Life Advocacy Briefing

April 25, 2016

A Week Off / Firming Up Conscience Rights / Calling the Traffickers to Account
Sickening Reality / Emerging Truth / Bishops’ Appeal for Conscience Protection Act

A Week Off

SINCE OUR EDITOR’s EYE SURGERY IS SCHEDULED for what would be “writing day” for next week, we will not be publishing Life Advocacy Briefing next week but hope to be back in the action soon.


Firming Up Conscience Rights

A PRO-LIFE DOCTOR FROM LOUISIANA HAS FILED LEGISLATION to protect the right of conscience under federal law.

HR-4828 was filed March 22, 2016, by Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) and is awaiting action by the House Committee on Energy & Commerce.

The Conscience Protection Act of 2016 has been endorsed by Roman Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Archbishop William Lori, who chair the relevant committees of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. In a letter to Congress, which we reprint at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing, they called HR-4828 “essential legislation protecting the fundamental rights of healthcare providers … to ensure that those providing much-needed health care and health coverage can continue to do so without being forced by government to help destroy innocent unborn children.”

Joining Representatives Fleming as co-sponsors of the measure are GOP Representatives Robert Aderholt (AL), Trent Franks (AZ), Doug Lamborn (CO), Jeff Miller & Thomas Rooney (FL), Earl Carter & Barry Loudermilk (GA), Randy Hultgren (IL), Tim Huelskamp (KS), Charles Boustany (LA), Andy Harris (MD), John Moolenaar (MI), Vicky Hartzler, Blaine Luetkemeyer & Ann Wagner (MO), Jeff Fortenberry (NE), Christopher Smith (NJ), Stevan Pearce (NM), Walter Jones (NC), Bill Johnson & Robert Latta (OH), Joseph Pitts (PA), Jeff Duncan (SC), Charles Fleischmann (TN), Blake Farenthold, Kenny Marchant, and Pete Sessions & Randy Weber (TX). Also, Democratic Representative Dan Lipinski (IL).

We ask our readers to contact your own Representative via the Capitol switchboard at 1-202/224-3121; if your Member of Congress is a co-sponsor, thank him or her and ask to be kept informed of the progress of this urgently needed legislation. If not, please ask your Member to sign on as a co-sponsor by contacting Rep. Fleming’s office; and do urge a “yes” vote.


Calling the Traffickers to Account

THE ABORTION CARTEL’s IMMERSION IN BABY-BODY-PARTS TRAFFICKING was on full display in a hearing last week of the House’s Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives.

We offer below details of the revelations via reprints of two accounts from Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins and from Life Issues Institute president Brad Mattes.

And we thank Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and her panel staff for their diligence and dedication in bringing facts to light on the way to bringing perpetrators to justice.


Sickening Reality

April 20, 2016, Washington Update by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins

It looks just like any other online shopping cart. There’s a drop-down menu for parts and sizes. Click over to checkout, the website says, and choose your shipping option. But this isn’t your average Amazon order. It’s a ghoulish shop of horrors, where tiny human hands, hearts, eyes, scalps and livers are for sale.

It’s the business that – just this past September – Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards said she was “proud” to supply. Now, the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives knows why Richards was helping the middlemen, the procurement business, make tens of thousands of dollars carving up her clinics’ lifeless bodies for profit. After months of [Planned Parenthood] denying the allegations – and getting their liberal friends to do the same – Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) produced the most damning evidence against Pres. Obama’s pals yet – including proof that Planned Parenthood was not only making a profit from its organ harvesting ring but almost certainly breaking federal law in the process.

While Planned Parenthood has spent the better part of a year trying to discredit David Daleiden’s undercover videos, these facts will be a much bigger challenge for the Left’s spin machine. From stomach-turning charts to expert witnesses, Blackburn’s committee blew apart Richards’s claims that hers was a goodwill mission for “tissue research.” “You don’t have to be a lawyer to see what’s going on here,” Blackburn told a packed audience. “You put up a website that offers any baby body part imaginable – and why on earth do they need a baby scalp? Then you pick a gestation period and check out. To offer that service you need abortion clinics – a lot of [them] – so you grow your number of clinics and you offer the clinics money to sign up. … You tell the clinic that you will do all the work. … This does not sound to me like tissue donation for research. This sounds like someone who wants to make money – a lot of money – selling baby body parts.”

