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March 14, 2012

Correspondence With MO Senator Claire McCaskill

Three weeks ago, I wrote a letter to and called the offices of Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill asking her to vote in favor of Senate Amendment 1520, sponsored by her fellow Missouri senator, Roy Blunt. 

I got a response from her Monday.

Claire McCaskill’s letter:
March 12, 2012
Dear Mrs. Hughes,
Thank you for contacting me regarding birth control and women's health.  I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond.
I believe we should all work to prevent and reduce the number of abortions in this country.  I support access to birth control, which will help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and ultimately reduce abortions.  This is an emotional, difficult subject.  But if you really believe that reducing abortions is important in this country, which I do, then it doesn't work to keep putting up barriers to women getting birth control.

This requires clarification.  I ask, is Ms. McCaskill lying?  Does she not know her own voting record? 

Or she simply does not want to own her voting record?

If we look at Senator McCaskill’s voting record she ALWAYS votes pro-abortion.  Always.  Always.  Always.  Go here for her voting record on this issue.  And, here is a link to her entire voting record, for your information.

As a matter of fact, just last year, amidst the release of Live Action.org's undercover sting videos depicting multiple Planned Parenthood clinics in multiple cities actively complicit in crimes involving statutory rape, sex trafficking as well as fiscal malfeasance, Senator McCaskill still stood by them.”  She still voted in April 2011 to continue federal funding of Planned Parenthood.  

There is a conflict between what Senator McCaskill expressed as her priorities in her letter and her actions in the Senate.  Is she ignorant of the fact that Planned Parenthood’s main business is providing abortion?  She claims she wants to reduce abortions, but abortion is Planned Parenthood’s biggest line of business and she supports them wholeheartedly.  No, it’s not ignorance.  She is a liar.

I resent her attempt to align herself with me by using verbiage like, “But if you really believe that reducing abortions is important in this country, which I do...”  That is OFFENSIVE to me because nowhere - NOWHERE - in her voting record is there any evidence that she “really believes that reducing abortions is important in this country”.  If Ms. McCaskill REALLY believes that reducing abortions is important in this country, she’d work to hold accountable the abortion giant Planned Parenthood for KNOWINGLY breaking the law and covering up crimes (some more here and here and here and here) and doing much to undermine parents.

The remainder of that paragraph insinuates that increasing access to contraception reduces abortions.  This simply has not proved to be the case.  When researchers don’t understand why contraception didn’t decrease elective abortion, they use conclusions like, “The factors responsible for the increased rate of elective abortion need further investigation.”  They cannot accept that contraception increases abortion rates, so they effectively say, “we have to keep trying until we get the answer we want.”  (my paraphrase)

Further, I cannot believe these people supporting this HHS Mandate really believe there is any restriction to access to contraception.  Walk into any Planned Parenthood clinic or any Public Health office and a girl of any age can walk out with 12-months supply of free hormonal birth control pills.  And guess what?  They still have access to that abortion when the contraception fails.

Think contraception, used properly is 100%?  Go visit Rebecca at Shoved to Them and read "The Failure Rate."

Some methods of so-called contraception are really abortifacients - meaning they cause abortions, namely hormonal birth control pills, IUD’s and abortions.  Even physicians recognize the link between contraception and abortion.  

If a person thinks logically through the contraception-abortion issue, as one of my favorite bloggers, Leila at Little Catholic Bubble, so eloquently pointed out, the logical next step from failed contraception is abortion.  If someone has gone to the extent of taking hormonal contraception, or placing an IUD, or taking a shot of Depo-Provera...then of course if they become pregnant (because only abstinence is 100%) their next thought turns to abortion.  Please go read Leila’s post on this topic as it’s better than anything I’m going to write here!  

Claire McCaskill’s letter:
For this reason, I voted against the amendment offered by my colleague, Senator Roy Blunt (Senate Amendment 1520), which would have allowed any employer, health plan sponsor, or insurance company to refuse coverage for their employees for any type of essential health care services -- including birth control, maternity care, prenatal testing, and HIV/AIDS screening -- based solely on an undefined "moral objection."

