Life Advocacy Briefing

January 6, 2014

Calls Needed Already! / Compassionate Ruling / Whew!
March for Life Plans Underway / Battle of the Banners / Effective New Tool
Good News & Bad / Gaining Ground / ObamaCare Abortion Lies of 2013 – Lie # 1

Calls Needed Already!

RETURNING TO THE CAPITOL from December’s Christmas recess, Congress is slated immediately to begin deliberation on the next “emergency” spending measure, since the “Continuing Resolution” which funded the federal government into Fiscal Year 2014 last fall was passed with a sunset date of Jan. 15.

Thus a new omnibus appropriation measure is in must-pass mode. But that does not mean the Members of the House and Senate should be so rushed as to simply pass an extension; as urgent as its passage is, the need of the American people for ObamaCare policy reform is even more urgent.

As of Jan. 1, Obama Regime regulations require employers – including those whose mission involves religious commitment and conscience – to furnish abortifacient contraception coverage to their employees.

While the courts deliberate the coercive impact of the “contraception mandate” on the free exercise of religion in America, Congress needs to act now to spell out conscience rights for employers – and for workers in the medical profession – as must-pass provisions of the must-pass spending measure.

We ask our readers to consult the Action Alert issued Dec. 23 by Family Research Council’s FRC Action arm by visiting FRC/Action’s Internet website at www.frc.org/alert/urge-congress-to-act-to-defend-religious-freedom and then to call Members of Congress and the US Senate to urge them to enact ObamaCare conscience protections for medical personnel and employers as part of the omnibus spending measure. Members can be reached via the Capitol switchboard at 1-202/224-3121.

 

Compassionate Ruling

SUPREME COURT JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR SURPRISED her old friends in the abortion lobby on New Year’s Eve, issuing a temporary injunction against the slated Jan. 1 Obama Regime enforcement of the controversial “contraception mandate” under ObamaCare.

Justice Sotomayor “issued the stay,” report M. Alex Johnson and Winston Wilde for NBC News, “at the request of an order of Catholic nuns in Colorado, the Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged. … The motion for a stay went to [Ms.] Sotomayor,” note the NBC reporters, “as the justice with oversight for the 10th Circuit” Court of Appeals, which had earlier rejected the plea for regulatory relief. She gave Regime lawyers until Friday (after our publication deadline) to respond.

“‘Tomorrow a regulatory mandate will expose numerous Catholic organizations to draconian fines,’” declared the Little Sisters order in petitioning for the stay, quoted by NBC, “‘unless they abandon their religious convictions and take actions that facilitate access to abortion-inducing products, contraceptives, sterilization and related education and counseling for their employees.’”

The order of nuns had earlier told the Daily Caller publication that the contraception mandate – if not overturned by the courts or the Congress – could force the ministering sisters to cease US operations, which currently serve elderly poor people in 30 US cities. “‘We are not exempt from the [ObamaCare] mandate because we neither serve nor employ a predominantly Catholic population,’” the order’s communications director Sister Constance Carolyn Veit told the Daily Caller. “‘We hire employees and serve/house the elderly regardless of race and religion, so that makes us ineligible for the exemption being granted churches.’”

Of course, the religious order could, according to the bureaucrats, refuse to participate and instead incur fines; those fines – at $100 a day per employee – are unconscionably high for any employer but especially for a missionary order like Little Sisters of the Poor, whose members have taken vows of poverty.

The case lays bare the Obama Regime’s motivations in foisting abortifacient contraception and sterilization on the American people; surely the motives have little to do with providing care for those in need. For the poor Americans being aided by Little Sisters of the Poor, unless the Supreme Court or the Congress grants conscience protections – and now – the safety net of charity will disappear as surely as their need continues.

 

Whew!

WHILE JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR WAS GRANTING A TEMPORARY REPRIEVE for the Little Sisters of the Poor in the religious order’s lawsuit against the ObamaCare contraception mandate, a judge of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals did the same for Priests for Life.

The prominent pro-life advocacy organization secured an emergency injunction on New Year’s Eve for temporary relief from a Dec. 19 DC Circuit ruling which had ordered Priests for Life to begin complying with the abortifacient/contraception mandate on Jan. 1.

