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Conservative answers about small government and marriage

Wedding cakeLibertarians within the Republican Party and Republicans who are called “moderate” because they aren’t social Conservatives claim that we will win over more voters and that it’s hypocritical of small-government Conservatives to use government to define or license marriage.
Radio talk show host and commentator Dennis Prager destroyed the claim that Republicans could win elections by dropping our social conservative platform planks in his recent essay :

“To respond to the first argument, it is hard to believe that most people who call themselves fiscal conservatives and vote Democrat would abandon the Democratic Party if the Republican Party embraced same-sex marriage and abortion.
“The left and its political party will always create social issues that make Republicans and conservatives look “reactionary” on social issues. Today it is same-sex marriage, the next day it is the Republican “war on women,” and tomorrow it will be ending the objective male-female designation of Americans (Children should have the right to determine their gender and not have their parents and their genitalia determine it, even at birth). Or it will be animal rights, race-based affirmative action or an environmentalist issue.”

Contrary to the claims of those libertarians, traditional marriage of one man and one woman encourages smaller, not larger, government. State marriage licenses prevent the need for a formal legal contract (and a lawyer) before marriage in order to clarify the mutual duties and rights of spouses, inheritance, and a myriad of paternity/maternity rights within intact marriages, at death, and on dissolution of the marriage. Recognizing that not all marriages result in children, the laws do recognize the State’s “compelling interest” in defending the child’s right to life, liberty and property.

While some (on the Right, as well as the Left) might favor laws making entering into a marriage as burdensome and expensive as divorce, many people would simply cohabit. When they go their separate ways – or if one dies – without a marriage license, the Courts will still determine the separation of property and child custody. At best, the new burden will be added to the old. Or, more likely, whole new layers of court rulings and State or Federal legislation would have to be added to replace current law.

There are strong historic, biologic and societal reasons behind the support for defending the Conservative definition of marriage. The new definition is not clear-cut and has very little history. However, the proponents of gay marriage are seeking not only all of the legal – government – benefits and protections afforded traditional marriage, as well as special protection from those same governments to coerce everyone with a business license into participating in their nuptials. There’s nothing “small government” about “getting the State out of the marriage.”

Texas abortion restrictions withstand legal challenge – San Antonio Express-News

Great news. If there must be abortion, and it’s “between a woman and her doctor,” shouldn’t the doctor have hospital privileges to care for complications? Or does he cease being “her doctor” when she needs him most?

A federal appeals panel on Thursday overturned a lower court decision that had deemed a portion of Texas’ controversial sweeping abortion restrictions as unconstitutional.

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had already temporarily lifted a district court injunction that blocked a state provision requiring abortion doctors to get admitting privileges at nearby hospitals from going into effect.

Thursday’s ruling gives Texas the green light to continue enforcing the provision on a permanent basis.

via Texas abortion restrictions withstand legal challenge – San Antonio Express-News.

Federal Judge overturns Arkansas law

More of the oligarchy that passes for Courts these days: un-elected judges acting as though the Constitution gives the big questions to the appointed members of the Judicial branch, leaving only the small, inconsequential decisions to the People and our duly elected representatives.

A Federal judge has ruled that “non-viable” human beings – healthy babies in healthy mothers who are exactly what they should be at that stage of life – are not endowed with the inalienable right to life.

Wright left in place a portion of the law that requires doctors to check for a fetal heartbeat and to notify the pregnant woman if one is present.

Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, had vetoed the bill, citing the viability standard. But Republicans, controlling the Statehouse for the first time since Reconstruction, overrode him with a simple majority vote.

 

Marriage, Activist Courts, Democracy and Evolution

An unelected Federal judge overturned the Texas Constitution’s definition of marriage, proving the Courts’ lack of respect for our Constitutional Republic – and democracy in general.

 

Marriage is what it is: the union between one man and one woman. No one, least of all a lawmaker in the form of an activist judge, can make two men or two women “one flesh,” literally or figuratively. Biology isn’t destiny, but it does have consequences. The biological reality is that the male form and the female form are complementary for both pleasurable sex and for procreation.

 

No one ever claimed that the design of water fountains made one fountain suitable for one race and another fountain suitable for the other. In contrast, there is an obvious biological and common sense suitability in the sexual union of the male and female body – as well as potential consequences of that union– that can’t be found in homosexual sex acts.

Even in polygamous marriage, the man enters into many marriages, each between himself and an individual woman. Polygamy doesn’t create a marriage between the man, his wives and that woman. There’s certainly more history in support of polygamy than for same sex “marriage.”

In their zeal to redefine marriage and restructure society, the Left and the US Federal Courts engage in the equivalent of LaMarckian experiments with the fundamental institution of social organization of our society and government.If, as the Left claims, our Nation has “evolved” toward their definition of marriage, why must the Courts turn over State Legislature after Legislature?

 

That the People and the States were to be sovereign over the United States Federal government is supported both by the 9th and 10th Amendments to the Constitution and the original document’s provision for an orderly Amendment process. The Courts must stop acting as though the Constitution reserves the major decisions to the Federal Courts, while only allowing the People and our elected Legislatures to decide inconsequential matters.

Adryana Boyne: Courageous, Conservative Voice for Texas House District 102

Ad Adryana
Adryana Boyne is one of the most courageous, outspoken and well-spoken women I know – not only in Texas politics, but quite possibly in the world! What a blessing that she speaks for life, marriage and family and personal opportunity and responsibility! If you are in Texas House of Representatives District 102, you are blessed to have the opportunity to vote for Adryana to speak for you in Austin.

