Senator Tim Scott & House GOP Conference Chair Cathy McMorris-Rodgers to Lead Congressional Delegation in March for Life

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 13, 2015
CONTACT: Ryan Hughes
Shirley & Banister Public Affairs
703-739-5920/800-536-5920

RHughes@SBPublicAffairs.com

Members will Honor Every Life as a Gift in Annual Pro-Life Event

Washington, D.C.—The March for Life Education and Defense Fund announced today that House GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-WA), Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), Representative Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), and Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) will lead the congressional delegation as featured speakers at the March for Life on January 22, 2014 during the annual pro-life event.  They will have the opportunity to share their touching stories and experiences with the global pro-life movement.

“These remarkable congressional leaders are joining our cause to help advocate for the protection of the unborn, and they strongly believe that every life is a gift,” said Jeanne Monahan-Mancini, President of March for Life Education and Defense Fund. “Their commitment to this cause is crucial in passing laws to protect lives in this country.”

On the exact day of the march, the house is set to vote on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, or HR 36, first introduced by Representative Trent Franks and Representative Marsha Blackburn, which will put an end to abortion after 20 weeks, or five months, based on the child’s ability to feel pain.

“This vote will give us even more reason to rally on the National Mall with the hundreds of thousands and subsequently march to the Supreme Court in celebration of life. We’re hopeful that this is a sign of more pro-life legislation in the future.”

The March for Life in Washington, D.C., began as a small demonstration on January 22, 1974, the first anniversary of the now-infamous Supreme Court decisions in Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton and rapidly grew to be the largest pro-life event in the world.  The peaceful demonstration that has followed on this somber anniversary every year since is a witness to the truth concerning the greatest human rights violation of our time, legalized abortion on demand.

Jeanne Monahan-Mancini, President of March for Life Education and Defense Fund, is available for interviews. For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Ryan Hughes at RHughes@SBPublicAffairs.com or (703) 739-5920.

114th Congress: The Brave Need to Be Bold

 

One fine tradition that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) started a few years ago was opening each Congress with a bipartisan, multi-denominational prayer service. The theme of the service this year (chosen by the official House Chaplain, Rev. Patrick Conroy, S.J.) was “Building Community Toward a Common Purpose.”

The service included readings from Proverbs (2:1-10), Bhagavad-Gita (XVIII 57-58) and from the Gospel of Mark (12:28-34).  The readings focused on service and were all tied together by Rev. Conroy as he asked the Members of Congress gathered to pray for their colleagues as they work together.

Freshman PhotoOne issue in need of such coalition work is the issue of life.  Facing an overtly hostile media some pro-lifers are afraid that Congress will not take the steps necessary to challenge the most pro-abortion President of our lifetime, Barack Obama. Starting in his original campaign, President Obama has been bold in the case of abortion, ending with the passage of one of the most anti-life pieces of legislation in generations, his health care law commonly known as Obamacare.  As for the pro-abortion Democratic Leadership, they have supported legislation, misnamed, the “Women’s Health Protection Act”, which would nullify every and any advance for the cause of life.

Facing such boldness for the cause of abortion, the pro-lifers in charge of Congress need to have the same boldness.  This is a priority first and foremost for moral reasons, but also for political reasons – as the nation is more pro-life than pro-abortion.  For years, Congress has fought to maintain the status quo and has been losing.  It is long past time to take the initiative on popular and needed pro-life legislation.  A good start would be the following:

  • In the House, passing the Federal Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which provides protection nationwide for unborn children who have the capacity to experience pain while being aborted, a capacity defined in the bill as existing by 20 weeks fetal age.
  • Also in the House, passing the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act, which would clearly and permanently prohibit all taxpayer dollars from being used to cover abortion, including the indirect funding that occurs through subsidies to insurance purchasers.
  • Passing the Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act, which would require every insurance plan established by Obamacare to clearly indicate whether or not it covers abortion.
  • Protecting current pro-life provisions (also called riders) and adding new ones to end of year spending bills. Every year, pro-life protections such as the Hyde Amendment, are included in end of year Appropriations bills. Under President Obama’s Administration,  new threats to life and issues of conscience have grown by incredible bounds.  Congress needs to use the power of the purse to turn back this President’s support of the death industry known as abortion.

