Tag Archives: barack obama

Obama Scam Paves Way for Abortion Mandate

National Right to Life Committee:
New Obama Scam (You Must Pay, But Nobody Pays)
Lays Groundwork for Future National Abortion Mandate

 WASHINGTON– In response to criticism of its recent regulation requiring coverage of FDA-approved birth control drugs and devices, the White House today announced a purported “compromise” under which insurance plans will be required to provide the coverage in all plans, without charging anything additional for it. 

 The Administration position is that insurers can be required to provide the coverage for “free” because birth control is less expensive than childbirth.  The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the national federation of right-to-life organizations, issued the following comment, any part of which may be attributed to NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson:

 “President Obama today promulgated a scam that, if he is re-elected, will allow him to mandate that every health plan in America cover abortion on demand,” said NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson.  “The same twisted logic will be applied:  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.”

 By this form of doublespeak, one could say that the federal Medicaid program was not really “funding abortion” when it paid for 300,000 abortions a year (prior to adoption of the Hyde Amendment in 1976), because after all, every abortion that the government paid for also saved the government money.  

 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.

 Some journalists have wrongly reported that the ObamaCare law contains language prohibiting the federal government from mandating that health plans cover abortions.  This is erroneous.  The law prevents the Secretary of Health and Human Services from including abortion in a list of federally mandated “essential health benefits.”  But the birth control mandate is based on an entirely different provision of the law, which allows the Secretary to mandate that all health plans cover any service that the Secretary places on a list of “preventive” services.  There is nothing in the law to prevent the Secretary from placing abortion, assisted suicide, or any other additional services on the preventive services list, nor does the Secretary require the agreement of any other authority in the government to do so — except, perhaps, the president.

 At his press conference today, President Obama suggested that the birth-control mandate was recommended by “the nation’s leading medical experts.”  The actual make up of the handpicked panel that made the birth control recommendations was reported by Kathryn Jean Lopez of National Review Online here (http://nrlc.co/wlEyK4).

 NRLC supports enactment of the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (S. 1467, H.R. 1179) (http://nrlc.co/zKiSSV), which would allow health providers to decline to provide abortions or other specific medical services on the basis of religious belief or moral convictions.

 Founded in 1968, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of 50 state right-to-life affiliates and more than 3,000 local chapters, is the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots pro-life organization. Recognized as the flagship of the pro-life movement, NRLC works through legislation and education to protect innocent human life from abortion, infanticide, assisted suicide and euthanasia.

Douglas Johnson on NRO’s The Corner

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.

Obama Perpetuates Abortion Funding Myth in Joint Address

For immediate release:                                        
Wednesday, September 9, 2009, 9:30pm   

OBAMA PERPETUATES ABORTION FUNDING MYTH
IN JOINT SESSION ADDRESS

 WASHINGTON – 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.”

 The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) last week released definitive memoranda that demonstrate that (1) the “Hyde Amendment” would not apply to the new programs that would be created by the Obama-backed health bill, H.R. 3200, and (2) that all of the funds that would be spent on elective abortions under the bill, and all of the funds that would be spent to subsidize private insurance plans that cover abortion, would be “federal funds” in both the legal sense and in the sense in which those terms are used throughout the government. 

 “The claim that a federal agency would be spending private funds on abortion, not federal funds, is absurd on its face, a political hoax,” Johnson said.

 To read a September 8 NRLC media advisory that summarizes these issues, click here.  The advisory contains links to the detailed memoranda that disprove the “Hyde Amendment myth” and the “government will spend private funds on abortions myth.”

 The National Right to Life Committee, the nation’s largest pro-life group is a federation of affiliates in all 50 states and 3,000 local chapters nationwide. 

 # # #

NRLC: news media duped by Obama on abortion

For immediate release: Tuesday, September 8, 2009, at 2 PM EDT 

National Right to Life on the health care debate:
“On government-funded abortion, Obama has duped the news media with head fakes and doubletalk”

NRLC releases two new memoranda refuting “the Hyde Amendment myth” and “the private funds myth.”