I’ll admit that I have longed for someone who can stand toe to toe with the minority women Democrats when they pull out the minority women victims’ card. Adryana, who is a naturalized citizen born in Mexico, educated at Criswell College in Dallas, Texas, and former missionary, founding member of VocesAction, and a speaker for True The Vote and many other conservative organizations, can certainly do that.
However, she won’t ever play the victim card. There’s no need.

 

It wouldn’t matter if Adryana had been born in her district and, like me, could only speak a few words of Spanish. This wife of an engineer (a minister who has served the Lord as a missionary) and mother of two young men is a stalwart, steadfast and absolutely fearless defender of Conservative values. She and I have walked the halls of the Texas Capitol in the defense of the right to life and traditional marriage and I’ve witnessed her powerful voice and presence  across our Nation as a speaker and advocate and as a moderator and participant on panels exploring current events and politics.

Please watch Adryana speaking on immigration and the 10th Amendment on Fox news (and watch Adryana overcome the effort of the Dem who tried to introduce a red herring), here. Take the time to read Adryana’s qualifications and blog posts at TexasGOPVote.Org and visit her campaign website to read the endorsements of other Texas leaders and her explanation about why her values moved her to run for office.

About Katrina Pierson for Congress

Pierson social issues not ConstitutionalI hope everyone is looking carefully at the anti-incumbent candidates in the upcoming Republican Primary. Not all of them are as conservative as they would have you believe.

For instance, there’s the candidate running against conservative, prolife, pro-family Congressman Pete Sessions of the Texas Congressional District 32.

Katrina Pierson, who last achieved notoriety when she called an honorable man “deformed” due to his injuries as a Marine in Iraq.

However, few heard about Pierson’s anti-Conservative tweets on “social issues” and “homosexuality” which were the subject of a Wingright.org post a month later, just before the run-off in July, 2012.

Pierson Homosexuality not in constitution

(These Tweets are evidently still on her Twitter account, as I downloaded them anew, today, February 16, 2014. I wonder how long she’ll leave them up?)

It’s important that those voting know about how the candidates really feel about the “social issues,” don’t you think?

I’ve asked some supporters of Pierson to speak to her and get her on record as pro-life and pro-marriage, but haven’t heard back from them. I hope before you vote for her, you will ask her yourself.

Lies, Damned Lies and “ScoreCards”

It takes a long time to write the hard posts, so I’ve been putting this one off for a while. But with Primary season off and running, conservative groups are turning on conservative legislators and using political “score cards” to attack.

Let’s start with the most manipulated “scorecard” of all, especially now that someone else has stepped up to explain so much better than I ever could.

Texas Right to Life, the organization which was criticized by the Texas Catholic Conference for their “misstatements and fabrications” concerning HB303 and HB 1444, continues to make up whatever they wish, this time with their arbitrary  “Legislative Scores.” Their scorecard is so “Unconventional” and “perplexing” that it prompted the following letter, signed by all the Texas Catholic Bishops:

December 9, 2013

The Honorable Dan Huberty Texas House of Representatives P.O. Box 2910 Austin, Texas 78768

Dear Representative Huberty:

I am writing at the behest of the Roman Catholic Bishops of Texas to share their concerns about a recent “pro-life scorecard” released by Texas Right to Life (TRTL). This “scorecard” purports to declare which Texas legislators are “pro-life” based on a selective number of votes during the 83rd Legislative Session.

Unfortunately, the unconventional methodology and subjective scoring of the TRTL scorecard produced a number of perplexing results–including assigning low scores to pro-life lawmakers who have worked long and hard to protect and preserve life.

As you know, the Texas Catholic Conference does not use scorecards. Instead, our bishops encourage parishioners to fully form their consciences through prayer and education about issues. Scorecards are a poor substitute for that level of thoughtful policy engagement. Perhaps the most faulty implication of the scorecard is that, in its current form, it casts the tradition of Catholic teaching as being insufficiently pro-life–which is a patently absurd notion. TRTL does not have license to publicly define who is sufficiently pro-life or not.

Some legislative scorecards, when created objectively and appropriately, can be informative. If not, they stop being about informing the public and become more about advancing political agendas, with the unfortunate result that some citizens end up being misled about the issues and misinformed about the voting records of their legislators.

The recent TRTL scorecard selected only three bills (and assorted amendments) to calculate the scores out of the thousands of bills considered during the 83 rd Legislative Session. Several pro-life bills were excluded from consideration. For example, the TRTL scorecard did not include or minimized support for bills that would have prohibited abortion coverage from insurance plans provided in the Affordable Care Act healthcare exchanges (HB 997); prohibited sex selection abortions (HB 309); strengthened parental rights to reduce judicial bypass for teen abortions (HB 3243); or criminalized coerced abortions (HB 3247). All these proposals were unquestionably pro-life, yet were not scored equitably on the TRTL scorecard.

As a result of this selective vote counting, several legislators, who have spent their careerscommitted to pro-life issues, were said to “reject opportunities to protect the sanctity of innocent human life” when that is clearly not the case. For example, Senator Bob Deuell was responsible for requiring abortion facilities to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers (SB 537)—a key provision of the landmark prolife legislation that ultimately passed during the Special Session. However, the TRTL political action committee gave him no credit for authoring this pro-life bill. In another instance, State Rep. Bill Callegari was given no credit for his authorship of the parental rights bill (HB 3243).

The method by which the scores were assigned was haphazard and confusing. Some legislators were awarded more points than others for the same legislative action, while other legislators’ contributions were completely ignored. For example, Rep. Jodie Laubenberg and Rep. John Smithee both authored pro-life bills during the session, but Laubenberg was awarded 25 points for authorship of HB 2, while, Smithee was awarded only six points for authoring another pro-life bill that sought to remove abortion coverage in the insurance exchanges. In another example, Rep. Tracey King, who voted against both pro-life omnibus bills (HB 2 and SB 5) received a higher pro-life score than Rep. J. D. Sheffield, who voted FOR both HB 2 and SB 5.

