Life Advocacy Briefing

February 20, 2017

Lives at Stake / Planned Parenthood Defunding Inches Forward
Tom Price Confirmed / Stateside Developments
March for Life Speech: Kellyanne Conway
Senate Voting Record / House Voting Record

Lives at Stake

LAST FRIDAY BROUGHT THE DEADLINE for Congressional action to overturn the late 2016 ordinance adopted by the local government of the District of Columbia – despite strong public opposition – authorizing doctors to abet the suicide of their patients. At our press deadline, neither the House nor the Senate had acted, but we maintained hope that action would be taken before both houses recessed for a week’s break centered on the President’s Day national holiday.

We can report that the House Committee on Government Reform & Oversight last Monday advanced House Joint Resolution 27, the Congressional veto of the ordinance, on a 22-to-14 vote.

The resolution was offered by Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) and was authorized by the Constitutional provision empowering Congress to overturn actions by the local government of our nation’s capital district.

We hope to bring good news on this front in next week’s Life Advocacy Briefing, and we wish our friends in the House and Senate a refreshing time “back home” this week in the midst of a break-neck session. 


Planned Parenthood Defunding Inches Forward

THE U.S. HOUSE DID VOTE LAST THURSDAY to repeal a December 2016 rule by the Obama Regime seeking to force states to include Planned Parenthood in grants and contracts issued under the Title X (Ten) “family planning” program.

House Joint Resolution 43, offered by Rep. Diane Black (R-TN), was adopted on a 230-to-188 vote. We publish the voting record at the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing and will publish two related procedural roll calls in future editions as space permits.

The measure now goes to the Senate, still under the number HJRes-43. Calls are needed now to home-state US Senators via the Capitol switchboard at 1-202/224-3121. The vote could arise in the Senate soon after the body returns from its week-long recess.

“Title X is a federal grant program,” Family Research Council/Action president Tony Perkins explained last week in an action alert, “that provides funds for family planning services. Many states have passed laws to exclude such funds from going to abortion providers like Planned Parenthood. While often Title X grants go to private entities, many states are the main grant recipient of these funds.  Those states realize that money is fungible. When Planned Parenthood or other abortion clinics receive Title X family planning funding, it frees resources for them to spend more on abortion.” Title X is one of Planned Parenthood’s principal sources of taxpayer money.

“States should be free to prioritize healthcare providers they find most effective at offering comprehensive healthcare services, including family planning services,” added Mr. Perkins, “without being forced to comply with a new federal mandate to fill the coffers of abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.  Pres. Donald Trump has promised to support ‘defunding Planned Parenthood as long as they continue to perform abortions, and reallocating their funding to community health centers that provide comprehensive health care for women.’”


Tom Price Confirmed

THE U.S. SENATE VOTED IN THE WEE SMALL HOURS of Feb. 10 – not long after our most recent edition was printed – to confirm US Rep. Tom Price as Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS). We are pleased to publish the Senate voting record on his confirmation near the close of this Life Advocacy Briefing.

Dr. Price is a dedicated pro-life official whose election to the US House in 2004 necessitated his early retirement from a distinguished career as an orthopedic surgeon and hospital administrator.

His chief policy responsibility will be to spearhead repeal and replacement of ObamaCare, a project on which he has worked as a lawmaker ever since the socialized medicine scheme was enacted. Since some of the policy initiatives undertaken by HHS under ObamaCare – such as the notorious abortifacient contraceptive mandate – were imposed via bureaucratic regulation, we are hopeful that the choice of Tom Price will bring early relief from some of the anti-Life ObamaCare complications even before Congress can act to ravel the overall mess.

H.H.S. is also the bureaucracy through which much of Planned Parenthood’s federal funding flows. We hope Secretary Price will act quickly to restore mercy and common sense in that arena as well.


Stateside Developments

MOST STATE LEGISLATIVE BODIES ARE IN SESSION NOW, some for just 60 to 90 days and others beginning near-continuous sessions. Life-related legislative actions are occurring across America, and we hope our readers will find a sampling here to be of interest, even at this early stage in the sessions.

Virginia is a battleground where the General Assembly appears to offer a majority of pro-life lawmakers along with one of the nation’s most vicious anti-life governors. Latest news: The state senate voted last week to disqualify Planned Parenthood from non-Medicaid state spending, sending it to Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) after 60-to-33 passage by the House. Said Family Foundation of Virginia president Victoria Cobb, quoted by Claire Chretien in, “‘Virginia has a duty to steward taxpayer money in a way that ensures funds are distributed by priority to the most effective point-of-service healthcare providers. … This legislation simply ensures that hospitals, federally qualified health clinics and rural health clinics are funded over abortion centers. There are well over 140 federally qualified and rural clinics in Virginia,’” she noted, “‘that offer the comprehensive services women need, many in areas where Planned Parenthood doesn’t have abortion centers.’” A veto is virtually guaranteed, but public debate aids development of the defunding movement.

