A special thank you from NRLC President Carol Tobias:
Category Archives: Media
By Joel Pavelski
Attendees from around the world streamed into the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in the nation’s capitol on Wednesday morning for the third day of the second global Women Deliver conference, carrying pink bags with the inscription: “Celebrate Motherhood.” But conference organizers made sure the pink bags, and the information they contained, barely made it inside the doors.
The bags were offered by a small band of staffers and interns led by Jeanne Head, R.N, an experienced labor and delivery nurse, who serves as National Right to Life Vice President for International Affairs and also NRL’s United Nations Representative. They arrived outside the convention center at 8 am, and were promptly asked to move across the street.
After about an hour, an attendee from Uganda walked across the street to ask for another bag. She had actually wanted to read the contents, she said. It was at this point that the staffers discovered from the Ugandan attendee that conference organizers were confiscating the bags and throwing them away. According to the Ugandan attendee, conference organizers were heard telling attendees that the pink bags contained information that was “anti-human-rights,” “anti-choice,” “anti-life,” and “anti-woman.”
And so it was for that hour that the staff was outisde the convention center: attendees received the pink bags, walked across the street, and only to be required to dispose of them inside the building by conference organizers. (And from that point on, conference organizers began inspecting every bag being brought in because, in their words, the conference had been “infiltrated by anti-abortionists.”)
What was inside the pink bags that warranted such an immediate, censorious response?
The “Celebrate Motherhood” bags contained a small plastic fetal model of a 12-week-old unborn child, a small replication of an unborn child’s feet at 10 weeks gestation, a brochure on prenatal development, and a brochure containing information on proven means of reducing maternal mortality rates world wide (the supposed focus of the conference).
“Many international people really loved the information,” said Andrew Bair, one of the interns passing out the literature. “There were two women who loved the [12-week-old] baby models.”
Head managed to negotiate the return of the confiscated materials from convention center security – if she came back at 5 pm once the conference was over.
“There is nothing in this bag that tells anyone whether or not to have an abortion,” Head said, “It’s fetal development, medical facts, and a fetal model. They celebrate motherhood, and taking them is a violation of free speech. And it’s certainly anti-choice and anti-woman by denying attendees access to the full range of information on this vital subject.”
The three-day Women Deliver conference, co-sponsored by organizations that included United Nations Population Fund, USAID, UNICEF, the World Health Organization and the International Planned Parenthood Federation, says on its website that the goal for the event is “delivering solutions for women and girls.” In practice, this means promoting abortion around the world.
The website also says that this year’s conference will “expand on Women Deliver’s hallmark of inclusivity, reaching out to new partners and new communities.”
But apparently, if you can’t include them, just find them, confiscate them, and trash them. It seems that for the organizers of Women Deliver 2010, inclusivity applies only to people who agree with their political platform.
At long last…pictures from the convention floor!
These show the booth in a very primative state during set-up on Friday. Notice the large shipping crates surrounding us.
The view looking down the main aisle:
It’s that time of year again! The annual National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Music City, USA – Nashville, Tennessee. And nowhere is more Nashville than the Opryland Resort & Convention Center.
The National Right to Life team – Olivia Gans, Derrick Jones and Jessica Rodgers are once again on the exhibit floor of the convention to share information with the more than 5,000 attendees. The convention also gives us a chance to meet some of our station partners who broadcast our daily five-minute radio program, Pro-Life Perspective and partner with new stations to help spread the pro-life message.
In addition to promoting our broadcast outreaches, we’re once again ready to share information on fetal development, abortion’s impact on the Black and Hispanic communities, unborn pain and maternal mortality.
We’ve got the booth set-up and our mobile office functional (so we can continue to respond to members of the press contacting us about the current news affecting the pro-life movement) and we’re ready to go.
The exhibit hall opened a little more than an hour ago. Already, we’ve had visitors from all parts of the country working in various ministries. We’ve also had some international visitors from Macedonia.
We’ll have more dispatches live form the convention floor including pictures of the set-up, of the staff in action and some shots from around the hotel.
LATEST NEWS & INFORMATION
- Last week, the President released his proposals for health care reform and the White House hosted a health care summit. Have you check out the most recent Action Alert from the National Right to Life Legislative Action Center to see what you can do? Please bookmark the Legislative Action Center and make a point to visit it frequently as the situation in Washington is changing on a regular basis.
