More disinformation coming from Planned Parenthood; Nebraska bills force the issue

Does this look like a baby to you?

To a counselor in the latest undercover video done by Liveaction.org, “There is no legs, no arms, no head, no brain, no heart. … There’s not a baby at this point.”

This is the kind of disinformation that is being pumped out by this taxpayer-funded organization. Watch the video below:

Meanwhile, the state of Nebraska has pushed the fight on the pro-life side with the signing of two important pieces of legislation by Gov. Dave Heineman, one barring abortions at and after 20 weeks of pregnancy and the other requiring women to be screened before having abortions for mental health and other problems. Both sides of the abortion debate say the laws are firsts of their kind in the U.S.

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The executive order is bogus: More hypocrisy from Obama

Andrew McCarthy at The Corner blog at National Review Online summarizes the final bit in a long line of trickery in the effort to ram the Obama health care monstrosity on America. The latest is an executive order to pacify pro-life Democrats (do those even exist any more?) to vote yes on the measure in the House of Representatives:

We spent the eight years through January 19, 2009, listening to Democrats complain that President Bush had purportedly caused a constitutional crisis by issuing signing statements when he signed bills into law. Democrats and Arlen Specter (now a Democrat) complained that these unenforceable, non-binding expressions of the executive’s interpretation of the laws Bush was signing were a usurpation Congress’s power to enact legislation.

But now Democrats are going to abide not a mere signing statement but an executive order that purports to have the effect of legislation — in fact, has the effect of nullifying legislation that Congress is simultaneously enacting?

The Susan B. Anthony List observation that EOs can be rescinded at the president’s whim is of course true. This particuar EO is also a nullity — presidents cannot enact laws, the Supreme Court has said they cannot impound funds that Congress allocates, and (as a friend points out) the line-item veto has been held unconstitutional, so they can’t use executive orders to strike provisions in a bill. So this anti-abortion EO is blatant chicanery: if the pro-lifers purport to be satisfied by it, they are participating in a transparent fraud and selling out the pro-life cause.

But even if all that weren’t true, how do we go from congressional Democrats claiming that signing statements were a shredding of the Constitution to congressional Democrats acquiescing in a claim that the president can enact or cancel out statutory law by diktat?

The tax in sheep’s clothing: How abortion funding sneaks into the health care bill

Charmaine Yoest, the President and CEO of Americans United for Life, recently wrote an editorial in the March 4 edition of the Wall Street Journal about the health-care proposal that is headed for a Sunday vote in the House of Representatives. One of the reasons the bill has been delayed in its return to the House is that a group of Democrat senators are withholding their approval based on the bill’s abortion language. As you may recall, when the bill passed in the House earlier this year, attached to it was a provision known as the Stupak Amendment. In simplest terms, it said that no federal funds would be used to pay for abortions. This amendment was proposed by Michigan representative Bart Stupak, a Democrat.

When the bill went to the Senate and was approved there, the Stupak amendment was not part of the bill. Another form of that amendment, not as strong in its terms, was a part of the bill. Likewise, the reconciled bill, written by the White House, has language similar to the Senate version. In her editorial, Yoest argues that this kind of deception is deliberate by President Obama and his administration:

Over the past year, language similar to the Hyde Amendment [banning federal funding for abortions] was crafted by Reps. Bart Stupak (D., Mich.) and Joe Pitts (R., Pa.) and inserted into the health-care bill that passed the House. When asked about the Stupak-Pitts Amendment in November, Mr. Obama talked around the issue. He said that “there is a balance to be achieved that is consistent with the Hyde Amendment.” When asked if Stupak-Pitts struck this “balance,” the president replied “not yet.”

That’s an odd reply. The question of abortion funding doesn’t have any Zen to it: The funding is either prohibited or it’s not.

In November, presidential adviser David Axelrod, on CNN’s “State of the Union,” also talked around the Hyde Amendment, saying that the president “doesn’t believe this bill should change the status quo as it relates to the issue of abortion.” But then Mr. Axelrod claimed that “this shouldn’t be a debate about abortion” before concluding that there were discussions in Congress about “how to adjust [the abortion language bill] accordingly.”

Apparently, his definition of “adjust” means opening up the spigot for the abortion lobby. The president’s latest proposal mirrors legislation that has passed the Senate, which doesn’t include a Hyde Amendment, and would inevitably establish abortion as a fundamental health-care service for the following reasons:

• It would change existing law by allowing federally subsidized health-care plans to pay for abortions and could require private health-insurance plans to cover abortion.

• It would impose a first-ever abortion tax—a separate premium payment that will be used to pay for elective abortions—on enrollees in insurance plans that covers abortions through newly created government health-care exchanges.

• And it would fail to protect the rights of health-care providers to refuse to participate in abortions.

The president’s plan goes further than the Senate bill on abortion by calling for spending $11 billion over five years on “community health centers,” which include Planned Parenthood clinics that provide abortions.