Pennsylvania’s GOP-controlled Senate has passed a bill barring dismemberment abortion – the most commonly used, brutal method of abortion in the second trimester – and also barring abortion after 20 weeks in the name of protecting pain-capable unborn children. The Senate roll call was 32 to 18. The measure now goes to the House, where the Republican Party holds a commanding majority. A gubernatorial veto is likely, as Gov. Tom Wolf (D) is a virulent proponent of abortion. Veto override is imaginable but a stretch; Pennsylvanians need to speak up now. “‘Taking the life of an unborn child by tearing the baby limb by limb from a mother’s womb is cruel and unconscionable,’” declared Maria Gallagher, legislative director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, quoted in National Right to Life News Today, “‘It is a gruesome practice which most Pennsylvanians want to see banned … .’” She cited results from a statewide poll on the question, which, she said, “‘show that support for a dismemberment abortion ban in Pennsylvania is actually higher among women than men. … Sixty-four percent of Pennsylvania women,’” she said in the NRL News report, “‘want to see this heinous practice banned once and for all. And they applaud those women lawmakers who are leading the fight to end this ultimate form of child abuse.’”

Iowa’s State Senate has sent Planned Parenthood defunding to the House, where, reports Lisa Bourne for, “the bill is expected to pass before receiving Gov. Terry Branstad’s signature.” The abortion goliath is responding with a full-page ad in the DesMoines Register, notes Ms. Bourne, claiming the disqualification of Planned Parenthood from taxpayer funding “‘would be a health crisis for Iowa.’” But the Charlotte Lozier Institute, research arm of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, has reported, writes Ms. Bourne, “that in Iowa there are 213 better alternatives for women’s health care to 13 Planned Parenthood locations, a 16-to-1 ratio.” Among those “better alternatives” are a large number of “federally qualified health centers,” estimated to outnumber Planned Parenthood shops by 20 to 1 across the USA.

In Alabama, the executive branch has stepped up, with a newly released 2016 report from the state Health Dept. showing 17 pages of deficiencies uncovered at Planned Parenthood in Birmingham, including shirking such fundamental healthcare practices as staff handwashing between customers. Another report listed similar deficiencies at the Tuscaloosa abortuary. Disciplinary action to follow?


March for Life Speech: Kellyanne Conway

Jan. 27, 2017, Address to March for Life Rally by Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, transcribed by Life Advocacy from televised coverage by EWTN

        Good afternoon, March for Life. I am Kellyanne Conway. I am a wife, a mother, a Catholic, Counselor to the President of the United States of America, and yes, I am pro-life. It is such an honor to stand with the Vice President of the United States and with so many leaders, families and students from places near and far to defend the unborn. Your courage, your conviction, your resolve and your faith are impressive and consequential.

        This is a new day, a new dawn for life. Why are we here? What does it mean to stand together, to be part of this incredible movement, to face criticism, ridicule, laws and lawmakers that diminish and erode our most basic right and the bedrock of our society? It means to protect and to promote the most precious gift in the world – the gift of life. It means to stand up, stand tall and stand together against the indifference and the indefensible and to stand up, stand tall and stand together on behalf of babies in the womb.

        It is no coincidence that the first right cited in the Declaration of Independence is the right to Life. It is a right; it is not a privilege. It is not a choice. It is God-given. It is unique, and it is beautiful.

        This dismissive notion of out-of-sight-out-of-mind is over. Science and medicine have joined religion and morality in causing many Americans to rethink just how fragile and how triumphant human life truly is. Look at a sonogram. Meet a thriving toddler who was born at twenty-four weeks and who, with proper medical intervention, goes on to have a long and healthy life. Speak to the many women who have faced challenges becoming and remaining pregnant and then welcomed a miracle. Talk to the couples who are now parents because adoption, not abortion, was the best choice.

        Every day is a fight for life, yet today is also a celebration of life. It is a time to lift your voices and lift your spirits.

        Steps away from here, in the White House, a President and a Vice President sit at their desks and make decisions for a nation. As they sit there, they stand here, with you. Their impassioned defenses of Life as Presidential candidates showed a nation that courage and commitment can overcome indifference and insults, and their decisive actions as President and Vice President will further this conversation and this cause. This is a time of incredible promise for the pro-life, pro-adoption movement.

