PROPOSED 2008 FEDERAL LEGISLATION
Pro-Abortion US Senator Reintroduces Bill Targeting Crisis Pregnancy Centers
Senate Bill Would Protect Women From Botched Abortions, Requires Hospital Priveleges
Revised Global AIDS Program Would Emphasize Abstinence and Fidelity
PRO-ABORTION U.S. SENATOR REINTRODUCES BILL TARGETING CRISIS PREGNANCY CENTERS. The bill targets the thousands of crisis pregnancy centers across the country that offer tangible help to pregnant women. Sen. Robert Menendez alleges the centers mislead women by giving them information on abortion's risks and alternatives.
The so-called "Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women’s Services Act" would place burdensome regulations on pregnancy centers. It would also force the Federal Trade Commission to create and enforce rules to prohibit deceptive practices that pregnancy centers say they never use to reach women — such as advertising under the "abortion services" section of the phone book.
Ironically, abortion businesses themselves have been accused of the same practices and one in New York stopped advertising in the "abortion alternatives section.
Tom Glessner, an attorney with NIFLA who has spent decades helping pregnancy centers, told LifeNews.com the bill is what's deceptive, not the help centers. "This is the same old tired ranting from the abortion lobby," Glessner said. He said abortion advocates "get hysterical about the effective work of pro-life agencies that are taking away business (and money) from them by providing alternatives to abortion." [3Apr08, LifeNews.com, DC]
SENATE BILL WOULD PROTECT WOMEN FROM BOTCHED ABORTIONS & REQUIRES HOSPITAL PRIVELEGES FOR ABORTION PROVIDER. The new Pregnant Women Health and Safety Act, introduced 2Apr08, would protect pregnant women from the aftereffects of a botched abortion.
The bill requires abortion practitioners to have admitting privileges at a local hospital to be able to admit a woman suffering from life-threatening medical concerns after a failed abortion.
Vitter, a Louisiana lawmaker and the primary author of the bill, told LifeNews.com the legislation is "so important because it provides common sense qualifications for abortion providers…As with all medical procedures, abortions carry a risk, and doctors who provide them should, at the least, hold admitting privileges at a hospital in close vicinity to the abortion clinic, [sic]" he said in a statement.
The bill also requires abortion practitioners to notify patients of the location of a local hospital where they can receive follow-up medical treatment in the event of post-abortion complications. [3Apr08, D.C., LifeNews.com]
REVISED GLOBAL AIDS PROGRAM WOULD EMPHASIZE ABSTINENCE AND FIDELITY. Rep. Smith's House Floor statement outlines case for abstinence and fidelity
The House of Representatives is today considering revised legislation regarding global AIDS relief. H.R. 5501, the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008, deleted the provisions found in an early February version of the act that would have funded abortion providers. Congressman Rep. Chris Smith explained that H.R. 5501 was "aptly named for two of the giants" of Congress "who shepherded President George W. Bush’s PEPFAR initiative through the Congress in 2003."
"On the prevention side, the legislation requires that the Global AIDS Coordinator provide balanced funding for sexual transmission prevention including abstinence, delay of sexual debut, monogamy, fidelity and partner reduction," explained Rep. Smith in his statement to the House about today’s “PEPFAR Consensus.”
"If less than 50% of sexual transmission prevention monies are spent on the Abstinence and the Be faithful parts of the ABC model, the Coordinator must provide a written justification."
"No generalized HIV epidemic has ever been rolled back by a prevention strategy primarily based on condoms. Instead, the few successes in turning around generalized HIV epidemics, such as Uganda, were achieved not through condoms but by getting people to change their sexual behavior."
"Researchers increasingly agree that curbing behavior is key to slowing the spread of AIDS in Africa," noted Smith.
"In a July report, southern African AIDS experts and officials listed 'reducing multiple and concurrent partnerships' as their first priority for preventing the spread of HIV in a region where nearly 15 million people are estimated to carry the virus – 38 percent of the world's total."
Smith also addressed objections against revisions to the AIDs relief bill that restored provisions requiring all groups receiving government funds to pledge their opposition to prostitution and sex trafficking.
"Let me be clear on an important point because there has been some confusion in the press (but not in the implementation of the law) as to whether or not prostitutes and other victims can receive treatment, palliative care, and commodities including test kits and condoms. And the answer is absolutely yes."
Smith also noted the protection the revised AIDS relief program will afford faith-based organizations, "The conscience clause in HR 5501 restates, improves, and expands conscience protection in a way that ensures that organizations like Catholic Relief Services, which has a remarkable record of HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and care, are not discriminated against or in any way precluded from receiving public funds."
