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Friday, March 22, 2013

Urge your senators to pass pro-life measures today



The U.S. Senate will likely consider the following pro-life measures, possibly as early as today. Use the Freedom2Care Legislative Action Center to urge your senators to support these measures:

  • Senator Rubio’s Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act
Summary:  This amendment expresses the Sense of the Senate that legislation should be enacted to require that an abortionist, before performing an abortion on a minor from a different state, must first notify one parent, unless the minor is the victim of sexual abuse or faces a life-endangering emergency, or has received permission from a court. Further, it says that legislation should be enacted to make it a federal crime to transport a minor across a state line in circumvention of a state law requiring parental involvement in the minor's abortion.
  • Senator Lee’s District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act
Summary:  This amendment expresses the Sense of the Senate regarding the abortion of pain-capable unborn children in the District of Columbia. As you may know, the DC Council repealed all limits on abortion, therefore making abortion legal for any reason to the moment of birth. The amendment states that abortion should be unlawful past 20 weeks fetal age (also referred to as 20 weeks post-fertilization age), except if necessary to save the life of the mother.  
 
  • Senator Vitter’s Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act
Summary:  This amendment expresses the Sense of the Senate that legislation should be enacted to ban sex-selection abortions in the United States. There are now four studies from liberal academic institutions proving sex-selection in the U.S.:  U.C. Berkeley, U. of Texas, U. of Connecticut, and Columbia University, whose 2008 report found that there is "strong son bias" within selected American communities as revealed in census data and "clear evidence of sex-selection, most likely at the prenatal stage." The victims of sex-selection abortion are overwhelmingly female, and most sex-selection abortions are grisly, later-term abortions, likely occurring after the child becomes "pain-capable." The United States is believed to be the only advanced country that does not restrict sex-selection through law. Sex-selection abortion bans consistently poll between 86% and 93% positively, making this initiative the most widely supported of all pro-life efforts.

Use the Freedom2Care Legislative Action Center to urge your senators to support these measures. Just call and say the following message, or copy and paste this text into your email: 
I respectfully urge you to support the following amendments: Senator Rubio’s Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, Senator Lee’s District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and Senator Vitter’s Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act. Thank you.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Sex trafficking needs more awareness - CMA commentary in Washington Times

My commentary in today's Washington Times:

Sex trafficking needs more awareness

Published in The Washington Times, March 13, 2013
Former sex trafficking victim Barbara Amaya highlights the need to “educate the public about the horrors of human trafficking or modern day slavery” (“Sex trafficking: Has anything changed in 45 years?” Web, March 9).
While federal government agencies including State, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services have all impressively ramped up efforts to educate the public and law enforcement communities, there remains a critical need to focus in depth on medical professionals who see but fail to recognize and report many human trafficking victims. One medical study of victims interviewed after rescue found that up to half had been taken to a medical facility, yet not a single victim had been reported for rescue.[1]
One solution is to invite leaders of America’s medical specialty colleges to a White House symposium on human trafficking and to challenge them to adapt existing awareness building resources and data in order to educate their own members on how to recognize, report and treat victims.
For example, the Christian Medical Association now offers an in-depth online curriculum, with continuing medical education credit, to train healthcare professionals how to recognize, report and treat human trafficking victims (available at www.cmda.org/tip). If other medical specialty organizations do likewise, hundreds of thousands of healthcare professionals can learn how to recognize, rescue and rehabilitate thousands of victims who otherwise would languish in slavery.
JONATHAN IMBODY
Vice president for government relations
Christian Medical Association
Washington


[1] Baldwin, et. al., “Identification of human trafficking victims in health care settings,” Health and Human Rights, July 2011 Vol. 13, No. 1.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Bad Samaritan


Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and [a]beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. --Luke 10:30-32 (NASB)
How can it be that despite the pleas of an incredulous 911 operator trying to elicit a twinge of human compassion, a trained nurse stood by and watched 87-year-old Lorraine Bayless suffer a heart attack, collapse and die?
When people lack internal character, compassion and common sense, they relate only to external rules. The Glenwood Gardens retirement community’s stonyhearted “no CPR” policy provided the Bad Samaritan nurse just the cover she needed to absolve herself of refusing to rescue a fellow human being in distress.
The context of this tragedy is a scandalously under-regulated retirement community system, a health care system increasingly driven more by money than by compassion, and a society that is growing colder to the value of its older members and of life itself.
We don’t have to succumb to a society that stands by and watches the elderly die, stuffs aging parents away like discarded heirlooms and even hastens their death through euthanasia and assisted suicide. We can reverse this creeping culture of death—by visiting and caring for the elderly, enacting protective laws and regulations, and teaching our children to value human life and esteem their elders.
Unless we redeem the lives of the aged among us, we are not only imperiling the elderly today; one day we will find ourselves at the mercy of a merciless society.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

From Nebuchadnezzar to Obama: Conscientious objectors risk all to follow conscience and disobey the government's edict


