LifeWorks: March 2012
March 2012 | eVolume 2, Issue 3
Your monthly news update from New York State Right to Life
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Please join us at our Lobby for Life Day on May 1st at the capitol!
Please join us at our Lobby for Life Day on May 1st at the capitol! We implore you to commit to setting aside this day to stand for the babies – take the day off and come to Albany – we can only win this fight when pro-life people make it a priority to stand together and make their voices heard. We need YOU to make this day a success.
We will gather in an open area of the legislative office building to show everyone who passes by the strength of the pro-life movement in New York State.
At 9:00 you will enjoy refreshments and a time of fellowship, with an opportunity to talk to new and old pro-life friends from all around the state.
Beginning at 10:00, you will hear enlightening speakers, greet pro-life legislators, receive legislative and political updates and more!
And while you’re in Albany, take a tour of the historic capitol building, and it’s newly opened Hall of Governors.
Put Lobby for Life Day on your calendar now and plan to bring others.
See you on May 1st!
Also coming up...
Pro-Life Training Day
Saturday, April 21, 2012
10:00am - 2:00pm
A free will offering will be taken at the event.
Pre-registration is strongly encouraged.
Call NYS Right to Life for details and to register at 518-434-1293.
health care overhaul
By Dave Andrusko of National Right to Life News
The Supreme Court justices Wednesday finished a three-day cross-examination of ObamaCare by jousting over what, if anything, should remain intact should the Court find the “individual mandate” unconstitutional. The individual mandate (the “minimum coverage provision”) requires that virtually all Americans have health insurance by 2014 or pay a fine.
The so-called “severability” question took on added urgency in light of what was seen by many as deep skepticism Tuesday on the part of a majority of the justices about the constitutionality of the individual mandate.
ObamaCare is a massive, sprawling 2,700-page-long law that (as the New York Times described it) “fundamentally alter[es] the architecture of the American health-care system.” At issue during hearings was what remains if the “heart” of the law—the individual mandate–is removed.
Former Solicitor General Paul Clement, arguing the case for 26 states which are challenging the law, told the justices said the entire law must go—one option for the Court. Edwin S. Kneedler, a deputy solicitor general, suggested that if the court removes the mandate, two provisions would also have to fall: “First is the prohibition against insurers turning away or otherwise discriminating against people with preexisting conditions,” according to N.C. Aizenman and Robert Barnes of the Washington Post. “Second are the law’s limitations on how insurers can set rates.”
The third option (defended by H. Bartow Farr III, a private attorney appointed by the Court because neither side supported it) is to remove the individual mandate, leave the rest, and, implicitly, have Congress revisit the question from there.
Clement maintained that Congress would never have included all the massive changes to the health-care system without the individual mandate. “If the individual mandate is unconstitutional,” he said, “then the rest of the act cannot stand.”
“[N]early all of the justices seemed troubled by how they should approach the task of deciding which parts of the law should stand or fall in a way that would least trample Congress’ lawmaking authority,” reported Richard Wolf and Brad Heath for USA Today. “Having to pick and choose among the law’s provisions would be a ‘more extreme exercise of judicial power’ than simply throwing out the entire law, said Justice Anthony Kennedy, often the court’s pivotal swing vote.”
Meanwhile, recent polls consistently reveal strong opposition by the American public to the health care overhaul.
From a story at ABC News summarizing the key results of an ABC News/Washington Post poll that was conducted by telephone March 7-10,
And, as so often is the case with anything related to President Obama, the intensity edge goes to opponents. Forty-one percent strongly oppose the law, as compared to only a quarter strongly support it.
The same ABC News story adds,
More evidence the public has zip confidence either in the law itself and/or the likelihood the Supreme Court will uphold ObamaCare. A poll taken for The Hill newspaper “indicated that 49 percent of likely voters said they expect a court ruling that is unfavorable to the Affordable Care Act, while just 29 percent think it will be upheld and 22 percent aren’t sure,” writes the Hill’s Elise Viebeck.
Opposition continues to grow against Obama’s unprecedented assault on rights of conscience
National Right to Life warns of worse threats if Obama re-elected for second term
By Dave Andrusko of National Right to Life News
When the Senate narrowly defeated the Blunt Amendment by a vote of 51-48, effort to protect the rights of conscience unquestionably took a hit. However, the March 1 vote, while regrettable, is only one skirmish in a battle that will continue the courts, in Congress, and at the ballot box.
The Obama Administration called the Blunt Amendment “dangerous and wrong,” despite the fact that the amendment would have merely restored traditional conscience protections for those who purchase or provide health insurces, would not have affected any federal law other than ObamaCare, and would not have applied to state laws.
