You are invited: Bon Voyage Kathleen Sebelius

In her time heading up Health and Human Services (HHS) the department has turned into a hyper-partisan tool to further liberal pro-abortion policies to the point that even career employees within HHS have complained about the problems.  So I can certainly sympathize why they would want to throw a going away party for Kathleen Sebelius.  This was sent out to DC area HHS staff yesterday.

To: HHS-STAFF-METRODC@LIST.NIH.GOV
Subject: Invitation to Farewell Event for Secretary Sebelius

 

Dear Colleagues,

 

As you know, after more than five years of extraordinary leadership, Secretary Sebelius will be leaving the Department. 

 

Under the Secretary’s watch, we led our country through the H1N1 pandemic; we have worked to bring our food safety system into the 21st century; we have pushed the boundaries of science and technology to find critical cures; we have reformed and improved the way we help low-income kids prepare for a better future; we have expanded the reach of our Community Health Centers; we have increased access to behavioral health services; we have transformed the way we work with Indian Country; we have reorganized to better align our programs to maximize the independence of the elderly and people with disabilities; we have worked to reduce tobacco usage and obesity rates; we have reduced ethnic health disparities and are closer to an AIDS-free generation; and of course, we have successfully implemented the Affordable Care Act, the most historic reform of our health care system since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid. 

 

From Day One, Secretary Sebelius has been a tireless advocate for the issues we care so deeply about and the people we serve through our programs.  Through her tireless work, she has left an indelible mark on our nation’s history and profoundly contributed to our nation’s health and well-being.

 

We know all of us want to honor her leadership and wish her well.  Please join us on Monday, June 2nd from 4:30-6:00PM in the Great Hall of the Hubert H. Humphrey Building to celebrate her outstanding service to our nation as the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

 

We look forward to see you there.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Bill Corr                       Andrea Palm

Deputy Secretary         Chief of Staff

For more on how HHS has changed for the worse under Mrs. Sebelius please go here.  

 

Treading On Barron Ground

Last week Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filed cloture on David J. Barron to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.  Ever since the Senate Democrats eradicated the democratic process when it came to nominations from the President it has been difficult to stop the parade of bad judges that have been nominated by President Obama.  So when a nominee comes along that garners strong bipartisan opposition, as Mr. Barron does, it is an unusual thing.  When you consider it is the nominees position on the matter of life that has caused this bipartisan opposition (from the ACLU to Rand Paul) it is even more unusual.

At question is the nominee’s belief of when it is okay to take a human life.   To the ACLU and for some Senators the question is the killing of U.S. citizens in war time.  Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) laid out the argument:

 

I’ve read the Barron memos concerning the legal justification for killing an American citizen overseas without a trial or legal representation. While the president forbids me from discussing what is in the memos, I can tell you what is not in the memos.

 

There is no valid legal precedent to justify the killing of an American citizen not engaged in combat. In fact, one can surmise as much because the legal question at hand has never been adjudicated.

 

While the pro-life Senator’s arguments are in opposition to how the federal government treats adult citizens the opinions expressed by Senator Paul can and should be applied to the unborn’s rights as well.  Mr. Barron though views that the courts should use judicial activism to change laws to fit a pro-abortion on demand view:

 

“The dilemma of politics is particularly acute when the Court interprets in an activist posture. Goldstein [a liberal ally] never endorses judicial activism explicitly, but judging from his apparent approval of Roe [abortion decision] … he does not mean his call for clarity and candor to obstruct such progressive decision making. Unfortunately, clarity, candor, and activism cannot co-exist without raising serious democratic objections, for some constitutional principles demand flouting popular will. Thus, given the costs of foregoing activism, candor and clarity seem a preferable choice for sacrifice.”[i]

Mr. Barron’s beliefs fits into his philosophy that the Constitution is a living “dynamic document.”  Writing for the Harvard Law and Policy Review, Barron said: 

 

“It has long been a precept of the progressive view that the Constitution is not frozen ….  Its provisions are, in important respects, simply too open-ended and forward looking for that not to be the case, and the deficiencies of a pure originalism are now too well known. The Constitution is, as Richard Fallon recently put it, a dynamic document. But for that very reason, the task for progressive constitutionalism, as I see it, is to engage with the substance of constitutional interpretation in light of new understandings of the progressive tradition itself ….”[ii]

 

Mr. Barron’s actions reflect a man who would abuse the traditional role of a judge being an umpire and above the fray.  Instead he clearly states he would use the power to further his own personal, rather liberal, agenda.



