NRLC Release: H.H.S. Approves Pennsylvania Plan to Use Federal Funds to Subsidize Coverage of Nearly All Abortions in New “High-Risk Pool” Program

July 13, 2010

WASHINGTON (July 13, 2010) — The Obama Administration will give Pennsylvania $160 million to set up a new “high-risk” insurance program under a provision of the federal health care legislation enacted in March — and has quietly approved a plan submitted by an appointee of Governor Edward Rendell (D) under which the new program will cover any abortion that is legal in Pennsylvania.

The high-risk pool program is one of the new programs created by the sweeping health care legislation (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) that President Obama signed into law on March 23. The law authorizes $5 billion in federal funds for the program, which will cover as many as 400,000 people when it is implemented nationwide.

“The Obama Administration will give Pennsylvania $160 million in federal tax funds, which we’ve discovered will pay for insurance plans that cover any legal abortion,” said Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of right-to-life organizations in all 50 states. “This is just the first proof of the phoniness of President Obama’s assurances that federal funds would not subsidize abortion — but it will not be the last.”

An earlier version of the health care legislation, passed by the House of Representatives in November 2009, contained a provision (the Stupak-Pitts Amendment) that would have prevented federal funds from subsidizing abortion or insurance coverage of abortion in any of the programs created by the bill, including the high-risk pool program. But President Obama opposed that pro-life provision, and it was not included in the bill later approved by both houses and signed into law. An executive order signed by the President on March 24, 2010 did not contain effective barriers to federal funding of abortion, and did not even mention the high-risk pool program.

“President Obama successfully opposed including language in the bill to prevent federal subsidies for abortions, and now the Administration is quietly advancing its abortion-expanding agenda through administrative decisions such as this, which they hope will escape broad public attention,” Johnson said.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has emphasized that the high-risk pool program is a federal program and that the states will not incur any cost. On May 11, 2010, in a letter to Democratic and Republican congressional leaders on implementation of the new law, DHHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote that “states may choose whether and how they participate in the program, which is funded entirely by the federal government.”

Details of the high-risk pool plans for most states are not yet available. But on June 28, Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Joel Ario (a member of the appointed cabinet of Governor Edward Rendell, a Democrat) issued a press release  (see: http://tinyurl.com/icrelease) announcing that the federal Department of Health and Human Services had approved his agency’s proposal for implementing the new program in Pennsylvania. “The state will receive $160 million to set up the program, which will provide coverage to as many as 5,600 people between now and 2014,” according to the release. “The plan’s benefit package will include preventive care, physician services, diagnostic testing, hospitalization, mental health services, prescription medications and much more, with subsidized premiums of $283 a month.”

Examination of the detailed Pennsylvania plan (www.nrlc.org/AHC/PennsylvaniaHighRiskPoolPlan.pdf), , reveals that the “much more” will include insurance coverage of any legal abortion.

The section on abortion (see page 14) asserts that “elective abortions are not covered.” However, that statement proves to be a red herring, because the operative language does not define “elective.” Rather, the proposal specifies that the coverage “includes only abortions and contraceptives that satisfy the requirements of” several specific statutes, the most pertinent of which is 18 Pa. C.S. § 3204, which says that an abortion is legal in Pennsylvania (consistent with Roe v. Wade) if a single physician believes that it is “necessary” based on “all factors (physical, emotional, psychological, familial and the woman’s age) relevant to the well-being of the woman.” Indeed, the cited statute provides only a single circumstance in which an abortion prior to 24 weeks is NOT permitted under the Pennsylvania statute: “No abortion which is sought solely because of the sex of the unborn child shall be deemed a necessary abortion.”

As a result, “Under the Rendell-Sebelius plan, federal funds will subsidize coverage of abortion performed for any reason, except sex selection,” said NRLC’s Johnson. “The Pennsylvania proposal conspicuously lacks language that would prevent funding of abortions performed as a method of birth control or for any other reason, except sex selection — and the Obama Administration has now approved this.”

