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Trump’s new pro-life HHS secretary should start enforcing the Weldon Amendment on Day 1

tompriceNovember 30, 2016 (Reprint from LifeSiteNews) — In late 2014, the California Department of Managed Health Care issued a letter to Blue Cross of California and other HMOs in which it ordered health insurance providers to eliminate all plans that did not cover abortion on demand. As a result of this order, many institutions that objected to paying for abortions were faced with only two options: violate their conscience or self-insure.

It was precisely to avoid this type of pro-abortion coercion by government entities that the US Congress enacted the Weldon Amendment in 2004. The Weldon Amendment, named after physician and former Representative Dave Weldon [R-FL], has been included in each subsequent Health and Human Services (HHS) appropriations act and applies to federal agencies and programs as well as state and local governments receiving federal funds from HHS. The law protects a broad number of entities, including individual physicians and other healthcare professionals, hospitals, provider-sponsored organizations, HMOs, and most importantly, health insurance plans that do not cover abortion.

The problem is that the Weldon Amendment does not include a "private right of action" so that victims of discrimination can directly defend their conscience rights in court. Instead, victims of pro-abortion coercion have only been able to seek protection by petitioning for administrative enforcement by the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights. Needless to say, under President Obama, HHS has not been willing to move a finger to enforce the Weldon Amendment. In fact, it took the introduction of a resolution in Congress with 104 co-sponsors in March of this year (H.R. 4828) to get HHS to even respond to complaints that had been ignored since California's egregious violations of the Weldon Amendment in 2014.

When the answer from HHS came in the summer of 2016, it was only to put a stamp of approval on the actions of the California Department of Managed Health Care and to issue an interpretation of the Weldon Amendment that ignored the clear language of the law.

In a letter signed by Jocelyn Samuels, the Director of the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency determined that the churches, schools and other institutions that were being coerced to buy abortion insurance by the state of California were not covered by the Weldon Amendment. This interpretation by Director Samuels was not surprising. Ms. Samuels had previously served as vice president of the National Women's Center, a group that advocates for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment and pushes for government funded abortion as a constitutional right.  

Contrary to the HHS holding, the language of the Weldon Amendment itself is crystal clear. It defines the term "healthcare entities" specifically to include individual health insurance plans that  do not cover abortion. These plans, as well as "any other kind of health care facility, organization, or plan" are protected by the Amendment from pro-abortion coercion by state and local government.  

Nevertheless, in 2014 the California Department of Managed Healthcare decided to flaunt the law and issued letters to numerous HMOs stating that "regardless of existing EOC (Evidence of Coverage) language, effective as of the date of this letter, Blue Cross (and others) must ... amend current health plan documents (to include) coverage for 'voluntary' or 'elective' abortions."

Clearly, demanding that private health plans (purchased by institutions that oppose abortion) cover abortion on demand is precisely the type of violation that the Weldon Amendment was meant to prevent. The year following the passage of the original Weldon Amendment, Rep. Weldon took to the floor of Congress to make clear the intent of his Amendment:

Mr. Speaker, the foundation of American democracy is freedom. In particular, as Americans we are all free to choose or decline issues of conscience, but regarding abortion, choice is losing in a way that may surprise many people.

Such is the case regarding physicians, hospitals and health plans that choose not to perform, pay for or refer for abortions. From Alaska to New Jersey, abortion advocacy groups are forcing healthcare entities to do the very thing they would not if they had the choice. Abortion advocates are using the courts, state and local agencies and laws to mandate that abortions be performed, paid for and referred for. ... In July of last year, I offered an amendment during committee consideration of the Labor-HHS appropriation bill to stop this coercion.

Amazingly, the interpretation of HHS ignored the unambiguous meaning of the text and the clear legislative history and instead sided with the pro-abortion state entity. By limiting the applicability of the Weldon Amendment, HHS adopted a tortured interpretation of the Amendment that would further the ideological preference of President Obama and the pro-abortion activists he appointed to administer the department of Health and Human Services.

With the new Trump administration in place, administrators who distorted the law to further a pro-abortion agenda should immediately be replaced and their suspect rulings, such as the one interpreting the Weldon Amendment, revisited immediately.

We hope that incoming HHS Secretary Tom Price, a physician and one of the Congressional architects of the resistance to Obamacare, will take up the mantle of Representative Weldon. Surely, he understands how harmful Obama's regulatory despotism has been to the conscience rights of medical professionals and the patients who rely upon them.

Incoming HHS Secretary Tom Price should work swiftly to dismantle this coercive administrative regime and replace it with a robust structure that gives teeth to the current healthcare conscience protection laws.

Gualberto Garcia Jones was a member of the board of Personhood USA and Personhood Education and is now the National Policy Director for the Personhood Alliance. He has drafted dozens of personhood measures, including the 2010, 2012, and 2014 Personhood Amendments in Colorado, testified in support of North Dakota's Measure 1.