WASHINGTON (September 8, 2009) — The following statement may be attributed to Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), which is the federation of right-to-life organizations in all 50 states.

 The health care legislation being pushed forward by President Obama would create a federally run insurance plan that would pay for elective abortion with government funds.  The legislation also would provide massive tax-based subsidies to purchase private insurance plans that would cover elective abortions.  Both of these new programs would represent drastic breaks with decades of federal policy against funding abortions in government-subsidized health programs.

 Yet, in recent weeks, much of the news media have been manipulated by top Congressional Democrats and by the White House into denying or minimizing the abortion-related policy changes that are being advanced.  Many journalists have casually adopted highly misleading characterizations of the abortion-related content of the legislation — characterizations that cannot survive careful scrutiny.  For example, many journalists have been snookered into reporting that House Democrats amended their legislation (H.R. 3200) so that the proposed government-run insurance program would be paying for elective abortions with “private funds” — a claim that is absurd on its face, and that cannot survive thoughtful and skeptical scrutiny.

 It is past time for the would-be factcheckers to stop acting as stenographers for the president and Speaker Pelosi on this issue.  Here are some facts for them to check:

 *  In 2007, Barack Obama made face-to-face promises to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.  Asked about his plans for “health care reform,” Obama said, “in my mind, reproductive care is essential care.  It is basic care, and so it is at the center, and at the heart of the plan that I propose.”  He also stated, “What we’re doing is to say that we’re going to set up a public plan that all persons and all women can access if they don’t have health insurance.  It’ll be a plan that will provide all essential services, including reproductive services.”  The Obama campaign confirmed (and nobody disputes) that “reproductive services” includes elective abortion.  You can watch a short video clip of Mr. Obama making the promises here or here.  Obama has never publicly repudiated those promises.  

 *  The health care bills approved by Democrat-controlled committees in the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate during July would fulfill the Obama promises to Planned Parenthood, as quoted above.  This advisory focuses only on the House bill, H.R. 3200, although the bill approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee on July 15 has the same basic problems and more.  (The abortion-related provisions of both bills are summarized in a two-page document posted here, and are explained in a detailed, footnoted memorandum here.)

 *  As amended by the House Energy and Commerce Committee with the Capps Amendment (or Capps-Waxman Amendment) on July 30, the House health care bill (H.R. 3200) would explicitly authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services to pay for elective abortion under the government-run insurance plan (the “public option”).  As FactCheck.org concluded in its August 21 analysis titled “Abortion:  Which Side is Fabricating?,” “Obama has said in the past that ‘reproductive services’ would be covered by his public plan, so it’s likely that any new federal insurance plan would cover abortion unless Congress expressly prohibits that.”  The abortion coverage would not be optional; no person would be allowed to enroll in the public option without contributing to the abortion fund.  

 *  Amendments backed by NRLC to expressly prohibit the government plan from covering elective abortions were opposed by the Democratic chairmen of all three House committees that considered the legislation, and defeated in each committee — a result for which the White House staff has taken partial credit.  (As The American Prospect reported, “Advocates were able to ensure that both the House tri-committee bill [H.R. 3200] and the Senate HELP bill made it through committee without any amendments limiting access to reproductive care.  But as Tina Tchen, director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, told a July 15 Planned Parenthood conference — perhaps in an effort to tamp down expectations — ‘That was not easy.  It was not easy in committee.  It won’t be easy to hold on the House floor.  It won’t be easy to hold on the Senate floor.'”  From “Aborting Health Reform: Without reproductive-health coverage, any public insurance plan is doomed to fail,” by Dana Goldstein, The American Prospect, August 18, 2009, http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=aborting_health_reform)

 *  The House Democratic leadership has already publicly said that they will not allow the full House to vote on the amendment (the Stupak Amendment) to exclude elective abortion from the government plan and to prevent subsidies from flowing to private plans that cover elective abortion.  This means that a vote to advance H.R. 3200 is a vote to create a federal government insurance program that would fund elective abortions, and also a vote to create a federal government premium subsidy program that would help pay for private insurance plans that cover elective abortions.

