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U.S. House votes this week on defunding Planned Parenthood, and other pro-life issues.
On February 15, 16, and 17, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on multiple abortion-related amendments to a bill (H.R. 1) that will fund all federal programs through September 30, 2011. Of particular importance is an amendment to be offered by Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN), which would deny all federal funds, through September 30, for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc., and 102 PPFA affiliates, which are named in the text of the amendment. On February 14, NRLC sent House members a letter urging them to support the Pence Amendment and certain other very important pro-life provisions contained in H.R. 1. Regarding the Pence Amendment, the NRLC letter said, “PPFA is the nation’s largest abortion provider, reporting 324,008 abortions in 2008. It appears that abortion accounts for roughly one-third of the aggregate income generated by PPFA-affiliated clinics. According to press reports, PPFA has recently mandated that all of its regional affiliates must provide abortions by the end of 2013. Recent media reports regarding abuses associated with PPFA-affiliated clinics in multiple states provide an additional justification for the amendment. NRLC strongly supports the Pence Amendment, and will include the roll call in our scorecard.” To read the entire NRLC letter, click here.
Please call the office of your U.S. House member and urge him or her to support the Pence Amendment and all other pro-life amendments to H.R. 1. Click here and simply enter your zip code into the box and you will see the correct phone number, as well as a suggestion for the message you should deliver to the staff person who takes the call. After that, if possible, please take a moment to use the handy “feedback” form to send NRLC a brief report, by e-mail, regarding what the staff person said about how your representative will vote on the Pence Amendment. This vote could occur on February 15, 16, or 17, but most likely will occur on February 17. Please call today!
The Federal Legislative Department of National Right to Life has issued the following statement:
NRLC: White House Press Secretary’s Remarks Show White House Still Engaged in Smuggling Operation for Government Funding of Abortion
WASHINGTON (October 8, 2009) — A spokesman for the nation’s major pro-life organization said that remarks by the White House press secretary on October 7, “once again demonstrated that the White House is a partner in an ongoing smuggling operation, which if successful will result in funding of abortion on demand by the federal government.”
The following exchange occurred during the October 7, 2009, daily press briefing by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs:
QUESTION [by CNS News reporter Fred Lucas]: It’s a question on health care, actually; two questions. First, in a letter to senators last week, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said that, quoting, “So far the health reform bills considered in the committee, including the new Senate Finance Committee bill, have not met the President’s challenge of barring the use of federal dollars for abortion.” Is that statement wrong?
MR. GIBBS: Well, I don’t want to get me in trouble at church, but I would mention there’s a law that precludes the use of federal funds for abortion that isn’t going to be changed in these health care bills.
Q: There have been, though, several amendments that would explicitly bar abortions, that would therefore reject it, some of those amendments by Democrats –
MR. GIBBS: Again, there’s a fairly well documented federal law that prevents it.
In his answers, Gibbs in essence repeated a discredited claim made by President Obama himself on August 20, when the President said: “There are no plans under health reform to revoke the existing prohibition on using federal taxpayer dollars for abortions. Nobody is talking about changing that existing provision, the Hyde Amendment. Let’s be clear about that. It’s just not true.”
More recently, Obama said in a September 9 speech to both houses of Congress that “under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions.” On September 13, George Stephanopoulos of ABC News asked Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, “So you’re saying it will go beyond what we have seen so far in the House and explicitly rule out any public funding for abortion?,” and received from Sebelius this answer: “Well that’s exactly what the President said and I think that’s what he intends that the bill he signs will do.”
This is a Congressional update from the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), issued on Friday, September 18, 2009, at 4 PM EDT. Missouri Right to Life is an affiliate of National Right to Life.
They say, we say:
Recent NRLC rebuttals to misinformation
about the pro-abortion health care bills
WASHINGTON (September 18, 2009) — The pro-abortion public relations machine is in full throttle in support of the abortion-related components of the health care bills that are being pushed by the White House and top congressional Democrats.
1. A detailed outline of Senator Max Baucus’ proposed health care bill was released on September 16. The proposal has many objectionable components pertaining to both abortion and rationing. The initial NRLC statement on the bill is here. A follow up release on the “death spiral” provision is here.
2. Over the last few days, a number of websites, including Huffington Post, The Hill, and RHRealityCheck.org, have published an essay by Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-Ca.) titled, “The Truth About the Capps Amendment.” We recommend that you read the piece on RHRealityCheck.org, here. That site has a permissive comment policy, and NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson has challenged Rep. Capps in a detailed rebuttal.
3. The Baltimore Sun ran (twice!) an op ed by Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) President Cecile Richards, titled, “Plan Wouldn’t Fund Abortion,” most recently on September 13. A rebuttal by NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson titled “Planned Parenthood’s Hidden Agenda on Health Reform” was submitted to the Sun but ignored. However, on September 16, the Winona (Mn.) Daily News, which also ran the original Richards piece, published the rebuttal, under the title “What Does Cecile Richards Really Want?,” here.
4. Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus did her bit for the Capps Amendment in a column that ran in the Post on September 9, and subsequently in some other papers. National Review Online published a rebuttal by NRLC’s Douglas Johnson here, also on September 9.
