of Rep. Todd Akin for the US Senate seat in Missouri, where the six-term GOP Congressman is challenging one-term Senator Claire McCaskill (D).

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), leader of the Senate’s conservatives, and former Sen. Rick Santorum, who earlier this year waged a spirited campaign for President in which he won Missouri’s primary, issued a joint statement last Wednesday, acclaiming Rep. Akin as “a principled conservative who … will work to stop reckless spending, stop the out-of-control debt, repeal the government takeover of healthcare, support our military and defend life at every stage.”

The endorsement statement comes the day after a statutory deadline by which Mr. Akin could have withdrawn his candidacy, a move he rejected despite urgings by Republican establishment figures after he stumbled in explaining his pro-life views.

“Their support followed on the heels of [Sen.] Santorum’s former rival Newt Gingrich,” writes Ben Johnson for LifeSiteNews.com, “who held a $500-a-plate fundraiser for [Rep.] Akin in St. Louis [last] Monday.”

The Akin campaign has been depending on individual “small” donors for resources needed to defeat Sen. McCaskill since party fundraising arms have withdrawn their backing despite the need for the GOP to win Missouri in order to take the Senate majority away from Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV).

Former House Speaker Gingrich offered sharp criticism for those who had abandoned the Akin candidacy. “[Mr.] Gingrich said he could understand [supporters] backing off ‘for the first 48 hours’ after [Rep.] Akin’s controversial comments,” writes Mr. Johnson. “‘Now,’” he said, “‘it’s stupid.’”

Mr. Akin appeared to be cheered by Wednesday’s endorsements, sending an electronic message to supporters Wednesday declaring, reports Mr. Johnson, “‘These endorsements are huge for our campaign and show that real conservative leaders are stepping up … .’” He noted that Sen. DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund “could raise as much as $250,000 for his campaign;” the fund backs pro-life candidates.

 

The Quotable Mr. Ryan

SPEAKING AT A UNIVERSITY IN ORLANDO, FLORIDA, last Monday, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) “‘guarantee[d],’” reports Ben Johnson for LifeSiteNews.com, that “if he and Mitt Romney win the election in November, the requirement that … employers, including many religious employers, to provide contraception, sterilization and abortifacient drugs ‘will be gone.’ …

“Responding to a question from one of more than 2,000 people at a rally at the University of Central Florida,” writes Mr. Johnson, “[Rep.] Ryan said the regulation constitutes ‘an assault on religious liberty.’ …

“The [GOP] vice presidential nominee has increasingly attacked Pres. Obama for his single-minded focus on abortion,” writes Mr. Johnson, “which the President has made the centerpiece of his re-election campaign.”

The seven-term Wisconsin Republican will meet Vice President Joe Biden in debate on Thursday, Oct. 11.

 

Conscience Right Prevails

TWO ILLINOIS PHARMACISTS PREVAILED AGAIN late last month in a lawsuit seeking to secure their right of conscience.

The lawsuit brought by Luke VanderBleek and Glenn Kosirog has so far lasted seven years, ever since then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) issued an executive order, notes the Associated Press (AP), “requiring all pharmacists to fill prescriptions for the so-called ‘morning-after pill.’”

Their claim, first dismissed by a local trial court, was filed under the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act, which, notes AP, “says health professionals cannot be punished if they refuse to offer a service because of their conscientious convictions.” Though the Conscience Act does not specifically mention pharmacists as “health professionals,” the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that the lower court was wrong in dismissing the case and ordered that it be heard.

Once the case was heard at trial, the lower court did grant an injunction against the state enforcing the Blagojevich order against the two plaintiffs. A state appeals court Sept. 21 affirmed the injunction. Neither Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn (D) nor the agency charged with regulating professionals had an immediate comment.

Though the ruling applies only to the two plaintiffs, reports AP, “their lawyer, Francis Manion, said it sets an important precedent. … ‘The precedent that this will set in the state of Illinois means that the state is not going to go after a pharmacist that exercises conscientious objection when they know the court has ruled this way in this case.’ …

“[Mr. Manion] said the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act ‘provides the broadest protections for the rights of conscience of healthcare professionals of any law in the country,’” reports AP. “‘It strikes an appropriate balance between the rights of people to have access to medical care and … the rights of people who object … to being coerced into violating their conscience,’” he said in the AP report.