Senator Eddie Lucio Jr. was not scored as pro-life, despite his co-sponsoring and voting for HB 2 and SB 5 and twice crossing party lines to be the final necessary vote to suspend Senate rules and debate on these bills.

What was most troubling to the Texas Catholic Bishops was that the scorecard appears to attack those legislators who supported perhaps one of the most pro-life bills during the 83rd session: protecting individuals and families at the end of life by reforming the Texas Advance Directives Act. Advance directives reform not only would have given families more tools to protect their loved ones at the end of life, but would have provided conscience protections to medical providers to refuse inflicting burdensome and unnecessary procedures on patients. The advance directives law would have changed current law to:

 prohibit the involuntary denial of care to critically ill patients, including food and water;

 prevent doctors from making unilateral “Do Not Attempt Resuscitation” orders without consulting families; and,

 require treating all patients “equally without regard to permanent physical or mental disabilities, age, gender, ethnic background, or financial or insurance status.”

The advance directives reform bill was a moral and compassionate approach to end-of-life care that was opposed by TRTL, but supported by a broad coalition of groups, including the Texas Catholic Conference, the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission, the Texas Alliance for Life, the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, the AARP, the Texas Pro-Life Action Team, the Texas Conservative Coalition, and the Catholic Hospital Association of Texas. Advance directives reform was important to the Catholic Church–and to many legislators–because we recognize human life as a gift from God that is innately sacred–from conception to natural death. We have taken this position after much reflection to ensure that the law respects the natural dying process.

The implication to be drawn from this scorecard is that TRTL opposed the advance directives reform bill, and appears to have taken to punishing those pro-life legislators who disagreed with them by inaccurately casting them as not being sufficiently pro-life. That is plainly inaccurate.

In the case of the advance directives reform bill, legislators who supported the law were strongly pro-life; they merely opposed the TRTL’s position. These are not necessarily the same thing. It is unfortunate that so many members who continue to fully stand for life are being attacked for doing just that. We hope that this letter has clarified what would otherwise have remained an unfair and confusing characterization.

Sincerely,

Jeffery R. Patterson Executive Director

@GovernorPerry: Supreme Court Declining to Block HB 2 | Texans for Rick Perry

This is great news!

Government, as a tool of and with the consent of the governed, has one job: to protect the inalienable rights of humans. If some – the powerful, the ones with the most votes or most guns – can decide that some humans aren’t human enough to have the right not to be killed, then no one is safe. Our state has determined that we will license doctors and medical technology — therefore, we must restrict the single instance where one human being may decide that another is not human enough and enlist the aide of our licensed doctors and technology to end a life.

AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to allow Texas abortion restrictions to remain in effect:

“This is good news both for the unborn and for the women of Texas, who are now better protected from shoddy abortion providers operating in dangerous conditions. As always, Texas will continue doing everything we can to protect the culture of life in our state.”

via Statement by Gov. Perry on Supreme Court Declining to Block HB 2 | Texans for Rick Perry.

Texas Tribune interview with abortion-seeking couple

First, I hope and (am praying) Marni begins to love her child and allows her to live.

The Texas Tribune has published an interview with a couple whose baby’s life has been spared – at least for a few days – by Texas law.

Here’s the interview:

However, she found 2 alternatives within 2 days, so her rights are not at all infringed upon.

Marni is mistaken about the number of abortions in Texas every year. There were 66,000, not 80,000 abortions in 2012. 72,000 in 2011, 77,500 in 2010, 77,850 in 2009.

 

Marni specifically asks what sorts of “resources” the State and pro-life people have made available. She should have already known – and should ask their abortionist at her next appointment – about the Texas Woman’s Right to Know “Resource Directory.” She should have been given a copy at her first abortion consult appointment with Planned Parenthood. It’s also available online here.,  The file in pdf includes the information she asked about. The booklet lists agencies and assistance that’s available  from the State, County, and private organizations for pregnant women  in Travis County.

 

I’m not surprised that their comments are so political, and that John talks about politicians “shoring up their base,” etc., since that’s a common talking point for abortion advocates when they talk about pro-life politicians. I’m sure that someone at Planned Parenthood fed them the inaccurate statistics and coached them on the motives of people like me and the legislators who worked to protect life.

 

(I do have to wonder how Marni and John missed all the press leading up to the passage of HB2. You would think they’d have heard about Wendy Davis’ filibuster at least!)

 

Hopefully, when they see the way they’ve been misled about statistics, they will begin to understand that the prolife activists and politicians are as honest as we can be about our motives.

 

 

#Stand4Life Victories: Texas’ law upheld, ObamaCare contraception mandate struck

Victory on two levels! Many of Texas’ abortion facilities are closed today because they don’t have doctors with hospital privileges and today, the DC Court of Appeals ruled in favor of religious conscience rights, even for people who own businesses!

From The Hill, a blog out of Washington, DC:

A federal appeals court on Friday struck down the birth control mandate in ObamaCare, concluding the requirement trammels religious freedom.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals — the second most influential bench in the land behind the Supreme Court — ruled 2-1 in favor of business owners who are fighting the requirement that they provide their employees with health insurance that covers birth control.

Requiring companies to cover their employees’ contraception, the court ruled, is unduly burdensome for business owners who oppose birth control on religious grounds, even if they are not purchasing the contraception directly.

