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Monday, July 25, 2011

Obama supports contraceptive giveaway

Published in The Washington Examiner, July 25, 2011:

Re: "Gov't advisers: No copays for contraceptives," July 20
With the government drowning in debt and businesses teetering on the brink, the seemingly oblivious Obama administration has concocted a "cash for contraceptives" scheme that considers neither cost nor conscience.
An Institute of Medicine panel, commissioned and ideologically stacked by the Obama administration, has decreed that pregnancy is a public health hazard that requires forcing every American to subsidize a nationwide contraceptive giveaway program.
Besides mandating a massive expenditure without a cost analysis, the dictatorial mandate also tramples the conscience rights of every patient, physician, employer and insurer who ethically objects to the controversial contraceptives included in the mandate, such as ella and the "morning-after pill", which can end the life of a human embryo.
But this administration and its allies, like the billion-dollar Planned Parenthood empire, see conscience rights as an impediment to abortion ideology, and the appropriation of the public health system as the path to their own profits.
Jonathan Imbody
Vice president for government relations,
Christian Medical Association

Contraceptive mandate discards cost and conscience considerations

Published in The Washington Post, July 25, 2011:
Discarding consideration of both cost and conscientious objections, the Obama administration appears poised to adopt a radical advisory board recommendation: that the federal government must pay for or force others to pay for ethically controversial contraceptive drugs.
Included in the indiscriminate mandate would be controversial drugs such as ella (ulipristal acetate) and the “morning-after pill” (levonorgestrel). Food and Drug Administration labels note that these drugs “may inhibit implantation” of a living human embryo. Since many physicians, patients, employers and even some insurers adhere to life-affirming ethical standards, they cannot in good conscience participate in prescribing, taking or paying for such drugs. This mandate offers them no alternative.
That’s obviously of scant concern to the administration, which has gutted the only federal regulation protecting conscientious medical professionals from job-ending discrimination. Nor does the administration consider consequential the additional cost to taxpayers and potentially business-killing burdens that this overbearing policy will bring.
Time and again, confronted with protests that the government cannot continue to willfully disregard cost and conscience, this president audaciously answers, “Yes, we can.”
Jonathan Imbody, Ashburn
The writer is vice president for government relations of the Christian Medical Association and director of Freedom2Care.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Obama administration slyly eliminating faith-based providers of aid to human trafficking victims

This administration talks about the value of conscience rights in health care and then implements policies at the agency level that eliminate those rights altogether.
That's exactly what's happening with grants related to HIV-AIDS and human trafficking; bureaucrats are writing the grant requirements that apparently deliberately eliminate faith-baesd organizations that don't support the administration's radically pro-abortion ideology. This grant stipulation from the HHS Administration for Children and Families, Office of Refugee Resettlement appears designed to precisely exclude pro-life, faith-based organizations:
"Taking into consideration the particular health risks posed to victims of trafficking, preference will be given to grantees under this FOA that will offer all victims referral to medical providers who can provide or refer for provision of treatment for sexually transmitted infections, family planning services and the full range of legally permissible gynecological and obstetric care..." [emphasis added]
That last phrase, of course, translates into "abortion" and "life-ending contraception."
Besides violating the conscience rights of faith-based organizations that Congress voted to protect when approving legislation and funding to fight trafficking, this discrimination also stands to eliminate proven effective providers of aid to human trafficking victims such as the Salvation Army and Catholic Relief Services.
Politicians--don't watch their mouths; watch their actions--and their bureaucrats.

Sinking economy? Free government birth control! Physician shortage? Eliminate pro-life docs!