 

Updates Announced to Planned Parenthood Boycott List

LIFE DECISIONS INTERNATIONAL HAS UPDATED The Boycott List of corporations which provide financial support to Planned Parenthood, which LDI, in a news release, called “the world’s primary abortion advocacy behemoth.”

Added boycott targets, LDI announced, include a Canadian train service called VIA Rail and software marketer Intuit, whose products include Go-Payment, Lacerte, Mint, ProSeries, QuickBooks, Quicken, SnapTax and Turbo Tax. Corporations are not added to LDI’s boycott list until attempts have been made to inform corporate officials and persuade them to change their contribution policy.

LDI publishes The Boycott List several times annually to give pro-life consumers an opportunity to avoid patronizing Planned Parenthood abettors; list users are asked to contact corporate officials to reinforce LDI’s appeals and to inform the boycott targets of the consumers’ reason for abstaining from their products. When boycotted companies have taken steps to satisfy LDI that their donations policies have changed, LDI immediately notifies subscribers that the reforming companies are being removed from the list.

The Virginia-based group also lists non-profit organizations which “are associated with Planned Parenthood and/or its agenda;” they are cited in a “dishonorable mention” section of The Boycott List. The most recent addition to this list is The Lance Armstrong Foundation.

“As a direct result of the commitment, action and prayers of pro-family people,” said LDI communications director Kenneth C. Garvey, “at least 289 corporations have stopped funding Planned Parenthood.” LDI estimates the boycott “has cost Planned Parenthood more than $40 million” since LDI’s spotlighting of corporate support for the abortion cartel began.

LDI may be contacted via electronic mail at ldi@fightpp.org.

 

Quackery Promoted

CALIFORNIA GOV. JERRY BROWN (D) SIGNED LEGISLATION late last month to extend until Jan. 1, 2014, a pilot program which jeopardizes the health of mothers undergoing abortion in the interest of advancing Planned Parenthood’s business plan.

SB-623, sponsored by San Diego Sen. Christine Kehoe, was backed by Planned Parenthood, notes David Siders on a blog published by the Sacramento Bee, and “opposed by abortion rights opponents.” It extends “a pilot program,” writes Mr. Siders, “to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of allowing nurse practitioners, midwives and physician assistants to provide aspiration abortions,” without the supervision of a licensed medical doctor.

 

Religious Reservations about the Democratic Platform

Sept. 27, 2012, report by Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Drawing particular attention to the Democratic Party platform’s support for “intrinsic evils” like abortion and “same-sex marriage,” [Roman Catholic] Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, has said Catholics need to “think and pray very carefully” about their votes in the upcoming election.

“My job is not to tell you for whom you should vote. But I do have a duty to speak out on moral issues,” Bishop Paprocki said in his Sept. 23 column for the Catholic Times diocesan paper. “I would be abdicating this duty if I remained silent out of fear of sounding ‘political’ and didn’t say anything about the morality of these issues.”

He said that voting for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are “intrinsically evil and gravely sinful” makes a voter “morally complicit” and places the eternal salvation of his or her soul in “serious jeopardy.”

There are “many positive and beneficial planks” in the Democratic Party platform, the bishop said, but some promote “serious sins.”

In 2008, he noted, the platform dropped its call for abortion to be “safe, legal and rare” in favor of the language “safe and legal.” It now supports abortion “regardless of the ability to pay.” He said this means either taxpayer funding for abortion, mandatory insurance coverage or coercion of hospitals to perform the procedures for free.

Bishop Paprocki added that the Democrats’ national platform supports “same-sex marriage,” deems gay rights to be “human rights” and calls for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman in federal law.

The bishop noted the existence of Republicans who support legalized abortion and others who support “same-sex marriage.” He said they are “equally as wrong as their Democratic counterparts,” but their positions do not have official party support.

