Do you remember when Vice President Pence spoke at the 2017 March for Life, just days after President Trump’s inauguration?
During his March for Life speech, the Vice President shared:
“We will not rest until we restore a culture of life in America for ourselves and our posterity.”
Since then, many positive steps have been taken to protect life – including the proposed “Protect Life” Rule, which would block the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, from $60 million in taxpayer funds.
In May, the Trump Administration issued the proposed rule, which would restrict Title X federal funding from going to any entity that performs, supports, or refers for abortion.
Earlier this week, the public comment period for the Protect Life Rule closed, and March for Life activists submitted over 13,000 comments in support of this proposed rule.
I recently had the opportunity to talk with NPR about the historic nature of the Protect Life Rule, and the timeline for its completion:
“Changes to Title X would be as game-changing as securing a like-minded Supreme Court nominee, said Tom McClusky, president of March for Life Action, who has worked for two decades to tighten restrictions on abortion.
‘As we become more of a pro-life nation, this could be very well a turning point to help educate people on the difference between health care and abortion, and exactly what Roe v. Wade does as opposed to what people think Roe v. Wade does,’ he said.
After the public comment period ends July 31, the Department of Health and Human Services must go through thousands of submitted comments. This will take time, McClusky said.”
Thank you for raising your voice and spreading the truth. Be sure to also check out this opportunity in your local communities to join the 3rd annual National Day of Prayer and Protest Against Planned Parenthood. The nationwide event will be held on Saturday, April 28. Click HERE for more information.
It is time that our laws catch up with science and err on the side of life.
House Republicans’ successful efforts to pass tax relief might have included a definition of the unborn child into the U.S. tax code. This would have been only the second time that our laws recognized the unborn child. But some, like Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), leader of the House pro-abortion caucus, ranted in a statement that “(t)he tax code is no place to define what constitutes an ‘unborn child.’” (The same Rep. DeGette, I am sure, has had no problem with the fact that the U.S. tax code has compensated for the unborn child’s destruction.)
Politicians were not all who were panicked. Pro-abortion advocates NARAL argued how “(t)he conversation about when life begins belongs with our scientists, our clergy, and our families. The last place it belongs is in our tax code.” These are the same radicals who complained about a 2016 Doritos Super Bowl ad that featured a baby during an ultrasound amounted to “humanizing fetuses.” God forbid!
But when human life begins is not a subject that should be up for debate. Why then, do our laws seem to struggle to recognize what basic science would conclude: “that human embryos from the one-cell stage forward are indeed living individuals of the human species; i.e., human beings.”
The foundations of our democracy as well as science teach us the inherent worth and equal dignity of every human being. Whatever attacks human beings, attacks democracy as well. This was best articulated in President Ronald Reagan’s final March for Life address on January 22, 1988:
America was founded on a moral proposition that human life—all human life—is sacred. And this proposition is the bedrock of our national life, the foundation of our laws. It’s the wellspring of our Constitution. Courts may ignore it, and they have. They cannot—and I should add—have not denied it. When reverence for life can have no boundaries, when we begin to take some life casually, we threaten all life. . . .All human beings share an equal right to life simply by virtue of their humanity.
Isn’t there enough evidence for even skeptics to admit that those who assert the personhood of the fetus may be right? And if we are to err, shouldn’t it be on the side of life? I believe it’s time the law caught up with science.
Since 1988 we have seen incredible advances in pre-natal science. From 4-D ultrasounds that show incredible pictures (one might say life-like!) of the child to the ability of doctors to perform surgery on unborn children. When one of my nieces was born premature in the early 2000’s she weighed barely more than a pound. Her parents were told by her doctors that if she had been under a pound they would have been able to do nothing to help her. Today, a mere sixteen years later, doctors now can save children who weigh as little as 9 ounces! Everyday science shows that every child, born and unborn, is worth the effort to save.
In 2015 undercover videos revealed to the nation what groups like Planned Parenthood think of the unborn – that they are only worth the body parts that can be harvested from them. To Planned Parenthood and to other abortion advocates, it is better to dismember unborn children before they can be counted. But the life of every human being is an intrinsic good, not something whose value is conditional upon its usefulness to others or to the state. Those who support abortion are incensed by the insertion of a simple scientific definition in our tax code. Perhaps they understand that such recognition would be the beginning of the end in the struggle to restore respect for the dignity of every human life.
You can’t go far without hearing or seeing an advertisement with the message about how the world will fall apart if Planned Parenthood is defunded. This is obviously an exaggeration, but the question is, what is the real story?