A group of Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives who initially withheld support from the federal health care bill, because of concerns about pro-abortion effects, cited President Obama’s March 24 executive order in justifying their votes to pass the bill over objections from NRLC and other pro-life groups, which argued that the executive order did not contain effective barriers to federal subsidies for abortion. As USA Today reported on March 25, “Both sides in the abortion debate came to a rare agreement on Wednesday: The executive order on abortion signed by President Obama, they said, was basically meaningless. ‘A transparent political fig leaf,’ according to the National Right to Life Committee’s Douglas Johnson. ‘A symbolic gesture,’ said Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards.”


Florida Right to Life PAC issues endorsements and ratings for Fla. primary

July 1, 2010

Florida Right to Life Political Action Committee

Primary Election, August 24, 2010.

The Florida Right to Life Political Action Committee is a single-issue committee affiliated with Florida Right to Life, Inc. After careful review of candidates voting records and questionnaire responses the PAC issues the following endorsements and ratings for the Florida primary election.  Please note that districts not listed indicate either no election or no recommendation.

U.S. Senate
Marco Rubio – Endorse

U.S. Congress
District 2 – Eddie Hendry, David Scholl, Steve Southerland – all “A” ratings
District 3 – Dean Black – Endorse
District 6 – Cliff Stearns – Endorse
District 8 – Kurt Kelly, Daniel Webster – “A+” ratings
District 12 – Dennis Ross – Endorse
District 13 – Vern Buchanan – Endorse
District 20 – Karen Harrington – Endorse
District 22 – Allen West – Endorse
District 23 – Bernard Sansaricq – Endorse
District 24 – Sandy Adams – Endorse
District 25 – David Rivera – Endorse

Governor
Bill McCollum, Rick Scott – “A” ratings

Attorney General
Jeff Kottcamp – Endorse

Fla. State Senate
District 2 – Greg Evers – Endorse
District 8 – John Thrasher – Endorse
District 24 – Thad Altman – Endorse
District 25 – Ellyn Bogdanoff – Endorse
District 27 – Lizbeth Benacquisto – Endorse
District 36 – Miguel Diaz De La Portilla – Endorse
District 38 – Anitere Flores – Endorse

Fla. State House
District 1 – Greg Brown, Doug Broxson, Ferd Salomon – all “A” ratings
District 2 – Clay Ingram – Endorse
District 11 – Paul Watson – Endorse
District 16 – Charles McBurney – Endorse
District 20 – Bill Proctor – Endorse
District 22 – John Deakins, Keith Perry, Remzey Samarrai – all “A” ratings
District 25 – Rick Joyce, Larry Metz – “A” ratings
District 26 – Vince Champion – Endorse
District 28 – Dorothy Hukill – Endorse
District 29 – Roger Shealy, Erin Grall, Robert Dale, Tom Goodson – all “A” ratings
District 31 – John Tobia – Endorse
District 33 – Jason Brodeur, Alice Sterling – “A” ratings
District 45 – Richard Corcoran – Endorse
District 47 – James Grant – Endorse
District 54 – Jim Frishe – Endorse
District 56 – Rachel Burgin – Endorse
District 57 – Todd Marks – Endorse
District 60 – Trey Stroud – Endorse
District 61 – Will Weatherford – Endorse
District 66 – Ben Albritton – Endorse
District 67 – Greg Steube, Robert McCann – “A” ratings
District 79 – Mike Horner – Endorse
District 80 – Debbie Mayfield – Endorse
District 91 – George Moraitis – Endorse
District 101 – Matt Hudson – Endorse
District 104 – John Julien – Endorse
District 112 – Jeanette Nunez – Endorse
District 115 – Carla Ascencio-Savola – Endorse
District 116 – Carlos Manrique, Whilly Bermudez – “A” ratings
District 117 – Michael Bileca, Marcus Rivchin Jr., Jose Pazos, Ralph Rosado – all “A” ratings

__________________________________________________

Endorsement & Ratings

  • Endorse – best pro-life candidate in the race (our endorsement is a recommendation that our members vote for that person).
  • A+ – rating where there is more than one pro-life candidate in the race, and the candidates have a recent pro-life public voting record.
  • A – rating where there is more than one pro-life candidate in the race, and the candidates have returned a 100% pro-life questionnaire.

In the case of A and A+ ratings, we are recommending that a vote for any candidate with an A or A+ rating is a vote for a pro-life candidate.