“The burden on religious exercise does not occur at the point of contraceptive purchase; instead, it occurs when a company’s owners fill the basket of goods and services that constitute a healthcare plan,” Judge Janice Rogers Brown wrote on behalf of the court.

via Court strikes down mandate for birth control in ObamaCare | TheHill.

Study compares panhandle teen pregnancy and Planned Parenthood – KFDA – NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

It appears that Planned Parenthood doesn’t change teen pregnancy rates – it’s neither necessary nor effective:

The study uses pregnancy rates reported by the Texas Department of Health State Services.

In 1996, a year before opposition to Planned Parenthood began, the teen pregnancy rates across the panhandle was more than 43.6 per 1,000 girls.

Two years after all facilities had closed, teen pregnancy was at 24.1 per 1,000 girls. Researchers are claiming that this is a significant confirmation that Planned Parenthood\’s presence and its sex education programs are not a necessary tool in reducing teen pregnancy.

But that doesn\’t seem to be the case everywhere across the state.

NewsChannel 10 has done some more research of it\’s own. In other areas of Texas where Planned Parenthood is a part of sex education and teen pregnancy rates have also dropped.

via Study compares panhandle teen pregnancy and Planned Parenthood – KFDA – NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports.

BOR: Lies from the Left (I know, it’s redundant)

And BOR is a much better acronym than anything I could make up.

The Burnt Orange Report is Texas’ own quintessential leftist blog, spinning and twisting any stories or facts to make conservatives look bad.

Good little far-left Democrat media tool that the BOR is, it seems almost superfluous to note that the blog is pro-abort. However, the reason I’m bringing BOR to your attention is Part 1 and Part 2 of “Why Texas Women Need Access to Later Term Abortions by someone named Natalie San Luis.

The BOR enjoys bold exaggeration in its fonts, to highlight the most emotional rants. There are the usual facetious arguments that women need abortions after 5 months such as, “wealthy women who have the means can jump over the barriers, but more and more women can’t” and “Amniocentesis, which tests amniotic fluid for fetal abnormalities and genetic problems, is sometimes performed as late as 22 weeks.” (The babies of less than wealthy women and their mothers deserve protection, too. And amniocentesis is usually done much earlier  and is still legal, just as it is at 30 weeks or 35.)

Ms. San Luis would also have us develop sympathy for doctors who fear the liability of making a decision about whether a baby’s birth defect is compatible with life.

After. 20. weeks.

Because: ” Accounting for factors like the woman’s health history and future complications, it is almost impossible to accurately guess the likelihood of fetal survival in each of these cases. “

(Maybe that’s why they can’t get local hospital privileges.)

While I can mock the poor logic of the author, it’s better to catch her repeating easily checked, but false “facts.”

The founder, President and CEO of the San Antonio Abortion facility, Whole Woman’s Health, Amy Hagstrom Miller, is quoted as saying, “We’ve seen a 10 percent increase in second trimester abortions just since the sonogram bill has passed,”.

Besides the fact that there’s only one year of data available “since the sonogram bill has passed” and went into effect in late 2011, the numbers don’t back up that statement, unless it’s local to the San Antonio facility.  According to numbers from the Texas Department of State Health Services, there were 136 fewer 2nd trimester abortions in Texas in 2012 than in 2011.

Year      Total Abortions      2nd Trimester Abortions  1st Trimester Abortions   %1st

2012       66098                          5204                             60882                          92.1
2011       72470                          5340                             67121                          92.6
2010      77592                           5542                             72042                          92.8

(I couldn’t resist showing the steady decrease in abortions in Texas, even though it horrified me to put those large numbers into the calculator.)

Did anyone else notice that there’s no obvious way to make comments on BOR?

 

Edit 10/10/13 – correcting punctuation, removing my own redundancies — BBN

Obama Stumbles Despite Friendly Press « Commentary Magazine

After explaining his “history,” of posturing and hiding unpopular legislation by attaching it to another Bill, President Obama truly stumbles:

“And you know, we don’t get to select which programs we implement or not.”

via Obama Stumbles Despite Friendly Press « Commentary Magazine.

Iguess it depends on the meaning of “select,” because as the article notes,

“Obama chooses which parts of which laws he wants to implement and enforce at will, as if Congress were a supercommittee brainstorming ideas rather than a coequal branch passing laws . . “

NEJM “I want” ethics

In the Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis notes that, “When all that says ‘it is good’ has been debunked, what says ‘I want’ remains.”

Last week, the New England Journal of Medicine published a “Perspectives” column, “Life or Death for the Dead Donor’s Rule?,” in which the authors  illustrate Lewis’ point with their redefinition of non-maleficence to better serve a re-defined autonomy.

They would convince us that there is no harm in hastening the death of a dying patient even by intentionally causing it if he or his surrogates ask. They ignore a 2500 year old First Principle of Medical ethics,focused on the health of the patient in front of us: “Cure when possible, but first do no harm, “

Autonomy, like all rights, is a negative right: the patient has the right to refuse invasive medical interventions that will harm him or that he does not want. Patients and surrogates, if they can compel the use of medical skills and invasive technology, can only do so for the medical benefit of the patient himself.

Illogically, in these times of reducing costs, the authors would have us consider taking a patient from the ICU to the OR “and then take him back to where life support would be withdrawn.” The return to the ICU is nothing but our own “medical charade.”

 

The Abolition of Man can be read online, here, or you can buy the Kindle version at Amazon.com.

I want to thank Nancy Valko, who runs an email list covering a range of traditional ethics issues, her email alerting me to this editorial.

“Choosing Wisely” doesn’t

Back in September, WingRight promoted a program, “Choosing Wisely,” an initiative by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Well, the other shoe dropped.

