Tag archives: Health Care

FRC Statement on the Christmas Eve Passage of the Health Care ‘Reform’ Bill

by JP Duffy

December 24, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 24, 2009

CONTACT: J.P. Duffy, (202) 679-6800

Washington D.C.- This morning the United State Senate voted 60-39 in favor of final passage of HR 3590, the so-called “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins made the following comments:

Today’s Christmas Eve vote may signal the end of the debate in the Senate, but it’s far from the end of the debate at large. Since Senator Reid’s bad bill is substantially different from the House’s bad bill, the lower chamber will have to vote on the plan again. The Senate bill’s massive funding for elective abortions and the construction of abortion facilities are among the most radical differences. On Monday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted in an interview that the Senate health care bill will force ‘everybody’ in the exchange to pay an abortion premium. The so-called Nelson ‘compromise’ ensures that everyone will pay for abortion—no matter how the funds are divided up.

According to a new Quinnipiac poll, Americans—by a huge three to one margin—are overwhelmingly opposed to using taxpayer dollars to fund abortion. Seventy-two percent of the country is now firmly on the side of Congressman Bart Stupak’s (D-Mich.) solution to ban the government’s financial involvement in the deadly procedure. House and Senate conferees would do well to heed that warning when they come together to iron out their differences with the final bill, else this bill could collapse because of it.

Disagreement over abortion funding is one of the many reasons this fight is far from over. Both House and Senate versions of the bill are seriously flawed. Both bills still allow rationing of health care for seniors, raise health costs for families, mandate that families purchase under threat of fines and penalties, offer counsel about assisted suicide in some states, do not offer broad conscience protections for health care workers and seek to insert the federal government into all aspects of citizen’s lives. Additionally, the bills would place a crushing debt on both current and future generations.”

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Senate Votes to Proceed with Abortion Funding Debacle

by JP Duffy

November 22, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 21, 2009

CONTACT: J.P. Duffy or Maria Donovan, (866) FRC-NEWS

Washington, D.C.- Tonight, in a partisan vote, the U.S. Senate voted to proceed to Senator Reid’s version of the government takeover of health care. Among the several objectionable items included in this bill; like the public option, employer and individual mandates, is the government funding for elective abortion, which is the most onerous and morally objectionable. Additionally the bill provides subsidies for private plans that cover elective abortion. The “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to include elective abortion in the public option and subsidize health plans in the government run exchange that cover elective abortion.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins responded with the following comments:

Forcing Americans to buy government approved health care insurance is arguably unconstitutional. Forcing Americans to fund abortion within the government plan is without question unconscionable. Disregarding the conscience concerns of the vast majority of Americans, the U.S. Senate, voted to proceed to Senator Reid’s new health care takeover bill. Recent polls including a CNN poll released last week shows more than 60% of Americans are opposed to the bill’s provisions that would create the largest expansion of abortion since the 1970s.

Instead of including the bipartisan Stupak-Pitts amendment passed in the House to prevent this government expansion of abortion, Senator Reid included a watered down version of the Capps provision which would flood the coffers of the abortion industry. The Senate should instead adopt the Stupak-Pitts language which would maintain the status quo first established over 30 years ago. Additionally, the Reid bill undermines conscience protections for pro-life health plans and doctors.

It was disappointing to see pro-life Senators Bill Nelson (D-NE) and Bob Casey (D-PA) vote to advance a bill that will vastly expand abortion in America with federal dollars. The burden to protect taxpayers and the unborn from a massive expansion of abortion, as provided for in this bill, now rest upon the shoulders of Senators Nelson and Casey. It is imperative that they stand on principle. ”

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Stupak-Pitts Amendment Speaks Truth to Power

by Chris Gacek

November 20, 2009

There is much gnashing of teeth by abortion supporters over the inclusion of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment in the Speaker Nancy Pelosi health care bill H.R. 3962. Bart Stupak, Michigan Democrat, and Joe Pitts, Pennsylvania Republican, succeeded in amending H.R. 3962 so that no government funds can be used to pay for abortion. Claims that Stupak-Pitts is out of line with current law or that it is unconstitutional are simply false.

The Stupak-Pitts amendment (Stupak-Pitts) combines two principles. First, it contains the core principle of the Hyde Amendment that the government not encourage abortion through direct funding or subsidization of the cost of plans that cover elective abortion. Second, Stupak-Pitts refuses to accept deceptive schemes in which funds deposited into a common pot are claimed to be separate. Stupak-Pitts recognizes the obvious truth that money is fungible. Hence, Stupak does not swallow the deception that government subsidized insurance policies covering abortion do not involve the government in the promotion or encouragement of abortion through subsidies.