_________________________________________________________

“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government.” – Thomas Jefferson

~ Thank you for voting Pro-Life  ~

Paid for by Florida Right to Life PAC

378 CenterPointe Cir # 1272, Altamonte Springs FL 32701

Florida Women who have Experienced Abortion Call on Gov. Crist to Sign HB 1143

July 1, 2010
(TALLAHASSEE, FL, June 10, 2010) – Dozens of Florida women today held a press conference to call upon Governor Charlie Crist to sign HB 1143 into law. The women shared their common experience of having had an abortion in the past and how abortion hurt them. They all stated they wish they had the benefit of an ultrasound.
OperationOutcry_Tallahassee 2010Daria Monroe, Florida State Leader of Operation Outcry, said the event was organized because the governor needed to hear from women who had been through the experience of an abortion.
“We came to Tallahassee today with a message for Gov. Crist – listen to our stories” Monroe said. “Studies show that women who are fully informed are able to handle whatever decision they make better than those who are not fully informed. We made those decisions at the time without the information that an ultrasound can provide. Women have a right to that information.”

HB 1143 is a bill passed by the Florida Legislature this year which requires abortion providers to allow women to view and understand an ultrasound image of their baby prior to an abortion. The bill does not require the woman to view the image provided by the ultrasound, which is a standard procedure already incorporated into the price of the abortion at most clinics.

Each woman participating held a pair of baby shoes, representing a child lost to abortion. The baby shoes each had a note attached from the mother expressing regret over her decision. Over a thousand pairs of tagged baby shoes were placed on display at the Capitol in the courtyard and rotunda and are a part of the “A Cry Without A Voice” Memorial.

“We’re not making a political statement,” said Rebecca Porter, the National Declarations Director of Operation Outcry. “We are simply sharing our personal experience in hopes that the governor will see the value in implementing this bill on behalf of the thousands of women and babies who can benefit from the measure.”
OperationOutcry_Capitol Walk 2010
Following the press conference, the women carried the baby shoes in a solemn procession from the Florida Press Center to the Capitol. The “A Cry Without A Voice” Memorial has traveled to multiple states, Washington D.C. and other countries including Israel, Holland, Hungary and Jamaica.

Attempts have been made by the women to hold a private meeting with Gov. Crist, and they are still awaiting confirmation of a meeting.

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Florida Right to Life (FRTL) is the state’s largest pro-life group with chapters throughout Florida. FRTL works through legislation and education to protect those threatened by abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Florida Right to Life Announces Legislator Awards

July 1, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010

On behalf of the Florida Right to Life Board of Directors and its entire membership we wish to announce our 2010 Pro-Life Legislator of the Year awards. The 2010 Senator of the Year is State Senator Andy Gardiner (District 9), and the 2010 Representative of the Year is State Representative Kelli Stargel (District 64). We are honoring these legislators for their work on the Parental Notice of Abortion bill (HB 1449/S 2446) and HB 1143, which includes the ultrasound amendment.

President Carrie Eisnaugle noted, “We are very grateful for the efforts of Senator Gardiner and Representative Stargel to protect the rights of the unborn. Although it was often in difficult circumstances, they tirelessly championed pro-life legislation during the 2010 session. Florida Right to Life is thankful to Senator Gardiner and Representative Stargel for their resolve to defend life.”

It is with honor and gratitude that we bestow these awards on such distinguished and hard working members of our legislature, who have proven themselves as continual defenders of the unborn.

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Florida Right to Life (FRTL) is the state’s largest pro-life group with chapters throughout Florida. FRTL works through legislation and education to protect those threatened by abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Statement by the National Right To Life Committee on Abortion “Deal” on Health Care Legislation

July 1, 2010

WASHINGTON — (Sunday, March 21, 2010, 6 PM EDT) –  In response to today’s announcement regarding an agreement between Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mi.) and President Obama on the pending health care bill (H.R. 3590), the following statement was issued by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of right-to-life organizations in the 50 states:

The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) remains strongly opposed to the Senate-passed health bill (H.R. 3590).  A lawmaker who votes for this bill is voting to require federal agencies to subsidize and administer health plans that will pay for elective abortion, and voting to undermine longstanding pro-life policies in other ways as well.  Pro-life citizens nationwide know that this is a pro-abortion bill.  Pro-life citizens know, and they will be reminded again and again, which lawmakers deserve their gratitude for voting against this pro-abortion legislation.