For years, I’ve told patients that we need to periodically screen for hypertension and diabetes because most people don’t feel bad when their blood pressure or blood sugar is high. The Center for Disease Control reports that about a fifth of people with high blood pressure and that nearly a third of diabetics are undiagnosed.

But these facts didn’t impress the Society of General Internal Medicine, which released their “Choosing Wisely” list suggesting that doctors not ask non-insulin dependent diabetes patients to check their sugars at home or schedule “routine general health checks for asymptomatic adults,” including the ‘health maintenance’ annual visit”  The SGIM claims that these common medical practices cause more harm than good — or is it that they cost more money than they save?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Study: 20,000 a Year Will Go Without Abortions Due to Texas Law

Texans paid for this study by the University of Texas College of Liberal Arts, Texas Policy Evaluation Project, founded to “evaluate” the effect of the 2011 State budget cuts on Family Planning, ignoring the deep cuts on everything else the State funded. (Speaking of ignoring: the website hasn’t updated the information on Family Planning since the 2013 Legislature added over $200 Million dollars to the program.)

Tx-PEP, as they call themselves, got some publicity on a San Antonio radio station, WOAI, today, complaining that women will have to “go without” elective abortions.

A pro choice activist group says the strict new abortion restrictions which were approved by the Texas Legislature in July will result in more than 22,000 Texas women per year being unable to undergo an abortion, 1200 WOAI news reports.

“Women particularly in rural areas and outside of cities who want to terminate a pregnancy, will have no recourse because there will be no late term providers left,” Jody Jacobsen of the Texas Policy Evaluation Project, told 1200 WOAI news.

Elective abortions are “elective.” These are not abortions to save the life of the mother. They are abortions due to “choice.”

Of course, the Texas Policy Evaluation Project doesn’t admit that none of the current abortionists are in rural areas. In other words, anyone seeking an elective abortion today must go to a big city and may be inconvenienced.

Forget any pretense at impartiality:

  The laws do not cover women who are less than twenty weeks gestation, and abortions will still be available to them.

  But Jacobsen says it’s all a matter of personal freedom.

  “Who is Rick Perry to tell me what decisions I should or should not have made, or what any other woman should or should not have made,” she said.

Senate Dems Sauntering Toward #HarryReidsShutdown #DCtime

Harry Reid is sauntering toward a Federal gov’t shutdown at midnight, tonight.

Even though the House passed a compromise Continuing Resolution (no longer defunding Obamacare, simply delaying it) just after midnight yesterday (Sunday) morning, Harry refused to allow the Senate to gather until 2PM, DC time, today (Monday).

Then, he made his motion to table the House CR. The motion passed along strict Party lines, 54-36. Then . . . might as well wait for it . . .  he announced “debate” until 4PM, DC time.

Compromise or computers: ObamaCare delay inevitable

 “But in some situations, you may see a redefinition of what ‘start’ means.” (Wall Street Journal quoting Obamacare consultant.)

President Obama and Democrats everywhere should be grateful to the Republicans for saving them from a huge embarrassment. Instead, the Dems continue to dig in, escalating their claims to have won a mandate on ObamaCare in 2012, in spite of the fact that the Republicans won enough seats in the House of Representatives to secure a strong majority.

House Republicans passed a new Continuing Resolution that compromises on Obamacare, by changing from refusing funding altogether to setting up a one year delay. Included in the Bill is a measure that would ensure that our military is paid in the event of a shutdown. The Bill also repeals the 2.3% tax on medical devices and the mandate that business owners with religious objections buy insurance that includes controversial “free” contraception.

The Wall Street Journal, in addition to reporting the redefinition of “start,” outlines the many ways that the Federal and State exchanges are not ready to launch Obamacare on October 1:

In the District [of Columbia], people who use the online marketplace will not immediately learn if they are eligible for Medicaid or for subsidies.

In Oregon, people will not initially be able to enroll in an insurance plan on the Web site.

In Vermont, the marketplace will not be ready to accept online premium payments until November.

In California, it could take a month for an insurer to receive the application of someone who applies for coverage on the exchange on Oct. 1.

. . . But as the launch nears, more delays are occurring. On Thursday, the administration announced a delay in the online shopping system for small businesses and confirmed that the Spanish-language site for signing up for coverage will be delayed until mid-October. Earlier in the week, officials said Medicaid applications will not be electronically transferred from the federally run exchange to states until November.

Abortionists file suit against (only 2) new Texas regulations

The (oxymoronic) “Center for Reproductive Rights” and other abortionists have filed suit to prevent two of the provisions of Texas’ new requirements on doctors who perform abortions – not on the management or owners of the abortion facilities. The new law becomes effective October 29, 2013 and was passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor.

 

From the on-line, liberal Texas Tribune:

The next stage in abortion rights advocates’ efforts to block implementation of strict new regulations on the procedure in Texas began on Friday, as the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union and a group of abortion providers across the state filed a lawsuit in federal court.

 

 

Everyone in Texas politics has been waiting for the lawsuit(s) challenging this summer’s hotly debated legislation. Surprisingly, the abortionists aren’t asking the Courts to stop the prohibition on elective abortions after 5 months or on the requirement that abortion facilities meet requirements for Ambulatory Surgical Centers. Instead, only two parts are challenged and both are requirements on the State-licensed doctors, not on the facilities.

 

The dispute is over the requirement that doctors personally hand the pills for medical abortions to their patients, rather than delegating the dispensing to a nurse or med tech or sending the woman home to take the pill. Doctors must also have privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the office or facility where they perform abortions, so that they are able to admit their patients and care for any complications that might arise from the abortions they perform.

The agreement that doctors sign with the company that makes Mifeprex (also known as RU486 or mifepristone) was reaffirmed a year ago by the FDA. By signing the contract with the manufacturer, the doctors pledge that they will dispense the pills themselves. State law now requires them to keep their word.

