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Posts tagged ‘Chris Smith’

Israel Will Pay for Some Elective Abortions.

Israel will pay for elective abortions starting next year for all women ages 20 to 33 — and could ultimately extend the age limit, making coverage universal, Haaretz reported Monday.

The Israeli newspaper said the proposal came from a committee that determines what medicines and medical technologies will be added to a so-called “health basket” for 2014.

Until now, subsidized abortions for women of all ages were available only in medical emergencies or in cases of rape and sexual abuse; women under 20 or over 40 were also eligible even if the reason was personal, the newspaper noted.

The proposal must be approved by the country’s Health Ministry, and then by its cabinet. Even if approved, women would still have to go before a state committee before terminating a pregnancy, the newspaper reported.

According to Haaretz, the new rule would allow state-funded abortions for an additional 6,300 women next year, at a cost of about $4.6 million.

“It was brought to our attention that there is a large group of women between 20 and 40 who for various reasons – financial or reasons of secrecy – do not terminate pregnancies,” health committee head Jonathan Halevy said, the newspaper reported.

“In the current [health] basket we’ve approved funding for pregnancy termination for women in the 20-to-33 age group, with the intention of completing the process . . . and raising the age to 40.”

Contraceptives are not paid for by the government because “when we’re talking about financing for the entire population, that’s a hefty sum,” Halevy said.

Although ending a pregnancy is technically illegal in Israel, punishable by up to five years in prison, there are several exceptions under which abortion is permitted.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Cathy Burke

House on Collision Course With White House Over Iran.

As the House of Representatives re-convened this week following its Thanksgiving break, it is clear that members of both parties are headed for a major showdown with the White House over the recent agreement between Iran and the leading world powers.

The White House left no doubt that the new agreement with the P5+1 group — the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany — that permits Iran to enrich uranium should be implemented without further sanctions.

But numerous House members pulled no punches in saying they did not trust Iran and are still worried about the possibility that the Islamic regime in Tehran could obtain a nuclear weapon.

In recent foreign policy disagreements such as those over Syria and Egypt, the most vocal opponents of the administration’s position were often the most junior Republicans in the House.

But what makes this clash with Iran different is that Democrats as well as some senior Republicans in the House are lining up as hardline opponents of trusting Iran.

In October, freshman Reps. Luke Messer, an Indiana Republican, and Brad Schneider, an Illinois Democrat, organized 76 of their fellow freshmen from both parties to sign a letter calling on the administration to do everything in its power to make sure Iran did not obtain nuclear weaponry.

“In foreign policy, this president will be judged by one simple standard: did he prevent Iran from getting the bomb?” Messer told Newsmax.

Messer, who is president of the class of freshman Republicans in the House and a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the agreement supported by the administration “validates Iran’s right to enrich uranium to a 5 percent level in six months.”

Senior lawmakers in the House also weighed in strongly against any new agreement with Iran.

Republican Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, a 33-year incumbent and the longest-serving Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said any agreement that permits Iran to have nuclear enrichment is “egregiously flawed.”

“When it comes to Iran, this president has not been helpful at all,” Smith told Newsmax. “He tried to weaken previous sanctions and opposes newer and tougher sanctions.”

Smith recalled that he and other House members from both parties fought to keep Iranian crude oil off the market. “This is what is keeping their economy afloat and we were trying to hit Iran’s lifeline,” he said.  But the Obama administration helped torpedo the harder-hitting sanctions.

Smith noted that Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, ranking Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, “is working side-by-side with me to promote the next sanctions bill.”

Smith and Messer spoke to Newsmax a day after White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters “the agreement reached by the P5+1 with Iran needs to be implemented, and that both the president and Congress have a responsibility to fully test whether we can achieve a comprehensive solution through diplomatic means before pursuing alternatives.”

Carney warned that “passing any new sanctions right now will undermine our efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution to this issue by giving the Iranians an excuse to push the terms of the agreement on their side. Furthermore, new sanctions are unnecessary right now because our core sanctions architecture remains in place and the Iranians continue to be under extraordinary pressure.

“There is no doubt in Iran that should this agreement fail, Congress and this administration will quickly impose harsh new sanctions. It would make more sense to… keep our powder dry until we see whether Iran violates the understanding,” Carney said.

But Messer and his colleagues do not want to give Iran the opportunity to violate the agreement and then have Congress move to impose new sanctions after a violation.

Iran “needs to reach two certain benchmarks: first, an end of nuclear enrichment and second, a public declaration that they won’t build a nuclear bomb,” Messer said.

Citing Ronald Reagan’s axiom of “trust but verify” in negotiating arms control with the former Soviet Union, Messer said that “the key to dealing with Iran is to be able to verify. Without verification, there can be no trust.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Bishops: No Abortion Coverage for Capitol Hill Under Obamacare.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has sent a letter to the Obama administration asking it to prevent federal subsidies for health insurance from covering abortions for members of Congress and their staffers.

The move comes after the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) ruled last month that lawmakers and their staffs will continue to receive a federal contribution toward the health insurance that they must purchase through the new exchanges created under Obamacare.

But the decision did not address the issue of abortion coverage, although an amendment to the Affordable Care Act authored by Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J. prohibits abortion funding for federal employees.

In the letter, the bishops wrote, “The fact that members of Congress and congressional staff will now…select a plan from the exchange instead of from a menu of plans offered by insurers with which OPM has contracted, does not affect the continued applicability of the Smith amendment.”

“The administration cannot have it both ways,” they added.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Lisa Barron

Rep. Chris Smith: Pope Francis to Encourage More Outreach to Poor.

