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Sanctity of Life

Background on Abortion and Obamacare

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The Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare was, and continues to be, a disaster on several fronts. Not only has the cost of insurance skyrocketed and the quality of care declined, but there are legitimate concerns over abortion funding in tax-dollar subsidized plans. The ACA is not subject to the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding of elective abortions, because it “self-appropriates” and was intentionally drafted to sidestep Hyde.

The Hyde Amendment was first introduced by Rep. Henry Hyde over 40 years ago and has been estimated to have saved over two million lives. However, the Hyde Amendment is not government-wide. It is adopted every year through the appropriations process and only applies to certain authorizations outside of the appropriations process, such as the Child Health Insurance Program. As noted above, Hyde does not apply to the ACA.

In 2009, the Democrat-controlled House was drafting early versions of the ACA. During markup in the Energy and Commerce Committee, Reps. Stupak (D-Michigan) and Pitts (R-Pennsylvania) offered three pro-life amendments based on the principle that abortion is not health care. All amendments were defeated and, instead, a measure by Rep. Capps (D-California) was adopted which allowed the funding of abortion-covering plans using an accounting gimmick. This amendment made it into a final version of the ACA that was put on the House floor, but Stupak and a coalition of pro-life Democrats refused to vote for the rule until they received a vote on the Stupak-Pitts Amendment. This amendment prohibited abortion funding in a government insurance program and prohibited federal subsidies for insurance plans that covered abortion. The amendment passed 240-194, and the House passed H.R. 3962.

Senate draft versions of the ACA contained Capps-like language. Sens. Hatch (R-Utah) and Nelson (D-Nebraska) offered an amendment similar to Stupak-Pitts that was tabled by the Senate. Instead, the Senate made hollow changes to the Capps language regarding “separate” payments to secure the vote of Sen. Nelson. The accounting gimmick would allocate a portion of an individual’s premium for elective abortion funding. In a Senate floor speech, Sen. Nelson explained this would include separate checks, a fact the Obama Administration completely ignored.

The special election of Sen. Scott Brown (R-Massachusetts) cost the Democrats their supermajority in the Senate, which complicated things. Senate Democrats voted for the ACA on Christmas Eve, but that bill was never supposed to be final; the differences between that bill and the House bill were to be worked out in conference. House Democrats were forced to pass the Senate version with minor changes that wouldn’t require Senate approval, plus a reconciliation bill (which only requires simple majority in the Senate to pass) to make fixes to the Senate bill, but Rep. Stupak continued to publicly oppose the Senate language. Ultimately, Rep. Stupak conceded and voted for the bill in exchange for an executive order (EO). The House passed the bill, and it was signed into law on March 23, 2010, and the promised EO, that merely reiterated the Capps principles and, therefore, was completely worthless, was issued on March 24.

The law, section 1303 of the ACA, requires abortion-related services to be collected via a separate payment, which must be at least $1 per enrollee per month, to be collected and kept in a separate fund. However, enforcement was left up to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and President Obama issued guidance that said separate payments could be collected together. Seriously. This means that taxpayer dollars through subsidies and cost-sharing reduction payments are co-mingled with funds that pay for elective abortions.

Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith Wins Historic Mississippi Election

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Washington, D.C. — Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith won Mississippi’s runoff election, defeated Democrat challenger Mike Espy for Mississippi’s U.S. Senate seat.

Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America, issued this response:

 “I would like to whole-heartedly congratulate Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith on her historic election.  As the first woman elected to Congress from the great state of Mississippi, she inspires a new generation of conservative women.  Concerned Women for America LAC was proud to endorse her and urge our members in Mississippi to simply vote their values.  Our members around the nation prayed for her and will continue to do so as she continues the hard work of representative government.  We are excited to work alongside her on key issues like the protection of  life and religious freedom here and around the world and to stand firm for the nation of Israel.