Smith was a staunch opponent of early February changes Rep. Tom Lantos's proposed for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Lantos insisted that the PEPFAR prescribe reproductive health and family planning programs that would have encouraged activity from abortion groups.
The State Department quickly announced that President George W. Bush opposed Lantos's "draft in its current form."
"We are deeply concerned that the draft repeatedly invokes 'reproductive health' and 'family planning,' and requires linkages, referrals on reporting training, support, and direct funding for these activities," the State Department stated.
"Prior drafts of the legislation would have given billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to hundreds of the most pro-abortion organizations who are today seeking to overturn the sovereign pro-life laws of numerous African countries," explained Smith.
Lantos's proposal also removed priority funding
for the highly effective abstinence and fidelity programs that had proven so helpful in Africa.
"Abstinence education, which has proven effective in target countries in reducing HIV/AIDS, would be removed. Providers of HIV/AIDS preventive services would be required to refer for family planning services, which may include abortion, thus cutting faith-based groups from participation. This would force American taxpayers to fund groups that commit abortions overseas," explained Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America.
Before the early February version of the AIDS relief program was approved, the Foreign Affairs Committee called for a bipartisan revision of the legislation. The revised legislation removed the controversial mentions of reproductive health and family planning.
The revised AIDS relief program "does not create new family planning programs to fund international abortion groups," explained Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.
Previous: Pro-Family Forces Achieve Compromise to Allow Continuation of Abstinence Education in Massive US AIDS Program
Tanzanian President: Bush's AIDS Program with Abstinence Provision is Saving Lives
New Emergency AIDS Relief Plan Would Fund Abortion and Prostitution Groups
U.S. HIV/AIDS Funds Going to Forced Abortion Groups in China Via Swiss Global Fund
Bush Doubles AIDS Relief Funding While Congress Introduces Bill to Cut Modest Abstinence Requirements
Read Rep. Smith's House Floor statement:
[2April08, Michael Baggot, D.C., LifeSiteNews.com]
GA Gov Sonny Perdue recently signed 2 pro-life bills: one allows women to see the ultrasound of their unborn children; then, SB148, Saving the Cure Act, encourages ethical umbilical cord, placental tissue, and amniotic fluid stem cell research.
This bill also calls for universal collection of these postnatal tissues/fluid for medical research and treatment. It passed 39-15 in the Senate and 158-0 in the House. “With the passage of SB148, Georgia immediately emerges as a national leader in ethical stem cell research”, GA Right to Life stated. [EFA, May-June07]
LA Gov signs both SB 161 and HB 614. Gov. Kathleen Blanco signed two versions of a late-term abortion ban 13July07, making Louisiana the first state to prohibit the procedure in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
House Bill 614 and Senate Bill 161 are largely similar, but not identical.
Both make it a felony to perform what some call “partial birth” abortions, during which part of a fetus is pulled from the uterus and the skull is punctured. Both measures subject the person performing the abortion to at least a year in prison, a minimum $10,000 fine or both. An exception would be made if the mother’s life is at risk.
The bills differ on the definition of “physician” and on the father’s right to seek civil damages.
Rather than veto one of the bills, Blanco signed both knowing the Senate bill will take precedence. Under state law, when the Legislature passes conflicting legislation on the same subject matter, whichever bill gets to the governor’s desk last becomes law. The rationale is that the latest bill advanced by lawmakers is the last expression of legislative will. “The governor wanted to make sure the intent of the Legislature was respected,” Ryder said. State Rep. Gary Beard, who sponsored HB614, said he hopes the bills can be blended together to incorporate the nuances of his legislation.
SB161 defines a physician as a person in good standing with the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners. Beard’s bill is broader, encompassing doctors authorized to practice in any state. The bills also diverge on the father’s right to seek civil damages.
HB614 excludes fathers who are 17 years of age or older and who consented to the abortion, as well as those whose criminal conduct caused the pregnancy, from pursuing damages. SB161 only excludes fathers whose criminal conduct — such as rape or incest — led to the pregnancy.
In March07, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a 2003 federal law banning “partial birth” abortions.
The ruling opened the gate for federal prosecutors to pursue doctors who violate the law. The state legislation allows state prosecutors to also seek the violators.
