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Barbara Lyons

Obama Administration Falsifies Law to Force Taxpayers to Pay for Abortions for Members of Congress

In yet another attempt to circumvent established law to achieve its own goals, the Obama administration’s U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued a rule yesterday which will force the taxpayer to pay for abortion coverage through health plans for Members of Congress and congressional staffs.

According to the National Right to Life Committee, for most of the past 30 years the Smith Amendment has prohibited OPM from any administrative involvement in purchasing any health plan for federal employees that covers abortion except in certain limited circumstances. Now OPM is allowing the government to purchase plans that cover abortions for Members of Congress and their staffs. No other federal employee is allowed to do this. With the new rule, the National Right to Life Committee states: “…it will violate an explicit congressional prohibition, the Smith Amendment.”

Upon reviewing the new rule, NRLC Senior Legislative Counsel Susan T. Muskett warned: “The Constitution does not grant the President the authority to retroactively rewrite the laws.” And so the most pro-abortion President and administration continues its quest to promote and fund abortions to the fullest extent possible, even when laws are violated to do so.

Barbara Lyons

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ObamaCare Insurance Plans Will Limit Specialists, Hospitals

Starting Tuesday, October 1, people around the country will begin enrolling in “exchanges” mandated by the Obama Health Care Law, choosing their health insurance for 2014. When they do so, however, many will find their alternatives limited to cut-rate plans that allow them to see only narrow groups of health care providers that exclude the best specialists and health care centers.

A New York Times article titled, “Lower Health Insurance Premiums to Come at Cost of Fewer Choices” explains:

“When insurance marketplaces open on Oct. 1, most of those shopping for coverage will be low-and moderate-income people for whom price is paramount. To hold down costs, insurers say, they have created smaller networks of doctors and hospitals than are typically found in commercial insurance. And those health care providers will, in many cases, be paid less than what they have been receiving from commercial insurers.”

In addition to having access to fewer doctors and hospitals, the best medical centers are going to be excluded from many of the exchange plans. The same article notes:

“In a new study, the Health Research Institute of PricewaterhouseCoopers, the consulting company, says that ‘insurers passed over major medical centers’ when selecting providers in California, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee, among other states. ‘Doing so enables health plans to offer lower premiums,’ the study said. ‘But the use of narrow networks may also lead to higher out-of-pocket expenses, especially if a patient has a complex medical problem that’s being treated at a hospital that has been excluded from their health plan.'”

While insurers are moving to make their plans less expensive at the cost of sacrificing access to doctors and specialists, there is the real possibility that plans that choose not to limit access will be forced to do so under the Federal Regulations governing the exchanges.

There are a set of restrictions written into the health law with the effect that consumers may only choose plans offered by insurers who do not allow their customers to spend what state bureaucrats deem an “excessive or unjustified” amount for their health insurance.

Under the Federal health law, state insurance commissioners are to recommend to their state exchanges the exclusion of “particular health insurance issuers … based on a pattern or practice of excessive or unjustified premium increases.” Not only will the exchanges exclude policies from competing in an exchange when government authorities do not agree with their premiums, but the exchanges will even exclude insurers whose plans outside the exchange offer consumers the ability to reduce the danger of treatment denial by paying what those government authorities consider an “excessive or unjustified” amount.

This will create a “chilling effect,” deterring insurers who hope to be able to compete within the exchanges from offering adequately funded plans even outside of them. The result will be that even outside the exchanges consumers will find it difficult to obtain health insurance that offers adequate and unrationed health care.

When the government limits what can be charged for health insurance, it restricts what people are allowed to pay for medical treatment. While everyone would prefer to pay less-or nothing-for health care (or anything else), government price controls prevent access to lifesaving medical treatment that costs more to supply than the prices set by the government.

It is important to continue to talk about the many dangers of the Obama Health Care law, particularly as they begin to roll out. With the new exchanges going into effect this week, and while the law remains deeply unpopular, it is important to warn others about the dangers these health care exchanges pose in restricting what Americans can spend to save their own lives and the lives of their families.

