Month Archives: February 2018

Pain-Capable Senate Vote: The One Percenters’ Club

by Jay Sappington

February 9, 2018

How often does Congress have the chance to directly prevent, with a single legislative act, the certain infliction of extreme physical pain on thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of helpless and innocent victims?

Last week, the U.S. Senate missed an opportunity to do just that when 44 Democrats and two Republicans closed down debate on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The Act would have prohibited abortion after 20 weeks (five months) gestation, a stage at which unborn children can experience excruciating physical pain.

The science is so clear on this point that hospitals now give anesthesia to children at this age when they undergo surgery in utero. But not when they are aborted by dismemberment or by piercing their bodies with a large needle to inject poison that causes heart failure.

What would possess an individual, much less 46 members of Congress, to oppose legislation prohibiting this cruelty?

Only One Percent

Senator Angus King (I-Maine) is quoted in The Washington Post saying that he voted against the Pain-Capable bill because “ninety-nine percent of abortions take place before 20 weeks, so this is a solution in search of a problem.”

Really? Let’s take a look at his numbers.

An estimated one million abortions are performed annually in the U.S. If one percent of those abortions take place after the fifth month, then there are some 10,000 abortions in which unborn children are subjected to the extreme physical pain of dismemberment or lethal injection. Preventing cruelty to 10,000 pre-identified human victims is “a solution in search of a problem”?

King and his Senate colleagues are permitting the violent and cruel treatment of unborn children—behavior that we forbid against prisoners of war, that we strive to prevent in human trafficking, and that we prohibit in treatment of animals.

They’re about to die anyway,” some might argue. But we forbid this kind of treatment for death row inmates when they are being executed. Whatever you may think of the death penalty, at least efforts are made to protect its recipients from pain during execution. Not so for unborn children.

Another One Percent Argument

Senator Lisa Murkowski, (R-Alaska) tweeted that, though she opposes post-20-week abortion, she refused to support the Pain-Capable bill because it lacked “sufficient” exceptions for “victims of rape and incest and in cases where the life or physical health of the mother is threatened.”

Murkowski illustrates her concern this way: “For example, requiring a teenage girl who was raped by her father to report to law enforcement or a government agency prior to obtaining an abortion simply is not workable.”

Let’s take a look at her logic.

In Murkowski’s world, it is better for a teen to be subjected to a high-risk, late-term abortion and to then return to her home—where she is at high risk for further sexual abuse—than for the girl, or her doctor, to inform authorities of the crime that has been committed against her and protect her from ongoing danger.

And, in Murkowski’s thinking, ensuring that the girl can be placed in this physical double jeopardy is so important that it warrants leaving not only her unborn child and those of other rape victims unprotected from the extreme physical pain of abortion, but the 9,900 other five-month-old children, as well.

Where did that 9,900 figure come from? Some estimates of abortions obtained in cases of rape are as high as one percent. So, of the 10,000 post-five-month abortions performed in the U.S. annually, approximately 100 are performed on rape victims. In other words, Murkowski voted to permit the excruciatingly painful abortion of 10,000 late-term children because 100 of them may be children of rapists.

Senator King says one percent (10,000) is too small a number of victims to be worth protecting from the equivalent of torture. Senator Murkowski seems to think that most of them do deserve protection, but shouldn’t receive it because one percent (100) of them may have been conceived in rape. The logic itself is tortuous.

Rare, But Not Non-Existent

Opportunities to pass legislation with such immediate humanitarian impact are rare, but not as rare as you might think. Versions of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act have been passed by the House of Representatives not once, not twice, but three times (in 2013, 2015, and—the bill the Senate just nixed—in 2017). Each time, the Senate has voted in favor of continuing the cruelty.

How many times will it take before the Senate votes in line with science and basic humanitarianism?

Jay Sappington is a bioethicist, researcher, writer, educator, and policy advocate. He has worked with Heartbeat International and The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, among others.

4 Unforgettable Thoughts On Marriage

by Daniel Hart

February 7, 2018

Anyone who has spent any time perusing the blogosphere knows that there are thousands upon thousands of articles out there giving advice on marriage. I’ve certainly read my fair share, so I thought it would be helpful to distill the reflections that I thought were most insightful into one place. In honor of National Marriage Week, here are my four favorite musings on the beauty of marriage.