One of the top priorities for this Congress should be to return the Congressional Appropriations process to regular order.  It has been nearly a decade since Congress has done its very basic job, appropriating funds to pay for the workings of the federal government.  Instead Congress has repeatedly passed large, unreadable, unworkable Omnibuses or continuing resolutions, which does little to contain inappropriate spending curbing pro-abortion, taxpayer funded, outreach by the federal government.

All the above should just be a start, being done in the first year, if not hundred days.  Despite the U.S. Senate being controlled by Republicans, it is not controlled by a pro-life majority, so groups working on legislation in the 114th Congress will have a lot of work ahead of them in passing some of these initiatives – admittedly some of these bills might even take multiple Congresses to enact.  However, without boldness now on the issue of life, the current Congress might not deserve to be given the chance in future Congresses.

Transparent Trap: Abortion in Obamacare

 

Yesterday, Republican Leadership in the House of Representatives introduced their massive end of year spending bill, called by some a “CROmnibus.”  The bill is a disappointment in that it doesn’t give teeth to any pro-life issues that need immediate attention, such as states like California forcing Christian entities to pay for abortions.  However, it does offer instructions to the Obama Administration on issues of transparency in regards to abortion within the health law commonly known as Obamacare.

>>>>> Watch the March for Life Google Hangout with Pro-Life Caucus Chairman, Congressman Chris Smith, Are You Subsidizing Abortion Coverage?

This legislation is a prime opportunity to draw attention to the taxpayer-funded abortion coverage in the ACA; specifically, the lack of transparency regarding abortion coverage.  It has become evident that it is very difficult for consumers seeking exchange plans to identify which, if any plans, on their state exchange exclude abortion. This is vital information for pro-life consumers in the 27 states that have not passed laws to exclude abortion coverage in their state exchange.  Since there is a mandatory monthly abortion surcharge included in the premiums for any plan that includes elective abortion, pro-life consumers will want to identify plans that exclude abortion.  However, the exchange websites do not indicate whether abortion coverage is included in each plan and the pricing information does not specify when the price includes the abortion surcharge.

The CROmnibus includes the following language concerning Obamacare abortion transparency provision:

  1. 81, Division G Joint Explanatory Statement:

Transparency in Health Plans.-The agreement directs the Secretary to provide

additional clarification to qualified health plans, based upon relevant and related

GAO findings, to ensure greater consistency and full transparency of coverage

options included in health insurance plans prior to plan purchase in the

marketplace enrollment process. The agreement requests a timeline for such

clarifying guidance to be submitted to the House and Senate Committees on

Appropriations within 30 days after enactment of this act.

If the CROmnibus passes this week, it will likely be months (if ever) before the Obama Administration actually complies with the request.  However, thanks to the work of the Charlotte Lozier Institute and Family Research Council, consumers don’t have to wait as long.  Last month, the groups launched a new website to expose which health insurance plans on the Obamacare exchanges cover and do not cover elective abortion for the 2015 enrollment period.

obamacare abortionThe website, ObamacareAbortion.com, is a joint effort between the two groups. Researchers have examined new plan documents, contacted insurance carriers and the exchanges seeking plan information.  They also reference the 2014 Government Accountability Office report that provided a list of 1,036 plans that covered abortion on demand and were eligible for federal tax subsidies in 2014. This new online tool will aid Americans who want to make fully informed healthcare decisions and avoid inadvertently purchasing a plan covering abortion on demand.  Be sure to check it out.

Real Pro-life Victories Happened on the State Level

 

Republicans will have full control of at least 29 state legislatures, the party’s largest total since 1928, perhaps earlier. Republicans also will hold at least 32 governorships, including newly won offices in traditionally Democratic Illinois, Maryland, and Massachusetts.

How important is this to those in Washington, D.C.?  The National Council of State Legislatures points out that the state legislature is where a high number of Federal legislators cut their teeth:

Half of the congressional freshman class will bring with them state legislative experience when the 114th Congress begins in mid-January. Tuesday’s results saw 29 current or former state legislators elected to the House of Representatives and six newly elected senators with backgrounds serving in their respective state capitals. While a number of elections around the country are either too close to call, not yet official, or face runoffs, the upcoming Congress will consist of 219 and 45 members in the House and Senate, respectively, with state legislative credentials, an increase over the previous two election cycles. When the dust settles, about half of the members in the 114th Congress will have served in state legislatures.