This relationship between groups like StemExpress (also caught by Daleiden) is a lucrative one. Holding up a pamphlet, the Tennessee Congresswoman pointed out, “This is the procurement company brochure that it handed out at national conferences where abortion clinic managers were in attendance. Notice it says ‘financially profitable … fiscally rewards [sic] … financial benefit to your clinic.’” Partner with us, one said, “and improve the profitability of your clinic, improve your clinic’s bottom line, financially profitable.” Based on the Panel’s exhibits, the procurement business started in 2010 with three clinics. By last year, they were negotiating partnerships with as many as 250 clinics. Obviously, those deals fell apart once Center for Medical Progress’s videos hit the web. Still, Blackburn’s team revealed, at that time, one in every five clinics (roughly 100) “was involved in the sale of baby body parts.”

Considering the piles of evidence, the majority of witnesses at today’s hearing agreed that there is more than enough material to substantiate a full-blown federal grand jury investigation. Michael Norton testified that “It seems clear from the documents and evidence … that there has been profiteering at multiple levels in this grisly business.” Catherine Glenn Foster echoed that concern, explaining, “The Panel’s evidence reveals that abortion clinics are being promised a profit and are paid even when they have no apparent costs to be reimbursed, which further multiplies a clinic’s windfall via savings on disposal services. Tissue procurement companies are likewise paid exorbitantly by their customers. This market in baby organs and tissues demonstrates a flagrant and repeated disregard for the rule of law.”

Yet still, the Obama Administration is so beholden to Planned Parenthood that it’s threatening to strip states of their Medicare and Medicaid funding if they cut ties with Richards’s group. That would have been shocking enough, since the group is under Congressional and criminal investigation. But now – when there’s ample evidence that the organization likely broke federal law, the President wants to force all 50 states into complicity? After selectively throwing its weight around in Texas and Indiana, Health & Human Services sent a first-of-its-kind blackmail letter to every state, warning that if they redirect Planned Parenthood money to the thousands of community health center alternatives, they can kiss their Medicaid funding goodbye.

It’s the same thuggish federal carrot-and-stick approach that’s served Obama well in radical education, health care, LGBT and abortion policies. With a massive sea change underway in state pro-life policy, the Administration knows the only way to get its way is resorting to brute force. That’s an embarrassment for a party that claims to care about women. Not only do these other health centers serve eight times more women patients than Planned Parenthood, but they provide much more comprehensive care – at a fraction of the cost (or criminal baggage)! The bottom line is the bottom line. Planned Parenthood wants patients’ money. They’ll sue the states for it, overbill for birth control to get it, lie to women to get it, even sell baby body parts for it.

And why do liberals stand for it? Because the 13,000 community health centers that could provide better care do not provide something else: $20 million in Democratic political contributions over the last two election cycles alone.

While the Administration and far Left side with the inhumane, our hats go off to Rep. Blackburn and the many pro-life leaders for doing what taxpayers have asked for some time: Demand[ing] some accountability from an industry that pockets hundreds of millions of our dollars every year.


Emerging Truth

April 21, 2016, commentary by Bradley Mattes, president, Life Issues Institute

If you’ve seen [the] video of [Planned Parenthood CEO] Cecile Richards ardently denying that Planned Parenthood violated federal law with its sale of aborted baby body parts, you might recall a similar video with an equally passionate denial by then-President Bill Clinton, index finger in the air: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”

In both cases, the truth eventually came out.

The House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives has the goods on Ms. Richards’s abortion conglomerate.

Yesterday the Select Panel held a hearing on whether or not the abortion industry – in particular Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, the largest Planned Parenthood affiliate in America – has financially benefited from the sale of aborted baby body parts.

A long list of dramatic and convincing evidence, referred to as exhibits, show “beyond reasonable doubt,” according to one expert witness, that Planned Parenthood clearly benefited financially from the sale of baby body parts.

Exhibit B-2 was a brochure from a tissue procurement company, later identified as StemExpress by members of the Democratic Minority on the Select Panel. The brochure, distributed to attendees of a conference of abortion industry workers, emphasized the sale of baby body parts was “Financially Profitable,” “Easy to Implement,” and included “IRB (Institutional Review Board) Certified Consents” – forms given to pregnant women to allow the harvesting of their babies’ parts.

Exhibits B-4 and B-5 showed the explosive growth of StemExpress’s access to abortion facilities and its correlating dramatic increase in revenues related to fetal sales.