In a news release announcing the reprieve, Priests for Life national director Fr. Frank Pavone called the ObamaCare mandate a “blatant act of tyranny – to give the federal government the power to determine what is and what isn’t important in an individual’s religion; that is not the government’s role.”

Fr. Pavone noted, “There have already been significant victories in the courts against the HHS mandate, and we have no doubt that Priests for Life ultimately will prevail in this historic fight.”

A major lawsuit against the mandate, brought by the evangelical owner of the retail business Hobby Lobby, has been taken up by the Supreme Court and is likely to undergo hearings and a ruling this spring. Dozens of lawsuits brought by businesses and religious employers alike have been heard in various courts across America and have seen a variety of rulings.

 

March for Life Plans Underway

PLANS HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED for the annual March for Life in Washington, DC, which this year will occur on Wednesday, Jan. 22, the exact anniversary date of the Supreme Court’s tragic 1973 Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton edicts decriminalizing abortion and launching a massive, intrusive enterprise across America.

A concert/warm-up event will precede the official March rally, which will occupy the National Mall between noon and 1 p.m., followed by a peaceful march through the streets of Washington to the steps of the Supreme Court.

Participants will travel to DC in rented buses as well as by family vehicles, trains and even planes. An exhibitor show will kick off the events from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 21, and will resume on March day between 8 and 11 a.m. and then from 3 to 7 p.m.

A youth rally will rock the Regency Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill on Jan. 21 between 2 and 5 p.m. The Hyatt Regency will also be the site of a Jan. 21 March for Life Law Conference co-hosted by the March organizers, the Ave Maria School of Law and Americans United for Life.

A 5K “Nellie Gray Run for Life,” named for the March’s founder, who passed away in 2012, will precede the March at 8 a.m. on Jan. 22 through East Potomac Park, and the annual Rose dinner will cap the events after the March; tickets are required for the dinner and cost $85 per person in advance or $100 at the door.

Those who wish more information or who need to contact March organizers are asked to visit the group’s Internet website or to “reach out to Mary Lembke, CMP, at marylembke@marchforlife.org.”

 

Battle of the Banners

A STREET CONFLICT HAS ARISEN IN SAN FRANCISCO with the opening of the new year. Added to the holiday decorations drawing shoppers to Market Street are 50 banners placed by Walk for Life West Coast in preparation for the group’s tenth annual “anti-abortion march,” scheduled for Jan. 25, reports Heather Knight for the San Francisco Chronicle.

The banners declaring “Abortion Hurts Women” have raised the ire of “a local pro-choice group called the Silver Ribbon Campaign to Trust Women,” reports Ms. Knight, who writes that the Silver Ribbon group sponsored banners a year ago with such winsome slogans as “U.S. Out of My Uterus.”

The response last year came from Life Legal Defense Foundation, which, writes Ms. Knight, “demanded the city take them down, saying they should have been issued permits because they weren’t advertising a particular event. The Dept. of Public Works said they were legit,” writes Ms. Knight, “and left them up.”

So San Francisco is now stuck with its policy, and this year pro-life activists are taking their turn. The Silver Ribbon group is furious, reportedly but, it appears, will have to put up with the 50 Life educational banners for, according to the Chronicle, “about a month.”

 

Effective New Tool

GRAMMY-WINNING MUSICIAN JOHN ELEFANTE HAS PUBLISHED a moving music video featuring a song he has written about his own adopted daughter’s abortion survival.

We have posted “This Time” as a feature on our Internet website www.LifeAdvocacy.com; it can be also be viewed at www.youtube.com/results?search_query=john+elefante+this+time&sm=1.

News reports indicate Mr. Elefante has said he has received reports of vulnerable babies whose lives have been saved via this video, which has registered more than 402,000 viewers.

 

Good News & Bad

THE RECENTLY REPORTED OFFICIAL ABORTION DEATH TOLL for 2010 showed a 3.1% decline in abortion from 2009, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Most – but not all – states report abortions statistically to the CDC.

National Right to Life Committee, reporting on the 2010 “Abortion Surveillance” statistics issued in late November, expresses concern, despite the good news of a modest decline in totals, that legalized abortion’s impact on minority communities continues to be disproportionately severe.

