Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Multiple individual plans available on the D.C. health-insurance exchange specifically cover elective abortion but not hearing aids, routine foot-care, and routine eye-care. One such plan, Healthy Blue PPO $1500, has a summary on the D.C. exchange’s website titled “Excluded Services & Other Covered Services.” It says enrollees can receive coverage for abortions performed for non-medical reasons, but not for a number of other services that could seem medically necessary. The plan also excludes coverage for some other procedures, including cosmetic surgery, bariatric surgery, and infertility treatment.
Per Anna Higgins of the Family Research Council, in D.C. Aetna plans and multi-state plans run by the Office of Personnel Management and offered by Blue Cross Blue Shield specifically don’t offer elective abortion coverage. All the other plans offered in the District do cover elective abortion. When she wrote about the issue in October for TownHall, representatives from the D.C. exchange told her that plans were required to cover abortion because it was an “essential benefit.” That’s incorrect, however, and the exchange later retracted the statement. The Affordable Care Act specifically states that abortion is not an essential benefit, so not all plans cover the procedure.
Over the last few weeks, many congressional Democrats offered heated criticism of plans that don’t cover comprehensive coverage of all health services, arguing that the millions of Americans whose coverage is being canceled shouldn’t be allowed to stay on “junk plans.”
A number of other plans in D.C. that cover elective abortion don’t cover things such as hearing aids, routine foot-care, and routine eye-care. For instance, CD BChoice HSA Br 6000 includes elective-abortion coverage but excludes coverage for hearing aids, infertility treatment, and routine foot-care. And the Kaiser Permanente KP DC Bronze 4500/50/HSA/Dental/PedDental covers elective abortion but not routine foot-care, hearing aids, and infertility treatment. The KP DC 5000/30%/HSA/Dental/PedDental also covers elective abortion but not hearing aids, routine foot-care, and infertility care.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
BY KIRSTEN ANDERSEN
ALBUQUERQUE, NM, November 19, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Tuesday’s municipal election in Albuquerque is a historic first: It will be the first time in U.S. history that voters in a city will get the chance to weigh in directly on whether late-term abortions should be legal in their town.
On the ballot in Tuesday’s election is the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Ordinance, which would ban virtually all abortions in Albuquerque after 20 weeks of pregnancy, when medical expertssay unborn children can feel pain. The bill makes only one exception, and that is to save the life of the mother.
Two out of the four abortionists in the nation who publicly admit to aborting fully formed babies late in pregnancy practice in Albuquerque, which has become known as the “abortion capital of the Southwest.”
Albuquerque is one of only a few cities in the United States where late-term abortions are legally performed. Two out of the four abortionists in the nation who publicly admit to performing late-term abortions practice in the city, which has become known as the “abortion capital of the Southwest” because women travel from all over the region to end their babies’ lives there at the Southwestern Women’s Optionsclinic.
If the ordinance passes, the facility will be forced to either stop performing late-term abortions, or relocate – no easy feat for a business that makes its money killing nearly full-term infants.
The referendum was launched by petition after pro-life leaders tried and failed to pass restrictions on abortion in the state legislature, which is controlled by pro-abortion Democrats. Those bills were all killed in committee, so pro-life activists decided to put the issue to the people, collecting 27,000 signatures in just a few weeks’ time to force the issue onto the municipal ballot.
Democratic Sen. Cisco McSorely told the Albuquerque Journal he sees the referendum as a dangerous attempt to bypass the elected legislature.
“It sets a really bad precedent,” McSorley, told the Journal. “The people that vote for this have got to understand that if this is the way things are going to be done by special interests in the future, we are opening the floodgates to every special interest in the country to come in here and write things into our City Charter that will make it impossible to govern Albuquerque.”
But Sen. Bill Sharer told the Journal he sees the referendum as a “perfect approach” for concerned citizens who are tired of being stonewalled by elected officials.
“A relatively small group of people in Albuquerque clearly made the decision that the Legislature’s absolute refusal to protect human beings was unacceptable and we will find another way to do it,” Sharer told the Journal. “I think they viewed all of us as failures and decided they were going to do it themselves.”
