Life Advocacy Briefing

May 12, 2014

Taking a Break? / The Trouble with Sylvia Burwell
House Passes Bill Exalting Feminists / Damaging Endorsement
Justice Achieved, at Last / House Voting Record: Feminist Museum
Burwell Confirmation Committee Members

Taking a Break?

OUR EDITOR WILL BE TRAVELING NEXT WEEK. Consequently, we are likely to be taking one week off from publishing Life Advocacy Briefing. We will be monitoring the news and will publish if news warrants, but our readers should not be surprised if our next publication date is May 26.


The Trouble with Sylvia Burwell

THE NOMINATION OF SYLVIA BURWELL IS BEGINNING TO MOVE in the US Senate. The Obama budget director is seeking confirmation as Secretary of Health & Human Services, a deeply sensitive post in the abortion arena. The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions began hearings Thursday on the nomination.

Media writers such as Jake Miller of CBS News, citing Reuters as his source, expect the hearings – which later will include consideration by the Senate’s Committee on Finance – to be the “best, most high-profile opportunity” for Republicans “to indict Pres. Obama’s healthcare law before the November midterm elections, … and they’re planning an all-out assault on the law” as the confirmation hearings develop.  Mrs. Burwell has been named to succeed failed Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, whose fumbling of the ObamaCare law is likely her most lasting legacy.

As much as we look forward to the ObamaCare discussion, our concerns about the Burwell nomination flow principally from Mrs. Burwell’s own background as president of the Global Development program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, following a stint as the foundation’s chief operating officer and executive director. She joined the foundation at the close of the Clinton Administration, in which she served as deputy director of the Office of Management & Budget.

The Gates Foundation is well known as a top funder of depopulation programs throughout the world, particularly focused on underdeveloped countries which are vulnerable to Gates largesse. Putting a Gates alum into the helm of the US government’s chief welfare and health bureaucracy is a fox-in-the-henhouse move on the part of the Obama Regime. Not a good choice, Mr. President. Not at all.

Members of the Senate Health Committee may be contacted via the Capitol switchboard at 1-202/224-3121. We publish the roster of the Committee at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing.


House Passes Bill Exalting Feminists

THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES PASSED LEGISLATION last Wednesday to move forward a plot by radical feminists to exalt their heroines by enshrining them in a National Women’s History Museum. HR-863 was filed in February, 2013, by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and 18 others, strangely including Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). More co-sponsors joined in the succeeding 15 months.

The measure creates a commission to study “the potential creation” of such a museum, a goal of the radical feminist movement, notes Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, for nearly two decades. Can anyone doubt, with Republican lawmakers continuing to demonstrate electoral fear of “war on women” rhetoric from the Left, that House passage of the “commission” bill actually places the cornerstone for the edifice?

The roll call vote Wednesday was 383 to 33, clearly overcoming the 2/3-vote hurdle required for the measure to be sent to the Senate. We publish this roll call near the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing. Though we had not earlier published warnings about the measure nor asked our readers to weigh in against it, we believe the impact of this vote in the abortion fight should have been obvious to House Members, particularly since the lobby behind this initiative has made no secret of its intention to exalt eugenicist Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood.

We find House passage of this bill shameful and its Senate passage likely inevitable, and we intend to watch – with both interest and some trepidation – the appointments made to this eight-member commission by the Speaker and Minority Leader of the House and by the Majority Leader and Minority Leader of the Senate.


Damaging Endorsement

THE MICHIGAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS AIRING a brazen television ad to support the statewide candidacy of US Rep. Gary Peters for the US Senate seat being vacated this year by retiring Sen. Carl Levin (D).

The ad seeks to undercut the likeliest GOP candidate, former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, challenging her with a “war on women” approach. Counters Ms. Land, quoted by reporter Dustin Siggins, “‘As a woman, I might know a little more about women than Gary Peters.’”

But, of course, the “war on women” has very little to do with women’s needs and more to do with abortion industry profits.