[i] David J. Barron, Book Note, Democracy and Dishonesty, 106 Harv. L. Rev. 792, footnote 15 (1993).

[ii] David J. Barron, “What’s Wrong With Conservative Constitutionalism?  Two Styles of Progressive Constitutional Critique and the Choice They Present” Harv. Law & Policy Rev. Online (July 2006) (internal citations omitted) (emphasis added); available at: http://web.archive.org/web/20061105004547/http://www.hlpronline.com/2006/07/barron_01.html

 

On One Year Anniversary of His Conviction Three Senators Go to the Senate Floor to Protect Future Kermit Gosnells

This day, May 13, marks the one-year anniversary of the conviction of late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell.  To mark the anniversary pro-life Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) went to the Senate floor and pushed for a vote on one of his bills:

 

Senator Graham: (2:15 PM)

  • Spoke the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

    • “One the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, S. 1670, which is my legislation, and S. 1696, the Women’s Health Protection Act by Senator Blumenthal. Just very briefly, what I’m trying to do is to have an opportunity for the body to talk about two pieces of legislation that relate to the abortion issue, the role of the federal government and very quickly, my legislation would ban abortion at the 20-week period, the fifth month, based on the theory that the child can feel pain at that point in the pregnancy, and that the standard of care for the medical community is you can’t operate on an unborn fetus at the 20-week period without administering anesthesia, and the reason for that is because the child can feel pain.”

 

Incredibly Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) went to the Senate floor to object and, in essence, defend butchers like Kermit Gosnell:

 

Senator Blumenthal: (2:18 PM)

  • Spoke on the Graham Unanimous Consent and the Women’s Health Protection Act.

    • “The Women’s Health Protection Act would put women’s rights first. The Women’s Health Protection Act seeks full and thorough consideration of these issues, and I seek it through the regular order. Let’s have hearings. Let’s consider these measures in committee. Let’s bring them to the floor in a way they can be debated insightfully and thoughtfully, not this way. The Women’s Health Protection Act protects a woman’s health and her ability to make her own decisions and her constitutional rights.”

Senator Baldwin: (2:26 PM)

  • Spoke on the Women’s Health Protection Act.

    • “This is sea my good friend from Connecticut, senator Blumenthal, and I have introduced a serious proposal, the women’s health protection act. It would put a stop to these federal protections against real estate strictions, like the republican proposal that we were hearing about today. Proposals that unduly limit access to reproductive health care, that do nothing to further women’s health or safety, and that intrude upon personal decision making. And I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance this important legislation through the committee process and through regular order. We know that today’s spectacle meant to produce a serious debate about protecting women’s reproductive health. It’s about a narrow republican agenda to take our country backward and roll back important health benefits for American families.”

Senator Boxer: (2:32 PM)

  • Spoke on abortions.

    • “Dr. Gosnell was convicted and sent to prison. This is a rogue doctor who is now serving life in prison without the possibility of parole for what he did, abusing the trust of being a reproductive health care doctor. So Dr. Gosnell is away, as he should be. And so how does my friend from North Carolina commemorate this? By putting forward a bill that will drive more women to rogue doctors. If you make it illegal for a woman, regardless of her circumstance, she is going to find a way to either save her health, her life, her family. So women deserve to have protections. And the bill that my friend proposed, which would just simply say, after a certain number of weeks, no more abortion, no matter what your health situation is, is very dangerous. Now, I would just say rhetorically, how can you say you’re doing something right for women and their families when you don’t have a health exception?”