The ordinance’s supporters and critics alike agree that the results of the vote could have national impact. If the measure succeeds, it will not only send a powerful message to federal legislators, but pro-life activists may use it as a model to pass similar bans in cities throughout the nation.
“[Tuesday’s] vote is historic,” said Mark Harrington, Executive Director of Created Equal, a pro-life group. “Residents of Albuquerque are standing up to defend their own children. We must stand with and learn from their bold example.”
“From a political standpoint, there are national implications to this campaign,” said Cheryl Sullenger, senior policy adviser for Operation Rescue. “If the ordinance can win in this blue-state community, it will send a strong message to Washington that the people want and need a similar ban on late-term abortions at the Federal level.”
Said Rev. Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition, “This vote, along with other local initiatives, is just another clear example of how the pro-life movement will overturn Roe v. Wade. That is grassroots efforts chipping away at Roe's foundations until there is nothing left. The new 'template' for ending abortion is moving away from Washington, D.C. and federal solutions and focusing on local efforts where our strength and support has always been strongest.”
The national pro-abortion lobby has come to the aid of Albuquerque’s late-term abortionists, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to try and stop the measure. Planned Parenthood spent $300,000 and the ACLU spent $200,000, according to campaign finance reports. NARAL Pro-Choice America spent thousands, as well. Organizing for Action, President Obama’s national network of local activists, has also been actively campaigning against the ordinance.
“What we will see [on] Election Day … is whether the abortion cartel’s big money will overrule the will of the people,” said Sullenger. “We know from recent polls that 54% of the people of Albuquerque want to end abortions after 20 weeks when the babies are known to feel pain.”
So far, turnout has been historic, with over 25,000 ballots having been cast by Nov. 12 via early voting. Sullenger said that because early votes often trend conservative, that’s good news for Albuquerque’s late-term unborn children.
But pro-abortion forces won’t go down without a fight.
“This has been seen as a threat to our city from the very beginning, and we’ve taken it very seriously since the beginning,” Rachael Maestas, of the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance at the University of New Mexico, told the pro-abortion RH Reality Check blog. She said it didn’t matter that the ordinance targeted only late-term abortions. “Any restriction on abortion is still a restriction on our rights.”
The ACLU has promised to sue to block the law’s enforcement if it passes.
State Attorney General Gary King, a Democrat, called the measure “unconstitutional and unenforceable,” and says he believes it is likely to be overturned in court. He said voters would have to decide whether it was worth it to them to “bear the protracted expense of litigation” just to make their voices heard on the issue of late-term abortion.
Monday, November 18, 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C., November 15, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – As the U.S. Senate considers a national 20-week ban on abortions, issues of life and family have remained in the forefront of state legislatures across the country, as well.
This week, California’s Secretary of State granted permission for pro-life activists to attempt to place a measure on the ballot to require abortionists to notify the parents of underage girls who wish to have an abortion.
If it became law, the proposed ballot measure would require a 48-hour waiting period after parents are notified by a medical professional. There would be exceptions for medical emergencies, parental waivers, or verification of parental abuse. Judges would also be granted flexibility to act in the girl’s best interest. The measure requires 807,615 signatures from registered voters to be submitted by April 14. California voters have turned down similar measures three times in the last decade.
A judge has upheld the state’s gay “marriage” law, citing a loophole in the state’s constitutional amendment against same-sex “marriage.” The language reads: "The legislature shall have the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples."
According to Circuit Court Judge Karl Sakamoto, the amendment allows the legislature a great deal of flexibility when it comes to who can and cannot wed. The amendment is at the center of a challenge by a Republican lawmaker against the law signed by governor Neil Abercrombie on Wednesday and passed in a special session of the Hawaiian legislature last week. Republican legislator Bob McDermott says the state’s citizens should be allowed a direct vote on the issue.
Hawaii Family Advocates president Jim Hochberg said that the new law will lead to organizations and individuals who support traditional marriage being accused of discrimination. He also said “the new law includes special protections for homosexual couples that opposite sex couples will not enjoy with respect to divorce, annulment, or legal separation.”
