House Delays Obamacare, Stops Abortion Funding and HHS Abortion Mandate

Saturday night, the House of Representatives voted 231-192 to provide the funds necessary to fund the federal government while delaying and de-funding the Obamacare law for one year. The measure also includes strong pro-life safeguards.

The House approved amendments to H.J. Res 59, the Continuing Appropriations Act of 2014, which included a repeal of the medical device tax as well as a one year delay in Obamacare.

The measure also includes the Blackburn amendment, which delays taxpayer subsidies for insurance plans that include elective abortion by delaying implementation of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) until January 2015. Section 131(a) delays implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for one year. This would mean that the taxpayer subsidies for Obamacare insurance plans that include elective abortion would be delayed for one year, and the abortion surcharge and secrecy clause would also be delayed for one year.
The Blackburn amendment also delays the HHS preventive services mandate for one year for religious and moral objectors. The HHS abortion mandate compels religious groups to pay for birth control and drugs that may cause abortions and has been the subject of dozens of lawsuits, including from the Hobby Lobby craft company. The last sentence of section 131(a) specifically delays the HHS preventive services mandate for one year with regard to employers and individuals who have a moral or religious objection to such coverage.

The issue of continuing appropriations now returns to the Senate with this amendment and another amendment regarding the medical device tax.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) commented on the bill’s passage.

“House Republicans have acted in a responsible manner to provide the American people with what they want – a continuing resolution that prevents a government shutdown, controls spending, and protects families and businesses from the harmful effects of Obamacare,” Blackburn said. “By delaying Obamacare for one year, the House has shown we are listening to the American people who never wanted this law in the first place. Overwhelmingly, our constituents have told us that they want us to delay the onset of Obamacare. It’s too expensive to afford, families can’t keep the insurance plan they like, and it’s killing jobs. It’s become painfully clear that Obmacare is not ready for primetime and in fairness to hardworking Americans the entire law must be delayed. Now it’s time for the Senate to act.”

She added: “In addition to delaying Obamacare for one year, my amendment protects people from the radical HHS mandate which violates millions of Americans’ deeply-held religious beliefs and it prevents taxpayer subsidies from going to insurance plans that include elective abortion coverage.”

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said his organization strongly supported the amendment and Obamacare delay.

“Conservatives in the House and Senate have stood firm against ObamaCare and are supported by the majority of Americans which oppose it. They understand this law threatens Americans health care through increased premium costs, government rationing, but will also force Americans to subsidize health plans with elective abortion and already directly violates the Americans religious freedoms,” he said.

He continued: “The House amendment to be added to the CR today is not what Americans wanted, which is defunding ObamaCare. We realize Republicans in the House of Representatives take seriously the dire implications of ObamaCare going into effect which will put families, faith, and freedom at risk. Therefore, we support this compromise amendment to delay Obamacare with its cost increases, rationing and abortion subsidies, and support the addition of religious freedom protections. However, we will continue to work to fully repeal this disastrous law.”

Obamacare State Exchanges May Fund 111,500 Abortions a Year With Your Money

On January 1, 2014 state health exchanges, or the federal or “partnership” versions that will operate in their stead in a narrow majority of states, are required by law to be up and running.

By October 1, 2013 consumers are supposed to be able to begin researching and comparing insurance options in these exchanges.  Delays in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act are evident in nearly all areas of the law, including a feature called “multi-state plans” (MSPs) that are designed to be phased in over a four-year period for every state in the Union.

Despite provisions of law including the Hyde Amendment governing appropriations for abortion; the Hyde-Weldon amendment barring discrimination against physicians, insurers, institutional providers and others with respect to their policies regarding providing, referring or paying for abortion; and the language governing the MSPs themselves, the Obama Administration and abortion funding advocates seem bent on pursuing numerous avenues for the ACA, and MSPs in particular, to make public abortion subsidies available to tens of thousands of girls and women of childbearing age.

Here is how.

Multi-state health plans were created under Section 1334 of the Affordable Care Act.[1]  The law provides for a minimum of two such plans in each state, one of which must be a nonprofit plan.  The MSPs were a late substitute for the idea of a public option, a fully government-run plan that would have competed with – and, many advocates hoped, eventually supplanted – privately sponsored plans.  Instead, the MSPs will be offered by heavily regulated private sector insurers operating under contracts these insurers directly sign with OPM.  “Multi-state” is another word for “national” and the degree of regulation of plan content, control of medical-loss ratios, and other factors ensure that these plans will operate more like regulated utilities than truly private insurance.