1.  Take Your Vows Seriously So That You Will Always Have Someone to Tell the Truth To

One of the primary blessings of marriage is that it gives us a lifelong partner to confide in, no matter how unbearable life may become. The freedom that comes with the ability to be completely open and honest with our spouses is a wonderful thing. Jordan Peterson put it this way:

What do you do when you get married? You take someone who’s just as useless and horrible as you are, and then you shackle yourself to them. And then you say, we’re not running away no matter what happens…If you can run away, you can’t tell each other the truth…If you don’t have someone around that can’t run away, then you can’t tell them the truth. If you can leave, then you don’t have to tell each other the truth. It’s as simple as that, because you can just leave. And then you don’t have anyone to tell the truth to.

2. Use Your Spouse’s Criticism as an Opportunity to Deepen Your Love

Best-selling author Dr. Warren Farrell speaks of the critical importance of how we handle criticism from our spouse:

Making marriages better serves everyone. Many couples with children who are legally married are psychologically divorced. Divorces are due less to problems with money, sex or children, and more to each partner feeling that her or his perspectives on money, sex, or children are rarely heard. When our partner airs her or his perspective, we often take it as criticism, and the Achilles’ heel of human beings is our inability to handle personal criticism from a loved one without becoming defensive.

I introduce in The Boy Crisis my “Altered Mindsets Method of Non-defensive Communication,” which has allowed couples to emotionally associate their partner’s criticism as an opportunity to deepen their love. It’s a method I have honed over two decades via couples’ communication workshops… [E]mpathy communication skills need to be part of every elementary school’s core curriculum… This is the most important single global change for love in our families and peace in the world.

3. Sustaining Love Does Not Come Naturally

Dr. Farrell further explains how sustaining love within a marriage does not come naturally, but yet this is an absolute must not only for the couple themselves, but for their children: “…[W]e have a ‘love dilemma’: while ‘falling in love’ is biologically natural, sustaining love is biologically unnatural. For our children to not fear marriage, then, they need to see that their parents have learned how to do what does not come naturally: sustain love.”

So how can couples sustain love? Here is a great compilation of ways to do this in everyday life.

4. ‘Thank you for choosing me.’

This is from “Marriage According to 10 Couples”:

‘Thank you for choosing me.’ We often spontaneously use this line, communicating how grateful or undeserving we feel to be given such a genuine love. We’ve quickly learned that it is a choice that comes with each new sunrise in marriage, and it’s the deep confidence found in the other’s daily commitment that has moved mountains internally in our first year as newlyweds. ‘Thank you for choosing me …’ They are words we’ll whisper in each other’s ear well into old age; I’m certain of it.”—Angela Hoyer

With Cecile Richards’ Resignation, It’s Time for Planned Parenthood to Come Clean

by Jay Sappington

February 6, 2018

Cecile Richards has announced she will resign this year as President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America after 12 years at the helm.

Under her leadership, Planned Parenthood has come under federal investigation by both the Department of Justice and the FBI for illegally selling body parts of aborted children. Two of Planned Parenthood’s California customers for those baby parts have already admitted guilt and have payed over $7 million in a legal settlement for breaking state and federal laws that prohibit the practice. But this is only one of many scandals during her tenure. Planned Parenthood has been convicted of Medicaid billing fraud in several states. It has failed to report suspected physical abuse of clients, covered up alleged prostitution pimps, and recommended that underage clients falsify documents, for example. And, tragically, women have died from Planned Parenthood abortions.

Under her leadership, Planned Parenthood has consistently claimed that abortion is not their core business. This has again and again been exposed for the sham that it is. Even as the overall abortion rate in the U.S. declines, and their own client base shrinks, Planned Parenthood remains the abortion industry’s largest business, performing over 320,000 abortions per year, about a third of the nation’s annual total. Former Planned Parenthood Clinic Director Abby Johnson, who left the organization in 2009, wrote that being assigned abortion sales quotas was the beginning of the end of her relationship with the abortion giant.

Planned Parenthood’s own annual reports belie Cecile’s claim that they are an essential provider of non-abortion services to women. In fact, their non-abortion services are in steep decline. Out of 9.5 million “services” provided in 2016-17, for example, only 7,762 were for prenatal care—a miniscule 0.0008%, which is an 80% drop since 2009. Adoption referrals were even more rare at just under 3,889 (0.0004%). Breast exams are down 64% since 2004 (these are the equivalent of self-exams—no Planned Parenthood center is licensed to do mammograms, despite Richards’ years of public assertions to the contrary). At an organization claiming to be the nation’s premier and essential provider of reproductive health care, that’s a remarkable failure to serve.

