"A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take away everything you have."

Thursday, December 31, 2009

State attorneys general challenge the Senate health care bill

Thirteen state attorneys general are challenging the constitutionality of a provision in the Senate health care bill which was passed just as Santa slid down the chimney at the White House. This provision basically bought Senator Ben Nelson's vote by providing federal aid to Nelson's home state of Nebraska. (Nelson's vote was the deciding vote which broke the Republican filibuster.) I cannot say for sure if this provision is unconstitutional, but I can state with certainty that it's pretty damn weaselly. I applaud these attorneys general for their efforts to bring this to the attention of the voters.

Source: AP

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

All praise to Thee, Eternal Lord,
Clothed in a garb of flesh and blood;
Choosing a manger for Thy throne
While worlds on worlds are Thine alone.

Once did the skies before Thee bow;
A virgin's arms contain Thee now:
Angels who did in Thee rejoice
Now listen for Thine infant voice.

A little child, Thou art our guest
That weary ones in Thee may rest;
Forlorn and lowly is Thy birth
That we may rise to heav'n from earth.

Thou comest in the darksome night
To make us children of the light,
To make us, in the realms divine,
Like Thine own angels round Thee shine.

All this for us Thy love hath done;
By this to Thee our love is won:
For this we tune our cheerful lays
And shout our thanks in ceaseless praise!
~Martin Luther, 1524

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Government's Abortion Mandate

Here's a great editorial in The Washington Times today about Ben Nelson's "line in the sand." http://washingtontimes.com/news/2009/dec/22/governments-abortion-mandate/.

The whole article is worth reading, but the last paragraph really stood out to me: "Many Americans wanted to believe Mr. Nelson was a decent man of his word, but the senator caved in when his vote could have made a difference for the lives of the unborn. A politician can't get any more despicable than that."

ObamaCare, Part II

Since my last post, the "logjam" in the Senate has been broken and ObamaCare appears well on its way to passage in the Senate. Ben Nelson, the last Democratic holdout against the bill, caved under intense pressure from his Democratic colleagues and agreed to vote for cloture. At 1:19 in the morning, the U.S. Senate voted 60-40 to end debate on Harry Reid's manager's amendment, which essentially re-writes the health care bill (the amendment is almost 500 pages I believe). Not a single Republican voted for this amendment, not even liberal Republicans like Olympia Snowe & Susan Collins of Maine. The final bill will probably be rammed through on Christmas Eve, with little or no debate and no Republican votes. This is health care reform, Democrat-style: votes in the middle of the night, secret amendments, back-door deals, stifled debate, and hyper-partisanship.

Let's talk about Ben Nelson for a moment. Senator Nelson represents one of the most conservative states in the country, Nebraska, a state in which large majorities of voters are pro-life and oppose ObamaCare. Senator Nelson has been elected twice by Nebraska voters by claiming to be pro-life and fiscally conservative. If there were ever a significant test of Nelson's principles, it would be this bill. The Senate bill will use taxpayer money to fund abortions, and it creates a huge new government entitlement that significantly increases taxes and is certain to dramatically expand the deficit as well. Nelson knew both of these things about the bill. He knew that the bill would use taxpayer funds to pay for abortions, and spoke out against it. He also knew the bill was too costly and fiscally irresponsible, and he spoke out against that as well. But in the end, he caved on his principles and disregarded the will of his constituents. And what did he get out of the deal? In exchange for his vote, Harry Reid added language to the bill that binds the federal government to pay the state of Nebraska's share of Medicaid premiums for Nebraska residents in perpetuity, which is worth about $100 million. Awww...isn't that nice? Nelson sells out his principles for $100 million, the public gets Nelson's key 60th vote on a health care bill they don't want, and all federal taxpayers are on the hook to pay the price of Harry Reid's little backroom deal!