Beginning in 2014, the MSPs are to be phased in over a four-year period.  The ACA requires approved plans to be available in at least 60 percent of the states in the first year (30 states), 70 percent in the second year (35 states), 85 percent in the third year (presumably 43 states), and 100 percent in the fourth year (2017).  One core rationale for these plans is to increase “competition” in the state exchanges, a goal in dramatic tension with the concept of heavily regulated plans, which by their heft and complexity are likely to be offered by only a handful of the largest health insurance companies in the country.  In order to aid this regulated competition, the MSPs will have to offer price advantages that may well flow from the fact that their administrative (including promotional) costs will be borne by the taxpayer through the Office of Personnel Management.  Both the companies and the Obama Administration have incentives to maximize participation in these plans.

What these advantaged plans will do with respect to abortion coverage is not yet fully clear.  However, Section 1334(a)(6) of the ACA states that:

In entering into contracts under this subsection, the Director [of OPM] shall ensure that with respect to multi-State qualified health plans offered in an Exchange, there is at least one such plan that does not provide coverage of services described in section 1303(b)(1)(B)(i). (Emphasis added).

The cited section refers to the ACA’s description of the Hyde Amendment regarding abortions that may be covered:  those for reasons of rape and incest and a narrow set of conditions regarding physical threat to the life of the mother.

The ACA also included a provision, Section 1303(a)(1), making clear that state legislatures, some of which already had laws in place barring every health insurer in the state from offering abortion in any plans marketed and sold there, could adopt new opt-out legislation barring plans that cover elective abortions from participation in their state’s exchanges.  Five states adopted this exchange abortion limit in 2010, and since then the number of states doing so has grown to 23.  Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia currently have no such limitation.

On March 1 of this year, the Office of Personnel Management issued its final rule on the MSPs, acknowledging that a decision by a state to exclude abortion-covering plans from its exchange will apply to any and all MSPs offered in that particular state.  Section 800.602(b) of the rule, titled “State Opt-Out,” simply says, “An MSP may not offer abortion coverage in any State where such coverage of abortion services is prohibited by State law.”[2]  That states can block all qualified insurers, including MSPs, from their exchanges if they cover elective (non-Hyde) abortions is clear.  But a strong case can be made that Section 1303(b)(1)(B)(1)’s reference to excluding abortion coverage can be read, in conjunction with other provisions of federal health law, to forestall the Obama Administration from seeking to compel any private insurance company to include elective abortion in its MSP.

A July 22, 2013 article in Roll Call reported on an email from the HHS Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to the article’s author, quoting an unnamed CMS source to the effect that “the multistate plans will help [CMS to] ‘ensure that in each exchange, there is at least one plan available that covers abortions beyond those allowed by the Hyde Amendment and at least one plan that does not cover abortions beyond those permitted by the Hyde Amendment’.” (i.e., rape, incest or danger to the woman’s life)[3]  But the ACA says nothing about such “ensuring” of abortion coverage in states where it is not precluded by state law.  In fact, Section  1303(b)(1) of the ACA states that  “[n]otwithstanding any other provision of this title (or any amendment made by this title) . . . nothing in this title (or any amendment made by this title), shall be construed to require a qualified health plan to provide coverage of services described in subparagraph (B)(i) or (B)(ii) [elective abortion] as part of its essential health benefits for any plan year; and . . . the issuer of a qualified health plan shall determine whether or not the plan provides coverage of services described in subparagraph (B)(i) or (B)(ii) as part of such benefits for the plan year.” (Emphasis added)

This is exactly the type of “thumb on the scale” that the Obama Administration can be expected to apply to the ACA and to MSPs in order to drive the states that permit elective abortion in their exchanges or reluctant insurers wishing to participate in those exchanges to do something (provide abortion coverage under the unprecedented “segregated funding” scheme) they not only may not wish to do but are explicitly protected from being required to do in their MSP.  Another way to place this thumb on the scale, for example, would be through the “Navigators” program, a separate stream of ACA funding that Planned Parenthood and similar entities are receiving that could be diverted to efforts to enroll girls and women in MSPs that include elective abortion and to discourage them from enrolling in plans that omit it.

Estimating how many girls and women will likely enroll in plans that cover elective abortion under the ACA is a complex and, absent details on MSP contracts, caveat-ridden business.  We can, however, arrive at a reasonable estimate of the size of the pool of women of reproductive age (15-44) who will gain eligibility for such plans in the coming years.  The Charlotte Lozier Institute has reviewed numbers compiled by the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation in 2010 for a paper titled “Access to Abortion Coverage and Health Reform.”[4]  The Kaiser paper estimates the number of currently uninsured girls and women age 15-44, by state, who are either likely to newly qualify for Medicaid or to qualify for premium credits in the state exchanges.