Anyone with an ounce of foresight on the Left should have seen this coming. The current principle in federal law a la Hyde is that the United States government does not pay for abortions (with exceptions of mothers life, rape and incest) or pay for the cost of any plan that covers abortion. This principle even carries over to the private plans purchased by government employees. Now, if, as the Democrats want, the government is going to dominate, micro-regulate, and subsidize the nations health care system both government run and privately insured then the question of how the Hyde principle will apply to these new programs arises immediately.

The answer is that Hydes logic runs the gamut of all the new health care expenditures and programs. Therefore, Stupak-Pitts carries Hyde forward and refuses to buy into the accounting gimmicks that would give the Democrats cover for funding abortions. Speaker Pelosi had a choice. She could either allow a vote on Stupaks amendment, or she could accept the defeat of her health care bill. She chose to allow a vote on Stupak-Pitts, and her side lost. To strip Stupak-Pitts from the bill now would be highly dishonest, and, if Stupak-Pitts can count votes, it will lead to the defeat of Obama-Pelosi health care in the House.

As for the claims that Stupak-Pitts is unconstitutional, they are wrong as well.

The major constitutional point here is that the Congress is given wide discretion in deciding how to spend money and fund or not fund certain activities. This is true even if the activity in question rests on the exercise of a constitutional right. The old saw is that merely because there is freedom of the press, the government doesnt have to buy a writer a printing press, paper, and ink. The abortion-promoting members of Congress need to tell us why the government should buy them their equivalent of a printing press.

The argument that Stupak-Pitts violates Establishment Clause principles is absurd. Stupak-Pitts establishes no church or a favored religious organization. It apparently came as a shock to Lynn Woolsey and Diana DeGette that Catholics are allowed to vote and petition their government. While considering whether to import Guy Fawkes Day to the American calendar, they and their acolytes have issued various threats and slanders against the Papists. Such claims probably wont sway Justice Kennedy. Furthermore, you dont have to be a Christian to be pro-life. Even atheists can read ultra-sounds. Ask Bernard Nathanson, a physician and founder of the modern abortion movement whose viewing of fetal ultrasounds led him to reject abortion.

A series of liberal activist constitutional claims are also made against Stupak-Pitts. Equal Protection Clause. Substantive Due Process. Privacy. All the usual suspects. In other words, the gamut of the Were liberals and we dont like this law, so its unconstitutional arguments. Unfortunately for the Stupak opponents, each of these claims could be made against the Hyde Amendment, and the 1980 decision upholding the Hyde Amendment, Harris v. McRae, has stood for 30 years. Furthermore, the public has held constant in its disapproval of government endorsement and promotion of abortion since Hydes first enactment.

Of course, all these arguments are academic in some sense. What matters these days is the amount of raw judicial power that can be exercised by the Supreme Courts judicial activists and policy makers. Stevens, Breyer, Ginsburg, and Sotomayor will vote to overturn Hyde & Stupak. It boils down to Justice Kennedy - - again. Aint life grand in a judicial oligarchy?

Mister, can you spare a copy of the Constitution? [UPDATED 11/18]

by Tony Perkins

November 17, 2009

If so, please send it to Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.). She is the latest example of a Member of Congress who should not be there. I am sure the Founders never envisioned elected Representatives who would not have a grasp of the most basic concepts of the Constitution. It may be time for an amendment requiring members of Congress to take a basic proficiency test on at least the Bill of Rights.

Still lamenting the overwhelming defeat that she and her pro-abortion cohorts suffered in the House when the Stupak-Pitts amendment was attached to the health care bill, Rep. DeGette is now calling for religiously-affiliated groups to be shut out of the public policy process as the bill goes to the Senate.

Last I heard, we had separation of church and state in this country,” she said. “I’ve got to say that I think the Catholic bishops and all of the other groups shouldn’t have input.”

In other words if a group of people who are in association with one another because of their Christian faith, they should not have a collective voice in the crafting of public policy. What she is asserting is that if your ideas and actions are a product of your faith, youre a second class citizen and your voice should not be heard.