 


Prolife Leaders in South Africa Embrace Personhood

October 9, 2015 - South African prolife leaders hosted Personhood Alliance President, Daniel Becker, for a series of meetings that introduced "Personhood: Being Prolife in the 21st Century" as their focus . "I was thrilled with, not only the receptiveness of their leadership, but also the follow-up for future meetings and the implementation of our approach to prolife work", said Becker, "The battlegrounds for the sanctity of life are expanding around the world and personhood is the only answer to many of the challenges we face in the arena of emerging technology. It is no longer exclusively about abortion."

In a series of lectures Becker presented the "History of the Prolife Movement Throughout the Church Age" to the gathered professors and students at Cedar College, a well respected Christian college located in the heart of the Zulu tribal home. He was specifically asked to address Doctors for Life at their annual Board meeting on the philosophy of transhumanism and its impact on cloning, stemcell research and reproductive technologies. "It has been over a decade since I have been this challenged. I must rethink our medical ethics in light of our Christian worldview" observed Dr. Moses Tendasi.

Dr. Albertus van Eeden is Chairman of the premier organization representing the prolife movement in South Africa, National Alliance for Life. He invited Becker to speak at their annual meeting on the subject of utilitarianism as addressed in the lecture series entitled "Ideas Have Consequences."

"It was the highlight of a busy schedule which ended with the annual national March for Life in Durban, SA." Becker said. "It was the largest South African prolife March to date. We marched for over 4 km around the central shopping district in Durban. I look forward to see how personhood impacts the sanctity of life in this very Christian country in the near future."

Ten Commandments for a Brave New World

1.  A person is a physical/spiritual being; a human being, by design created in the image of God.

 Genesis 1:27 (ESV)
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” 1
 
2.  All persons have an inalienable right to life.

 Our right to life is granted by our Sovereign . . . God and therefore can not be abridged by human government.

3.  All human beings are persons at every stage of biological development from fertilization (sexual or asexual) to natural death.

 The continuum of a human being is sacrosanct.2 The personhood of the pre-born is established by God and shall be recognized under law from the moment of potentiality. “All action of intervention, biological or medical, is licit only if its direct or indirect goal is to evaluate, to protect or to restore the health of that person.”3 The dying process shall not be prolonged, nor shall death be hastened.

Personhood's Seamless Knot

Inorder to achieve the necessary legal protections for the sanctity of all innocent human life we MUST elect only the best politicians. Shifting public opinion is the quickest way to influence a candidate or elected official. Educating the general public via law, polical action and direct educational oppurtunites via Personhood is the quickest means to societal change.

Abby Johnson - "I am proudly a no-exceptions pro-lifer."

Abby Johnson, a leading defender of the pre-born, is the former director of a Planned Parenthood abortion facility. After witnessing an ultrasound-guided abortion, Abby converted to the pro-life cause. Since leaving Planned Parenthood, Abby has founded a non-profit called And Then There Were None, which specializes in reaching out to and providing men and women in the abortion industry with the spiritual, financial, and logistical help to leave the industry. Abby will be the speaker at GRTL's September 25th REACH banquet.

I am proudly a no-exceptions pro-lifer.   

But I haven’t always been. Admittedly, I used to accept the rape/incest exception. My opinion began to change as I met people who had been conceived in rape and saw that their lives deserved the same protection as mine. I came to understand that how a child was conceived had no bearing on their humanity. I also began to understand and reflect on a strange irony…two of them.  
 
When a woman is raped, the police can use the fetal tissue for DNA. When I worked for Planned Parenthood, in most rape cases we would be asked to draw two tubes of the mother’s blood and collect the “products of conception” after the abortion. All of this had to be kept in a very strict “chain of custody.”

So, if I was in charge, I would draw the woman’s blood before the abortion, put the tubes in a “chain of custody” bag, fill out the information on the bag, seal it up and put it in the refrigerator. Then, when she went in to the room for the abortion, I would accompany her into the room, stand by the suction machine and wait for the procedure to be completed.

The jar with the “products of conception” would then be handed to me and I would take the jar into the lab. I would then “float” the “products of conception” in a Pyrex dish. (“Floating” means to dump all of the contents into a kitchen strainer and use a sprayer to wash all of the blood and additional tissue away from the “product of conception.” Then to “float” the tissue, you spray a little water into the Pyrex dish and dump the remaining tissue into the dish. The tissue actually floats. Then you will be able to reassemble the fetal parts.)

After all of the parts were reassembled and accounted for, I would gather them up and put them in a sterile cup, careful to make sure everything got into that cup and I didn’t leave anything behind. I would close up the cup, put it in the “chain of custody” bag, fill out the info on the bag, seal it up, and carefully put the bag in the freezer.

Usually, the police department would come and pick up the blood tubes and frozen tissue the next day. They would have us fill out a form to ensure the “chain of custody” had not been broken. We would carefully pack the items in a Styrofoam cooler with an ice pack and send them off with the officer.

First strange irony: We would collect the fetal tissue and send that off for DNA testing. Yet, we didn’t consider that child to be a separate person! As strange as it sounds, that was the truth. We knew that this fetus had its own DNA, yet denied its humanity. 