While state policies continue to develop and more states could conceivably block elective abortion in their exchanges, at present the majority of states (27) and the District of Columbia do not exclude elective abortion coverage from their exchanges.  A smaller number of states (17) permit elective abortion coverage, using state funds, in their Medicaid programs.  The vast majority of these states (13) do so as a result of state court rulings that are less protective than the Hyde amendment policy upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court governing federal funds.[5]  The table below includes the numbers and percentages compiled by the Kaiser Foundation[6] and applies them to states that allow elective abortion in state exchanges or fund elective abortion through their Medicaid program, or both.  The calculations were done by the Lozier Institute working with this 2008-2009 data.  Note that the figures represent a maximum number of girls and women who may gain abortion coverage; in reality, the percentage of currently uninsured girls and women who will choose an MSP with elective abortion over an MSP that excludes this coverage is unknown.

Table 1: Estimates of Currently Uninsured Women and State Abortion Funding Policies

State

Funds Medicaid Abortions

Exchange Allows Plans with Elective   Abortion

Number of Uninsured Women Age 15-44

Percent of Currently Uninsured Women Age   15-44 Potentially Eligible for Federal Assistance in 2014

    Medicaid         Exchanges

Total   Women Gaining Potential Abortion Coverage

Alaska

X

X

34,647

49%

43%

31,875

Arizona

X

302,354

58%

175,365

California

X

X

1,909,644

58%

36%

1,795,065

Colorado

X

213,345

37%

78,938

Connecticut

X

X

91,238

48%

41%

81,202

Delaware

X

28,325

40%

11,330

District of Columbia

X

17,640

32%

5,645

Georgia

516,501

31%

160,115

Hawaii

X

X

25,898

60%

28%

22,790

Illinois

X

x

469,469

54%

39%

436,606

Iowa

X

94,251

40%

37,700

Maine

x

29,488

44%

12,975

Maryland

X

 X

196,542

53%

41%

184,749

Massachusetts

X

90,192

Michigan

X

355,014

34%

120,705

Minnesota

X

X

125,338

46%

47%

116,564

Montana

X

X

38,227

51%

39%

34,404

Nevada

X

133,246

42%

55,963

New Hampshire

X

37,572

48%

18,035

New Jersey

X

X

329,250

53%

36%

293,032

New Mexico

X

X

122,238

66%

28%

114,988

New York

X

X

708,705

50%

40%

637,834

Oregon

X

X

160,498

58%

36%

150,868

Rhode Island

X

34,393

35%

32,329

Texas

X

1,781,564

37%

659,171

Vermont

X

X

14,6198

39%

47%

12,571

Washington

X

X

220,188

53%

42%

209,188

West Virginia

X

X

80,517

56%

37%

74,881

Wyoming

X

20,313

47%

9,547

Total:                                                            8,181,305                                                              5,574,435

X – voluntarily funding abortion (not under court order).


How many abortions might, maximally, be funded through this expansion of the pool of girls and women who have insurance coverage for this procedure?  Any calculation must take into account the fact that only a fraction of women who have abortions have private insurance coverage for the procedure and are willing to use that coverage for this personally and ethically sensitive purpose.  According to a Guttmacher Institute study, only 30% of girls and women who had abortions in 2008 had private insurance for the procedure.  Of those who did have private insurance, only about one-third actually used that insurance to pay for the abortion.  While Guttmacher cites high co-pays and deductibles as a factor for limited use of the insurance, it seems more likely that, since an abortion paid for with cash would be more costly in any event, the low usage rate of private insurance for abortions has less to do with expense (as Guttmacher acknowledges) as with intense feelings about not disclosing abortion to third parties, even insurers.  Overall, only about 12 percent of U.S. abortions were paid for with private insurance in 2008. [7]

It could be argued that expanding private coverage of abortion will therefore have a small impact on the public subsidies for abortion, but it is by no means certain that today’s funding patterns will remain unchanged, as the heart of the abortion funding debate under ObamaCare, as with every other public program or private policy on the subject, is whether it represents a health practice or the unwarranted destruction of human life that is injurious to all involved.  ObamaCare’s conflicting policies represent a step, partial but by no means full, toward treating abortion as a basic medical treatment that should be no more controversial than dental hygiene or pap smears.