5. Laurie Rubiner, vice president for public policy and advocacy for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), posted an essay titled “Bridging the Divide on Health Care for Women,” dated September 9, 2009, on Daily Kos, and on RHRealityCheck.org, where a detailed rebuttal by NRLC’s Douglas Johnson was posted, here.
6. Veteran pro-abortion activist Frances Kissling posted an essay on several websites, “Exploiting the Health Care Debate to Restrict Abortion.” The thrust of Kissling’s essay was that the pro-abortion side had already compromised enough and that no further concessions should be made to the right-to-life side. A rebuttal by NRLC’s Douglas Johnson was posted on RHRealityCheck.org on September 16, here.
7. On September 11, http://www.politifact.com/ examined in detail, and rated as “True,” the following statement by House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-Oh.): “During his quest for the presidency, now-President Obama declared that everyone deserves access to reproductive health care that includes abortion, and vowed that this ‘right’ would be at the heart of his health care reform plan if elected president.” It is here.
8. In light of some of the press coverage of recent days, it is evident that NRLC’s September 8 “duped media” advisory remains timely and should be required reading for journalists who are covering the congressional fight.
For further information:
National Right to Life Committee (NRLC)
National Right to Life explains how the “America’s Healthy Future Act,” proposed this week by Senator Max Baucus (D-Mt.) contains “an array of pro-abortion mandates and federal subsidies for elective abortion,” and provisions that “will gravely endanger the lives of America’s senior citizens.”
National Right to Life responds to president Obama’s address tonight:
In his address to a joint session of Congress tonight, President Obama said, “One more misunderstanding I want to clear up — under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions.”
Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, commented: “Barack Obama needs to learn that the mere repetition of a verbal formula does not change reality. The reality is that the Obama-backed House bill would explicitly authorize the federal government insurance plan to pay for elective abortions and would explicitly authorize subsidies for private abortion insurance — and all with federal dollars, which are the only kind of dollars that the federal government can spend.”
For more on this see also NRL’s very thorough explanation of just how the proposed health care bills can, and most likely will, be interpreted to allow for abortion coverage unless language is written into the bills that specifically excludes abortion as a benefit. And check out their rebuttal of the “private funds” myth and explanation why the Hyde Amendment won’t prevent abortion funding.
National Right to Life has a memorandum explaining the use of federal funds (public funds) to pay directly for elective abortions under HR 3200. Here is the “Executive Summary”:
The biggest abortion-related concerns with H.R. 3200 pertain to (1) a proposed insurance program that would be run entirely by the federal government (the “public option”); and (2) a proposed new premium-subsidy program (“affordability credits”) to help tens of millions of people buy health insurance. Some supporters of the bill have claimed that any elective abortions subsidized by these two programs would occur with “private” funds, but those claims collapse under scrutiny. All of the types of funds that would be expended by both proposed federal programs would be federal government funds and public funds. Many of those who are mischaracterizing these funds as “private funds” are attempting to distort an important public policy debate by employing inaccurate terminology in a manner that would not be accepted by the news media if the question involved federal agencies and programs unrelated to abortion.
Read the whole thing
Recently president Obama is on record as saying that the current health care reform legislation would be prevented from covering abortions under the Hyde Amendment. Meanwhile, Time Magazine, FactCheck.org and the Associated Press all confirm that abortions will be covered. So what do they know that the president apparently doesn’t?
In a memo released this week National Right to Life gives an in depth explanation for why the Hyde Amendment will not prevent government funding of abortion under H.R. 3200:
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Many members of Congress, and the President, have suggested that the Hyde Amendment will prevent federal government funding of abortion under H.R. 3200. This claim is entirely erroneous. Under H.R. 3200, the new federal insurance program (the “public option”) will pay for elective abortion with federal government funds, and public funds will also directly subsidize private insurance plans that cover all abortions. However, as review of the bill language clearly demonstrates, and as the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service has confirmed in two recent memoranda cited and linked below, neither program requires any future appropriations through the annual Health and Human Services appropriations bill.
Since the Hyde Amendment applies only to funds appropriated through the annual HHS appropriations bill, the Hyde Amendment will not apply to any of the funds used to establish or operate either the “public option” or the premium-subsidy program created by H.R. 3200. Members of Congress who assert that the Hyde Amendment would prevent federal government funding of abortions under H.R. 3200 are misleading their constituents, in some cases perhaps inadvertently and in other cases perhaps by design.
It has been well established elsewhere that H.R. 3200, particularly as revised by the “Capps Amendment” (or Capps-Waxman Amendment) that was adopted in the House Energy and Commerce Committee on July 30, 2009, would (1) authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to pay for elective abortions under the “public plan,” and (2) allow the “affordability credits” to subsidize both the public plan and private insurance plans that cover all abortions. See, for example, the August 21, 2009 FactCheck.org analysis “Abortion: Which Side is Fabricating,” and the August 13, 2009 NRLC factsheet “What Do the ‘Health Care Reform’ Bills Backed by President Obama Have to Do With Abortion?” The sole purpose of this memorandum is to correct the erroneous assertions that the Hyde Amendment would somehow prevent those results.
Continue reading about THE SCOPE OF THE HYDE AMENDMENT, THE HYDE AMENDMENT AND THE “PUBLIC OPTION” and the PREMIUM-SUBSIDY PROGRAM (“AFFORDABILITY CREDITS”)