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Sanctity of Life

Charlie Gard: Why his struggle may soon be ours

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Charlie Gard is an innocent 11-month-old who was born with a rare genetic disease that is costly to treat. Because of that, he will now be allowed to die.

Although he lives in the U.K., Charlie’s case is not irrelevant to Americans. While frustrating and difficult, this is the reality of big government and socialized medicine. When the government becomes the ultimate decision maker, the rights of the individual are secondary. Our Founders believed that rights are endowed by God and can, therefore, only be taken away by God or by individual forfeiture. They knew that everything given by the government could also be taken by the government and, thus, designed a Constitution and system of government to protect the individual from the state.

American medicine and technology is among the most cutting edge in the world, but a socialized, single-payer health care structure, like that in the U.K., is not driven by research and cure, but profit. In 1999, the Brits established the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). According to their website, NICE is, “a special health authority, to reduce variation in the availability and quality of NHS treatments and care.” Basically, NICE unilaterally decides what treatments are profitable and which ones are, in their view, a waste of government money.

Throwing this responsibility on one entity grossly overestimates the judgment of current science. In the 20th century, contracting smallpox was a death sentence, but in 1980, the World Health Organization declared smallpox eradicated. We wouldn’t have modern medicine if not for scientists who tackled these “incurable” diseases and brave individuals who voluntarily joined clinical trials. Research thrives in a free market system, because it must have the freedom to make mistakes in order to develop cures.

In the U.S., we do have the relative freedom to pursue alternative treatments and research cures. However, a small, yet controversial provision of ObamaCare, called the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), is moving us further away from a free market based health care system and is shoving us in the direction of a single-payer system.

IPAB was modeled after the British NICE and is an essentially unchecked, unprecedented, rationing board of 15 unelected bureaucrats aimed at controlling Medicare costs. Although legally IPAB cannot “ration” care, it does have the authority to control prices. IPAB can choose to drive the Medicare payments for any service so low that it no longer becomes possible for doctors to offer this service to Medicare patients. In theory, Medicare would still pay for a range of treatments, but in practice, for those who depend solely on Medicare, some services would be priced out, and voila, we have rationing.

IPAB’s recommendations will have the force of law unless they are countered by a 2/3 majority in the Senate, and the Senate can only weigh in if Congress’ total Medicare expenditures do not exceed IPAB’s recommended levels. The drafters of ObamaCare did not trust the people or their elected representatives to sustain a system that relies on the rationing of care and, thus, sought to isolate the Board from Congressional oversight and the normal checks and balances of the legislative process. As if this weren’t terrifying enough, ObamaCare exempts IPAB recommendations from either administrative or judicial review.

In 2011, then-President Obama not only defended IPAB, but argued for its price control expansion into private markets as well. IPAB was his best effort at pushing the U.S. into a socialized, single-payer system. Congress is now in the limited window of opportunity to repeal IPAB, but must act by August 15, or IPAB is permanent and can never be repealed.

IPAB is an unprecedented concession of congressional power and allowing IPAB to take effect could result in further unconstitutional delegation of congressional authority down the road. We cannot leave the care needed by some of the sickest and highest risk patients in the nation in the hands of 15 bureaucrats. Health care choices should be made by individuals in consultation with their doctors and not by the government.

We should heed Charlie’s case as an example of gross government overreach and repeal IPAB immediately.

Editor’s Note: A version of this article was published by Fox News. View it here.

 

We are Charlie

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This morning, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., leaders of the pro-life community gathered to offer their prayers and support for Chris, Connie, and Charlie Gard of England.

Across the world, people are reacting in shock and horror at a recent ruling that grants London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital the power to choose when and how baby Charlie lives or dies. However, the almost universal outrage at the callous and injustice nature of this decision has produced a wave of people who are banding together to fight for Charlie’s life.

Penny Nance, the CEO and President of Concerned Women for America, Marjorie Dannenfelser, the President of the Susan B. Anthony List, and other prominent figures in the pro-life community condemned the ruling of the British court during their joint press conference . However, they also applauded both President Trump and Pope Francis for speaking about the injustice of this decision.

Penny Nance, in her statement at the press conference, noted that, “Charlie cannot speak for himself, but God gave him good parents who love him and have his best interest at heart. Surely they should be allowed to make the decision of when to quit.” These words succinctly frame the issue that has been articulated by many people around the world: whose child is Charlie Gard?

From the ruling of the British court, it appears that the government deems themselves the appropriate authority. However, the world is uniting to fight this idea and to fight for the right of Charlie’s parents to love their son in the best way that they can—by trying to give him a chance at life.