During Richards’ tenure, Planned Parenthood has continued the veneration of its founder, Margaret Sanger, a leading proponent of racial eugenics, who saw Planned Parenthood (originally named The Birth Control League) as a way to prevent the propagation of “human weeds”—reproduction by segments of society she deemed deplorable and unfit to live. Today, 22 of Planned Parenthood’s 25 new abortion “mega-clinics” are strategically placed within walking distance of minority neighborhoods. And every year, Planned Parenthood awards their “highest honor”—the Margaret Sanger Award—to political leaders, members of the media, and others who promote the organization’s abortion business and support funding the organization with tax dollars.

Meanwhile, Americans are catching on to the scandal of Planned Parenthood’s tax dollar revolving door. The organization receives a whopping half a billion dollars in tax money each year from grants and Medicaid reimbursements. Its political action arm in turn donates millions to the election campaigns of candidates who will vote for continuing the tax funding. “Your tax dollars at work.”

Cecile Richards knows most Americans oppose paying for elective abortions with taxes, and she knows Planned Parenthood is poised to lose substantial tax monies in the coming months. Several states have already begun redirecting Medicaid subsidies away from Planned Parenthood to existing community health centers that provide more services than Planned Parenthood, but do not perform abortions. There have also been moves in Congress to end federal funding of Planned Parenthood’s business. With Planned Parenthood’s network of clinics shrinking (they have closed over 250 centers in the past few years) and their non-abortion services declining precipitously, there is no justification for the increased tax funding the nation’s largest abortion business has garnered each year for so many years. The money would be much better spent to support the over 13,500 community health clinics nationwide that provide a wider array of services to a much broader geographic and demographic swath of the population than the abortion giant does.

Cecile’s resignation gives Planned Parenthood the opportunity to come clean and clean house.

It’s a good time to come clean about the baby parts business some of their centers have been running out the back door, and clean house of anyone involved.

It’s a good time to come clean about the central purpose of their business—performing abortions—and clean house of anyone misrepresenting that crucial truth.  

It’s a good time to come clean about Margaret Sanger’s eugenicist vision, and to renounce the practice of targeting communities of color.

And it’s a good time for Planned Parenthood to stand on its own two financial feet instead of demanding that taxpayers provide over half a billion dollars annually to a business whose main product—abortion—is something Americans don’t believe taxpayers should pay for.

Jay Sappington is a bioethicist, researcher, writer, educator, and policy advocate. He has worked with Heartbeat International and The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, among others.

Social Conservative Review - February 2, 2018

by Daniel Hart

February 2, 2018

Dear Friends,

Did you know that there is a genocide happening as you read this?

Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) is a country to the south of China, in between Bangladesh and Thailand. The country is predominantly Buddhist—almost 90 percent. There is a small ethnic minority group of people there called the Rohingya, who are mostly Muslim, with a minority practicing Hinduism. The Rohingya people have been systematically denied citizenship, education, and jobs in Myanmar despite tracing their history there to the eighth century. This has led to them facing persecution by the Myanmar military over the last 40 years.

In late 2016, the persecution became much worse as the military began a campaign of extermination, which has included infanticide, gang rape, and arson. This has caused a massive refugee crisis, with over 700,000 fleeing west to Bangladesh. Now, new reports are surfacing that mass graves are being uncovered, which shows that the crisis is devolving into a genocide.

It can be hard as American Christians to feel much of a connection with a crisis that is happening on the other side of the world between those of different faiths. But it’s important to remember to pray specifically for an end to such inhumane atrocities like genocide no matter where it is happening, especially for a tragedy like this that is not getting much media attention. When we prioritize our prayer for those who are undergoing the most acute suffering, grace will abound all the more.

Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support of FRC and the family.

