Life Advocacy Briefing

December 22, 2014

See You in ’15 / Reid Delivers Stalled Surgeon General
Welcome, Rep. McSally / Taking Life-Saving Truth to Campus
Senate Voting Record / Special, Though Unborn / Truth from The Book

See You in ’15

CHRISTMAS IS A COMIN’ and your Life Advocacy Briefing crew will be spending holiday time with family. We send our warmest wishes for your own holiday season and for a deep and joyful celebration of the incarnation of our Lord. We expect to resume publication with our Jan. 5 edition, hoping you’ll stay with us for our twenty-second year of publishing timely news you can use in advocating Life. (Subscription donations are appreciated!)


Reid Delivers Stalled Surgeon General

MORE THAN A YEAR AFTER HIS NOMINATION, the Senate last Monday confirmed the nomination of Vivek Murthy MD to the post of Surgeon General of the United States. His was one of the nominations pushed through by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in a last quacking of the lame ducks meeting into the Christmas season. The Harvard-educated 37-year-old was installed in power by the bare majority of 51 votes; we publish the voting record near the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing.

The New York Times, in a story by Sabrina Tavernise, called Dr. Murthy “a self-described dreamer and grassroots organizer.” His background includes teaching at Harvard Medical School and practicing medicine at Boston’s Brigham & Women’s Hospital. He is the youngest person to serve as Surgeon General in more than 120 years.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who is expected to replace Mr. Reid at the Senate’s helm in early January with the dawning of the 114th Congress, issued a statement scorning the Murthy nomination, which we quote from CNN: “‘The Surgeon General is known as America’s doctor,’” he began, “‘and the men and women chosen to fill that role in the past have usually been highly qualified individuals with substantial experience in patient care. …

“‘Unfortunately, Dr. Murthy’s nomination had more to do with politics … than his medical experience,’” Sen. McConnell told CNN. “‘He was founder in 2008 of a group called Doctors for Obama,’” the GOP Leader explained, “‘and has been an outspoken political advocate of ObamaCare and gun control.” (Readers who recall the white-coated “Doctors for ObamaCare” standing with the President demanding enactment of the anti-Life federal takeover of America’s medical system no doubt saw Dr. Murthy, as he morphed his 2008 campaign outfit into the white-coat brigade trooped out for media backdrop at the height of the ObamaCare drama.)

“‘With America facing the challenge of Ebola and other serious health challenges,’” Leader McConnell said, “‘it’s unfortunate that the President chose a nominee based on the candidate’s political support instead of a long career delivering patient care and managing difficult health crises.’”

Two of the three Democrats who voted against the Murthy nomination, Senators Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, were quoted by in a story on the confirmation by Kirsten Anderson.

Noted Sen. Heitkamp, writes Ms. Anderson, “‘There are severe gaps in [Murthy’s] basic qualifications that we as a country expect from our doctor of the nation – including experience in public health education, training and management.’” And from Sen. Manchin: “‘After meeting with Dr. Murthy, I don’t question his medical qualifications. I just question whether the public will believe that he can separate his political beliefs from his public health views.’”

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), a medical doctor, “pointed out,” writes Ms. Anderson, “that since [Dr.] Murthy finished his residency in 2006, his career has been spent mainly ‘as an activist focused on gun control and political campaigns.’”

It was Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) who, during Dr. Murthy’s confirmation hearings last February, asked the activist doctor about “a Tweet he posted in 2012 celebrating ObamaCare’s controversial HHS mandate,” writes Ms. Anderson, “which was ruled largely unconstitutional in June.  [Dr.] Murthy praised the mandate,” notes Ms. Anderson, “for offering women ‘choice and access to contraception,’ adding, ‘what’s wrong with choice?’

“Questioned by [Sen.] Enzi as to whether he believed employers who have genuine religious opposition to contraceptives, sterilization or abortifacients should be forced to pay for them, [Dr.] Murthy dodged the question,” reports Ms. Anderson. “He said his position in support of free access to contraception was ‘informed by science’ but conceded that it was the government’s job to find ‘balance’ between scientific consensus and individuals’ religious freedoms.’

“[Dr.] Murthy avoided directly answering the question of whether religious employers should be forced to pay for contraceptives and other morally objectionable products or procedures,” writes Ms. Anderson, “but said he sees the job of a surgeon general as being an advocate for science. He claimed that science proves women who have free access to contraceptives have ‘better outcomes’ than women who do not; however,” writes the LifeSiteNews reporter, “he did not cite any studies or statistics to prove his assertion.” Nor, apparently, did he comment on the World Health Organization’s classification of “hormonal birth control as a class I carcinogen – the most dangerous form,” notes Ms. Anderson, “of cancer-causing agents.”


