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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Rescue us from this precipice

President Obama slipped when he quipped recently that Congress is “on the precipice” of healthcare overhaul. The dictionary defines precipice as “a very steep or overhanging place; a hazardous situation; brink.”
“Precipice” is exactly how Americans view the prospect of radical healthcare overhaul, according to USA Today / Gallup polling.  Anyone who’s visited a government department of motor vehicles can imagine how government-directed healthcare decisions—which would occur under current legislation with or without the “public option”—will result in the delay and denial of their own health care.
Empowering the President’s cabinet members and other partisan bureaucrats to make sweeping decisions about what medical treatments and medicines to permit for all Americans dangerously injects the government into the exam room and the physician-patient relationship. The intrusive legislation  would even forbid senior citizens to use their own money to avoid involuntary denial of medical treatment under Medicare. That is, until the overhaul bankrupts Medicare.
Americans also oppose moral minefields in the legislation such as government funding of abortion and the absence of broad conscience rights for healthcare professionals, which threatens to eliminate healthcare access for poor patients by driving life-affirming physicians, hospitals and clinics out of medicine.
If anyone in Congress is still listening to the American people who are hanging on for dear life, please rescue us from this precipice.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Latest Senate Bill Version Shifts U.S. Policy To Fund Abortion

Specific Problems with the Latest Senate Bill Version

  1. Violates the Hyde Amendment and the Hype principles set in all other federally administered health programs like Medicare, Medicaid, TriCare, and CHIP.
  2. Preempts state laws and conflicts with some existing state laws on abortion.
  3. Conscience protections (Weldon language) are not included in the Senate version.
  4. The “so-called” firewall between federal and private funds is inconsistent with the Hyde and Stupak-Pitts Amendments.
  5. Departs from the way the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (also administered by OPM) is governed with respect to private plans covering abortion.
  6. Allows executive branch officials to require private health plans cover abortion simply by defining them as “preventive care” (the Mikulski Amendment mandates that all plans cover abortion by defining abortion as a “preventive” service).
  7. Inserts text of the Indian Health reauthorization bill (S.1790) that does not contain the Senate passed Vitter Amendment to permanently prohibit coverage of elective abortions in the federally funded Indian health programs.
What Pro-Life Experts are Saying:

  • United States Conference of Catholic Bishops – “The Senate health reform bill should not move forward in its current form… The legislation will be morally unacceptable ‘unless and until’ it complies with longstanding current laws on abortion funding such as the Hyde amendment… Abortion compromise does not address core problem in Senate health bill…”
  • Democrat Representative Bart Stupak – “Not acceptable… a dramatic shift in federal policy that would allow the federal government to subsidize insurance policies with abortion coverage.”
  • National Right to Life Committee – “The Reid manager’s amendment is light years removed from the Stupak-Pitts Amendment that was approved by the House of Representatives on November 8 by a bipartisan vote of 240-194. The new abortion language solves none of the fundamental abortion-related problems with the Senate bill, and it actually creates some new abortion-related problems.”
  • Family Research Council – “It would violate the Hyde Amendment and other current laws that prevent federal funds going to pay part of the cost of health plans that include coverage of elective abortion… provisions will increase the number of abortions with government funding.”

Kill the Bill - Urgent Action Update

Urgent action item: 
The senate will vote to end debate on the managers amendment around 1 am Monday morning.  Let your senators know now that you oppose this so-called compromise.
Senate Majority Leader Reid has released his Manager’s Amendment to the Senate healthcare overhaul bill. Reid's Manager's Amendment contains 383 pages of changes to his bill--changes designed to gain the 60 votes necessary to end debate and allow a vote on passage of the health care reform bill.
Bad news: News reports indicate that Senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), who had been holding out for a strong pro-life ban on abortion funding, now has agreed to the changes and supports the bill.
The Manager’s Amendment does NOT contain language similar to the pro-life Stupak amendment approved by the House. The Stupak amdendment clearly bans government subsidy of abortion.
Instead, the section on abortion in the Manager's Amendment (starting on page 38) adds a provision allowing states to opt out of providing abortion coverage through the exchange. The section also adds further layers of accounting requirements.
The result is the same: contrary to longstanding policy, the federal government will subsidize private health insurance plans that cover abortion. This policy change will facilitate abortion by making it more easily available.
The result: more unborn lives lost to abortion and more wounded mothers.
The Manager’s Amendment also strikes the public option and replaces it with a program similar to the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) run by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).  However, unlike the FEHBP, the Director of OPM will contract with health insurance companies to provide insurance that includes abortion.
In other words, it replaces government-run health care with ... government-run health care.
The senate will vote to end debate on the managers amendment around 1 am Monday morning.  Let your senators know that you oppose this so-called compromise. Subsidizing plans that cover abortion is contrary to longstanding federal law.
What to do?
The senate will vote to end debate on the managers amendment around 1 am Monday morning.  Let your senators know now  that you oppose this so-called compromise.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Unraveling Legislative Legerdemain