 THE “PRIVATE FUNDS” MYTH

 *  Since July 30, the White House, dozens of congressional Democrats, and many news media “factcheckers” have publicly asserted that the Capps Amendment provides that the “public option” may not spend “federal funds” on elective abortion, but only “private funds.”  Such statements have been made, for example, by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.), by President Obama (who said on August 19 that it was a “fabrication” to suggest that the bill would result in “government funding of abortion”), and many others.  Yet, the claim that a federal agency would be paying for a service with “private funds” is beyond misleading — it is absurd on its face.  The public plan would be an arm of the federal Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), part of the federal Executive Branch.  Once the agency collects “premiums” from enrollees, they would be as much “federal funds” and “public funds” as any funds collected by the IRS. 

 * Under the Capps Amendment, abortion providers would send their bills to DHHS and receive payment checks drawn on a federal Treasury account.  It is perplexing that so many in the news media are being duped into adopting the untenable pretext that a federal agency would be expending “private funds.”  In reality, this would be direct federal government funding of elective abortion.

 *  Aside from the public plan, H.R. 3200 and the Capps Amendment explicitly authorize the proposed premium subsidies to go to private insurance plans that cover elective abortions — which is something that would not be permitted under any of the existing federal health programs (for federal employees, military, Medicaid, etc.).  These subsidies would be federal funds that would flow directly from the federal Treasury to the insurers.  Regardless of how the books are kept, when the government pays for insurance, the government pays for what the insurance pays for.

 *  On September 7, NRLC issued a detailed memorandum demonstrating all of the funds that the “public option” would expend for elective abortions are “federal funds” and “public funds” as those terms are defined in law and as they are used throughout the government.  The memorandum also demonstrates that all of the funds in the premium-subsidy program would be federal government funds.  The memorandum cites documents from the CBO, GAO, Congressional Research Service, and other authoritative sources.  It is here:
http://www.nrlc.org/AHC/NRLCmemoFederalFundsnotPrivateFunds.html

 THE HYDE AMENDMENT MYTH

 *  Throughout his career as an Illinois state senator, a U.S. senator, and a presidential candidate, Barack Obama consistently opposed all limitations on government funding of elective abortion.  During his presidential campaign, he expressed explicit opposition to the Hyde Amendment, the annually renewed provision that prevents federal Medicaid funding of abortion (with narrow exceptions).  Recently, some journalists have reported that Obama endorsed the concept that the government should not fund abortions in an interview with Katie Couric of CBS News, broadcast July 21, but Obama really did no such thing. Instead, he simply made a head fake — an artful observation that “we also have a tradition of, in this town, historically, of not financing abortions as part of government funded health care.”  Obama did not endorse the “tradition.”  Certainly, it is true that there is such a tradition — a tradition that Obama has always opposed, and which the Obama-backed health care bill would shatter.

 * There is another deception that is being widely employed — again, with little critical scrutiny from the news media.  During the just-completed congressional recess, innumerable congressional Democrats told their constituents that the pending legislation would not result in government funding of abortion because the Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funding of abortion.  (Examples are found here and here.)

 *  In reality, the Hyde Amendment is not a government-wide law — it applies only to funds appropriated through the annual appropriations bill that funds the Department of Health and Human Services.  As National Right to Life has pointed out for months, and as the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service confirmed in two memoranda issued in late August (which we now have obtained and posted on our website), none of the funds that would be expended by the public plan, and none of the funds that will subsidize the purchase of private insurance plans, will ever flow through an HHS appropriations bill.  Therefore, none of the funds will be covered by the Hyde Amendment.  Many Democratic lawmakers have directly misinformed their constituents by telling them that the Hyde Amendment will apply — and, for the most part — the news media have simply transmitted the misinformation, or actually adopted the false claim as fact.

