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February 20, 2009
SEVEN STATES SUE TO BLOCK CONSCIENCE PROTECTION RULE 
Prior to the completion of George W. Bush's presidency, former Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt issued a new regulation expanding conscience protection for doctors, nurses and other health care professionals who refuse to participate in abortions.

Since then, lawsuits seeking to block the rule have been filed in seven states. Connecticut's Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, filed the suit on behalf of his state and California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon and Rhode Island.

Upon issuing the regulation, Secretary Leavitt explained that its purpose was to ensure that "doctors and other health care providers should not be forced to choose between good professional standing and violating their conscience." (Human Events, 2/2/09)


ELEVEN STATES CONSIDER PRE-ABORTION ULTRASOUND REQUIREMENT 
Legislation requiring that a mother view an ultrasound image of her developing baby prior to undergoing an abortion is currently pending in at least eleven states. Sixteen states already have laws related to pre-abortion ultrasounds. Some laws require that an ultrasound be performed on the mother, and others require that she be informed about where she can obtain one at no charge.

The bills have been introduced in Nebraska, Indiana, Texas, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, New York, North Dakota, Virginia, Wyoming, and Connecticut. South Carolina already has a law requiring that a mother be given the option to view her baby's ultrasound image at least 1 hour prior to an abortion. This year, a bill has been introduced extending the waiting period to 24 hours.

If you reside in one of the above-mentioned states, please contact your state representative and senator to ask for support for these bills. If you have family members and friends living there as well, please encourage them to do the same. Remember, success in the cause of life is up to us!


CATHOLIC CARDINAL SENDS PRO-LIFE LETTER TO CONGRESS 
The chairman of the Committee for Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, sent a letter dated February 5, 2009 to all members of Congress regarding the Bishops' overall policy agenda.

In the letter, his first to the 111th Congress, Cardinal Rigali pointed to Congress' "first order of business," the appropriations process, and urged them "not to use this legislation to weaken or rescind longstanding provisions that protect U.S. taxpayers from being forced to fund and promote the destruction of innocent human life." He made clear his opposition and that of the Catholic faithful to the Freedom of Choice Act. Singling out the Hyde Amendment, which has, since its enactment in 1976, protected taxpayers from being coerced into complicity with most abortions, Cardinal Rigali said, "Lawmakers who disagree about the legal status of abortion have long agreed that Americans should not be forced by government to support or participate in abortion against their will. Efforts to coerce consciences in this way violate any possible definition of ‘pro-choice,' and undermine our nation's long tradition of respect for conscience and religious freedom."

The letter also expressed support for continuation of the Dickey/Wicker amendment to the Labor/HHS appropriations bill which has prevented funding for research in which human embryos are created, harmed and destroyed, the Hyde/Weldon conscience protection amendment which since 2004 has prevented federal agencies, and state and local governments receiving federal funds, from discriminating against individual or institutional health care providers who do not participate in abortion, and the Kemp/Kasten amendment to the State/Foreign Operations appropriations bill which has prevented U.S. funding of organizations that support or help manage programs of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization [overseas].

Cardinal Rigali reminded Congress that, "In a society that wants to reduce abortions, it makes no sense for government to force its citizens to fund and promote abortions," and he strongly urged them to "retain these essential provisions in law."


GOP LEADERS THANK CARDINAL RIGALI FOR LETTER TO CONGRESS 
House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and House Republican Policy Committee Chairman Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) sent a letter dated February 17 to Cardinal Justin Rigali of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops thanking him for his February 5 letter to all Members of Congress urging legislators to fight to protect the sanctity of unborn human life.

Representatives Boehner and McCotter said in their letter; "We stand with you in the defense of all human life." "We are committed to working with our pro-life colleagues on both sides of the aisle to proactively defeat efforts to enact the so-called Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) or any similar measure. We are similarly committed to working to retain, and not weaken, laws that prohibit using federal funds for the purpose of promoting or funding promotion of abortion."

"We will, as Pope Benedict XVI exhorted during his apostolic visit to the United States last year, ‘proclaim the gift of life, to serve life, and promote a culture of life.'"


PERSONHOOD BILL PASSES IN NORTH DAKOTA HOUSE 
The North Dakota House has passed the "Personhood" bill (HB 1572) by a vote of 51-41.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Dan Ruby, affirms the rights of pre-born humans, stating: "For purposes of interpretation of the constitution and laws of North Dakota, it is the intent of the legislative assembly that an individual, a person, when the context indicates that a reference to an individual is intended, or a human being includes any organism with the genome of homo sapiens." The bill declares that an unborn baby is a person from conception/fertilization and represents a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade.

The North Dakota Senate is expected to consider the bill within the next two weeks.


Never forget that YOU were once an embryo.

Republican National
Coalition for Life


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