Senator Boxer would like you to think that Kermit Gosnell (who she still thinks deserves the title “doctor”) is an aberration.  If anything he is a trend among abortionists.  The “rogue doctors” of whom she speaks are in fact those she seeks to protect with legislation like the ironically named “Women’s Health Protection Act” (WHaPA).  The WHaPA would override the tremendous success we have seen in the states of protecting women’s health while also removing any limitations on abortion.  Not since the abortions for all “Freedom of Choice Act,” supported by President Obama, have we seen a bill that is so anti-mother and child.

 

Section 4 of the bill is loaded with prohibitions for the states including this bill would allow an abortionist to designate anyone, regardless of training, to perform the procedure.   This protects the unlicensed abortionist, but not the woman.  This legislation restricts the off counter use of a drug that has proven to both harm and kill women when used for a chemical abortion.  This protects the lazy abortionist, but not the women who have ended up dying from unlicensed use of abortion causing drugs.

 

Want to make sure a doctor can’t “phone in” a chemical abortion?  This legislation would restrict doctors “phoning in a chemical abortion – allowing presumably anyone designated by an abortion doctor to distribute life ending drugs via the Internet.  Again, this protects the lazy abortionist, but not the women who have ended up dying from unlicensed use of abortion causing drugs.  Laws requiring an abortionist to report cases of statutory rape for girls as young (or younger) than 12 and laws requiring permission of a legal guardian to have the invasive and destructive procedure known as abortion would be illegal. 

 

Ironically this bill would create more Kermit Gosnell’s and both protect those butchers as well as allow them to flourish. The “Women’s Health Protection Act” protects Kermit Gosnell, but not the woman.

Section 6 then gives Attorney General virtually unrestricted powers to abuse the office against pro-lifers as well as possibly legislators or elected officials who would enforce ANY law that seeks to protect a woman. 

 

This is legislation only Planned Parenthood could love, and love it they do.  The bill has 36 sponsors in the Senate and 60 in the House of Representatives; however, it is clear this is the wish list of many pro-abortion folks in DC.  This bill would not only lead to more abortions, it would also lead to more deaths of both mothers and children. 

 

Looking for Pro-life Insurance in the Evergreen State

In February our friends at the Family Policy Institute of Washington, in Washington State, tried to access non-abortion plans on the Washington Exchange.   What they found has been mirrored in many other states as well.

 

Washington State Insurance Exchange Report

 

I approached the Washington state health insurance exchange as a consumer, starting with healthcare.gov and speaking with sales associates over the phone. It took hours of research to find 1) how many insurance companies operate in the state exchange 2) how many plans exist in the state exchange, and 3) which of those plans cover abortion.

 

In order to find all of the information I needed, I had to visit the state exchange website (www.wahealthplanfinder.org), the state commissioner’s website (www.insurance.wa.gov/your-insurance/health-insurance/individuals-families/contact-companies/.) and the federal Office of Personnel Management website (www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/multi-state-plan-program/ – WA).

 

The setup of wahealthplanfinder.org allowed me to see the insurance companies of only one county at a time. I found 7 insurance companies1 in the state exchange by means of the state commissioner’s website. I searched the websites of each insurance company to find a total of 78 plans2.  Within the Summary of Benefits Covered, 23 of the plans explicitly mentioned abortion coverage, while the other 55 plans made no mention of abortion. When I called each insurance company, I discovered that all of the state exchange plans cover abortion, except for Premera’s multistate plans. It was unclear until visiting the federal OPM website that Premera is the only company offering multistate plans, and they offer 8 multistate plans. Out of 78 plans in the state exchange, 8 plans exclude abortion coverage.

 

The concreteness of the information I was provided over the phone varied based on insurance company. Group Health, Community Health Plan of WA, Bridgespan, Molina and Kaiser Permanente mentioned that while all their plans cover abortion, the amount of coverage (deductible, out-of-pocket, cost-shares, co-insurance) depends on the plan. Community Health Plan of WA mentioned that one would get the best benefit with in-network providers. Coordinated Care was reluctant to discuss details and said abortion coverage is subject to pre-approval, while related aspects (prescriptions, hospital stays) under the 10 Essential Benefits would be covered.