In no contest we have seen has that been made more clear than by the content of this “war on women” ad in Michigan. The state’s Democratic Party has brought out of the shadows – to advocate for the election of Mr. Peters and defeat of Ms. Land – none other than Renee Chelian, whom Mr. Siggins identifies as owner of “Northland Family Planning, a series of three abortion clinics that provide abortion services from ‘4-24 weeks,’ according to its website.

“In the video,” reports Mr. Siggins, “[Ms.] Chelian stands in front of ‘Exam Room 1’ and says, ‘Choosing Gary Peters means protecting my daughter’s and your daughter’s future.’”

But what future are Ms. Chelian and her competitors – and her fellow travelers in the Peters camp – choosing for the daughters of America? Painful surgery, years of regret and emotional pain, and in the case of the little girls growing each day toward birth, excruciating and cruel death. No thank you.


Justice Achieved, at Last

May 6, 2014, Commentary by Chicago Tribune columnist Dennis Byrne

Just how small-minded and vindictive the National Organization for Women is was revealed for all to see last week in the federal appeals court here [in Chicago]. That’s where NOW got slapped down for the latest chapter in its decades-long effort to club pro-life activists into bankruptcy with the federal racketeering law known as RICO. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals minced no words in rejecting out-of-hand NOW’s effort to chisel the pro-life activists out of the meager costs they were owed for successfully defending themselves.

It was almost 28 years ago that NOW sued pro-life activists such as Joseph Scheidler, head of the Pro-life Action League, for allegedly committing the same kind of crimes as Chicago mobsters.

It was exactly the sort of misuse of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act that had troubled liberal Sens. Edward Kennedy and Philip Hart when RICO was debated in 1970. They were concerned that RICO would be used against peace and civil rights protesters. That would never happen, they were assured, and so RICO was enacted. Then, along came NOW to do precisely what Kennedy feared, claiming in a suit that the pro-life protests amounted to extortion. For more than two decades, the case NOW v. Scheidler bounced around the federal courts, winding up before the U.S. Supreme Court three times. In 2003 and in 2006, the court ruled in favor of Scheidler, the last time unanimously.

Yet, it still wasn’t over. When the defendants – represented throughout all this by the Thomas More Society, a Chicago-based public interest law firm – asked the court to be reimbursed for their expenses, as was their right, NOW high-tailed it back to court to contest the meager sum that was requested.

Even though the total cost of the litigation that began 28 years ago had to be a fortune and Scheidler had to mortgage his house to continue the fight, the defendants sought only $71,933. NOW amazingly argued that the defendants were not entitled to any costs.

The defendants had applied to U.S. District Judge David Coar for the reimbursement in 2007, but he sat on the request for three years before retiring without ruling. The case landed before Judge Charles Norgle, who granted the defendants $63,391.

NOW sprang back into action, refusing to pay and appealing Norgle’s decision. Its grounds? Laughably, NOW asserted that the defendants, in effect, didn’t hector Coar enough to rule in a timely manner. In other words, NOW insisted that because Coar had retired, the defendants had forfeited their claim. NOW also asserted that the defendants didn’t file their claim soon enough and that the transcripts and copies the defendants paid for weren’t all necessarily applicable to the case.

The three-judge appeals panel unanimously quashed NOW on all counts. Writing for the panel, Judge Frank Easterbrook, noting that the defendants have had to wait more than five years for their legally entitled reimbursement, called some of NOW’s arguments “preposterous.” (Easterbrook’s written decision … was joined by Judge David Hamilton and Judge Joseph Bauer.)

He pointed out that the award amounted to a mere $2,300 for each year of litigation, understating that it was a “modest” sum for a suit that “entailed discovery, a long trial, many motions in the district court, and appellate proceedings that span a generation.”

Easterbrook noted that NOW wanted the claim denied because the defendants suspected that Coar “would rule against them and were happy to wait until the request landed in a different judge’s lap.” Easterbrook’s response: “So what? No statute, rule or decision of which we are aware requires litigants to pester judges for rulings on pain of forfeiture.”

