State Rep. Scott Perry, endorsed by many area state legislators to fill the seat of retiring 6 term U.S. Congressman Todd Platts, has withdrawn his support for the "Women's Right to Know Act," a bill in Pennsylvania similar to the one passed in Virginia and six other states to force Planned Parenthood to show the ultrasound image they usually do, to the mother whose baby they are about to abort.
It may be the first crack in the frontrunner's campaign to sew up conservative support for his bid for higher office, even as his new position appears to satisfy his liberal critics.
The ultra sound for a mother is considered important to confirm the presence of a baby as well as its age before an abortion is done.
Planned Parenthood, which is heavily subsidized with federal taxpayer funds and is the leading provider of abortions in America, has already admitted that it already does do these ultrasounds.
But, they don't want to be required by law to share the image with the expectant mother, fearing that some of the mothers will change their mind and abort the abortion and cause Planned Parenthood a loss of fees. Apparently, the mother's "right to choose" does not extend to any "right to the ultrasound image."
So they have gone all out once again - Planned Parenthood and their liberal-left allies and Democratic Party leaders, to change this into a "women's rights" issue instead of what it is - a woman's "right to know" which imposes a requirement on the abortion mill to share information with the woman before it is too late.
Once again the liberal left is saying that "the Christians are trying to impose their religion on us" and the Christians are saying that it is about the rights of the mother and the rights of the baby and about basic safety and informed consent - all NOT religious issues but common sense and issues of very basic right and wrong.
It is of course, not unusual for a Republican legislator under fire from leftists just before an important vote, to withdraw his support and either abstain or vote with the liberals.
After all, what politician wants to have anybody angry at them, particularly in an election year?
One conservative columnist back during the Iran Contra controversy noted that some of President Reagan's hitherto strongest supporters in Congress turned out to be "summer sunshine soldiers" who turned tail and "ran for the tall grass" as soon as battle was under way to tear down their President.
But what is unusual about this particular withdrawal from the field of battle is that military veteran, State Rep. Scott Perry, won the straw poll at last month's candidate's forum with 85% favorable rating by the 150 attendees of Americans for Christian traditions in Our Nation, to fill the open seat of retiring 6 term Congressman Todd Platts (R-PA).
Several of my close friends and sources were very impressed with him and gave Perry a "4" rating and a few even gave him the top rating of "5" (out of 1 to 5 score each voter could cast for each of the 7 candidates who spoke).
My quick survey of several of them confirmed my suspicion - they are horrified that the candidate who they gave the victory to, and who happily uses that victory on his campaign webpage, has now reversed himself on this issue so important to them.
And so less than 30 days after his victory at the candidates' forum of the most conservative-Christian group in the district, this self described "pro-life" candidate for Congress, State Rep. Scott Perry, under pressure from the left, has withdrawn his support for the pro-life bill that is at the top of the conservative-Christian group's agenda for passage in the state legislature in Harrisburg.
And what is ALSO unusual is that Perry is running in one of the "reddest" of red Congressional districts in the country, the 19th district in south central, Pennsylvania, which reelected GOP incumbent Todd Platts to his 6th term in 2010 with a victory margin of 72% to 23% (an independent candidate got 5%).
Rep. Perry, who is actually my "Facebook friend" (perhaps not, after he reads this), hopes to earn the votes of very conservative voters - as he did at ACTION of PA last month - to win the GOP nomination against six candidates for this "open seat"
All seven of the declared candidates are claiming title to the "most conservative candidate" mantle to win the GOP nomination contest to run, and be virtually assured of election afterwards.
This column in RED STATE, perhaps the first such open criticism from an independent but conservative source, is not Scott Perry's only problem though, regarding this issue and his retreat from the conservative-GOP battle line.
On the very day (Sunday evening/Monday morning) that I was preparing this I was sent a link by the same source which has reported to me on the very strong stand of the Roman Catholic Church in general and by Father Samuel E. Houser of St. Patrick's Church in York, PA.
You may recall that I have written of this pastor, one of many in York County and across America who the parishioner of his called a "profile in courage" in introducing him at a recent Pastor's breakfast organized by Pastor Ken Gibson and sponsored by Americans for Christian Traditions in our Nation (ACTION of PA) York chapter.
And I learned of yet another "call to arms" from the pulpit and in their newsletter, from Father Houser to his parishioners, to write letters to the editor and to their State Representative, on this very issue that I had already decided to write about this morning.
Father Houser said the local newspaper published three letters to the editor against the bill in a single day, none from our side. He called for his constituents to telephone their state representatives.
Although Father Houser's weekly bulletin did not speak of Rep. Scott Perry (yet), he did single out for criticism State Rep. Ron Marsico and State Rep. Glen Grell, who were originally co-sponsors of the "Women's Right to Know" bill but who have now withdrawn in the face of the onslaught from Planned Parenthood supporters.