 * President Obama himself has made statements of artful indirection involving the Hyde Amendment, in addition to the Katie Couric interview referred to above.  For example, on August 20, 2009, Obama said at a health-care forum, “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.”  This statement was another trademark head fake by Obama.  It is true that the Obama-backed health bill does not directly revoke the Hyde Amendment — and it is also entirely irrelevant, because Obama’s congressional allies have carefully crafted the bill language to allow government funding of elective abortions using federal money that is not covered by the Hyde Amendment. 

 * On September 3, NRLC issued a memorandum that explains in detail why the funds in question will not be affected by the Hyde Amendment.  The NRLC memo quotes from, and links to, two new Congressional Research Service memoranda, and other official documents.  It is here:
http://www.nrlc.org/AHC/NRLCmemoHydeAmendmentWillNotApply.html

 THREE QUESTIONS FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA

 As the White House warms up its smokescreen generators for a heavy workload during the week ahead, National Right to Life now suggests three questions for the President:

 (1)  Mr. President:  During your campaign for President, you promised the Planned Parenthood Action Fund that funding for “reproductive care,” including abortion, would be “at the heart” of your health-care plan, and that the “public plan” would cover such services.  The pending House bill, with the Capps-Waxman Amendment, would explicitly authorize your secretary of Health and Human Services to cover all abortions in the government insurance plan, the public option.  If Congress enacts that language, would your Secretary fulfill your promise to Planned Parenthood by covering abortions in the public plan, OR would you order her NOT to cover elective abortions under the government plan?

 (2)  Mr. President:  Speaker Pelosi, among others, has insisted that if the public option does pay for abortions, the abortions will be paid for with “private funds.”  National Right to Life says that this is misleading and absurd — that as a matter of law, the funds that would be spent by DHHS under the public option would be federal funds, public funds.  Do you embrace the notion that a federal agency, writing checks drawn on a federal Treasury account, would be expending “private funds,” and if so, is that a concept that you think could be applied to other federal agencies — for example, the CIA, the Pentagon, or the Department of the Interior?

 (3)  Mr. President, in recent weeks, you and your staff have made several references to the Hyde Amendment, a provision of the annual appropriations bill that funds the Department of Health and Human Services.  For example, you said that the pending healthcare bill would not “revoke” the Hyde Amendment.  National Right to Life says this is a “head fake” — that is, irrelevant with respect to the pending healthcare bill, because none of the money expended by the public option or by the premium-subsidy program would be covered by the Hyde Amendment.  However, the Hyde Amendment does cover the federal Medicaid program, and the Hyde Amendment expires every September 30.  National Right to Life points out that you have always opposed the Hyde Amendment.  Are you willing to change that position now, and to pledge now that you will actively support renewal of the Hyde Amendment next year, and each year for the remainder of your term, so that federal Medicaid funds would not be used to fund elective abortions?  And if you are not willing to make that promise, are you willing to at least promise that you will not, next year or in any subsequent year, issue a veto threat on an HHS appropriations bill because the bill would renew the Hyde Amendment?  And if you are not willing to make either of those promises, why should anyone believe that the Medicaid program will not be paying for elective abortions by the end of your term (in addition to the abortions that would be paid for under the new programs that would be created by H.R. 3200)?

 ****

 Addendum:  Some members of Congress have even managed to mix the “Hyde Amendment myth” and the “your government will be spending private funds myth” together.  For example, in an August 28, 2009, “telephone town hall,” here, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv.) said: “Another myth that’s being thrown around is that health insurance reform uses money for abortions.  Not true. . . . Next, the House bill states, and I quote, health insurance providers aren’t required to or prohibited from offering abortion coverage.  The cost of such coverage would be exclusively paid by premiums, not by public subsidies.  Public funding for abortion would be permitted only as under current law, that’s the so-called Hyde Amendment, named after Henry Hyde, who I served with in the House.  And as you know, that is in cases of rape, incest or when a woman’s life is in danger.”

