Monday, November 9, 2009
Joint Statement of Religious Leaders on Stupak Amendment.
Stupak in Their Words, True and Untrue.
Statements are paraphrased.
Stupak: Capps Amendment is the most direct assualt on Hyde since 1997.
DeGette: Capps Amendment is a compromise that does not spend $1 federal dollar on abortion. Requirement for supplemental insurance is offensive to women
Pitts: The public does not support federal funding of abortion. Current law prevents fed. dollars from paying for abortion and subsidizing abortion providing plans. A majority opposes funding of abortion on demand.
DeLauro: Stupak Amdt. undermines Capps and is an unprecedented overreach of women’s basic rights and freedoms. It would take away the freedom of conscience and destroy access to abortion. Further, it would discriminate against working women. This is a life or death for women.
Dahlkemper: Stupak Amdt. doesnt change current law. It doesn’t outlaw abortion and it makes hcr consistent with all other federal hc programs.
Capps: Stupak Amdt. strips women of right to choose and does not maintain status quo. Abortion is a legal, medical procedure. Irony that those who claim to oppose gov interference in hc are the same people who are supporting this government regulation of abortion. Capps already does prohibit fed funding.
Pence: I still plan to oppose underlying bill. Ending life is morally wrong; it is wrong to pay for abortion with taxpayer money. Stand for life and vote yes on Stupak.
Lowey: Abortion should be legal and safe and rare. We should reduce abortions by offering contraceptive care, not by denying access to abortion.
McMorris Rodgers: Protection for children should start at moment that life begins. Women object to gov funding of abortion.
Ellsworth: We need to offer Prolife options on the exchange. I have been working with the Catholic bishops on this amdt. This has not been easy, but the amdt. honors and respects life, including the unborn. With passage of this amdt. I will support the bill.
Lee: Inserts federal gov into women’s choices. I am Catholic and I can understand the tough moral choices. But this amdt. will return us to the dark days of back alley abortions. Stupak goes way beyond Hyde. Stupak brings outrageous religious views into public policy. We have a separation of church and state that requires us not to cross this line. Also, it will hurt low income women.
Ryan: Support proteciton of life. Vote with a clean conscience.
Nadler: We are trying to level the playing field for women, but Stupak discriminates agasint women. There would be no abortion in public option, and Stupak would change existing law.
Bachmann: Life is the watershed issue of this generation. Destruction of life not healthcare.
Quigley: Only people who can afford insurance can get abortions. Poor women will be forced to sacrifice privacy.
Fortenberry: The vast majority of Americans do not want federal funding of abortion. Women deserve better. From early childhood to the elderly, we should not compromise. It is not ours to decide who lives or who dies.
Slaughter-(co chair of pro choice caucus) For years, pro-life and pro-choice members have been in a peaceful coexistence around Hyde. H.R. 3962 has the strongest conscience clause yet–and even that is now being strengthened. 30-40 years of women’s accomplishments are being cancelled out. Poor women will have to go to the back alley.
Schakowsky: Only option for abortion is separate policy. Millions of women will be losing coverage.
Lipinski-Approve the Hyde amdt for this bill through supporting Stupak.
Chris Smith: Abby Johnson viewed abortion and became pro-life because she saw how abortion kills a child. Abortion harms women–women who have abortions are more likely to later suffer depression. Abortion contributes to pre term birth–and pre term birth contributes to other problems we want to avoid. If we want to reduce abortions-dont fund them. A Guttmacher study confirms this.
Kaptur: Stupak Amdt. reaffirms Hyde, nothing mor
New Hampshire Prepares Death with Dignity Bill.
A New Hampshire House committee plans to make its recommendation Tuesday on a bill to legalize assisted suicide for the terminally ill.
The Judiciary Committee this fall has been working on the bill, which was introduced last session but held over for more work. The full House votes on the measure next year.
The bill would let terminally ill patients over age 18 obtain lethal prescriptions, with safeguards to prevent abuses.
