Life Advocacy Briefing

December 10, 2012

Yes! / Military Abortions Back on Front Burner / Turning the Screws
Lowey Elbows Kaptur Out of Leadership Post / Our Children at Risk / Not Now, Not Ever!
Senate Voting Record


THE U.S. SENATE SAID ‘YES’ TO FAMILIES last Tuesday and “yes” to maintaining US sovereignty. What a blessing that the US Constitution requires a two-thirds affirmative vote for the ratification of a treaty. Even though a majority of Senators got it wrong when they voted on the UN Convention (Treaty) on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the treaty fell six votes short of the 67 needed. Praise the Lord!

We have no doubt that the sponsors of this abomination thought public opinion could be stirred in favor of “protecting the rights of the disabled.” But they may not have anticipated the “no-thanks” response of thousands of disabled Americans, who are not looking to government for every decision in life, as this treaty could have forced.

They also did not anticipate the response of pro-life citizens who saw the abortion-related pitfalls in the treaty or the uprising of homeschooling families, who are always vigilant about government intrusions on the right of parents to determine the upbringing of their own children.

Concerns about language giving the UN the opportunity to impose abortion access as an international right spurred Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), a treaty supporter, figuratively to don his political pundit robes. During Senate debate Monday night, Sen. McCain sniffed, quoted by Ramsey Cox for The Hill, “‘With respect to abortion, this is a disabilities treaty and has nothing to do with abortion. Trying to turn this into an abortion debate is bad politics,’” he preached, “‘and just wrong.’” Fortunately, enough of his colleagues saved us, for now, from testing his theory.

Provisions which offended such a notable as former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum included a section transferring from parents to government decisions related to the best interests of children with disabilities, whether in education, healthcare or even housing. The 2012 GOP Presidential primary contender worked tirelessly through his network to marshal citizen input on the treaty vote. He keynoted a news conference a week before the vote along with founder Michael Farris and US Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT).

We publish the Senate voting record at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing. Life Advocacy has published information and alerts about the treaty since it was submitted to the Senate last summer, and we thank those of our readers who took action to block its ratification; at the same time, we caution that the treaty can be brought back whenever Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) decides to put it up for a vote. Continued vigilance is in order, and that’s the topic for Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, whose Dec. 4 commentary we reprint just ahead of the voting record.


Military Abortions Back on Front Burner

THE BAN ON TAXPAYER SUBSIDY OF ABORTIONS ON MILITARY WOMEN has been modified in the Defense Authorization bill as advanced by the Senate last Tuesday, opening the federal treasury to abortionists whose preborn victims were conceived in rape or incest. The provision, advanced by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) was adopted last May in Senate committee; no action was taken by the full Senate to challenge it. The measure now goes to conference for reconciliation with the House-passed version, which preserved the long-standing ban on coverage of abortion in the military’s medical insurance plan.

Sen. Shaheen’s initiative was openly backed by GOP Senators Kelly Ayotte (NH) and Scott Brown (MA), as well as GOP Rep. Chris Gibson (NY), all members of their chambers’ respective Committee on the Armed Services, according to the Associated Press (AP), which noted they had co-signed with Sen. Shaheen and four other Senators and House Members a letter advocating relaxation of the abortion ban. Their letter was addressed to Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and John McCain (R-AZ) and Representatives Adam Smith (D-WA) and Buck McKeon (R-CA), all of whom will serve as conferees and the first three of whom already are known to support the Shaheen scheme.  Mr. Smith has pledged to the Huffington Post that he will press for Shaheen language in the final House bill.

Lost in media coverage of the provision’s passage was any consideration for the innocent children being targeted by the situation ethicists and abortion apologists who are pushing to overturn the policy.


Turning the Screws

THE OBAMA REGIME’s HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES DEPARTMENT (HHS) last week announced new rules slamming insurance companies with a 3.5% premium surcharge on any policies they sell through federal exchanges, which will be set up in states that have turned down involvement in the nationalization of medical care.

“The only states to be affected,” report Sandy Fitzgerald and Martin Gould for, “are those that refuse to set up their own exchanges because of opposition to the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act [ObamaCare]. They are almost certain to be those under Republican control,” note the Newsmax reporters. “In those states, HHS will set up the exchanges.”