This is a far cry from what the Founders believed. Several months after the British surrender at Yorktown, George Washington, in a letter to the Reformed German Congregation of New York, wrote, “The establishment of civil and religious liberty was the motive which induced me to the field (of combat).” Sadly, Diana DeGette seems eager to smother these precious freedoms, neither of which can exist without the other.

Rep. DeGettes comments serve to only further confirm that this takeover is not about healthcare, it is about a radical social policy in which the expansion of abortion, at tax-payer expense, is at the very center of this effort.

If you have a spare Constitution, send it to Congresswoman DeGette.

UPDATE 11/18 (Editor): It now appears that The Hill inaccurately quoted Rep. DeGette. See Tony Perkins’ correction and further statements here.

They Just Can’t Help It

by Rob Schwarzwalder

November 16, 2009

This shouldn’t be a debate about abortion,”’ says the President’s Senior Advisor David Axelrod. The President himself argues that he and his allies in Congress are not “in some way sneaking in funding for abortions, but on the other hand that we’re not restricting women’s insurance choices.”

This is sort of like saying that when eating a four-scoop sundae, the dessert really isn’t about ice cream. Abortion is essential to the Democratic approach to health care. Why? Because if, as the great majority of national Democrats believe, abortion is a matter of public moral neutrality, a procedure not unlike the removal of a nasty tumor, it should be funded (or, as an interim step, subsidized) as part of any federal health insurance regime.

After the vote on the Stupak pro-life amendment on November 7, pro-abortion Members of Congress and their allies in the so-called “progressive” movement became apoplectic. “Abortion is healthcare. That’s the whole point,” wrote ultra-feminist and the Left-wing magazine Nation writer Katha Pollitt. Pollitt has made a career as a Left-liberal who actually speaks her mind (example: after 9/11, she wrote that the American “flag stands for jingoism and vengeance and war”). Of course, her perspective is warped, but at least she says what she thinks.

And what she thinks seems to be what’s in the heart of the current Administration. Mr. Obama has built a career by stating two opposing views and pretending to find common ground between them. Of course, there is - as he admitted in his speech earlier this year at Notre Dame - no real common ground between the culture of life and the culture of death.

By subsidizing health insurance plans that provide abortion, the US government would be providing funds to companies that would thereby have greater financial freedom to pay for abortion and related services.

Mr. President, we either “restrict women’s choices” by refusing to allow the federal government to subsidize abortion providers, or we subsidize insurance companies that pay for abortion. There is no way around it. Your key allies know it. And, in the integrity of your mind, so do you.

More on Health Care & the Constitution

by Rob Schwarzwalder

November 13, 2009

Sen. Daniel Akaka is probably the quietest person in the U.S. Senate. He is known as a kindly man who votes faithfully but is not a vocal or activist member of the “upper body.” But this week, when asked if there is a constitutional basis for the Democratic health care bill, he candidly said, “Im not aware of that, let me put it that way.”

Good way to put it, Senator, because your lack of awareness indicates that at least you know your Constitution well enough to recognize that it contains no basis for this latest exercise in federal elbow-throwing.

Sen. Akaka’s colleague Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) could learn from him. Sen. Reed was asked by a reporter where in the Constitution does Congress get its authority to mandate that individuals purchase health insurance?

Reed responded, I would have to check the specific sections, so Ill have to get back to you on the specific section. But it is not unusual that the Congress has required individuals to do things, like sign up for the draft and do many other things too, which I dont think are explicitly contained (in the Constitution).

Sen. Reed is an undoubted patriot, a former Marine who served honorably in Vietnam. So it is disappointing that someone of his political stature would equate the draft with an individual federal mandate of citizens for non-military purposes. To what many other things is Reed referring?

In the 1918 Arver v. United States case, the Supreme Court ruled that the draft is constitutional because it is essence an implementation of the Constitutions provision for the federal government to create a standing army (Article I, Section 8). Men (and women) are needed to defend the nation, and during times of national crisis conscription might be needed.

The Democratic health plan (H.R. 3962), passed last weekend in the House, goes well beyond any authority conferred on the federal government, through our written Constitution, by “We, the People.” In fact, the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) wrote to the House Ways and Means Committee that “failure to comply with the terms of the law that the Democrats passed last weekend could put people in jail. The JCT told the committee that anyone who decides not to maintain “acceptable health insurance coverage” or, absent that, pay the individual health insurance mandate tax of about 2.5 percent of income, would be liable to large fines or prison sentences” (The Washington Times, “Tax Penalties and Prison,” by Donald Lambro, November 12, 2009).