The president, in his zeal to get this bill passed, feels comfortable saying that there is a lot of misinformation out there. Perhaps that’s the information coming from the president. At the AUL Web site, there is a chart that explains how your tax dollars can be used to fund abortions even without having them go directly to abortion services (click on the image to see it larger).

Yoest, in an interview below last week on the Albert Mohler radio program, goes on to explain how this can all take place under the new legislation. This may seem hysterical to some, but there are some principles that are too important to be brushed aside, even for something that may be considered worthwhile. And this health care bill is hardly worthwhile.

http://idisk.mac.com/thebrott4-Public/CharmaineYoestinterview.mov

Help from the government: The introduction of ‘therapeutic nihilism’

Joe Carter, writing last week at his First Things blog, takes a hard look at how the Netherlands has fallen steeply into the pit that is assisted suicide. It’s not a pretty picture, as he examines how the Netherlands has consistently expanded the ways doctors can help you kill yourself — or kill you without your permission — with government approval. The latest foray is legislation that would allow assisted suicide for anyone who has reached the age of 70 and has grown tired of living:

In any other country, such a proposal might be considered radical and shocking. But in the Netherlands—the country that first legalized euthanasia—the change in the law will merely decriminalize a practice that has been occurring for decades. An examination of how this formerly conservative, tradition-bound culture could adopt what the modern Hippocratic Oath refers to as “therapeutic nihilism” is useful for understanding how the other nations will begin to accept euthanasia in the near future.

Carter goes on to explain how this has crept into Dutch law little by little to the point where the medical community has been given the benefit of the doubt to the point where it is the one doing the policing authority when it comes to reporting abuses, if at all.

According to the Dutch Ministry of Justice, of the 135,675 deaths recorded in 1995, 3,600 (2.4%) were the result of a doctor-assisted termination of life while another 238 (0.3%) were cases of assisted suicide. The most disturbing statistic, however, is that 913 (0.7%) were terminations of life without the express request of the patient. For every three lives ended at the request of the patient, one person was killed without consent. While it is assumed that these cases consisted of terminally ill patients with no chance of survival, no one in the Netherlands knows for certain. Because the numbers are based on self-reporting by physicians, no accurate data exists to determine exactly how many Dutch citizens have been killed against their will.

Another comprehensive survey by Dr. Paul J. van der Maas in 1996 showed that the situation had indeed worsened since 1990. The total number of cases of euthanasia and assisted suicide had risen by a third from 2,700 to 3,600, with an estimated 60 percent not being officially reported. The number of cases of euthanasia without request by the patient also remained high, with 900 cases being reported. Although the government passively accepted the practice, doctors were still legally susceptible to prosecution if a disgruntled family member disagreed with the killing of their relative. Legislation to decriminalize euthanasia, which had been repeatedly proposed since 1984, was finally passed on April 10, 2001. A criminal liability exclusion was added for doctors who willingly reported their actions and demonstrated that they have satisfied the criteria of “due care.”

This is the kind of “culture of death” that not only exists, but exists with the approval of the government. If you are shocked by this, then that is good. When “tired of living” — aside from any physical illness — becomes an accepted reason for ending a person’s life, then we know that something has gone horribly wrong.

The daily earthquake of abortion is right in your back yard

On Jan. 12, 2010, a deadly earthquake hit Haiti. It has been estimated that anywhere from 150,000 to maybe up to 500,000 people lost their lives in this tragedy. There is still much suffering as many who have survived have been left homeless. There are many ways you can help beyond being there physically. Among many choices you can consider I would offer Compassion International, which works with children and their families, and Food for the Hungry. I cannot strongly enough urge you to help in whatever way you can.

Since that day when the major quake hit Haiti, there has been an equally devastating human tragedy that has hit among the most defenseless people in our society. I am talking about abortion. There are some estimates that 3,000 babies in the United States and 130,000 babies worldwide are killed by abortion. John Piper puts it in perspective in his sermon on his observance of Sanctity of Human Life Sunday yesterday at Bethlehem Baptist Church.

There are about 3,000 abortions a day in the United States and about 130,000 a day worldwide. Which means that the horrific, gut-wrenching reality of Haiti’s earthquake on January 12 happens everyday in the abortion clinics of the world. And it is likely that if the dismemberment and bloodshed and helplessness of 130,000 dead babies a day received as much media coverage as the earthquake victims have—rightly have!—there would be the same outcry and outpouring of effort to end the slaughter and relieve the suffering.

Americans have been giving 1.6 million dollars an hour for Haiti Relief for the last ten days—a beautiful thing. I hope you are part of it. It is so unbelievably easy to give with phones and computers. But the funding and resistance to the suffering of the silent, hidden destruction of the unborn is not so easy. So the 3,000 babies who are crushed to death every day in America by the earthquake of abortion go largely unnoticed.