CBS News reports that a recommendation by a nonpartisan group of experts that the government require health insurance companies to cover the full cost of birth control for women has prompted both praise and anger ahead of the Obama administration's decision on whether to adopt the recommendation. The Family Research Council (FRC) decried the recommendations for including emergency contraception (or the "morning after pill"). The group also points out there are no conscience protections for health care providers in insurance plan networks who object to prescribing such drugs.
My good friend Jeanne Monahan of FRC hit the nail on the head with this quote:
"If HHS [the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services] includes these mandates, the conscience rights of millions of Americans will be violated, including issuers of plans, providers who contract with such plans, and Americans who will pay for the cost of these services," Monahan said in a statement. "HHS should focus on items and services that prevent actual diseases, and not include controversial services just to placate the abortion industry."
Besides posing a ridiculously expensive new entitlement in what should be a time of federal austerity, this pro-abortion policy would also eliminate desperately needed, conscientious medical professionals who follow ethical standards that protect early human life.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Regulating abortion clinics just like clinics that don't kill their patients

Two abortion clinics in Kansas that don't meet state health standards have predictably resorted to the courts to block the health and safety regulations they consider "burdensome" (i.e., cutting into profits).
The abortion clinic owners want judges to overturn the legislature and force Kansas to mimic states like Delaware, where abortion clinics incredibly do not fall under the definition of medical facilities and avoid routine inspections. Delaware state oversight and inspections might have caught the notorious operator of a squalid abortion clinic, Dr. Kermit Gosnell, who worked in both Delaware and Pennsylvania abortion clinics. Dr. Gosnell has been charged with multiple counts of murder in the deaths of an immigrant woman and seven delivered babies whose spinal cords he cut with scissors in his Pennsylvania clinic.
States like Kansas get it.
Abortion is a business, and businesses tend to cut corners whenever possible to decrease costs and increase revenues.
Abby Johnson, a former clinic director of the billion-dollar Planned Parenthood enterprise, has revealed, "I was directed to double the number of abortions our clinic performed in order to drive up revenue."
Botched abortions at unsafe, unregulated clinics too often increase the death rate to include mother as well as baby. Requiring abortion clinics' adherence to the same health regulations that apply to similar clinics that don't kill their patients is a modest step toward holding women's safety above business profits.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Common-sense hiring under attack: Shouldn't employees believe in the mission?

Critiquing a U.S. government policy that allows faith-based groups receiving federal grants to require that employees share faith-based values, Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va. can't seem to separate heredity from belief or clients from employees. He speciously asserts that such programs tell job applicants, "We don't hire your kind" ("Critics push Obama to change faith-based hiring rules," USA Today).
Faith-based groups minister to all individuals regardless of who they are. That's the point of faith-based ministry--to reach out in redemptive love and service to everyone.
Hiring individuals who share this faith commitment helps insure consistency with the core faith-based values of love, justice and compassion that motivate faith-based ministry. Both the Obama and Bush administrations have considered that approach reasonable, and faith-based groups maintain that it's essential.
Assuring that employees actually believe in an organization's core values is also just plain common sense. Imagine the insanity of forcing a Jewish group to hire a Muslim who denies the Holocaust, or forcing a Muslim group to hire an atheist who burns the Koran, or forcing a Christian group to hire an agnostic who considers the ministry, death and resurrection of Christ a hoax.
Some agents of intolerance wield the non-Constitutional phrase "separation of church and state" as if it's a government billy club. Yet rather than banning faith from the public square, the First Amendment actually protects it, providing that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…." U.S. government policy on religious hiring rightly reflects this freedom.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Imagine if each of us resolved to give just one percent more this year...

In a USA Today news article, "Charitable giving shows modest gain," a giving expert contends, "People are still pretty generous."
The report finds that Americans, on average, gave just two percent of disposable personal income to charitable causes. Considering that many of us Americans enjoy comfortable housing, fine dining and quality medical care, can we not consider giving more than two cents on the dollar to help those who lack the shelter, food and health care they need to survive?
Rather than considering ourselves "generous" by comparison to less charitable nations, we should challenge ourselves by comparison to those far less fortunate than we who enjoy such privilege. Privilege can insulate us from empathy; wealthier Americans actually give less as a percentage of income than poorer Americans, who can more intimately grasp the need. Poorer Americans more closely imitate the biblical example of the celebrated poor yet generous widow who gave all she had, compared to the rich who gave just a small portion of their surplus.
Imagine if each of us resolved to give just one percent more this year than last year to help feed the hungry, clothe and house the poor and care for the sick. The joy and satisfaction of linking hands with those who desperately need our help would encourage us to continue to elevate our financial priorities to match our moral sensibilities.