Given Planned Parenthood’s documented targeting of minority neighborhoods for its “services,” the trend is not surprising. It should be taken as a warning to policymakers who cater to minority voters, yet embrace the abortion industry and welcome its political largesse.

 

Gaining Ground

NOW THAT 2013 HAS CLOSED, Operation Rescue (OR) has issued a report on the closings of abortuaries across America: 81 closed, and an added six have ceased committing surgical abortions.

“The total number of surgical abortion centers in the United States,” writes American Values chairman Gary Bauer, summarizing the OR report, “stands at 582, down from a high of 2,176 in 1991.”

“According to the survey,” reports Dr. Susan Berry for Breitbart news service, “Planned Parenthood clinics accounted for nearly 30% of all active surgical abortion clinics (172 of 582) and 93% of all clinics that offer abortion via drugs only. Planned Parenthood’s roughly 300,000 abortions per year,” notes Dr. Berry, “are responsible for about one-third of all abortions performed in the United States.”

We join Mr. Bauer in crediting the ministry of pregnancy resource centers, affirming the educational work of grassroots pro-life organizations nationally and locally and the effective leadership of pro-life legislators at the state, federal and even local levels.  Mr. Bauer cites the closure of some 11 abortuaries in Texas following the passage of effective legislation in a special session last summer.

And we add commendation for front-line ministries like the Pro-Life Action League and 40 Days for Life, which take their advocacy for unborn children to the doors of the abortuaries themselves, as well as for next-generation groups like the campus-focused Students for Life of America and the media-savvy Live Action team. And of course, stalwarts like Life Dynamics, American Life League and Life Decisions International, as well as our friends at Susan B. Anthony List and Americans United for Life. And so many others.

“‘We will continue to develop new tactics to close abortion clinics until there are none left,’” said Operation Rescue president Troy Newman, quoted by Breitbart. “‘That is our goal. We just don’t want to reduce the number of abortions. We want to end abortion altogether,’” he said. “‘But until we can get there, our strategy of closing abortion clinics by using the tools the system has provided is an effective way to save lives right now.’”

Tragic as America’s abortion death toll continues to be, we thank God for advances over the past 41 years of Roe in bringing America back to a culture of Life and the American foundational values of justice and mercy.

 

ObamaCare Abortion Lies of 2013 – Lie # 1

End-of-year statement by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), co-chairman of the House Pro-Life Caucus; to be continued in one or more future editions of Life Advocacy Briefing

Big Lie # 1: “The Act maintains current Hyde Amendment restrictions governing abortion policy and extends those restrictions to newly created health insurance exchanges.” (Obama Executive Order 13535)

In the run-up to passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – ObamaCare – Americans were repeatedly told and reassured by Pres. Obama himself, including in a speech to a joint session of Congress in October, 2009, that “under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortion … .” In an 11th-hour ploy to garner the votes of a remnant of pro-life Congressional Democrats absolutely needed for passage in the House, the President issued an Executive Order that said “the Act maintains current Hyde Amendment restrictions governing abortion policy and extends those restrictions to newly created health insurance exchanges.”

At its core, the Hyde Amendment has two parts. It prohibits funding for abortion and funding for any insurance plan that includes abortion except in the case of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. Yet, many Americans woke up to the launch of the ObamaCare exchanges only to discover that they had been misled and deceived.

Rollout of the ObamaCare exchanges reveals that many health insurance plans will subsidize abortion-on-demand. For example, the preliminary data suggests that every insurance plan on the Connecticut healthcare exchanges will pay for abortion-on-demand. In the most recent example, we learned that 103 of the 112 insurance plans for Members of Congress and Congressional staff include elective abortion coverage. Only nine plans offered exclude elective abortion. It is clear that there are numerous ObamaCare plans that include elective abortion and billions of taxpayers’ dollars will now be handed out as credits to buy abortion-covering health insurance – a clear violation of the Hyde Amendment’s fundamental principle of restricting funds to abortion-subsidizing health insurance plans.

As with Mr. Obama’s promise that Americans can keep their current health insurance policy if they like it, implementation in the ObamaCare exchanges of massive public funding of abortion coverage undermines the President’s credibility and word. As a direct result, hundreds of thousands of unborn babies will painfully die from dismemberment in surgical abortion or from chemical poisoning and forced expulsion from the womb.