Earlier this week, Blanco vetoed an amendment by Beard that would have shuffled $500,000 in the state budget to an abstinence program. The governor said the amendment would have reduced funding for health-care programs such as immunizations. Beard noted that the governor left funding intact for a program to purchase condoms. [14July07, Advocate Capitol News Bureau, M. Millhollon, Page: 10A]
Mississippi Gov Barbour Signs Abortion Trigger Law, Ultrasound Requirement. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour signed a bill on Thursday that would prohibit abortions in the state should the Supreme Court ever overturn Roe v. Wade. The bill would also require abortion businesses there to allow women considering an abortion to see an ultrasound beforehand. Under the trigger law, the only cases of abortion that would be allowed after Roe is reversed would be when the abortion directly threatens the life of the mother and in cases of rape. The bill doesn't have an incest exception but legislators said it would be covered under the definition of rape. Anyone who would do an illegal abortion if the law goes into effect would be sentenced to as much as 10 years in prison. Another part of the bill would become law on July 1 and it requires abortion practitioners to allow women considering an abortion to view an ultrasound beforehand. Studies show that most women decide not to have an abortion after seeing the high-tech images of their unborn child. Mary Spaulding Balch, an attorney for National Right to Life who addresses state legislation, said she was delighted to see Mississippi become the eighth state to enact legislation relating to ultrasounds and abortion. She said it reflects a growing national trend in which states are increasingly providing women with the full range of information possible before they make the life and death decision of abortion. [24March07, Jackson, MS LifeNews.com]
STATEWIDE Euthanasia/Physician Assisted Suicide
2007 legislative measures to legalize assisted-suicide:
Most of the 2007 proposals are virtually identical to Oregon's assisted-suicide law. Such attempts are not new.
From 1994 through 2006, 77 legislative proposals in 22 states would have legalized assisted suicide. All failed. [http://www.internationaltaskforce.org, 6/07]
2007 FEDERAL Congressional Update
Employment Non-Discrimination Act – ENDA
Revised SCHIP Bill Does Not Codify Rule Helping Women Avoid Abortions
Senate May Vote on Federal Abortion Funding Early November
EMPLOYMENT NON-DISCRIMINATION ACT – ENDA. As early as 31October, ENDA, H.R. 3685 is expected to be debated and voted on in the U.S. House of Representatives. If signed into law, ENDA would place "sexual orientation" into a category similar to race, gender and age and FORCE employers and even Christian businesses, Boy Scouts, universities, schools religious radio and television stations and daycares to violate their religious beliefs by hiring applicants whose behavior is considered sinful and bizarre. UPDATE: President Bush will veto ENDA if passed by U.S. House
REVISED SCHIP BILL DOES NOT CODIFY RULE HELPING WOMEN AVOID ABORTIONS. Pro-life groups largely did not weigh in on Thursday on a bill to reauthorize the SCHIP program, but the measure could possibly have picked up extra votes had it contained a provision they support. The bill did not codify a program into law that helps pregnant women avoid abortions.
In 2002, President Bush authorized a change in the SCHIP program that allowed states to cover poor pregnant women and their unborn babies under the medical insurance program.
In total, 12 states including California, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Texas, Wisconsin and Michigan have done so.
Pro-life groups were thankful for the "unborn child rule" Bush put in place because it provides help to vulnerable pregnant women who might have an abortion because of financial pressures.
When Congress considered a bill to massively expand the SCHIP program, pro-abortion leaders removed the unborn child rule. Eventually, Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa added an amendment that made sure the rule stayed in place for now.
However, lawmakers rejected an amendment by Sen. Wayne Allard of Colorado to make the unborn child rule a permanent part of the SCHIP program.
President Bush ultimately vetoed the bill and Democratic leaders put forward a revised version of their SCHIP expansion bill on Thursday that failed to get enough votes to override a second expected presidential veto.
Douglas Johnson, the legislative director of National Right to Life, told LifeNews.com that "the Democratic leadership in the House [again] refused to allow a vote on an amendment to codify the rule," with language similar to the Allard amendment.
While the revised SCHIP bill contains the Grassley "neutrality" language, abortion advocates missed out an opportunity to gain more support for the bill by prohibiting lawmakers from making the unborn child rule permanent.
States are still free to use the rule to help poor pregnant women avoid abortions but Congressional leaders could still work to topple it, especially if an abortion advocate is elected in next year's elections. [25Oct07, Ertelt, LifeNews.com, DC]
SENATE MAY VOTE ON FEDERAL ABORTION FUNDING IN EARLY NOVEMBER. The U.S. Senate could vote on an amendment to make sure that federal funds are not used directly to pay for abortions as early as next week. Though the Senate has frequently voted on funding groups that could use tax dollars to pay for abortions, but it hasn't voted on direct abortion funding since 1999.