Following is a commentary published today that I wrote for The Church Report:
""You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time." –Abraham Lincoln

With over 5,000 pages of House and Senate healthcare overhaul bill text written in legal mumbo-jumbo designed to fool people, the best way to figure out what’s really behind the legislative legerdemain is to watch what happens to clear-cut amendments.
The Senate recently defeated by a 54-45 vote, for example, Democrat Senator Ben Nelson’s clear amendment to bar government funding of abortion. That revealing vote signals that pro-abortion senators fully intend their bill to launch government funding of abortion on demand.
The same is true of the rabidly pro-abortion House leadership. With teeth gritted and fists clenched, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, finally allowed a vote on a similar anti-abortion funding amendment only after Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak had secured enough Democrat commitments to block passage of the entire healthcare overhaul bill. The pro-life Stupak-Pitts amendment won 240-196, while the overall bill barely passed, 220-215.
Now the relentless renegade Republican Senator Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Ob-Gyn physician, is pulling the veil off the senate companion bill by introducing an amendment to protect conscientious medicine. Dr. Coburn’s Amendment 2967, which Senate leadership would rather keep from coming to a vote, would bar discrimination against health care professionals who decline to participate in abortions. I recently provided Senator Coburn’s staff with a raft of real-life stories of physicians and others who have faced firing, coercion and discrimination simply for following life-affirming codes of medical ethics such as the Hippocratic oath.
  Perhaps few stories of coercion are as compelling as a case currently under litigation with the aid of the Alliance Defense Fund. Cathy Cenzon-DeCarlo, an operating room nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, was forced to assist, despite her vigorous protests, with a late-term abortion of a 22-week old unborn baby.
The nurse’s lawsuit notes, “By being forced to participate in the abortion, Mount Sinai forced Mrs. DeCarlo to witness the killing of a 22-week-old preborn child by dismemberment. Mount Sinai forced Mrs. DeCarlo to watch the doctor remove the bloody arms and legs of the child from its mother’s body with forceps … to view the bloody body parts of the 22-week-old preborn child in the specimen cup, to put saline in the cup, and to take it to the specimen area.”
Mrs. Cenzon-DeCarlo is quoted in an article by ADF attorney Matt Bowman as saying, “I still remember the baby's mangled body with twisted and torn arms, fingers, legs and feet. It felt like a horror film unfolding. I kept imagining the pain this baby must have gone through while being torn apart with the forceps. It was devastating.”
World-renowned experts such as Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand have testified in Congress and in court regarding fetal pain research, which reveals that not only do developing babies have all the architecture for feeling pain at 20 weeks (about halfway through a full-term pregnancy); they also can feel “severe and excruciating pain” at levels far beyond what adults feel.
That any government or medical system would actually force healthcare professionals to participate in such barbarity seems beyond reason. But we live in a New Age where reason is being replaced by raw political power and compulsion, and where the dictates of conscience are being replaced by the dictates of a ruling elite that has little regard for unborn life or conscience.
Despite promises of democratic transparency, the ruling elite in Congress have conspired and crafted their anti-life agenda behind closed doors. The most devious and deceptive closed-door mischief could occur during a conference when House and Senate bills would be reconciled.
Speaker Pelosi would likely side with her pro-abortion allegiances and make sure that no pro-life, pro-conscience provisions survive in the final bill version. That last-minute larceny would please the 54 senators who refused to duplicate the Stupak anti-abortion funding amendment and also President Obama, who has publicly promoted abortion as key to his healthcare plan. And they will all do so while claiming that their bill, deliberately designed to launch new and massive government funding of abortion on demand, simply keeps the abortion “status quo”.
Contact your lawmakers and write a letter to your paper, making clear that you are not fooled by legislative legerdemain and deceptive rhetoric. If we expose and derail this conspiracy before a final bill vote, we can kill this healthcare overhaul bill before it starts killing our nation’s children.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Watch new online video by docs on healthcare legislation

