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Legislation Update: Week of August 23

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Needless to say, after having some quiet around Capitol Hill for the last couple of weeks (minus a few fire drill evacuations), there is a collective sense of relief among conservatives that Congress cannot do any damage right now.The House is still scheduled to be out of session until September 14, while the Senate is slated to return September 13.

Surprising Victory

On August 23, a federal judge for the U.S. District Court for Washington, D.C., stopped federal funding for destructive Embryonic Stem Cell Research (ESCR) in response to a case filed by two scientists whose research involved non-embryonic stem cells.The federal judge cited the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, a pro-life rider that Congress has renewed every year since 1996, which prohibits federal funding for research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death greater than that allowed for research on fetuses in utero.

Lifting restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research was one of President Obamas first initiatives after taking office. On March 9, 2009, Obama issued an executive order overturning President George W. Bushs policy restricting federal funding for this destructive research to the 21 cell lines known to exist on Aug. 9, 2001. Obamas policy permitted federal funds to be used for barbaric research on those cell lines, as well as newer lines grown from embryos, but not for work on the embryos themselves, which included creating the cell lines.


On August 13, 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the abortion drug known as ella as an emergency contraceptive.Concerned Women for America (CWA) volunteers and national staff spent a large amount of time before recess meeting with congressional offices to express concerns about the drug and to ask members of the House of Representatives to sign on to a letter circulated by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pennsylvania) calling on the FDA to undertake further research on the harmful effects of the drug.

The FDA did not respond to the Pitts letter, which was signed by 90 members of the House of Representatives, and instead replied after ella was approved.Furthermore, their response was vague and still did not address the questions and concerns of the effects of ella on women.

CWA is meeting with coalition groups during the August recess to discuss strategic ways to maintain the dialogue about the dangers of ella and to encourage congressmen to take up legislation to address federal funding of the drug when they begin their next session.

CWA Project 535 Lobby Training

Each August, during the congressional recess, the CWA Legislation Department takes the opportunity to host a lobby training day instead of its usual Project 535 lobby day.This allows newcomers to Project 535 program to learn the ropes of D.C. and to hear from congressional staff on how to be involved in speaking up for CWAs core issues on the Hill.

This years lobby training took place on August 25 and featured staff from both the House and Senate speaking about how CWA members can effectively lobby congressmen and remind them of the importance of Biblical values to so many of their constituents.

Project 535 Lobby Days

Project 535 lobby days will resume on September 29, as conservatives gear up for election season in Washington.We will focus on garnering further support in the House of Representatives for Rep. Chris Smiths (R-New Jersey) bill to codify the pro-life riders, or language in legislation, that prevent taxpayer funding of abortion.Currently, such language must be reintroduced every year, and Rep. Smiths bill would ensure its permanence.

There are currently 166 representatives who are co-sponsors of the bill, and during the lobby day, CWA volunteers will have an opportunity to encourage even more representatives to join them.This will be a great way for volunteers to communicate to congressmen the importance of protecting life.

Future lobby days:

September 29: Lobby day to support Rep. Chris Smiths bill to codify pro-life riders.

October: No lobby day (the focus will be on campaigns and elections)

November 17: Lobby day, pending availability of volunteers (as it is the week before Thanksgiving and Congress will briefly be in session before adjourning for the holiday).

December: No lobby day (Merry Christmas!)

January 24, 2011: March for Life and lobby day