Let's be clear: the bill that is about to pass in the U.S. Senate will use taxpayer money to fund abortion. The so-called "abortion compromise" in the bill that managed to secure the support of so-called pro-life Democrats like Bob Casey and Ben Nelson is not a compromise at all. The bill clearly states that federal tax dollars will be used to subsidize private plans that cover abortion on demand. A bookkeeping gimmick in the bill states that abortion charges will be separated from regular premiums, but this is meaningless because the abortion charge is not optional. So any distinction between abortion premiums and regular health coverage premiums is purely a paper distinction and not a real one. (And even this paper distinction only exists as long as the Hyde Amendment exists -- and there is a real danger that the Hyde Amendment will not be renewed by this president and this Congress in the near future.) Further, this bill provides that the federal government will administer a program of multi-state plans that also cover abortion on demand. This is a sharp break from current law, which prohibits any private plans from covering elective abortion if they are part of the Federal Employees Health Benefits program administered by the federal government. Finally, the Senate bill provides authority for the Department of Health and Human Services to require all private health plans to cover all abortions as a "preventive" service. All of these provisions explain why, unlike the House bill, the Senate bill does not prevent taxpayer funds from being used to provide and promote abortion. A conscience protection provision for health providers, which is in the House bill, is also not in the Senate bill. In light of these facts, I don't see how any member of Congress could vote for the Senate bill and legitimately claim to be pro-life. Congressman Stupak, the Democrat who fought courageously to ensure that the House bill did not use taxpayer funds to cover abortion, is angry about this "compromise" and has expressed his strong opposition to the Senate language.

I watched The O'Reilly Factor last night, and I was amazed at some of the claims made about ObamaCare by Mary Ann Marsh, a Democratic strategist. The most amazing thing to me was the fact that this seemingly intelligent woman could appear on TV and say with a straight face that ObamaCare would reduce the deficit. That is laughable. How stupid do you have to be to think that you can create a huge new federal entitlement that is already projected to cost over $1 trillion (and is certain to cost far, far more than that in the long run) and think that it will not significantly increase the deficit? The bill pretends to reduce the deficit because it projects almost $500 billion of cuts to Medicare that will not happen and about $275 billion in reductions in reimbursements to doctors that will not happen. Further, Congress has deceptively made the bill appear much less costly than it really is by arranging to have taxes, and fees, and costs begin to be collected in 2010 while most benefits do not take effect until 2014. Thus, the 10-year $1.1 trillion dollar price tag factors in 10 years of taxes, fees, and costs but only 6 years of benefits. The real, hidden 10-year cost is closer to $2 trillion. You don't reduce the deficit by creating huge new government programs.

Mary Ann Marsh also claims that this bill will reduce taxes for individuals and businesses and promote growth for small businesses. Again, this is a foolish claim. The bill includes more than $500 billion in taxes, and the burden of paying them will fall on both individuals and businesses. Businesses are going down to be weighed down by all the additional taxes, fees, regulations, and burdensome requirements in the bill. This bill is a job-killer and will stifle, not promote, economic growth. There's a reason why the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has expressed such strong opposition to this bill.

The House and Senate bills will now go to conference to iron out the differences, and so there will still need to be another vote in both houses of Congress on the final conference version of the bill. If the Senate abortion language is adopted by the conference committee (which I think is likely), are there any Democrats in the House other than Bart Stupak who will stand their ground and vote "no" on a bill that funds abortion with taxpayer money? Or will they all cave like Ben Nelson? We will soon find out.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Change Nobody Believes In

Check out this great article in the Wall Street Journal. This article does an excellent job of explaining both the the terrible content of the Senate health care bill and also the disgraceful tactics of the Democratic majority in ramming it through.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Short But Happy History of ObamaCare

I'm sorry I haven't posted in awhile...life has been busy and I've found that listening to Christmas music is much more soothing than talk radio!

If you look at the polls, you find a steady erosion of President Obama's job approval rating. Back when Obama took office, his popularity was among the highest of any modern-era president and the country's hopes were soaring. Now, recent Gallup & NBC/Wall St. Jrnl polls both have him at 47% approval, the lowest ever recorded for a modern-era president at this point in their presidency (less than one year in office). Polls also show clear majorities of American oppose Obama's signature issues & decisions -- Democratic health care reform, cap-and-trade legislation, bringing terrorist detainees to the U.S., etc. Independents have turned decisively against the President's agenda, which is an ominous sign for the Democrats in next year's mid-term election. Don't even get me started on the Democratic Congress, which has a job approval rating in the 20%'s. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's national job approval rating is 15% (and 38% in his home state of Nevada). Voters are developing a bad case of buyer's remorse as they find out what happens when liberals control the country.

