Life Advocacy Briefing

November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving Blessings / Merciful Discipline Does Not Spell Justice
Mandating Universal Abortion Coverage Is Illegal!
First-Round Victory in Cincinnati Lawsuit
Message to the Doctors from Pope Francis / ObamaCare’s Got to Go!

Thanksgiving Blessings

WISHING OUR READERS the blessings of fellowship with family and friends as we commemorate the Almighty’s blessings on America, we plan to take off a week from publishing Life Advocacy Briefing. Expect to see us back in December, beginning with our December 9 edition.


Merciful Discipline Does Not Spell Justice

FOR MONTHS THE MICHIGAN BOARD OF MEDICINE HAS BEEN DELIBERATING the professional future of a Michigan abortionist named Robert Alexander, whom Operation Rescue (OR) has nicknamed “The Michigan Gosnell.”

Last Wednesday, Mr. Alexander appeared before the Board for its final hearing in his case. It turned out to be a good day for the embattled doctor, who has been working in Detroit since the fire marshal shut down his Muskegon abortuary in December 2012. Despite a recommendation by an administrative judge that his license be revoked permanently, the Board voted to suspend his license “for six months and a day,” reports Ken Kolker for Western Michigan’s WOOD-TV.

The Board further “told him he would need to pay a $75,000 fine if he wants to get [his license] back,” writes Mr. Kolker. “The state said he would have to file a petition with the Board if he wanted to reinstate his license and that it wouldn’t be automatic.” Isn’t that impressive?

The administrative law judge who examined Mr. Alexander’s fitness “found he was not ‘trustworthy,’” notes Mr. Kolker, “and ruled he was negligent and incompetent. ‘The evidence is overwhelming that Dr. Alexander failed to adhere to the most minimal standards of cleanliness and sanitary conditions,’ the judge wrote,” quoted by WOOD-TV. “‘The ultimate responsibility lies with Robert Alexander, and he failed miserably in his obligation of due care.’” It follows, then, that in holding the door open to his return to the legally authorized practice of medicine, the Board of Medicine is failing miserably in their own duty to protect the health and safety of Michigan women.

But the Board has met Mr. Alexander before. Indeed, OR reports his “medical license has twice been revoked in Michigan, first in 1990 and again in 1994. Both times,” notes OR, “the Board reissued licenses to [Mr.] Alexander.”

“Given the facts that [Robert] Alexander suffers from mental illness, has a long history of botched abortions and was operating in such squalid conditions that it made Kermit Gosnell look like ‘Mr. Good Housekeeping,’” said OR president Troy Newman in the OR report of the Board action, “it is unfathomable that this Board could even entertain the possibility that [Mr.] Alexander could soon resume his practice. … If anyone should be permanently barred from the practice of medicine,” commented Mr. Newman, “it is Robert Alexander.”

When checking out conditions at the Muskegon Women’s Medical Services Clinic after a reported break-in in December, 2012, WOOD-TV reports, “the city found blood on the floor and walls, uncovered buckets of unidentified fluids in the operating room area, blood dripping from a sink p-trap in a patient room, biohazard bags on the floor and closets, unsecured containers of used hypodermic needles, unsecured medication and patient records scattered around the office.”

The abortionist “at first told the state,” reports Mr. Kolker, “that Right to Life activists had broken in and caused the damage. He later blamed [a] former employee. He claimed the bloody instruments had been left behind by another doctor,” writes Mr. Kolker. “He also said he was bipolar and blamed his condition for the mess.”

Throughout the ensuing years, WOOD-TV has done an outstanding job of bringing the Alexander scandal to public attention. Notes Mr. Kolker: “A Target-8 [WOOD] investigation last year revealed [Mr.] Alexander had been the target of repeated allegations of botched abortions – allegations dismissed without investigation by the then-chairman of the Michigan Board of Medicine, Dr. George Shade. Years before that, Dr. Shade had helped [Mr.] Alexander get his license back after a prescription drug conviction. Target 8’s investigation,” notes Mr. Kolker, “led to a new state law requiring better oversight.

“After Wednesday’s hearing,” Mr. Kolker reports, “[Mr.] Alexander evaded questions about Dr. Shade. ‘I don’t know anything about that,’ he said when asked about [Dr.] Shade’s involvement in his botched-abortion cases. When asked if he knew Dr. Shade,” Mr. Kolker writes, “he answered, ‘I’ve heard of him.’”


Mandating Universal Abortion Coverage Is Illegal!