Atty.Jennifer Popik

The National Right to Life Committee

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WI Right To Life’s Barbara Lyons Nominated for Prestigious Right Woman Award

Today it was announced that Wisconsin Right to Life Executive Director is one of three nominees for the Trailblazer Award, one of the prestigious Right Women Awards.

The winner of the Trailblazer Award will be announced at the Right Women Awards Dinner, a formal black tie event, that will be held on Friday, October 18, 2013.

“I am deeply humbled to be one of the nominees for this award,” said Lyons. “The other women who have been nominated in the various award categories are truly remarkable and have made a tremendous impact on our state. I view this nomination as not one of personal affirmation but as recognition for our collective right-to-life work”

The Honorary Chair of the October 18 dinner is Wisconsin First Lady Tonette Walker. Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and Charlie Sykes will host the Awards Event.

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Setting the Record Straight On Where Wisconsin Right to Life Stands

 

In recent weeks, it has come to my attention that there are many rumors milling about on how Wisconsin Right to Life views certain issues.

The most common rumor is that Wisconsin Right to Life favors exceptions to abortion for rape, incest and health of the mother.

This is patently false.

Wisconsin Right to Life has always valued the lives of children conceived from rape and incest and knows that a “health” exception means virtually any abortion.

I hope this clarification on where we stand will be helpful in answering any concerns you may have. We also hope you will use this information with your pro-life friends to correct rumors about the principled stance of Wisconsin Right to Life.

Barbara Lyons
Executive Director

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Doctor-Prescribed Suicide Battles in Vermont and New Jersey

Although assisting suicide is only legal for a small fraction of the world’s population, advocates remain focused on promoting this dangerous legislation. Currently, doctor-prescribed suicide is legal in only Oregon, Washington, and Vermont -and may have some legal protection in the state of Montana, due to a court decision. While things are heating up in one state (New Jersey), Vermont’s newly enacted law is receiving a great deal of pushback.

The assisting-suicide advocacy group, Compassion & Choices, formerly the Hemlock Society, is at work in New Jersey. The bill pending in New Jersey is essentially the same language that governs both Oregon and Washington. The language, developed initially for Oregon, purports to “safeguard” the practice and restrict it to the terminally ill and the competent. However, the so-called safeguards have been widely criticized by medical groups and those in the disability right community.

The measure pending in New Jersey has gotten traction under the false notion that it will be providing terminally ill people with merely one more “option.” However, this is far from the truth.

The bill, A3328, was approved by the Assembly health committee, and Senate hearings on the companion bill, S2259, are expected this fall. If passed by the New Jersey legislature, the Act, as now written, would have to be submitted to Governor Chris Christie for his approval or veto. If approved, the measure would come before voters as a ballot question.

Diane Coleman, the President and CEO of the disability rights group “Not Dead Yet,” in a piece published in the New Jersey Star Journal titled “New Jersey Assisted Suicide Proposal is a dangerous prescription” warns of the dangers. She writes

“Predictions that someone will die in six months are often wrong; People who want to die usually have treatable depression and/or need better palliative care; Pressures to cut health-care costs in the current political climate make this the wrong time to add doctor-prescribed suicide to “treatment” options; and Abuse of elders and people with disabilities is a growing but often undetected problem, making coercion virtually impossible to identify or prevent.”

Meanwhile, this spring, Vermont approved the most aggressive doctor-prescribed suicide measure to date. (See “Vermont passes most dangerous assisted suicide bill in United States.”)

For the first three years, the Vermont law grants doctors immunity from prosecution for providing a lethal dose of medication if they follow a loose list of rules, including making sure the patient is terminally ill and making a voluntary, informed decision. In 2016, that list of rules expires, with the hope that doctors will have established their own personal guidelines.

This puts Vermont in a dangerous position, with a doctor-prescribed death law, and no way to monitor abuse or protect the vulnerable.

The silver lining in Vermont is that since the bill was adopted via the legislative process, another vote could reverse the dangerous practice. A group, True Dignity Vermont, is currently promoting repeal.

Additionally, there is language in the law allowing hospitals to opt out. Right now, every single hospital in Vermont has opted out-if only temporarily. And according to a recent article from the Burlington Free Press, not one doctor has yet written a prescription.