The executive order promised by President Obama was issued for political effect.  It changes nothing.  It does not correct any of the serious pro-abortion provisions in the bill.  The president cannot amend a bill by issuing an order, and the federal courts will enforce what the law says.

To elaborate:  The order does not truly correct any of the seven objectionable pro-abortion provisions described in NRLC’s March 19 letter to the House of Representatives, which is posted here: www.nrlc.org/AHC/NRLCToHouseOnHealthBill.pdf.

Regarding Community Health Centers (CHCs), NRLC has documented the problem created by H.R. 3590 here: www.nrlc.org/AHC/NRLCMemoCommHealth.html.

Prof. Robert Destro, a professor of law and former dean of the Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University of America, and an expert on abortion-related litigation, has sent lawmakers a letter explaining why the bill opens the door to direct federal funding of abortion in Community Health Centers: www.nrlc.org/ahc/DestroLetterToStupakOnCommHealthCenters.pdf.
Prof. Destro clearly explains why it is the statutory language that will govern.

Regarding the new program to provide tax credits to purchase private insurance, the executive order merely tinkers with the formalities of a bookkeeping scheme under which federal subsidies will pay for plans that cover elective abortion — a break from the longstanding principles of the Hyde Amendment.

The order does nothing at all to mitigate the other abortion-related problems described in the NRLC letter, dealing with bill provisions that create dangerous regulatory mandate authorities, revise Indian health programs, and create pools of directly appropriated funds that are not covered by existing restrictions on funding of abortion.  Nor can the order correct the omission from the pending legislation of the necessary conscience-protection language that had been included in House-passed health care legislation last November (the “Weldon language”).

For additional information regarding the abortion-related components of the legislation, and NRLC’s assessment of the gravity of these issues, please refer to the March 19 letter linked above, and other materials posted on the NRLC website at www.nrlc.org/AHC/Index.html.

House Democratic Leadership will force a vote on Health Reform this week. Pelosi says, “The fact is … it’s going to be the law of the land.”

March 15, 2010

WASHINGTON — In a significant development this week, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) made it clear that the House Democratic Leadership will force a vote soon on the Senate-passed health bill (H.R. 3590), including multiple abortion-related provisions strongly opposed by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) and other pro-life organizations, and will not include pro-life language in any followup legislation. (test)

In addition, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) intends to go forward on the basis, reportedly articulated by the Senate parliamentarian, that H.R. 3590 must be enacted into law before the Senate can consider any followup bill under fast-track “reconciliation” procedures. The Washington Post reported (March 13), “Pelosi shrugged off the ruling, accepting that the Senate bill would have to move first, and independently. ‘It isn’t going to make any difference except maybe in the mood that people are in,’ she said Friday. ‘The fact is that once we pass it [H.R. 3590] in the House, it’s going to be the law of the land.”

House members have received a March 5 memorandum from NRLC, posted here, which summarizes NRLC substantive objections to multiple provisions of the Senate bill, and sketches the political implications of the upcoming roll call. NRLC said in part: “When all of the pro-abortion provisions are considered in total, the Senate bill is the most pro-abortion single piece of legislation that has ever come to the House floor for a vote, since Roe v. Wade. Any House member who votes for the Senate health bill is casting a career-defining pro-abortion vote. A House member who votes for the Senate bill would forfeit a plausible claim to pro-life credentials. No House member who votes for the Senate bill will be regarded, in the future, as having a record against federal funding of abortion. All of those statements are true regardless of how many assurances or denials are disseminated by President Obama or by Speaker Pelosi, both of whom have sought throughout their political careers to undermine limits on government funding of abortion. House members who vote for the Senate bill will be accountable to their constituents for what the Senate bill contains.”

On March 6, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops disseminated to congressional offices a four-page memorandum titled, “What’s Wrong With the Senate Health Care Bill on Abortion? A Response to Professor Jost.” This memorandum is a concise and cogent rebuttal to one recent tendentious attempt to minimize the multiple ways in which the Senate bill departs, in the pro-abortion direction, from the principles of current law and from the substance of the abortion-related provisions adopted by the House last year (especially the Stupak-Pitts Amendment). The memo explains how provisions of the Senate bill would result in direct federal funding of elective abortions, federal subsidies for plans that cover elective abortions (including some federally administered plans), and authority for federal officials to mandate inclusion of abortion coverage in private plans. It also notes that the Senate bill lacks the vital abortion nondiscrimination language (the so-called “Weldon” provision) found in the House-passed health bill. The USCCB memo is posted here.