If you have been compelled to perhaps adopt a Haitian child because they have been left orphaned, how much more so should you consider adopting a child that may be aborted. Is there really any difference? The point is not that we should do less for situations like the one in Haiti, but rather that we should not ignore a far greater tragedy in our society. As I sat in my own church on Sunday I couldn’t help but feel disappointed that nothing was mentioned about this tragedy. It is much safer to be concerned about Haiti. I hope we can muster our courage to change that.

Useful resources on bioethics from STR: Abortion, euthanasia, stem cell research

Stand To Reason is a great organization that puts out great material to help Christians think more clearly about their faith and give a gracious, even-handed defense of it. This page has some great resources from STR and other places that are useful when talking about issues such as abortion, stem cell research and euthanasia.

Here are just a few of the topics addressed:

H1N1: What you need to know about the flu from the CDC

Click on the image to see the interactive map
Click on the image to see the interactive map

The Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) has set up a Web site that tracks the flu season and how hard it is hitting various parts of the country as seen in the image above. Along with that, the CDC also has a page that answers different questions you may  have about flu season and how to deal with it.

Abortion really is a part of Obama’s plan. That’s no lie.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday in one of its “Fact Check” stories that some “myths and half-truths” are taking hold to raise opposition to the massive health care overhaul constructed by President Obama and his Democratic allies. One of the items addressed in the article was the idea that the health care overhaul would have federal dollars paying for abortions. This is what the article said:

THE POLL: 50 percent expect taxpayer dollars will be used to pay for abortions; 37 percent don’t.

THE FACTS: The House version of legislation would allow coverage for abortion in the public plan. But the procedure would be paid for with dollars from beneficiary premiums, not from federal funds. Likewise, private plans in the new insurance exchange could opt to cover abortion, but no federal subsidies would be used to pay for the procedure.

Opponents say the prohibition on federal money for the procedure is merely a bookkeeping trick and what matters is that Washington would allow abortion to be covered under government-subsidized insurance.

Obama has stated that the U.S. should continue its tradition of “not financing abortions as part of government-funded health care.” Current laws prohibiting public financing of abortion would stay on the books.

Yet abortion guidelines are not yet clear for the government-supervised insurance exchange. There is strong sentiment in Congress on both sides of the issue.

Here are some things to consider. Public funds are public funds. If someone wants to sign on to the public plan, they will not be able to sign on to just a portion of it. Since the House bill classifies abortion as “an essential service,” abortion will be covered under it. Abortion providers who perform these “services” for those under the public plan, they will be reimbursed by the federal government from the treasury. In addition, because of that classification, private insurance plans will have to provide coverage for them as well. The result, the number of abortions will increase and the number of providers increased to cover the government-mandated coverage.

The idea that President Obama said the U.S. should continue its tradition of “not financing abortions as part of government-funded health care” should be taken with a grain of salt. The part in the quotations is what he said. He did not, however, say we should continue that policy. He merely was observing what the current situation was. If his words mean anything, I would also listen to what he said in the video clip below. The president and his allies like to talk a lot about disinformation being put out there about his health care proposals. I would say a lot of it is being offered by the president himself when it comes to covering over explicit statements he has already made.

I do not want innocent people killed for the sake of birth control. I do not want to be forced to pay taxes so others can do this. I believe there are many others who feel the same way. If you want to read a comprehensive discussion of this particular issue, I would encourage you to look at this fact sheet done by the National Right to Life.

Tax-funded abortion coverage: Who’s being warned?

The Associated Press’ Philip Elliott, writing about the massive health care overhaul that is lagging in support as it becomes clear that it is massively expensive as well  as devious in its intentions, mischaracterizes a statement by New Hampshire Republican Judd Gregg on the effect of abortion services in the legislation:

Republicans paint Obama’s proposals as a massive tax that would leave small businesses wounded, employers shifting away from private plans toward a government-based system, and workers without coverage. Some GOP members have also cautioned that the legislation could fund abortions, a fear crucial to the social conservatives who hold sway inside the Republican Party and a proposition Orszag would not rule out.

A key Republican, however, warned his party not to scuttle health care legislation over abortion.

“No matter what your views are on abortion, you shouldn’t ask people to use their tax dollars if they think that abortion is taking a life,” said Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H. “I would hate to see the health care debate go down over that issue. … Hopefully we won’t get ourselves wrapped around the wheel of abortion in this debate.”

Is Gregg really warning Republicans when he says “you shouldn’t ask people to use their tax dollars if they think that abortion is taking a life”? I would say that it is a warning to Democrats not to attach what is most definitely a poison pill to what is already a bloated bill. The fact that Elliott makes this quote a warning to Republicans is yet another case of either shoddy writing by the AP or an attempt to create confusion. I would say the case is the latter since it’s not just “some GOP members” who are saying that the legislation could fund abortions. This is an actual amendment that was voted on and attached to the legislation.

Perhaps this story will be edited at some point to clear up that portion, at least. Until then, the Associated Press seems content to throw out a story that misleads on a serious matter. Once again, it’s a bad job by the AP.