CALIFORNIA’s HEALTHCARE BUREAUCRATS have received a rebuke from a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights over its abortion insurance mandate. Commissioner Peter Kirsanow “authored a letter,” reports Kirsten Anderson for, calling the California mandate “both an offense against religious liberty and a violation of federal law.” He further, notes Ms. Anderson, warned the bureaucrats they may be “put[ting] the state at risk of losing federal funding. …

“‘Through the Weldon Amendment,’” he warned, quoted by LifeSiteNews, “‘the people of the United States have said that … they will not allow their tax dollars to subsidize a state that displays such disregard for religious liberty’” as California’s mandate is evidencing.

“‘It is disingenuous to claim that the employer is not paying for the abortion when every health plan in the state of California must include elective abortion coverage,’ he added,” quoted by Ms. Anderson. “‘The employer is paying for the abortion. This is what the Weldon Amendment is intended to prevent. People may procure abortions,’” he said, “‘but they may not dragoon other people into engaging in what they consider morally objectionable behavior.’”

Several churches and Christian colleges are seeking to be excused from the mandate.


First-Round Victory in Cincinnati Lawsuit

A FEDERAL JUDGE HAS RECUSED HIMSELF from hearing a Planned Parenthood lawsuit challenging Ohio’s new abortuary regulation statute barring abortionists who fail to obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. The statute is essential to providing intervention for aborting mothers in the event of complications.

Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio filed the suit to attempt to maintain the one surgical abortuary in the Cincinnati area, making Cincinnati “the largest metro area in the US without an abortion clinic … according to an Enquirer analysis,” reports James Pilcher in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

But after the case landed in the courtroom of District Judge Timothy Black, pro-life groups called foul and urged the Obama appointee to recuse himself.  Mr. Black, you see, served on the board of Planned Parenthood’s local outfit – the lawsuit’s plaintiff – from 1986 to 1989, including, notes Mr. Pilcher, “one year as board president. … And according to anti-abortion group Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati,” reports the Enquirer, “[Judge] Black also served as Planned Parenthood’s attorney in 1986 in a case involving protesters outside the clinic.”

Judge Black made news in 2011 when he “allowed a defamation suit filed by former Democrat US Rep. Steve Driehaus (OH) to continue,” reports Kimball Perry for the Enquirer. The pro-life Susan B. Anthony List had requested dismissal of the case, in which SBA List was defendant, in order to protect their First Amendment rights. Judge Black’s rulings on behalf of Rep. Driehaus were ultimately overturned by the US Supreme Court.

The crisis has passed; the case has been reassigned to District Judge Michael R. Barrett.


Message to the Doctors from Pope Francis

Nov. 17, 2014, Statement by Pope Francis to the Assn. of Italian Catholic Doctors, published by Andrew Summerson via Vatican Radio and edited by Life Advocacy Briefing

… There is no doubt that, in our time, due to scientific and technical advancements, the possibilities for physical healing have significantly increased; and yet, in some respects it seems the ability to “take care” of the person has decreased, especially when he is sick, frail and helpless. In fact, the achievements of science and of medicine can contribute to the improvement of human life to the extent that they are not distanced from the ethical root of these disciplines. For this reason, you Catholic doctors are committed to live your profession as a human and spiritual mission, as a real lay apostolate.

Attention to human life, especially that in greatest difficulty, that is, to the sick, the elderly, children, deeply involves the mission of the Church. The Church also feels called to participate in the debate that relates to human life, presenting its proposal based on the Gospel. In many places, the quality of life is related primarily to economic means, to “well-being,” to the beauty and enjoyment of the physical, forgetting other more profound dimensions of existence – interpersonal, spiritual and religious. In fact, in the light of faith and right reason, human life is always sacred and always “of quality.” There is no human life that is more sacred than another – every human life is sacred – just as there is no human life qualitatively more significant than another, only by virtue of resources, rights, great social and economic opportunities.

This is what you, Catholic doctors, try to say, first of all with your professionalism. Your work wants to witness by word and by example that human life is always sacred, valuable and inviolable. And as such, it must be loved, defended and cared for. Your professionalism, enriched with the spirit of faith, is one more reason to work with those – even from different religious perspectives or thought – who recognize the dignity of the human person as a criterion for their activities. In fact, if the Hippocratic Oath commits you to always be servants of life, the Gospel pushes you further: to love it no matter what, especially when it is in need of special care and attention. This is what the members of your Association have done over 70 years of fine work. I urge you to continue with humility and trust on this road, striving to pursue your statutory goals of implementing the teaching of the Magisterium of the Church in the field of medical ethics.

The dominant thinking sometimes suggests a “false compassion,” that which believes that it is: helpful to women to promote abortion; an act of dignity to obtain euthanasia; a scientific breakthrough to “produce” a child and to consider it to be a right rather than a gift to welcome; or to use human lives as guinea pigs presumably to save others. Instead, the compassion of the Gospel is that which accompanies in times of need, that is, the compassion of the Good Samaritan, who “sees,” “has compassion,” approaches and provides concrete help (cf. Luke 10:33). Your mission as doctors puts you in daily contact with many forms of suffering. I encourage you to take them on as “Good Samaritans,” caring in a special way for the elderly, the infirm and the disabled.