On March 11, the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention issued a national alert, urging citizens to contact their representatives in the House to urge the defeat of the Senate bill.

The results of polls conducted very recently in 12 congressional districts by the polling companyTM, inc./WomanTrend, dealing with the abortion-related aspects of the health care debate, are posted here.

Additional resources on the abortion-related controversies surrounding H.R. 3590 are posted on the NRLC website here.

NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson and Senior Legislative Counsel Susan Muskett are available to discuss these issues with bona fide journalists. Please contact the NRLC Communications Department at (202) 626-8825 or the Federal Legislation Department at (202) 626-8820 to arrange an interview.


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WHAT YOU CAN DO
Click any of the links below:

E-mail your representative and senators

Call your representative and senators

Send a letter to the editor

PLEASE ACT IMMEDIATELY ON THIS ALERT: Tell Lawmakers: Reject Obama’s Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill!

March 9, 2010

PLEASE ACT IMMEDIATELY ON THIS ALERT.

Please forward this alert to any pro-life lists.
President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are making a final, all-out push to ram through a massive health care restructuring bill that the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) has branded “the most pro-abortion single piece of legislation that has ever come to the House floor for a vote.”

The health care bill (H.R. 3590) has already passed the Senate, on December 24, 2009. In order to enact it, however, Obama and Pelosi must convince a majority in the House of Representatives to also vote for the bill.

The Associated Press reported on March 7: “In private pitches to Democrats, President Barack Obama says he will persuade Congress to pass his health care overhaul even if it kills him and even if he has to ask deeply distrustful lawmakers to trust him on a promise the White House doesn’t have the power to keep.  The party’s strategy calls for House Democrats, despite many misgivings, to go along with a health care bill the Senate passed in December [HR. 3590]. Obama would sign it into law, but senators would promise to make numerous changes demanded by House Democrats.”

“House members who vote for the Senate bill will be accountable to their constituents for what the Senate bill contains, including its pro-abortion mandates and subsidies, without regard to . . solemn assurances that Congress will revisit the issue in future legislation, or any other artifice or gimmick,” said NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson, in a detailed statement on the Senate bill issued by NRLC on March 5. “Any House member who votes for the Senate health bill is casting a career-defining pro-abortion vote.”

Even if you previously have called your representative to oppose the health care bill — please do it again! And ask any like-minded friends and relatives to do the same. Remember, President Obama and Speaker Pelosi are putting all their muscle into this, and they are getting plenty of help from the mainstream news media. It is critical that your representative gets loud and clear guidance from the people who he or she actually represents.

Click on the red telephone above, enter your zip code, and follow the easy steps to send a message to your representative in the U.S. House of Representatives!

TAKEPhone logo ACTION NOW!

Time is short. Most political observers agree that if Speaker Pelosi does not succeed in ramming the Senate bill through the House by the time Congress goes into recess for Easter on March 26, the bill is effectively dead. Pelosi wants to force the vote by March 19. But, she does not yet have the votes. “I think we can get there, but I’m going to need help from any place I can get it,” Pelosi told one group, according to the Los Angeles Times (March 8).

Whether she succeeds or not depends on what House members hear from their constituents during the next two weeks.

The House vote on the Senate Health Bill IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT!

March 5, 2010

WASHINGTON — The following statement may be attributed to Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) the federation of affiliated right-to-life organizations in all 50 states.

HOW IMPORTANT IS THE HOUSE VOTE ON THE HEALTH CARE BILL?

On abortion policy, the health care bill that Speaker Nancy Pelosi brought to the House floor last November was extremely bad (before the House fixed it by adopting the Stupak-Pitts Amendment) — but the Senate health bill (H.R. 3590) is worse.

The Senate health bill is a 2,407-page labyrinth strewn with the legislative equivalents of improvised explosive devices –  disguised provisions that will result in federal pro-abortion mandates and federal subsidies for abortion.  The so-called abortion limits that are in the Senate bill are all very narrow, riddled with loopholes, or booby-trapped to expire.  Some of them were drafted more with the intent of misleading superficial analysts (which unfortunately includes some media “factcheckers”) than actually effectuating a pro-life policy.