After a bipartisan deal over the creation of a new procedure to authorize specialty license plates fell apart, the Wisconsin Assembly voted to create “Choose Life” license plates. Money from the plates will go to a pro-life corporation that sends money to adoption centers.
According to Pro-Life Wisconsin Director of Legislation Matt Sande in a public statement, if the new plates are allowed they “will provide a wonderful opportunity for Wisconsinites to express their pro-life beliefs and facilitate and encourage adoption as a positive, life-affirming choice for women with unplanned pregnancies.” Pro-Life Wisconsin reports 29 states have allowed “Choose Life” plates since 2000, and have raised $17 million for adoption centers.
Governor Jay Nixon announced on Thursday he supports same-sex “marriage,” citing how he is “starting to see…and think differently about things like discrimination.” Shortly before this announcement, Nixon said the state would – by Executive Order – accept state tax returns jointly from same-sex couples “married” in other states. He said at the time the issue of tax returns was distinctly separate from his personal opinion on homosexual “marriage.”
On Thursday, former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee thanked Iowa governor Terry Branstad for his attendance at the Informed Choices of Iowa fundraiser in Des Moines. Huckabee, who said he “got into politics because I’m pro-life,” reminded listeners that governors are able to accept a fraction of invitations they receive, and most do not participate in pro-life events. Because of this, Huckabee said “it matters” when a governor shows up to a pro-life event.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C., November 13, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A pro-life physicians association has announced its support for Texas’ law requiring higher standards for doctors who commit abortions.
On Tuesday, the American Association of Physicians & Surgeons (AAPS) filed legal paperwork to support HB2 as it is appealed to the Supreme Court. In a public release, the organization said that “[g]ood, ethical surgeons take responsibility for handling complications of their operations. Many abortions are performed by practitioners who do not have and likely would not qualify for medical staff privileges at a hospital.”
Texas’ debate over HB2 drew national attention when, during a special session of the Texas legislature, State Senator Wendy Davis conducted a filibuster for 12 hours that brought rambunctious pro-abortion supporters to the Texas State House. The filibuster, combined with her raucous supporters’ behavior, delayed passage of HB2 by several weeks. Texas Governor Rick Perry was forced to call a second special session of the legislature, and HB2 passed quickly in July.
The controversy around HB2 focuses on a component of the law that requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. Planned Parenthood and the ACLU have challenged the law, saying it is unconstitutional. District Judge Lee Yeakel agreed with the challenge on October 28, but the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Yeakel and said the law could go into effect until the Supreme Court hears the case, possibly in January.
According to lawyers for the state of Texas, which filed its official brief with the Supreme Court on Tuesday, HB2’s admitting privilege component does not constitute an “undue burden” for women who may consider aborting their children in Texas. HB2 could shut down as many as one-third of all abortion clinics in Texas.
AAPS’ support for HB2 cites that by not having medically-licensed professionals committing abortions, abortion providers are risking the lives of mothers. AAPS also accused abortion providers of “dumping” patients – shifting the costs of their most costly patients onto nearby hospitals.
This is the third abortion-related case the Court has considered hearing. It has already turned down two cases related to Oklahoma regulations on medication abortions and ultrasound requirements.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Albuquerque, NM, Nov. 12, 2013 (OperationRescue) – As of yesterday, over 25,000 Albuquerque citizens had cast early ballots in a city-wide initiative that would ban abortions after 20 weeks and is on pace to set a new early-voting record. This trend is generally a positive sign for Conservatives, who have a history of early voting.
Early voting ends Friday, with thousands more voters expected to cast ballots by the end of the week. Election Day is November 19 with a high voter turnout expected because of strong feelings evoked by the issue of abortion, especially halfway through pregnancy or later.
Meanwhile, campaign finance records show that Planned Parenthood and the ACLU have pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into an effort to defeat the measure and keep abortions legal throughout all 9 months of pregnancy. Planned Parenthood alone has contributed $300,000 to the opposition, Respect ABQ Women – considerably more than the total amount raised by those supporting the ordinance. [Read the campaign finance report for the pro-abortion Respect ABQ Women]
“What we will see when Election Day finally rolls around on November 19 is whether the abortion cartel’s big money will over rule the will of the people,” said Cheryl Sullenger, Senior Policy Advisor for Operation Rescue, who plans to visit Albuquerque later this week to help with the campaign in favor of the historic Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Ordinance. “We know from recent polls that 54% of the people of Albuquerque want to end abortions after 20 weeks when the babies are known to feel pain.”