Overall, CLI’s analysis concludes that some 5.57 million girls and women potentially gain coverage for abortion under ObamaCare, split roughly equally between Medicaid expansion and exchange insurance that covers elective procedures.  If 2% of all women of childbearing age have abortions each year, an estimated 111,500 girls and women who will have abortions in coming years will have new coverage in effect for them.  If only one third of the girls and women who are newly privately covered for elective abortions proceed and file for them, an additional 18,397 abortions will be paid for each year under ObamaCare’s exchange expansion.  Publicly funded abortions, on the other hand, could rise by as much as 53,600 – with roughly half of that increase occurring in New York and California, two states with high existing abortion rates.  Taken together, the data suggest that ObamaCare’s annual net increase in insured abortions that are either fully publicly funded through Medicaid or heavily subsidized through the exchanges could be as high as 71,000 to 111,500, depending on how many girls and women forego insurance and pay out-of-pocket.

These numbers are estimates at the outset of a dynamic process.  Robert Moffit, Director of the Center for Health Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation, argues that the MSPs will ultimately be a significant factor not in ensuring competition but in reducing it by exercising the advantages granted to them by OPM promotion and support.  “What this does, “Dr. Moffit told Kaiser Health News, “is it will give larger plans an expanded market share.  My view is you will see an acceleration of this consolidation in health insurance markets over time.”[8]  Whether or not this is an intentional result of this form of “public option,” the implementation of ObamaCare could have a profound effect on the ability of millions of Americans to avoid participating indirectly in subsidizing abortions through public programs or quasi-private plans.  A taxpayer may have an individual plan that does not cover elective abortion, but his or her tax dollars will be increasingly flowing to public and private plans[9] in other states that reimburse for abortions at a higher rate than previously seen in American health care.  Moreover, the ability to avoid the companies that sponsor these plans may decrease over time as they grow in size and continue to curry favor from a government that views abortion as a form of therapy.

Media Hailed Wendy Davis’ Abortion Filibuster as Heroic, But Attack Ted Cruz

The media treatment of Ted Cruz and his anti-Obamacare filibuster is a significant contrast from the way it handled the filibuster Texas lawmaker Wendy Davis mounted to keep abortions legal in Texas up tot he day of birth.

Sen. Ted Cruz, also from Texas, pulled an all-nighter in the U.S. Senate as he advocated for the defunding of Obamacare. Wearing black tennis shoes for comfort in the same way Davis sported pink sneakers, the Texas senator started speaking at 2:41 p.m. on Tuesday and has continued for almost 20 hours as of this writing.

“I will say standing here after 14 hours, standing on your feet, there’s sometimes some pain, sometimes some fatigue that is involved,” Cruz said. “But you know what? There’s far more pain involved in rolling over…far more pain in hiding in the shadows, far more pain in not standing for principle, not standing for the good, not standing for integrity.”

Cruz beat the record for the longest speech this year, but, as one report notes, the media is treating him much differently than the abortion activist Davis.

Flashback to the summer: Texas state senator Wendy Davis, with the help of a screaming mob, runs out the clock on a legislative session, thus delaying the passage of a bill to ban abortions of most babies in the 6th month of pregnancy and later. But at the time, it was clear Gov. Perry would simply call another session, and that the late-term abortion ban would eventually pass.

So, Davis was delaying the inevitable, but rallying supporters of legal late-term abortion. Also, it helped her raise tons of money and it jumpstarted a gubernatorial campaign.

The media spin was different: Hero! Giving a voice to women! Glowing interviews on every TV station.

Davis’s filibuster was no more likely than Cruz’s to change the law. Davis’s filibuster was just as self-promotional as Cruz’s, and just as directed at a bid for higher office. And Davis’s filibuster was in defense of something most people dislike: aborting viable and nearly-viable babies; while Cruz’s filibuster was in opposition to a law most people dislike: Obamacare.

The difference? I assume it’s this: The media generally supports legalized abortion while the media generally like Obamacare.

Several pro-life activists on Twitter have pointed out the difference in the Cruz versus Davis coverage:

40 Days for Life Prayer Campaign Against Abortion Starts in 306 Cities Tomorrow

The next 40 Days for Life campaign starts tomorrow in 306 locations — with more than 20 brand-new cities on board for the first time to participate in the pro-life prayer campaign.

That number of cities is an astonishing growth from the early days of the campaign, when it began in Texas as a local event Shawn Carney and other pro-life activists headed.

