1. Senate Republicans Push to Reach Health Deal: Trump predicts passage but divisions remain over subsidies, transition from Obamacare

By Kristina Peterson, Louise Radnofsky and Stephanie Armour, The Wall Street Journal, June 14, 2017, Pg. A6

Senate Republicans raced Tuesday to bridge divisions over rickety insurance markets and billions of dollars in insurance subsidies in their pursuit of a health-care deal.

GOP senators have also been trying to figure out how to prevent any federal funds from covering abortion, which some argue could happen if they provide financial help for people to buy health insurance on their own if they don’t get it through an employer.

Provisions restricting the use of the tax credits proposed in a House bill passed last month have hit procedural hurdles in the Senate.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) warned on Monday that it would be “very problematic” to not have abortion restrictions in place around the tax credits.

The Susan B. Anthony List, a group that supports antiabortion candidates for federal office, was first signatory on a letter to the Hill late last week that said the restrictions—along with a ban on Medicaid funds flowing to health providers such as Planned Parenthood who also perform abortions—“are essential to the bill, and must be retained all the way to final passage.”

GOP aides said lawmakers are considering keeping the basic structure of the 2010 health-law’s subsidies in place but tweaking them.

The ACA subsidies, which are advance tax credits paid to insurance companies to lower the cost of health-insurance premiums, currently can’t be used by insurance companies to cover the cost of abortions.

But such a move risks drawing opposition from some conservatives and outside groups who already view the Senate GOP bill as too similar to the 2010 health law Republicans have vowed to repeal.


2. Chemical Abortion Advocates Endanger Women’s Lives with Calls for Unfettered Access

By Grazie Christie, CNS News, June 13, 2017, 3:23 PM

Medical abortion made up almost 1 in every 3 of total abortions in 2014, but recent advocacy for it to be completely unfettered from medical and government oversight is a grave mistake and puts women and girls at risk of serious complications and even death.

Currently, medical abortions are performed using a combination of the drugs Mifepristone and Misoprostol and can only be administered legally in the United States by following FDA guidelines.  The drugs must be prescribed by a licensed medical provider who has evaluated the patient clinically and who will re-assess the patient after the abortion. The FDA requires close physician oversight when this drug is administered, not so that the patient will have assistance during the painful process, but because of two dangerous complications. One is sepsis, or overwhelming infection, and the other is ectopic pregnancy, or the implantation of a fetus in an abnormal location. The FDA has documented maternal fatalities due to these complications, as well as hundreds of hospitalizations related to excessive bleeding.  The FDA additionally warns not to buy these drugs over the internet, noting that by doing so a woman will “bypass important safeguards designed to protect [her] health (and the health of others).” 

Those pushing to make chemical abortion available all the time and for anyone with zero regulatory or medical oversight are pointing to unscientific studies to support this call rather than deferring to the serious assessment and warnings given by the FDA.  Such advocacy with no concern for safety is the furthest thing from promoting the well-being of women.


3. Pope Francis overhauls the Vatican’s pro-life beachhead

By Crux Staff, Crux, June 13, 2017

Pope Francis on Tuesday appointed 45 news members to the Pontifical Academy for Life, long regarded as the Vatican’s primary beachhead for the most robustly pro-life voices in the Church, signaling that while he doesn’t intend to muzzle the pro-life argument, he wants a body less inclined to be pugnacious or rambunctious.

The new members named by Francis include a mix of clergy and laity, and also feature a number of non-Catholics, including other Christians, followers of other religions, and non-believers.

In recent years, academy members have shown a willingness to push back when they believe the Church’s pro-life witness is being compromised.

Noticeably absent in the appointments announced on Tuesday were some of the leaders of those uprisings, such as Christine de Marcellus Vollmer, a Venezuelan living in the United States, president of the Alliance for Family and of the Latin American Alliance for Family; Monsignor Michel Schooyans, a Belgian and professor emeritus of the Catholic University of Louvain; and Luke Gormally, a former research professor at Ave Maria School of Law.

Those omissions may suggest that Francis wanted to send a message that academy members are not to engage in public protest against its leadership, and that in general he wants a less combative tone from the group.

On the other hand, among the figures who were appointed on Tuesday are several that have long been regarded as champions of the pro-life cause, including Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus; Cardinal Willem Eijk, Archbishop of Utrecht in the Netherlands; Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney in Australia; and John Haas, President of the National Catholic Bioethics Center in the United States.


4. Pro-Abortion Theologian Picked as Pontifical Academy for Life Member: New and reappointed members also include Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, as well as leading bioethicists, a Nobel laureate, a Muslim and a Jewish scholar.

By Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register, June 13, 2017

Pope Francis has appointed 50 academics as members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, offering what academy president Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia called a “deep and wise vision in the service of human life, especially life that is weakest and most defenseless.”

However, some choices are causing considerable concern, particularly that of Nigel Biggar, an Anglican professor of moral and pastoral theology at the University of Oxford, who has in the past supported legalized abortion up to 18 weeks and has expressed qualified support for euthanasia.

Previous members had strongly advocated that new members should be clearly in favor of life.