The most recent annual report from abortion-giant Planned Parenthood revealed that in 2015, the organization collected over $554 million in “Government Health Services Reimbursements & Grants.” This is money that federal, state, and local taxpayers provided to the largest abortion provider in the United States, and organization that during that timeframe, aborted more than 328,000 babies.
This is especially bothersome when you consider that nearly two-thirds of Americans oppose their hard-earned tax dollars being used to fund organizations that perform or support abortion. Moreover, scandals and controversies have plagued Planned Parenthood for years, including the more recent fetal body parts trafficking exposed by the Center for Medical Progress. After investigating the Congressional Select Investigative Panel made 15 criminal and regulatory referrals of tissue procurement, and the Senate Judiciary Committee made 7 criminal referrals to the Department of Justice.
Thankfully, many state and local governments are appalled that their money is being used in this way and are searching for solutions to end this taxpayer funded termination of children. Just this past Friday, the state of South Carolina joined those efforts when Governor Henry McMaster signed an Executive Order that stops all federal and state tax dollars from going to Planned Parenthood facilities.
Again, Planned Parenthood is claiming that such actions will bankrupt the organization and they will have to close facilities and offer fewer services to women most in need. But this is just not true. Here are the facts.
1) Nationally there are twenty life-affirming, comprehensive women’s health centers for every one Planned Parenthood, and in South Carolina that increases to a whopping 123 federally qualified health centers to every one Planned Parenthood.
The well-heeled connections do not stop there. Since the 2016 election, numerous celebrities have channeled their election angst into donations for the nation’s largest abortion provider. Lena Dunham (annual earnings $6 million), Samantha Bee (annual earnings $2.5 million), Hillary Clinton (average annual earnings of $32 million), singer John Legend (annual earnings $46 million) and Lady Gaga ($59 million in 2015) are just a few of the well-to-do celebs who donate and fundraise for Planned Parenthood.
In fact, private donations make up 33% of Planned Parenthood’s revenue. And these celebrities sometimes inspire their parent companies to donate as well. Recently, when Allison Janey gave a PR shout out of support to the abortion giant the owners of her television show, the multi-billion dollar entertainment conglomerate Warner Brothers, offered to match all donations to Planned Parenthood made through a link the actress had set up. (The promotion ended on August 28th.)
This is just the tip of the iceberg demonstrating that Planned Parenthood does not need taxpayer support. Furthermore, from large anonymous donations of $6.5 million, to the actions of smaller companies, consumers will have a hard and disheartening shopping experience to avoid buying from companies that financially support Planned Parenthood.
So the question remains – why, when we have a self-proclaimed pro-life Congress and Administration, are hundreds of millions of government money still going to subsidize the largest abortion provider in the country?
At the 2017 March for Life, Vice President Mike Pence said “this Administration will work with Congress to end taxpayer funding of abortion and abortion providers. And we will devote those resources to health care services for women across America.”
It is high time that Congress lives up to its promise of defunding the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, and redirecting that money to real choices for women.
Today is Inauguration Day, and I am reminded of how blessed we are to live in the United States of America and witness the peaceful transition of government from one Administration to the next.
Under the Obama Administration, our nation saw an unprecedented expansion of government abortion funding, and the prosecution of pro-life Americans – like the Little Sisters of the Poor and the staff at the March for Life! – because of our pro-life beliefs.
I am hopeful about the incoming Administration. I am optimistic that in these next 100 days, and coming years, we can see a reversal of pro-abortion policies in our government. The new Congress presents the pro-life movement with many opportunities to pass pro-life legislation and advance a culture of life.
But this won’t happen unless our voices are heard. Pro-life Americans cannot sit back and expect Washington, D.C. to do the work. We must hold our elected officials accountable and demand an end to abortion extremism.
Our pro-life priorities for 2017 include:
H.R. 7, The No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act, codifying the Hyde amendment and federal funding of abortion.
Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, restricting abortion after 5 months of pregnancy, at which point babies can feel pain.
Legislation defunding Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.
I also want you to know that, on behalf of all marchers, March for Life Action will be working tirelessly in the coming months to make sure these priorities are passed and signed into law,
Furthermore, earlier this month, March for Life Action announced the launch of a new and comprehensive “Pro-Life Scorecard” to identify and measure national pro-life legislation to keep you informed and hold elected representatives accountable.
During the election season, abortion was one of the top two most searched topics on Google. Americans were very interested in what the candidates were saying about abortion. Ultimately, the most pro-abortion presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, lost resoundingly.
Already, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has indicated the legislation defunding Planned Parenthood will be a priority.
That is great news!
Planned Parenthood is our nation’s largest abortion provider, aborting over 320,000 babies every year. Plus, the organization has been caught trafficking aborted babies’ hearts, lungs, livers and brains.
