Life Advocacy Briefing

May 4, 2015

Vote Coming on D.C. Conscience Rights / Who Does Hillary Think She Is?
Abortion Reality on Display / Threat to Conscience Rights
Manassas Moving on Abortuary / Courting Trouble

Vote Coming on D.C. Conscience Rights

THE U.S. HOUSE IS PREPARING TO VOTE on House Joint Resolution 43, filed by Rep. Diane Black (R-TN), to disapprove the action of the District of Columbia city council in threatening the conscience rights of pro-life employers which operate in the nation’s capital. As of our writing deadline, the House Rules Committee has sent to the House a rule for considering the legislation. Similar legislation, SJRes-10, is lodged in committee in the Senate under sponsorship of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), along with Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL).

Readers are asked to contact their House Member via the Capitol switchboard at 1-202/224-3121 and to ask him or her to vote in favor of HJRes-43.

And thank the co-sponsors of Rep. Black’s measure: Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL) and GOP Representatives Robert Aderholt, Bradley Byrne & Martha Roby (AL); Trent Franks (AZ); French Hill & Bruce Westerman (AR); Doug Lamborn (CO); Ted Yoho (FL); Rick Allen & Jody Hice (GA); Peter Roskam (IL); Luke Messer, Marlin Stutzman & Jackie Walorski (IN); Steve King (IA); Tim Huelskamp & Mike Pompeo (KS); Thomas Massie (KY); John Fleming (LA); Andy Harris (MD); Justin Amash & Tim Walberg (MI); Vicky Hartzler & Ann Wagner (MO); Adrian Smith (NE); Christopher Smith (NJ); Renee Ellmers, Walter Jones, Mark Meadows & David Rouzer (NC); Markwayne Mullin (OK); Mike Kelly, Joseph Pitts & Keith Rothfus (PA); Mick Mulvaney (SC); Kristi Noem (SD); Marsha Blackburn, John Duncan & Charles Fleischmann (TN); and Brian Babin, Bill Flores, Sam Johnson, Randy Neugebauer, Pete Olson & Lamar Smith (TX).


Who Does Hillary Think She Is?

ANYONE WHO MAY HAVE THOUGHT presumed Democratic Presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton might be the moderate in a party of radicals had better take a good look at the former First Lady/Senator/Secretary of State’s declarations in addressing the sixth annual Women in the World Summit in Manhattan.

In the midst of her proclamations concerning “reproductive health care,” Mrs. Clinton “told attendees,” reports Kate Bryant for The Daily Caller, “that ‘deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.’” She continued, notes Ms. Bryant, “‘Far too many women are denied access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth, and laws don’t count for much if they’re not enforced. Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper.’”

Continuing her report, Ms. Bryant cites the ongoing challenge by GOP Presidential hopeful Sen. Rand Paul (KY) to Democratic National Chairman Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz on the question of whether the Florida Congresswoman would countenance legal protections for “seven-pound” unborn babies from the reality of decriminalized abortion. “Does Mrs. Clinton stand with the DNC and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz on abortion?” asks Ms. Bryant. “If she had been asked at the Women in the World Summit yesterday if ‘reproductive health care’ included aborting a seven-pound baby, what would her answer have been? … [Mrs.] Clinton appears,” she writes, “to be joining the most radical fringes of the pro-abortion movement.”

USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers, an acknowledged Democrat, takes on Mrs. Clinton head-on in response to her ominous remarks.

“If [Mrs.] Clinton is going to complain about cultural codes,” writes Ms. Powers, “perhaps she should dispense with the ‘reproductive health care’ euphemism and just say ‘abortion’ and ‘contraception.’ Then she should explain,” writes Ms. Powers, “why she thinks she – or anyone else – has the right to dictate what religious people believe about either issue. …

“Like Pres. Obama – who famously opined that Americans ‘cling’ to religion out of bitterness,” writes Ms. Powers, “Clinton seems to view religious doctrine in opposition to her political agenda as nothing more than ‘biases’ or ‘codes’ to be dismantled by those who know better. … It would take an army of psychologists to determine why Clinton believes that her worldview should override that of centuries of religious doctrine.

“I actually share her view about contraception,” writes Ms. Powers, “and my understanding of the Bible does not preclude it. But Catholics disagree; I respect that. Religious beliefs that differ from mine,” Ms. Powers opines, “are not automatically viewed as targets for transformation.”