NCLS also points out that it was good election for Republicans, as they took the majority in 11 legislative chambers previously held by Democrats. Those chambers were:

  • Colorado Senate
  • Maine Senate
  • Minnesota House
  • Nevada Assembly
  • Nevada Senate
  • New Hampshire House
  • New York Senate
  • New Mexico House
  • Washington Senate
  • West Virginia House.
  • West Virginia Senate (after Democratic Senator Daniel Hall switched his party affiliation to Republican).

Factoring in all of those changes, here are the bottom line numbers (the Nebraska unicameral Legislature is nonpartisan):

  • Legislatures: 30 R, 11 D and 8 split
  • Chambers: 68 R, 30 D
  • Governors: 31 R, 18 D and 1 undecided (Alaska)
  • State governments: 23 R, 7 D, 18 divided and 1 undecided (Alaska)

It appears that Republicans will have a net gain of close to 350 seats and control over 4,100 of the nation’s 7,383 legislative seats. That is their highest number of legislators since 1920. Republicans gained seats in every region of the country and in all but about a dozen legislative chambers that were up this year.

This will likely open doors to more pro-life legislation in states where one chamber or both were controlled by pro-abortion politicians.

On ballot initiatives it was a mixed bag with the personhood movement failing in North Dakota and Colorado with amendments to grant the unborn constitutional rights.

However, in Tennessee voters approved a ballot initiative to amend the state constitution to say that nothing in it protects the right to an abortion or the funding of an abortion. The measure distinguished the right to privacy from the right to an abortion. With 90 percent of precincts reporting, AP said the measure was approved by a vote margin of 54 percent to 46 percent the amendment was a response to a Tennessee Supreme Court ruling in 2000 that said abortion was protected by the state constitution. The amendment was brought before the legislature four months after that decision, but it took nearly 14 years to become law because of political opposition and the state’s lengthy referendum process.

Because of the pro-life laws in surrounding states, Tennessee had become an “abortion destination” spot. Almost 19 percent of the women getting abortions in Tennessee were from out of state, according to the Tennessee Department of Health, in order to avoid pro-life laws like parental consent, in adjacent states.

More than $4 million in advertising for and against an abortion measure had flooded airwaves and mailboxes in Tennessee since the start of October, with opponents outstripping supporters by nearly a 3-1 ratio.

Republican Beth Harwell, speaker of the Tennessee House, said she is backing a trio of abortion bills that include:

  • A mandatory waiting period before a woman seeking an abortion can obtain one.
  • Inspection requirements for all facilities where abortions are performed.
  • Mandatory counseling — or “informed consent” — be provided to a woman before an abortion.

Midterm Election Victories, Republican Majority, and Pro-Life Legislation

Hey Republicans, That’s An Awful Nice Majority You Have There. Be a Real Shame if Something Happened To It.

Without a doubt Republicans had a good night Election night.  While there are a handful of races still outstanding, House Republicans are on track to have their largest majority since they had 270 seats in the in the 71st Congress (1929-1930).

The election has a number of interesting tidbits (most from the Washington Post and other sources (noted)):

  •  Senators-elect Tom Cotton and Joni Ernst are two of the first Iraq War veterans elected to the Senate.  Former Rep. Cotton also gives Arkansas two Republican Senators for the first time since 1879.
  • For the first time ever, more than 100 female legislators will be voting in the next session of Congress. With Rep. Shelley Moore Capito’s Senate victory in West Virginia, the state has its first female senator.  Joni Ernst, who won the Iowa Senate race, will be the first woman elected to federal office in that state.
  • Elise Stefanik, who won the House race in New York’s 21st District, is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. She is 30.
  • Mia Love, who won the House race in Utah’s 4th District, is the first black woman to be elected as a Republican representative.
  • Will Hurd, who won a House race in Texas, became the first black Republican to win a federal election in the state since Reconstruction.
  • 29 Senators who voted for Obamacare have now been booted from the Senate by voters since 2010.

A lesson from the elections is that being pro-life beats being pro-abortion.  Three high profile Republican candidates that highlighted their pro-abortion stances and also had a lot of financial support from the Republican Leadership and Establishment lost (or in one case, is March for Life 2014losing).

Senator Scott Brown (who was a Senator from Massachusetts for a little while, and this year ran for the Senate  in New Hampshire), Richard Tisei, and Carl DeMaio all were sold as “new Republicans” who embrace the culture of death.  All of them lost in what was otherwise a Republican tidal wave.