The papacy of Pope Francis will reflect “an outreach, like never before, to those who have been left out, left behind,” Rep. Chris Smith tells Newsmax TV in an exclusive interview.

“There will be a very significant reenergizing throughout all the dioceses, through the bishops and the cardinals and then right down to the pastoral level to ensure that the poor are cared for,” the New Jersey Republican, who attended the Pope’s investiture at the Vatican last week, tells Newsmax.

“The church does a magnificent job already, but this will be like a redoubling of our efforts to a greater degree to identify with the plight of those who are hurting.

“This pope, I believe, will say we need to care for everyone, include everyone and to love everyone in a way that is very real,” Smith says.

The congressman, 60, says he was in awe of Pope Francis’ investiture, which brought an estimated 200,000 people from more than 180 nations to St. Peter’s Square in Rome.

“It was a holy event — much prayer, prayers of the faithful, seeing the Pope move around on his Popemobile,” Smith tells Newsmax. “His warmth was very evident. His homily admonished and encouraged all of us to be protectors.

“He picked the speech of St. Joseph the Protector for this wonderful ceremony — and his homily teed off on that.”

Smith adds that the Pope’s homily asked questions based on Matthew 25: “When I was hungry did you feed me? When I was naked, did you clothe me? And, then, our Lord said whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren, you do likewise to me.

“And, then, a clarity call to all of us to protect the weakest, the most vulnerable – including an unborn child and all those who are disenfranchised,” he says.

Pope Francis reached out to a broad range of people and faiths.

In fact, Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, attended the papal installation Mass, the first time that a patriarch from the Istanbul-based church attended an investiture since the two branches of Christianity split nearly 1,000 years ago.

This American delegation included Vice President Joe Biden and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. The Democratic leaders are pro-choice.

“This Pope and the Vatican tried to reach out to people who disagree in the hopes of persuading them, just like those in the civil rights movement who worked for many decades to persuade people to include those who have suffered racial discrimination and to see that racism is a terrible, moral wrong,” Smith says.

“There’s been no doubt that, as pastors and as teachers, the church has said unequivocally and without any ambiguity whatsoever that unborn children need to be treated with respect. And this Pope, as a cardinal, couldn’t have been more clear in saying that these children need to be welcomed and not excluded and destroyed by way of violence.

“So the fact that Vice President Biden was there, I hope he opens up his heart as well as his mind. Same goes for former Speaker Nancy Pelosi.”

That an American was not chosen to succeed Pope Benedict XVI does not trouble Smith. He says the two most-mentioned candidates, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston and Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, will someday make excellent pontiffs.

Smith, chairman of the House subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations, met with O’Malley while in Rome.

“It’s a matter of when and not if we get an American Pope, because it really is done not by geographic selection, although many of the popes have been European,” Smith says. “Cardinals Dolan and O’Malley would have and would continue to make extraordinary popes.

“These are really remarkable men who care deeply for the faithful and who are faithfully leading on all matters relating to God and church, but they also reach out to everyone else. The church is universal and it shows by their leadership.”

And, for the upcoming Holy Week, Catholics can expect for Pope Francis’ influence to be most evident.

“He has made an appeal that people re-look at the things that are of eternal value,” Smith tells Newsmax. “There is a secularism that has gained a foothold throughout the world, including in the United States, that somehow takes God as nice but necessary and precludes a very meaningful, dominate role of our faith with the Almighty One.

“He will challenge us to take it to the next level. My sense is that there will be a callback during Holy Week and beyond, for those who have put their faith aside, to not let the daily grind of the everyday crowd out the all-important things of God.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Todd Beamon and John Bachman

Forced Abortion Whistleblower Gets U.S. Gov’t Support.

chenBlind activist Chen Guangcheng, reportedly suffering malnutrition under house arrest for exposing forced abortions in China, may soon find relief.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously passed Rep. Chris Smith‘s amendment to the State Department 2012 appropriation bill, which amendment supports Guangcheng and his wife.

“We thank Rep. Chris Smith for his leadership in sponsoring this far-reaching amendment, which urges the Chinese government to stop harassing the Chen family, to release them from house arrest and to arrange for immediate medical treatment,” says Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers.

“It further urges the Obama administration to arrange diplomatic visits to the Chen family.

Beyond this, it highlights the issue of forced abortion and coercive family planning in China.”

China Aid and Women’s Rights Without Frontiers are spearheading a campaign to free blind activist Guangcheng, whose health is in serious jeopardy because of repeated beatings and malnutrition.

Chen exposed the fact that there were 130,000 forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations in Linyi County in 2005.

The Chinese Communist Party imprisoned Guangcheng for four years and three months and has kept him and his family under strict house arrest since September.

His health is declining because of malnutrition, intestinal illness, repeated torture and the denial of medical treatment.

In a letter recently smuggled out of China, Guangcheng’s wife, Yuan Weijing, said she was worried about his survival.

Yuan has also been tortured and denied medical treatment.

“This historic amendment also raises the issue of the harassment, arrest, disappearance and disbarment of Chinese human rights lawyers and defenders,” says Bob Fu, president of China Aid.

“We hope to see the Obama administration take effective action on behalf of Chen and other human rights defenders who are suffering incalculable harm as a result of their courage to stand up for human rights in China.

This amendment comes just in time, as Chen’s health is frail and deteriorating rapidly.

We look forward to the day when Chen Guangcheng, Gao Zhisheng, and other Chinese human rights heroes are free.”

By Charisma News Staff.

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