 

A consumer wondering which insurance plans in the Washington state exchange cover abortion has the choice of remaining uninformed, or spending hours researching to find clarity. Consumers would benefit from a requirement that insurance companies disclose whether their plans include abortion coverage.

 

1 I considered Premera and Lifewise one company, with different plans under each name.

 

2I used a definition of “plan” that considers plans with the same name, but different deductible amounts as distinct plans.

 

Join us tomorrow when Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) talks about his efforts to make the Obamacare state exchanges more transparent for pro-lifers in the market place and Joseph Backholm, the Executive Director of FPIW talks about his team’s efforts to discover the problems in their state.

Happy Birthday Dr. Dobson – Love, the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado

Today, April 21, is Dr. Jim Dobson’s birthday.  While I neglected to get him anything a federal court in Colorado gave him a reprieve in his case against the Obama Administration’s oppressive abortifacient mandate.  The Christian Post has more . . .

 

“Family Talk and Dr. Dobson state credibly and cogently that providing the coverage required by the Mandate would violate their religious beliefs and execution and delivery of the Exemption Form, the EBSA Form 700 – Certification, which effectively exempts Family Talk from the Mandate, also would violate their sincerely held religious beliefs,” the judge said in the order.

 

The order stated that “there is a substantial likelihood that” Dobson and his ministry can show that the mandate constitutes “a substantial burden on the exercise of their religion.” “Contrastingly, the government has not shown that this substantial burden is reasonably necessary to further a compelling governmental interest.”

 

The lawsuit was filed in December by Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys, and it claims that the Department of Health and Human Services’ mandate violates the First Amendment as well as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, as it forces Dobson and his Christian ministry to offer coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, such as Plan B or Ella, or devices that could result in the destruction of an embryo in violation of their religious convictions.

 

Dr. James Dobson provides sound biblical advice on Christian marriages, families and parenting through the ministry of Family Talk’s radio program.   To reduce Dr. Dobson to one organization though does him a disservice, as he has been somewhat of a “Johnny Appleseed” of the pro-family movement. 

 

In his work with multiple family organizations he has had more impact on the social conservative movement in the United States than any other leader.  In 1977 he founded Focus on the Family and from that perch helped create other organizations such as Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Research Council.   Dr. Dobson and his equally devout wife, Shirley, have two children, Danae and Ryan.  Ryan Dobson (born in California in 1970), who graduated from Biola University in La Mirada, California, is a public speaker, specializing on issues relating to youth and the pro-life movement. He was adopted by the Dobsons and is an ardent supporter of adoption, especially adoption of troubled children.   Both Dr. Dobson and his son Ryan were featured speakers at the 2014 March for Life.

 

Please join the March for Life in wishing Dr. Dobson @DrJamesCDobson  a very happy birthday!

 

This Tax Day Let’s Get Planned Parenthood Off of the Federal Dole

Today is April 15th.  It is a day of infamies.  On this day in 1865 Abraham Lincoln died, succumbing to gunshot wounds from the night before.   In 1912 the “unsinkable” ship Titanic sank after striking an iceberg, killing between 1,490 and 1,635 people.  Lastly, of course, it is Tax Day (okay those comparisons might be a bit overdramatic.)

 

Most reasonable people understand in a democracy that taxes are necessary to help pay for services that fall under the government’s purview.  Unfortunately over time those same reasonable people would agree that the federal government has grown out of control.  While taxpayers do their duty and submit their taxes every April 15th the federal government continues to misuse that money by spending it on shrimp treadmills, monkey houses and subsidizing the billion dollar abortion industry (man, my analogies really need some work).  

