Skip to comments.Frist a Major Shareholder in Reputed For-Profit Abortion Provider
Posted on 12/19/2002 10:26:29 PM PST by The Old Hoosier
|Frist a Major Shareholder in Reputed For-Profit Abortion Provider
By Terence P. Jeffrey
Bill Frist (R.-Tenn.), reportedly the White House choice to succeed Trent Lott (R.-Miss.) as Senate majority leader, is a major shareholder in HCA, a for-profit hospital chain founded by his father and brother. HCA reportedly provides abortions to its customers.
So now Republicans face this question: If it is disqualifying for their Senate leader to make offensive remarks interpreted as endorsing an immoral policy that denied African-Americans equal rights, is it also disqualifying for their Senate leader to make money from a hospital chain that denies unborn babies the right to life?
Frist has deposited his major stockholdings in a "blind trust" chartered Dec. 28, 2000. A schedule of the original assets in this trust filed with the Senate showed holdings in 16 companies. Frist reported the value of these assets, as per Senate rules, within broad ranges (e.g. $1,001-$15,001). If the lowest possible value is assigned to each holding, Frist at that time had invested a minimum of $566,015 in 15 other companies, while investing at least $5,000,001 in HCA.
That would mean that approximately 89% of his holdings were in this company.
Furthermore, on its face, the trust agreement appears structured to allow the administrators to maintain this heavy concentration in HCA stock. It also specifically instructs the administrators to inform Frist if they divest entirely from any holding, including HCA. And, finally, it gives Frist the power to directly order the administrators to divest from HCA or any other holding that Frist determines "creates a conflict of interest or the appearance thereof."
HCA does not trumpet its reported involvement with abortion. But, in April, Catholic Financial Services Corporation (CFSC), a mutual fund company, announced that it was starting an S&P 500 Index Fund that would "exclude companies on the abortion issue"and that HCA was one of only six companies on the index that would be excluded on these grounds. A spokesman for the mutual fund explained to me last week that the company excludes hospital chains that perform abortions and pharmaceutical companies that deal in drugs that induce abortion.
On December 18 and 19, I placed several calls to HCA corporate spokesman Jeff Prescott, to ask him directly whether abortions were performed in HCA facilities, or whether the company refuted CFSCs determination that they were. I left him voice messages to this effect, and repeatedly told his secretary my questions. At 5:00 p.m. on the 19th, as press time approached, the secretary left me lingering on hold with no answer. When I hung up and called back, I got Prescotts voice mail again and left him one last message. He never returned my call.
I also spoke with Sen. Frists spokesman, Nick Smith. I explained to Smith my understanding that the terms of Frists "blind" trust allowed the administrators to maintain a heavy concentration in HCA, while allowing Frist to order the sale of this stock, and while also compelling the administrators to inform Frist if they divested entirely from HCA or any other holding. I cited the specific passages in the trust to this effect. I also asked Smith to clarify Frists position on abortionwhich has confounded pro-lifers over the yearsand why Frist would not divest, since he apparently could, from a company that reportedly performs abortions.
When Frist first ran for the Senate in 1994, the Nashville Banner reported that he "frequently" said he "does not believe abortion should be outlawed." In a May 1994 radio interview, the Banner reported, Frist said, "Its a very private decision." One of Frists Republican primary rivals, Steve Wilson, the Banner said, "demanded that Frist sell his millions of dollars in stock in the Hospital Corporation of America [HCA], which Frists family founded. Some of the hospitals in the chain perform abortions."
Tennessee Right to Life PAC Director Sherry Holden, however, told the Banner that Frist had told her organization he was pro-life. "He said hes against abortion, periodno exceptions, except rape and incest," said Holden.
Yet, an Oct. 10, 1994, Memphis Commercial Appeal report on a debate between Frist and incumbent Sen. Jim Sasser (D.-Tenn.) said: "There were some topics on which the candidates agreedboth said theyre personally opposed to abortion but dont think the government should prohibit abortions."
I asked Smith whether Frist wanted to prohibit abortion either by constitutional amendment or by over-turning Roe v. Wade and enacting prohibitions in the states, including Tennessee.
Smith responded by faxing me a statement. The White House, pro-life Republican senators, and their grassroots supporters can decide whether it is responsive:
"These two issues [the HCA investment and abortion] are separate and distinct," wrote Smith.
"On his own accord, by placing his assets in a federally qualified blind trust, Sen. Frist took a step above and beyond to ensure there is no conflict of interest," wrote Smith. "He believes this was the proper and responsible thing to do. He has never been employed by, or served on the board of, HCA or any of its hospitals.
