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Week Ending June 25, 2004
June 26, 2004 3:58PM EST

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - Week Ending June 25, 2004


(In Mr. Murray's absence, Peggy Birchfield, Religious Freedom Coalition Legislative/Executive Director, wrote the following report from Capitol Hill)




At a press conference in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill, Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) introduced the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act (HR 4420) while the closing arguments began at the same time in the New York Partial Birth Abortion Trials. Congressman Smith was joined by 10 Members of Congress and Dr. Jean Wright, fetal pain expert and Executive Director of Backus Children's Hospital, to give their statements and support on the bill.

Besides myself, other speakers included Michael Swartz of Concerned Women for America, Connie Mackey of Family Research Council, Douglas Johnson, NRLC Executive Director and Cathy Ruse of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Powerful visual aids of infants and medical procedures lined the back of the room. As the speakers spoke, the room full of supporters and media listened intently to the comments of each member as they shared their concerns and statements of the undue suffering of these unborn children. "There are numerous laws to prevent cruelty to animals, but no law to prevent a well developed unborn child from suffering excruciating pain as they are torn limb from limb or crushed during abortions," stated Douglas Johnson, NRLC Executive Director.

The new law would require those who perform abortions on unborn babies 20 weeks or more after fertilization to inform the woman seeking the abortion of the medical evidence for fetal pain. The act would require the abortion provider to advise the woman verbally and to provide a brochure produced by the Department of Health and Human Services detailing the medical evidence of pain experienced by unborn babies. Further, abortionists would be required to give the woman the option of providing anesthesia to the unborn child to reduce or eliminate the pain prior to death. Women have the right to know the facts of their unborn children. They need to be educated on the options. Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) introduced a companion bill (S-2466) earlier this month. Please take a moment to write or call your senator or representative to urge them to support the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act.


A critical vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment will be held during the week of July 12th - 16th. Conservative groups are rallying together on the grass-root level to mobilize Americans who want to take a stand for traditional marriage as defined between one man and one woman. Thousands of churches will be participating in Marriage Protection Sunday" on July 11th followed by "Call your Senator Day" on Monday, July 12th. By creating momentum, this could influence those in Congress who are undecided or have been previously opposed in their stance on this defining issue.

Rep. John Hostetler (R-IN) asked for our chairman, William J. Murray to submit a brief testimony on behalf of the Religious Freedom Coalition to be read during the House Judiciary Committee yesterday. The House Judiciary Committee held it's fourth in a series of hearings on this issue. The Jurisdiction of Marriage hearing focused on a proposal by Rep. John Hostettler (R-IN.) to "strip" the authority from lower and appellate federal courts to rule on questions of the legality of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act and return it to the state courts. This would allow those states that ban gay marriages to retain their prohibitions on the practice.



This past Tuesday, the Senate overwhelmingly approved to increase the maximum fines for broadcast indecency to $275,000 per violation from the previous fine of $27,500. The Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2004 (S. 2056) was introduced by Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), who stated "This bill was strongly supported by the House and the Senate, and more importantly, by the American people, who have deep concerns regarding questionable content on public airwaves clearly intended to ignore regulations that are designed to protect children and families from indecent material." Although there were a few who tried to stall the voting of this bill, the Senators could not dismiss the public outcry over the disgraceful Super Bowl halftime show that was viewed by millions, including impressionable children. The ten-fold increase in the maximum fine for indecency reflects the consensus of the American people who want decent programs on public airwaves.


Time is running out. If you would like to purchase one of the men's patriotic tie or a women's patriotic scarf to wear around Independence Day, please order by Monday, July 28 to insure delivery. You may choose a shipping option of your choice to have your tiems delivered 1 day or 2 day AIR UPS. The Religious Freedom Coalition Internet store has a variety of patriotic ties and scarves you may be interested in. Our Independence Day tie displays the Declaration of Independence and features some of its signers. Click on the image at far left for a larger view. The 'One Nation Under God' tie is still a favorite and available again this year. Other patriotic items are available. Click here to visit the RFC store .

Holy Land Soap still available for shipment. Fresh handmade soap made in the Holy Land from olive oil. The soap is made by Christian Palestinians in the West Bank. This is the ONLY income of the Christian families involved. Two of the men are under death warrants issued by the PLO. The soap is made by the families. For more information on the soap, its cost and how we obtain it from the families in the West Bank click here.

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The RFC newsletter - The Religious Freedom Quarterly - is now available online in pdf format. Click here to view. Click here for last edition of the Chairman's Action Report.

Peggy Birchfield, Executive Director

William J. Murray, Chairman

Religious Freedom Coalition , P.O. Box 77511, Washington, DC 20013 Phone: (202) 543-0300

It is now possible to make gifts to specific projects of the RFC both domestic and International. To make a contribution to our work click here .

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