 

Most of that blood money goes to the abortion giant Planned Parenthood.  The abortion company and its defenders try to say that Planned Parenthood is there to aid and assist in the health care of women when in fact their most recent annual report (broken down by Susan B. Anthony List) admits that in 2012, abortions made up 93.8% of Planned Parenthood’s pregnancy services, while prenatal care and adoption referrals accounted for only 5.6% (19,506) and 0.6% (2,197), respectively. For every adoption referral, Planned Parenthood performed 149 abortions.  Prenatal care services have dropped 32% in one year, and 52% since 2009. Adoption referrals are also down 4.5% in one year.

 

The killing of unborn babies has been very profitable for Planned Parenthood.  During fiscal year 2012-2013, Planned Parenthood reported $58.2 million in excess revenue, and more than $1.3 billion in net assets. Planned Parenthood reported receiving $540.6 million in taxpayer funding, or nearly $1.5 million per day.

 

All of this money goes to Planned Parenthood despite that the organization was found civilly liable in Arizona for failure to report statutory rape. They have violated statutory rape reporting laws in Indiana and California. Planned Parenthood instructed a girl in Tennessee to lie about her age so she could get an abortion without her parents’ knowledge.  In California, Washington, New Jersey, and New York, Planned Parenthood clinics have been accused of fraudulent accounting or overbilling practices.  Thanks to the work of LiveAction undercover videos have shown Planned Parenthood employees doing various nefarious activities including apparently willing to aid human sex traffickers by coaching them on how to falsify documents and secure secret abortions for their underage prostitutes.

 

Under Obamacare that money is expected to increase, despite an ongoing Government Accounting Office investigation.  On top of the numerous slush funds the National Right to Life has also found that “Based on the number of persons who had enrolled in ObamaCare as of March 1, at least $5 billion in federal tax subsidies will be available to help purchase health plans that cover elective abortion, with the figure sure to increase as additional millions of Americans enroll.”

 

Planned Parenthood’s defenders are quick to cite rules prohibiting federal taxpayer funding for abortion, this fails to account for the fungibility of money. The receipt of conditioned taxpayer funds allows for increased spending in areas outside of the abortion restrictions. Simply put, federal funding of Planned Parenthood does not decrease abortion, it increases it.

 

Nobody is saying that Planned Parenthood cannot continue to be the largest abortion provider in America, but why do millions of taxpayers have to pay for it?

 

The End of the Reign of Queen Kathleen the First

The most powerful person in Washington.

That sentence is not usually a description for a Health and Human Services Secretary, however thanks to President Obama’s health care law, commonly known as Obamacare, the HHS Secretary has virtually unchecked power.    And now Kathleen Sebelius is leaving the post in such a mess that she proves such an expansion of power was unwarranted and dangerous.  On top of the disaster that is Obamacare she also oversaw her department turn into one that prioritized a liberal agenda over the department’s supposed mission.  In one notorious example HHS for years gave grants to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), which is one of the largest anti-trafficking relief organizations in the world. A few years ago, the Obama Administration cut off funding for the USCCB because of the Catholic Church’s pro-life views.  Friends within the program at HHS confirmed that the outside relief organizations who took over the grants from HHS have done a horrible job in keeping up with the demand of those suffering from trafficking.

However nothing gave the Secretary more power than the health care law.  When the bill passed the National Center for Policy Analysis found 1,697 instances in the bill “where the secretary of health and humans services is given the authority to create, determine or define things in the bill.”

These new powers include setting monthly costs per person, establishing an agency that will determine cuts without Congressional approval and determining if abortion is included in the government run plan.

This is an awful lot of power for a Secretary who has proven largely ineffective during the health care debate and oversaw the disastrous government roll out of what is the President’s legacy legislation.  She has always had and has maintained close ties to an abortion industry that has helped finance most of her political career and who is being well rewarded now with government funds.  Soon after Secretary Sebelius was confirmed she received a thank you letter from the head of the abortion giant Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, thanking her for speaking to a gathering of various leaders in the abortion industry and how Ms. Richards was “grateful for your (Kathleen Sebelius’) friendship and support.”