Ms. Powers cites also the dogmatic comments of New York Times columnist Frank Bruni, “who wrote this month that opposing same-sex marriage based on religious beliefs ‘elevates unthinking obeisance above intelligent observance,’ and he argued,” writes Ms. Powers, “for ‘freeing religions and religious people from prejudices that they needn’t cling to.’ [Mr.] Bruni quoted a gay rights activist,” notes Ms. Powers, “who said, ‘Church leaders must be made “to take homosexuality off the sin list.”’

“Here’s another idea,” retorts Ms. Powers. “Let’s free secularists from their unthinking obeisance to a plot line that casts religious believers as intolerant dimwits in need of saving by not-so-benevolent ideological bullies. Let’s stop treating the ignorant stereotyping and smearing of religious believers as a noble, self-sanctifying cause.”

Getting back to Mrs. Clinton, Ms. Powers asks, “How exactly will Clinton change religious beliefs at odds with her worldview? Inquiring minds would like to know. …

“We know she wants to be President,” writes Ms. Powers. “But does she think she is God, too?”


Abortion Reality on Display

KANSAS GOV. SAM BROWNBACK (R) IS DEPLOYING AN UNUSUAL TACTIC in sharing valuable truths with the people of his state related to abortion and its hideous practice.

Recognizing educational value in landmark legislation to outlaw the most common method of late-term abortion, the former US Senator “took a whirlwind tour of Kansas,” reports Charlie Butts for, “stopping in four cities for a ceremonial signing of the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act.” He had already officially signed the new law on April 7.

Calling the April 28 educational tour “‘a task worth doing,’” notes Kansans for Life’s Kathy Ostrowski, quoted by Mr. Butts, the governor ensured “‘this way people were actually involved in seeing that we’re just correcting a severe injustice, the injustice of abortion.’” The governor, notes Mr. Butts, “was greeted with applause at each stop.”

Though the abortion lobby’s opposition to the new law is fierce, no lawsuit has yet been filed. This is one law the pro-life movement would like to see challenged, as there are good indications – based on statements made by Supreme Court Justices in the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban ruling – the “Dismemberment Ban” would be upheld.

The new Kansas law – first in the nation – outlaws the cruel abortion method used in some 96% of second-trimester abortions, according to the National Abortion Federation trade group.

With Kansas’s statute in place, Oklahoma has quickly followed suit, becoming the second state to outlaw the practice. Similar legislation is pending in other state legislatures and represents a major nightmare for the abortion cartel.


Threat to Conscience Rights

among healthcare providers – including pregnancy care centers – over the undermining of long-standing healthcare rights of conscience. Both proposals are advancing in liberal-controlled legislative bodies, prompting three Members of Congress from Illinois to send a warning appeal to the Members of their state’s General Assembly.

We publish at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing the text of the letter from GOP Representatives Peter Roskam and Randy Hultgren and Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski, who is co-chairman of the US House Pro-Life Caucus.


Manassas Moving on Abortuary

THE CITY GOVERNMENT IN MANASSAS, VIRGINIA, TOOK A STEP FORWARD last Monday to adopt changes to the city’s zoning code, “changes,” writes Perry Stein in the Washington Post, “that opponents said could threaten the survival of the city’s sole abortion clinic.”

Among the proposed changes to the “decades-old” zoning code, reports Mr. Stein, is “an amendment that would require medical care facilities – including abortion clinics – to obtain a special use permit that would be granted only after a period of public comment and city council approval.”

Apparently the abortion industry fears the permit “would be nearly impossible to obtain,” writes Mr. Stein, “considering the city’s overwhelmingly Republican council.”

The vote last week – which ended at 4 to 3 when the major broke the council’s tie – was preliminary; final action is scheduled for May 11.

The Manassas action echoes a 2013 Fairfax City zoning amendment which ended in the closure of the state’s busiest abortuary, which was attempting to relocate at the time of the ordinance change.

Actions by the State Board of Health in 2013 to adopt customer-protective abortuary regulations have been stymied by Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), who ordered a review of the regulations as soon as he took office in late 2013. Existing abortuaries were granted temporary waivers pending the review. “When the waiver lapses,” reports Post reporter Stein, “Amethyst Health Center for Women would need significant renovations to comply with state standards.” This is the abortuary which is now fighting the zoning change in Manassas. “Those renovations,” writes Mr. Stein, “could require a special use permit from the city if the proposed zoning ordinance goes into effect.”