“In all the media chatter regarding the ‘year of the woman,’ many neglect to notice that women are not monolithic and a large number embrace conservative values, especially the dignity and sanctity of human life.  The historic elections this year of Cindy Hyde-Smith and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) to the U.S. Senate and Governors Kristi Noem (R-South Dakota) and Kimberly Reynolds (R-Iowa) strongly counter that narrative. Conservative women applaud their election not simply based on gender but based on their support of our principles.”

 


For an interview with Penny Nance, contact Annabelle Rutledge at [email protected] or 916-792-3973.

National Adoption Awareness Month: A Chance at Life

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It was the summer of 1952. The Olympics were in full swing, and I was a newly minted high school graduate. I was also 17 and about a month-and-a-half pregnant.

Neither my mother, nor my boyfriend found out until after graduation, and they didn’t seem too interested in helping me decide what to do. In fact, my mother chose to wash her hands of the entire situation and provided me nothing by way of help or comfort. We weren’t a Christian family at that time, so I didn’t even have a church family I could go to for help.

What I did have, though, was an uncle who worked hard to help me. Uncle Dick was 13 years older than me and seemed more like an older brother than an uncle. When my mother told him about my situation, he found the solution. To this day, I do not know how he found it, but near where I lived in the Chicago area, Uncle Dick came across the Florence Crittenton Home for Unwed Mothers, and I moved in immediately.

Uncle Dick also found me a position with Kemper Insurance Company, so I could earn money to help contribute to the “home.” His plan was to help me through the pregnancy as best he could. If I had come home to small-town Evanston with a child and no husband, I would have been treated like a leper. So, Uncle Dick thought the best thing to do was to give the baby up for adoption. (That the suggestion of an abortion never came up — and yes, they were being done back then — is something I definitely consider a blessing.)

He contacted an adoption agency for me — Catholic Charities, if memory serves — and I knew that when I gave birth, the baby would be turned over to them. And that is exactly what happened. On February 3, 1953, I gave birth to a healthy baby girl. I had hoped to hold her before she was given to Catholic Charities, and they even offered. For some reason, though, they never brought her in to me.

In the end, I never got to see her face; I never got to feel her warmth in my arms. I never got to hear her laugh or cry. My daughter was just … gone. I knew then that this loss would haunt me for years to come. Even now, recalling that moment, I am brought to tears.

But those tears were for me. God honored my decision, and my daughter was given to a wealthy couple who were able to love her and give her a good upbringing.

Fifty-three years would pass before God showed me His hand on this situation.

Twelve years ago, after the passing of my second husband, I began to look for my daughter. I wound up visiting only one website that had anything to do with adopted children, and I entered my personal information. Not long after that, I was contacted by Nick, a man who thought that I might be his mother. Why? Because my last name matched that of his birth mother who had given him up for adoption on Christmas Eve in 1946.

We discovered that I could not have been his mother, because I would’ve only been 12 years of age at the time he was born. However, when we started connecting notes, I began to have a very strange feeling about it, as if God had orchestrated this entire thing and connected me with this young man through my search for my daughter. I began to understand that the woman listed on his birth certificate was also my mother. I sent him my graduation photo, and he immediately sent his graduation picture back to me right next to mine. I could definitely see the resemblance. Two of my four brothers joined Nick and me in taking a DNA test. The results were positive that we were related through the maternal side of my family.

Since Nick had already started this process, he was able to give me pointers. He said that contacting the health department for the state of Illinois was the best way to connect with my daughter. Best of all, I could do it online.

Days later, the office called me to verify the birth date. I was unable to give them that, as all the papers relating to her birth and my stay at the Florence Crittenton Home were destroyed during my first marriage. Having no written documents, I could only give them an estimate.

Apparently, that was enough. Within a couple of weeks, I held a letter in my hands that left me breathless. Not only had they located my daughter, they had included her personal information; she had been searching for me as well! Now the question was, “Why?” I hesitated to contact her for fear that, rather than wanting to connect, she might only need my medical history information.