When all of the pro-abortion provisions are considered in total, the Senate bill is the most pro-abortion single piece of legislation that has ever come to the House floor for a vote, since Roe v. Wade.  Any House member who votes for the Senate health bill is casting a career-defining pro-abortion vote.  A House member who votes for the Senate bill would forfeit a plausible claim to pro-life credentials.  No House member who votes for the Senate bill will be regarded, in the future, as having a record against federal funding of abortion.

All of those statements are true regardless of how many assurances or denials are disseminated by President Obama or by Speaker Pelosi, both of whom have sought throughout their political careers to undermine limits on government funding of abortion.  House members who vote for the Senate bill will be accountable to their constituents for what the Senate bill contains.

When he ran for president, Senator Barack Obama promised that abortion coverage would be “at the heart” of his health care proposal.  (See the PolitiFact examination of Obama’s promise here.)  Throughout this Congress, President Obama has tried to deliver on this promise, even while hiding behind deceptive verbal formulations and outright misrepresentations regarding the content of legislation.

During the latter half of 2009, the White House backed phony “compromise” language that Speaker Pelosi put in the bill she brought to the House floor — language written by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Ca.) (the so-called “Capps Amendment”).  This language explicitly authorized coverage of elective abortions under two major new government programs.  It was this pro-abortion language that the House jettisoned on November 7 through adoption (240-194) of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, which was supported by one-fourth of all House Democrats (64 Democrats), joined by all except one House Republican.  The Stupak-Pitts Amendment contained a bill-wide, permanent abortion fix (it begins, “No funds authorized or appropriated by this Act . . .”), which was the approach needed to prevent any provision of the vast bill from being used as a basis for pro-abortion federal mandates or subsidies.

Although President Obama often has claimed he wants his health care legislation to reflect bipartisan consensus, he lamented the bipartisan adoption of the Stupak Amendment, and he contributed to keeping the Stupak language out of the Senate bill.  As a result, the 2,407-page Senate-passed bill contains at least six separate abortion-related policy problems, any single one of which would dictate a negative vote for any lawmaker who wishes to maintain a record against federal abortion mandates and abortion subsidies.  These problems are summarized below, and discussed in detail in a January 14 letter sent by NRLC to members of the House and other materials posted on the NRLC website.

BLOOD OATHS AND RABBIT HOLES

Speaker Nancy Pelosi in recent days has reverted to repetitious denials that there is a problem — for example, saying at a March 4 press conference, “I will not have it turned into a debate on (abortion) . . .  There is no change in the access to abortion.  No more or no less:  It is abortion neutral in terms of access or diminution of access.”   This is the same deny-and-evade approach that Pelosi employed throughout 2009.  It will not suffice now any more than it did then.

Indeed, some of the more recent utterances by Speaker Pelosi and other top House Democrats suggest that they have stumbled down some sort of rabbit hole into a fantasy world in which lawmakers can vote to enact the Senate bill without being accountable for its contents.  For example, Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) on March 3 suggested that the House should pass the Senate bill after receiving a “blood oath” from Democratic senators that they would later pass a specific list of changes to the bill.  Lawmakers who are considering voting for the Senate bill based on a “blood oath” or any other promise should first call to mind the once-popular comic strip “Peanuts,” in which Lucy frequently teed up a football and enticed Charlie Brown to take a run at it, solemnly promising not to snatch the ball away at the last instant.  Charlie Brown inevitably ended up flat on his back wondering how he could have been once again so foolish.

House members who vote for the Senate bill will be accountable to their constituents for what the Senate bill contains, including its pro-abortion mandates and subsidies, without regard to blood oaths, secret handshakes,  solemn assurances that Congress will revisit the issue in future legislation, or any other artifice or gimmick.

(Pelosi has also repeatedly implied that the longstanding “Hyde Amendment” would somehow prevent the heath care bill from subsidizing abortion.  Such utterances are highly misleading.  The Hyde Amendment only applies to funds that flow through the annual Health and Human Services appropriations bill, and would not affect funds directly appropriated by the health care bill itself.  As the Associated Press accurately reported in a story dated March 5, 2010:  “The Democratic bills created a new stream of federal money to help working households afford health insurance premiums. And those funds were not subject to the Hyde restrictions.”  For further discussion of this point, see the memorandum posted here.  Moreover, the Hyde Amendment is a patch that must be renewed annually – not an acceptable approach when Congress proposes any large new federal program that implicates abortion policy.)