Arizona is the latest among 17 GOP-led states whose governors have said they would rather let the federal government shoulder the full burden of exchanges within their states than take on the costly burden of establishing state-level exchanges which would operate under yet-to-be-determined federal regulations. Arizona’s Gov. Jan Brewer last week called the state exchange scheme “‘too expensive,’” reports Newsmax, “‘and too risky.’”


Lowey Elbows Kaptur Out of Leadership Post

WHILE MEDIA HAVE FOCUSED ON ABORTION-RELATED CONTROVERSIES in the Republican Party, abortion radicalism appears to have been a key factor in the shelving of Rep. Marcy Kaptur’s bid for the post of Ranking Member (leading Minority Member) on the House Committee on Appropriations, on which the Ohio Democrat holds top seniority in the coming 113th Congress.

Rep. Kaptur’s 36-to-10 defeat in last Tuesday’s meeting of the House Democratic Caucus’s Policy & Steering Committee hands the powerful spot to Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY).

Reporting on the upset, Ben Johnson of, notes “Congressional Democrats’ infighting over [the] coveted leadership position [had] degenerated into one of the most extreme pro-abortion bidding wars in recent memory.”

Rep. Lowey had argued, writes Mr. Johnson, “that she deserve[d] the ranking Democratic seat … because … Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur is insufficiently pro-abortion.

“[Mrs.] Kaptur, a Catholic Democrat representing a blue-collar district in Toledo,” writes Mr. Johnson, “has only a 70% voting record with NARAL Pro-Choice America.  [Ms.] Lowey,” he notes, “has an unswerving, 100% voting record against the unborn. …

“Among her unforgivable trespasses,” reports Mr. Johnson, was that Rep. “Kaptur briefly stood with Bart Stupak to hold up the passage of ObamaCare until they received a worthless executive order promising not to fund abortion.” Revisiting Life Advocacy Briefing’s Voting Record Index compiling the Life-related records of House Members during the 112th Congress, we find Rep. Kaptur voting “pro-Life” twice in the 25 roll calls on which she recorded a vote.

LifeSite’s Mr. Johnson concludes from the dashing of Rep. Kaptur last week, “The Democratic Party has become a wholly owned subsidiary of Planned Parenthood, where 70% is not sufficiently servile to the forces of death. … The abortion movement,” he observes, “has skillfully deployed its political resources to keep the party on a short leash.”


Our Children at Risk

NOW THAT THE RADICAL OBAMA REGIME HAS WON a second four-year term, some 40 abortion lobby groups are pressing the federal bureaucracy for relaxation of the already-too-loose rules governing dispensing of high-dose abortifacient birth control pills to minors under age 17, “lobbying the Dept. of Health & Human Services,” reports Ben Johnson for, “to make ‘emergency contraception’ available over the counter.”

The current rule requiring a prescription for such chemicals to be purchased by minors under 17 was hammered out as a compromise by the Food & Drug Administration when the FDA first cleared “Plan B” and other brands of “morning-after pills” for marketing in the US.

Coinciding with the renewed push is the issuance of two reports by significant medical associations urging wider minors’ use of sexual delinquency chemicals and devices. The American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (ACOG) “released a study … in October,” reports Mr. Johnson, “suggesting American women – especially teenage girls – should use long-acting reversible contraception such as IUDs (intrauterine devices) or other implants.”

Then the second punch was delivered in November with the release of a “policy statement” by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) “asking doctors, including school nurses,” writes Mr. Johnson, “to promote the use of ‘emergency contraception’ among sexually active teens.” This policy statement is particularly problematic because of its likely immediate effect among member pediatricians, who are authorized by the FDA’s current rules to issue prescriptions for the high-dose chemicals.

A competing association of pediatricians, the Gainesville, Florida-based American College of Pediatricians (ACP), issued a news release last Monday “disput[ing] the AAP’s recent recommendation that pediatricians provide younger adolescents with a prescription for ‘emergency contraception’ and instruct all adolescent patients to use it ‘in case’ of unprotected intercourse.” The ACP has a standing position warning that the “morning-after pill” is a “risk to pediatric patients.”