Did you know that Claire McCaskill calls herself Catholic?  I wonder, has she ever picked up a Catechism?  The Catechism of the Catholic Church contains a summary of all the beliefs of the faith and is used as a teaching tool.  Before my reversion and conversion on the topic of marriage and sex abiding by Church teaching, I hadn't either.  I would imagine that if Claire McCaskill knew her Catholic faith, then she would know that the Catholic Church’s and the“moral objection” of which she speaks is absolutely defined...in the Catechism.

Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality.  These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom.  In contrast, “every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” is intrinsically evil (emphasis, mine):
Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other.  This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality....The difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle...involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality.
Within this one article of the Catechism, the “moral objection” is defined.  Ms. McCaskill can deny or ignore all she wants, but there has never been an UNDEFINED “moral objection” by the Catholic Church on this issue.

Claire McCaskill’s letter:
As you may know, following considerable debate, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reached a compromise so that religiously-affiliated employers will not have to provide birth control if it violates that employer's religious beliefs.  This compromise, which I support, ensures that all women with employer-sponsored health plans will have access to free preventive health services, while protecting the religious freedom of religiously-affiliated employers.  If a church or religious employer determines that covering birth control would be inconsistent with their organization's beliefs, the insurance company rather than the employer will be required to offer these services directly to women.
Groups on both sides of the debate, including the Catholic Health Association and Planned Parenthood, have expressed their support of this compromise.  Under the new HHS guidelines, no one will be required to use birth control or other preventive care services under any plan.  Each woman, pursuant to her own beliefs, will access the services she deems appropriate.  However, a woman will not be denied access to health services, like birth control, based on the decision of her employer, instead of retaining for herself the right to choose whether to use birth control or not.  The new guidelines also do not eliminate or change existing conscience protections, which I support, that allow doctors and individual healthcare providers to choose whether or not to prescribe or administer birth control in accordance with their own beliefs.

This so-called compromise is nothing of the sort.  She quotes the Catholic Health Organization which is known for its dissident stance on such Church matters.  McCaskill references “considerable debate” but important parties to that so-called debate were not consulted.  How could there be debate when the administration’s Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services completely shut out everyone that would disagree with her?  (See here and here and here and here.)

What Ms. McCaskill tries to do here is completely evade the issue.  The real issue here is religious freedom and the fact that the Constitution of the United States ensures in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” (emphasis, mine)

The Catholic Church views contraception and abortion as intrinsically evil.  The Church should not have to support, provide free of charge, or pay for something that is viewed as such.  

Furthermore, the law Congress has made absolutely prohibits the free exercise of Catholicism by Catholic hospital administrations, Catholic charities, Catholic universities, etc.  And their little “compromise” is no such thing because Catholic institutions must still PAY for the insurance premiums that will cover these evils.  

I believe I heard a quote or saw it on a FAQ or something on the white house’s webpage that “houses of worship” were exempt.  Since when was the “free exercise” of religion confined to the worship space?  I am every bit a Catholic outside the doors of my parish church that I am inside of it.  I live my life in accord with my Catholic faith in my home at my work, in my many interactions with non-Catholics.  My faith is not confined to the place where I attend Mass.  So, too, the Catholic church’s ability to preach the Gospel and carry out the Mission should not be confined only to the physical building.  The Church has taught since it’s inception that contraception and abortion are intrinsically evil - being forced to provide this evil is a gross overreach and abuse of power by this government.

Claire McCaskill’s letter:
It should be noted that 28 states already require health insurance plans to cover contraceptive services.  The compromise guidelines follow in the steps of most states, including Missouri, which have already found a reasonable way to ensure access to preventive health services while also respecting employers' First Amendment right to religious freedom, a fundamental principle on which our nation was founded.

In this point, she tries to position her stance as the one not infringing on religious freedom, but she is, again, lying.  It’s long been established in courts that federal laws often “trump” state laws in these matters.  Even if Missouri does have something in place NOW that protects religious freedom, that will be usurped when this HHS Mandate goes in place in a little over a year.