Opponents call the bill a recipe for elder abuse. They say doctors should be treating the terminally ill, not helping them die.
Oregon has approved assisted suicide ballot questions twice. Washington state followed suit last year.
More Palliative Information Becoming Available.
Just Covering for the Blue Dogs.
HR 3926 also contains numerous end-of-life concerns.
The bill contains the controversial "death panels" panned in the previous legislation and it includes two clear end-of-life provisions -- including one that requires insurance companies to distribute advance directives and other planning tools to all who are insured on the new government-run exchange.
The other allows Medicare reimbursement for optional end-of-life planning consultation.
Both provisions appear to exclude assisted suicide from the consultations and advance directives, but those exclusions have no meaning in the Washington and Oregon (and possibly soon in Montana) where assisted suicides are legal.
There, state law says that "death with dignity," the legal terms in those states for assisted suicide, does not actually constitute assisted suicide.
In both states, state law says actions under the assisted suicide statute "shall not, for any purpose, constitute suicide, assisted suicide, mercy killing or homicide, under the law."
As a result, in Washington and Oregon, Medicare reimbursed consultations could involve assisted suicide planning and advance directives or other planning materials distributed by mandate. Thus, taxpayer-funded information provided under both provisions will include assisted suicide options in those states where it is legal.
To be clear (and I think, regarding misinformation on end of life provisions, I write that often), Death with Dignity acts, as law in Oregon and Washington, require the patient to bring up the issue with the doctor. Any literature that may state the laws exist - and these are laws, by the way - is fully legal. It is still within the patient-doctor relationship that Death with Dignity must be determined viable.
What could get interesting is the lack of such requirements in the Montana law. Because it comes through the courts - and is expected to be upheld by the Montana Supreme Court by the end of the year - it has no such provisions. I expect a lot of noise when the decision comes down.
What Exactly Does the Stupak Amendment Do?
Religious Exemptions for Health Care Coverage.
The House version of the health care bill passed Saturday, HR 3962, imposes a 2.5% penalty tax on anyone who fails to obtain acceptable health care coverage. (Internal Revenue Code Sec. 59B(a) [pg. 297 of PDF]). However the bill does provide a "conscience exemption" for members of religious sects whose tenets reject insurance benefits. The exemption in Section 501of the bill [IRC Sec. 59B(c)(5) at pg. 299 of PDF] tracks the exemption from payment of social security and self-employment taxes for members of groups such as the Old Order Amish, described in Section 1402(g) of the Internal Revenue Code. (See prior related posting.)
And the Earth is Flat Too: Sarah Palin and Death Panels.
During the summer’s debate over health care reform, right-wing activists and lawmakers latched onto former Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s false claim that President Obama and congressional Democrats were proposing government “death panels” that would “pull the plug on grandma.” While Republican leaders largely abandoned this myth, Palin revived it on Friday during a speech at a Wisconsin Right to Life fundraising banquet. In her remarks, Palin “repeatedly suggested that liberal social policies could lead to de facto euthanasia.” The speech was closed to the press and audience members were not allowed to bring cell phones, cameras, or any recording devices, but a few reporters still managed to sneak in. Politico reports that Friday’s speech was less than inspiring:
Palin had remarks prepared but frequently wandered off-script to make a point, offering audience members a casual “awesome” or “bogus” in discussing otherwise weighty topics.
As in: “It is so bogus that society is sending a message right now and has been for probably the last 40 years that a woman isn’t strong enough or smart enough to be able to pursue an education, a career and her rights and still let her baby live.”
Other Palin touchstones included: praise for the military, jeers for the “the liberal media” and a general manner of speaking that often veered into rhetorical culs-de-sac.
While she drew applause during her remarks, Palin’s extemporaneous and frequently discursive style was such that she never truly roused a true-believing crowd as passionate about the issue at hand as she. Not once during her address did they rise to their feet.
Palin warned on her Facebook page last night that the “death panel” provision is in the health care bill that just passed the House.