As to the requirement that the doctors performing surgical and medical abortions maintain hospital privileges: It’s standard of care to expect doctors to care for complications of any intervention they perform – whether it’s setting a broken bone, cleaning an abcess or performing some outpatient surgery such as removing a mole or ingrown toenail. To fail to provide timely follow-up and/or call coverage for after-hours care is abandonment. Why should it be different for Doctors intervening to perform an abortion?  When I delivered babies, those of us who were on call for Obstetrics had to be able to physically show up at the hospital (and patients’ bedside) within 30 minutes in order to maintain hospital privileges. My Family Medicine privileges (without OB) required me to be able to respond (if not appear at the hospital) within a certain time. (I can’t remember the specifics, but believe it was similar.)

We’ll see if the Austin-area federal judges think it’s appropriate for the State to regulate the physicians we license. I’m especially looking forward to hearing why the State is “unconstitutional” by holding physicians to a contract they’ve already signed.

PolitiFact Texas on Barry Smitherman, “guarantee” to escape poverty

“. . . graduate from high school, keep your first job for over 1 year, get married and stay married.”

Common sense, right? Okay, it’s not as easy as 1-2-3, and association doesn’t equal causation, but who would argue, right?

“Politifact Texas” would. The Politifact.com website claims to fact check political news and news makers’ comments, and has a Texas Edition. In my opinion, they tend to hit such comments from the Left of center. In this case, they seem to go out of their way to prove Texas Rail Road Commissioner Barry Smitherman wrong, but – even by stressing the importance of the economy in the equation – they prove him right.

Take a few steps, Barry Smitherman said, and you won’t live in poverty. Smitherman, seeking the 2014 Republican nomination for Texas attorney general, put his point this way in prepared remarks for an Aug. 26, 2013, appearance before the Texas Alliance for Life: “Several years ago, the Economist magazine published a piece which said that you only have to do three things to guarantee that you will live above the poverty line—graduate from high school, keep your first job for over 1 year, get married and stay married.”

via PolitiFact Texas | Smitherman partly captures virtual guarantee to escape poverty, but theory also relies on economy being strong.

 

The rest of the article traces the history of the publications that make the claims to which Commissioner Smitherman refers.

“Choosing Wisely: Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question”

Bookmark this page: “Choosing Wisely: Lists.”

Whether you are seeing your doctor for a cold, a routine physical or a “new patient visit,” or when you suspect that he’s offering you the famous notorious “blue pill or red pill,” how do you as a layman know whether a medical test or procedure is needed? Will it lead to a treatment decision or just more tests? Does it help? Or does it actually cause harm?

Or politically, will ObamaCare cost cuts and rationing deny you a procedure, test, or treatment that would be helpful?

The American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation asked the various physician sub-specialty organizations in the US to list tests, treatments and procedures that don’t help or might actually hurt patients. The lists are published on the “Choosing Wisely” website.

Remember, there’s a difference between screening tests that look for something you might have, and diagnostic tests to explain a symptom from your history or chief complaint, a finding on an exam or to determine whether a treatment is working or harming. And there’s certainly a difference between starting a treatment, doing a procedure or ordering a test that leads to more risk than the disease or condition we’re treating just because . . . of money, out-of-date knowledge, or patient desire. Or because we can.

Whatever health care problem or concern you have, take a look at the list from the medical specialty for the pertinent body part or organ system. Which tests and procedure do you need, and which have you had that are on these lists?

I don’t quite agree with all the items on all the lists. After all, patient care is not a recipe from a given cookbook – and besides, patients’ bodies can’t read the books to follow the recipes.

Let’s talk! Ask me questions and/or let me translate the jargon.

Podcast: Stop ObamaCare – Greg Abbott

From the Greg Abbott Campaign website:

Communications Director Matt Hirsch speaks with Dr. Beverly Nuckols on location at The Texas Mailhouse in Austin about the negative impact ObamaCare is having on small businesses and the health care industry, while U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services tries to sell an unworkable, expensive healthcare takeover in Texas.

via Podcast: Stop ObamaCare – Greg Abbott.

(I’m a doctor, not an audio/visual expert. And I certainly can’t afford one. Since I can’t get the podcast to embed, so please go to the site. While you’re there, volunteer, donate, help out!)

Texas or DC: Who do you want regulating your doctor?

Peggy Fikac once again proves that she’s not a reporter, and most certainly not anything like a fair and balanced media representative.

From the Houston Chronicle’s coverage of events in Austin, today:

“Obamacare is the wrong prescription for American health care, and I will never stop fighting against it,” Abbott said, joined by small business people and a doctor who also oppose the law at a company, the Texas Mailhouse.

One reason that Abbott gave for fighting the law came in response to a doctor who asked him from the audience about what Texas could do to keep the federal law from interfering with doctors’ judgment about the best way to treat their patients.

“You’re raising one of the more challenging components of Obamacare, and a hidden component in a way, and that is government is stepping in between the doctor-patient relationship and trying to tell you what you can and cannot do, interfering with both your conscience and your medical oath to take care of your patient,” said Abbott, who is campaigning to succeed Gov. Rick Perry.

That is similar to arguments raised against tighter abortion restrictions approved in special session, including a ban on the procedure at 20 weeks, along with stricter regulations on clinics and abortion-inducing drugs.

 

I am that doctor from the audience. Ms. Fikac is correct that I voiced concern over the Federal interference between the patient and the doctor. She’s flat wrong about Texas regulation of medicine by bring abortionists up to standards being equivalent to the

I prefaced the question by noting that it is the State of Texas that properly regulates Texas Doctors and medicine. At the State level, patients and doctors have more influence on our elected officials and the people they appoint to write regulations and enforce the law than we do on the Federal level.