THE LIST

What follows is a thumbnail sketch of the major abortion policy problems in the Senate-passed health care bill (H.R. 3590).

– The Senate bill departs from longstanding federal policy by authorizing tax subsidies to help tens of millions of Americans buy private health plans that could cover abortion on demand.  Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Ne.) attached to this provision a badly flawed requirement under which anyone enrolling in such plan would be required to make separate payments into an abortion fund.  In a recent statement, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (which strongly opposes the bill) said, “The bill requires each American purchasing such a plan to make a separate payment to the insurer every month, solely to pay for other people’s abortions.  This is an enormous imposition on the consciences of the millions of Americans who oppose abortion.”   In its first analysis of the Nelson language, NRLC recognized it as a convoluted bookkeeping scheme inconsistent with the principles of the Hyde Amendment.  In January, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Ca.), a pro-abortion leader in the Senate, assured McClatchy News Service that the abortion surcharge requirement is only an “accounting procedure,” and DHHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius also assured pro-abortion listeners that the Nelson language was of no consequence.  Yet today, in an effort to entice pro-life Democrats in the House to vote for the bill, the White House and Democratic leaders are working on “convincing as many as a dozen antiabortion Democrats in the House that abortion language in the Senate bill is more stringent than initially portrayed,” according to a report in the March 5 Washington Post. The bottom line is that a vote for the Senate bill is a vote to subsidize the purchase of health plans that cover abortion on demand — a sharp break from the principles of the Hyde Amendment and the Stupak Amendment.

– The Senate bill would establish a new program under which a federal agency, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), would administer private “multi-state” plans.  It has been reported that the bill guarantees that one plan will be available everywhere that does not cover abortion.  In fact, it guarantees no such thing, because even this narrow requirement is rigged to depend on annual renewal through a separate appropriations bill.  Moreover, other plans in the federally administered program would be allowed to cover all abortions — a break from the policy that has long governed the Federal Employees Health Benefits program, which is also administered by OPM. A vote for the Senate bill is a vote to put the federal government in the business of administering health plans that cover abortion on demand.

– The Senate bill would empower federal political appointees to expand access to abortion by federal administrative decrees.  The bill contains a bewildering array of provisions that grant authority to the Secretary of Health and Human Services and other federal entities to issue binding regulations on various matters.  One analyst recently wrote that the Senate bill “contains more than 2,500 references to powers and responsibilities of the secretary of health and human services,” to say nothing of other federal authorities.  Some of these provisions could be employed in the future as authority for pro-abortion mandates, requiring health plans to cover abortion and/or provide expanded access to abortion, unless there is clear language to prevent it.  One clear example is the Mikulski Amendment, under which any service listed as a “preventive” service by the Department of Health and Human Services must be provided (without copayments) in all types of private health plans.  (Sec. 1001, pp. 20-21.)  Sen. Mikulski refused to modify her amendment to exclude abortion from the scope of this mandate authority.  (The Nelson-Hatch-Casey Amendment, similar to the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, would have prevented abortion mandates or subsidies under any provision of the bill — but that amendment was tabled, 54-45, on December 8, 2009.) A vote for the Senate bill is a vote to empower federal political appointees to mandate unlimited abortion coverage in most private health plans.

– The Senate bill would reauthorize all federal Indian health programs, without including language to prohibit funding of elective abortion, even though such an amendment (the Vitter Amendment, similar to the Stupak Amendment) was approved by the Senate when it last considered Indian health legislation on February 26, 2008.  There is a clause in the Senate health bill [Sec. 10221, pp. 2175-2176] that has been misrepresented as an abortion restriction, but it actually contains no policy standard on abortion funding – it merely “punts” the question to the annual appropriations process, an unacceptable approach. A vote for the Senate bill is a vote to open the door to future federal funding of abortion on demand through all Indian health programs.