Welcome, Rep. McSally

THOUGH TRAILING BY 167 VOTES in the tallies reported on election night, GOP hopeful Martha McSally will be taking the oath of office with her Congressional colleagues on Jan. 6, having overcome Rep. Ron Barber (D-AZ) in a recount which showed she actually bested the two-term successor to former Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in the Tucson-area district. The hot contest was the second between the two combatants, Rep. Barber having edged Ms. McSally by 2,500 votes in 2012 after a recount overturning Ms. McSally’s initial lead of 161.

“‘There’s no getting around that this was an incredibly close and hard-fought race,’” said Rep.-elect McSally, quoted by Ben Johnson for In her statement after this year’s recount results were announced, reports Mr. Johnson, she called on the campaigns “to ‘come together and heal our community.’”

Among the rancorous jabs taken during the campaign was Rep. Barber’s attempt, writes Mr. Johnson, “to focus on [Ms.] McSally’s position on abortion to increase single female voter turnout.” It apparently did not provide the magic charm Mr. Barber expected in 2014.

Though Ms. McSally emphasized military and economic issues in her campaign, Mr. Johnson did uncover a generally pro-life position for the Representative-elect.

“In 2012, she responded to a questionnaire from the Center for Arizona Policy,” writes Mr. Johnson, “by saying she supported ‘prohibiting abortion except where it is necessary to prevent the death of the mother’ and favored conscience rights for healthcare professionals ‘to opt out of performing procedures that violate their moral or religious beliefs.’

“This year,” Mr. Johnson reports, “she told Tucson radio talk show host John C. Scott, ‘I am pro-life with three exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.’ … [Ms.] McSally went on to tell [Mr.] Scott that ‘primarily this is a state issue’ that Congress should spend little time addressing.

‘Really, what it comes down to is federal funding in my view, and so I wouldn’t support federal funding,’ she said. ‘But I do believe that those exceptions are important, and I do believe we need to focus on a country that these children are born into and to be addressing the things that primarily the House of Representatives is asked to do.’”

Given the pent-up frustration of pro-life citizens and the opening of the Senate to the potential consideration of pro-life legislation, we hope Rep.-elect McSally will soon discover her role as a lawmaker to be broader than tax-and-spend legislation.


Taking Life-Saving Truth to Campus

A REPORT COMING OUT OF COLORADO stands as a good illustration of the campus-penetrating work of Students for Life of America, which has developed a Planned Parenthood Project exposing to college students the reality of the nation’s chief abortion enterprise.

The focus of Rachel Logan, writing in the Denver Catholic Register (DCR), is a three-hour, mid-day educational display and presentation offered Dec. 4 at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.

Standing in the cold outside the campus’s student center, members of the college’s Students for Life club answered questions and engaged in conversations based on placards presenting Planned Parenthood-focused facts, such as the outfit’s profits and its student-targeting tactics.

“Club members were trained,” notes Ms. Logan, “on how to talk openly and kindly with people as well as how to handle protestors. ‘This topic is very upsetting to a lot of students,’ Students for Life [Greeley] president Stanci Snow expressed,” quoted by Ms. Logan. “‘Today,’” she said, “‘we are hoping to start conversations.’”

The dedicated young woman, reports the DCR, “was deeply impacted by a campus pro-life event her freshman year and decided to change majors from theatre to political science to promote pro-life politics.” She and her club vice president, notes Ms. Logan, “are passionate about providing their peers with resources such as referrals to pro-life pregnancy centers. ‘You can’t expect abortion to stop without good reasonable resources,’ [Miss] Snow said” in the report.

Greeley senior Melissa Timmermeyer “reacted to the display,” writes Ms. Logan. “‘Everyone knows that you can get birth control or abortions at the Planned Parenthood in Greeley or Fort Collins,’ she said. ‘I am happy that Students for Life exposed the truth in a factual and logical way. Our generation is going to put an end to abortion,’” she said in the DCR report, “‘and this is another step in that journey we’re taking.’” Amen!