The ACP, which has existed since 1915, according to its Internet website (, and declared in its release: “Rather than facilitating adolescent sexual activity, health professionals need to encourage good adolescent-parental communication, teach adolescent patients the benefits of delaying sexual activity until marriage, and teach them how to avoid premature/promiscuous sex and situations resulting in coerced sex. …

“Research has consistently shown,” noted ACP, “that increased access to ‘emergency contraception’ (EC) does not result in lower pregnancy rates among adolescents and young adults but can be associated with an increased incidence of sexually transmitted infections. Despite self-reports denying it,” ACP stated in its release, “‘ready access’ to EC apparently increases the sexual activity of adolescents, which is a risk factor for depression and suicide, poor school performance, more lifetime sexual partners and an increased divorce rate.”

Downplaying the risks of premarital and extramarital sexual activity – as the ACOG and AAP do – puts more adolescents into the hands of the abortion industry, as contraception is not foolproof against repeated sexual intercourse.

Parents of young or adolescent children would do well to inquire which medical associations a pediatrician is associated with before placing their children in the care of an AAP member.

And we call on Members of Congress to bar the FDA from spending any federal tax dollars on relaxing its marketing regulations for the “morning-after” pill and other abortifacient devices or chemicals. It is our lawmakers’ responsibility to protect America’s next generation from the Obama Regime and its fellow travelers in medicine.


Not Now, Not Ever!

Commentary by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins in his Dec. 4, 2012, Washington Update

One thing Congress won’t be giving the UN for Christmas is more control over US disabilities policy. Earlier this afternoon, the Senate pulled the plug on a treaty that would have seriously compromised American sovereignty and parental rights. Despite an outspoken John McCain, Republicans stuck together to deny lead Democrat John Kerry (MA) the [67] votes his party needed for ratification. By a 61-to-38 tally, all but two Senators (McCain and Scott Brown) held true to their September pledge to block the measure through the lameduck session.  Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), the treaty’s lead challenger, had argued since this summer that the lameduck isn’t an “appropriate time” for passing treaties that would become the “supreme law of the land.”

But as far as conservatives are concerned, no time is a good time for passing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), a measure so expansive that it could dictate everything from the Social Security benefits to the education of special needs kids. Unfortunately for anyone who cares about American autonomy, today’s vote may be the warm-up act to a tougher debate in the new year. While the bloc of GOP Senators managed to kill the treaty this time, conservatives shouldn’t get too comfortable. Lee’s letter of opposition was specific to the lameduck session – opening the door to greater pressure in 2013, when Democrats return with an even stronger Senate majority.

When CRPD resurfaces – and liberals vow it will – Republicans would be wise to keep Walter Olson’s op-ed handy. His column in today’s Daily Caller explains everything that’s wrong with the treaty and the people supporting it. From the beginning, Senators like John McCain have insisted that CRPD is just an expansion of US disabilities policy. Olson explained, “Anyone who claims this [treaty] merely codifies existing US disabled-rights law … cannot have read its text with care. … When it’s pointed out that the Convention by its own text requires radical revamping of many existing policies, advocates respond with the peculiar argument that, after all, we shouldn’t take its provisions all that seriously.” Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank even accused objectors of being part of the “dark world of UN conspiracy theories.”

This is a treaty with 50 Articles, and anyone who suggests – as Sen. Kerry did – that it doesn’t require “one change to US law” must be waiting to pass it to find out what’s in it! That could be particularly disastrous for America’s governors, who would also be answerable to the UN. “Will states and localitites have to change their laws, or just the federal government?” Olson writes. “Glad you asked: Article 4, Section 5 says, ‘The provisions of the present Convention shall extend to all parts of federal states without limitations or exceptions.”

Families, parents, states, Congress and students all stand to lose some independence through CRPD. So “whether presented today, next term or ten years from now,” we agree: This treaty deserves to fail!


Senate Voting Record

Ratification of United Nations Convention (Treaty) on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – Dec. 4, 2012 – Rejected 61-38, needing 67 (Democrats in italics)

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

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

Not voting: IL/Kirk.