NRLC President Franz's
Opening Remarks to the 40th Annual National Right to Life
Part Three of Three
I am Wanda Franz,
President of the National Right to Life Committee. It gives me
great pleasure to open the 40th Annual National Right to Life
Convention. On behalf of the Board, the officers, and the staff
of the National Right to Life Committee I welcome you most
cordially to this convention. The right-to-life movement has
deep roots in Pennsylvania; so it is good to come together here.
Dr. Wanda Franz, NRLC
For my family it is always
nice to be in Pittsburgh. We live just about seventy miles south
from here in Morgantown, West Virginia. We can't afford to come
here for the sports events; but we eagerly follow the Pittsburgh
Steelers and the Pittsburgh Penguins ice hockey team on
Our host for the next few
days is the Pennsylvania Pro-life Federation, a long-standing
NRLC state affiliate. I want to mention in particular Michael
Ciccocioppo, the executive director of the Federation, Sue
Rogacs, the president, who will join us later, and the other
officers, organizers, and helpers from Pennsylvania, especially
Shari Lewis, Molly Dennis, Maria Vitale, and Bryce McMinn.
These fine pro-lifers have
worked with us to make this convention a success. Let's applaud
and thank them.
We pro-lifers have a
bruising battle over government-controlled health care behind
us. We lost that battle for the time being--but we are not
giving up. As a legendary baseball coach once said, "It ain't
over till it's over."
And we pro-lifers are most
definitely saying, "IT AIN'T OVER YET"!
What do you think? "Is it
Now, under the new health
care law, it is not just the unborn who are threatened by the
cold hand of government. Now it is also we, the already living,
who are in danger, because the inevitable result of the new
health care law will be the rationing of medical care. And
rationed care leads to involuntary euthanasia of the elderly and
of those whose "quality of life" is considered too poor for
modern medical care.
The problem is, of course,
that the new health care law over-promises and under-funds. And
when the government rations health care by making it illegal or
impossible to choose lifesaving treatment and nutrition it
imposes a form of involuntary euthanasia.
In the minds of anti-life
"progressives," giving equally shabby and life-denying care to
everyone who is under the government's thumb is the "fair" and
"equitable" thing to do. Apparently, our "progressive" friends
have missed the numerous accounts on the Drudge Report web site
about the horrible treatment of elderly patients in Britain's
government-controlled National Health Service. These are not
examples of "fair" treatment--they are examples of callous
neglect and often deadly mistreatment of elderly patients.
To learn more about the
threat of euthanasia, I urge you to get more information by
attending the convention workshops dealing with health care and
visiting our website www.nrlc.org.
On the left side of the web page you will find the "euthanasia
The biggest drama during
the health care debate arose when the pro-abortion White House
and the pro-abortion Democratic leadership mercilessly pressured
pro-life Democratic legislators to agree to the government's
involvement in financing abortion. In the end, a few prolife
Democrats cracked under the ruthless pressure and gave the
pro-abortionists their victory.
I was saddened to see my
own congressman among those supposedly pro-life Democrats who
cracked. The reaction by the voters in the 1st Congressional
District of West Virginia was swift and forceful. They
decisively rejected Congressman Alan Mollohan's bid for
re-election in the May primary.
Congressman Mollohan has
been in Congress since 1983 and had always run as a pro-lifer.
Nevertheless, this time he only got 44% of the Democratic
primary vote. His opponent, pro-life state senator Mike Oliverio,
got 56%. This sad ending to Mollohan's congressional carrier was
The public's persistent
opposition to the new health care law rests in large part on an
intuitive understanding that governmental overreach inevitably
has very bad consequences. In this case the clumsy and wasteful
governmental bureaucracy will impose itself even more than it
already does on the way we get medical care. As I already said:
the new health care law over-promises and under-funds.
Even worse, the so-called
"Independent Advisory Board" can even advise on privately-funded
medical care. The Secretary of Health and Human Services or
other bureaucrats can accordingly impose so-called "quality and
efficiency standards" on all health care providers if they want
to participate even in nongovernmental insurance plans. In other
words, the government will tell the health profession what
diagnostic tests and medical care are approved according to
these so-called "quality and efficiency" standards. These
standards are specifically designed to force you to spend your
funds only on health care below the rate of inflation.
Throughout the debate on
health care, the anti-life congressional leadership was
repeatedly forced to disguise and camouflage abortion and
rationing provisions in the law through confusing and contorted
language. But of course even if this or that particular detail
in the law is changed, a government-controlled health care
system inevitably ends up rationing care. It follows simply from
the very nature of the thing that makes this inevitable. Public
funds are not unlimited, and when we surrender our
responsibility to make our own health decisions to an
inefficient bureaucracy, rationing will ultimately be imposed on
During last year's
spirited debate on health care several Catholic bishops
expressed their concerns about the government's excessive
control of the proposed health care system. They objected to the
proposed scheme because it violates the "principle of
subsidiarity." It states that the state should respect the
dignity and freedom of the individual so that individuals can do
what they can do for themselves. Next in line is the family,
then the close community, then the larger local community, and
only then the state.
Pope Benedict XVI observed
that "the State which would provide for everything, absorbing
everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere
bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the
suffering person--every person--needs: namely, loving personal
concern." He also said, "We do not need a State which regulates
and controls everything."
Bishop Thomas Doran of the
Diocese of Rockford, IL, put it colorfully when he said, "Our
federal bureaucracy is a vast wasteland strewn with the
carcasses of absurd federal programs which proved infinitely
worse than the problems they were established to correct."
To most of us it is
obvious that a ponderous bureaucracy will waste resources that
otherwise we could have used for our health care. And when
resources are wasted and the law constrains us from using our
own money to pay for our care, rationing is inevitable. An
all-controlling government will ration in the end because
"pretty soon they will run out of other people's money," as one
British politician once observed.
The principle of
subsidiarity was formally announced by Pope Pius XI in 1931
during a great economic crisis and a time of increasing threats
from totalitarian and authoritarian states. The general
principle, however, goes back to the social teaching of the
Church since the 5th Century.
The core ideas of the
principle of subsidiarity sound to us as American as apple pie.
Personal freedom and responsibility, the freedom of families and
local communities to run their lives are at the very core of the
American idea. This is how we are meant to run our lives.
It is not exactly a state
secret that a big November election is coming up. During the
next few months you will have an opportunity to meet with
So ask them a few
questions with regard to health care.
Would they vote for the
Protect Life Act sponsored by Congressman Joseph Pitts? This act
would prevent federal agencies from administering health plans
that cover abortion and prohibit federal mandates requiring
health plans to cover abortions or provide access to them.
Would they require any new
health care law permanently to prohibit federal subsidies for
abortion or health plans that cover them? Would they support a
law preventing federal abortion mandates on a permanent basis?
Would they agree that
federal law ought not limit what private citizens want to
spend--out of their own pocket--on medical care for themselves
and their family?
The new health care law
cuts hundreds of millions of dollars from Medicare, yet the law
empowers the government to limit what senior citizens can spend
of their own money on programs like the Medicare Advantage
private fee-for-service plans. Would they restore the previous
law so that seniors could do this again?
And finally, is it not
time to repeal the monstrous law that will ruin health care in
America, start over again, and get it right?
In turn, I ask you: Are WE
going to give up and let this monstrosity roll over us?
I ask you: Are WE going to
let the federal government mainstream and subsidize abortion as
And I ask you again: Are
WE going to let federal bureaucrats command us as to how our
doctors can treat us and how we pay them?
There is lots to be done
between now and November. This convention will inform you on all
these issues and more.
So work hard here, make
friends here, get support here--and enjoy yourself at this
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