Easterbrook wrote, “At oral argument, plaintiffs’ lawyer candidly admitted that she did not know of any decisions, by any court, creating a badger-the-judge-or-forfeit-the-motion requirement; our search did not turn one up. We will not be the first. The obligation to render timely rulings rests on the judiciary, not the parties.

“This litigation has lasted far too long. At last it is over.” One can hope.

In true justice, NOW should have to empty its treasury for putting the pro-lifers through an extended and venomous war to deny them their civil rights. Its attempt to impose unconstitutional restraints on people it disagrees with shines as a unique, brazen and glaring example of a cynical abuse of the legal system. 

House Voting Record: Feminist Museum

HR-863 – Establishing Commission on Women’s History Museum — Final Passage – May 7, 2014 – 383-33 (New Member in ALL CAPS; Co-sponsors marked with asterisk; Democrats in italics)

Voting “no” / pro-life: Franks/AZ; Campbell & McClintock/CA; Lamborn/CO; Mica & Yoho/FL; Broun & A.Scott/GA; Stutzman/IN; Huelskamp & Pompeo/KS; Massie/KY; Amash/MI; Bachmann/MN; Nunnelee/MS; Garrett/NJ; Harris/MD; Hartzler & Long/MO; Jones & Meadows/NC; Bridenstine, Lankford & Lucas/OK; Shuster/PA; Duncan/SC; Duncan/TN; Hensarling, Marchant, Neugebauer, Olson, Stockman & Weber/TX.