The most stunning evidence – the D exhibits – showed the amount of money paid by StemExpress to Planned Parenthood Mar Monte. In August of 2010, they received $11,365; in January and February of 2011, $9,060; and in January of 2014, $6,010.

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood of America, has repeatedly and vociferously claimed they haven’t benefited financially from the harvesting of these baby body parts. But she’s not going to get away with it, because there’s a volume of evidence – 15 C exhibits – showing how the baby body parts are identified, harvested, shipped and sold. And they clearly prove Planned Parenthood did nothing but grant access to women and their babies’ bodies.

This constitutes selling aborted baby body parts, and it violates federal law.

To underscore the obscene amount of money involved marketing baby body parts, pesky Exhibit F lists the enormous amounts paid to StemExpress for their services. In macabre fashion, it discloses which body parts demand the highest price. That would be the babies’ upper and lower limbs at $890. The total amount of $42,535 paid to StemExpress in Exhibit F reflects just one paying customer. There were many others.

As for the “IRB Certified” consent forms, Rep. [Andy] Harris [R-MD], a medical doctor and former researcher himself, explained that those using this form were issued a “cease and desist” order because of its shoddy and unprofessional content. The Planned Parenthood Mar Monte form claimed fetal tissue has actually cured “diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and AIDS.” This is an outrageous lie and a cruel exploitation of women.

Planned Parenthood’s motto of “Care. No matter what” doesn’t begin to do justice to their business model. “Money. No matter what” does.


Bishops’ Appeal for Conscience Protection Act

Text of March 31, 2016, US Conference of Catholic Bishops letter to Members of Congress from Religious Liberty Chairman Baltimore Archbishop William Lori and Pro- Life Activities Chairman New York Archbishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan

We are writing as chairmen of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities and Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, to support essential legislation protecting the fundamental rights of healthcare providers.

Representatives John Fleming MD (R-LA) and Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) have introduced the Conscience Protection Act of 2016 (HR-4828) to ensure that those providing much-needed health care and health coverage can continue to do so without being forced by government to help destroy innocent unborn children.

HR-4828 is based closely on the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act that was first approved by the House in 2002, and more recently has been part of the House’s proposed Labor/HHS appropriations bills for the last three years. The new bill adds rules of construction that emphasize the proposal’s modest scope and respond to past mistaken objections.

The need for clarification of federal law cannot be doubted. While existing federal laws already protect conscientious objection to abortion in theory, this protection has not proved effective in practice. These laws can only be enforced by complaint to the Office for Civil Rights at the Dept. of Health & Human Services (HHS), which – despite repeated questions and objections from Congress – has allowed valid complaints to languish, sometimes for years, without resolution. Even HHS itself has discriminated against those who cannot in conscience facilitate abortions, as when it implemented a new “strong preference” for grantees willing to refer human trafficking victims solely to healthcare providers who favor abortion. And while the Hyde/Weldon Amendment to the annual Labor/HHS appropriations acts has forbidden such governmental discrimination since 2004, state officials have violated that amendment with impunity and claimed that any effort to enforce it would be subject to legal challenge.

The Conscience Protection Act will address the deficiencies that block effective enforcement of existing laws, most notably by establishing a private right of action allowing victims of discrimination to defend their own rights in court.

While Catholic and other religious healthcare providers are especially at risk from coercive abortion policies, we should recall that rejection of abortion is an integral part of the Hippocratic Oath that for many centuries has helped define medicine as a profession, an ethical vocation dedicated to the life and well-being of one’s patients. Today the great majority of ob/gyns remain unwilling to perform abortions. Even the US Supreme Court, which legalized abortion nationwide, has admitted that abortion’s role in destroying unborn life makes it “inherently different from other medical procedures,” and said the government may help “encourage childbirth” over abortion [Harris v. McRae, 448 US 297, 325 (1980)]. When government instead mandates involvement in abortion as a condition for being allowed to provide life-affirming healthcare services, it not only undermines the widely acknowledged civil rights of healthcare providers but also limits access to good health care for American women and men.

In short, whether you approach this issue out of respect for defenseless human life, for religious liberty, for “freedom of choice” on abortion or for the well-being of our healthcare system, we urge you to support and co-sponsor the Conscience Protection Act and help ensure its approval by the House of Representatives this year.