The health care "reform" debacle illustrates clearly how radical, inept, & out-of-touch Democrats are. As I watch the "debate" (back-room maneuvering would be a better word) unfold, I sometimes get the urge to laugh. If the consequences for our country weren't so severe, I would. How can the Democrats manage to botch this legislation so badly when they have such huge majorities in both houses of Congress? How can they be so oblivious to the wishes of their constituents?

Here's everything you need to know about the status of health care reform over the past few months. President Obama announced way back in the summer that reforming health care was urgent (never mind the benefits in these bills don't take effect for four or five years) and that his "drop-dead deadline" for passing the legislation was the end of July, before the congressional August recess. (Because we all know that the most effective way to pass sweeping legislation that overhauls 17% of the U.S. economy is to do it as fast as humanly possible!) Never mind that there WAS no legislation, because the President did not present a plan. Hmmm...well the Democrats didn't quite make their little August 1st deadline, and so they got to go home and hear from their constituents. The townhall meetings were truly democracy in action -- individual Americans getting involved in the political process and letting their representatives and senators know how they felt about an important issue. For this unforgivable sin of exercising their rights as citizens, the Democrats showed their common touch by smearing participants in townhall meetings as "people carrying swastikas" and "brownshirts" (Nancy Pelosi) and "evilmongers" (Harry Reid). Ahh...insulting voters. It works every time. Polls showed that a majority of Americans were increasingly sympathetic with the townhall protestors.

So, having heard the thunderous voice of the American people, Democrats returned to Washington, chastened and ready to modify their bill to address the concerns of their constituents about government control over health care. OK, I made that up. Democrats returned to Washington, more determined than ever to defy their constituents' wishes and push through a massive government-run health care bill by spending nearly a trillion dollars of taxpayer money that isn't there. (That's what deficits are for!) Multiple bills were proposed by multiple House & Senate committees, conveniently enabling the Donkey Party to avoid being pinned down on any specific unpopular provision by saying that some particular version of the bill didn't have that particular provision. Meanwhile, President Obama floated above the fray, appearing around the country at staged venues packed with supporters and giving vague speeches with no specifics but lots of pablum about the "moral imperative" of passing whatever version of the bill the Democrats might eventually decide to settle on.

Finally Nancy Pelosi (a very wise woman) realized that there is only one thing to do when you are contemplating passing a bill against the public's wishes that will establish one of the largest entitlement programs in America's history and will bring 1/3 of its economy under heavy government control. The answer should be obvious. You jam it through with minimal debate and with no bipartisan support whatsoever! And that's exactly what Pelosi did. She unveiled, with much fanfare, a left-wing 2,000-page bill filled with new taxes and mandates and a "robust" public option. She drastically limited debate, allowed only one amendment under protest, and forced a vote at 11:00 pm on a Saturday night. The Democrats have an 83 vote majority in the House of Representatives, and they passed the bill by only 5 votes, with 39 Democrats voting "no" (and only one Republican voting "yes"). Pelosi was visibly joyful as she banged the gavel and announced the vote results. Oh boy, we sneaked one past the American people while they were watching their family night movie!

Then things got really interesting in the Senate. Listening to Harry Reid & Barack Obama discuss whether or not the public option would be included in the bill was somewhat analogous to reading the daily weather report. One day it's in, the next day it's out. One day a Senate committee voted down the public option, and a few days later Harry Reid completely circumvented the committee process and presented a new bill once more containing the public option. Problems started early, as Reid was having a hard time getting even members of his own party to vote to bring this masterpiece to the Senate floor for debate (much less Republicans). However, he solved that problem nicely by offering fence-sitting Senator Mary Landrieu $100 million in financial aid to her state of Louisiana. Landrieu proudly informed her constituents that she really wasn't that cheap and that she had actually secured $300 million in exchange for her vote.