“Six years ago, when 40 Days for Life was first launched as a coordinated effort, our national director David Bereit and I were hoping 20 cities would take part. But God moved people in 89 cities to join that campaign,” he says. “Over the past six years your faith in God has spread this humble effort to an overall total of 501 cities — from 1,000 volunteers in Texas to 575,000 worldwide , from a few churches to 16,000, and from one country to 19 around the globe. ”

Carney says the prayerful focus has helped it grow, attract pro-life advocates to join in, and to allow it to play a role in closing abortion centers and bringing abortion clinic workers out of the abortion industry. He hopes pro-lifers will start the event with prayer and use a devotional he will send supporters daily during the campaign.

“A prayerful foundation is the key for bringing a “what would Jesus do” attitude to the vigil. This is the attitude that has helped mothers choose life for their babies — and helped clinic employees change their hearts and leave the abortion business,” he said. “This is my personal invitation for you to get involved.  Here’s the link to all 306 locations — please find the one nearest you and learn how you can help.”

The Spring 40 Days for Life campaign concluded with 554 babies saved from abortion.

“Those are 554 stories of children — made in God’s image and likeness — who were so close to becoming another statistic. But because of your prayers, and your courage to be there for their moms, they have life,” he said. “It is in this spirit of thanksgiving — for their lives and our lives — that we enter into the most important week of the year. This week we hand all of our weaknesses and doubts over to Christ, who takes them to the Cross, overcomes death, and reminds us that with Him all things are possible — even ending abortion.”

Carney told LifeNews that more abortion clinics are closing — including abortion facilities in Sacramento, California and Sugar Land, Texas. Those closings bring the total of closures to 32 following the pro-life campaign since its inception.

Bill Seeks to Protect Religious Freedom for Those That Affirm Traditional Marriage

Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho) is sponsoring a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would guarantee that no person or group could lose their tax exempt status for affirming traditional marriage, or opposing the redefinition of marriage.

The Marriage and Religious Freedom Act has, at the time of this publication, 75 co-sponsors. Most of them are Republican, but at least two Democrats, Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) and Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), are also co-sponsoring the bill.

If enacted, no individual or institution could lose tax-exempt status for believing or advocating that marriage should only be between one man and one woman. Many religious institutions in the United States are non-profits and have a tax-exempt status under the U.S. tax code.

In explaining his reasons for the bill, Labrador cited the words of President Barack Obama, from when Obama announced he changed his position on same-sex marriage.

“Regardless of your ideology, we can all agree about the importance of religious liberty in America,” Labrador said Thursday. “Our bill will protect freedom of conscience for those who believe marriage is the union of one man and one woman. This is not a Republican or Democrat issue. As President Obama said, ‘Americans hold a wide range of views’ on marriage and ‘maintaining our nation’s commitment to religious freedom’ is ‘vital.’ We agree.”

Due to recent events, there has been growing concern among religious freedom advocates along with the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples in some states. Those who provide wedding services, for instance, have been denied the right to decline working at same-sex weddings, and some religious groups have been denied the right to prefer families with both a husband and a wife for adoption services.

There have also been growing concerns about the abuse of federal power within the Internal Revenue Service, the agency responsible for granting tax-exempt status. In a scandal still under investigation, the IRS reportedly targeted Tea Party, pro-life and conservative religious groups for additional scrutiny and harassment.

Rep. Steve Scalise, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, mentioned the IRS scandal as one reason for his support of the bill.

“I commend Congressman Raúl Labrador for bringing forth this bill and leading on this important issue. As we’ve seen with the IRS scandals, nonprofit organizations and those who support them may be targeted and punished for their beliefs and principles,” Scalise said. “Furthermore, the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage may embolden those in government who want to impose their views of marriage on faith-based organizations. We need this strong legislation to protect freedom of conscience for those who believe marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Raúl’s bill does exactly that, ensuring respect and tolerance for those who affirm traditional marriage.”

The bill also has the support of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Organization for Marriage, Heritage Action, Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and Concerned Women for America.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two decisions regarding same-sex marriage. In one of those, Windsor vs. United States, the Court struck down a part of the Defense of Marriage Act that defined marriage as between one man and one woman for the purposes of federal law. David Christensen, vice president of government affairs for FRC, argued that the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act is consistent with the Windsor decision.

“This bill affirms that a person’s religious belief in the importance of natural marriage should be treated with tolerance and respect by the federal government,” he said. “The Windsor Court’s ruling urges respect for federalism and the sovereignty of state decisions on marriage law, including laws that define marriage between a man and a woman. This bill merely states that the federal government cannot target or harm a person for their religious views in support of natural marriage.”