A few days later, the phone rang, and that question was answered. The voice on the other end said, “Hello Mom! This is your daughter, Betsy, and I want to thank you for giving me a chance at life.” I nearly dropped the telephone! Within a week, I was able to connect with my daughter and her husband during a trip to Las Vegas.

The rest, as they say, is history. Betsy and her family have been in my life ever since.

Do I support adoption? I certainly do — but not just for situations like mine; I support adoption for anyone who finds themselves pregnant with a child they do not want or cannot keep. If the birth mother is willing to be a part of the process, all the better for her. Mothers should be able to choose an agency that makes them the most comfortable, and people of faith should have the opportunity to work with an agency that shares their beliefs.

Beyond consenting to give up my daughter, I was not involved in her adoption. I never got to hold her, and for 53 years it left a hole in my heart. Now that hole is filled with love. To those women considering abortion, I urge you to choose adoption instead. Giving up your child — either through adoption or abortion — will leave a similar hole in your heart, but with abortion, it’s a hole that you have no hope in filling during this lifetime.

Please give them a chance at life. You won’t regret it.

Barbara J. Ferraro, State Director, Concerned Women for America of Hawaii

PRESS RELEASE: Planned Parenthood Announces New President, Dr. Leana Wen

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Washington, D.C. — Today, Planned Parenthood announced their new President, Dr. Leana Wen. Dr. Wen has a medical background having been an emergency room doctor and Baltimore’s health commissioner. Her background as a political activist leaves little hope that Planned Parenthood will leave the abortion industry behind.

Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America issued the following statement in response: 

“If Planned Parenthood was truly serious about advocating for women, they would hire someone as their president who understands medicine and, because of that knowledge, accepts that abortion does not help women but only inflicts harm and destruction. Instead, they have hired a medical professional who does not understand the true nature of abortion and is more a political activist than women’s health advocate.

Dr. Wen’s background as an emergency room doctor and her time as Baltimore’s health commissioner should give her perspective on the real healthcare needs of women. Dr. Wen has the opportunity to change the trajectory of Planned Parenthood and address the full range of services needed by poor women. It’s time for Planned Parenthood to change their business model instead of pushing their abortion agenda.

Dr. Wen was just a child when she left China, but she was born in a nation with an authoritarian government that forced abortions under their One Child Policy for more than three decades. We know the devastating impact of that policy. If Dr. Wen cares for women, we ask that she rely on her expertise as a doctor instead of her political activism.

For an interview with Penny Nance contact Annabelle Rutledge at [email protected] or 916-792-3973.

Black Women Are Betraying Their Sisters on Abortion

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One group of black women are peddling the belief that abortion is “self-care,” that it benefits women and their families. This snake oil is being sold by The Afiya Center (TAC), which put these slogans on a giant billboard in Texas.

As a free-thinking, informed and intuitive black woman, I don’t buy it. My child did not survive my abortion over 30 years ago, but I did. Since 1973, abortion has reduced the black population by over 25 percent, terminating 19 million black lives.  [Read More …]

Planned Parenthood Announces New President, Dr. Leana Wen

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Washington, D.C. — Today, Planned Parenthood announced their new president, Dr. Leana Wen. Dr. Wen has a medical background having been an emergency room doctor and Baltimore’s health commissioner. Her background as a political activist leaves little hope that Planned Parenthood will leave the abortion industry behind.

Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America issued the following statement in response: 

“If Planned Parenthood was truly serious about advocating for women, they would hire someone as their president who understands medicine and, because of that knowledge, accepts that abortion does not help women but only inflicts harm and destruction. Instead, they have hired a medical professional who does not understand the true nature of abortion and is more a political activist than women’s health advocate.