Americans shouldn’t be forced to fund Planned Parenthood, to the tune of half a billion tax dollars each year. That federal funding should be redirected to trusted health providers, not given to the abortion industry.
Abortion advocates have indicated they will be putting up a fight to protect Planned Parenthood funding. Just yesterday, we were bombarded with scores of nasty messages after tweeting out the following:
Now more than ever, pro-life Americans must speak up. Not only through social media, but it is imperative that our Congressman and Senators hear directly from us that defunding Planned Parenthood and protecting unborn lives is a priority for the new Congress and new Administration.
It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since the passage of the President’s health care plan! While many experts will write on how the health care law is hurting the economy, families, the unborn, medical device manufacturers, businesses, the elderly, etc. etc. I’d rather turn my attention to a victim not many are talking about: pro-life bi-partisanship on the federal level.
Historically the Democratic Party has been pro-abortion since the Carter Administration and became even more so in response to the strong pro-life views of President Ronald Reagan. Despite this fealty to abortion pro-life views were tolerated in the Democratic Party, in part due to their large Catholic constituency. This tolerance was limited of course. If you wanted to run for higher office you needed to renounce your pro-life views (believe it or not at one time Jesse Jackson and Senators Al Gore and Joe Biden were pro-life, until they decided to run for President).
Further evidence of this limited tolerance was one of the strongest pro-life Governors of the 1980s and 1990s was a Democrat, Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey. Governor Casey was best known for challenging his Party to be more tolerant of pro-life views and also in legally advocating for the unborn in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a major Supreme Court case that upheld almost all the prohibitions on abortion that Governor Casey had signed into law. Despite this (or more likely because of this) the popular governor was barred repeatedly from speaking at Democratic Party conventions. Around this same time a newly elected President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary were expertly putting up smoke screens on the issue of abortion – arguing that it should be “safe, legal and rare” while implementing policies that solidified pro-abortion policies within the federal government. The Clintons increased ties between the Democratic Party and radical pro-abortion groups like NARAL and Planned Parenthood, including increasing taxpayer funds to such groups who in turn increased campaign donations to Democrats.
This smoke screen approach to hide radical pro-abortion policies became the norm for some Democrats such as Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and, the future President Barack Obama.. However a number of strong pro-life Democrats also emerged such as Reps. Bart Stupak (R-Mich.), Mike McIntyre (D-NC), Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), Colin Peterson (D-Minn.), Kathy Dahlkemper (D-Penn.) Nick Rahall (D-WV), Alan Mollohan (D-WV) Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Nebr.).
Along comes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), “Obamacare” introduced as a bill in November, 2009, and passed in March, 2010. The bill rolled back decades of abortion policy, allowing taxpayer subsidies for policies with elective abortion under a system of accounting gimmicks, and charging an “abortion surcharge” for anyone enrolled in a federally subsidized health care plan that covers elective abortions – regardless of if the enrollee agrees with the policy or not.
As passed five years ago today Obamacare also lacks comprehensive abortion funding restrictions, instead relying on a powerless Executive Order that reiterates the very accounting gimmicks that allow for taxpayer funding of abortions. Legal precedent has shown that Executive Orders cannot trump the law. Additionally Obamacare created slush funds for pro-abortion groups; opened the door for President Obama’s mandate that forces people (regardless of their views on abortion) to pay for abortifacients and also uses taxpayer funds to pay for abortions in health care plans for federal employees.
Prior to the vote on Obamacare the Democrats listed above were reliable on standing up for pro-life principles, but following the vote only Reps. McIntyre, Lipinski and Peterson remained loyal to the pro-life cause.As of November 2014 only Dan Lipinski remains in Congress.
During the passage of Obamacare the betrayal of Rep. Bart Stupak is well known. Long a champion for adding pro-life protections into the health care legislation he folded under pressure from the White House and pro-abortion groups (closely tied financially to each other) to accept a health care law with no pro-life protections other than a smoke screen scheme devised by once pro-life Senator Ben Nelson.
Not well known during the Obamacare debate is that pro-life Republicans faced a challenge to their pro-life views during the Obamacare debate as well. Prior to the first vote in the House on that chamber’s draft of health care legislation a group of fiscally conservative minded folks sought to use the pro-life movement as a political tool against the health care law. On the day of the debate representatives from a fiscal conservative group started falsely telling Republicans that pro-life groups, including the one I worked for at the time, wanted to sink the amendment that would have put pro-life protections into the health care law, also known as the Stupak Amendment. Luckily we were able to set the record straight that day – knowing that the result of Republicans voting against a clearly pro-life amendment would have divided the pro-life movement and cause pro-life Democrats to rightly no longer trust Republicans on the issue of the protecting the unborn. Instead pro-life Republicans voted on principle for the pro-life amendment, which in turn gave anti-Obamacare forces months more to prepare grassroots for the continuing fight.