NRLC responds to Obama “fabrication” charge

For immediate release:
Wednesday, August 19, 2009      

OBAMA SAYS “GOVERNMENT FUNDING OF ABORTION IS A FABRICATION,”
BUT THE WHITE HOUSE-BACKED HOUSE BILL EXPLICITELY AUTHORIZES IT

 WASHINGTON (August 19, 2009) — In a conference call with supporters this afternoon, President Obama said that it is a “fabrication” to say that the legislation backed by the White House would result in “government funding of abortions,” and that this is “untrue.”  The following comment may be attributed to Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the national federation of state and local right-to-life organizations:

 Emboldened by the recently demonstrated superficiality of some organs of the news media, President Obama today brazenly misrepresented the abortion-related component of the health care legislation that his congressional allies and staff have crafted.  As amended by the House Energy and Commerce Committee on July 30 (the Capps-Waxman Amendment), the bill backed by the White House (H.R. 3200) explicitly authorizes the government plan to cover all elective abortions.  Obama apparently seeks to hide behind a technical distinction between tax funds and government-collected premiums.  But these are merely two types of public funds, collected and spent by government agencies.  The Obama-backed legislation makes it explicitly clear that no citizen would be allowed to enroll in the government plan unless he or she is willing to give the federal agency an extra amount calculated to cover the cost of all elective abortions — this would not be optional.  The abortionists would bill the federal government and would be paid by the federal government.  These are public funds, and this is government funding of abortion.

 In 2007 Obama explicitly pledged to Planned Parenthood that the public plan will cover abortions (see the video clip here).  Some journalists have reported that Obama “backed off” of this commitment in an interview with Katie Couric of CBS News, broadcast July 21, but Obama actually carefully avoided stating his intentions — instead, he simply made an artful observation that “we also have a tradition of, in this town, historically, of not financing abortions as part of government funded health care.”

 It is true that there is such a tradition — which Obama has always opposed, and which the Obama-backed bill would shatter.

On August 13, NRLC released a detailed memo explaining the provisions of the pending bills that would affect abortion policy, with citations to primary sources. Many of the “factcheck” articles that have appeared in the news media in recent weeks reflect, at best, unsophisticated understandings of the provisions they purport to be explaining, and also give evidence of a weak understanding of Obama’s history on the policy issues involved.  The memo is downloadable in PDF format here:

http://www.nrlc.org/AHC/HR3200NRLCfactsheet.pdf

 The National Right to Life Committee is the nation’s largest pro-life group is a federation of affiliates in all 50 states and over 3,000 local chapters nationwide.  National Right to Life works through legislation and education to protect those threatened by abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and assisted suicide.

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Now Posted: The Obama Record on Life

potusrecordsThe Obama Record on Life is now available from the National Right to Life website. To access the PDF file (as well as the PDF files for the records of Presidents Regan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush), see the POTUS records page at nrlc.org.

These are a great  tool you can use in your communities to educate friends and family about the life and death actions taken by the presidents during their time in the Oval Office.  Please feel free to download, copy and distribute these materials freely.

NRLC to Notre Dame: Rescind Obama Invitation

For immediate release:
Monday, March 23, 2009 

NATIONAL RIGHT TO LIFE CALLS ON NOTRE DAME
TO RESCIND OBAMA INVITATION

 WASHINGTON – Today the National Right to Life Committee, the nation’s largest pro-life organization, called upon University of Notre Dame president Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., to rescind the University’s invitation to Barack Obama to speak at Notre Dame’s commencement May 17.

 “Notre Dame’s invitation to the most pro-abortion president in U.S. history is a betrayal of the University’s mission and an affront to all who believe in the sanctity and dignity of human life,” said Anthony J. Lauinger, National Right to Life Vice-President (and father of seven Notre Dame alumni and one current student.)  “We call upon Father Jenkins to rescind the invitation and stand up for the millions of unborn children who face death under Obama Administration policies.”

 In a letter to Father Jenkins, Mr. Lauinger pointed out that, through words and actions, Barack Obama has launched a comprehensive anti-life agenda that targets decades of life-saving policies while treating the views of pro-life Americans with complete contempt.  The full text of Mr. Lauinger’s letter is printed below.