If you live in New Jersey or Vermont, it is critical to point out that states cannot afford to legalize this dangerous and uncontrollable practice of turning doctors from healers into those who prescribe death to their most vulnerable patients.

Jennifer Popik

National Right to Life

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ObamaCare Takes Planned Parenthood to a Whole New Level

President Obama’s health care law, ObamaCare, takes the federal government’s relationship with Planned Parenthood to a whole new level. On August 15, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that Planned Parenthood affiliates in Iowa, Montana, and New Hampshire will be funded to serve as ObamaCare “Navigators.” Their combined funding will total over $655,000.

By choosing these Planned Parenthood affiliates to be Navigators in the federally facilitated Exchanges, these Planned Parenthood affiliates will now have the seal of approval of the federal government as an entity that consumers can contact for help in applying for coverage.

Moreover, HHS plans to list the Navigators (e.g., Planned Parenthood) in each federally facilitated Exchange on HHS’ official government website as a resource to help consumers. [78 Fed. Reg. 42848].

As Navigators, they will help Americans select an Exchange health care plan and complete their applications. And they will help consumers determine if they qualify for federal assistance, such as Medicaid, or the federal premium subsidies.

Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of abortions in America today. And now, under ObamaCare, some Americans may end up going to a Planned Parenthood center to get the help they need to purchase health insurance. How ironic is that? That our federal government would direct families to affiliates of America’s largest abortion provider for help in purchasing insurance to cover life-preserving treatments?

But Planned Parenthood affiliates will not only serve as ObamaCare “Navigators.” A state that operates its own Exchange, or that partners with the federal government, may choose to fund other health care consumer assistance personnel that are not Navigators, but rather “in-person assisters.” For instance, on August 23, the Minnesota Exchange announced that it had chosen the state Planned Parenthood affiliate to be a recipient of a grant to assist in enrollment.

And then there are the ObamaCare “certified application counselor organizations.” What are certified application counselor organizations, you might ask? You won’t find the term anywhere in the massive ObamaCare law.

The federally facilitated Exchanges will designate certain organizations – community health centers, health care providers, social service agencies, etc. – to be certified application counselor organizations. (A state Exchange can do so also). These organizations will in turn certify their staff members, as well as their volunteers, to be counselors who will assist applicants in completing their applications for health insurance and for federal assistance programs. The organizations and counselors are not expected to be paid by the Exchanges.

Unlike Navigators, who are required to “[p]rovide information and services in a fair, accurate and impartial manner,” certified application counselors are required “to act in the best interest of the applicants assisted.” [78 Fed. Reg. 42826].

Organizations are currently in the process of applying for this designation within federally facilitated Exchanges. Those chosen for the 34 federally facilitated Exchanges will also be listed on HHS’ official website. Which means that if Planned Parenthood clinics apply and are chosen, then this will be an additional means by which HHS will promote Planned Parenthood on its official website.

This is all just one more reason why ObamaCare needs to be repealed.

Susan Muskett

National Right to Life

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The Birth and Death of Iowa Web-Cam Abortions

Last week the Iowa Board of Medicine voted 8-2 to establish a standard of care for abortions which prohibits web-cam abortions in Iowa. This historic action comes after thousands of deaths of unborn children in Iowa using web-cams since Planned Parenthood of the Heartland (PPH) instituted a web-cam pilot program in July of 2008.

According to Sue Thayer, who ran a PPH clinic in Storm Lake, Iowa, the use of web-cams increases the PP abortion business substantially. Here’s how it worked in Iowa. The abortionist is situated in Des Moines, Iowa. A woman seeking an RU 486 chemical abortion, who is in a different city, talks to the abortionist over a web-cam teleconferencing system. The abortionist uses a computer mouse to remotely unlock a drawer at the woman’s location which contains the dangerous RU 486 abortion pills. The woman is not physically examined by a physician, creating a dangerous situation for her.

A 2011 report by the FDA listed more than 2,200 “adverse events” associated with the use of the two drug RU486 abortion regimen. In the United States, 14 women died over a 10 year period and women were hospitalized with ruptured ectopic pregnancies, blood loss requiring transfusions and infections.