Senate Voting Record

Confirmation of Surgeon General Vivek Murthy MD – Cloture Motion & Final Vote (identical roll calls) – Dec. 15, 2014 – Confirmed – 51-43 (Democrats in italics; “Independents” marked “I”)

Voting “no” / pro-life: Sessions & Shelby (AL); Murkowski (AK); Flake & McCain (AZ); Boozman (AR); Isakson (GA); Crapo & Risch (ID); Coats & Donnelly (IN); Grassley (IA); Moran & Roberts (KS); McConnell & Paul (KY); Vitter (LA); Collins (ME); Wicker (MS); Blunt (MO); Fischer (NE); Heller (NV); Ayotte (NH); Burr (NC); Heitkamp & Hoeven (ND); Portman (OH); Coburn & Inhofe (OK); Toomey (PA); Graham & Scott (SC); Thune (SD); Alexander & Corker (TN); Cornyn & Cruz (TX); Hatch & Lee (UT); Manchin (WV); Johnson (WI); and Barrasso & Enzi (WY).

Voting “yes” / anti-Life: Begich AK); Pryor (AR); Feinstein (CA); Bennet & Udall (CO); Blumenthal & Murphy (CT); Carper & Coons (DE); Nelson (FL); Hirono & Schatz (HI); Durbin & Kirk (IL); Harkin (IA); Landrieu (LA); King/I (ME); Cardin & Mikulski (MD); Markey & Warren (MA); Levin & Stabenow (MI); Franken & Klobuchar (MN); McCaskill (MO); Tester & Walsh (MT); Reid (NV); Shaheen (NH); Booker & Menendez (NJ); Heinrich & Udall (NM); Gillibrand & Schumer (NY); Hagan (NC); Merkley & Wyden (OR); Casey (PA); Reed & Whitehouse (RI); Johnson (SD); Leahy & Sanders/I (VT); Kaine & Warner (VA); Cantwell & Murray (WA); Rockefeller (WV); and Baldwin (WI).

Not voting: Boxer (CA); Rubio (FL); Chambliss (GA); Cochran (MS); Johanns (NE); and Brown (OH).


Special, Though Unborn

Dec. 8, 2014, commentary by Katrina Trinko, managing editor of the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal

The media can’t stop cooing over Kate Middleton’s baby bump.

“Prince William, Kate Middleton and Bump Touch Down in New York City,” proclaimed a Daily Beast headline. NBC’s announced, “Americans are giving the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge a warm reception for their first visit to the Big Apple, where the royal couple gave frenzied fans exactly what they wanted: A peek at the growing baby bump.”

“It’s all about the bump now. It’s all about baby No. 2,” Victoria Murphy, who covers the royals for the Daily Mirror, told ABC News in an interview. “We still love Prince George, but we’re looking forward to learning more about baby No 2.”

It’s all about baby No. 2.

It’s great that everyone is so excited about Prince William and Kate’s unborn daughter or son. But it’s also incredible what a disconnect there is between the media’s coverage of wanted kids and the coverage of unwanted kids – even when they’re the same age.

Kate Middleton is about five months pregnant, according to media reports. At this stage, the baby has a heart, a face, a brain and fingernails. Hair is beginning to grow on the baby’s head and body, and he or she might be already hearing. (Kate and William might also know their child’s gender – an ultrasound could reveal it at this stage.) Kate may already be feeling her child moving in the womb, especially as second-time moms are more likely to feel their child moving earlier, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Yet the United States still doesn’t ban abortion after 20 weeks. …

A majority of Americans support such a ban. Sixty percent of Americans support banning abortion after 20 weeks, with exceptions for rape and incest, according to a November Quinnipiac poll.

The United States is extremely unusual in permitting abortions after 20 weeks. According to a report released earlier this year by the Charlotte Lozier Institute, only six other countries – including China and North Korea, countries we’re hardly seeking to emulate in human rights – allow elective abortions after 20 weeks.

House Republicans – and six Democrats – passed a bill last year banning abortions after 20 weeks. Senate Republicans, who will control the Senate in January, are also poised now to have a vote on the matter.

“I look forward to having the Senate consider similar legislation in the next Congress,” soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told the Wall Street Journal.

Let’s hope that the excitement over Kate’s baby bump translates into a renewed interest for protecting all babies’ lives. Because you shouldn’t need to be royalty to have your life celebrated – and safeguarded by law – at the age of 20 weeks.


Truth from The Book

“… I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore, choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying His voice and holding fast to Him … .”                                                                                                                         Deuteronomy 30: 19

“For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb.”
Psalm 139: 13

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Jeremiah 29: 11

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is He, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
Zechariah 9: 9

“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. … And the angel said to [the shepherds], ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’ … And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!’”
Luke 2: 7, 10-11 & 13-14