Remainder of Claire McCaskill’s letter:
Again, thank you for contacting me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance to you on this or any other issue.
Claire McCaskill
United States Senator
P.S. If you would like more information about resources that can help Missourians, or what I am doing in the Senate on your behalf, please sign up for my email newsletter at http://mccaskill.senate.gov.

Here is my reply to Senator McCaskill.  

Ms. McCaskill,
    With all due respect, please do not attempt to align yourself with me as someone who "really believes that reducing abortions is important in this country."  Your pro-abortion voting record speaks for itself in that regard and your words ring fake and hollow.
    There have been studies attempting to determine the effects of contraception on the elective abortion rate, and when the researchers don't get the answer they want, they simply say "further research is required."  (Please don't try and present a Guttmacher Institute study as they are the "research" arm of Planned Parenthood and therefore, that is not independent nor is it reliable.)  The logical next step to failed contraception is abortion.  Even in the case Casey v. Planned Parenthood, the decision proclaimed as much (that contraception fails, and therefore a woman would want or need an abortion).
“for two decades of economic and social developments, people have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail.” (emphasis mine)
--Casey v. Planned Parenthood

Finally, I believe you call yourself Catholic.  It is unfortunate, then, that you seem to be grossly ignorant of your faith.  The Catholic church views contraception and abortion as intrinsically evil.  And your allegation that the "moral objection" is "undefined" belies this ignorance as well.  There is something called the Catechism of the Catholic church that defines and explains the belief of Catholics.  The Catholic Church has absolutely defined her moral objection to this mandate and the so-called compromise.  Please tell me, senator, how it could be called a compromise when no dissenting opinions were sought?
    And as I am sure you're already aware, even if states have laws and exemptions in place, this federal law will most likely trump any state laws on the matter.  Therefore, my concern with regard to religious freedom and my and my church's ability to exercise this freedom, is NOT alleviated in any way by your letter.
I am gravely disappointed in your "leadership" or at least your attempt at it and can only pray and work for your defeat in November.
Michelle Hughes

I don’t anticipate any further dialogue, I have already received the message that the mailbox where my message went is "not monitored" (so I went to her site and added my message, but now the string is broken and she won't know to what I am responding).  But I sincerely hope that any Catholic or pro-life person in this district in Missouri reading this will remember Claire McCaskill’s dreadful voting record and her gross ignorance of the faith she proclaims and vote for whomever is opposing her on the ballot.


  1. Well written response! It's Planned Parenthood's talking points that she is rattling off...there is a very easy solution to young girls not getting pregnant - don't have sex. (And I mean that with zero disrespect to women who are raped. That is a different story, but we still should not punish a child for the sins of the father.)

    I've been wanting to write a letter to our senators - I do believe you've given me the push I needed. Thanks!

  2. Awesome! You rocked it Michelle.

    I'm lucky to have two senators here in Indiana who are good on this issue. Both of them voted for the Blunt Amendment. But I should write them a letter to thank them for standing up. Thanks for the inspiration!

    You're a lioness for the faith. I love it.

  3. Soooooo good! Please tell me that you have sent this link to her office! She needs the whole post, in addition to the letter you wrote her.

    She is causing grave scandal as she dares to identify as Catholic.

  4. Actually, I did, Leila! Because I got the "auto-reply" to my e-mail saying the box wasn't monitored. So I went to her site and linked it and said something along the lines about the fact that we can't have a conversation if the reply function to e-mails doesn't work...but anyway. Yes. I sent it to her. I'm sure one of her staffers will just read, roll their eyes and delete, right?

  5. Michelle, probably. But these politicians are egomaniacs and they like to read their bad press, too. Here's hoping she sees it. For the sake of her soul!

  6. Your post got me all fired up. Her response made me so mad! I am glad you replied the way you did and contacted her office. At least if the staffers don't pass it on, your blog will tell the tale for the whole world to see...


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