Bishop Paprocki also examined the Republican Party platform and found that it has “nothing in it that supports or promotes an intrinsic evil or a serious sin.”

The platform’s support for allowing courts the option of imposing the death penalty in capital murder cases is not inherently opposed to [Catholic] Church teaching. He cited the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s teaching that the death penalty is permissible if it is the only possible way to defend human life.

Bishop Paprocki said that party differences about the needs of the poor and the challenges of immigration are “prudential judgments about the most effective means of achieving morally desirable ends, not intrinsic evils.”

He concluded his column with a prayer that God give Catholic voters the “wisdom and guidance to make the morally right choices.”

 

Contributing to the Sexual Delinquency of Minors

Sept. 25, 2012, commentary by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins in his Washington Update

In New York City, local schools are promoting the wrong kind of “extracurricular” activities. To combat the big uptick in teen pregnancy, city health officials are taking matters into their own hands – and out of parents’.

Under a new program called CATCH, Connecting Adolescents to Comprehensive Healthcare, 13 high schools will double as confidential medical clinics where students can get regular birth control injections, the morning-after pill and condoms without ever calling home. That’s right. The same nurse’s office that demands a parents’ note for aspirin will be in the position to administer high (and potentially dangerous) doses of hormones to children as young as 14 without so much as a permission slip. “I would go to the nurse without telling my parents,” a local girl admitted.

Liability issues aside, this is a sickening violation of parents’ authority, which happens to pose serious risks to teens’ health. As Family Research Council’s Jeanne Monahan pointed out during the abortion industry’s push to make Plan B available to kids over the counter, some of our concerns have to do with the lack of testing on young girls whose bodies are still in a developmental stage.

And contrary to what New York officials believe, Plan B has actually been linked to an increase in teen pregnancies. Another 2010 study found that it’s partially responsible for a spike in adolescent sexually transmitted diseases. Then, of course, there’s the reality that these pills can, in some instances, abort a human life. No high schooler has the maturity level to weigh these issues alone and make a sound decision.

Hold on, the Left will say; students won’t be making these choices themselves – they’ll have the help of school and health officials. Yes, the same people who want to squeeze moms and dads out of the process by automatically opting children in to CATCH. The same agencies that say they will bypass the age restrictions on the morning-after pill by having their own doctors prescribe them. And the same local government that continues to preside over the highest abortion rate (41%) in the country. Unfortunately, I think we all understand the kind of advice children can expect from New York officials. (It starts with promiscuity and ends with Planned Parenthood.)

Of course, one of the greatest ironies of this whole debate is that it’s taking place in New York City – the cradle of Nanny State politics. Now, the same Mayor who took away the city’s Big Gulps wants to take an even bigger risk with kids’ health. It’s like the First Lady, who is dictating what’s on every student’s lunch plate because she thinks she knows better than parents. From a liberal standpoint, it makes perfect sense. If moms and dads can’t be trusted to ensure that their kids are eating well, then they certainly can’t be trusted with decisions about sex and abortion. So the government takes away chocolate milk because it’s too fattening – only to turn around and give kids the morning-after pill, which can really kill.

In the meantime, substituting government for family will only exacerbate the problems of teen sex and pregnancy. It’s a trend that will only change when leaders recognize that involving parents in the decision-making process is the best birth control of all.

[Life Advocacy Briefing editor’s note: New York is not the only site for this scheme against our children and families. Nor is it new. We welcome the coverage of this startling news from New York – both in the Family Research Council bulletin and more widely in other news sources as well. But we caution our readers, look for “school-based health clinics” also in your own state and community. School-based health clinics – presented as benign services for our youth but always including prescription and barrier contraception – were established in racial-minority neighborhoods in Chicago in the early 1980s. Parents are largely unaware; even where they are asked to sign permission slips, the contraception angle is often not itemized, and parents believe they are agreeing to such benign services as accident care and school sports exams. We call the dispensing of contraceptives to school kids “contributing to the sexual delinquency of minors,” and we urge our readers to advocate against school-based clinics.]