To the Great Ormond Street Hospital—the world is watching your actions. And to Charlie’s parents—there are millions of people praying for your family and for Charlie’s healing. We will never give up hope that God will change the hearts of Charlie’s doctors, and we will never give up hope that the truth will ultimately prevail.

We urge you to pray for Charlie’s release from the hospital, for his healing, and for his family as they fight for their baby boy’s life. All life has intrinsic value, and it’s time for the world to recognize this principle.

In the words of Catherine Glenn Foster, the President and CEO of Americans United for Life, “We are all Charlie.” God has big things in store for Charlie Gard’s little life, and we will never, ever stop fighting for his chance to live.

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Kyle Permann is the 2017 Antonin Scalia Legal Fellow for Concerned Women for America

Planned Parenthood Doesn’t Need Our Money

By | Legal, News and Events, Planned Parenthood, Sanctity of Life | No Comments

Planned Parenthood’s annual budget is a massive $1.5 billion. You provide, through your tax dollars, 41% of that.  Is this necessary? The numbers are clear, and the answer is a resounding, “No.”

To understand the financial situation of Planned Parenthood, it is helpful to examine its past two annual reports. These reports offer insight on why the federal government should shift funding away from Planned Parenthood without fear of depriving women of health care.

The two most popular and frequent arguments against shifting funding away from Planned Parenthood revolve around two specific services that Planned Parenthood provides for women: birth control and health examinations. Indeed, Planned Parenthood prides itself on promoting and supporting all aspects of women’s health. However, from 2014-2015 to 2015-2016, the numbers of services in this capacity went down significantly.

While the 2014-2015 report does not include the numbers for well-woman exams, the numbers of this service only account for 2% of all services provided by Planned Parenthood in 2015-2016. Additionally, the amount of birth control distributed through their centers went down by 140,000 from 2014-2015.

The services which liberals offer as evidence of the necessity of Planned Parenthood for women’s health care are decreasing every year, yet the numbers of abortions are growing. In the past year, the number of abortions increased by 5,000. This simple fact, found through a quick overview of Planned Parenthood’s annual report, proves the foundation for the true mission of the largest abortion provider in the nation.

Planned Parenthood, even with the decrease in specific health services, is continually growing both its excess revenue and its net assets. In the past two fiscal years, Planned Parenthood’s net assets have increased by almost $140 million with an excess revenue of $138 million.

How is this possible when Planned Parenthood’s services for women are decreasing steadily? The sad but simple answer is “abortion.” Planned Parenthood conducted 328,348 abortions in 2015-2016, and the profit from those abortions ranges anywhere from $136 million to $364 million.

Why are we funding this organization with our tax dollars?  Add to this the fact that Planned Parenthood is currently under investigation for selling aborted baby parts, and the fact is there is no reason we should be funding them.

It’s time for Congress to reevaluate federal funding for abortion. Planned Parenthood doesn’t need taxpayers’ dollars.  Abortion is not health care, but it is a lucrative business, as we have seen. It is why their services for women are slowly being overwhelmed by STD testing and abortions. Planned Parenthood’s ever-growing wealth indicates that it is more than able to raise a profit on its own.

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Kyle Permann is the 2017 Antonin Scalia Legal Fellow for Concerned Women for America

Capitol Hill Brief — Our Persistence Summer

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We at Concerned Women for America have declared the summer of 2017 as “Persistence Summer.”

It is a time when we are recommitting our efforts to not grow weary in doing good.  Remembering our Lord’s promise in Galatians 6:9 that we will reap a good harvest in due season, if we don’t give up.

We’ve been fighting for the sanctity of human life for 44 years, since that hideous Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, but we are more energized than ever.

We will persist for women and their unborn children.  We will persist for a day when everyone is recognized as having intrinsic worth, as human beings created in the image of God.

We will persist!


Join us on the front lines of our “Persistent Summer.” Join as we persist to bring Biblical, constitutional values back to our nation. Together, we’ll fight for our family, faith, and freedom. Visit www.CapitolHillBrief.org today. If you’d like to hear these commentaries on the radio, find me on your local radio station.

 

Repealing ObamaCare and the Future of Women’s Health Care

By | Legal, Planned Parenthood, Sanctity of Life | No Comments

Health Centers Compared to Planned Parenthoods (Charlotte Lozier Institute)

A repeal of ObamaCare and the subsequent defunding of Planned Parenthood does not mean the end of easy access to women’s health centers. However, the media is still trying to villainize the Republicans’ attempt to fix the collapsing ObamaCare experiment.