Ironically it was Rep. Stupak’s later voting against a similar version of his own amendment that sealed his betrayal of pro-life principles and allowed for the passage of the pro-abortion Obamacare legislation.
That betrayal was not the end of the devastation though. In the election following the passage of Obamacare many of the Democrats who were once pro-life yet voted for Obamacare lost their elections. These losses, in large part, were brought about by the work of the Susan B. Anthony List. One now former congressional member, Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio) attempted to sue SBA List for being the cause of his loss of employment. In his attempt he was aided by the group Democrats for Life (who also supported the final pro-abortion version of Obamacare) who reportedly revealed private e-mail exchanges to help target pro-life individuals, including myself. These actions still taint the once proud organization today and make it untrustworthy in the eyes of many in the pro-life movement.
Obamacare changed the face of Congress in many ways, and not just with the defeat of once pro-life Democrats. As Family Research Council recently pointed out, Catholics, seen as a strong force among pro-lifers, are also taking a second look at their traditional support for Democrats:
Catholics are bolting from the Democratic Party so rapidly that Pew Research Center now says 53% of white Catholics now favor the GOP (compared to the Democrats’ 39%), the “largest point spread in the history of the Pew poll.” And the evidence is sitting in Congress. When President Obama was swept into office, there were 98 Catholic Democrats in the House and 37 Catholic Republicans. Barely six years later, there are two times as many Catholic Republicans in the House (69) and 68 Democrats.
To end on a more positive note, while it is true the Democratic Party on the federal level suffered, there is clear sign of a resurgence of pro-life Democrats on the local levels. The numerous pieces of pro-life legislation flooding the states are being done with bi-partisan support. In addition some Senate Democrats are becoming more emboldened in a Senate led by pro-life Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as opposed to the pro-abortion former Majority Leader (and former pro-life Democrat) Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Self-avowed pro-life Democrats such as Joe Manchin (D-WV) and even Bob Casey (D-Penn.) (son of the aforementioned Governor who voted for the pro-abortion version of Obamacare) are currently stepping up to the plate to defend barring of taxpayer funds in the human trafficking bill. All of this is a good thing – pro-life policies should not be a partisan issue. Abortion kills regardless of political party.
Today or tomorrow, the House of Representatives will vote on a resolution of disapproval of the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2014. This DC Council policy would force non-profits like the March for Life to hire people who are not pro-life and fund abortion. Read why the March for Life opposes it HERE. Please call your representative TODAY and urge him/her to vote for H.J. Res. 43 disapproving the D.C. Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act. The Capitol Switchboard can be reached at 202-224-3121.
Imagine owning a vegan restaurant and being told you have to serve meat? Or imagine you own a Jewish deli that is forced to serve bacon? Or imagine being an organization that fights for the unborn and also organizes the world’s largest annual march of pro-lifers and being forced to hire people who advocate for abortion.
It is that last example that pro-life organizations, churches and associations face in the Nation’s Capital, thanks to a coercive piece of legislation passed by the city council and the mayor.
The Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2014 prevents religious institutions, other faith-based employers, and pro-life advocacy organizations from making employment decisions consistent with their sincerely held religious beliefs or their moral and ethical views about the sanctity of human life. For example, as currently written, the law could be read to require our organizations to subsidize elective abortions through their employee health plans. Thus, it is plainly invalid under federal law and squarely contradicts the Supreme Court’s recent, unanimous ruling in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Church and School v. EEOC. The law would also infringe the right of expressive association for both religious and non-religious pro-life nonprofit organizations – forcing them to hire employees who openly advocate for the taking of human life.
Although at this point the Bill has effectively become an Act, its journey to becoming a law is not yet complete. Unique to the District of Columbia, an approved Act of the Council must be sent to the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate for a period of 30 days before becoming effective as law (or 60 days for certain criminal legislation). During this 30-day period of congressional review (which begins when the bill is submitted to Congress – something that has not happened yet), the Congress may enact into law a joint resolution disapproving the Council’s Act. If, during the 30-day period, the President of the United States approves the joint resolution, the Council’s Act is prevented from becoming law. If, however, upon the expiration of the 30-day congressional review period, no joint resolution disapproving the Council’s Act has been approved by the President, the bill becomes law.
To protect the religious and moral liberties of the citizens of Washington, D.C. a number of pro-life, religious and pro-religious liberty groups based in D.C., as well as organizations that serve the people of D.C., has asked Congress to protect the rights guaranteed us by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
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.
One 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.
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.
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:
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.
The 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.
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