- In response to President Obama’s Proposals, National Right to Life issued three releases analyzing the proposals:
NRLC in the News
- Associated Press: Nebraska lawmakers discuss fetal pain abortion bill (25 Feb)
- Washington Post: Expecting final push on health care, interest groups rally for big finish (27 Feb)
- New York Times: Anti-Abortion Group Opposes Increased Oversight of Premiums (22 Feb)
- Columbus Dispatch: Right-to-Life orator to be honored on House Floor (11 Feb)
NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson, writing on National Review Online, takes Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus to task for promoting abortion lobby’s line that the Capps Amendment is a “compromise” that preserves a careful balance on federal abortion policy. Johnson writes: “One of the biggest whoppers of the summer is the argument that the Capps Amendment to the Obama-backed health-care bill (an amendment that was actually written by pro-abortion champion Rep. Henry Waxman and his veteran staff) represents a ‘compromise.’ A meeting of the minds between Planned Parenthood (which loves the Capps Amendment) and the congressman from West Hollywood is not likely to be much of a compromise, and this one is as phony as they come. The Capps Amendment, if enacted, would insert the federal government into the abortion-funding business in two very big ways, both of which would mark sharp breaks from longstanding federal policy.” Read the entire essay here.
Listen to then-Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama promise abortion as part of a public health care plan.
August 17, 2009
Letters to the Editor
The New York Times
620 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10018
I was saddened to read “False ‘Death Panel’ Rumor Has Familiar Roots” in the Friday (August 14, 2009) edition of the Times. Rather than examine the actual text of the bills, the Times simply editorialized against opponents of provisions within the health care proposals currently being considered. The opening paragraph reads like something that might be uttered by Robert Gibbs during the daily press briefing in the West Wing. The job description of the White House Press Secretary and an independent newspaper are not one in the same, and by continuing to justify rather than report on this administration’s agenda the Times is failing it readership.
What the Times calls “rumors,” in fact, have some roots in a piece which the Times itself published. That item, interestingly omitted from the article’s chronology of the rising “specter of government-sponsored, forced euthanasia,” was a 5,000-word feature piece published in the New York Times Magazine on July 19th by Princeton bioethicist Peter Singer, openly advocating the rationing of healthcare on the basis of QALYs, a measurement of one’s “quality-adjusted-life-year.”
As National Right to Life has noted in its analysis of the current proposal before the House, there is no protection to prevent Comparative Effectiveness Research from being used to discriminatorily deny healthcare based on age, present or predicted disability or expected length of life. To insist that this is a dangerous omission which could allow comparative effectiveness to be used to deny care to the most vulnerable patients is not fear-mongering, it is a realistic concern. Perhaps if the Times was not so ideologically invested in promoting this administration’s agenda they would be able to see that as well.
National Right to Life
AP confirms: Obama plan would allow abortion coverage
As the Associated Press accurately reports in a new story below, the health care legislation being pushed by the Obama White House would cover elective abortions. Under the Senate bill, sponsored by Senator Kennedy, “the public plan — and private insurance offered in the exchange — would be allowed to cover abortion, without funding restrictions,” the AP reports. Phony “compromise” language approved by a House committee, over pro-life objections (the Capps Amendment), would authorize the new government-run “public plan” to cover elective abortions, and also permit new federal premium subsidies to flow to private plans that cover elective abortions. ”Under either the Senate bill or the House bill, the federal government would run a huge system of subsidizing elective abortion,” said NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson. For further information and documentation, visit the NRLC Legislative Action Center at www.nrlactioncenter.com.
August 5, 2009
Gov’t insurance would allow coverage for abortion
By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR (AP)
WASHINGTON — Health care legislation before Congress would allow a new government-sponsored insurance plan to cover abortions, a decision that would affect millions of women and recast federal policy on the divisive issue.
Federal funds for abortions are now restricted to cases involving rape, incest or danger to the health ["life"] of the mother. Abortion opponents say those restrictions should carry over to any health insurance sold through a new marketplace envisioned under the legislation, an exchange where people would choose private coverage or the public plan.
Abortion rights supporters say that would have the effect of denying coverage for abortion to millions of women who now have it through workplace insurance and are expected to join the exchange.
Advocates on both sides are preparing for a renewed battle over abortion, which could jeopardize political support for President Barack Obama’s health care initiative aimed at covering nearly 50 million uninsured and restraining medical costs.
“We want to see people who have no health insurance get it, but this is a sticking point,” said Richard Doerflinger, associate director of pro-life activities for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “We don’t want health care reform to be the vehicle for mandating abortion.”