– The Senate bill lacks language to protect health care providers from being penalized for refusing to participate in providing abortions (known as the “Weldon language”), even though such language was approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee and was included in Speaker Pelosi’s original bill even before adoption of the Stupak Amendment.  (See Section 259 of the House-passed H.R. 3962.)  Yet, because such language is offensive to the pro-abortion lobby, it was excluded from the Senate bill. A vote for the Senate bill is a vote to abandon the strong position that the House took in favor of protecting the conscience rights of pro-life health care providers.

– The Senate bill, due to a last-minute amendment, provides $7 billion for the nation’s 1,250 Community Health Centers (CHCs), without any restriction whatever on the use of these federal funds to pay directly for abortion on demand.  (These funds are both authorized and appropriated by the bill, and thus would be untouched by the “Hyde Amendment” that currently covers Medicaid funds that flow through the annual Health and Human Services appropriations bill.)  Two pro-abortion groups, the Reproductive Health Access Project and the Abortion Access Project, are already actively campaigning for Community Health Centers to perform elective abortions.  In short, the Senate bill would allow direct federal funding of abortion on demand through Community Health Centers.  A memorandum documenting this issue in further detail is posted here: http://www.nrlc.org/AHC/NRLCmemoCommHealth.pdf

In a recent statement, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops noted that this provision alone could lead to “hundreds of thousands of abortions per year that taxpayers would be forced to pay for.” In a story published in the March 4 Washington Times, Congressman Diana DeGette (D-Co.) called this concern “patently false,” but White House spokeswoman Linda Douglass took a different tact, admitting at least the possibility of what she referred to as a “drafting issue that requires a technical change . . .”

– The Senate bill contains additional pools of directly appropriated funds that are not covered by any limitations regarding abortion, including $5 billion for a temporary high-risk health insurance pool program (Sec. 1101 on pages 45-52) and $6 billion in grants for health co-ops (Sec. 1322, pp. 169-180).  Only bill-wide, permanent language, such as the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, can ensure that none of the vast amounts of federal money authorized and appropriated through the Senate bill are tapped by pro-abortion political appointees and bureaucrats to pay for abortion.

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WHAT YOU CAN DO
Click any of the links below:

E-mail your representative and senators

Call your representative and senators

Send a letter to the editor

CODE RED! – ACTION ALERT! – CALL NOW!

February 27, 2010

Obama’s FORCEFUL Attempt to Push HIS Health Care Bill into Law

Expansive Abortion Funding into Community Health Centers

LIMITS American’s Opportunity to SPEND THEIR OWN MONEY to Improve the Chances of Saving Their OWN Family’s Lives

Through Reconciliation – The Obama Ploy! DON’T BE FOOLED! WE CAN STOP HIM! CALL NOW!

Sen. George LeMieux (R) has consistently voted in accordance with our pro-life stance. Thank him and tell him that you appreciate his NO vote on the Reconciliation Health Bill.

Sen. LeMieux’s Phone: (202) 224-3041, Fax: (202) 228-5171, Web Form

Sen. Bill Nelson (D) has only voted pro-life once since he has been Senator. He voted for the Child Custody Protection Act (S. 403), which would prohibit the transportation of a minor girl across state lines to obtain an abortion, if this abridges the right of her parents to be involved in her abortion decision under their home-state law, with certain exceptions.

Please call Sen. Nelson and tell him that you do not want Federal funding of abortions in your Community Health Centers. Tell him that, according to abortionists themselves, 64% of abortions are coerced, and that local abortion availability will just increase the abuse of women in your area. The Guttmacher Institute, the statistical right arm of Planned Parenthood, has reported that the greater the availability of abortion, the greater the increase in abortions, thus the greater increase in the abuse of women.

Please call Nelson and tell him you are aware that the February 22, 2010, Obama Administration health care proposal imposes premium price controls on ALL insurance plans, not just those for Medicare-eligible senior citizens. Tell him that it is your right to spend your own money to get an insurance plan that will not deny treatment and thus optimize the chance to save any member of your family.

On Medicare? You should have the right to have a supplemental health insurance plan that will cover any procedure you want. Tell Sen. Nelson that you wish to make your own choices about your health coverage and do not wish the government to put limits on your right to do so.

Sen. Nelson’s Phone: (202) 224-5274, Fax: (202) 228-2183, Web Form


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