It is controversies like this which bring to light the untenable conditions characterized by so many of the abortion cartel’s prized shops.


Courting Trouble

April 24, 2015, Warning letter to Illinois state lawmakers from Members of Congress

Dear Members of the Illinois General Assembly:

In recent days, the Illinois General Assembly has advanced legislation that would severely limit the scope and applicability of conscience protections for healthcare workers in the state of Illinois, in violation of federal law.

SB-1564, as amended by Senate Amendment No. 3, creates a new and problematic requirement that in the event a healthcare provider declines to perform or participate in a medical procedure due to their personal conscientious or religious objections, “then the patient shall either be provided the requested healthcare service by others in the facility or be … referred, transferred or given information … in writing … about other healthcare providers who [the objecting healthcare provider] reasonably believe[s] may offer the healthcare service.”

These provisions in actual effect gut the conscience protections currently enshrined in Illinois’ Health Care Right of Conscience Act by forcing objecting physicians and providers to assist and participate in the very treatments precluded by their conscientious or religious objections. More importantly, the provisions stand in stark contrast to the requirements of superseding federal law, including the Church Amendment, the Coats-Snowe Amendment and the annual Hyde-Weldon Amendment. Moving forward with such legislation at the state level could seriously imperil federal funds for healthcare programs, including reimbursements under Medicare and Medicaid.

Specifically, the Church Amendment stipulates that for healthcare services funded in whole or in part by a program administered by the US Dept. of Health & Human Services (HHS), no person may be required to “perform or assist in the performance of any sterilization procedure or abortion if his performance or assistance in the performance of such procedure or abortion would be contrary to his religious beliefs or moral convictions.” SB-1564’s requirement that healthcare providers “refer,” “transfer” or “give[] information” on abortions is incompatible with this federal standard.

The Coats-Snowe Amendment provides that “The federal government, and any state or local government that receives federal financial assistance, may not subject any healthcare entity to discrimination on the basis that … the entity refuses to undergo training in the performance of induced abortions, to require or provide such training, to perform such abortions or to provide referrals for such training or such abortions … [or] the entity refuses to make arrangements for any of the activities specified.” SB-1564’s requirement that healthcare providers “inform,” “provide in writing information,” “transfer” or “refer” patients for treatments to which they object is incompatible with this federal standard.

Finally, the Hyde-Weldon Amendment provides that “none of the funds made available in this Act may be made available to a federal agency or program, or to a state or local government, if such agency, program or government subjects any institutional or individual healthcare entity to discrimination on the basis that the healthcare entity does not provide, pay for, provide coverage of or refer for abortions.” SB-1564’s requirements that healthcare providers provide “the requested healthcare service,” or “refer[],” “transfer[]” or “give information” on treatments to which they object are incompatible with this federal standard.

The right of conscience is a fundamental freedom protected under the US Constitution. The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment expressly guarantees that Americans will not be prohibited from acting under their chosen religious beliefs, stating, “Congress shall make no law … prohibiting the free exercise [of religion].” For decades, Americans of all faiths, and no faith, have overwhelmingly agreed with longstanding state and federal policy that a healthcare provider should not be forced to participate in treatments to which he or she has a conscientious or religious objection. In a 2009 speech to a Joint Meeting of Congress, Pres. Obama declared “federal conscience laws will remain in place.” At a press briefing in 2012, the White House Press Secretary reiterated, “The President and this Administration have previously expressed strong support for existing conscience protections, including those relating to healthcare providers.”

SB-1564 would dramatically alter conscience protections for Illinois physicians and healthcare providers while subjecting the State to enforcement proceedings in federal court and through the HHS Office of Civil Rights tasked with executing federal conscience standards. It would also risk interrupting the flow of federal dollars for health-related services, including for reimbursements under the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Reasonable people can differ on issues. Our nation has a rich legacy of respecting the sincerity of others’ views, a heritage that would be badly marred by the enactment of SB-1564. This legislation would have severe negative repercussions on Illinois, and we urge you to set it aside immediately.

Thank you for your thoughtful consideration. Very truly yours,

Peter Roskam
(6th Dist., Illinois)
Daniel Lipinski
(3rd Dist., Illinois)
Randy Hultgren
(14th Dist., Illinois)