The ACLU has also contributed over $200,000. Texas abortionist Curtis Boyd, who owns South West Women’s Options, the late-term abortion clinic that will be most affected by the proposed new law, has contributed nearly $2,000 personally and from his abortion business.
The campaign has attracted national interest because Albuquerque is one of the few locations where abortions through all nine months of pregnancy are done for any reason. Even Pres. Barack Obama’s leftist political activism organization, Organizing for Action, is heavily involved against the late-term abortion ban.
Voters casting early ballots have expressed confusion of the length of the wording on the ballot.
“We understand that some well-meaning people may have voted against the measure, thinking they were voting against abortion. However, in this case, a ‘For’ vote is in support of the late-term abortion ban,” said Sullenger.
ABQ Voters for Late Term Abortion Ban is conducting an intensive Get Out the Vote campaign focusing on churches where support for the measure is greatest. To learn more or to get involved visit LateTermAbortionBan.com.
Campaign records are available at Summary Audit Report by Candidate or Measure Committee
WASHINGTON, D.C., November 7, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Nearly five months after passing the House, a bill to end abortion after 20 weeks has been introduced in the Senate.
This morning Senator Lindsey Graham, R-SC, introduced the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
The Act, which passed the House of Representatives in June, would ban abortions after 20 or more weeks post-gestation, with the exception of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.
Surrounded by a host of pro-life leaders, Graham made the announcement at a press conference this morning attended by LifeSiteNews.com.
Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said the bill represented the first time since Roe vs. Wade that the Senate is considering “protecting babies at a stage of life.”
Graham laid out the rationale behind the law: “Because the child is pain-capable, the state has a compelling interest in protecting that unborn child, apart from viability.”
“There is ample medical evidence to support this bill's findings that unborn children are capable of experiencing pain by at least 20 weeks after fertilization,” said Anna Higgins of the Family Research Council, who also spoke at the conference. “Anesthesia is regularly administered to unborn children during prenatal surgery, which eliminates the stress response.”
Graham said he's insisting the legislation come up for a vote in 2014, but he does not expect it to pass the Democrat-controlled Senate – much less President Obama's threatened veto – this session.
If there were a vote today, “I imagine we would be short of 50,” he admitted, but support for this measure would “go at a faster pace” than other pro-life bills, such as the “Unborn Victims of Violence Act” and the 2003 partial-birth abortion ban, that eventually became law.
During the question and answer session, Graham told LifeSiteNews.com the reason the bill was not introduced in the Senate for nearly five months after it passed the House had to do with the nature of the Senate. “We had an argument among my colleagues, that are all supportive of the concept of protecting the baby. They just couldn't agree upon the constitutional theory,” Senator Graham told LifeSiteNews. “There's probably four or five theories.”
Ultimately, they pressed forward and decided to press forward with the bill.
A number of senators, including Marco Rubio and Mike Lee, had been rumored to introduce the bill, which would save between 10,000 and 15,000 unborn children a year, according to varying estimates from the Congressional Budget Office and the Guttmacher Institute.
It would not affect the vast majority of abortions performed before 20-weeks. According to a Guttmacher study published in 2006, 88 percent of abortions are committed before 12 weeks post-gestation.
Senator Rob Portman, R-OH, talked about visiting neo-natal units and holding 20-week-old children “in your hand.”
Portman, who faces opposition from many pro-lifers in his own state, said most Americans agree “abortion should be as rare as possible.”
Graham said the defeat of Ken Cuccinelli in Virginia should not be seen as a reason the legislation could not move forward, adding that Democrat Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe was not asked if he supported banning late-term abortions.
Polls show the bill enjoys popular support. A Quinnipiac poll published in August found 55 percent of Americans opposed abortion being legal without restrictions after 20 weeks. This included 60 percent of women, with only 25 percent of women supportive of keeping current 24-week limits.