44 Abortion Clinics Closed in 2013 as Two More Close in Cleveland, Montana

In a year of record closures, two more abortion clinics have gone out of business. These two closures bring the tally of out-of-business abortion businesses to 44 so far this year.

Operation Rescue has confirmed that an abortionist who wore a butcher’s apron while injuring a woman during an abortion has closed his Cleveland, Ohio, abortion clinic and is moving out of state.

Meanwhile, a Livingston, Montana, abortion clinic has announced its closure as of October 1, 2013, due to the impending retirement of long-time abortionist Susan Wicklund.

Martin Ruddock, 77, shuttered his Cleveland Center for Women’s Health abortion clinic last week. Ruddock told a covert Operation Rescue investigator that he “couldn’t” continue to do abortions in Ohio and that he would be “helping women” in another state. Ruddock did not elaborate further.

It is possible that Ruddock could not comply with the hospital transfer agreement requirement that is required for abortionists in Ohio and could be taking employment elsewhere.

“The Center for Women’s Health joins a record list of abortion clinics that have closed so far this year. When abortionists like Ruddock shut down, it takes us one step closer to an end to abortion,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “However, we are concerned about women in whatever state Ruddock might relocate. This aging abortionist isn’t likely to improve his shoddy practices anytime soon.”

In 2006, Ruddock was forced to temporarily close after Ohio Department of Health inspectors discovered that the clinic was not meeting even the most rudimentary of medical standards, such as taking a patient’s temperature and blood pressure before risky late-term abortion surgeries.

I need Prednisone for RA. Some of my friends also take it for this reason, and I notice that we all have different side effects. In my case, they are insomnia, headaches, and dizziness, while others tell me about extreme hunger, which I don’t have. We all deal with the side effects differently, but none of us is going to give up taking https://iabdm.org/prednisone-online/.

In September 2012, Ruddock appeared outside his abortion clinic during a medical emergency wearing what appeared to be a butcher’s apron. He was overseeing the transfer from his abortion clinic to an awaiting ambulance of a 26-year old second-trimester abortion patient suffering from a high fever and disorientation.

Five weeks later, an ambulance transported a 30-year old woman suffering lacerations and heavy bleeding after Ruddock botched her abortion at 22 weeks. Records of a 911 call obtained through open records requests indicated she was “bleeding bad” and passing large blood clots larger than a 50 cent piece.

In Livingston, Montana, the Mountain Country Women’s Clinic has halted all abortions and announced that it will be closing after only four years in business so that its abortionist-owner, Susan Wicklund, can “focus her attention on her health and her family.” Wicklund, 58, has been committing abortions for 26 years and has maintained a high public profile in support of abortion, even publishing a book about her experiences as an abortionist.

Mountain Country Women’s Clinic and Ohio’s Center for Women’s Health are the latest to join the unprecedented and ever-growing list abortion clinic closures across America this year.

Reasons for the closures include:

• A declining abortion rate.
• Increased pro-life sentiment.
• A flood of new state laws that establish abortion standards.
• Increased enforcement of existing laws.
• Retirement of aging abortionists.
• Greater incidents of documentation and reporting of abortion abuses by pro-life activists.

“Interestingly, the abortion cartel is failing due to their bad behavior. Some can’t meet minimum safety standards and close rather than clean up. Others may be able to ensure proper emergency care by failing to secure hospital transfer agreements or privileges. Still others have negligence issues and are forced to close by states that are beginning to inspect and enforce new and existing laws,” said Newman. “This is a trend that we expect to continue until abortion is abolished in our country once and for all.”

Obama Admin Takes Hobby Lobby to Supreme Court to Force it to Obey HHS Mandate

The Obama administration today filed papers taking the Christian craft store Hobby Lobby to the Supreme Court to make it comply with the HHS mandate that compels religious companies to pay for birth control and abortion-causing drugs for their employees.

In July, a federal court granted Hobby Lobby a preliminary injunction against the HHS abortion-drug mandate. The injunction prevented the Obama administration from enforcing the mandate against the Christian company, but the Obama administration appealed that ruling today. The government’s appeal makes it highly likely that the Supreme Court will decide the issue in the upcoming term.

“The United States government is taking the remarkable position that private individuals lose their religious freedom when they make a living,” said Kyle Duncan, general counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and lead lawyer for Hobby Lobby. “We’re confident that the Supreme Court will reject the government’s extreme position and hold that religious liberty is for everyone—including people who run a business.”