Once the bill arrived on the Senate floor, Senator Harry Reid, the statesman leader of that august deliberative body, set the tone for bipartisanship by comparing Republican opposition to senators who had historically supported slavery and opposed the rights of women and blacks to vote. Debate progressed and amendments were offered, but it was an open secret among Senate insiders that the whole process was all for show. In reality, Democrats were scrambling to get a backroom deal that would secure all 60 Democratic caucus votes so they could invoke cloture and shut down any further debate. Joe Lieberman was a pesky holdout, refusing to support any bill with a public option.

Then, just when you thought it couldn't get any more exciting, Harry Reid made news once again! He breathlessly held a press conference announcing that a deal had been reached on a completely rewritten bill that all Democrats could support, but he couldn't release the details to the Senate or the public. Trust me, it's really good, and no, nobody can read it, why would you ask? What do you think this is, a democracy? He did condescend to mention that the public option was now gone and to be replaced with a drastically expanded Medicare to include people age 55 and up. Within a day or two of Reid's "breakthrough," Lieberman criticized the new bill and announced his opposition to the Medicare buy-in proposal. Oops...we have our whole caucus on board, except for all the members that weren't on board before. If there were any justice in this world, Reid would be gainfully employed with a traveling circus.

Back to the drawing board again. We have to get some bill, any bill, that can barely pass, and who cares what's in it. The content is irrelevant. The main thing is to pass the longest, most expensive bill possible before Christmas. We'll give any Democrat anything they want, just vote for the darn thing! In the meantime, the Left unleashed their big guns on Lieberman. What the heck is this, a Democrat who thinks for himself? Let's attack his wife. Let's demonize him and accuse him of mass murder. And that's exactly what happened to Lieberman.

Finally, Reid backed down and took out both the Medicare buy-in and the public option provisions. Lieberman was back on board -- but now another Democrat, Ben Nelson, was backing out because of the provisions to fund abortion. And here we are, one week before Christmas, with a huge blizzard about to hit Washington, DC, and Reid is still insisting on a vote before Christmas. On a bill that no one in the Senate has even seen yet -- a bill that hasn't even been fully written yet. On a bill that will take eight hours just to read on the Senate floor. On a bill that will cost almost a trillion dollars and dramatically alter 1/3 of our economy. But everyone has to vote "yes" because it's a moral imperative and Obama says so! Don't worry about what's actually in the bill -- we'll get to read it once it's safely passed.

This is not liberty. This is not how representative government is supposed to work. This is tyranny and socialism. This is an audacious power grab by an out-of-control government that is well on its way to bankrupting our country -- right in the teeth of huge popular opposition. The Democrats may well get their way in the end, but they will pay a heavy price for this. Our whole country will pay a heavy price for this.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Statesman Harry

Yesterday, on the Senate floor, the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, gave a speech on health care in which he said the following:

"Instead of joining us on the right side of history, all the Republicans can come up with is, 'slow down, stop everything, let's start over.' If you think you've heard these same excuses before, you're right. When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said 'slow down, it's too early, things aren't bad enough.' When women spoke up for the right to speak up, they wanted to vote, some insisted they simply slow down, there will be a better day to do that, today isn't quite right. When this body was on the verge of guaranteeing equal civil rights to everyone regardless of the color of their skin, some senators resorted to the same filibuster threats that we hear today."

Reid is the most powerful member of the U.S. Senate, and the person picked by the Democrats in the Senate to be their leader. Forget about the fact that he's a liberal and a generally unhappy person (and struggles to put together coherent sentences in speeches). He's not even an adult. He's not even capable of behaving in a civilized way on the Senate floor. I thought it was pretty bad a few months ago when he said that angry citizens (not politicians or pundits) speaking at townhall meetings were "evilmongers." Now Reid has shattered his own record for partisan rancor by comparing senators who oppose his health care bill to people who support slavery and oppose the right of blacks and women to vote. If you don't support government-run health care, you're pro-slavery, anti-woman, and racist. This kind of demagoguery has no place inside the walls of the Capitol Hill, but is especially disgraceful coming from the purported leader of the U.S. Senate. No wonder our country is so politically divided. We are represented at the highest levels of government by petty, uncivilized children. Harry Reid is an embarrassment to his party and to his country.

