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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Take action now: Tell Congress not to cut aid to needy by cutting gift tax deduction

Behind closed doors, Members of Congress have been proposing charitable gift deduction cuts that would severely harm giving, charities and those they serve. That's why a coalition of leaders of nonprofit organizations last week met at the Capitol with U.S. senators and staff, to urge them not to kill tax breaks for donations to charities--a move that would hurt donors, cripple faith-based charities and deprive those they serve of desperately needed services.
A person gives from the heart, of course, but tax policies can significantly influence how much donors feel able to give. The charity deduction is unique in that it simply acknowledges that a person is giving away income to help others in need. The charitable gift deduction is not a loophole--it's a lifeline.
With the self-imposed deadline for Congressional action--i.e., a draft bill by the end of the month--fast approaching, we need to explain clearly and quickly why the proposed cuts to charitable giving would harm millions of Americans. 
Please visit the Freedom2Care website now to learn more and take action on this issue that impacts your charitable tax deductions, charities and most importantly, the millions of individuals served at home and abroad through American charities.

Take Action:

Use this easy form now to tell your legislators to protect your gift tax deduction, charities and most importantly, those they serve!

House to take up pro-life international policies Wednesday

The House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to consider the State, Foreign Operations Appropriations bill at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 24.  Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), Chair of the State, Foreign Operations Subcommittee, has included all of the current pro-life policies in the bill. The legislation would also reinstate the Mexico City Policy (see below) and a provision de-funding the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).  Hostile amendments regarding the following two policies are likely.
  • Mexico City Policy – this policy creates a bright line of separation between abortion and family planning by only funding foreign nongovernmental organization that do not promote or perform elective abortion.  Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush adopted the Mexico City Policy by Executive Order, but Presidents Clinton and Obama rescinded it.  The language in section 7065(b) of the State, Foreign Operations bill would reinstate the policy.
  • De-funding the UNFPA – the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has a history of working closely with the Chinese Population Control Program.  President George W. Bush (as well as Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush) invoked their authority under the Kemp-Kasten amendment and cut off all funds to UNFPA.  Since assuming office in 2009, President Obama has provided nearly 200 million taxpayer dollars to the UNFPA.  Language in section 7065(a) of the State, Foreign Operations bill would prohibit funding for the UNFPA.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Help Wanted: Physicians. (Faith-based docs need not apply.)

As suggested in a USA Today column, the roll-out of ObamaCare is suddenly raising questions about who actually will care for millions of new patients--especially the poor patients ObamaCare was supposed to help.
While warning that soon "many of America's newly insured [will] realize that they have to get in line to see a doctor when they need one," columnist Paul Howard for some reason can't bring himself to note that ObamaCare partisans "balanced" their program's budget on the backs of Medicaid and Medicare--a measure sure to inflame the physician and patient access crisis. Not surprisingly, nearly one in three physicians now are turning away Medicaid patients due to deficient government reimbursement.
Historically, faith-based physicians, hospitals, and clinics have filled the gap, motivated by their faith to care for needy patients. Such faith also requires practicing medicine according to life-affirming tenets. A national survey revealed that over nine of ten faith-based physicians say they would "rather stop practicing medicine altogether than be forced to violate my conscience."
Yet President Obama and ObamaCare bureaucrats have enacted coercive, faith-hostile measures such as gutting the only federal regulation protecting conscience rights in health care and mandating the provision of abortifacient pills even by conscientious objectors. Such discriminatory practices threaten to decimate the ranks of faith-based health providers.
As Congress considers long-term cures for ObamaCare, restoring faith-respecting conscience protections and reasonable reimbursements should be a top priority to help ensure health care access for the poor patients now suffering the law's ill effects.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ripping the veil off preferential government treatment of abortion clinics

A Washington Times news article, "Abortion clinics becoming endangered species: new state rules make business tough," highlights overdue and potentially lifesaving actions by states to finally bring abortion clinics up to the level of similar ambulatory surgery centers and to provide for emergency treatment of botched abortions.
The article quotes abortion advocates who protest that requiring these basic health measures will force abortion clinics to close. Such protests, of course, reveal a lot about the health and safety conditions at abortion clinics. 
Too often state governments have shielded abortion clinics for political and ideological reasons, as revealed in the infamous case of now-convicted murderer Dr. Kermit Gosnell. Women suffered and died and just-born babies suffered cruel deaths at his Philadelphia "house of horrors" clinic, so squalid that a Grand Jury report compared it to "a bad gas station restroom."
Gosnell operated his unsanitary clinic and committed his horrendous crimes with impunity because abortion ideology and politics had led to carving out special health and safety exemptions for abortion clinics. The Grand Jury report revealed that under pro-abortion Governor Tom Ridge, "high-level government officials" held back on inspecting abortion clinics like Gosnell's because of "a concern that if they did routine inspections, they may find that a lot of these facilities didn’t meet [health and safety standards]."
The threats to women's health and safety uncovered in Gosnell's and other abortion clinics around the country have ripped the veil off such preferential government treatment of abortion clinics and have prompted long-overdue regulation. Four decades after the Supreme Court ripped federalism asunder in its unilateral 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, states finally are taking steps to reclaim their proper role regarding an industry that somehow has been allowed to take the lives of over a million individuals every year in a country founded on the unalienable right to life. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Protests tell a lot about a low level of health and safety at abortion clinics