The most recent effort was a CNN article discussing the story of a woman, Ariana Gonzalez, who lives in the Imperial Valley of California. Due to long wait periods at her local doctor’s office and complications following the birth of her youngest child, Gonzalez began to frequent a local Planned Parenthood where she received the needed care as well as birth control.

Before the Planned Parenthood opened in her town, however, Gonzalez often crossed the border into Mexico to receive affordable treatment. She fears that, if the current Senate health care bill becomes law, she will once again have to return to Mexico for affordable medical treatment and birth control because her Planned Parenthood will shut down due to lack of funding.

She criticizes the GOP, most of whom are men, for deciding what is best for women. However, this single quote in the article reveals the true intent behind Gonzalez’ story. While she may indeed struggle to find care, this criticism is a talking point straight from Planned Parenthood’s playbook.

While the media continually promotes the falsehood that conservatives do not care about women, a quick examination of the facts reveals the very opposite. Data from the Charlotte Lozier Institute reveals that there are currently twenty-three federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) for every Planned Parenthood.

FQHCs are facilities that “are required to provide comprehensive services to an underserved area or population, offer a sliding fee scale, have an ongoing quality assurance program, and have a governing board of directors, the majority of whom are patients of the health center.” These FQHCs are alternatives to Planned Parenthoods, and the new Republican health care plan will redirect funding to FQHCS. The funding is meant to improve the quality and expand the service at these centers.

Gonzalez herself has an FQHC in her town, which could provide her with the care that she requires. Yet, in response to this option, she recounts the long wait time when she went to the clinic to receive care for her son.

Wait time is a normal aspect of any doctor’s office, yet returning to Mexico for treatment is not the answer. While Gonzalez waited for four hours to see a doctor in her town, she had to go to Mexico and back, and then, according to her own account, waited three hours to get back to the United States after receiving care across the border. Her assessment is an attempt to help Planned Parenthood, but in reality, the facts don’t support it. Also, with more funding for FQHCs, each clinic will be better equipped to help their patients.

Additionally, since Planned Parenthood does not offer pediatric care, Gonzalez must find care for her family elsewhere. Remember also that Gonzalez’ Planned Parenthood will not necessarily close, even if it ceases to receive federal funding.

Planned Parenthood doesn’t even need to lose the government funding.  It’s just so insistent on holding on to abortion that it is choosing to do so. President Trump promised that he would not cut funding to Planned Parenthood if they ceased to perform abortions. Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, responded with indignation: “Planned Parenthood has always stood strong against these attacks on our patients and their ability to access the full range of reproductive health care.” So, it is Planned Parenthood who is choosing their own agenda over the real needs of millions of women.

Like many women, Gonzalez uses Planned Parenthood as a place to quickly and easily acquire her regular birth control. Even with a new health care plan, the HHS birth control mandate will still be in place. In Gonzalez’ town of El Centro, her local health center would be able to fulfill her need for birth control.

Every cent that is spent helping Planned Parenthood concentrate on abortion today will still go towards women’s health. These clinics provide care for a much larger range of people and the whole woman, while Planned Parenthood’s main focus, as we have seen time and again, is abortion.

It’s time to redirect federal funding in a way that benefits the most people. As a result, women like Ariana Gonzalez will receive better care and will not have to help Planned Parenthood continue its abortion promotion, just to get birth control.

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Kyle Permann is the 2017 Antonin Scalia Legal Fellow for Concerned Women for America

The Radical Normality of the Pro-Life View

By | Blog, Defense of Family, News and Events, Sanctity of Life | No Comments

The world is shocked by the European Court of Human Rights decision to remove 10-month-old Charlie Gard from life support against the wishes of his parents. After his doctors said there was nothing more they could do for him, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, Charlie’s parents, raised 1.6 million dollars to move Charlie from London to the United States to pursue another treatment. Charlie has a rare genetic disorder that resulted in brain damage, and while the treatment they were pursuing was experimental, it was their last option in the fight for their son’s precious life.

But the doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital said, “No.” The High Court said, “No.” The Supreme Court said, “No.” The European Court of Human Rights said, “No.” The decision was final; Charlie Gard must die, because there is more “dignity” in removing him from life support than pursuing treatment. Death has become more dignified than life. And so the world is shocked.

I am not shocked. I am heartbroken and angry, but I am not surprised. The value of life begs for consistency. The moment it became acceptable to toss aside one human life, life everywhere became less valuable. For 50 years in England and 44 years in the United States, abortion has been legal. Throughout the decades that have followed, abortion has become morally acceptable. As it became acceptable for doctors to kill unborn children, absolute moral insensitivity followed.