I also noted that because of the increasing interference over the years by Medicare, I am concerned about the reach that this new set of regulations will have, including ever-invasive micro-reporting of patient’s private medical conditions. (I named the upcoming move to the ICD-10, which will be a nightmare, requiring doctors to make distinctions between medical conditions, out to five (5) decimal places.

As bad as the bureaucracy of the Office of the Inspector General for the Federal Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have been in the past, I don’t look forward to the additional layer of IRS income verification, audits and enforcement.

We could stick closer to home, with the Texas Health and Human Services, the Texas Medical Board, and the Texas Insurance Commission!

Freedom2Care: Now Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius is not radical enough to work at Rite Aid

Conscience? More “Trust me, I’ll violate my conscience” news:

Tolerance. Diversity. Broad-mindedness. Those are the words.

Bullying. Discriminating. Compelling. Those are the deeds.

The contradictory words and deeds often come from one and the same individuals–and in a case I learned about today, companies. Turns out the words of tolerance, diversity and broad-mindedness only apply to those who comply with the dogma and submit to the will of the speakers.

Here’s an email I received this morning from a pharmacist member of the Christian Medical Association:

“Subject: Forced to resign over mandate to sell the morning after pill.

“Just to let you know that Rite-Aid corporation came out with a stricter policy on July 5, 2013 that requires all employees to accommodate the sale of the morning-after pill to all comers, of either gender and of any age.”

Read more via Freedom2Care: Now Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius is not radical enough to work at Rite Aid.

While I don’t believe that Plan B is an abortifacient, I do believe it’s a powerful drug and that adolescents shouldn’t be able to buy it over the counter. I also find it hard to trust someone who will agree to go against their conscience!

CANCELLED: UN Medical Women International Association Prolife Drs’ Presentations

Prolife OBGYNS – AAPLOG – American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians & Gynecologists » MWIA ConfrontationLast weekend, organizers cancelled officially scheduled scientific presentations at the United Nations sponsored Medical Women International Association (MWIA) meeting in Seoul, Korea.

 

The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists have reported the information and published the women doctors’ planned presentations on their blog.

 

According to the published official press release (available in Word format) by the President of MWIA, Ghana’s Dr. Afua Hesse, she personally “intervened” to cancel “listed speakers at our 29th International Congress of MWIA who would deny women their basic right to choice.” She further claimed that the presentations had “no scientific merit and threaten women’s reproductive rights and therefore do not belong at our triennial meeting.”

 

Dr. Donna J. Harrison, an OB/Gyn and member of AAPLOG, was one of the three presenters who found out that their presentations were cancelled only after arriving at the site. The other two presenters were OBGyn Dr. Mary L Davenport, MD, FACOG and Psychiatrist Dr. Martha Shuping, M.D.  After their session was cancelled, Dr. Anna Choi, Chair of the Public Relations Committee of the MWIA 2013 Organizing Committee, invited the three to speak at a press conference.

Canadian Family Physician Dr. Shelly Ross, Secretary-General to the United Nations for MWIA, physically intervened in an attempt to stop a press conference to which the three were invited. Here’s an excerpt from Dr. Davenport’s letter to AAPLOG members about the confrontation:

“They put the three of us up front like a “panel” discussion, and the reporters started asking us questions about our presentation, allowing us an opportunity to talk about what we came to present. About 20 minutes into the interview, the Secretary General of MIWA, a Canadian woman, burst into the room (I kid you not. …and all of this is on camera), and came up to the table and said “What presentation is this? Donna Harrison said “it’s not a presentation”. So she snarled “Why are you being interviewed? At that point, the answers were left to Anna, our host. Anna said that this was a requested interview by the press.

“The SecGen then said “Who gave you permission to interview these people?” And the reporters said “We are the press, we don’t need anyone’s permission. We have freedom of the press” And the Sec Gen snarled at Anna and said “Did you arrange this? Did you talk to the organizing committee?” And Anna said “I am on the organizing committee. I don’t need to talk to anyone.” And the Sec Gen stood in front of the camera, and refused to move, and said “The interview is over.” Then the reporters said “You can’t do this. We have the freedom of the press. You are interfering with the freedom of the press.” But the Sec Gen would not move and said “The interview is over.””

If you’ve never been to one of these big conferences, I’ll explain how they are set up. The tentative schedule is published months in advance. The separate presentations are grouped with similar- or same-topic presentations per “breakout” session, and many separate sessions may be held at one time. In this case, the final schedule of talks and even the signs (as you can see above) had been printed and posted.

I have viewed the three presentations and found them scientifically sound. They’re in PowerPoint format and easy to read, with great graphics and the first, by Dr. Davenport, is excellent and includes the bibliography of her references.

Texas Still Fighting Funding to Planned Parenthood!

In spite of repetitive fraud, in spite of Texas’ laws prohibiting sending money to affiliates of abortionists, in spite of all our work.

Planned Parenthood clinics could be facing a legal fight that could keep them from receiving funding for impoverished Medicaid patients.

When the state passed the Women’s Health Program in 2005, legislators said the intent was to provide more family planning services, but not abortions, to low-income Medicaid patients.

State Sen. Bob Deuell said due to a loophole in the law, Planned Parenthood is part of the program, but thinks they shouldn’t be. As such, he has requested the attorney general clear up the matter.

*****

While Sen. Deuell admits he isn’t in favor of Planned Parenthood, he said his “goal is to provide comprehensive care and — abortion issue aside — the Planned Parenthood clinics don’t provide comprehensive care.”