Obama's answer to all of America's problems

As we all know, Barry is about to give a speech on jobs today. If his ten months in office are any indication of what he will say, we can expect to hear that more Government intervention is the answer. As his approval rating fall to the lowest of any president at this time in his presidency, 47%, it is really hard for me to understand why this man continues to ignore the American people.

Here is an article from the Wall Street Journal discussing what we will hear today during Barry's speech.


Mark Levin Speech - Follow-up

Sorry it has taken me so long to follow up on my previous post last week about my opportunity to hear Mark Levin speak at the Churchill Dinner in Washington, DC. It was so encouraging to spend an evening with like-minded people who care about our Constitution and want to see our country prosper as a free society instead of a socialist republic. There were probably around 350 people in attendance, and after a delicious dinner the Hillsdale College President Larry Arne spoke for about 30 minutes, followed by a 30 minute speech by Mark Levin. Pat Sajak, the host of Wheel of Fortune and the Vice-President of the Hillsdale College Board of Trustees, gave a hilarious toast to Winston Churchill to close the evening.

Both Arne and Levin gave great speeches, and the basic message of both was similar. There is a serious attack currently being launched against our Constitution and against the individual rights and freedoms guaranteed to us in the Constitution. This attack is being perpetrated by our president and by our Congress, as well as unelected judges. The essential fight is between liberty and tyranny, between constitutionalism and statism. It is a brazen attempt to transform our country from a constitutional republic into a socialist state. The real power in a constitutional republic rests with the civil society, which is made up of free individuals pursuing their God-given rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. Its constitutionally-limited government is the servant to the people, whose rights are guaranteed by their Creator. The real power in a socialist state rests with an all-powerful federal government, which takes most of people's money through taxation and then distributes it back to its citizen-slaves as it deems best. The people's rights are "guaranteed" by a government that provides cradle-to-grave entitlements and regulates their every activity, reducing them to virtual slavery and trampling on the Constitution. Our country, though founded as a constitutional republic, has been steadily moving toward socialism for many years, starting with Abraham Lincoln and accelerating in this direction under FDR. Obama and our current Congress are more brazen about their socialist/Marxist intentions and more determined to utterly subjugate the American people under the federal government's control than any of their predecessors. Their two biggest power grabs at the moment are health care "reform" and "climate change" regulation, both of which strike at the heart of individual liberty.

What our country needs -- desperately needs -- right now is for individual citizens to step forward and "take back" our country by electing representatives who treasure our constitutional freedoms. Levin and Arne seemed optimistic that this will happen in future elections. I wish I could say I am as optimistic as they are. When I look at our country I see generations of people who, thanks to our government-run schools, are ignorant about American history and traditions, ignorant of the Constitution and the Founders, and ignorant of the Bible and our Judeo-Christian heritage which provides a basis for the dignity and worth of the individual. I see a country populated with people who have already become dependent on the government and who demand equality of outcome rather than equality of opportunity. I see lazy citizens who think that they owe their country nothing and that their country owes them everything, including a good education, a good job, good health care, and a comfortable life. I see a population that largely seems to reject moral absolutes and deny even the possibility of truth, that views its own existence and the existence of the universe as a meaningless accident of nature, and that seems incapable even of logically deducing the consequences of ideas. Maybe I'm too harsh in my assessment, but how can such a citizenry take back our country? It is likely that in the short-term, people's economic misery will drive them to elect new representatives in 2010 or 2012, but for any lasting change to take place there must be a change in people's hearts, beliefs, and attitudes. I pray this will happen, but it will take a miracle.

