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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Speak out: Conscience-protecting bill battle coming to U.S. House

The House Rules Committee has announced that it will meet on Tuesday, May 3, 2011 to consider H.R. 3, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” introduced by Pro-life Caucus Co-chairs Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Dan Lipinksi (D-IL).  Expect heated debate in the House next week focused on conscience rights. H.R. 3 would:
  • establish a government-wide permanent prohibition on funding for abortion (including subsidies for abortion coverage under the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”);
  • codify the Hyde-Weldon conscience clause; and
  • remove tax-preferred status for abortion through health savings accounts.
Section 310 of H.R. 3 ensures that a federal, State or local government that receives Federal funds may not discriminate against any individual or institutional health care entity on the basis that the entity does not provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.  This section includes legal remedies that provides a right to sue for institutions and individuals who are discriminated against. This language reflects the Hyde-Weldon conscience clause with the addition of a remedies section to allow victims of discrimination to seek redress in court.
Action: Urge your Representative--especially if he or she is on the list below of Members who did not cosponsor H.R. 3--and urge him or her to vote FOR H.R. 3 and AGAINST all hostile amendments:
Republicans who did not cosponsor H.R. 3.
1. Bass (NH)
2. Biggert (IL)
3. Bono Mack (CA)
4. Camp (MI)
5. Capito (WV)
6. Dent (PA)
7. Dold (IL)
8. Dreier (CA)
9. Frelinghuysen (NJ)
10. Gibson (NY)
11. Hanna (NY)
12. Hastings, D (WA)
13. Hayworth (NY)
14. Heller (NV)
15. Herrera (WA)
16. Meehan (PA)
17. Paulsen (MN)
18. Reichert (WA)
19. Renacci (OH)
20. Rohrabacher (CA)
21. Runyan (NJ)
22. Tipton (CO)
23. Webster (FL)
24. Young, D (AK)
Democrats who previously voted for similar legislation, but did not cosponsor H.R. 3
1. Altmire (PA)
2. Baca (CA)
3. Barrow (GA)
4. Bishop, S (GA)
5. Cardoza (CA)
6. Chandler (KY)
7. Cooper (TN)
8. Costa (CA)
9. Cuellar, Henry (TX)
10. Doyle (PA)
11. Kaptur (OH)
12. Kildee (MI)
13. Langevin (RI)
14. Lynch (MA)
15. Matheson (UT)
16. Michaud (ME)
17. Neal (MA)
18. Reyes (TX)
19. Ryan, T (OH)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Defunding the Healthcare Law

My Congressman, Rep. Frank Wolf, sums up the reasons that he and other Congressional leaders have cosponsored legislation to defund the partisan healthcare law passed over a year ago:
I want to let you know that I am cosponsoring legislation to stop the mandatory spending in the new health care reform law and require that any federal funding for the law enacted in 2010 be approved by Congress every year.
The legislation (
H.R. 1286), introduced by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), is aimed at preventing the implementation of the health care overhaul. The measure would require that the new health care law be funded like every other federal program, forcing the administration to request funding every year for the new programs.  The health care reform law essentially shelters $105 billion from the regular budget process by including it in mandatory, automatic accounts, ensuring that some of the new funding will never face the careful scrutiny or reductions being applied to other federal programs in discretionary accounts that Congress must approve every year.  
In voting against the original health care reform bill signed into law by President Obama, I cited then my concern about the billions of dollars in mandatory spending in the legislation.  I continue to believe that it must be repealed and replaced with responsible solutions that lower cost and offer greater access to affordable health care coverage.   In this session of Congress I have voted 11 times in the effort to stop the implementation of the health care reform law, to repeal tax provisions that fund it, or to repeal the law entirely.  One of those votes was to repeal the burdensome 1099 tax filing requirements placed on small businesses. I was pleased to see the Senate approve House legislation repealing the 1099 requirements.  That legislation now awaits the president’s signature.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Planned Parenthood: More fit for a federal investigation than a federal subsidy