 “As a Notre Dame parent and supporter, I am outraged by this invitation to Barack Obama.  I have apologized to my eight children for the poor guidance I provided them when I encouraged them to enroll at Notre Dame,” Lauinger said.

 The National Right to Life Committee is the nation’s largest pro-life group with affiliates in all 50 states and over 3,000 local chapters nationwide.  National Right to Life works through legislation and education to protect those threatened by abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and assisted suicide.

 HERE IS THE TEXT OF MR. LAUINGER’S LETTER TO FATHER JENKINS: 

Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
President
University of Notre Dame

Dear Father Jenkins,

            In your January 27 letter to my wife Phyllis and me, you thanked us for support “for our (Notre Dame’s) most essential, and mission-bound, priorities.”  In the wake of the commencement announcement regarding Barack Obama, I am compelled to ask whether Notre Dame recognizes what those priorities are.

            Disillusionment, incredulity, betrayal – all describe my feelings.  I am left questioning my own judgment in having encouraged our eight children to go to Notre Dame.

            Abortion is the unspeakable evil that causes my outrage – abortion and the fact that Barack Obama is the Abortion President.  His first two months in office have constituted an all-out assault on the unborn child.

            Not content with legal abortion-on-demand in this country, he seeks to foist the same policy on the rest of the world by rescinding the Mexico City Policy, which previously kept U.S. tax dollars from funding groups working to subvert the pro-life laws of countries overseas; and he seeks to export abortion around the world through his policies and appointments at the United Nations, including providing U.S. funding to the United Nations Population Fund, actively involved in China’s coerced-abortion program.

            Not content with Roe v. Wade, he champions the “Freedom of Choice Act,” which would nullify some five hundred state and federal laws which impose modest, limited regulations on the unfettered right to abortion.  Signing the “Freedom of Choice Act” would be “the first thing I’d do as president,” he promised the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.  See his promise in this short video clip: http://americaschoicenow.com/

            Not content with having pro-abortion doctors perform abortions, President Obama has announced he will rescind the Conscience Rule which protects the rights of pro-life doctors and nurses to refuse to participate in abortions or other killing procedures on religious or moral grounds.  Cardinal Francis George, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is urging Catholics to tell the Obama Administration to retain conscience protections for health-care workers.

            Two weeks ago, the President signed an executive order reversing a ban on federal funding of embryo-destructive stem cell research.  The policy that had been in effect the past eight years protected American taxpayers from being complicit in the killing of embryonic human beings for purposes of harvesting their stem cells.  Embryo-killing stem-cell research, the act of destroying living members of our species, homo sapiens, in order to provide raw material for experimentation, has never benefited a single human patient, whereas adult stem cells have benefited patients suffering from more than 70 different disorders.   

           On the same day he authorized federal funding of embryo-killing research, the President rescinded a policy that had been providing federal funding for alternative methods of obtaining pluripotent stem cells through “cell reprogramming,” in which ordinary human skin and other cells are transformed into “induced pluripotent stem cells.”  This breakthrough, which does not require destroying human embryos, was deemed so important that the journal Science named it the scientific breakthrough of the year for 2008.  

         The President’s appointments to key White House and cabinet positions have had extreme pro-abortion records: Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, former congressman with a 100% pro-abortion record; Domestic Policy Adviser Melody Barnes, previous board member of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund; Communications Director Ellen Moran, former executive director of the pro-abortion group EMILY’s List; Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the radically pro-abortion former governor of Kansas: Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg;  Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel Dawn Johnsen, the former legal director of the National Abortion Rights Action League…  These are but a small handful of examples.

            One of the many problems caused by Notre Dame’s decision to honor the man doing more to destroy unborn children than anyone else on the face of the earth is the scandal to which it gives rise: to our own students; to Catholics across the country and beyond; to those of us who thought Notre Dame stood for something special; to everyone who believed Our Lady’s University aspired to values higher than the approval of a debased secular culture.

              Father, I have attached, above, a joint statement on Faithful Citizenship by Bishop Kevin Vann and Bishop Kevin Farrell, the bishops of Fort Worth and Dallas, respectively.  Their letter puts the worth and dignity of human life in proper perspective.