It could take Attorney General Greg Abbott months to give his opinion.

In a brief HHSC officials sent to Abbott, they told him if the agency limits providers based on the way the law currently reads, the state risks violating Medicaid rules. State health officials said that could result in a loss of federal funding for the program.

via AG to rule on Planned Parenthood funding question – YNN – Your News Now.

Every Slice of Drug-Rep Pizza Counts Starting Aug. 1

It’s possible that I can be bought, and no one’s come up with the right amount of money (or pens or pizzas), yet.

Or maybe, just maybe, I’m honest. Of course not!

I’m assumed to be guilty (where’s the opportunity to prove innocence, much less their duty to prove me guilty?) of all sorts of fraud by authors of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act included in the thousands of pages of PPACA – otherwise known as Obamacare:

From now on, companies must keep track of virtually every payment and gift bestowed on each clinician and report them to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which will report them to the world.

This accounting exercise stems from a provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that seeks to expose the financial dealings between industry and physicians and discourage conflicts of interest for the latter that might skew education, research, and clinical decision-making. Under the ACA provision, called the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, drug and device makers must report any “transfer of value” of $10 or more made to a physician. Transfers of value under $10 — a cup of coffee, say — aren’t reportable unless they add up to more than $100 in a year. Companies also must disclose whether physicians have any ownership stake in them.

via Every Slice of Drug-Rep Pizza Counts Starting Aug. 1.

Of course lawmakers assume that we’re being bribed – that’s what they do! Why aren’t the limits at least as high as those our Senators and Representatives are allowed? Like Democrat Senator Harry Reid, can we form a “Friends of Dr. Practice” and get more, as long as we don’t accept donations at our office?

BTW,  there’s an app available to help doctors keep up with the bribes.

Texas Planned Parenthood pays $4.3M (but media attacks Greg Abbott)

The $1.4 Million previously reported was the part that Texas will receive, not the total. Can you guess how the (very few) media reports (if you can find them) are playing the story?

From the July 30, Houston Chronicle:

Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast Tuesday settled a whistle-blower lawsuit that alleged the Houston nonprofit engaged in fraudulent Medicaid billing for $4.3 million – nearly $3 million more than was announced last week by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.

Yes, Planned Parenthood is quoted as claiming that the settlement for the AG’s finding that they are guilty of over $30M in fraud is “baseless” and simply a way to end harassment and to avoid turning over the (altered) medical records of patients. But the spin on the story is that Texas’ Attorney General, Greg Abbott, didn’t report the total and sent out his announcement before the settlement was signed by all parties.

My news search yields some op-eds and stories by Texas’ newspapers and a few more on pro-life sites.

Protect the right to life – San Antonio Express-News

I wrote this to the San Antonio Express News, in response to an “Other Views” Commentary a couple of weeks ago that claimed our pro-life HB2 violated the “separation of church and state.” It was rife with errors, easily corrected:

1. Abortion isn’t “private.” It is performed by licensed doctors in licensed abortion facilities, under laws regulating the practice of medicine passed by the elected Legislature of the state of Texas.

2. Women’s health and family planning clinics that offer federal and state funded health and cancer screenings and contraception are prohibited by both state and federal law from performing elective abortion. These clinics aren’t licensed abortion facilities and aren’t affected by HB2.

3. After Pennsylvania, Virginia and Missouri passed laws requiring safety standards similar to those in HB2, most abortion facilities in those states remained open.

4. Abortion facilities are allowed 16 months to come up to standard. If abortion facilities close, it will be because business owners decide not to invest in their facilities.

5. HB2, like earlier Texas laws, protects the mother if her life is endangered by continuing the pregnancy.

6. HB2 doesn’t create any criminal charges for the mother, only for physicians who perform illegal abortions after five months.

HB2 does require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges in case their patients have complications requiring hospitalization and abortion facilities to meet building standards known to improve patient safety.

More, including some philosophy, via Protect the right to life – San Antonio Express-News.

Abortion and Informed Consent: American Thinker

#Stand4Life: As only a woman with first-hand experience can tell us:

If a woman tells her doctor she wants to have a double mastectomy, the doctor won’t assume she’s made a sound decision. He or she will want to review her health history, get a detailed family history, find out if the woman has tested positive for the gene that will put her at increased risk, and so forth.

Similarly, when a woman expresses her desire to have an abortion, the health care provider should not assume she’s making a sound decision. It is their duty to make sure she understands her Carbaby’s development, including a way for her to see an image of her baby. And if that’s not possible, at least an image of a baby at the same developmental stage. Pregnant women deserve exposure to as much information as possible. I would argue that there is no more serious matter than the creation of a new life, save the destruction of it. This is no time to withhold vital information and resources.

As a point of comparison, several years ago my routine screening mammogram showed something abnormal. The immediate follow up diagnostic mammogram confirmed an abnormal mass. The radiologist brought me into her office to discuss the images with me. She showed me the area of concern. Explained the difference in color and shadow and what that meant. She also discussed why the image suggested a mass that was hard, and why that added to her concern. She recommended we move forward with an ultrasound and a fine needle aspiration. Throughout the entire discussion she checked in to make sure I understood everything. She invited questions. During the fine needle aspiration, she showed me the image on the monitor as she was guided with the needle to the area in question. When she withdrew the contents of the mass, she showed it to me and explained, to our great relief, that it appeared that I had nothing more than a benign cyst.

Looking back, I now realize that I knew more about the cyst in my breast than the 3-month old baby who once grew inside me. And that is dreadfully wrong. Not because I knew too much about the cyst. But because I knew too little about my baby.

via Articles: Abortion and Informed Consent.

Edited – title for typo – 8/1/13 at 7:45 AM — BBN

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