North Carolina recently passed sensible legislation requiring abortion clinics to meet the health and safety standards of similar ambulatory surgery centers. Yet a Washington Post editorial protests that providing such basic safeguards will mean that "all but one of the clinics probably would close because of the associated costs."
Such protests tell a lot about a low level of health and safety at those abortion clinics. Americans learned about the hidden, squalid conditions of some abortion clinics like the Philadelphia "house of horrors" clinic of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, where women suffered and died in a filthy facility described as "a bad gas station restroom." A Grand Jury report reveals that under abortion advocate Governor Tom Ridge, "high-level government officials" decided to discontinue abortion clinic inspections because of "a concern that if they did routine inspections, they may find that a lot of these facilities didn’t meet [health and safety standards], and then there would be less abortion facilities, less access to women to have an abortion."
Clearly, abortion politics can serve to conceal--not eradicate--"back alley abortion clinics." Requiring abortion clinics to meet the same health and safety standards of similar clinics is a reasonable, overdue and potentially lifesaving protection for women.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Congress should roll back ObamaCare and enact carefully targeted, bipartisan reforms

 A USA Today editorial ("ObamaCare delay hints at deeper troubles," July 4) misdiagnoses the disease by asserting that alternatives to ObamaCare--rather than ObamaCare itself--would cause "more and more people to lose their insurance as costs rise to unaffordability."
By laying costly new employee expenses, coercive and conscience-trampling mandates, and a mountain of stifling regulations on the sore backs of struggling American businesses, ObamaCare itself threatens health care access. Gallup polling finds that 41 percent of small-business owners "have held off on hiring new employees and 38% have pulled back on plans to grow their business" because of ObamaCare.
Health industry analysts predict that "healthy consumers could see insurance rates double or even triple" under Obamacare, while 42 percent of Americans stand convinced that Obamacare will "affect your family's health care situation" negatively (compared to just 22 percent optimistic).
Congress should roll back ObamaCare and enact carefully targeted, bipartisan reforms that respect the rights of individuals and states. State governments can provide a high-risk pool safety net for the neediest patients. The feds can cut costs and increase efficiency by reining in burgeoning bureaucracy and red tape while increasing enforcement measures to eliminate rampant health fraud and abuse. Patient-controlled, low-premium health savings accounts, coupled with sensible malpractice reform and realistic reimbursement rates to retain physicians, will also tamp down costs and preserve access.
American health care reform surgery requires focus on the patient--not the government--and it must be performed carefully with a scalpel--not a bludgeon.

Citizens must watch over and limit our government--not the other way around

A recent Washington Times editorial rightly reminds us to reflect on noble, self-evident truths penned by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
The ignoble realty, however, is that our nation has never fully fulfilled all of these words at any point in our history.
As to equality, neither Jefferson's slaves nor the four million slaves freed through a civil war at a cost of 620,000 lives enjoyed liberty, or even consideration as fully human.
The right to life has fared even worse, with over a million babies losing their right to life every year through abortion on demand.
Even the liberty for which our forebears fought and died faces the threat once again of government tyranny. The current administration would limit our First Amendment faith freedoms, attempting to restrict religious hiring rights, gutting conscience protections for health professionals and imposing an abortion pill mandate on conscientious objectors.
Ubiquitous government spying on our most private communications and the sheer volume of intrusive laws and government regulations has turned the personal pursuit of happiness into an object of government inspection and approval. Moreover, the Framers understood the "pursuit of happiness" to include "every necessary moral ingredient," "religion, morality, and knowledge" and "public instructions in piety, religion and morality." Yet today government programs, civic events and public schools discriminate against virtually any religious notion or expression.
So while we rightly celebrate the noble words of our Declaration of Independence, we also do well to remember that translating those words into reality entails Jefferson's admonition that "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." That vigilance means that we citizens must watch over and limit our government--not the other way around.