Levin closed his speech (and his book) with a quote from a president who truly understood liberty, Ronald Reagan: "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mark Levin

I'm attending the Churchill Dinner tonight at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. This is a special event put on by Hillsdale College, and the keynote speaker is Mark Levin. For those who don't recognize those names, Hillsdale College is one of the premier conservative colleges in the country and one of only two accredited universities that do not accept any government funding (the other one is my alma mater, Grove City College). And Mark Levin is one of the most successful talk radio hosts in the country and has authored the runaway bestseller Liberty and Tyranny. Anyone who has read or listened to Levin knows what a brilliant political thinker he is and how well he understand American history and government. I can't wait to give an update tomorrow on his speech!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Follow-up on Crisis Pregnancy Center Bill

My wife and I attended the Montgomery County Council public hearing last night, per my previous post. It was truly encouraging to see how many people cared enough to show up at the hearing to oppose the legislation. We arrived about 20 minutes before the start of the hearing, and the hearing room (which apparently seats about 200 people or so) was already completely full! We were turned away at the door and had to go to the overflow room downstairs. There were about 20 people from my church just in the overflow room, and probably more upstairs in the hearing room. By the time the hearing started, the overflow room was completely full (definitely over 100), with a large number of people standing because there were not enough seats. Apparently, there were still more people directed to an additional overflow conference room. Something tells me this kind of turnout is unusual for a county council hearing! I'd say about 90% of the people in the overflow room had stickers indicating their opposition to the legislation; I didn't see a single person in the overflow room wearing a sticker indicating support for it. I'm guessing that there was an equally large majority of the hearing room audience that was in strong opposition.

Only a small number of people got to actually speak at the hearing, but I think the county council got the message loud and clear that there a lot of people that feel strongly about this issue. Obviously, councilmembers were aware that both the hearing room and the overflow room were completely full! One of the things that struck me about the hearing was that almost every speaker in favor of the bill was a spokesperson or member of one of three national organizations: National Organization of Women, National Abortion Rights & Reproductive League (NARAL), and Planned Parenthood. Obviously, all of these groups are abortion providers or abortion advocacy groups. Speakers against the bill included not only directors of the pregnancy centers, but also people from other charitable groups that work with the pregnancy centers, people who have used the services of the pregnancy centers, pregnancy center volunteers, legal experts, and individuals from the community not affiliated with any organization. The representatives from the big abortion groups kept saying that the pregnancy centers were giving out false information and hurting women in crisis -- but where were all these supposed victims? Not one of them came forward to testify. The only "studies" done on this misinformation were done by NARAL -- not exactly an unbiased source. In the meantime, the pregnancy center directors stated that their questionnaires show that their clients are 99% satisfied and that none have filed formal complaints against the centers -- pretty significant since these most of these centers have been around for 20 to 40 years. It would certainly appear, from the composition of the attendees and the speakers, that the only "victims" of the pregnancy centers are the abortion clinics that are losing business and profits because of the existence and success of the pregnancy centers.

The speakers against the legislation brought up several outstanding points. One was from an attorney who pointed out that the regulations in the bill open the pregnancy centers up to significant risk of costly litigation. Since the bill requires that each client be orally given certain disclaimers in a way that the clients can "reasonably understand," it would be easy for people looking to make trouble to claim that a center did not tell them all the required information or that they did not understand what they were told. The pregnancy centers have very limited resources and cannot afford to defend themselves against such claims or to pay the fines and penalties that could result from such claims.

Another attorney pointed out that this bill violates the Constitution by prohibiting "viewpoint" speech by a private organization. Remember, this legislation does not apply to any organizations that provide abortion services. It targets only organizations that are pro-life. If the council really wanted to make sure women were informed of all their options, they would propose disclosure requirements that equally apply to pro-life organizations and abortion providers. The unfair singling out of pregnancy centers shows that the real purpose behind this legislation is to attempt to intimidate and silence the pro-life viewpoint.

A private citizen pointed out that this legislation is analogous to bullies beating up a little kid on the playground. The bullies are the abortion clinics, which are supported with government funds, make significant profits, and have large, well-funded lobbying groups supporting them. They are beating up on the pregnancy centers, which take no government money, are completely non-profit, and have very limited resources. Another private citizen pointed out how much these non-profit organizations do for the county without adding a penny to its budget. Especially in this time of economic recession, how foolish for the county to put in place legislation that hurts organizations that are doing so much to help poor people!

I'm very encouraged that so many private citizens made their voices heard last night, and I'm confident that if turnout was so high for a hearing, many more people have been contacting the council about this. I'm praying that this public outcry will cause the council to back off and vote down this terrible bill.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Crisis Pregnancy Centers Under Attack

People who oppose abortion are often branded as being hateful, intolerant people who are indifferent or even hostile to the needs and struggles of women. Thanks to the media, the prevailing image many people have of the pro-life ("anti-abortion") movement is an angry-looking person waving a large homemade sign outside an abortion clinic.