“The vast majority of these are purely elective, as abortion doctors themselves have admitted,” said Maureen Ferguson, senior policy adviser for The Catholic Association. As for children with fetal defects, she said, “Surely a country that passed the Americans With Disabilities Act can choose compassion for our most vulnerable disabled members.”
Several speakers cited Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia “house of horrors” abortionist who specialized in illegal late-term abortions. A speaker with the National Black Pro-Life Union founder said “abortion is decimating the African-American community.”
In addition to those who spoke at this afternoon's conference, several other national pro-life organizations have pledged their support to this legislation.
“Every innocent life deserves to be protected,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Casey Mattox. “This bill would protect children who experience horrific pain during a late-term abortion and the women whose physical and mental health is in greater danger from such abortions.”
“This is the human rights issue of our time,” Higgins said.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
BROWNSVILLE, TX, November 5, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Opponents have many labels for Texas Senator Wendy Davis, but none would use this one: Pro-life.
That's how the Forth Worth Democrat, who is best known for engaging in a marathon filibuster against a bill to stop abortionists from killing unborn children who can feel pain, described herself at the University of Texas at Brownsville yesterday.
Attempting to cast herself as more than the woman in loud shoes who temporarily derailed a state pro-life bill, she criticized Governor Rick Perry for not expanding the state's Medicaid program and touted her putative support for the downtrodden.
“I am pro-life,” Davis said, according to the Valley Morning Star. “I care about the life of every child: every child that goes to bed hungry, every child that goes to bed without a proper education, every child that goes to bed without being able to be a part of the Texas dream, every woman and man who worry about their children’s future and their ability to provide for that future. I care about life and I have a record of fighting for people above all else.”
She added, “The battle over reproductive rights and women’s health care that was waged on June 25 was not a battle I chose.”
The rhetorical gambit is a familiar one to those who support the unborn, as pro-abortion politicians attempt to redefine the meaning of pro-life and castigate opponents as merely “pro-birth.”
Critics emphasize that crisis pregnancy centers and church organizations provide for needy babies and their mothers out of their own pockets, while Planned Parenthood has become a billion dollar industry as the nation's largest abortion provider.
Texas Right to Life said Davis is “famous for championing child-killing,” not for her efforts to preserve life.
The bill Davis filibustered barred abortions after 20 weeks, demanded abortion facilities meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers, required abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their office, and mandated that medical abortions follow the FDA-approved method for administering RU-486.
Davis is the prohibitive frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for governor next year. If successful, she would become the Lone Star state's first Democratic governor since Ann Richards, the mother of Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards.
Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood has appealed provisions of the abortion law Davis filibustered, H.B. 2, to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Published: November 5, 2013
JERUSALEM — With Middle East peace negotiations showing signs of lapsing into an all-too-familiar paralysis, Secretary of State John Kerry arrived here Tuesday night for a flurry of meetings aimed at jolting the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to reinvigorate the three-month-old round of talks.
An absence of progress on the core issues, an ill-timed Israeli announcement of plans to build hundreds more housing units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and grousing by Israeli and Palestinian officials about each other’s motives are contributing to a sense that the negotiations are sputtering, like so many previous efforts to bridge the gaps between the two sides.
“He is trying to give a push,” said a senior American official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of the matter, adding that the talks were bogging down “both because of short-term irritants and slowness at getting at fundamental issues.”
Mr. Kerry was a tireless prod and a frequent presence in Jerusalem and Ramallah leading up to the resumption of talks on July 30, and he has more recently met for hours at a time with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, in neutral sites like New York, London, and Rome. Now, after a brief period of withdrawal to deal with other problems, he is returning to the region to throw himself back into the process.
His back-and-forth schedule bears all the hallmarks of shuttle diplomacy. Mr. Kerry is to meet Mr. Netanyahu here on Wednesday morning, then to drive to nearby Bethlehem, on the West Bank, to sit down with Mr. Abbas, before returning for dinner with Mr. Netanyahu. Mr. Kerry will circle back with Mr. Abbas in Amman, Jordan, on Thursday evening.