A contentious hearing was held before the Board made its decision. According to an article in the Des Moines Register, a local pediatrician (Robert Shaw), who is member of the PPH board, was repeatedly asked if “he had ever relied on a a certified medical assistant to perform an initial patient examination….Shaw refused to answer the question, however, arguing that his personal medical experience was irrelevant to questions over the standard of care provided in telemedicine abortions.” This is called ducking the question.

The ripple effect of the Iowa Board of Medicine decision cannot be understated. Iowa was the testing ground for a novel procedure intended to migrate to other states and dramatically increase the number of abortions. The Iowa experience was instrumental in Wisconsin Right to Life’s successful push to outlaw web-cam abortions in Wisconsin. Fortunately for women and unborn children, Iowa’s action means that other states will be very hesitant to begin this risky business.

Barbara Lyons

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Wisconsin Right to Life Lauds 4.4% Wisconsin Abortion Decrease in 2012

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services released its 2012 Induced Abortion Report late yesterday. The 4.4% decrease in Wisconsin abortions in 2012 is fantastic news for babies and their mothers who choose life for them.

Wisconsin abortions have decreased 68% from their all-time high in 1980 and 60% since Wisconsin began requiring abortion reporting in 1987. Abortions dipped from 7,249 in 2011 to 6,927 in 2012, accounting for the 4.4% decrease.

Wisconsin Right to Life implements a bold, expansive strategy each year to educate young people, women most likely to have an abortion, and the general public about the value of life; to refer women to resources to help carry their babies to term; and to provide leadership for sweeping public policy reforms which protect women, unborn children, families and taxpayers. The vision of these strategies makes Wisconsin a national model for abortion decrease. It is a gratifying fulfillment of our mission for Wisconsin Right to Life to lead combined efforts which result in life for vulnerable babies and spare their mothers a lifetime of emotional pain.

Tonight, 322 babies whose lives were spared from abortion in 2012 will sleep comfortably in their beds, bringing joy and hope to their families. Today and every day are good days for these precious children who will have the future they deserve.

Barbara Lyons

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Toledo, Ohio No Longer Has Any Abortion Clinics!

On the heels of the August 1 closing of the Green Bay, Wisconsin abortion facility, there is more great news from the great state of Ohio.

The city of Toledo, Ohio no longer has an abortion clinic! The Capital Care Network of Toledo received notice from state health officials of its noncompliance with state regulations which resulted in this abortion provider closing. This is the second of two Toledo abortion clinics to close this year, leaving that city abortion free! Ohio Right to Life President, and our good friend Mike Gonidakis said, “Holding abortion clinics to high standards to protect the safety of pregnant women is a health initiative all Ohioans can agree with.”

Capital Care is the third abortion clinic to be closed in Ohio since January due to either health and safety violations or illegal operations.

Sue Armacost

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The Epic Battle to Ban Late-Term Abortions

The pro-abortion movement is desperate — and shrill and frantic. As evidenced in Texas when the state legislature passed a law to ban late-term abortions, the rhetoric of the pro-abortion movement is now over the top.

Why is this happening? Because they know they are losing the battle for hearts and minds — and that new laws passed in Texas and Wisconsin make sense to the general public.

Right now, the focus is on a federal bill to ban abortions after five months when the baby can be scientifically proven to feel excruciating pain from the abortion. To the pro-abortionists, who continue to try to portray the baby as a “blob,” this proof of humanity totally undermines their main argument. So their mouthpieces shrilly parrot rhetoric that this measure is “extreme.” The legislation passed the House of Representatives and efforts are underway to get it to the floor of the U.S. Senate where pro-abortion Senators vow to defeat it, and President Obama promises to veto it.

Enter the pollsters. In a recent poll, the The Huffington Post found that Americans favor limiting abortion at five months or earlier by a 59 to 30% margin. And, a Washington Post/ABC News poll puts support at 64 to 27%. Drives the pro-aborts crazy. And fuels their shrill rhetoric.

Barbara Lyons

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