Dr. Wen’s background as an emergency room doctor and her time as Baltimore’s health commissioner should give her perspective on the real healthcare needs of women. Dr. Wen has the opportunity to change the trajectory of Planned Parenthood and address the full range of services needed by poor women. It’s time for Planned Parenthood to change their business model instead of pushing their abortion agenda.

Dr. Wen was just a child when she left China, but she was born in a nation with an authoritarian government that forced abortions under their One Child Policy for more than three decades. We know the devastating impact of that policy. If Dr. Wen cares for women, we ask that she rely on her expertise as a doctor instead of her political activism.

For an interview with Penny Nance, contact Annabelle Rutledge at [email protected] or 916-792-3973.

Senators Fail to Defund Planned Parenthood

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In a rare up-or-down pro-life vote on Capitol Hill, the Senate voted last week on an amendment to the Labor HHS/Department of Defense “minibus” Appropriations bill.  The amendment offered by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) would prohibit federal funds from going to any provider of family planning or reproductive health services that performs abortions or affiliates with an entity that does.  The amendment failed 45-48 with seven senators absent – half of whom would have voted for and the other half against.  The strategy behind this vote was complicated by anticipated hostile amendments from abortion supporters and was set at a 60-vote threshold to pass, which essentially set it up to fail.  Nevertheless, it was a clean vote on a pro-life measure that put senators clearly on record as to whether they support or oppose the abortion industry.  Predictably, Planned Parenthood was on the front lines in opposition to the amendment, since it would cut deeply into their bottom line.

The House has a similar provision in its Labor-HHS Appropriations bill to defund abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.  CWA will be working to get this measure, and other strong, pro-life legislation, in the final FY 2019 Labor- HHS Appropriations bill, whatever form it takes.  As always, this will be a heavy lift requiring the leadership of pro-life members and the Administration.  The House and Senate should be appointing a conference committee to work out a final bill in the coming weeks.  Find out how your senators voted on the Paul Amendment, No. 3967, and let them know how you feel!

States Seeking New Avenues to Defund Planned Parenthood

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In April 2018, Tennessee passed a law, Amendment 36, declaring the state’s belief that childbirth and family planning services should not include elective abortions. Additionally, this law aims to eliminate “direct or indirect use of state funds to promote or support elective abortions,” meaning agencies providing elective abortions should not be eligible for any government money and should not be Medicaid providers. Medicaid-provider eligibility is determined by the federal Center for Medicaid Services (CMS). If a state wants to eliminate a Medicaid provider, it must get a waiver from CMS. This month, TennCare (the Medicaid program in Tennessee) submitted a waiver request to CMS to prohibit abortion providers from participating in TennCare.

In accordance with Amendment 36, Tennessee petitioned CMS for permission to exclude “any entity that performed, or operated or maintained a facility that performed, more than 50 abortions in the previous year, including any affiliate of such an entity.”  It’s clear that Tennessee is operating within its authority to set reasonable standards for what kind of providers are eligible for Medicaid funds. The waiver request is currently undergoing a public comment period that will close on September 23.

Planned Parenthood receives several forms of government money; their second largest source is Title X grants, and their biggest source is Medicaid reimbursement. Naturally, they are protesting this law, because not only will this likely cut off Planned Parenthood’s funding in Tennessee, but it will set a crucial precedent for other states who are trying to cut off Medicaid funding from abortion providers. Texas currently has a similar waiver pending before the Trump Administration, and if this waiver is enacted, it is likely other states will follow. This is also why we need your help to submit a public comment supporting this policy.

Planned Parenthood claims that without this money, their services will decline, and they will be forced to cease operations, a move that will cause rural women to suffer. However, there are only three Planned Parenthood clinics in Tennessee: one in Knoxville, one in Nashville, and one in Memphis — the three most populated cities in the entire state; their assistance to rural women is not apparent. In the state’s waiver request to CMS, the TennCare Director, Wendy Long, explains that should this policy go into effect, rural healthcare will not be impacted, because the providers that do serve rural women are unaffected by this policy.

