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Panel Behind Obama Mandate Dominated by Pro-Abortion Orgs

by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 2/16/12 12:38 PM

National

A pro-life organization has access public records about the committee that made the recommendation to the Obama administration to adopt its new controversial health care mandate and found the panel was dominated by pro-abortion groups.

The Obama administration is coming under fire for producing a new Obamacare mandate regarding preventative services that forces religious employers to pay for abortion-causing drugs and birth control for their employees. Last week, Obama said his administration would advise the mandate to force insurance companies to provide the abortion-inducing drugs at no cost.

Now, HLI America indicates the mandate came about because of a collection of pro-abortion organizations and activists.

HLIA notes:  “Through a search of public records, HLI America has been able to substantiate the claim that members of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee who wrote Recommendation 5.5 have ideological commitments that raise serious questions about the supposed objectivity with which they considered the scientific evidence that led to their recommendation that the HHS mandate contraception and sterilization coverage as “preventive care.”

“The IOM members below have strong relationships with both Planned Parenthood and NARAL, and have actively supported pro-abortion candidates for public office,” the pro-life group adds. “This is by no means an exhaustive list of the involvement of the IOM committee members in pro-choice advocacy groups and pro-choice political campaigns. But these eleven members—out of a total of fifteen—demonstrate a more than casual commitment to the furthering of the abortion lobby.”

HLA determined that “not a single member of the committee has financially supported a pro-life candidate.”

According to HLA, the members of the panel leading to the Obama mandate included:

Claire Brindis is a member of the Board of Directors of the NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation, as well as a member of NARAL’s Pro-Choice California “1969 Society,” which has been called by NARAL “a group of our most steadfast and generous donors.”

Angela Diaz is a former board member of “Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health,” an advocacy group that “work[s] to improve access to comprehensive reproductive health care, including contraception and abortion.” Until just a few weeks ago she served as the senior vice president of the International Women’s Health Coalition and was on the board of directors from 2007-2010. Her biography on the IWHC’s website (which was recently removed) stated that she “has a deep and long commitment to IWHC’s mission and to the organization.” The IWHC is a pro-choice advocacy group that declares that “access to safe abortion is a human right” and that abortion and contraception are “universal and inalienable” rights.

Francisco Garcia has donated between $11,750 and $13,000 to candidates that support abortion since 2004. These pro-choice candidates include Raul Grijava and Barack Obama.

Kimberly Gregory, as indicated by public records, has donated $35,200 to the California Victory 2010 of the Democratic National Committee in support of Barbara Boxer.

Paula A. Johnson is the Chairwoman of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts and is affiliated with the pro-abortion National Organization of Women (NOW). This year she will be the winner of NARAL’s 2011 “Champion for Choice” award. Public records indicate that since 2003 she has given between $9,550 and $11,000 each to the political campaigns of Pro-Choice candidates including Martha Coakley, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton. She also has made contributions to Emily’s List, an organization dedicated to “electing pro-choice Democratic women.”

Roberta Ness has donated at least $2,500 to pro-abortion candidate John Kerry and to the Democratic National Committee.

Magda G. Peck is associated with a host of organizations that advocate for abortion and free access to contraception, and was on the board of directors of Planned Parenthood of Nebraska and Council Bluffs and served as both vice chair and chair of the board.

E. Albert Reece donated $1000 in 2010 to the campaign of pro-abortion politician Barbara Mikulski, the sponsor of the amendment that paved the way for recommendation 5.5.

Linda Rosenstock, committee chairwoman, has since October 2004 donated over $40,000 to pro-choice political candidates including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Barbara Boxer, and the Democratic National Committee.

Alina Salganicoff is the Vice President and Director of Women’s Health Policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a major proponent of abortion and contraception on demand. She donated $950 to the Barack Obama and Judy Feder campaigns in 2008.

Carol Weisman has made $4,500 in political donations to pro-abortion candidates including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Kerry and Judy Feder since 2000.

More than 50 members of Congress banded together at a press conference to demand legislation to stop the new mandate pro-abortion President Barack Obama put in place forcing religious employers to pay for insurance coverage including birth control and abortion-inducing drugs.

Congressman Jeff Fortenberry held a press conference today with supporters of the bipartisan, bicameral Respect for Rights of Conscience Act. His legislation would protect the religious liberty and conscience rights of every American who objects to being forced by the strong-arm of government to pay for drugs and procedures recently mandated by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The Fortenberry bill currently has the support of approximately 220 Members of Congress and Senators, the most strongly-supported legislative remedy to the controversial HHS mandate.  This measure would repeal the controversial mandate, amending the 2010 health care law to preserve conscience rights for religious institutions, health care providers, and small businesses who pay for health care coverage.

H.R. 1179 enjoys the endorsements of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Right to Life Committee, Americans United for Life, and other organizations.  Numerous other organizations, including the Christian Medical Association and Family Research Council, have urged support of the bill.

Sen. Roy Blunt, a pro-life Missouri Republican, is putting forward the Blunt Amendment, #1520, again, and it is termed the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act. According to information provided to LifeNews from pro-life sources on Capitol Hill, the Blunt Amendment will be the first amendment voted on when the Senate returns to the transportation bill. The amendment would allow employers to decline coverage of services in conflict with religious beliefs.

Republicans are moving swiftly with legislation, amendments, and potential hearings on the mandatethe Obama administration has put in place that forces religious employers to pay for birth control and abortion-inducing drugs for their employees.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops  issued a statement saying Obama’s revised mandate involves “needless government intrusion in the internal governance of religious institutions” and it urged Congress to overturn the rule and promised a potential lawsuit.

Meanwhile, the Republican presidential candidates had been taking verbal swings at Obama for imposing the original mandate on religious employers, which is not popular in the latest public opinion poll and which even some Democrats oppose.

Congressman Steve Scalise has led a bipartisan letter with 154 co-signers calling on the Obama Administration to reverse its mandate forcing religious organizations to include drugs that can cause abortion and birth control in the health care plans of their employees.

Bishops across the country have spoken out against the original mandate and are considering a lawsuit against it — with bishops in more than 164 locations across the United States issuing public statements against it or having letters opposing it printed in diocesan newspaper or read from the pulpit.

“We cannot — we will not comply with this unjust law,” said the letter from Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix. “People of faith cannot be made second-class citizens.”

The original mandate was so egregious that even the normally reliably liberal and pro-abortion USA Today condemned it in an editorial titled, “Contraception mandate violates religious freedom.”

The administration initially approved a recommendation from the Institute of Medicine suggesting that it force insurance companies to pay for birth control and drugs that can cause abortions under the Obamacare government-run health care program.

The IOM recommendation, opposed by pro-life groups, called for the Obama administration to require insurance programs to include birth control — such as the morning after pill or the ella drug that causes an abortion days after conception — in the section of drugs and services insurance plans must cover under “preventative care.” The companies will likely pass the added costs on to consumers, requiring them to pay for birth control and, in some instances, drug-induced abortions of unborn children in their earliest days.

The HHS accepted the IOM guidelines that “require new health insurance plans to cover women’s preventive services” and those services include “FDA-approved contraception methods and contraceptive counseling” — which include birth control drugs like Plan B and ella that can cause abortions. The Health and Human Services Department commissioned the report from the Institute, which advises the federal government and shut out pro-life groups in meetings leading up to the recommendations.