Sincerely,

Dan Hart
Managing Editor for Publications
Family Research Council

 

FRC Articles

Planned Parenthood’s annual report is out: Another unhappy tale – Cathy Ruse

Americans are ready for meaningful limits on abortion – Tony Perkins

Christians in the Middle East are suffering. When will aid promised by Team Trump arrive? – Tony Perkins

Public School Assembly Tells Kids That Sex Changes Are Perfectly Normal – Cathy Ruse

New York Times Spreads Fake News About Sexual Orientation Therapy – Peter Sprigg

Can the LGBT Movement Own a Phrase? – Travis Weber

A Woman’s Right to Not Be Pressured to Abort – Dan Hart

Religious Freedom Day: A Call to Action

 

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

Court tells University of Iowa to stop discriminating against religious student groups – Nicole Russell, Washington Examiner

Justice Dept backs archdiocese in Christmas transit ad fight – Fox News

New Harvard Research Says U.S. Christianity Is Not Shrinking, But Growing Stronger – Glenn T. Stanton, The Federalist

Fire Captain Fired for Sending Christian Emails Victorious at State Supreme Court – Samuel Smith, The Christian Post

New Bill Would Allow Public High School Coaches to Pray With Students in Georgia – Samuel Smith, The Christian Post

What the New York Times Gets Wrong about Conscience – David French, National Review

The War On The Hippocratic Oath – Wesley J. Smith, First Things

International Religious Freedom

Praying for the persecuted church: Eritrea – Zachary Jones, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

AP Investigation Details Shocking Massacre, Mass Graves Of Myanmar Rohingya – Scott Neuman, NPR

Military Religious Freedom

Atheists Urge Defense Secretary to End Religious Favoritism in the Military – Hemant Mehta, Patheos

 

Life

Abortion

Love is and always will be the basis of the pro-life movement – Jeanne Mancini, The Hill

Science Is Giving the Pro-Life Movement a Boost – Emma Green, The Atlantic

Why the Pro-Life Movement Will Live Long, and Prosper – Mary Eberstadt, First Things

Millennials have a surprising view on later-term abortions – Eugene Scott, The Washington Post

Three in Four Americans Favor Substantial Abortion Restrictions – Brendan Kirby, LifeZette

Adoption

Why orphan prevention is an important part of the pro-life ethic – Christy Britton, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Georgia House Passes Sweeping Changes to Adoption Code – Ben Nadler, AP

Sweet Home couple hope to fund adoption with new book – Alex Paul, Albany Democrat-Herald

Bioethics

They’ve cloned monkeys. Here’s why we should be very afraid of what’s next – John Burger, Aleteia

Obamacare

Obamacare Continues to Crush Small Business Owners in 2018 – Whitney Jones, The Daily Signal

Senator Questions CBO’s Political Neutrality Over Obamacare Numbers – Kyle Perisic, The Daily Signal

 

Family

Economics/Education

Homeschooling Is Not a Crime – Michelle Malkin, The Daily Signal

Can We Stop Fighting Over Schools? – Charles L. Glenn, Public Discourse

Marriage

Are millennials putting a little too much effort into parenting? – Chloe Langr, Aleteia

When Bad Marriages Happen to Good People – Patti Armstrong, National Catholic Register

This odd phrase may be the best thing you can say to newlyweds – Marcin Gomólka, Aleteia

Number of Married Couples With Kids Hits 56-Year Low – Terence P. Jeffrey, CNS News

The Unexpected Ways a Baby Tested Our Marriage Vows – Elizabeth Nogan Ranieri, Verily

Faith/Character/Culture

Does Trump Get a Moral Mulligan? – Michael Brown, The Stream

The Last Gasps of Outrage Culture? – Heather Wilhelm, National Review

Most of Life Is Waiting – Jani Ortlund, Desiring God

Video: William Lane Craig and Bishop Robert Barron discuss evangelism, faith and science, secularism, and more

Prisoners Are Not Animals – Alexi Sargeant, First Things

Human Sexuality

Powerless to Say No? Study Looks at Teenage Girls and Sexting – Alysse ElHage, Family Studies

How to Talk to Your Kids About Sex in a Sex-Obsessed Culture – Marcia Segelstein, National Catholic Register

The Medical Monsters Among Us – Austin Ruse, Crisis

Transgenderism: A State-Sponsored Religion? – Andre Van Mol, Public Discourse

Same-Sex Attraction and the Wait for Change – Nick Roen, Desiring God

The Philosophical Contradictions of the Transgender Worldview – Ryan T. Anderson, Public Discourse

Human Trafficking

The Super Bowl is for Football, Not Buying Sex – Haley Halverson, National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Understanding The Heartbreaking Sex Trafficking Industry In The Philippines – Fight the New Drug

Sex Trafficking: 4 Things You Can Do to Help Sexually Exploited Victims in America – Stoyan Zaimov, The Christian Post

Pornography

Pornography: It’s Not Really About Sex, And Here’s Why – Fight the New Drug

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