The JCT went on to write that “H.R. 3962 provides that an individual (or a husband and wife in the case of a joint return) who does not, at anytime during the taxable year, maintain acceptable health insurance coverage for himself or herself and each of his or her qualifying children is subject to an additional tax.”

This mandate is unconstitutional in its own right and also poses a serious threat to the fundamental liberty of ordinary Americans: When the federal government requires specific economic activity (in this case, the purchase or acceptance of a health insurance plan) and threatens to impose “fines or prison sentences” for non-compliance, our essential freedom as citizens is eroded and our path into coerced political subjection all the more obvious - and dangerous.

The Fumes of NARAL and Planned Parenthood

by Chris Curry

November 13, 2009

Wednesdays headline in The Hill led with the caption Abortion-rights groups threaten not to fund Rodriquez and Teague. Apparently NARAL and Planned Parenthood are ticked because Congressman Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas) and Congressman Harry Teague (D-N.M.) voted in support of the Stupak Amendment which removed abortion funding from the health care bill (1).

Very few news organizations are reporting on the divide that is developing within the Democratic Party. Many Congressional Democrats, who firmly believe in the federal funding of abortion, are out for the blood of those who exercised a vote according to their conscience. This shouldnt be terribly surprising since these pro-abortion House Members are also interested in taking away the conscience rights of doctors, but I digress.

Still, there is a huge overlooked question that begs to be asked. Why is a charitable organization which receives federal funds allowed to make financial contributions to candidates who vote for giving federal funds back to the organization? Let alone threaten to remove the base of support when the candidate votes their conscience. Does anyone see anything wrong with this circular problem? Planned Parenthood receives over $350 million annually in federal funds (2). Through this legislation, they were lobbying to up the ante significantly, thus lining their fat pockets even more. And, although the Stupak Amendment passed the House for now, they are not done with that fight!

While NARAL doesnt receive federal funds, their business practices are questionable as they fail to meet the Better Business Standards for Charity Accountability (3). Considering NARALs work got its start through the successful use of enormous lies, this is simply par for the course (4). Every time NARAL comments on issues like these, the public should be reminded of their questionable practices and roots

When will this outrageous behavior end? Who are elected officials representing: the people who vote for them; or the special interests who pay for slick advertising to sway the voters? Okay, so that question is too easy.

Every time Planned Parenthood opens their mouth on an issue like this, why arent reporters calling into question the dog Planned Parenthood has in this hunt?

Why isnt Planned Parenthood being investigated? As previously mentioned, they make campaign contributions to Members of Congress who reciprocate through the funding of Planned Parenthood. Their staff have been recorded numerous times counseling underage girls who admit to being impregnated by adults. Instead of reporting a crime of rape, they provide abortion counseling support and encourage the girls to conceal the age and specifics of their rapists (5).

Reporters need to stop scratching their heads and the surface of these stories. Weve heard it before and Ill shout it again, its time they dig deep, accurately investigate and report on these issues. Weve come a long way from the days of Murrow. Even worse, weve come even further from a time when our elected truly represented the electorate.

(1) Abortion-rights groups threaten not to fund Rodriguez and Teague http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/67473-threat-to-rodriguez-teague-from-abortion-rights-groups-

(2) Planned Parenthood Annual Report: Abortion Totals, Government Funding Increase http://www.lifenews.com/nat4978.html

(3) BBB Wise Giving Report for

NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation http://www.bbb.org/charity-reviews/national/human-services/naral-pro-choice-america-foundation-in-washington-dc-507

(4) Lies and Fraud of Roe v. Wade: http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=53872

(5) Live Action Films: http://liveaction.org/

MSNBC Mid-Morning Host Calls Us “Liars,” “Crazy,” and to “Go Away”

by JP Duffy

November 10, 2009

This morning MSNBC Host Dylan Ratigan attacked my colleague Cathy Ruse after she pointed out how the health care bill (before the adoption of the Stupak amendment) forces Americans to pay for elective abortions Mr. Ratigan called her a “liar” and even said she should just “go away.” Mr. Ratigan should certainly work to improve his on-air manners, but he should also do a better job of getting his facts straight. Both NPR and Politifact agree on what the Stupak amendment will do. Their analysis places the facts on Cathy’s side.

The Stupak amendment maintains the current policy of preventing federal funding for abortion and for benefits packages that include abortion. It clarifies that individuals, both those who receive affordability credits and those who do not, can with their own funds purchase separate supplemental coverage for elective abortions. It also clarifies that private plans that do not receive government subsidies may still offer elective abortions.