Women deserve better than the care they receive at abortion mills, and states should be able to determine who best serves their citizens. This waiver is important for Tennessee but will have a nationwide impact to pave the way for frustrated states to try for similar waivers, so they, too, can cut off government funding from Planned Parenthood. Please submit a comment today and tell CMS that you support states’ ability to determine who provides care for their citizens.

PRESS RELEASE: Washington, Oregon, and Hawaii choose Planned Parenthood over care for women

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Washington, D.C. — On July 31, the public comment period ended on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services new Protect Life Rule which requires physical and financial separation between abortion services and Title X dollars. Since then, 14 states have threatened to sue the federal government while the governors of Washington, Oregon, and Hawaii have decided that their states will pull out of the program entirely should this proposed rule be put into effect.

Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America, issued the following statement: 

“Concerned Women for America supporters and other pro-life women recently filed several thousand comments in support of President Trump’s common-sense reform prohibiting abortionist from receiving Title X funds. Our message is simple: abortion is not health care.

“The new HHS policy means that real healthcare providers will be able to compete for and win the $286 million available for contraceptives and other family planning services.  By the way, the statute is very clear that abortion is not family planning. This new rule only enforces the law already in place.
“The fact that the governors of Washington, Oregon, and Hawaii, are willing to take a pass on approximately $10 million and instead choose Planned Parenthood over care for poor women is shocking.  This is an unmasking of the radical ideology behind abortion and proof that healthcare for women was never the point.
“This is nothing more than a political stunt.  The good news is that HHS can by-pass state governments and award grants directly to healthcare providers. Now faith-based health clinics and other charities, who were squeezed out of the process due to the Obama era’s rules forcing them to refer for abortions, can step forward to care for the least of these.

“This is one more example of President Trump keeping his promise to support life.”

For an interview with Penny Nance contact Annabelle Rutledge at [email protected] or 916-792-3973.

Title X comment period ends with thousands of comments supporting Protect Life Rule

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Thank you all so much for your participation and work submitting comments to the Department of Health and Human Services regarding the administration’s proposed Title X rule. The comment period for this rule closed on Tuesday. Just a refresher, Title X is a voluntary grant program that was enacted in the 70s to provide low income individuals with family planning services. The statute specifically says that abortion is not family planning and no funds can go toward abortion operations, but that hasn’t stopped the abortion industry from grabbing these funds and using them to prop up their abortion business. This new rule would require Title X grant recipients to detangle their abortion operations from Title X activity, better adhering to the law.

Concerned Women for America supporters were responsible for submitting thousands of comments supporting this rule; thank you!  HHS received over 200,000 comments and upon some brief preliminary investigation of our own, it appears that the majority of these comments are supportive of the rule. This was not the result we were expecting, but it is reflective of where the American people stand on taxpayer funded abortions and abortion activities. Polls continually show that about 6 in 10 Americans oppose taxpayer dollars from being used toward abortions, and that includes people who identify as pro-choice. Americans want out of the abortion business, and this proposed rule is an important step to detangle the abortion industry from government funding.

From here, HHS will review the comments and then they submit a final rule based on feedback. This will take at least a few months and then these rules will apply to future Title X grants. We hope that when grants are announced in August 2019 this rule will be implemented, and this program will no longer be used as a slush fund for the abortion industry. We do anticipate several states will sue HHS over this rule, which could delay implementation, but this rule is supported by Supreme Court precedent. In 1991 the Supreme Court upheld similar, more stringent rules, proposed by the Reagan administration in Rust v. Sullivan, and there have been no significant cases since then that would impact the precedent set by Rust.

It is unfortunate the pro-choice side had to resort to blatant lies and fear mongering in their opposition to this rule. They know that life is winning in America, and public opinion on abortion is shifting. We are a pro-life nation, and the abortion industry’s free ride on the backs of taxpayers is coming to an end.