"[Y]ou are to fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king has set up. But whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire."
"There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the administration of the province of Babylon, namely Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. These men, O king, have disregarded you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up.”
Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” 
-- Daniel 3:5-6, 12, 16-18 (New American Standard Bible)
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Action: Contact your U.S. Representative to pass conscience protections through the Health Care Conscience Rights Act. Use the easy form at the Freedom2Care Legislative Action site.
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Like King Nebuchadnezzar of old, the Obama administration has issued a sweeping decree without regard for conscience. The Obama Dept. of Health and Human Services is mandating that all health insurance plans nationwide must include sterilization and contraception, including pills that the FDA notes can abort the life of a developing human being. 
Following are examples, provided by U.S. Congressional staff, of individuals and companies facing crippling fines simply for following their conscientiously held, life-honoring beliefs and declining to bow to the Obama administration's edict.
They are the Shadrachs, Meshachs and Abed-negos of today:

Tyndale House Publishers

  • Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. is a Christian publishing company founded in 1962 that publishes a wide array of Christian books including the Bible, books about family issues and Christian fiction. Their publication of the Bible, the New Living Translation, has sold 27 million copies since 1996.
  • Tyndale House business practices are based upon Biblical principles and include a corporate goal to “Honor God,” “Excel in business,” “Sustain controlled economic growth,” “Operate profitably,” and “help employees grow."
  • Tyndale has operated their business in keeping with their religious commitments and this includes support for employee charitable work, paying employees well above minimum wage with excellent benefits , offering a strong bonus program, and a generous 401(k) and profit sharing plan. This also includes making sure their self-insured plan does not, and has never, covered abortions or potentially life ending drugs or devices such as the morning-after-pill (Plan B), week-after-pill (ella), and IUDs.
  • Now the federal government has said in court that a publisher of the bible is not religious enough to receive an accommodation to the HHS mandate which will force Tyndale to pay for drug coverage that violates their deeply held beliefs and is in direct conflict with the way they seek to operate their business and take care of their employees.

Hobby Lobby

  • Hobby Lobby, a nationwide arts and crafts retailer currently insures 13,000 individuals and could potentially face over $1 million a day in fines  if they do not comply with the government’s mandate.
  • Hobby Lobby has modeled its business principles in line with their religious principles, by ensuring their hours of operations are family friendly. They are only open 66 hours a week and are closed on Sundays so employees can spend time with their families. They also employ company chaplains to care for the needs of their employees.
  • The Green family, founders and owners of Hobby Lobby, has no moral objection to the use of contraceptives and will continue its longstanding practice of covering contraceptives for its employees. However, it is contrary to the Green family’s convictions to provide or pay for emergency contraception (the “morning-after” or “week-after” pills) which is required by the HHS mandate.
  • Hobby Lobby and other businesses like it that have filed suit against the mandate feel a moral obligation to provide health care to their employees but now the government is forcing them to choose between their deeply held beliefs and providing benefits to their employees.

Autocam

  • Founded in 1988, by John C. Kennedy, Autocam company has since grown into two manufacturing companies, that produces automotive and medical equipment, with 680 U.S. employees.
  • Autocam’s healthcare plan was created to ensure that employees pay no premium. Autocam covers 100 percent of the cost of preventive care for employees and their families and contributes $1,500 toward the plan’s deductible.
  • Autocam’s plan also includes a wellness feature recently selected to the Honor Roll of the 2012 Michigan’s  Healthiest Employers program.
  • Now the federal government is telling companies like Autocam they can no longer provide these benefits to their employees unless they compromise their convictions on the dignity of human life and include coverage for drugs in their health plan that the Kennedy’s believe can end human life.

Triune Health Group

  • For 20 years, Triune Health Group, a Chicago based company, has been owned and operated by a husband and wife team, Christopher and Mary Anne Yep. Triune Health has been a leading provider of vocational and medical management services, specializing in facilitating the re-entry of injured workers into the workforce so that workers can continue to live productive lives, enjoy the dignity of work, and achieve their personal goals.
  • Triune Health Group’s mission states “every person is precious, that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances and life and dignity of the human person.” Triune’s model business operation, centered on the dignity of each person, was recently named by Crain’s Chicago  Business as the “Best Place to Work for Women” in the Chicago metro area and has also earned a place on Crain’s  2012 “Best Place to Work” list.
  • The Yeps’ success in operating Triune is clearly linked to the guiding principles of their conscience and the teachings of their church which they seek to follow. It is their faith that influences how they operate their business and now the government is telling them how they must operate in direct conflict with that very faith—or face ruinous fines.
Freshway Foods
  • Freshway Foods is comprised of two companies founded and owned by two brothers, Francis A. Gilardi, Jr. and Philip M. Gilardi. Together the two companies process, pack and transport fresh produce in twenty-three states with over 340 full-time employees.
  • For nearly 25 years they have sought to run their companies in a manner that is in keeping with their deeply held Catholic faith. For example, Freshway Foods makes annual monetary and/or in-kind donations, primarily food, to many community non-profit charitable organizations, including to local soup kitchens and schools.
  • Freshway also has respect for the religious practices of their employees, including providing their Muslim employees with space to pray during breaks and lunches. During Ramadan, the Gilardi brothers adjust break periods to allow their Muslim employees, pursuant to their religion, to eat after sundown.