At first there was the argument that the fetus was not a person. It served as a moral remedy for a time, but the majority of people today agree that this notion is now baseless. Science has shown us the heartbeats of children in the womb and their response to pain. We know they are human.

There is no excuse anymore, and there has not been such an excuse for a long time. But abortions have continued, in spite of the knowledge that the heartbeat on an ultrasound is not unlike the one that beats inside of you and me.

Following the legalization of abortion in the western world, the last several decades have witnessed so-called ethicists arguing for “after-birth abortions” or infanticide, the killing of infants after they are born. “Death with dignity” — euthanasia laws — have been passed throughout Europe and various states in the U.S. Peter Singer, the well-known moral philosopher and Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, wrote, “[T]he notion that human life is sacred just because it is human life is medieval.”

Abortion has put us on a slippery slope headed towards moral bankruptcy. Americans have cried out against the European courts for ruling against Charlie’s parents, for ruling against the fight for Charlie’s life. But America? We are headed down that same slope. We are on our way, unless we choose to be exceptional in our regard for all human life. Pope John Paul II said these words to America in 1987, and they are just as apropos today.

“America the beautiful! So you sing in one of your national songs. Yes, America, you are beautiful indeed, and blessed in so many ways … But your greatest beauty and your richest blessing is found in the human person: in each man, woman, and child …

“For this reason, America, your deepest identity and truest character as a nation is revealed in the position you take towards the human person. The ultimate test of your greatness in the way you treat every human being, but especially the weakest and most defenseless ones.

“The best traditions of your land presume respect for those who cannot defend themselves. If you want equal justice for all, and true freedom and lasting peace, then, America, defend life! All the great causes that are yours today will have meaning only to the extent that you guarantee the right to life and protect the human person …”

There are many takeaways for the United States from the story of Charlie Gard, including the implications of state-run health care and parental rights. But the most prominent and the most vital to our success as a nation is a deep respect and genuine care for the intrinsic value of all human life. The idea that life is to be fought for, fiercely, until the very end should not be radical, it should be expected.

 

Annabelle Rutledge serves as Communications Coordinator for Concerned Women for America.

Capitol Hill Brief — Religion and Abortion

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I have some hard news.  Thirty-seven percent of women obtaining abortions identified as evangelical or Catholic.

Though self-identification may be a poor form of measuring religious engagements, these findings show that women getting an abortion are willing to be thought of as religious, but are still willing to get an abortion.

This is a tragic failure of the Church to truly educate women on what it means to trust God’s providence and forgiveness in difficult circumstances.

What can we do to help our churches teach pro-life values and support girls who get pregnant?  I think this is a fundamental question that every Christian church has to face, and I hope you will take it in prayer today.


Join us on the front lines, defending critical issues like the sanctity of life through prayer and action. Together, we’ll bring Biblical and constitutional values back to our nation. Stand with us, and give today at www.CapitolHillBrief.org.

If you’d like to hear these commentaries on the radio, find me on your local radio station.

 

Capitol Hill Brief — Planned Parenthood Services

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What does Planned Parenthood actually do? Mammograms? Nope.

What about prenatal care? Actually, only 8% of their clinics do that.

They boast about GYN exams and STD testing, but those are available through the more than 11,000 community health centers in America.

In fact Planned Parenthood only does about 1% of the nation’s pap smears and only about 2% of breast exams.  Yet they perform a full third of the nation’s abortions.

Abortion accounts for 86% of their non-governmental revenue.   94 out of 100 of their pregnant patients get one.

It’s time to stop funding them with our tax dollars.


Join us on the front lines, defending critical issues like the sanctity of life through prayer and action. Together, we’ll bring Biblical and constitutional values back to our nation. Stand with us, and give today at www.CapitolHillBrief.org. If you’d like to hear these commentaries on the radio, find me on your local radio station.

 

Capitol Hill Brief — Every Beating Heart

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I remember hearing the heartbeat of my own children for the first time.

[Heartbeat audio]

Did you know that we can detect a child’s heartbeat beginning at 21 days? And can be heard by monitor at 8-10 weeks!   At 7-12 weeks old, an unborn baby has brain waves and developing features like a nose, mouth, and ears!  At this age in the womb, they can even hiccup and respond to touch!

Sadly, most abortions occur during this time — between 7-12 weeks gestation.

Just because an unborn child is small, doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy of life.  Protecting the unborn should remain a top priority for our nation’s laws and culture.  Let us protect every beating heart.


Join us on the front lines, defending critical issues like the sanctity of life through prayer and action. Together, we’ll bring Biblical and constitutional values back to our nation. Stand with us, and give today at www.CapitolHillBrief.org. If you’d like to hear these commentaries on the radio, find me on your local radio station.