It’s bad enough that the Obama Administration issued an initial mandate that requires most employers to purchase plans that cover all FDA-approved methods of birth control. But it could grow worse were President Obama to win a second term, using the same authority.
As far back as 2009, NRLC warned that a provision dealing with “preventive health services” would empower the Secretary of Health and Human Services to mandate coverage of any medical service, including abortion, merely by adding the service to an expandable list. Predictably, the Administration issued a decree in August, 2011, that, unless overturned, will produce an irreconcilable conflict between conscience and the coercive force of government for many employers.
The key is that in a second-term, Obama could use precisely the same loosey-goosey statutory authority to mandate that virtually all health plans pay for elective abortion on demand.
“The same twisted logic will be applied,” said NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson at the time. “By ordering health plans to cover elective abortion, health plans would save the much higher costs of prenatal care, childbirth, and care for the baby — and under the Obama scam, if a procedure saves money, then that means that you’re not really paying for it when the government mandates it.
And it doesn’t stop at abortion. The Obama “you must pay, but nobody pays” scam might also be applied to other “cost-cutting” mandates. Perhaps every health plan will be mandated to cover physician-assisted suicide, in states in which assisted suicide is legal. After all, each suicide would result in a net savings to the plan, and under the Obama scam, that means it is really free and nobody really pays for it.
It is not as though this is the only vast discretionary power ObamaCare affords to the federal bureaucracy. By a 17-5 vote this month, the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee recommended repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)–one of the principal mechanisms by which the ObamaCare would limit access to life-saving medical treatment.
“The IPAB would recommend drastic limits for the Department of Health and Human Services to impose on what Americans are allowed to spend out of their own funds to save their own lives and the lives of their families,” said Burke Balch, J.D., director of National Right to Life’s Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics. “Repeal of the IPAB is critical to prevent the rationing of life-saving medical treatment.”
Fortunately the broader public is waking up, and communities of faith have repeatedly alerted their congregants to the magnitude of what is at stake.
There have been a number of polls taken on the issue (some more reliable than others), but the most revealing was a CBS News/New York Times poll which showed majority support for an exception for employers who have religious or moral objections to the Obama mandate.
Fifty-one percent agreed that employers of any kind should be able to “opt out” of providing birth control coverage for their employees to 40% who say they should have to cover it. When asked about religiously affiliated employers, the 51% jumps to 57%. Under either scenario, both women and men were in favor of the exception.
The Catholic Church has been the most visible opponent of the Obama mandate but by no means the only community of faith. There were religious leaders and scholars from a number of faith communities who testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The question the committee was attempting to answer was “Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State: Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?”
Baptist leaders, members of the Jewish community, The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod—those and many others joined Bishop William E. Lori, who chairs the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in placing the mandate in its proper context: an unprecedented assault on religious liberty that cannot be allowed to stand.
The USCCB has affirmed that the bishops are strongly united in their ongoing and determined efforts to protect religious freedom and in educating the public to the universality of the attack. In a statement issued by the Administrative Committee, chaired by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, president of the USCCB, the bishops said this is not about religious freedom only for Catholics, “but also of those who recognize that their cherished beliefs may be next on the block. Indeed, this is not about the Church wanting to force anybody to do anything; it is, instead, about the federal government forcing the Church … to act against Church teachings.”
Obama and the Democrats will sing the same old song in an attempt to persuade opponents to buckle: that opposition to a mandate that requires religiously affiliated universities, hospitals, and charities to pay for health insurance that violates their religious or moral convictions is something only “extremists” or those who are “rigid” could believe in.
And they can keep harmonizing with much of the media. But as Americans increasingly understand the magnitude of the threat to rights of conscience, Mr. Obama will find he was way off key.
Obama Administration’s radical agenda causes failure at UN Commission on the Status of Women
By Jeanne E. Head, R.N.
Jeanne E. Head, R.N. serves on NYSRTL's Executive Board, is National Right to Life’s Vice President for International Affairs, and represents the International Right to Life Federation at the United Nations.
Due to the Obama Administration’s radical pro-abortion agenda, the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) again failed the most vulnerable women of the developing world.
The theme of this year’s Commission was “The empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication, development and current challenges.” One would expect that such a theme would be a source of agreement rather than controversy.
However, the Obama Administration insisted on pushing its pro-abortion and anti-family agenda, and as a result the CSW failed to reach agreement on two major documents that should have called for actions and resources to give real help to rural women. In place of action, the United States and European Union delegations attempted to use the suffering and poverty of rural women as a tool to promote their ideology.
