These past two months have seen an explosion of Pro-Life debate in the media. The Susan G. Komen Foundation pulled funding from Planned Parenthood and then later revised its policy to allow funding of the pro-abortion giant. The federal Department of Health and Human Services announced a mandate that would require organizations to provide contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs to their employees through ObamaCare. This caused a tremendous uproar within religious and Pro-Life communities: the Catholic Church, the Protestant churches, and other religious institutions were dismayed and appalled at this blatant attack on a cornerstone of American liberty. If nothing else, the American public should now understand 1) that Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the United States, and 2) that ObamaCare sets a dangerous precedent that will require organizations to provide services they deem immoral (at first contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs; perhaps later surgical and chemical abortions). Please continue to discuss these issues: this publicity can help to mobilize the Pro-Life majority in America.
Please read this issue of the Pro-Life Update carefully to understand some of the challenges we now face and how you—an educated Pro-Lifer—can advance the Culture of Life. Please share this information with your family, friends, and church congregations. Make copies. Spread the news.
Komen’s Entanglement with Planned Parenthood
In early February, the Associated Press broke a story that Susan G. Komen for the Cure—a charity dedicated to treating and ultimately curing breast cancer—had changed the charity’s grant guidelines to exclude organizations that were under local, state, or federal investigation. The new guidelines had also specified that grantees must actually perform the services for which the grant money is allotted.
These changes in policy would directly affect Planned Parenthood, which is currently under congressional investigation for alleged misuse of federal funds and the cover-up of sex crimes against minor girls. Furthermore, Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms: they refer women to medical facilities. However, upon hearing this news, Planned Parenthood set its network in motion by starting a firestorm of media attention and negativity aimed at Komen.
When Komen’s CEO and founder, Susan Brinker, responded, she denied the “presumption that the changes made to our funding criteria were done for political reasons or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood. They were not.” Additionally, Brinker emphasized how the change would increase efficiency and eliminate duplication of services. The Washington Post quoted Brinker:
We were giving [Planned Parenthood] money; they were sending women out for mammograms. What we would like to have are clinics where we can directly fund mammograms. Komen has decided not to fund, wherever possible, pass-through grants.
However, upon receiving so much negative attention from Planned Parenthood and its supporters, Komen decided to again change its guidelines:
Our original desire was to fulfill our fiduciary duty to our donors by not funding grant applications made by organizations under investigation. We will amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political.
At this time, it is unclear if Komen’s stipulation stating that the services must be performed by the grantee is still intact. Our hope is that Komen has decided only to not cancel already-approved grants to Planned Parenthood and that, in the future, they will no longer fund Planned Parenthood as a “pass-through grant.”
HHS Mandates Healthcare Coverage of Abortion-Inducing Drugs and Contraception
The Department of Health and Human Services has revealed that ObamaCare will require all employers—including religious institutions, hospitals, charities, etc.—to provide contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs to its employees free of charge. This rule would require that they provide to their employees services that they believe to be immoral. The Catholic Church was immediately vocal in her opposition. Obama’s HHS mandate quickly unified Christians of various political persuasions as well as many other religious organizations to take a stance against the government’s overreach of religious liberty. Many organizations would be affected by this policy; it would require that Texas Right to Life provide abortion-inducing drugs to our employees!
After hearing such a backlash from so many people, the Obama Administration started to talk of a compromise. President Obama held a press conference to unveil his “compromise”: he declared that religious institutions would not be required to pay for these services. They would be required to provide insurance that covers what they consider immoral services, but the insurance companies would be required to cover these expenses. He declared that insurance companies would be willing to do this because contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs are much less expensive than pregnancy.
First, we must note that, even after this unacceptable “compromise” was announced, on February 3, 2012, President Obama had already enacted his anti-freedom policy into a legal rule in the Federal Register. He made no changes to this policy. His “compromise” was just a promise that they would work out the details later, beyond the point of public accountability.
Second, even if this “compromise” were enacted, it is still not acceptable. Employers would be required under force of law to pay the insurance companies to provide “for free” these immoral services. Undoubtedly, these added expenses will be passed along to employers, who must then violate their own convictions and consciences.
All insurers, including self-insurers, would be required to provide the coverage to any employee who wants it. In turn, all individuals who pay premiums will be forced to subsidize that coverage. The mandate allows for an exception to this rule only to employers that are both non-profit and religious.
In response, U.S Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) introduced the Blunt Amendment to the pending transportation bill. The text of the amendment is taken directly from the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (S. 1467) and would amend ObamaCare to prevent the imposition of regulatory mandates that violate the religious or moral convictions of those who purchase or provide health insurance. It would prevent provisions of the law from being used as a basis for regulatory mandates that violate the religious or moral convictions of those who purchase or provide health insurance. Texas Right to Life urges support of this vital Pro-Life amendment.
ThePro-Life movement still has much work to ensure that all people throughout the world are welcomed into Life and respected. If you would like any additional information on the topics discussed above, please send me a note or log onto www.TexasRightToLife.com. If you ever have questions about any Pro-Life issues, please be sure to let me know.