Voting “yes” / anti-life: Aderholt, Bachus, Brooks, Byrne, Roby, Rogers & Sewell/AL; Young/AK; Barber, Gosar, Grijalva*, Kirkpatrick, Pastor*, Salmon, Schweikert & Sinema/AZ; Cotton & Womack/AR; Bass, Becerra, Bera, Brownley*, Calvert, Capps*, Cardenas, Chu*, Cook, Costa, Davis*, Denham, Eshoo, Garamendi, Hahn*, Honda*, Huffman, Hunter, Issa, LaMalfa, Lee*, Lofgren*, Lowenthal*, Matsui*, McCarthy*, McKeon, McNerney*, Geo.Miller, Napolitano*, Negrete-McLeod*, Nunes, Peters*, Rohrabacher, Roybal-Allard*, Royce, Ruiz, Linda Sanchez, Loretta Sanchez*, Schiff, Sherman, Speier*, Swalwell*, Takano*, Thompson*, Valadao, Vargas*, Waters & Waxman*/CA; Coffman, DeGette, Gardner, Perlmutter, Polis & Tipton/CO; Courtney, DeLauro*, Esty* & Larson/CT; Carney/DE; Bilirakis, Brown*, Buchanan, Castor*, Crenshaw, DeSantis, Deutch, Diaz-Balart, Farr, Frankel*, Garcia, Grayson, Hastings, JOLLY, Miller, Murphy, Nugent, Posey, Rooney, Ros-Lehtinen*, Ross, Southerland, Webster*, Wasserman-Schultz* & Wilson*/FL; Barrow, Bishop, Collins, Graves, Johnson, Lewis, Price, D.Scott, Westmoreland & Woodall/GA; Gabbard & Hanabusa*/HI; Labrador & Simpson/ID; Bustos*, D.Davis, R.Davis, Duckworth, Enyart, Foster, Gutierrez, Hultgren, Kelly*, Kinzinger, Lipinski, Quigley, Roskam, Schakowsky*, Schneider, Schock & Shimkus/IL; Brooks*, Bucshon, Carson, Messer, Rokita, Visclosky, Walorski & Young/IN; Braley, King, Latham & Loebsack/IA; Jenkins & Yoder/KS; Barr, Guthrie, Rogers, Whitfield & Yarmuth/KY; Boustany, Cassidy, Fleming, McAllister, Richmond & Scalise/LA; Michaud/ME; Cummings, Delaney*, Edwards*, Hoyer*, Ruppersberger, Sarbanes & VanHollen/MD; Capuano, Keating, Kennedy, Lynch, McGovern, Neal, Pingree*, Tierney & Tsongas/MA; Benishek, Bentivolio, Camp, Conyers*, Dingell, Huizenga, Kildee*, Levin, Miller, Rogers, Upton & Walberg/MI; Ellison*, Kline, McCollum*, Nolan*, Paulsen, Peters, Peterson & Walz*/MN; Harper & Thompson/MS; Clay*, Cleaver, Graves, Luetkemeyer, Smith & Wagner/MO; Daines/MT; Fortenberry, Smith & Terry/NE; Amodei, Heck, Horsford & Titus/NV; Kuster* & Shea-Porter*/NH; Frelinghuysen*, Holt*, Lance, LoBiondo, Pallone, Pascrell*, Payne*, Runyan, Smith & Sires/NJ; Grisham-Lujan, B.Lujan & Pearce/NM; Clarke*, Collins, Crowley, Engel, Gibson, Grimm, Hanna*, Higgins, Israel*, Jeffries, King*, Lowey, Maffei*, C.Maloney, S.Maloney*, McCarthy*, Meeks*, Meng*, Nadler*, Owens*, Reed, Serrano*, Slaughter, Tonko* & Velazquez/NY; Butterfield, Ellmers*, Foxx, Holding, Hudson, McHenry, McIntyre, Pittenger & Price /NC; Cramer/ND; Beatty*, Chabot, Fudge*, Gibbs, Johnson, Jordan, Joyce, Kaptur*, Latta*, Renacci, Ryan, Stivers, Tiberi, Turner & Wenstrup/OH; Cole & Mullin/OK; Blumenauer*, Bonamici*, DeFazio, Schrader & Walden/OR; Barletta, Brady, Cartwright*, Dent*, Doyle, Fattah, Fitzpatrick*, Gerlach, Kelly, Marino, Meehan, Murphy, Perry, Pitts, Rothfus & Thompson/PA; Cicilline* & Langevin/RI; Clyburn,Gowdy, Mulvaney, Rice, Sanford & Wilson/SC; Noem/SD; Black, Blackburn*, Cohen*, Cooper, DesJarlais, Fincher, Fleischmann & Roe/TN; Barton, Brady, Burgess, Carter, Castro, Conaway, Cuellar, Culberson, Doggett*, Farenthold, Flores, Gallego, Gohmert, Granger, A.Green, G.Green, Hall, Jackson-Lee*, E.B.Johnson, S.Johnson, McCaul, O’Rourke*, Poe, Sessions, Smith, Thornberry, Veasey, Vela &Williams/TX; Bishop, Chaffetz, Matheson & Stewart /UT; Welch/VT; Cantor, Connolly, Forbes, Goodlatte, Griffith, Hurt, Moran*, Rigell*, Scott, Wittman & Wolf/VA; DelBene*, Hastings, Heck, Herrera-Beutler, Kilmer, Larsen, McDermott, McMorris-Rodgers*, Reichert & Smith/WA; Kind, Moore*, Petri, Pocan, Ribble, Ryan & Sensenbrenner/WI; Capito*, McKinley & Rahall/WV; Lummis*/WY.

Not Voting: Crawford & Griffin/AR; Gary Miller & Pelosi/CA; Himes/CT; Gingrey & Kingston/GA; Rush/IL; Clark*/MA; Palazzo/MS; Rangel*/NY; Coble/NC; Boehner/OH; Schwartz/PA; Hinojosa/TX; Duffy/WI. 

Burwell Confirmation Committee Members

Democratic Members: Chairman Tom Harkin (IA) and Senators Michael Bennet (CO), Christopher Murphy (CT), Barbara Mikulski (MD), Elizabeth Warren (MA), Al Franken (MN), Kay Hagan (NC), Bob Casey (PA), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Bernard Sanders (VT), Patty Murray (WA) & Tammy Baldwin (WI).

Republican Members: Ranking Member Lamar Alexander (TN) and Senators Lisa Murkowski (AK), Johnny Isakson (GA), Mark Kirk (IL), Pat Roberts (KS), Rand Paul (KY), Richard Burr (NC), Tim Scott (SC), Orrin Hatch (UT) & Michael Enzi (WY).