Reviewing the record of Gov. Sebelius when she served in the Kansas Legislature, Representative Sebelius voted to weaken or eliminate even such modest measures as unborn victims, parental notification, waiting periods and informed consent.  During her time as Governor, Kathleen Sebelius has cut state funding for abortion alternatives, vetoed a bill imposing minimal sanitary standards on abortion clinics, and vetoed a bill that would have strengthened late term abortion law. These actions provide a far better indication of her views on sanctity of life issues than an incidental abortion decline that occurred under her watch. Her position is further questioned when her close ties to notorious abortionist George Tiller, known for performing late-term abortions in Kansas, are revealed. Donations from Mr. Tiller of hundreds of thousands of dollars to PACs and organizations controlled by the Kansas Governor were revealed, not by the governor during the hearing process as they should have been, but by outside sources. She has also repeatedly interfered in cases brought against Mr. Tiller, including recruiting a candidate to replace the state attorney general who was originally prosecuting the abortion doctor.

Many Republican Senators opposed the nomination however one stands out, in that he is also retiring this year as well:

Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.)

“I think there’s a flaw there, a critical defect in this nominee. That’s a nonstarter with me, not because I dislike her. I think she’s a wonderful lady, but I think she lacks part of the moral clarity that is required to lead this nation into the future. Her ability from the start will be compromised by her position on this issue. I have no doubt that she will be approved today, so I mark it as another sign on our way to oblivion as a nation.”

Considering how many tax dollars are being funneled to her well-heeled friends in the abortion industry I have little doubt that she will land on her feet.  The same cannot be said for her predecessor who will likely have to face the failures of 6 years of Sebelius rule.

On the positive side apparently the HHS Secretary can do PSA’s with Vice President Joe Biden whenever they feel like it.

Members of Congress refuse to be silent on defending religious liberty

Prior to today’s hearing on President Obama’s anti-conscience mandate pro-religious liberty politicians spoke out on the liberty crushing mandate.  Hill staff helped to compile a lot of what they have been busy with:

 

In addition to the Member video clips below, groups may be interested this press conference hosted by Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) earlier today.  Although audio of the oral arguments in the case is not yet available, the transcript of oral arguments has been posted on the Supreme Court’s website and is available here.  For a recap of the arguments, the Wall Street Journal’s live blog and this article in Politico may be helpful.

 

Monday night prior to the Supreme Court argument Members of Congress went to the House floor to speak about the HHS mandate on the eve of the oral arguments before the Supreme Court in Sebelius vs. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties vs. Sebelius. 

 

You may be interested in the following video clips:

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO)

Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH)

Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI)

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MI)

Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO)

Rep. James Lankford (R-OK)

Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA)

Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ)

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE)

Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL)

Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD)

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS)

Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-PA)

Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA)

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO)

Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL)

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)

Rep. John Fleming (R-LA)

 

On the Senate side:

Senator Roy Blunt

Senator Kelly Ayotte

 

Member Press Releases:

Speaker Boehner on Supreme Court and Religious Freedom

Leader Cantor: It’s Time To Restore Our Complete And Unwavering Support For Religious Freedom

Rep. Chris Smith: Obama Mandate Imposes Burdensome Penalty that is Unfair, Unreasonable, and Unconscionable

Rep. Diane Black Holds Press Conference on HHS Mandate

Rep. James Lankford  Joins Hobby Lobby at Supreme Court to Stand for Religious Freedom

Rep. Randy Forbes: HHS Mandate Threatens Freedom

Rep. Marsha Blackburn Calls on Court to Protect Religious Liberty

 

Prior to the hearing the following Members had op-eds printed in local papers:

Rep. Joe Pitts with Conestoga Wood Specialties

Rep. John Fleming

Rep. Diane Black

Rep. James Lankford

Rep. Randy Forbes

Rep. Andy Harris

Prior to today’s hearing on President Obama’s anti-conscience mandate pro-religious liberty politicians spoke out on the
liberty crushing mandate.  Hill staff helped to compile a lot of what they have been busy with:

 

In addition to the Member video clips below, groups may be interested this press conference hosted by Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) earlier today.  Although audio of the oral arguments in the case is not yet available, the transcript of oral arguments has been posted on the Supreme Court’s website and is available here.  For a recap of the arguments, the Wall Street Journal’s live blog and this article in Politico may be helpful.