Fidelity to the Gospel of life and respect for life as a gift from God sometimes require choices that are courageous and go against the current, which in particular circumstances, may become points of conscientious objection. And this fidelity entails many social consequences.

We are living in a time of experimentation with life. But a bad experiment. Making children rather than accepting them as a gift, as I said. Playing with life. Be careful, because this is a sin against the Creator, against God the Creator, who created things this way. When so many times in my life as a priest I have heard objections: “But tell me, why the Church is opposed to abortion, for example? Is it a religious problem?” No, no. It is not a religious problem. “Is it a philosophical problem?” No, it is not a philosophical problem. It’s a scientific problem, because there is a human life there, and it is not lawful to take out a human life to solve a problem. “But no, modern thought … .” But, listen, in ancient thought and modern thought, the word “kill” means the same thing.

The same evaluation applies to euthanasia: we all know that with so many old people in this culture of waste, there is this hidden euthanasia. But there is also the other. And this is to say to God, “No, I will accomplish the end of life, as I will.” A sin against God the Creator! Think hard about this.

I hope the 70 years of your association will stimulate a further process of growth and maturation. May you work constructively with all the people and institutions who share your love of life and seek to serve it in its dignity, sanctity and inviolability. St. Camillus deLellis, in suggesting the most effective method in caring for the sick, would simply say: “Put more heart into those hands.” Put more heart in these hands! This is also my hope.


ObamaCare’s Got to Go!

Commentary by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins in his Nov. 17, 2014, Washington Update

It may be the start of a busy shopping season – but not for ObamaCare. A year after the technical meltdown of the first launch, HHS [Dept. of Health & Human Services] took a second crack at opening enrollment for 2015. And while it’s impossible to have a worse rollout than the nationwide healthcare collapse of 2014, the sequel isn’t exactly drawing big crowds. Thirteen states launched their insurance portals Saturday, along with the federal exchange that serves the other 37.

For HHS, it was an anxious few hours, as officials waited to see if their revamped system would hold up. Although the snags were nothing compared to last October, there were plenty of bumps in the ObamaCare road. Within hours of going live, Washington State had to take down its entire site after the system started kicking out incorrect subsidy numbers. Elsewhere, users were still getting error messages that web pages hadn’t been updated or that the enrollment period (which just started) was closed.

But these were all minor problems compared to the epic failure of ObamaCare’s debut. So far, the biggest glitch of the exchange might be the lack of customers. Only 23,000 signed up for coverage in the first full day, hardly a ringing endorsement of the controversial program, which barely scraped together seven million enrollees last year.

And while functionality may be better the second time around, favorability isn’t. Public approval of ObamaCare is hitting rock bottom, with new polls tracking the lowest support in the law’s short existence. In a new Gallup poll, only 37% of Americans approve of the system that’s killing jobs, spiking costs, ballooning debt, funding abortion and destroying freedom. Thanks to ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber, who credited “the stupidity of the American voter” with the bill’s passage, those numbers have nowhere to go but down.

Of course, religious organizations didn’t need to be persuaded about the law’s shortcomings, since dozens of them are living through the worst attack of their First Amendment rights ever under the President’s policy. One of those groups, Priests for Life, ran into a liberal wall known as the DC Court of Appeals, which – with the help of some radical appointees – insisted that an organization of priests provide birth control and other drugs that can prevent or end a pregnancy. “As we have said from the beginning,” Father Frank Pavone told reporters, “Priests for Life will not obey the HHS mandate. To ask a group of priests to cooperate in the government’s plan to expand access to birth control and abortion-inducing drugs is about as contrary to religious freedom as you can get.”

Unfortunately, the DC Circuit Court didn’t seem to think so and unanimously ordered Pavone to comply. In her first big splash, new judge Cornelia Pillard made her mark on the Court – one of the many extreme liberals forced through the Senate under the revised filibuster rules.

FRC [and Life Advocacy] fought Pillard’s confirmation – and now Americans will see why. In her opinion, she insists that the Administration’s flimsy “accommodation,” which still forces faith-based groups to pay for these pills, is a perfectly acceptable compromise for pro-life groups.

Forcing Christians to violate their beliefs is just par for the ObamaCare course, Pillard argued. She wrote that nonprofits like Priests for Life “remain free to condemn contraception in the clearest terms” – just not with their hard-earned money. It’s yet another reason why the new conservative majority should strike back at ObamaCare – and fast.