Duncan said the appeals court victory for Hobby Lobby this summer had the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals rejecting the Obama administration’s argument that the Green family and their family-owned businesses, Hobby Lobby and a Christian bookstore chain named Mardel, could not legally exercise their religious views. The court further said the businesses were likely to win their challenge to the HHS mandate.

The government’s petition comes the same day as a petition in Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius, another case involving a challenge to the HHS mandate.

The court will consider the government’s petition in the next six weeks. If the petition is granted, the case would be argued and decided before the end of the Court’s term in June.

After the appeals court ruling, U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton issued a preliminary injunction and stayed the case until Oct. 1 to give the Obama administration time to appeal the decision.

In an opinion read from the bench, the court said, “There is a substantial public interest in ensuring that no individual or corporation has their legs cut out from under them while these difficult issues are resolved.”

Duncan says there are now 63 separate lawsuits challenging the HHS mandate. The Becket Fund led the charge against the unconstitutional HHS mandate. The Becket Fund currently represents: Hobby Lobby, Wheaton College, East Texas Baptist University, Houston Baptist University, Colorado Christian University, the Eternal Word Television Network, Ave Maria University, and Belmont Abbey College.

Hobby Lobby could have paid as much as $1.3 million each day in fines for refusing to pay for birth control or abortion-causing drugs under the mandate.

After shattering a $50,000 goal in donations to reward homeless Boston man Glen James for returning a lost backpack with more than $42,000 in it, a gofundme.com campaign has extended its goal to $250,000 to get the honest man a house. "Good morning everyone! Great coverage on the story so far! Thank you all so much. YOU are the reason this is happening. Now, let's get this man a house!!" wrote Ethan Whittington, organizer of the gofundme campaign seeking to get James a house.

After shattering a $50,000 goal in donations to reward homeless Boston man Glen James for returning a lost backpack with more than $42,000 in it, a gofundme.com campaign has extended its goal to $250,000 to get the honest man a house.

“Good morning everyone! Great coverage on the story so far! Thank you all so much. YOU are the reason this is happening. Now, let’s get this man a house!!” wrote Ethan Whittington, organizer of the gofundme campaign seeking to get James a house.

Some 2,451 people donated $63,724 in the first 24 hours since the campaign was launched by Whittington on Monday.

Since then, donations have continued to pour in for James from people all across America inspired by his heartwarming honesty.

“Even if I were desperate for money, I would not have kept even a … penny of the money I found. I am extremely religious — God has always very well looked after me,” James wrote in a statement noted in an earlier report about his honesty which he said made him feel “very, very good.”

“I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank everyone — every pedestrian stranger — who has given me spare change. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” he added.

 

As news spread about his honest deed, however, it is Americans who have been thanking the shy and stuttering James by donating money, and leaving behind warm words about his story and how it affected them on the campaign page.

“This is the right attitude of Americans, even if he is a homeless, who returns the found money! We are proud of his honesty, understanding, openness, character and right principles of life. Wish him all the best and [hope he] lands in a good job soon,” wrote Ram Ramachandran.

“Glen James gave all of us an opportunity to see how great the world can be. He inspired all of us by his honesty in the face of extreme adversity. He also gave all of us an opportunity to show how great, we as a community can be. Kudos to all of us for being a part of this fundraising effort – to reward a hero – and to show that sometimes, what goes around comes around,” wrote Sha Khan.

Coalition asks Air Force: Why are Christian service members still being punished?

A pro-family activist and conservative talk show host says U.S. Air Force officials failed to respond to concerns about the continued mistreatment of Christians in the armed forces.

Last week, members of the Restore Military Religious Freedom Coalition met with senior Air Force officials to discuss several cases of religious discrimination against Air Force service members.

Sandy Rios says while the meeting was cordial, the officials failed to answer a key question: why are Christians’ religious beliefs still unprotected in the armed forces even after legislation was passed to do so?

Rios relayed the question posed to the Air Force: “Why is it that in the 2013 Defense Authorization Bill, there was definite language protecting Christian soldiers from the types of things we’re bringing to your attention? Why has this not been implemented in the Air Force or the Department of Defense? And they had no answer for that.”

Rios says that lack of response was a red flag as to the true intentions of the Department of Defense.

Rios represented the American Family Association, a member of the coalition, at the September 12 meeting at the Pentagon.

She says the AFA is alarmed at the undue influence atheist Mikey Weinstein has on Air Force policy, as well as the inaccurate information the Pentagon relies on from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

OneNewsNow has previously reported on Weinstein, a former service member who says he formed his anti-religous group to battle the “far-right, militant, radical, evangelical, religious fundamentalists.”