So what does this mean for the 114th Congress, which could easily be seen as a heavily pro-life House of Representatives  and a more pro-life Senate?

In the House, we should expect votes on numerous pro-life bills that have been voted on in the past, such as the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act and the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, as well as legislation that was not voted on, knowing it would lie in limbo in the Senate.

The Senate though is not a lock for pro-life votes.  There are a number of Republicans in the U.S. Senate who are either pro-abortion or marginally on the side of the unborn.  Any pro-life legislation will have to be carefully crafted and eased through the Senate chamber to even reach a majority of support of 51.  Getting 60 votes to overcome any expected filibuster will be even more difficult considering there is only one Democrat, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), who could be considered pro-life.  However you should expect a vote on the Pain Capable bill as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky), as well as a number of newly elected Republican Senators, ran on the platform of a vote on that specific legislation.

That of course wasn’t the only issue Republicans ran on.  This election was more about not being President Obama than it was about being Republican.  Incoming Majority Leader McConnell, in a press conference following the election, named his primary Obamacare targets: the medical device tax, the individual mandate and the 30-hour work week.

The President’s signature issue, the health care law known as Obamacare, was also a primary talking point for winning candidates.  Nearly half of voters – 47 percent – said Obamacare went too far, according to a CNN exit poll. The exit poll survey of 11,522 voters included voters from a random sample of precincts on Tuesday, as well as voters who cast their ballots early or absentee.

The “party of repeal” might now be in power in both chambers of Congress; however, they fall short of the necessary 60 votes needed to pass legislation in the Senate, let alone override a Presidential veto.

In a statement after Republicans took control of the Senate, House Speaker John Boehner did not mention health care. He said we can expect the jobs and energy bills passed by the House to be voted on in the Senate, and he talked about fixing the tax code, legal, regulatory and education systems. He mentioned nothing on Obamacare or pro-life bills.

Bottom line, if the Republicans want to keep their recently won majority they will need to be bold in the House of Representatives on pro-life issues and the Senate Republicans will need to unite on the pro-life issue, regardless of their personal view on protecting the unborn.

Days until the 2016 election: 732 days

 

March for Life Responds to GAO Report

This week the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report confirming what pro-lifers have been warning since 2010, your tax dollars are funding abortion through the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”).

Today, the March for Life participated in a press conference calling attention to this broken promise and calling on the Senate to act. Read Jeanne Monahan’s remarks below:

hr_7_press_conf_9_18_14_042_2_-_copy_0

 

Thank you to Mr. Pitts for sponsoring this important press conference and to all of the Members for taking time during such a full moment to discuss this critical report.

We probably all remember well the March of 2010 when the entire passage of healthcare law hinged on abortion coverage and support. The bottom line was that if abortion was included in the healthcare law, it wouldn’t get the support it needed in Congress to pass. In those intense days President Obama promised that abortion coverage would not be included in the healthcare law. He even went so far as to imply that Hyde protections — the established pro-life protections since the late 70s would remain status quo in the law.

Today we stand here to say that nothing could be further from the truth.  We have known that but for those who were confused by the 1000+ pages in the bill and the very confusing rollout of this law, please read this GAO report and take it to heart. There is without a doubt abortion in the healthcare law. This report is about the state exchanges, but abortion is included in other ways. The largest expansion of abortion since Roe vs Wade.

For example, consider the HHS mandate forcing groups like the MfL to cover drugs and devices that can destroy life in its earliest stages. The March for Life is a non-religious, non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated solely to protecting human life in its most vulnerable stages. But because of the healthcare law we are being forced to cover abortifacients in our healthcare. We refuse to do that. And so we are now engaged in litigation fighting this injustice.

This summer the SCOTUS showed us that America still has all three branches keeping each other in check. With that hope we ask you to call your Senator to ask them to support HR7 and right the wrong of the Obama Administration and their broken promises. 