Even after negotiations went beyond the scheduled two weeks into a third week, consensus could not be reached on the major document of the meeting—“Agreed Conclusions”—which was supposed to be promoting ways to help rural women get out of poverty. Stating that they were following “instructions,” the U.S. delegation refused to agree to the document unless their demands for controversial anti-life and anti-family language were met.
One of four resolutions that did pass during the regular sessions was the U.S.-sponsored maternal mortality resolution—“Eliminating maternal mortality and morbidity through the empowerment of women.” Unfortunately, rather than focusing on calling for actions and resources to make the delivery of their children safe, the U.S. maternal mortality resolution focused more on controversial issues and actions and resources to decrease the number of children women deliver.
Although the U.S. claimed they wanted a non-controversial resolution that really focused on decreasing maternal mortality and morbidity, much of the controversial language was inserted by them. The resolution included, for example, at least 20 phrases containing the term “reproductive health” or “reproductive rights.” (Although no UN-negotiated document defines these terms to include a right to abortion, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton does. She testified in a congressional hearing that these terms do include a right to abortion.)
In sharp contrast, the U.S. resolution includes very little about providing women in the developing world (where 99% of maternal deaths occur) the kind of maternal health care that has saved the lives of women in the developed world for over 60 years and provides a safe outcome for mother and child. As the Holy See delegation, which took a strong stand throughout all the negotiations, pointed out in protest, “With regard to the present resolution, my delegation stresses that the elimination of preventable maternal mortality and morbidity is directly linked to the provision of adequate healthcare. What are needed especially are skilled birth attendants, prenatal and postnatal care for mother and child, and emergency obstetric care.”
The U.S. resolution had been rammed through without adequate negotiations and without proper consideration of the concerns delegates expressed relating to life and family issues. It was reported that, even though consensus was declared, it was a dubious consensus characterized by manipulation, deception, enormous pressure, and coercion.
One observer reports that because of the way the U.S. handled the negotiations and passage of the U.S.-sponsored resolution (which they totally controlled), many African and Mideast delegates were so upset that they stood up to the U.S. and the European Union during negotiations on the two remaining documents. As a result, a number of African countries refused to accept the unacceptable and decided in both cases that no document was better than a bad document.
These delegates first abandoned (during the regular session) their own resolution on preventing and treating HIV/AIDS because of the refusal of the U.S. and the European Union to delete or amend controversial language that had nothing to do with preventing or treating HIV/AIDS. Finally, in the extended session, they rejected the “Agreed Conclusions” document unless the controversial language was amended or deleted, which the U.S. refused to do.
Women in rural areas deserve less talk about decreasing the number of children they deliver and more action on helping them and their babies to live. The death of one mother in a rural community has a devastating impact on the family and the whole community. The loss of mothers and babies due to a lack of even basic health care and the failure to dedicate adequate resources to save women’s lives is the greatest impediment to eradication of poverty and to development in all areas.
Authors admit: “We never actually procure vital organs from dead donors.”
In an article recently published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, “ethicists” Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Franklin G. Miller, argue that “killing by itself is not morally wrong.” Rather, they assert that it is only wrong to cause someone to lose his or her abilities, and hence, if someone is already profoundly and irreversibly disabled, they are no worse off dead.
The authors do not explicitly say what level of disability, in their estimation, makes a person’s life no longer worth living. They do, however, maintain that it is ethically acceptable to kill and harvest the organs of patients who are “conscious but totally disabled.”
In their article, Sinnott-Armstrong and Miller emphasize a point often denied by other bioethicists: “The dead donor rule is routinely violated in the contemporary practice of vital organ donation” (p.4, col.2, para.7). From the article:
They also explain how organs are increasingly harvested from patients who are “neurologically damaged,” but not brain dead, following withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment. Since organs are harvested within minutes of removing life-sustaining supports, “the criterion of irreversibility has not been satisfied; hence, these patients are not known to be dead at the time of organ procurement” (p.4, col.2, para.6).
The authors’ emphasize that dropping the dead donor rule would bring ethical guidelines in line with current practice, since the rule is already routinely violated.
While this reveals the glaring lack of informed consent for those who agree to donate organs after their death, the authors do not believe that authorization is required for killing the disabled (p.2, footnote iv). This seems to indicate their support for the oxymoronically-named practice of “presumed consent.” Presumption of citizens’ consent to having their organs harvested, unless individuals specifically opt-out, is a measure being promoted in many state legislatures, including that of New York.
Read NYS Right to Life’s opposition to the proposed presumed consent bill (PDF).