             Finally, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ document, “Catholics in Political Life,” offers this exhortation: “The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”  I would submit that what is planned for May 17 is a classic example of precisely the type of scandal the bishops direct us to avoid.      

            I apologized today to my eight children for the poor guidance I provided them when I encouraged them to enroll at Our Lady’s University, and for having misled them, and myself, about what I believed to be the core values of Notre Dame.

Sincerely,
Anthony J. Lauinger
Tulsa, Oklahoma

Click here to view the attachment: “A joint statement on Faithful Citizenship” by Bishop Kevin Vann and Bishop Kevin Farrell (PDF Format)

Stem Cell Coverage – Day 2

USA Today ran a Q&A piece citing researchers and policy experts:

Q: What dangers do opponents see in Obama’s action?

A: The National Right to Life Committee says the order “opens door to human embryo farms,” charging that researchers will start mass-harvesting embryos to create cell lines. Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pa., echoed these concerns and, in a statement, called the moves “divisive” amid larger concerns about the economy.

The San Francisco Chronicle picked up on the NRLC release:

“It is a sad day when the federal government will fund research that exploits living members of the human species as raw material for research,” said Douglas Johnson, a spokesman for the National Right to Life Committee. The organization said Obama’s order places the country on a slippery slope toward the rise of “embryo farms” to create human embryos for the sole purpose of research.

The Politico’s Carrie Budoff Brown cites NRLC in her story about Obama’s order:

But the anti-abortion community — a group which Obama courted during his campaign — made clear its anger.

“It is a sad day when the federal government will fund research that exploits living members of the human species as raw material for research,” said Douglas Johnson, a spokesman for the National Right to Life Committee, who added that the move puts the country on a “very steep, very slippery slope” toward cloning.

Alex Wayne at CQToday:

But Democrats are approaching any changes to Dickey-Wicker cautiously, as it is potentially an even more explosive flash point than embryonic stem cell research. The National Right to Life Committee on Monday warned against any changes to the amendment, raising the specter of a future in which human embryos are purposely created for research.

“Any member of Congress who votes for legislation to repeal this law is voting to allow federal funding of human embryo farms, created through the use of human cloning,” said Douglas Johnson, a spokesman for the group.

NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson appeared on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition with Julie Rovner yesterday morning.  You can listen to the story here and click on the “Listen Now” button in the top center of the page.

From One News Now:

Douglas Johnson, spokesman for the National Right to Life Committee, was asked about the president’s statement that he would oppose reproductive cloning.
 
“This is the kind of code that’s intended to mislead the public,” the pro-life leader states. “…[W]hat he’s saying is that he doesn’t want human clones to be brought to birth; but he’s quite conspicuously not saying that he doesn’t want to create them in the first place.”
 
Johnson believes the president’s action violates current law. “…[T]he president is basically giving a wink to the National Institutes of Health to try to find a way to do that, and they’re also giving a signal to Congress that they should try to repeal the law which prohibits it.”
 
And that, Johnson believes, is due to pressure from the bio-tech industry. He fears the end result will be creation of human embryo farms, which will likely lead to millions of dollars in profit.

Other news outlets that picked up the NRLC statement in their coverage of Obama’s executive orders include:

Buffalo NewsBuffalo, New York

Columbus Dispatch – Columbus, Ohio

Release: Obama opens door to human embryo farms

For immediate release: 

Monday, March 9, 2009                                                   

 

Obama Order Opens Door to Widespread Killing

of Embryonic Humans in Government-Funded Research

 

WASHINGTON – In a White House ceremony today, President Barack Obama signed an executive order to allow federal funding of research that will require the killing of human embryos.

 

This order reverses a policy instituted by former President George W. Bush in August 2001, which funded research on already-existing stem cell lines without encouraging any further destruction of human life.