 

Monday night prior to the Supreme Court argument Members of Congress went to the House floor to speak about the HHS mandate on the eve of the oral arguments before the Supreme Court in Sebelius vs. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties vs. Sebelius. 

 

You may be interested in the following video clips:

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO)

Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH)

Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI)

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MI)

Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO)

Rep. James Lankford (R-OK)

Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA)

Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ)

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE)

Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL)

Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD)

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS)

Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-PA)

Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA)

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO)

Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL)

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)

Rep. John Fleming (R-LA)

 

On the Senate side:

Senator Roy Blunt

Senator Kelly Ayotte

 

Member Press Releases:

Speaker Boehner on Supreme Court and Religious Freedom

Leader Cantor: It’s Time To Restore Our Complete And Unwavering Support For Religious Freedom

Rep. Chris Smith: Obama Mandate Imposes Burdensome Penalty that is Unfair, Unreasonable, and Unconscionable

Rep. Diane Black Holds Press Conference on HHS Mandate

Rep. James Lankford  Joins Hobby Lobby at Supreme Court to Stand for Religious Freedom

Rep. Randy Forbes: HHS Mandate Threatens Freedom

Rep. Marsha Blackburn Calls on Court to Protect Religious Liberty

 

Prior to the hearing the following Members had op-eds printed in local papers:

Rep. Joe Pitts with Conestoga Wood Specialties

Rep. John Fleming

Rep. Diane Black

Rep. James Lankford

Rep. Randy Forbes

Rep. Andy Harris

Happy Birthday C-SPAN! You Are Now Old Enough to Run for President!

C-Span celebrates 35 years this year. C-Span first broadcast on March 19, 1979 and the first U.S. Representative to speak on the House floor was then-congressman Al Gore. It wasn’t until 1986 that the U.S. Senate was also broadcast (otherwise Chuck “never met a TV camera he didn’t like” Schumer might never have become a Senator.)

C-Span has 97 million potential viewers and at least 39 million of them watch at least once or twice a week. The viewing audience is split evenly between male and female and is a politically active bunch, with over 80 percent saying they voted in the last election. My favorite statistic, (and PBS please take note) is that C-Span has taken no federal taxpayer dollars to bring the invaluable service into your home.

Members of Congress should take heed of the viewing numbers. The fact that at any given time you could be addressing millions of people on C-Span has been used successfully by both parties. If there is one thing being in the Minority teaches it is that parliamentary procedure can be successfully utilized to further your goals. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga) learned that prior to the Republicans gaining control of Congress in 1994 and current Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) knew that before the Democrats took back control ten years later. These leaders would instruct their Members to give both one-minute speeches (speeches given at the start of the legislative day) and special order speeches (given at the end of the day, normally lasting an hour) on subjects that show THEIR party is the party that should be in control. While doing little to immediately get passage of legislation these speeches contribute greatly to the debate on the issues and introduce these ideas to millions of people. 

Special orders are a great way to motivate the base as well – they have been used to highlight the atrocities of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, the importance of conscience rights, the problem of abortion funding in Obamacare as well as a host of other pro-life issues.

I’ve appeared on C-SPAN’s National Journal morning show a few times and have always loved it, especially the phone calls.  On October 7, 1980, just 18 months into its history, C-SPAN inaugurated television’s first-ever, regularly scheduled national viewer call-in program from the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., following a speech by then- FCC Chair Charles Ferris. C-SPAN’s first caller was from Yankton, South Dakota. See the video of that first phone call here.