Two new, dynamic healthcare legislation resources are available for you to watch and listen to online:
1. For medical professionals and patients, a webcast by Christian Medical Association physicians available to watch right now:
Drs. David Stevens and Gene Rudd, leaders of the 17,000-member Christian Medical Association, examine how current healthcare legislation will radically alter the physician-patient relationship and the delivery of health care. I provide an insider's view from Washington, DC on how to untangle deliberate deception and interpret the politics behind the legislation.
Click here to watch this videotaped web event now:

2. For the public: the 70+ pro-life and pro-family organizations that make up the Stop the Abortion Mandate Coalition are joining together next TUESDAY NIGHT, December 15 on a nationwide webcast:

TIME: 9 PM Eastern, 8 PM Central, 7 PM Mountain, 6 PM Pacific      

Register now at:

During the live webcast, you'll hear the latest breaking news from a panel of nationally respected
leaders gathered together in Washington, D.C. Expert presenters include:

 * TONY PERKINS, Family Research Council
 * KRISTAN HAWKINS, Students for Life of America
 * CHARMAINE YOEST, Americans United for Life
 * DOUGLAS JOHNSON, National Right to Life Committee
 * KRISTEN DAY, Democrats for Life
 * WENDY WRIGHT, Concerned Women for America
 * DAVID BEREIT, 40 Days for Life
We hope you will find these two resources helpful as you take a stand and speak out on healthcare legislation. For more information, visit the Freedom2Care website at and the Christian Medical Association web site at
Freedom2Care is an ad-hoc coalition of conscience-affirming organizations, coordinated by the 17,000-member Christian Medical Association (
Follow and share Freedom2Care on:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The doctor is not in

Crafters of healthcare overhaul legislation who think they're going to increase access for patients should think again.
If the current radical version of healthcare overhaul legislation passes, there may not be enough physicians to go around.
Consider these facts:
If healthcare overhaul passes, patients calling for a physician may be on hold a very long time.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Why one woman ran to the hospital when she heard about the healthcare bill

When an older woman interviewed for the USA Today news article, “New baseline of opinion on health care” found out about the Democrat healthcare plan, she “ran out and got the surgeries she needed,” explaining, “When has anything that the government does saved money?"
She shares the fears of an increasing number of Americans polled by USA Today : that government–run health care would increase cost and decrease quality. Patients also fear the delay and denial of procedures and medicine by bureaucratic bean counters.
When 53-year-old Randy Stroup of Dexter, Ore applied to Oregon's state-run health plan for help with his chemotherapy, bureaucrats sent him back a letter stating that the state would not cover his chemotherapy but would pay for the cost of an assisted suicide.
Obama health policy advisor Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel has written that some medical services should not be guaranteed to those “who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens,” such as “patients with dementia.”
Anyone tempted to buy the political propaganda extolling government-run health care should think about their last experience at the Department of Motor Vehicles--and then imagine their lives depending on that bureaucracy.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Healthcare radicals bank on public ignorance and gullibility

I recently wrote an op-ed, published by the long-standing conservative publication Human Events, that explains how public vigilance is the key to stopping the radical and reckless healthcare overhaul plan in Congress:

November 21, 2009 - To give you an idea of the kind of math that Reid and his allies employ, they conveniently left out of the projected cost of the bill some $247 billion -- the cost of a 10-year freeze on cuts in Medicare payments to doctors. Reid had proposed that expensive "doctor-fix" plan to buy off the American Medical Association, which dutifully endorsed the overall health care bill in response to the cash inducement.  Read op-ed