 

“It is a sad day when the federal government will fund research that exploits living members of the human species as raw material for research,” said Douglas Johnson, a spokesman for the National Right to Life Committee.  “Obama’s order also places our society on a very steep, very slippery slope.  Many researchers will not be satisfied to use only so-called surplus embryos.  Many researchers are already demanding federal support for research in which human embryos would be created for the specific purpose of research, through human cloning and other methods, and there was nothing in the President’s remarks today to limit NIH to the use of so-called surplus embryos created in IVF clinics.

 

“This sets the stage for an attack on the Dickey-Wicker law, which since 1995 has been a provision of the annual appropriations bills for federal health programs.  This law prohibits federal funding of ‘the creation of a human embryo or embryos for research purposes; or research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death . . .’  Any member of Congress who votes for legislation to repeal this law is voting to allow federal funding of human embryo farms, created through the use of human cloning.”

 

Much of the press coverage anticipating Obama’s order continued to ignore or downplay the striking advances made in recent years in research using stem cells from non-embryonic sources, including adult stem cells and reprogrammed adult body cells (iPSCs).  Do No Harm, a coalition of scientists and researchers opposed to embryo-killing stem cell research (www.stemcellresearch.org), has posted a list of over 70 different disorders for which there have been one or more peer-reviewed scientific studies showing a measure of positive benefits in human patients. 

 

In contrast, embryonic stem cells have yet to benefit a single human patient, and have proven most adept at generating tumors.

 

Regarding Obama’s instructions to NIH to develop “strict guidelines” to govern embryonic stem cell research, Johnson commented, “These so-called ethical safeguards are really merely procedural requirements, an attempt to cloak the fundamentally unethical act of sacrificing living members of our species, homo sapiens, in order to provide raw material for research.”

 

Obama also issued a second directive purporting to free federally sponsored scientific research from the influence of “ideology.” Johnson commented, “Giving an absolutely free hand to elites of specialists can result in the ideology of the specialists being imposed on society as a whole.   Scientific endeavors that utilize human subjects or otherwise pose dangers to innocent human life must always be subject to oversight by society as a whole, through regular democratic processes.”

 

National Right to Life spokespersons are available for comment on these subjects.  To arrange an interview, please contact the NRLC Communications Department at (202) 626-8825 or mediarelations@nrlc.org.

 

The National Right to Life Committee is the nation’s largest pro-life group with affiliates in all 50 states and over 3,000 local chapters nationwide.  National Right to Life works through legislation and education to protect those threatened by abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and assisted suicide.

 

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Release: Sebelius Nomination Continues Obama Abortion Agenda

For immediate release:                                                    
Tuesday, March 3, 2009          

 SEBELIUS NOMINATION CONTINUES
OBAMA ABORTION AGENDA

WASHINGTON – The following statement may be attributed to David N. O’Steen, Ph.D., executive director of the National Right to Life Committee:

 The selection of an extreme pro-abortionist as head of the Department of Health and Human Services is tragic, but not surprising.  Viewed in the context of Barack Obama’s first month in office, his nomination of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius represents a continuation of the extreme abortion agenda Obama hopes to enact.

 Already he has rescinded the Mexico City Policy, allowing taxpayer funds to go to organizations that perform and promote abortion overseas.  And the Administration is set to take action this week to rescind a regulation that enforces federal laws protecting the conscience rights of doctors and other health care providers.

 Governor Sebelius is one in a line of pro-abortion activists appointed to positions in the Obama administration: Dawn Johnsen, former legal director of NARAL, was named as assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel; Ellen Moran, former executive director of the pro-abortion EMILY’s List, was appointed White House communications director; and Melody Barnes, Obama’s domestic policy advisor, previously served on the boards of both EMILY’s List and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

 Indeed, many of Obama’s appointees to key public policy and health-related positions look like a “Who’s Who” of the Abortion Industry focused on promoting and protecting abortion on demand.

 The National Right to Life Committee is the nation’s largest pro-life group with affiliates in all 50 states and over 3,000 local chapters nationwide.  National Right to Life works through legislation and education to protect those threatened by abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and assisted suicide.

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