        Our message and our positive action must also reach those women who face unplanned pregnancies. They should know they are not alone. They are not judged. They, too, are protected and cared for and celebrated.

        So to the March for Life 2017, allow me to make it very clear: We hear you. We see you. We respect you, and we look forward to working with you. And yes, we walk, we march, we run and we endeavor forward with you. God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.


Senate Voting Record

Confirmation of Dr. Tom Price as Secretary of Health & Human Services – Feb. 10, 2017 – Confirmed – 52-47 (Democrats in italics; “Independent” marked “I”; new Senator in ALL CAPS)

Voting “yes” / pro-Life: Shelby, STRANGE/AL, Murkowski & Sullivan/AK, Flake & McCain/AZ, Boozman & Cotton/AR, Gardner/CO, Rubio/FL, Isakson & Perdue/GA, Crapo & Risch/ID, Young/IN, Ernst & Grassley/IA, Moran & Roberts/KS, McConnell & Paul/KY, Cassidy & Kennedy/LA, Collins/ME, Cochran & Wicker/MS, Blunt/MO, Daines/MT, Fischer & Sasse/NE, Heller/NV, Burr & Tillis/NC, Hoeven/ND, Portman/OH, Inhofe & Lankford/OK, Toomey/PA, Graham & Scott/SC, Rounds & Thune/SD, Alexander & Corker/TN, Cornyn & Cruz/TX, Hatch & Lee/UT, Capito/WV, Johnson/WI, Barrasso & Enzi/WY.

Voting “no” / anti-Life: Feinstein & Harris/CA, Bennet/CO, Blumenthal & Murphy/CT, Carper & Coons/DE, Nelson/FL, Hirono & Schatz/HI, Duckworth & Durbin/IL, Donnelly/IN, King(I)/ME, Cardin & VanHollen/MD, Markey & Warren/MA, Peters & Stabenow/MI, Franken & Klobuchar/MN, Tester/MT, Cortez-Masto/NV, Hassan & Shaheen/NH, Booker & Mendendez/NJ, Heinrich & Udall/NM, Gillibrand & Schumer/NY, Heitkamp/ND, Brown/OH, Merkley & Wyden/OR, Casey/PA, Reed & Whitehouse/RI, Leahy & Sanders/VT, Kaine & Warner/VA, Cantwell & Murray/WA, Manchin/WV, Baldwin/WI.

Not voting: McCaskill/MO.


House Voting Record

HJRes-43 – Overturning Obama Regulation Forcing States to Fund Planned Parenthood – Feb. 16, 2017 – Passed – 230-188 (Democrats in italics)

Voting “yes” / pro-Life: Aderholt, Brooks, Byrne, Palmer, Roby, Rogers/AL; Young/AK; Biggs, Franks, Gosar, McSally, Schweikert/AZ; Crawford, Hill, Westerman, Womack/AR; Calvert, Cook, Denham, Hunter, Issa, Knight, LaMalfa, McCarthy, McClintock, Nunes, Rohrabacher, Royce, Valadao, Walters/CA; Buck, Coffman, Lamborn, Tipton/CO; Bilirakis, Buchanan, DeSantis, Diaz-Balart, Dunn, Gaetz, Mast, Posey, F.Rooney, T.Rooney, Ros-Lehtinen, Ross, Rutherford, Webster, Yoho/FL; Allen, Carter, Collins, Ferguson, Graves, Hice, Loudermilk, A.Scott, Woodall/GA; Labrador, Simpson/ID; Bost, R.Davis, Hultgren, Kinzinger, LaHood, Lipinski, Roskam, Shimkus/IL; Banks, Brooks, Bucshon, Hollingsworth, Messer, Rokita, Walorski/IN; Blum, King, Young/IA; Jenkins, Marshall, Yoder/KS; Barr, Comer, Guthrie, Massie, Rogers/KY; Abraham, Graves, Higgins, Johnson, Scalise/LA; Poliquin/ME; Harris/MD; Amash, Bergman, Bishop, Huizenga, Mitchell, Moolenaar, Upton, Walberg/MI; Emmer, Lewis, Paulson, Peterson/MN; Harper, Kelly, Palazzo/MS; Graves, Hartzler, Long, Luetkemeyer, Smith, Wagner/MO; Bacon, Fortenberry, Smith/NE; Frelinghuysen, Lance, LoBiondo, MacArthur, Smith/NJ; Pearce/NM; Collins, Donovan, Katko, King, Reed, Stefanik, Tenney, Zeldin/NY; Budd, Foxx, Holding, Hudson, Jones, McHenry, Meadows, Pittenger, Rouzer, Walker/NC; Chabot, Davidson, Gibbs, Johnson, Jordan, Joyce, Latta, Renacci, Stivers, Tiberi, Turner, Wenstrup/OH; Bridenstine, Cole, Lucas, Mullin, Russell/OK; Walden/OR; Barletta, Costello, Fitzpatrick, Kelly, Marino, Meehan, Murphy, Perry, Rothfus, Shuster, Smucker, Thompson/PA; Duncan, Gowdy, Rice, Sanford, Wilson/SC; Noem/SD; Black, Blackburn, DesJarlais, Duncan, Fleischmann, Kustoff, Roe/TN; Arrington, Babin, Brady, Burgess, Carter, Conaway, Culberson, Farenthold, Flores, Gohmert, Granger, Hensarling, Hurd, S.Johnson, Marchant, McCaul, Olson, Poe, Ratcliffe, Sessions, Smith, Thornberry, Weber, Williams/TX; Bishop, Chaffetz, Love/UT; Brat, Comstock, Garrett, Goodlatte, Griffith, Taylor, Wittman/VA; Herrera-Beutler, McMorris-Rodgers, Newhouse, Reichert/WA; Jenkins, McKinley, Mooney/WV; Duffy, Gallagher, Grothman, Sensenbrenner/WI; Cheney/WY.