A Long List of Broken Promises

Several weeks ago, I visited healthcare.gov in search of pro-life insurance plans offered under the Affordable Care Act. After spending several frustrating hours on the website, I gained only limited information. For example, I learned that some plans include abortion coverage in the summary of benefits, but more often than not there was no mention of coverage at all. Thus, as a young woman who opposes abortion, I was left in the dark as to whether my hard-earned dollars would pay for abortion.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report this morning that confirms my experience and indicates that there is, in fact, no consistent way to determine which plans under Obamacare cover abortion. The report stunningly reveals that in five states, including my home state of New Jersey, there is not one pro-life plan available. In December of 2013, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was asked under oath by Representative John Shimkus (R-IL) about how to determine the plans that cover abortion. She could not answer his question but promised to provide a list, which ultimately did not happen prior to her leaving the Administration. The Secretary also insisted that such information was clearly provided on the healthcare.gov website.  A statement, which, from my experience, is blatantly inaccurate.

Pro-life Americans should not have to spend hours reading summaries of benefits, or talking on the phone with insurance companies, in order to know if their health care plan violates their deeply held beliefs. This reality flies in the face of the transparency that was promised by the Obama Administration.

Your taxes are funding abortions

The GAO report has an even more disturbing revelation: taxpayers from all 50 states are subsidizing abortion under Obamacare, despite the fact that President Obama and members of his Administration, promised the contrary. In 2009, referencing the Hyde Amendment, President Obama told America: “This is a health care bill, not an abortion bill. We are not looking to change what is a core principle that has been in place for a very long time, which is federal dollars are not used to subsidize abortions.” [i]

During the healthcare debate in 2009, pro-abortion forces refused to extend Hyde Amendment type protections to the Affordable Care Act. Every year since 1976, the Hyde Amendment has banned federal funding for abortion under Medicaid, and is one of the most significant pro-life policies since Roe v. Wade was decided by the Supreme Court in 1973. Rather than extending the these types of protections, Obamacare set up an “abortion surcharge” through which insurance companies would bill individuals separately for abortion coverage, creating a pool of money funded by individuals, not tax dollars, to pay for abortion. This was not only an accounting gimmick, but it was unfair to Americans who would not know that their money was directly paying for abortion. Americans have the right to informed consent for something as critical as their money paying for abortion!

The GAO report further reveals that not one of the eighteen companies surveyed did actually bill separately or itemized an abortion surcharge! In other words, the accounting gimmick put in place is not even being practiced, and through their taxes, Americans in all 50 states are paying for 1,036 of 2,089 plans to cover abortion. Roughly half of the plans available through Obamacare provide abortion on demand!

The Obama Administration’s list of broken promises continues to grow, and the non-partisan GAO report confirms this. This is not the transparency that America was promised. Please, no more broken promises, Mr. President.


[i]  “Obama: ‘This is a Health Care Bill, Not an Abortion Bill” Nov 10, 2009,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pFiCPgmgqE

What To Do with a ‘Do-Nothing’ Congress

August tends to be a slow, hot month in Washington, D.C., but not everyone was idle last month! Especially this year with the November election holding real promise for a pro-life Senate, organizations that promote the dignity of the human person from conception were actively engaged!

zus_congress_02Groups such as the Susan B. Anthony List, Concerned Women for America PAC, FRC Action, National Right to Life Victory Fund and the newly founded Women Speak Out PAC are concentrating on key states to give pro-lifers an edge in the U.S. Senate.

Even with this unified approach pro-life groups face enormous odds as the political arms of taxpayer subsidized abortion giant Planned Parenthood, pro-abortion Emily’s List and the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) are extremely well financed.  Planned Parenthood alone plans on spending over $20 million on the election.

Yet signs of confusion and defeat are on the horizon for abortion groups. Their latest approach is to abandon the “pro-choice” label.  (An argument Secular Pro-life dissects as “disingenuous.” )  Abortion proponents are trying to normalize and downplay the significance of abortion.  Advocating for taxpayer funded abortions, pushing abortion as anything but a “difficult decision” (denying the pain abortion brings to many involved), and calling for the death of babies diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome are just some of the latest trends from those who oppose the inherent dignity of the human person.  And groups like Emily’s List, are even running awayfrom their pro-abortion roots and avoiding ads that use the word abortion (or the phrase “pro-choice.”)

So what does any of this have to do with a Hill update?  A number of pro-life and pro-abortion groups give support to candidates.  We mentioned last month the pro-abortion Democrats current legislation that seeks to eliminate all pro-life laws.   There are common sense bills on the pro-life side that seek to protect children at 20 weeks gestation.  As schools start up for most young people, here is some homework for everyone:

Where does your Member of Congress stand – and who stands behind them?

Let us know.