Friday, November 20, 2009

Senate vote within hours could determine healthcare - call now

This weekend the U.S. Senate will hold a crucial vote on whether or not to proceed with the expensive healthcare overhaul bill that will:
  • launch government funding of abortions
  • threaten the conscience rights of faith-based healthcare professionals and
  • deeply inject the government into the physician-patient relationship.
So if you don’t want your government to pay for abortions … pressure life-affirming physicians out of medicine … and take away decision-making ability from physicians and patients, then you need to call your two senators today.
Because if supporters of this radical bill can muster 60 votes this weekend to proceed on this bill, they essentially win the battle. They will only need 50 votes on the healthcare overhaul bill itself to completely pass the bill.
With enough in the majority party to pass the bill on a partisan basis with 50 votes, that means this weekend is our best—and possibly our last--chance to stop this reckless legislation.
So call your Senators today ( and tell them to VOTE NO on proceeding with the healthcare overhaul bill.
This bill fails to include broad conscience protections for medical professionals and institutions. It also includes government-run health care that will mean delay and denial of care to many patients.
Unless we speak out now, Congress may pass a bill that tramples conscience rights and puts patients at the mercy of the government.
Remember the vote is expected this weekend, so call today and tell them to VOTE NO on proceeding with the healthcare overhaul bill.
Thank you for taking a stand!
P.S. This weekend’s Senate vote looks very, very close. It is important to contact every senator to VOTE NO on proceeding with this bill. The following senators are considered especially crucial:
  • Bayh
  • Byrd
  • Casey
  • Collins
  • Conrad
  • Dorgan
  • T. Johnson
  • Landrieu
  • Lincoln
  • McCaskill
  • Nelson
  • Pryor
  • Reid
  • Snowe
  • Warner
Freedom2Care is an ad-hoc coalition of conscience-affirming organizations, coordinated by the 16,000-member
 Christian Medical Association (
Follow and share Freedom2Care on:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Secret bill finally unveiled

Last night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid finally unveiled the healthcare overhaul bill that’s been worked on behind closed doors for weeks. A full Senate vote on whether or not to proceed with this bill is expected this weekend.
Some Senators plan to fight against any conscience protections for life-affirming medical professionals and faith-based hospitals and clinics. Without conscience protections for life-affirming medical professionals and institutions, millions of patients may lose access to the care they depend upon.
Some Senators also plan to demand expensive government-run health care—like the “public option” already passed in the House bill. Analysts note that government-run health care will delay and deny—in other words, ration--health care for many patients.
The House bill for the moment includes conscience protections (through the Stupak amendment) but ONLY has protection related to abortion. Now abortion advocates in Congress are plotting to get rid of even that conscience protection.
This weekend's expected vote on whether or not to proceed with the Senate bill is expected to be extremely close. Just one of your Senators could make the difference! (Below is a list of Senators considered crucial.)
Call your Senators today ( and tell them to VOTE NO on any bill that:
  1. Fails to include broad conscience protections for medical professionals and institutions.
  2. Includes government-run health care that will mean delay and denial of care to many patients.
Unless we speak out now, Congress may pass a bill that tramples conscience rights and puts patients at the mercy of the government. Thank you for taking a stand!

Senators considered crucial:

  • Bayh
  • Byrd
  • Casey
  • Collins
  • Conrad
  • Dorgan
  • T. Johnson
  • Landrieu
  • Lincoln
  • McCaskill
  • Nelson
  • Pryor
  • Reid
  • Snowe
  • Warner

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Urge Congress before Friday to vote NO on pro-abortion "Rule" on H.R. 3962

NRLC urgent alert:
Pro-abortion Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) is planning to try to ram the massive health care bill (H.R. 3962, previously H.R. 3200) through the U.S. House of Representatives this week. The most critical roll call will occur on a procedural vote -- called "the Rule" -- that is expected to occur late on Friday, November 6, or Saturday, November 7.
Immediately TELEPHONE the Washington, D.C. office AND the in-district office of your representative in the U.S. House of Representatives with a clear and firm message:
"I am a constituent, and I urge you to vote NO on the Rule on the health bill, H.R. 3962, because it does not allow the House to vote on the pro-life Stupak Amendment [pronounced STEW-pak].”
The so-called pro-life language that Speaker Pelosi has put into the bill is completely phony. We are not fooled. A vote for this Rule is a vote to set up a new nationwide federal health insurance program, called the "public option," that will be authorized to pay for abortion on demand with federal funds.
If as few as 40 Democrats are persuaded to vote with Congressman Stupak in opposition to the "closed rule," it would be impossible for the Speaker to ram the abortion-funding H.R. 3962 through the House.
Click here for legislator contact information:

Monday, November 2, 2009

Listen to Stop the Abortion Mandate Webcast

THIS WEEK the U.S. House of Representatives plans to consider and vote on healthcare overhaul legislation that would radically change U.S. policy and begin government subsidy of abortion on demand.
To respond swiftly to this crisis, the pro-life movement has unified on a nationwide webcast --
During the webcast, you'll hear the latest breaking news from nationally respected leaders:
  • REP. CHRIS SMITH, U.S. House of Representatives
  • DR. DAVID STEVENS, Christian Medical Association
  • MARJORIE DANNENFELSER, Susan B. Anthony List
  • CHARMAINE YOEST, Americans United for Life
  • KRISTAN HAWKINS, Students for Life of America
  • DAVID BEREIT, 40 Days for Life
  • KELLYANNE CONWAY, The Polling Company
  • WENDY WRIGHT, Concerned Women for America
  • DOUGLAS JOHNSON, National Right to Life Committee
  • KRISTEN DAY, Democrats for Life
The entire audio recording has now been posted online at:

Friday, October 30, 2009

Govt.-run health care bill a radical revamp of U.S. policy, would fund abortions from U.S. Treasury

The government-run healthcare feature of the "reform" bill (HR 3962) introduced yesterday by U.S. Speaker of the House, abortion advocate Nancy Pelosi, would radically transform longstanding U.S. policy by opening the floodgates to government payment for abortions. As usual, my friend Douglas Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee hits the nail on the head in his summary of the bill:
The bill explicitly authorizes the "public health insurance option" to pay for all elective abortions. The "public health insurance option" or "public plan" would be a health insurance program operated directly by the federal government, through the Department of Health and Human Services.

The public plan will be a federal agency program, and all funds spent by the agency are federal funds. The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS), in an October 9 memo obtained by NRLC, confirmed that all funds spent by the bill's public plan will be federal funds. Prominent Democrats who have claimed that the federal government could pay for abortion with 'private' funds have been engaged in a big snow job -- and in swallowing such a contrived, implausible claim, many journalists have been all too gullible.
Doug also highlights a huge battle coming up over an amendment by pro-life Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich. 1):
[The Stupak] amendment would prohibit the federal government plan from paying for abortion (except to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest). But Speaker Pelosi intends to try to force the House to pass the 1990-page bill under a "closed rule" (a procedure that allows no amendments to be considered), reportedly because she fears that the House would adopt the Stupak Amendment if a vote were allowed.

Pro-life groups are urging House members to vote against imposition of the closed rule. The showdown could occur on the House floor as soon as November 5 or 6.

Anyone voting to forbid amendments to this bill is in effect voting to set up a federal government program that will directly fund abortion on demand, with federal funds.

The bill also has a second objectionable provision relating to abortion -- it would allow federal subsidies to help pay for the cost of private health plans that cover elective abortion, a departure from longstanding federal policy. Stupak's amendment would correct this problem, as well.
Another pro-life source in Congress quickly analyzed the bill and reported:
H.R. 3962 replicates the Capps amendment, passed in the Energy and Commerce Committee. Therefore, it remains true that the bill clearly does not incorporate the Hyde amendment. Instead it accomplishes the opposite of the Hyde amendment. While Hyde prohibits funding for abortion through government programs, the newly created public option will be authorized to pay for abortions. Similarly, while the Hyde amendment prohibits funding for coverage that includes abortion, H.R. 3962 establishes an accounting gimmick to justify subsidizing private plans that cover abortion.
Congress will be deciding the fate of this bill next week. Let your voice be heard. Contact your legislator today. Tell your legislator to keep the government from funding abortions by:
  1. Voting NO on the “closed rule” (the rule that abortion proponents want to prevent pro-life amendments).
  2. Voting YES on the Stupak-Pitts amendment to ban government funding of abortions.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Contact your Representative today: vote NO to stop government-funded abortions

Just moments ago, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi revealed the federal healthcare “reform” bill that pro-abortion legislators have been working on behind closed doors.
In just a few days, the Speaker wants Congress to vote on the bill.
So our time to act and speak out to our legislators is very, very short. We must do so today.
No one in this short time can analyze the many details of this bill, but one thing is sure:
This legislation would radically change U.S. policy by having the government subsidize abortion on demand.
So our message to Congress is quite simple:
Keep our government from paying for abortions in any way.
When you tell your legislators this simple message, you may get excuses in response. Don’t buy the excuses:
  • The “Capps Amendment” is a phony scheme written by a pro-abortion legislator to set up accounting screens to mask federal subsidy of abortion. The bottom line after the smoke clears is that an abortionist would get a check from the U.S. Treasury to pay him for the abortion he performed.
  • The “Hyde Amendment” is a good law barring certain government funding (HHS appropriations) of certain abortions, but it does not apply to funding from this new healthcare legislation. It also has to be approved again and again each year, and pro-abortion legislators are aiming to vote it down. That would open the floodgates for government funding of abortion on demand.
Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich. 1) is leading about 40 pro-life colleagues from his party, along with Republican Representatives, in demanding an amendment to bar government funding of abortions.
The Stupak-Pitts amendment would—unlike the phony “compromises” by abortion proponents—clearly and explicitly bar government funding of abortions. The Stupak-Pitts amendment would parallel the good Hyde amendment.
So far, the Speaker and other pro-abortion leaders have refused to give this group a chance to vote. This battle is now coming to a head.
The pro-abortion Speaker doesn’t want that to happen. In a few days, the Speaker will try to get Representatives to vote to disallow any amendments to the healthcare legislation. That’s called a “closed rule” and it prohibits any amendments.
So when you tell your legislators to keep the government from funding abortions, tell them to vote NO on the closed rule. Tell them the Stupak-Pitts amendment deserves a YES vote to keep the government from funding abortions.
What you can do:

Contact the office of your U.S. Representative today:
Tell your legislator to keep the government from funding abortions by:
1. Voting NO on the “closed rule” (the rule that abortion proponents want to prevent pro-life amendments).
2. Voting YES on the Stupak-Pitts amendment to ban government funding of abortions.
This is not just politics. Little lives hang in the balance.
Thank you for speaking out.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Silent no more

Today's poll release by The Polling Company / Woman Trend shows massive opposition among American women to government funding of abortion.
Yet abortion advocates in Congress continue to aggressively push for government subsidy of abortion. What would drive a politician to so blatantly oppose public opinion that she would continue to push for such an unpopular idea as government-funded abortion?
Part of the answer, to be sure, lies in the campaign contributions received from extremely well funded abortion advocacy groups. Planned Parenthood rakes in about a billion (yes, that's billion with a "B") dollars a year--including hundreds of millions in government grants--and heavily supports pro-abortion candidates.
But I suspect the motivation goes even deeper, to a deep-seated ideological and emotional conviction that abortion somehow empowers women. 
Of course, that's a disillusioning ideology for the many women who at one time bought the lie and now regret their abortion, Listen to their testimonies
Such ideological myths only have power over people until the falsehood is exposed. You can help break that deceptive power by speaking out. If you are a woman or a man with a personal story to tell about abortion, consider sharing it at the Silent No More personal testmony site. If you are a patient or a medical  professional with a personal story to tell about your conscientious objection to abortion, enter your story now on our Freedom2Care site.
By reaching out to individuals with compassion and personal testimonies and also by speaking out in the public square and the halls of power, you and I can make a difference. With the consequences for women so great, and so many young lives at stake, we cannot afford silence.

"For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?" --Esther 4:14

Women don't want abortion in health care: Poll

My friend Kellyanne Conway at The Polling Company, Inc. / Woman Trend today released the results of her company's poll of women regarding healthcare reform. One poll question asked:
“Some have suggested that as part of healthcare reform, the law should be changed so that the federal government pays for abortions for women who have government-funded health insurance.  Generally speaking, do you support or oppose using tax dollars to pay for women obtaining abortions in cases other than rape or incest?”
Here's Kellyanne's take on the result:
Opposition outweighed support 67%-27%. As to intensity: 58% of women strongly rejected funding abortions using tax dollars.  Majorities of women of all ages, races, marital and parental statuses, incomes, educational attainments and regions formed a consensus and said it is inappropriate to tap government coffers for funding abortions.  
Perhaps what was most notable to us was the fact that even a majority of Democrats (55%) also opposed (as did an unsurprising 66% of Independents and 84% of Republicans).  And, a majority (53%) of women who pulled the lever for Obama about a year ago rejected the proposition.  
Conservative Democrats – a very important demographic in this healthcare debate – opposed at an even higher rate than moderates overall (76% vs. 63%). 

Meanwhile, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich. 1) continues to round up pro-life Democrat votes to block abortion funding in the House health care legislation. Today's poll gives him some powerful ammunition in that fight.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pro-Life Dems rightly balk at abortion in healthcare bill