Facing a $1.5 trillion national deficit, a borrowed $700-billion bailout program and now an over half a billion dollar unplanned war in Libya, most lawmakers and taxpayers are hardly in a mood to spend more--especially on grants to scandalized abortion businesses posing as nonprofits.
No wonder the House of Representatives voted 240-185[i] to cut off federal subsidies to Planned Parenthood, a billion-dollar "nonprofit" enterprise that performed 332,278 abortions[ii] and received $363.2 million in taxpayer funding, according to its 2009 annual report.[iii]
Every week or so, a new scandal documented with statistical and videotaped evidence exposes Planned Parenthood as corrupt.
As Ohio Republican Rep. Jean Schmidt noted, "For the sake of abortion, Planned Parenthood holds itself above the law, ignoring mandatory reporting requirements, skirting parental consent, and aiding and abetting child sex trafficking."[iv]
This behemoth abortion business is a conglomerate more fit for a federal investigation than a federal subsidy.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Weighing conscience versus convenience, core American values versus shopping

In a USA Today analysis of pending Oregon legislation, Tom Krattenmaker wrongly equates rather than contrasts conscientiously objecting pharmacists with parents who refuse lifesaving medical care for their children.
The contrast couldn't be clearer. Pharmacists who decline to dispense controversial and potentially abortifacient drugs like EllaOne and Plan B, which the FDA warns can cause the death of a living human embryo,[i],[ii] do so to save human lives. Those who would mandate pro-life pharmacists' participation in chemical abortions regardless of conscience are mandating the professional violation of the life-honoring Hippocratic oath that has guided medicine and protected patients for millennia.
Granted, preserving freedom of religion and conscience often requires consideration of consequences. The actions of the conscientious pharmacist may occasionally result in a temporary inconvenience for a shopper who can simply purchase the drug from another pharmacist. That's hardly the level of consequence that would justify a wholesale denial of conscience rights to citizens of a nation founded in large part to secure religious liberty and freedom of conscience.
If Oregon wants to address an abuse of freedom that yields deadly consequences, it can start by overturning its secretive and scandalous assisted suicide law, which places elderly, depressed and handicapped patients at risk by giving HMO's and the government a cheap and deadly alternative to compassionate care.

[ii] http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2010/022474s000lbl.pdf

New laws herald dawning of a new outlook on preborn life

Why are a raft of new state bills and laws challenging the flawed ideology that has led to one in five pregnancies in America ending in abortion?[i]
Analysts on both sides[ii] of the abortion debate have exposed the legal and logical flaws in the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, in which overreaching justices conceived the controversial notion that a right of "privacy" trumps an unborn baby's unalienable right to life. The justices' activism upended the constitutionally ordered priorities of life, liberty and property; assaulted federalism by arrogating the power of the states; and short-circuited democracy by stripping the People of the right to determine our own laws.
Since 1973, medical advances have also enlightened us, as we now witness ultrasound images of our babies in the womb wriggling, smiling, sucking their thumbs and recoiling from abortionists' needles. Women and men suffering the heart-wrenching aftermath of abortion are realizing that they had been deceived about "blobs of tissue" propaganda and exploited by billion-dollar, taxpayer-funded abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood that make their living from babies dying.
Nineteenth-century Britons, enlightened by the educational and soul-sensitizing efforts of the  abolitionist movement, avoided a Civil War like ours by first outlawing the slave trade and ultimately abolishing slavery. A similar renaissance of conscience and compassion regarding abortion, reflected in our legislatures, may be emerging in America today. May God speed its dawning.