Next week, at the earliest, the Senate is expected to take up S. 1200, a bill to make extensive changes to the laws governing federal health programs for American Indians, which are administered by the Indian Health Service (IHS).
According to an action alert LifeNews.com received from the National Right to Life Committee, IHS funds were used some years ago to pay for abortions directly in almost every circumstance.
That funding no longer exists but pro-life groups and lawmakers want to add language to it proactively to ensure funding does not resume in the future.
Pro-life Sen. David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican intends to offer an amendment to make the ban on abortion funding through IHS permanent, except in extremely rare instances.
"It is necessary to amend the permanent law to ensure that it does not occur again in the future," NRLC says in its action alert. "All U.S. Senators need to hear immediately from constituents who are opposed to federal funding of abortion."
The Vitter Amendment is similar to the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits direct federal funding of abortions, but would permanently apply to the IHS law in all federal Indian health programs.
Senate office of any senator 202-224-3121 or http://www.senate.gov and look up your senators by name.
[25Oct07, Ertelt, LifeNews.com DC]
Pence Amendment & PP. On July 19, during floor debate, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) offered an amendment that would deny all Title X family planning funds to Planned Parenthood/its affiliates.
Rep. Pence called his amendment a "domestic Mexico City Policy." The funding for Title X family planning programs would not be reduced but funding would be denied to "the largest abortion provider in America." (CR H8154-7, 7/19/2007).
The Pence Amendment was rejected, 189-yes, 231-no, 16-not voting (Roll Call 684).
According to their own 2005-2006 Annual Report, Planned Parenthood received over a third of their income–$300 million–from government funding. Although the government monies are prohibited by law from being used for abortions, that funding still helps Planned Parenthood in its overall operations. Pence (R-IN) offered the amendment to the Labor-Health and Human Services Appropriations bill. [FRC, 19July07]
100 House members sign onto Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act
Washington DC, August 6 (CNA).-More than 100 members of the House have signed on as co-sponso
rs to a federal bill that would require abortion providers to give women seeking abortions information on the unborn baby and the intense pain the baby experiences in the abortion process. Under the bill, the woman would also be offered the option to reduce the unborn baby's pain through anesthesia.
U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R—NJ) introduced the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act last week.
"Expert testimony and scientific studies have shown that unborn children have the ability to feel pain from 20 weeks of gestation," said Smith, who is co-chairman of the Bipartisan Pro-Life Caucus. "Abortion providers are aware of this information, which, I might add, is well-documented and continues to expand. There are no federal guidelines that require the provider to share this information with a woman seeking an abortion. This legislation would fill that void."
Smith noted that a number of states have informed consent laws similar to this act, but there is no uniformity from state to state.
The House of Representatives (109th Congress) voted on the bill in December 2006, and approved it on a 250-162 vote. However, the measure was brought up under special rules requiring a two-thirds vote and, as a result, the bill failed. With abortion advocates now in control of Congress bills like Smith's may not get a hearing or a debate and vote. [www.lifenews.com/nat3253.html]
According to Smith, the partial-birth abortion ban trials leading up to the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the ban have drawn new attention to the pain that unborn children feel during an abortion.
In expert testimony during those trials, Dr. Kanwljeet Anand, director of the Pain Neurobiology Lab at the Arkansas Children's Hospital Research Institute, stated: "The human fetus possesses the ability to experience pain from 20 weeks of gestation, if not earlier, and the pain perceived by a fetus is possibly more intense than that perceived by term newborns or older children." [CNA, 6Aug07]
Mr. Smith Appeals to Washington
Refusing to give in on a bill that could ease the suffering of the unborn, Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) reintroduced the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act before Congress adjourned.
Together with over 100 cosponsors, Smith will pick up where he left off in December after the legislation fell just shy of the votes needed to pass in the House.
Under the bill, women would be informed that their unborn children can feel pain after just 20 weeks in the womb. H.R. 3442 would require abortion providers to inform women about their baby's torment, as well as offer them the option of reducing that torment through anesthesia.
Once they understand the facts, more women are likely to reconsider their abortion.
"Far too many liberals decry the treatment of terror suspects but turn a blind eye to the torture of the unborn. The double standard must stop here."
House Bill Brought Back on Pain Unborn Children Feel During Abortions [www.lifenews.com/nat3253.html]