Two dozen House Democrats, led by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), are showing backbone by throwing down the gauntlet over abortion government funding in healthcare legislation. Instead of lining up lockstep behind the pro-abortion House leader, reports the Associated Press in a news story today, Stupak and his pro-life colleagues are gearing up to "block action on the larger health overhaul bill unless he's allowed to offer a stand-alone amendment during floor debate to include the Hyde amendment restrictions in the health overhaul bill."
Why all the fuss about the Hyde amendment? After all, the President insists that the healthcare legislation won't allow government funding of abortion, and his White House spokesman has reiterated that claim, hiding behind the Hyde amendment as proof.
My friend Douglas Johnson and the National Right to Life Committee lay out the reasons in a letter to Congress:
H.R. 3200 would create (1) a nationwide insurance program run directly by the federal government, “the public plan,” and (2) an “affordability credit” program that would subsidize health insurance for tens of millions of Americans.  None of the funds that would be spent by the public plan, and none of the funds that would be spent by the premium subsidy program, would be appropriated through the annual appropriations bills (as the Congressional Research Service has confirmed), and therefore, none of these funds will be covered by the Hyde Amendment or any other current law that restricts government subsidies for abortion.  The new government programs created by H.R. 3200 will cover elective abortion, unless the Stupak-Pitts Amendment is added to the bill to prevent this outcome. 
Stupak and his colleagues have seen through the tricky language in this bill that attempts to obfuscate government abortion subsidies through accounting screens. The bottom line is that unless Hyde amendment language is voted into the bill through an amendment, an abortionist will suddenly be able to bill the federal government for an abortion and get a government check drawn from the U.S. Treasury.
That's a radical departure from U.S. policy regarding public funding of abortion, and that's worth speaking out about. Tell your Congressional leaders you won't stand for it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Call your senator today on healthcare legislation

Several pro-life organizations have compiled lists of senators believed to be open to persuasion to vote against current healthcare legislation before the Senate that threatens pro-life principles. Some of these senators may not be pro-life but have concerns about the financial impact.
All senators should understand that any threat to pro-life healthcare professionals is ultimately a threat to millions of patients who depend on these professionals for care. (Visit Freedom2Care to learn more.)
Two examples of pro-life lists--a map and a list of senators identified by a number of pro-life groups--are provided below.
Now is the time to contact your senators and tell them to vote against any healthcare bill that:
  1. Involves the government in funding and mandating abortion.
  2. Threatens conscience protections.
  3. Increases government interference in the physician-patient relationship.

Senator Call List

  1. Evan Bayh (D-Indiana) - 202-224-5623
  2. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) - 202-224-3004
  3. Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana) - 202-224-5824
  4. Mark Pryor (D-Arkansas) - 202-224-2353
  5. Joseph Lieberman (I-Connecticut) - 202-224-4041
  6. Jon Tester (D-Montana) - 202-224-2644
  7. Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas) - 202-224-4843
  8. Michael Bennet (D-Colorado) - 202-224-5852
  9. Mark Warner (D-Virginia) - 202-224-2023
  10. Jim Webb (D-Virginia) - 202-224-4024
  11. Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) - 202-224-6551 

    For any other senators, see 

    Tuesday, October 20, 2009

    Evasive lawmaking

    Addressing the realization that any supposed benefits from healthcare overhaul legislation would take three years to materialize, the White House cautions, "It's very important to get the execution right.” Yet the same political party that promised transparency and now calls for patience from patients is balking at requests for healthcare bills to be posted online at least three days before legislators vote on it.
    Wouldn’t “getting the execution right” begin with reading the bill to make sure the plan for the execution is right?
    The healthcare “reform” process has been marked by complication (a thousand-page bill creating a massive network of new government bureaucracy), obfuscation (accounting schemes to hide federal funding of abortion), and hypocrisy (promising conscience protections while voting down conscience-protecting amendments).
    Meaningful healthcare reform may well hinge on first reforming the equivocating conduct of Congress and evasive lawmaking.

    Thursday, October 15, 2009

    Why healthcare access hinges on civil liberties

    In a recent opinion piece in the Washington Post, Louisiana Republican governor Bobby Jindal focuses exclusively on financial solutions such as refundable tax credits and litigation reform. In actual practice, however, civil liberties protections may offer the greatest health benefit to the poor.
    Each year in the U.S., Catholic hospitals care for one in six patients, and one in eight hospitals affiliates with the Catholic Church. With a sizeable network of Protestant hospitals and thousands of faith-based clinics also serving the poor, millions of Americans—especially in medically underserved areas--depend on faith-based healthcare.
    In a recent national survey, 95 percent of faith-based physicians said they would “rather stop practicing medicine altogether than be forced to violate my conscience."
    While Congressional committees deep-six conscience rights amendments and the President trashes the federal conscience-protecting regulation, healthcare for the poor may well be riding on the civil liberties of the faith-based professionals and institutions who serve them.