Father Houser also shared with his congregation the "life news" website urging them to learn more about why this is such an important issue for Christians.
But Father Houser is just one of the "angry Catholics" on the march (see my earlier column on this, subheaded "Here Come the Angry Catholics").
Father Houser also echoes the call of his Bishops for a "Day of Prayer, Fasting and Abstinence for Religious Liberty" on Friday, March 30, dedicated to the "preservation of religious liberty" which many Catholics feel is presently under the worst attacks in American history.
Father Houser and the Bishops of Pennsylvania ask that we all join together on March 30 in prayer, fasting and abstinence (no meat and one major meal for the day and liquids or broths - or if necessary one or two very light snacks/meals in addition to the one major meal).
The "angry Catholics" are marching, fasting and praying to ask that their Church - and all Churches - be given back the "right to practice what she preaches, and for our political leaders, that their eyes may be opened to the rights of all Americans, including those of faith."
Father Houser's newsletter reports that there are 3 million Catholics in Pennsylvania, and he and other pastors are doing thier share to register them to vote, and to make sure that they vote "for candidates who share our ideals."
Ominously for those who do NOT share the ideals of Christians like Father Houser, last Sunday the Catholic Pastor reported that he had run out of voter registration forms. He was immediately provided an additional supply by a member of his congregation who is a member of ACTION of PA.
Father Houser goes to great pains to be certain his "call to arms" is kept non-partisan and does not favor or oppose any party, saying "religious liberty does not belong to the Democrats or Republicans, it belongs to all Americans.
His newsletter criticizes those who have attacked the Church's stand, saying "we cannot, as a Church, be silent because some have sought to politicize our plight."
Father Houser urges in this Sunday's newsletter that those who wish to respond to his call should immediately visit www.pacatholic.org to send a message to state legislators in support of conscience rights for all Americans.
While the original ire of Christian pastors like Father Houser and ACTION of PA York Chapter Chairman Pastor Ed Gibson were provoked by the "ObamaCare" edict of February 10, they are very determined that the "Women's Right to Know" bill - HB 1077, should be passed or else the names of those who vote against it should be known to their congregations, as was discussed in their recent "Pastor's Lunch" (see my recent column).
While the news of Rep. Perry's defection from the ranks of those supporting this "Women's Right to Know" appears not to have yet reached Pastor Gibson and Pastor Houser at this writing, all indications are that they will not be "happy campers" when they learn that he has joined defectors, State Rep. Glen Grell and Rep. Ron Marsico - the total I have as of this writing is 28 defectors - in withdrawing from this battle.
But since he is seeking a "promotion" to go the U.S. House of Representatives, I anticipate it will be a great shock when conservatives and Christian activists learn that Rep. Scott Perry has withdrawn from this battlefield rather than been one of the leaders in one of the most critical battles of the year for values voters specifically, and for conservatives in Pennsylvania in general.
House Bill 1077 is rather straightforward. But Planned Parenthood doesn't like ANY restrictions on their power to abort babies and keep the expectant mother in the dark until it is too late. The bill's introduction states, that it is:
An Act providing for ultrasound test requirements to determine gestational ages of unborn children; establishing the right to view ultrasound image and ultrasound video of unborn child and the right to observe or hear the fetal heartbeat; providing for powers and duties of the Department of Health and for duties of physicians performing abortions; requiring certain reports to be filed with the Department of Health; imposing administrative sanctions and criminal penalties; and providing for remedies.
Of course the far left opposition has gone hysterical in their attacks, trying to make this into a "woman's rights" issue as they aim to block information from being presented to the expectant mother so they can rush through another abortion and another fee.
In Virginia, legislators also faced this kind of deluge of email, phone calls and mail from angry leftists whose superior social networking strength was galvanized into action by an alliance of liberal left and Democrat organizations and leaders.
Those Virginia state legislators in marginal districts were especially vulnerable to such public pressure and some of them did in fact, retreat in the face of this one-sided avalanche before the "right to know" forces prevailed and the Governor signed the bill into law.
I am in part inspired to write this because of the March 9 column written by Red State editor Erick Erickson, about another candidate that everyone thought was a real conservative in 2010 when he ran for Congress.
and, Erick was even MORE forceful on the same subject in his March 14th column, "A Case Study in Why Republicans Do Not Fear Conservatives."
Erick reports on how Tea Party and other conservative forces united behind Kinsinger and sent him to Washington two years ago.
Today that candidate, Rep. Adam Kinsinger, has earned a lousy 63% rating from the conservative Heritage Action - almost a match for GOP House whip Eric Cantor's rating.
Both Congressmen - leader Cantor and his acolyte Kinsinger, use plenty of conservative rhetoric but they vote liberal about 40% of the time.