Second strange irony: These are the rape-conceived children. These are the “exceptions.” These are the ones that many pro-lifers can excuse, right? It seems ironic that so many in the pro-life movement can justify the death of children conceived in rape…but the abortion industry does their best to protect their remains.

Is their humanity somehow different? Can you look at the ultrasound picture of a baby conceived in rape and tell that this baby is somehow different? Could you look in the face of a person conceived in rape and tell them that their life wasn’t as valuable as someone who was conceived in love? 

I encourage anyone who accepts these exceptions to really think about your perspective on this. Are you willing to throw away these children for political gain? Did you know that 87% of pro-life legislation is passed without these exceptions? And did you know that when exceptions are put into bills, it is almost always by organizations and individuals who, while often really pro-life, misguidedly think they have to add the exceptions to get the bill passed.

What if your best friend or relative had been conceived in rape? How would you explain your acceptance of these exceptions to them? Many people try to use the "burning building" argument when defending these exceptions. They ask me, "If a building was on fire and you could only save 9 out of 10 people, would you just let them all burn because you couldn't get to them all?" My answer? I'm out here trying to prevent the fire so that no one has to be left behind. 

As people who believe in the sanctity of human life, let us not be selective with whom we fight to save.

Abby Johnson  
Used by permission
- See more at: http://www.grtl.org/?q=converted-no-exception#sthash.Qg94C8h8.dpuf

The Three Laws of Personhood

Law 1:   A person is a living physical/spiritual being; a human being created in the image of God, male and female, from their earliest moment of biological beginning until natural death.

 

Law 2:   A person's right to life is inalienable regardless of age, race, sex, genetic pre-disposition, condition of dependency or biological development.

 

Law 3:   A person's form, including their genome, embryo, or body can not be subjected to non-therapeutic inheritable alteration or enhancement without informed consent.

Black Children are an Endangered Species

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga., Feb. 4 /Christian Newswire/ -- Georgia Right to Life and the Radiance Foundation today announced at a press conference the launch of the Endangered Species Project, an initiative to increase awareness of the impact of abortion on Georgia's minority communities and women.

The campaign began with the placement of billboards in Dekalb and Fulton counties where the majority of abortions occur. According to Catherine Davis, Director of Minority Outreach, over 67% of the abortions in Georgia occur in those two counties. Ms Davis maintains that this is by design.


"Planned Parenthood's Negro Project is succeeding", Davis said. "They targeted blacks in order to control their birthrate, limiting the growth of populations they 'don't want too many of’ as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg revealed was the goal behind Roe v. Wade (Women on the Court, New York Times Magazine, July 2009)."

Georgia leads the country in the number of reported abortions performed on black women, 18,901 in 2008 alone. Davis maintains the impact of abortion is so great that black children are an endangered species.

In addition to the billboards a website was also launched this week -- www.TooManyAborted.com --where the motives for abortion in America are discussed. Ryan Bomberger, co-founder of The Radiance Foundation stated, "TooManyAborted.com is the response to the rhetoric of 'reducing abortions'. Regardless of race, religious and civic community leaders and the general public need to understand the destructive nature of the abortion industry and get outraged by the truth."

Dr. Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King Jr. commented, "My Uncle Martin once stated, 'The Negro cannot win if he is willing to sell the future of his children for his personal and immediate comfort and safety.' Those words are still true today. After all, how can the dream survive if we let them take our children?"

In closing, Dr. Alveda King noted, "Abortion is the civil rights issue of the 21st century."

Georgia Right to Life (www.grtl.org) promotes respect and effective legal protection for all human life from its earliest biological beginning through natural death. GRTL is one of the numbers of organizations that have adopted Personhood (www.personhood.org) as the most effective pro-life strategy for the 21st century.

Law 1

Law 1:   A person is a living physical/spiritual being created in the image of God, male and female, from their earliest biological beginning until natural death.

In a Judeo-Christian worldview the human being as such is afforded a special status and dignity on account of being created in the image of God:

So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them
(Gn 1:27)

To be created imago Dei means being endowed with an immortal spirit, a capacity to know and be known by God, a measure of autonomy and free will in the areas of thought and action and moral responsibility that is unique from the animal kingdom. Each attribute separates us from the rest of creation. Because we bear the image of God, all mankind, and, by extension, each and every human life has a “specialness” and worth that demands respect.

From this foundational worldview flows the concept of human dignity and that the human dignity of every person is inviolable. Each human life, from its earliest stage of development, is a unique Person which bears God’s likeness, and should have the same protection of law that is afforded other “persons” in our society. For this reason, all human life should be respected in law. This respect is due regardless of the manner of conception, whether through the marital act (sexual), fertilized “in vitro” (IVF), or through the “ex utero” process of cloning or Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (asexual).This protection and respect should attach at fertilization and extend to natural death.

Subcategories

  • Law 1:   A person is a living physical/spiritual being created in the image of God, male and female, from their earliest moment of biological beginning until natural death.

    Law 2:   A person's right to life is inalienable regardless of age, race, sex, genetic pre-disposition, condition of dependency or biological development.

    Law 3:   A person's form, including their genome, embryo, or body can not be subjected to non-therapeutic inheritable alteration or enhancement without informed consent.

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