    Wednesday, September 30, 2009

    Finally, something good to say about a healthcare reform bill

    So many bad bills, so little time...
    That's why it's nice to be able to say something good about a bill coming out of Washington.
    Today the 16,000-member Christian Medical Association (CMA,, the nation's largest association of faith-based physicians, voiced support for the conscience-protecting provisions in the "Empowering Patients First Act," a bill introduced by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA 6th). CMA contended that the protections are needed to avoid a potentially catastrophic loss of faith-based healthcare on which millions of poor patients depend.
    More from CMA's news release:

    In a letter sent to Rep. Price today regarding the bill (HR 3400), CMA CEO Dr. David Stevens noted, "The Christian Medical Association is very concerned that some in Congress and the White House appear to be pursuing a conscience-hostile approach to healthcare legislation, opposing amendment after amendment that would provide solid--not rhetorically deceptive--conscience protections. "Lawmakers must realize that threatening or minimizing conscience protections holds the potential to create a catastrophic shortage of healthcare access, especially for poor patients. Our national polling (available online at reveals that 95 percent of faith-based physicians are prepared to leave medicine altogether rather than violate their conscientiously held ethical convictions."
    Dr. Stevens wrote, "As you know, President Obama has announced plans to rescind the relatively new federal provider conscience regulation, which also provides for such a reporting mechanism. It is imperative, therefore, to enact legislation that protects conscience rights from the whims of any administration that might minimize the opportunity to address civil rights violations related to conscience."
    Dr. Stevens thanked Rep. Price for recognizing the need for strong, true and broad conscience protections.
    "The bill [Sec. 106 Part (d) of HR 3400] also provides a critical component of conscience protections. Many healthcare professionals encounter pressure to violate ethical codes on many issues besides abortion. HR 3400 addresses this reality by offering appropriately broad conscientious protection 'to accommodate the conscientious objection of a purchaser or an individual or institutional health care provider when a procedure is contrary to the religious beliefs or moral convictions of such purchaser or provider.'"
    In his letter, Dr. Stevens also noted the benefit of designating the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as a reporting outlet for healthcare professionals experiencing discrimination for their conscientious stance on ethical issues.
    "Besides protecting any individual or institutional health care entity from discrimination 'on the basis that the health care entity does not provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions,' the bill also provides the crucial implementation avenue needed to make such protection effective."

    Tuesday, September 29, 2009

    Call senators re: healthcare legislation, conscience and abortion

    Today the U.S. Senate Finance Committee will continue to mark up Sen. Baucus’s health care bill, and you can have an impact on how that mark-up turns out.
    My attorney friend Mary Harned of Americans United for Life has summarized in the AUL blog the key issues of concern for those of us concerned with life issues.
    Dr. Charmaine Yoest, President of AUL, reports, "Currently, Sen. Baucus’s bill allows qualified health plans to provide coverage for all abortions and mandates that at least one plan in each state exchange provide coverage of all abortions.  Thankfully, we have another chance to protect and defend life in health care reform.
    Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has filed several amendments that would prevent government funding for abortion and would protect current conscience laws for health professionals."
    Here are the pro-life amendments being considered for a vote Tuesday, Sep. 29:
    • Hatch Amdt. #C14 (355): Prohibits authorized or appropriated federal funds under this bill from being used for elective abortions and plans that cover such abortions. 
    • Hatch Amdt. #C13 (354): Protection for the right of conscience.
    • Hatch Amdt. #C12 (353): Prohibits federal funds under this bill from being used to pay for assisted suicide and offers conscience protections to providers or plans refusing to offer assisted suicide services.
    What can you do? CALL the Finance Committee Senators today and urge them to support Sen. Hatch’s amendments to exclude abortion funding & protect conscience rights for health workers:

    Monday, September 28, 2009

    Technicality v. Reality: Obama on Conscience and Abortion

    While Charles Krauthammer highlights the legerdemain the President deployed to advance his economic healthcare plans, the President also prevaricated on the issues of conscience and abortion (“Does He Lie?” Washington Post Op-Ed, Sep. 18, 2009). The President relied on a technicality rather than reality in asserting that under proposed healthcare legislation, “no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.” As Mr. Krauthammer points out, “laws are not self-enforcing,” and Mr. Obama neglected to add that he intends to get rid of the only conscience regulation that enforces those federal conscience laws. On federally funded abortions, the President also relies on technicality to obscure the reality. As disparate sources such as TIME magazine, and the National Right to Life Committee have all demonstrated, the elaborate Enron-like accounting schemes devised in the House and Senate bills merely mask the fact that if those bill were passed, the federal government would be writing checks to abortionists. House and Senate committees eliminated any lingering illusions by voting down unambiguous amendments that would have clearly barred government funding of abortion.
    If transparency in government is to mean anything, it must mean translating technicality into reality and replacing equivocation with truth.