As Eric Ericson wrote about Cantor and the GOP House leadership, who this new Congressman kept aligning himself with during his freshman term, "ridiculed conservatives opposed to Planned Parenthood."
Would State Rep. Scott Perry fit right in with that crowd who vote "right" just 40% of the time, and go with the liberals any time it is expedient or difficult to stand with the conservatives?
Would he follow the Adam Kingsinger model, to say what the conservatives want to hear to sweep past the other six candidates for the GOP nomination in this strongly conservative-Republican district but then go to Washington and vote far more moderate than anyone who voted for him ever suspected?
I hold no brief for any of the other candidates, and in fact, never even heard of any of them until I reported on the York County Action of PA breakfast "candidate's forum" last month, where I served a member of the "Host Committee" for the event.
I am simply alarmed after seeing this retreat by State Rep. Scott Perry, and am influenced by the "call to arms" of both Red State editor Erick Erickson, and of Father Samuel E. Houser.
In Illinois, Rep. Adam Kinsinger has been gerrymandered into a district with another Republican Congressman, Don Manzullo. So he now faces a challenger and possible "chastisement" for his liberal voting record and for abandoning conservatives on so many votes.
Congressman Manzulo's 92% ACU rating contrasts strongly with Congressman Kinzinger's 72% rating from ACU and the 63% rating from the influential and respected Heritage Action (which has a Facebook page for PA).
In another marked contrast, Eric Erickson reports the more liberal Kinsinger earned a meager 56% from the Club for Growth versus the 85% score for his primary opponent now, Rep. Don Munzullo.
Eric Erickson asks in his first column, "if we are unwilling to stand up for a man who stands up for conservatives... then why should we ever expect any man to stand with the movement against the party?"
Erickson flat out says in his second column, "By any measure, Manzullo is far more conservative."
Yet the support from conservatives for the far more conservative Congressman isn't materializing and Congressman Don Manzullo may lose to the more liberal candidate with the Republican "regulars" help.
I ask, if we give an 85% vote approval vote to State Representative Scott Perry who then abandons us in his previously announced support for House Bill 1077 to force Planned Parenthood to let expectant mothers see the ultrasound bill before they kill that baby, how can we expect him to stand with us on more critical and more controversial measures in the future?
And if we cannot expect Rep. Scott Perry to stand with us when an overwhelming majority of his own GOP caucus in the Pennsylvania state legislature are standing firm in the face of this deluge of email, phone calls and mail targeting Republican legislators who support House bill 1077, what will we do when the more "moderate" (ie. liberal) GOP House leadership signals it is OK to cave and abandon us?
Reports from my friends who heard him, say State Rep. Scott Perry gave a tremendous presentation at the candidate's forum last month and has a generally very conservative rating, and much to recommend him as a candidate for Congress.
But will one of the most conservative districts in the country be represented by someone who the forces supporting Planned Parenthood know can be pressured to leave them alone to go about their "abortion work" free of restriction and free to keep the the pregnant women in the dark until it is too late - will he be the winner of the upcoming GOP primary to run in this safe seat?
In my view, the 19th district of retiring Representative Todd Platts, is going to be represented by a strong pro-life Congressman after the incumbent retires at the end of 2012.
Whether my new Congressman will be State Rep. Scott Perry because he swings back into line with those he calls his friends, or by someone else who defeats him in the primary by calling attention to his retreat from our battle line in this fight, remains to be seen.
My sources report that Planned Parenthood's supporters on the far left have generated far more email and phone calls to state legislators pressuring them to retreat from this battle, to back off, and to not require them to do the ultrasound which they already DO as routine - and to share a look at what the baby about to be aborted looks like, to the mother - the same sort of requirement passed in Virginia and in 6 other states already.
As Erick Erickson asks at RED STATE, are we conservatives going to be a paper tiger or are we going to show - as I'd like to put it - that our BITE is going to be just as strong as our BARK which I am sounding in this article?
And as Father Samuel E. Houser urges in yesterday's newsletter, "Our freedom and liberty must be preserved. And in this effort, we must remain steadfast."
I salute Rep. Perry for his continuing service to America as a Colonel of the Pennsylvania National Guard and in Bosnia and Iraq. I honor him for his readiness to stand on that battle line for us all, and I thank his wife and his two daughters for their sacrifice as well.
His courage in military service is not in doubt in my mind. Pennsylvania State Representative Perry's willingness to stand fast in this battle to immediately pass House Bill 1077, is. You can let him know if you agree with me by writing to him at [email protected]
Tell Rep. Perry, as Father Houser asked, "stand fast." Or as I'd prefer to say, "don't run for the tall grass," the battle for HB 1077 is on - lead, follow or get out of our way.
HanoverHenry is Pat Henry on Facebook, and I'm on the lookout for new friends there.
Links to articles I wrote at RED STATE at my Facebook Notes section.