What the media won't tell you about is the network of crisis pregnancy centers throughout this country run by caring pro-life volunteers. These pregnancy centers exist for the sole purpose of helping pregnant women. They provide some or all of the following services completely free of charge: pregnancy tests, pregnancy counseling, adoption referrals, medical care referrals, parenting classes and programs, post-abortion counseling, and baby care items like maternity and baby clothes, baby furniture, diapers, and formula. Some of them are also licensed medical clinics with doctors and nurses on staff and provide sonograms, STD testing, and other medical treatment. Medical clinics that provide abortion services generally view abortion as the default solution for an unwanted pregnancy and are not required to inform women about alternatives to abortion. Crisis pregnancy centers are often the only places pregnant women can go to find out about their full range of options and to receive assistance and support if they choose to carry their pregnancy to term. Unlike most health clinics that perform abortions, these pregnancy centers receive no government money, provide their services free of charge, are completely non-profit, and are mostly staffed by unpaid volunteers who donate their time because they care. They receive their funding from charitable donations by churches and individuals.

Sadly, these pregnancy centers are now under attack in the very county in which I live -- Montgomery County, Maryland. Our county council has proposed legislation that would force the three limited-service pregnancy centers in our county to disclose to all clients the following information:
1. The information the pregnancy center provides to them is not intended to be medical advice.
2. The information the pregnancy center provides to them is not intended to establish a doctor-patient relationship
3. They should consult with a health care provider before making any decision regarding their pregnancy.

At first glance, these requirements may seem fairly harmless. But in fact, they strike at the heart of the mission of these pregnancy centers. These centers exist to provide information about the alternatives to abortion and to provide encouragement and assistance for women who want to have their babies. If they are forced to provide disclaimers and to tell women to go somewhere else besides their pregnancy center to get advice, then they are being forced by law to undermine their own message. And remember -- these pregnancy centers are private, non-profit, faith-based charitable organizations. They do not receive a dime from Montgomery County. What right does the government have to dictate to them what to say to their clients? Such government interference in the operation of charitable organizations establishes a dangerous precedent that opens the door to much more serious abuses in the future.

Furthermore, this legislation specifically targets pregnancy centers, while exempting abortion clinics from any disclosure requirements whatsoever. Abortion clinics receive government funds and operate to make a profit -- shouldn't they at least be required to tell women all their pregnancy options? The fact that crisis pregnancy centers are alone singled out for regulation by the county speaks volumes about the real intentions of the county council. The point of this regulation is not to help women -- it is to attack the pro-life message of crisis pregnancy centers by adding burdensome government mandates. And guess who is behind this legislation? Planned Parenthood, National Abortion Rights and Reproductive League, and other abortion advocacy groups. Remember, abortion is a multi-million dollar industry in this country. Planned Parenthood makes a huge profit from abortion services, and the pregnancy centers are hurting their business and their profits. They see an opportunity in ultra-liberal Montgomery County to try to silence the pro-life message, and they are going for it.

If this legislation passes, it will be the first law ever in this country regulating non-profit pregnancy centers. Even the Washington Post, not exactly known for its pro-life views, has editorialized against this legislation, saying that it is flawed and should be rejected. For those who live in Montgomery County, please contact the councilmember from your district as well as the four at-large councilmembers and ask them to vote against this legislation. Most of the councilmembers have announced in favor of the bill, but they could change their mind if they hear from enough of their constituents. Click on this link to find the phone numbers and email addresses of the members of the county council: http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/csltmpl.asp?url=/content/council/contact.asp. Also, please consider attending a public hearing on this issue. I am attending one scheduled for tonight (December 1) at 7:30 pm in Rockville. (I think there may be another one on December 3 as well.) Probably most of my readers do not live in Montgomery County, but you can still pray! Please pray that the county council will have a change of heart and reject this dangerous legislation. And consider supporting the crisis pregnancy centers in your area. They are doing so much to help needy women throughout this country, and they need our support.