Donna Crane, policy director for NARAL Pro-Choice America, said abortion opponents “want an abortion ban in private insurance, and that’s not neutrality at all — that’s a radical departure from current law. They want something far more extreme than where I think the American public is.”
A compromise approved by a House committee last week attempted to balance questions of federal funding, personal choice and the conscience rights of clinicians. It would allow the public plan to cover abortion but without using federal funds, only dollars from beneficiary premiums. Likewise, private plans in the new insurance exchange could opt to cover abortion, but no federal subsidies would be used to pay for the procedure.
“It’s a sham,” said Douglas Johnson, legislative director for National Right to Life. “It’s a bookkeeping scheme. The plan pays for abortion, and the government subsidizes the plan.”
Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif., author of the compromise, said she was trying to craft a solution that would accommodate both sides. Her amendment also would allow plans that covered no abortions whatsoever — not even in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother — to be offered through the insurance exchange.
“With all due respect, not everyone adheres to what the Catholic bishops believe,” said Capps, who supports abortion rights. “Our country allows for both sides, and our health plan should reflect that as well.”
For years, abortion rights supporters and abortion opponents have waged the equivalent of trench warfare over restrictions on federal funding. Abortion opponents have largely prevailed, instituting restrictions that bar federal funding for abortion, except in cases of rape and incest or if the mother’s life would be endangered.
A law called the Hyde amendment applies the restrictions to Medicaid, forcing states that cover abortion for low-income women to do so with their own money. Separate laws apply the restrictions to the federal employee health plan and military and other programs.
But the health overhaul would create a stream of federal funding not covered by the restrictions.
The new federal funds would take the form of subsidies for low- and middle-income people buying coverage through the health insurance exchange. Subsidies would be available for people to buy the public plan or private coverage. Making things more complicated, the federal subsidies would be mixed in with contributions from individuals and employers. Eventually, most Americans could end up getting their coverage through the exchange.
The Democratic health care legislation as originally introduced in the House and Senate did not mention abortion. That rang alarm bells for abortion opponents.
Since abortion is a legal medical procedure, experts on both sides say not mentioning it would allow health care plans in the new insurance exchange to provide unrestricted coverage.
It would mirror the private insurance market, where abortion coverage is widely available. A Guttmacher Institute study found that 87 percent of typical employer plans covered abortion in 2002, while a Kaiser Family Foundation survey in 2003 found that 46 percent of workers in employer plans had coverage for abortions. The studies asked different questions, which might help explain the disparity in the results.
In the Senate, the plan passed by the health committee is still largely silent on the abortion issue. Staff aides confirmed that the public plan — and private insurance offered in the exchange — would be allowed to cover abortion, without funding restrictions.
Under both the House and Senate approaches, the decision to offer abortion coverage in the public plan would be made by the health and human services secretary.
Abortion opponents are seeking a prohibition against using any federal subsidies to pay for abortions or for any part of any costs of a health plan that offers abortion. Such a proposal was rejected by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the same panel that approved Capps’ amendment.
But abortion opponents say they can’t accept a public plan that would cover abortion. And they say private plans in the insurance exchange should offer abortion coverage separately, as an option.
“You can have a result where nobody has to pay for other people’s abortions,” said Doerflinger.
Heidi Hartmann, president of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, said applying the current restrictions for federal employees and low-income women to a program intended for the middle class will provoke a backlash.
“There is a difference between picking off one group of women here and one group there and something that would affect a very large group,” Hartmann said. “Everyone would like to avoid that fight.”
Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
As we all know, the health care debate in Washington is changing on an almost hourly basis. Even with the House in recess and the Senate getting ready to leave town for the rest of August, things can change quickly. If you haven’t already checked out the latest alert from our Federal Legislation Deparment, head over to National Right to Life’s Legislative Action Center at www.nrlactioncenter.com. Even if you have been there, it’s best to make the Action Center part of your regular rounds on the web. The Action Alert on health care is updated constantly (last update as of this post is August 1) to keep up with the changing landscape.
Also, check out the latest Today’s News and Views from our NRL News Editor, Dave Andrusko. You can sign up to have it delivered to your inbox. Or you can follow us on Twitter – TN&V is tweeted daily. (www.twitter.com/nrlc).
And, of course, be sure to check back in here for the latest news from the Communications Department. Congress may be in recess, but we’ve got work to do!