American officials have disclosed little about the details of the talks, though the senior official said that negotiations over Israel’s security and the economic development of the Palestinian-administered West Bank had emerged as bright spots in the discussions.
Until this week, Israeli and Palestinian officials had honored a pledge not to publicly discuss the internal discussions to avoid poisoning the atmosphere. But the first cracks in that facade have appeared, with Mr. Abbas bemoaning the lack of results in a speech and a senior Israeli official accusing the Palestinians of not negotiating in “good faith.”
The public criticisms from Mr. Abbas, in particular, complicate Mr. Kerry’s task, according to former diplomats, by raising the pressure on him to produce results on an accelerated timetable, which in turn could strain his relationship with Mr. Netanyahu.
“After all these rounds of negotiations, there is nothing on the ground,” Mr. Abbas said in a speech Sunday to officials of his Fatah Party. “The negotiations are still without results.”
On Tuesday, the Palestinian leadership published a fact sheet asserting that Israel had “escalated announcements of illegal settlement activity” since the resumption of talks. It cited the new housing units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including more than 2,000 for which tenders had been published this week.
But an Israeli official brushed off the criticism of settlement construction from Palestinian leaders, saying “Israel has scrupulously honored the understandings that were reached at the beginning of the current round of talks.” Israel had warned Mr. Kerry it would continue to build in the settlements during the negotiations.
On Tuesday, Gideon Saar, Israel’s interior minister and a confidant of Mr. Netanyahu’s, accused the Palestinians “of trying either to isolate or to boycott the state of Israel while holding negotiations with it.”
“There is a total lack of flexibility in their opening positions,” he said.
Senior Israeli and Palestinian officials said that in meetings in Europe last month, Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Abbas both warned Mr. Kerry that the talks were close to an impasse. “I think he was a bit shocked when he got the briefings,” a Palestinian official said.
A senior Israeli official agreed that Mr. Kerry wanted “to put more pressure on both sides.” This official also said the Obama administration had begun to realize it would likely need to present a framework for an agreement if the negotiations reach a “dead end.”
On Monday, however, Mr. Kerry denied reports in the Israeli news media that in the absence of any breakthrough in the next two months, the United States would offer its own plan to create a Palestinian state based on the borders before the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, with agreed-upon land swaps between Israel and the Palestinians.
“There is no other plan at this point in time,” Mr. Kerry said, choosing his words carefully in a clearly fluid situation.
For diplomacy watchers, the speculation about an American plan, while premature, indicates that the talks have progressed beyond their first phase, in which teams of negotiators chew over the issues, to a second phase, in which Mr. Kerry can be more directly involved in trying to find areas of agreement between Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Abbas.
He will also brief Mr. Netanyahu about parallel nuclear negotiations with Iran, prompting analysts to suggest a possible link between the two. Mr. Netanyahu, they said, may be under pressure to accede to Mr. Kerry’s demands on the peace process in exchange for American vigilance on maintaining sanctions against Iran during the nuclear talks.
“The challenge is Kerry is that these talks aren’t yet ready for prime time,” said Aaron David Miller, a former Middle East peace negotiator. “He needs to keep the radio silence going to avoid an escalatory public cycle of the blame game between Netanyahu and Abbas.”
Michael R. Gordon contributed reporting from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Tue Nov 05, 2013 15:21 EST
GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan, November 5, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Michigan pro-life group is arguing in a new lawsuit that it is unconstitutional for the Obama administration to force it to pay for insurance coverage that funds drugs that can cause exactly what the group is dedicated to fighting – abortion.
Right to Life of Michigan has filed a federal lawsuit against the Obama government's Affordable Care Act, claiming that provisions in the health insurance scheme that would require the organization to provide insurance that covers contraceptives and abortion-causing drugs are a violation of religious freedom and freedom from coerced speech.
"As an organization whose sole purpose is to advocate for the protection of human life, especially nascent human life, it is offensive to have the government impose on us a requirement to purchase something that violates our very mission," Ed Rivet, Legislative Director of Right to Life of Michigan, told LifeSiteNews.
"We are unique among plaintiffs in the various HHS Mandate cases," Mr Rivet explained. "We're not a business, we're not affiliated with a church. We don't take a position against all forms of birth control. But we could not remain passive in a case where we are being forced to purchase a so-called ‘health benefit’ that violates our conscience."