Send Mr. Ratigan your thoughts via Twitter.

UPDATE: Media Research Center takes up the segment: MSNBCs Ratigan Accuses Conservative Guest of Lying about Government-Funded Abortion

In the Know…

by Krystle Gabele

November 10, 2009

Here’s some articles of interest.

Health Care and the Constitution

by Rob Schwarzwalder

November 10, 2009

Family Research Council has several critical concerns with the Democratic health care legislation under consideration on Capitol Hill. The sanctity of human life, although safeguarded in the House version of the measure passed on Saturday, remains a live issue as the bill goes to the Senate. Rationing, costs, patient control of medical decisions, an increase in the size and scope of Washingtons power: These and other matters animate FRCs active opposition to the Democratic approach to revising our system of medical care.

But there is another issue that we have raised and will keep raising as the debate goes forward: The constitutionality of the Democratic plans.

When Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked recently at the introduction of her mammoth health care reform bill if the measure was constitutional, the usually glib Californian was caught off-guard. Are you serious? she asked. And, a second time, Are you serious? She then turned to another reporter without answering further.

At least House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer gives the Constitution a guilty nod. He says that the general welfare clause gives Congress the right to pass a massive health care bill full of mandates on businesses and individuals and higher taxes for all.

Mr. Hoyers theory of constitutional interpretation would surprise the documents chief author, James Madison. In a letter written in 1831, he said, With respect to the words general welfare, I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.

In other words, the Constitution gives the federal government few and closely proscribed powers. Those powers not given to the federal government shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people (the Ninth Amendment), and The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people (the Tenth Amendment).

The general welfare, then, refers only to those things the Constitution allows or requires the federal government to do (the powers connected with them under the Constitution). Thus, the general welfare is advanced when the federal government does those things it is charged by the Constitution to do nothing more, nothing less.

The general welfare clause is not an open-ended endorsement of whatever Congress deems in a given moment is in the public interest. Were that the meaning of general welfare, no Constitution itself would even be necessary Congress could simply do whatever it wants regardless of any constitutional limitations.

Of course, thats what Congress does most of the time anyway. But at least conservatives can appeal to a written text whose meaning is clear. Were it not, why have a provision for its amendment (why amend something you can simply reinterpret?) and why have an existing and profoundly important amendment that says those things not delegated to the federal government are in the hands of the states (the Tenth)?

Another supporter of Congresss health care power grab, Dean Erwin Cherminsky of the University of California, Irvine School of Law, argues that Congress can enact sweeping health reform under the Interstate Commerce Clause (Article I, Section 8). His reasoning? The cumulative impact of health care activity across the country.

Dean Cherminsky cites an unbroken line of precedents stretching back 70 years. But nowhere does he cite something far more significant indeed, conclusive than the rulings of positivist, post-New Deal courts: The original intent of the Constitutions authors and signers.

As noted by Georgetown University Law Center professor Randy E. Barnett in the University of Chicago Law Review (former Chicago Law Professor Obama, are you listening?), according to the original meaning of the Commerce Clause, Congress has power to specify rules to govern the manner by which people may exchange or trade goods from one state to another, to remove obstructions to domestic trade erected by states, and to both regulate and restrict the flow of goods to and from other nations (and the Indian tribes) for the purpose of promoting the domestic economy and foreign trade.

Put a bit more simply, the Clause was simply designed to prevent multiple barriers to trade among the various states. The Clause was a necessary control on the conduct of some of the importing States toward their non-importing neighbors (James Madison, 1832). It was never intended to serve as a pretext for Congress to micromanage, control and/or fund (through taxation) any national economic program, including one that would concentrate regulatory and competitive power over medical care in the hands of the U.S. government.

There is no constitutional basis for the Obama/Pelosi/Baucus approach to health reform. Period. Let us not delude ourselves that this is a serious constitutional debate the debate does not exist, at least within the realm of intellectual honesty. It is settled.

The Democratic Congress does not care, nor does the President, nor do many Republicans. But we, the People, should, especially if we care about remaining a nation whose God-bestowed liberties and rights are protected not by the legislative confections of Congress but by a written Constitution whose text defends us from the intrusions of the federal state if, but only if, we are willing to follow it.

Robert Schwarzwalder has served as chief of staff to two Members of Congress and was a presidential appointee under George W. Bush at the Department of Health and Human Services.

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