Abortion Tourism Is Not Only Offensive, It Attacks Parental Rights

 

Apparently all the pro-life efforts to protect women and children in Texas is creating a new off shoot of the abortion industry in the Lone Star State – “abortion tourism.”  The Daily Caller has the details:

A 20-year-old student at the University of Texas at Austin has started a nonprofit organization to skirt a new state law that bans abortion after 20 weeks and requires abortion doctors to have hospital-admitting privileges within 30 miles of the abortion facility.

The student is Lenzi Sheible, reports The Texas Tribune. Her nonprofit is called Fund Texas Women. Notably, Sheible is seven months pregnant.

The new law, House Bill 2, went into effect Nov. 1.

In response to the law, Fund Texas Women pays travel expenses for women – and minor girls – to get to the abortion clinics which still exist in The Lone Star State. For women who have decided to get abortions after they are 20 weeks pregnant, the nonprofit pays to ship them to other states, including New Mexico and Colorado.

While trying to skirt one law Ms. Sheible is most likely skirting another as well.

As of January 2006 Texas requires parental consent before a woman under 18 years of age can obtain an abortion. A parent or legal guardian, with government ID, must accompany the minor patient to the office and sign a parental consent form prior to an abortion.  Abortion-giant Planned Parenthood already works to skirt that law by trying to teach young girls, some as young as 12 years old, how to skirt the law.

By taking minors across state lines Ms. Sheible and Planned Parenthood are avoiding Texas law which requires both parental consent as well as notification.  One destination of the law avoiders is New Mexico where parents have no rights under law when it comes to abortion of their young daughters the other is Colorado where only notice is necessary, not consent.

Texas legislators, representing the wishes of the large majority of citizens of that state, passed parental consent and notification laws to help ensure that a young girl in a difficult situation has the support she needs.  (New Mexico tried the same thing however abortion-profiteer Planned Parenthood tied the legislation up in the courts.)  Unfortunately efforts at the national level has either been stopped by a pro-abortion majority in Congress or ignored by a Republican majority.  As leading Democrats talk about a false war on women they continue their very real war on parents.  Parental rights are a very popular issue but routinely ignored by Congress – the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act should be a major piece of legislation being pushed by pro-life forces in Congress. 

The avenue the 113th Congress needs to pursue is passing legislation requiring parental notification. The problem is that many abortion clinics lure young girls from their home states that have parental notice laws to states where they can get abortions without their parents knowing. Often the man who gets a young girl pregnant takes her to the clinic. To counter this type of human trafficking they should reintroduce the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act.

A ruling by the Kentucky Court of Appeals highlights why this legislation is necessary.  In a 2-1 ruling in two Kentucky judges decided that young girls from other states may ask Kentucky judges to give them permission to have abortions without their parents’ knowledge or consent.  This means if a young girl in Indiana wants to avoid getting her parents permission, which is required by law in that state, they can go judge shopping in Kansas for a judge who will allow her to abort her unborn child and her parents need never know.  It is clearly in the role of the U.S. Congress to make sure that one state does not move to undermine the laws and parental rights of another state.

The Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA) makes it a federal offense to transport a minor across state lines to obtain an abortion in circumvention of parental involvement laws in the minor’s home state. The bill would also require parental notification before an abortion is conducted on a minor from another state. The last time the House voted on this bill in 2006, it passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 264 to 153.

There is little doubt that if the bill passed it would be vetoed.  In 1996 Obama responded “No,” on a candidate questionnaire asking “Do you support parental consent/notification for minors seeking abortions?”  As state senator Obama voted “present” in 2001 on two parental notification bills. As U.S. Senator Obama voted “No” in 2006 on a bill requiring parents to be notified before their minor daughter got an out-of-state abortion, and he voted “No” in 2008 on a bill prohibiting the trafficking of minors from states with parental involvement laws to states without them.

However just because President Obama has little regard for the rights of states to pass laws that protect parents and children doesn’t mean Congress shouldn’t move to protect them.  That the Republicans failed to pass this common sense legislation the years they were in charge of both chambers of Congress and the Presidency speaks a lot to how they squandered those years.  If they are given a second chance, will they go for it and do the right thing or take the easier path and do nothing?