The lawsuit names Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Treasury and Labor departments and officials, as defendants.
The 45-page lawsuit, filed by attorney Michael Rizik Jr. on November 4 in the U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids, states that Right to Life of Michigan has 33 full-time employees and 10 part-time employees, and claims that the ObamaCare mandate violates the pro-life group's deeply held religious beliefs.
Right to Life of Michigan states that most of its employees are Catholic or Evangelical Christians, and that “All employees subscribed unequivocally to plaintiff’s sole and exclusive mission protecting life.”
“The mandate, therefore, forces employers and individuals to violate their religious beliefs," says the lawsuit, “because it requires employers and individuals to pay for insurance from insurance issuers which fund and directly provide for drugs, devices and services which violate their deeply held religious beliefs, as well, in this plaintiff, reasoned reflection, and sole reason for existence as an organization.”
The lawsuit also contends that the ObamaCare regulations violate constitutionally guaranteed freedom from coerced, government-dictated speech.
“Not only is abortion disordered, but it violates the due process of the laws accorded every human being, and belies reasoned reflection and scientific fact on when life begins. As such, abortion is an act of injustice, and the mandate forces (Right to Life) to violate its only reason for existence,” the statement of claim argues.
Right to Life of Michigan is asking the court to issue preliminary and permanent injunctions to stop the government from enforcing the mandate against themselves and other religious individuals, employers, companies and groups “that object to funding and providing insurance coverage for abortion, abortifacients, and related education and counseling."
BY BEN JOHNSON
Fri Nov 01, 2013 12:49 EST
WASHINGTON, D.C., November 1, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A bill to prohibit abortions after unborn children are capable of feeling pain will be introduced in the U.S. Senate next week, according to the National Right to Life Committee.
The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which bans abortions after 20 weeks fetal age or "22 weeks of pregnancy," would protect nearly all children from the sixth month of pregnancy forward.
Congressman Trent Franks, R-AZ, introduced the original bill
Congressman Trent Franks, R-AZ, introduced the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which passed the House on June 18 by a 228-196 vote.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill could save up to 2,750 babies a year, or 7.5 children every single day.
Susan T. Muskett, NRLC's senior legislative counsel, called the act “perhaps the most significant piece of pro-life legislation to come before the U.S. Congress since the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.”
But after passage in the House, the bill languished as Senate Republicans attempted to clarify the Constitutional argument to best advance the bill.
Senators Marco Rubio, R-FL, and Mike Lee, R-UT, had expressed an openness to introducing the motion. A pro-life congressman even attempted to add the measure to a must-pass bill to raise the debt ceiling in order to place it before the upper chamber.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC
The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) announced that Senator Lindsey Graham, R-SC, will introduce the bill next week.
Its prospects in the Democrat-controlled Senate are unclear. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has classified himself a “pro-life Democrat,” lumps the right to life in with various “fringe issues.”
If it comes to the floor for a vote, the pro-life movement hopes to find enough moderate Democrats to cross the aisle to support the measure.
President Obama has promised to veto the bill if it passes both chambers, calling its pro-life regulations “an assault on a woman's right to choose” and saying they show “contempt for...the Constitution.” The chamber is unlikely to override a presidential veto for the foreseeable future.
Nonetheless, the measure has widespread popular suport. A Huffington Post poll found in July that 59 percent of Americans favored federal legislation. Women and young people were more likely to support the ban.
Pro-lifers believe revelations about Kermit Gosnell's “house of horrors” and allegations made against Houston abortionist Douglas Karpen have made a deep impact on the nation's view of third-trimester abortions, and the people who offer them.
“Because of coverage surrounding the trial of Kermit Gosnell and subsequent revelations about other abortionists, many Americans are becoming aware for the first time that abortions are frequently performed late in pregnancy on babies who are capable of being born alive, and on babies who will experience great pain while being killed,” NRLC wrote in a letter to U.S. Senators after the announcement.
Although not in Franks' original bill, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor engineered the addition of exceptions in the case of rape or incest.