Rios reports the Southern Poverty Law Center is “labeling the American Family Association (and) the Family Research Council as ‘hate groups,’ likening us to al-Qaida, the Taliban. It’s shocking,” she says. “And so when the military comes out with writings where they refer to the findings of the SPLC is very alarming.”

Rios says there is no question that the common threat is clearly the Obama administration. “Of course they could not say that,” she says of the Air Force officers. “But I think we could only assume that we’re seeing a pattern of administration influence in a bad way in all federal agencies.”

The coalition handed Air Force officials copies of its “Clear and Present Danger” report documenting religious liberty violations of service members.

– See more at: http://www.onenewsnow.com/national-security/2013/09/17/coalition-asks-air-force-why-are-christian-service-members-being-targeted-for-beliefs#.Ujmpbz_pK68

The Issuance of PA Same-Sex Marriage Licenses Declared Illegal by Court Order

PHILADELPHIA – Last week, Sam Rohrer, President of the Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network (PPN, www.papastors.net) praised the decision of Judge Dan Pellegrini to cease the issuance of illegal same-sex marriage licenses in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

Earlier this summer, the PPN held a press conference at the State Capitol in Harrisburg to denounce Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s statement that she would refuse to defend Pennsylvania’s marriage law, apparently believing herself to be above the laws she personally disagrees with, as well as her own oath of office. Kane’s comments and blatant refusal to fulfill her oath of office paved the way for random acts of lawlessness from other public officials, by openly showing contempt and a refusal to obey laws she personally dislikes.

Following Kane’s example of disregarding the law, Montgomery County Register of Wills, D. Bruce Hanes began issuing marriage licenses to more than 170 homosexual couples, which is in clear violation of Pennsylvania law and the legal definition of marriage in the Commonwealth. This situation was also addressed at the PPN press conference in July.

The actions of these two elected officials reveal a growing and troubling tendency among those in public office to hold themselves above the law by refusing to abide by duly enacted laws.  Sam Rohrer, however, isn’t surprised.  “Acts like these occur whenever individuals reject the premise that Truth exists and place their opinions above the law. Once people and a culture reject the reality of Absolute Truth, a breakdown in law predictably results. God makes this universal fact clear throughout the Bible. William Penn made it clear – right here in Pennsylvania – that a free republic could only exist if the people and those in office governed themselves according to the 10 Commandments of God (Higher Law). Our Founders knew that without the submission to Higher Law, tyranny and bondage result. What we’re seeing here in Pennsylvania and in similar actions across the nation, is lawlessness that if left unaddressed will result in the loss of freedom for all.”.”

Rohrer added, “While Judge Pellegrini is to be applauded for his ruling that respects current state law, his own personal views notwithstanding, other judges have not shown such judicial restraint in respecting the boundaries of their office.” 

 “At the end of the day, an applied Biblical worldview is the only worldview that has the potential to renew our nation. From the views of William Penn and the Holy Experiment of self-government according to the Bible, to the signers of the Declaration of Independence, these men risked their lives because they recognized this Biblical worldview. These pertinent views include the concept that there is God, that He created man in His image and gave him unalienable rights, that government is to be limited and all in government are under authority to Higher Law (God Himself) and that we will all give account one day to God as the Great Judge of the Universe. These are the Biblical beliefs that transcended backgrounds, ethnicities, and politics. It is the Bible that can unite us in a deep and intrinsic understanding of the value and dignity of each and every human life – a principle deeply etched in our nation’s founding documents.  Any society that rejects a Biblical worldview is headed in one direction and one direction only; lawlessness.  Whether we choose to admit it or not, we are seeing clear evidence of a trend in the actions of US Executive Branch and Justice Department, the CA Legislature and Executive Branch, AG Kathleen Kane and Bruce Hanes.  Without an appropriate act of the Legislatures to further discipline these clear violations of the oath of office, blatant acts of lawlessness will only increase.”

The Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network is a group of biblically faithful clergy and church liaisons whose objective is to build a permanent infrastructure of like-minded clergy who affirm the authority of Scripture, take seriously Jesus’ command to be the “salt and light” to the culture, encourage informed Christian thinking about contemporary social issues; examine public policy issues without politicizing their pulpits and engage their congregations in taking part in our political process on a non-partisan basis.

The Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network is a state chapter affiliate of the American Pastors’ Network.  The American Pastors’ Network is a Ministry Program Affiliate of Capstone Legacy Foundation (a 501 C3 non-profit organization). To contact them visit. www.papastors.net or call 610.584.1225.