O’Brien Industrial Holdings

  • O’Brien Industrial Holdings, LLC, based in Missouri and owned by Frank R. O’Brien, is the holding company for several subsidiaries that explore, mine, and process refractory and ceramic raw materials.
  • The mission, practices and principles that govern O’Brien Industrial Holdings are rooted in deeply held convictions. For example, the company mission “is to make our labor a pleasing offering to the Lord while enriching our families and society.” The mission of O’Brien Industrial also includes the following goals for their 90 employees: for all employees to be able to own their own home (through pay and profit-sharing), send their children to college (through a scholarship program) and retire with dignity (through a 401(k) profit sharing plan).
  • Frank O’Brien holds to the teachings of the Catholic Church and as the mission of his company clearly reflects, seeks to run his business in keeping with his faith. The federal government is now coercing him to provide health coverage for drugs he believes can end human life or face potentially ruinous fines.

What can we do?

  1. Pray for these heroes of conscience, that they would prevail in the courts and regardless, stand firm on their convictions.
  2. Lobby your legislators to pass conscience protections such as those contained in the just-introduced Health Care Conscience Rights Act. Use the easy form at the Freedom2Care Legislative Action site to contact your Representative.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Bill to Stop Administration’s Assault on Religious Freedom


Congressional friends of religious liberty and conscience rights continue to put forward legislation to protect conscience- and faith-based ethical commitments and standards in health care. These protections apply First Amendment freedoms to health care professionals, companies and organizations. By upholding the right to follow life-honoring standards such as expressed in the Bible and in the Hippocratic oath, such laws ultimately protect patients who depend upon ethical health care.
To help advance the bill outlined below, use the Freedom2Care legislative action site to contact your U.S. Representative and encourage him or her to support the Health Care Conscience Rights Act.

Reps. Black, Fortenberry & Fleming to Hold Press Conference

Tuesday, March 5th at 10am

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressmen Diane Black (R-TN), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), and John Fleming, M.D. (R-LA) will hold a press conference tomorrow, Tuesday, March 5th at 10am EST in Rayburn House Office Building Room B-318 regarding the introduction of the Health Care Conscience Rights Act (HCCRA). 
The bill would protect Americans’ First Amendment rights and would stop the Obama Administration’s assault on religious freedom. HCCRA offers reprieve from ongoing violations of our First Amendment, including full exemption from the Obama Administration’s Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate and conscience protection for individuals and health care entities that refuse to provide, pay for, or refer patients to abortion providers because of their deeply-held, reasoned beliefs.

Who:               Members of Congress:
·         Diane Black (R-TN)
·         Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE)
·         John Fleming, M.D. (R-LA)

Victims of Religious Persecution:  
·         Cathy Cenzon-DeCarlo, RN - New York State nurse who filed suit after her freedom to serve patients according to her conscience was violated. For more information, click here.
·         Susan Elliott, PhD, Director and Professor at Biola University Nursing Department. For more information, click here.
·         Christine Ketterhagen, Co-Owner/Board Member of Hercules Industries, Inc. – will appear with co-plaintiff Andy Newland, President of Hercules Industries & Bill Newland, Chairman of the Board. For more information, click here.

When:   Tuesday, March 5th at 10 a.m. EST

Where:  Rayburn House Office Building - Room B-318

Background on provisions in the Health Care Conscience Rights Act:

HHS Mandate:
Under the health care coverage mandate issued on August 3, 2011, widely known as the HHS mandate, organizations and their managers are now facing potentially ruinous financial penalties for exercising their First Amendment rights, as protected by law. Hobby Lobby, a family business that was denied injunctive relief from the mandate and faces fines of up to $1.3 million dollars a day, unless its owners agree to fund potentially abortion-inducing drugs. If Hobby Lobby is forced to close its doors, some 25,000 jobs nationwide may disappear. The Obama Administration’s HHS mandate exemption only includes houses of worship and does not account for the thousands of religious and non-religious affiliated employers that find it a moral hazard to cover sterilization, contraception and potentially abortion-inducing drugs on their employer-based health insurance. Ultimately, the so-called “accommodation” does not protect anyone’s religious rights, because all companies and organizations will still be forced to provide insurance coverage that includes services which conflict with their religious convictions. The HCCRA would address this violation of our First Amendment rights by providing a full exemption for all those whose religious beliefs run counter to the Administration’s HHS mandate.

Abortion Non-Discrimination:
The HCCRA also protects institutions and individuals from forced or coerced participation in abortion.  In recent years there have been several examples of nurses being told they must participate in abortions. There have also been efforts to require Catholic Hospitals to do abortions, and a Catholic social service provider was denied a grant to assist victims of human trafficking on the basis of their pro-life convictions. The HCCRA codifies and clarifies the appropriations provision known as the Hyde‐Weldon conscience clause. This is accomplished by adding the protections for health care entities that refuse to provide, pay for, or refer for abortion to the section of the Public Health Service Act known as the Coats Amendment. It also adds the option of judicial recourse for victims whose rights have been violated under the HCCRA, Coats, or the conscience clauses known as the Church amendments.