Voting “no” / anti-Life: Sewell/AL; Gallego, Grijalva, O’Halleran, Sinema/AZ; Aguilar, Barragan, Bera, Brownley, Carbajal, Cardenas, Chu, Correa, Costa, Davis, DeSaulnier, Eshoo, Garamendi, Huffman, Khanna, Lee, Lieu, Lofgren, Lowenthal, Matsui, McNerney, Napolitano, Panetta, Pelosi, Peters, Roybal-Allard, Ruiz, Sanchez, Schiff, Sherman, Speier, Swalwell, Takano, Thompson, Torres, Vargas, Waters/CA; DeGette, Perlmutter, Polis/CO; Courtney, DeLauro, Esty, Himes, Larson/CT; Blunt-Rochester/DE; Castor, Crist, Demings, Deutch, Frankel, Hastings, Lawson, Murphy, Soto, Wasserman-Schultz, Wilson/FL; Johnson, Lewis, D.Scott/GA; Gabbard, Hanabusa/HI; Bustos, D.Davis, Foster, Gutierrez, Kelly, Krishnamoorthi, Quigley, Schakowsky, Schneider/IL; Carson, Visclosky/IN; Loebsack/IA; Yarmuth/KY; Pingree/ME; Brown, Cummings, Delaney, Hoyer, Raskin, Ruppersberger, Sarbanes/MD; Capuano, Clark, Keating, Kennedy, Lynch, McGovern, Moulton, Neal, Tsongas/MA; Conyers, Dingell, Kildee, Lawrence, Levin/MI; Ellison, McCollum, Nolan, Walz/MN; Thompson/MS; Clay, Cleaver/MO; Kihuen, Rosen, Titus/NV; Kuster, Shea-Porter/NH; Gottheimer, Norcross, Pallone, Pascrell, Payne, Sires, Watson-Coleman/NJ; Lujan, Lujan-Grisham/NM; Clarke, Crowley, Engel, Espaillat, Faso, Higgins, Jeffries, Lowey, C.Maloney, S.Maloney, Meeks, Meng, Nadler, Rice, Serrano, Slaughter, Suozzi, Tonko, Velazquez/NY; Adams, Price/NC; Beatty, Fudge, Kaptur, Ryan/OH; Blumenauer, Bonamici, DeFazio, Schrader/OR; Boyle, Brady, Cartwright, Dent, Doyle, Evans/PA; Cicilline, Langevin/RI; Clyburn/SC; Cohen, Cooper/TN; Castro, Cuellar, Doggett, Gonzalez, A.Green, G.Green, Jackson-Lee, E.B.Johnson, O’Rourke, Veasey, Vela/TX; Welch/VT; Beyer, Connolly, McEachin, Scott/VA; DelBene, Heck, Jayapal, Kilmer, Larsen, Smith/WA; Kind, Moore, Pocan/WI.

Not Voting: Bass/CA, Curbelo/FL, Bishop/GA, Rush/IL, Richmond/LA, Trott/MI, Zinke/MT, Amodei/NV, Butterfield/NC, Cramer/ND, Barton/TX, Stewart/UT, Ryan/WI.