[i] Guttmacher Institute Fact Sheet, "Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States," January 2011, http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html
[ii] See, e.g., Cohen, Richard, "Support Choice, Not Roe," Washington Post, Oct. 20, 2005.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mike Pence debunks Planned Parenthood propaganda

This just in from the office of Rep. Mike Pence, who's been leading the fight to keep our tax dollars from flowing to the billion-dollar "nonprofit" business that does a third of a million abortions annually--Planned Parenthood:
Planned Parenthood continues to use distortions and misleading statistics in a press release this morning in response to Congressman Pence’s comments on ABC’s This Week yesterday.
Please see below myth vs. fact on Planned Parenthood’s claims:
  • Planned Parenthood Myth: “Having failed for now to eliminate breast exams, cancer screenings and birth control that millions of American women count on, Representative Mike Pence continues his misleading and outrageous attacks on Planned Parenthood and the preventive health care our doctors and nurses provide.”
  • Fact:  Congressman Pence’s amendment does not reduce funding for cancer screenings or eliminate one dime of funding for other important health services to women; the money that does not go to Planned Parenthood as a result of the Pence Amendment will go to other organizations that provide these services. If the Pence Amendment becomes law, approximately 8,000 health centers, clinics, and hospitals across the country will still provide assistance to low-income families and women. The Pence Amendment would simply deny any and all federal funding to Planned Parenthood. 
  • Planned Parenthood Myth: “The fact is more than 90 percent of the health care Planned Parenthood provides is basic and preventive. Representative Pence’s proposals would bar Planned Parenthood from delivering care through federal programs like Medicaid that help millions of women access birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, immunizations, HIV testing, and testing and treatment for other STIs.” 
  • Fact: In 2009, Planned Parenthood made only 977 adoption referrals and cared for only 7,021 prenatal clients, but performed a record 332,278 abortions (see attachment). In other words, a pregnant woman entering a Planned Parenthood clinic was 42 times more likely to have an abortion than to either receive prenatal care or be referred for adoption. Planned Parenthood recently made plain the centrality of abortion to its mission by mandating that every one of its affiliates have at least one clinic that performs abortions within the next two years.
  • Planned Parenthood Myth:  “At a time when the nation begs our leaders to keep focused on the economy and jobs, Representative Pence and House Republican leaders have made it clear that they simply don’t care about the health and safety of American women.”
  • Fact:  Congressman Pence has never advocated cutting funding for Title X.  The issue here is Planned Parenthood routinely putting profits over women’s health and safety. When women testify in favor of tightening safety standards at clinics, Planned Parenthood fights them. And despite the fact that 88 percent of Americans favor informed-consent laws that provide information about the risks of, and alternatives to, abortion for women, Planned Parenthood opposes these efforts and works to keep women in the dark. And tragically, in some instances, Planned Parenthood has refused to cooperate when law-enforcement officials have sought information to help girls they believed to be victims of child rape or molestation.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

How medical malpractice and conscience impact patients

My commentary published in The Washington Times, April 4, 2011:




Trial lawyer lobby endangers medicine
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is right on the money in vetoing a medical malpractice bill and noting that “increasing the medical-malpractice cap will ultimately lead toward higher health care costs for doctors, hospitals, businesses, and most importantly, patients” (“Medical-malpractice bill facing likely veto override,” Metro, Friday).
A recent study of orthopedic surgeons found that defensive medicine accounted for 35 percent of total costs. Defensive imaging accounted for 20 percent of total tests. A report of the study concluded, “Besides hurting your wallet and adding to health care costs, unnecessary tests can expose people to radiation that accumulates over a lifetime and can raise the risk of cancer.”
Overlooked in legislators’ rush to please the trial lawyers’ lobby is the fact that malpractice is one of several factors pushing some of our best physicians out of medicine. The American Association of Medical Colleges recently noted, “Between now and 2015, the shortage of doctors across all specialties will quadruple.” An Investor's Business Daily poll during the health care overhaul debate found that “two of every three practicing physicians oppose” Obamacare and “hundreds of thousands would think about shutting down their practices or retiring early if it were adopted.” In addition, nine of 10 faith-based physicians are ready to quit medicine absent strong conscience protections, which the last Congress failed to enact.
Unless lawmakers address these threats to patient access and tamp down costs resulting from unjust medical malpractice lawsuits, pretty soon there won’t be many physicians left for trial lawyers to sue.