"As a U.S. senator who acts on public policy each and every day, his record on abortion is clear," Smith continued. "He is opposed to abortion except in the instances of rape, incest and when the life of the mother is threatened. He is opposed to federal funding of abortion. And in the Senate, he led the fight against partial-birth abortion."
His Senate website includes a statement saying, "No one can deny the potential human cloning holds for increased scientific understanding. But . . . I am unable to find a compelling justification for allowing human cloning today."
As Bill Clinton might say, that doesnt rule out tomorrowwhen he may be Senate majority leader.
Imagine that, he has a share of the family business.
If you're going to hold one person accountable for what he says, you'd better hold every person accountable for what he says.
There is a great deal of inconsistency, double standard-holding, and hypocrisy running through this Lott episode.
In the heat of battle, there are very few principled people, it would appear. Most are opportunists.
Better than an aging cheerleader with a bad rug and a propensity to pander who thinks the black man isn't good enough to join his frat & has a history of being enamored with segregation.
The Republican parties birthday gift to the Lord: more abortions.
I've only read the first 15 comments on this thread and, I can tell you this. I was disappointed with the GOP for several years, which is the reason I left the party. The problem is that my view of GOP and its supporters at FR has continued to deteriorate ever since. Any time it appears to me that it can't sink any lower, it does.
I don't know Frist much but he appeared to me to be a phony (the citizen legis-LAY-tohr standupp routine) ever since he showed himself publicly as a senator. But what really disappoints me is the quality of debate on this issue. The same righteous clowns who simply couldn't tolerate Lott saying words that the demos decided were unacceptable are now happily supporting or declared themselves 'not bothered in the least' by the fact that Frist appears to actc (not BELIEVE or SAY WORDS) but actually ACT in defiance of one of the most important statements of his own party platform.
The same wiseguys who were SO afraid that W would no longer be able to appoint anti-abortion judges if Lott stays, are SO happy now to have an abortionist as their seante leader.
I love it. I propose the entire Monty Python troop for Senate hoping that the 'other' party could get the Marx brothers on their side of the aisle. Then we could get some real entertainment.
Or, as they say, live by the knife, die by the knife.
I bet I can prove that Lott does not profit from racial segregation. What does it mean?
Other than the general moral decay in society has penetrated the GOP ranks to a degree that makes the 'conservative' party as morally repugnant as their 'left wing' opponents.
This statement coming from someone who calls himeslf 'truth seeker'? Ah... the comedy of it!!!
Because, in the words of Senator Robert Byrd, Hitler was a "white nigger." Bad white person.
Hitler was a post-birth abortionist.
Okay, so the current ML, Trent Lott, makes a statement that is debatable as to whether it is premised upon a racial bias, and a challenger who has made a successful living by owning a business that kills children by the thousands for profit.
If Bush is backing this murderer, I'm changing my party affiliation immediately because the next thing that will go is the anti-abortion plank of the GOP.
Bush's pandering has led to his wholesale support for abortion.
Your sarcasm underscores your hatred for babies.
We cannot keep people from being elected to the senate, as that is the perogative of a state's electorate. However, we CAN, and should, keep someone from a leadership position whose business has been the abortion mills of America.
Divesture doesn't prove that he's pro-life but a shrewd businessman and politician. Simply taking your money out of a company that kills children doesn't make you pro-life.
Frist cannot serve as leader as he is bankrupt morally.
And this from a card-carrying member of NOW and Planned Parenthood.
I'm glad you have the information that was left out of this article--how many abortions, whether or not they were elective abortions, and what percentage of HCA business they represent (very important when deciding whether it's a hospital with an OB/GYN department or an "abortion provider"). Please post it here, I've been waiting over two hours for real info.
Now should I give up this client? What would you suggest? Should I be prohibited from hold a position of power in the government for that?
I also have another client that builds the aiplanes that were used to crash into the World Trade Center. So I guess I profited from that as well, huh?
How far do you want to go with this?
Abortion is legal. We need to work to change the law. If abortions were not legal then the Hospitals that Frist has invested in would not be allowed to perform these abortions. I don't think Frist would shed a tear if that happened. I would imagine from what I've heard of Frist that he would prefer that abortion was extremely restricted.
Regardless, based upon his voting record, I would have to give him the benefit of the doubt. If he fails in getting conservative judges appointed, then we can work to pull the plug on him and move to get someone more palatable.
The man owns a business that kills children everyday for a profit. That's hardly believing abortions should be "rare."
Im confused... I thought you said this was a big effort regarding abortion but now liberals want Lott to stay (as well as you). Lott is pro-life. Or is this some conspiracy that Frist is working with the Dems so Frist can make money of his brothers company? Please tell me you don't think this way.