adoption

Hundreds Attend Virginia Stands For Life Rally, Send Huge Message To General Assembly! #VAStands4Life14

Hundreds of pro-life Virginians traveled across the commonwealth and braved cold temperatures to send the General Assembly a clear message: Virginians oppose the abhorrence of abortion and expect lawmakers to uphold the sanctity of life (see Richmond Times-Dispatch). Keynote speaker Lila Rose vividly illustrated that message and the particularly heinous nature of abortion from her unique perspective as founder of Live Action, a new media pro-life investigative organization that goes undercover to expose the abortion industry's corruption and abuse. Ms. Rose founded Live Action at age 15 and has had Planned Parenthood on the run ever since. Later, she spoke to dozens of pastors at a Pastors For Family Values luncheon.

Joining her in speaking to the attendees were emcee Olivia Gans Turner of American Victims of Abortion; Susan Null, executive director of the Harrisonburg Pregnancy Center;  and Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb. The Reverend Bob Collins, founding pastor of World Outreach Worship Center, prayed the invocation. Afterward, attendees visited their delegates and senators to encourage them to support pro-life legislation, maintain the gains made the last three years, and oppose actions that would make abortion more available.

Hundreds of pro-life Virginians turned out today at Mr. Jefferson's capitol to support the sanctity of human Life. (Photo courtesy Richmond Times-Dispatch.)

Here is the official statement of the 14 partner organizations, including The Family Foundation, that hosted the 2014 Virginia Stands for Life Gathering (#VAStands4Life14):

This morning hundreds of pro-life Virginians came together to stand united in support of the sanctity of human life and to remind elected officials and the public that the pro-life movement in Virginia is thriving. The women and men at the event celebrated the 16 percent drop in Virginia's abortion rate over the past three years (a 22 percent drop among Virginia women), while hoping to encourage Virginia's elected officials to remain steadfast in their support of protective pro-life laws and legislation.

Several national and state pro-life organizations united together for today’s rally, bringing their supporters to Richmond to encourage reasonable and protective measures that seek to protect the lives of unborn children, the elderly and those with disabilities. With a new incoming administration, the organizers of today's peaceful event encouraged our elected officials to stand strong in the face of attempts to erode the significant recent pro-life gains that protect innocent unborn life and women.

All of the organizations and their constituents who were represented in this rally are committed to continuing to defend and advance the cause of unborn life, access to adoption, and the protection of human life. We will continue to voice the truth about the value of human life. As more Americans become pro-life every day, we are optimistic about the future for the unborn and the vulnerable in America and Virginia.   

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The Fab Four. Virginia's leading pro-life women, from left: Virginia Podboy of the Virginia Catholic Conference; Lila Rose of Live Action; TFF's Victoria Cobb; and Olivia Gans Turner of National Right To Life's American Victims of Abortion.

Responding Where The Left Goes Unchallenged

One of the great challenges of The Family Foundation is to be a voice of reason in a world where the media carries the message of the left without any challenge to its lack of logic. Within the past few days, I've encountered a number of these opportunities.

In an interview with a clearly biased reporter, which she indicated would be about abortion center safety standards, I was asked to respond to the 18 percent drop in the abortion rate over the last five years. Without more specific information, I respond that many common sense abortion laws had been passed in addition to the great work done in the area of foster care and adoption. But this response doesn't match the reporter’s narrative. The official narrative, her narrative, was that any drop in abortion must relate to contraception.

Basic knowledge of biology says that only a drop in the pregnancy rate, not the abortion rate, can be directly attributed to contraception. For simplicity sake, consider this example: Let's say 1,000 women got pregnant in 2007 and 25 women chose abortion, but in 2011, 1,000 women got pregnant and only 20 women chose abortion. In this example, the number of conceptions has not changed (still 1,000) and thus tying the decrease in abortion (25 to 20) to contraception is illogical. Rather, it means that five women made alternate choices from abortion regarding their pregnancies.

With this in mind, I found it interesting when the reporter next began to challenge me on contraception but never told me anything about the pregnancy rate or even the "unintended" pregnancy rate during the five year period.

What is known is that even the Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of the abortion industry, acknowledges:

In six [countries] — Cuba, Denmark, Netherlands, the United States, Singapore and the Republic of Korea — levels of abortion and contraceptive use rose simultaneously.

To get a more accurate picture of what is actually happening in Virginia, one would need the birth rate, abortion rate and the number of children given up for adoption over time. Without that, both sides of this debate can guess at a reporter's questions and the reporter can angle her story in whatever direction she chooses.

A second opportunity to be a voice of reason took place when I was asked to respond to a Washington Post poll of Virginia voters and their views on various social issues. Prior to the interview, I requested to see the poll. The response from the reporter was "I'm afraid we don't normally share the poll." Seriously? I'm supposed to listen to the reporter's summation of the results and draw conclusions based on her conclusions? Yes, that's their hope because the assumption is that like dumb sheep, the right can be led into a ditch. The reporter was obviously dismayed that I challenged nearly all of the poll's assumptions.

As an example of the problem opining without data causes, the reporter asked me if the Republican Party ought to change its position to attract more voters as a result of the alleged shift on same-sex marriage. This question required me to presume the rest of her poll that I had not seen. I mentioned that if this poll matched any other poll on this matter, then the reporter would know that minorities support traditional marriage. She seemed surprised that I would draw this distinction but fully acknowledged that my point was well taken, was supported by the details of the poll and that changing a position on same-sex marriage wasn't going to attract the minorities the Republican Party is desperate to reach. (Oh, and shockingly, no questions about the Kermit Gosnell trial or the nearly 300 health and safety violations in Virginia's abortion centers. Then again, why ask about what you refuse to report?)

This interview leads me to the final difficulty of trying to present reason in a world where narratives are predetermined. Two days ago, I received a call at home from Quinnipiac asking me to take a political survey. I readily agreed but discovered just what I feared. When asked my top issue for determining how I vote, I was given approximately 10 choices, none of which were values issues. Similarly, I was asked about the Star Scientific situation regarding both Governor Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli but was never asked about Terry McAuliffe's false claims regarding green technology and jobs. Zero questions about the abysmal conditions found in Virginia's abortion centers. Even funnier, I was asked if I consider myself "Born Again," "Evangelical" or "None of the above." I'd love to meet someone who is "Evangelical" but not "Born Again." When the questions are this biased and misinformed, it's hard, if not impossible, for a polling company to get a clear sense of the electorate.

But then again, if the purpose of the poll is to reinforce a predetermined narrative, the pollsters, nor the media, are interested in the sense of the electorate. They are trying to steer the electorate. Which is one reason why, despite not knowing all the details, I do these interviews. If there isn't a voice of reason included in the story, the media wins without a fight.

Targeting Of ALEC Proves Far Left Is Out To Silence Conservatives Not Only On "Social Issues"

Many probably hoped that after the General Assembly left town for a few weeks, cooler heads would prevail and the left's hysteria would settle down a bit. Those of us who have been around here very long recognized just how unlikely that would be. So now it's House Speaker Bill Howell (R-28, Fredericksburg) who is in the cross-hairs of the far-left and their media allies. At a press conference this week regarding Virginia's high business climate rankings, the liberal machine continued its attacks on anything conservative. Now, the new attack line in Richmond is that Republicans are part of some kind of vast conspiracy of ideology and policy being led by a stealth-like corporate organization with a scary name: the American Legislative Exchange Council. After the press event's formal question and answer period ended, a liberal with something called ProgressVA approached the Speaker and  pushed him on his comments. Speaker Howell responded in a way for which he apologized yesterday.

You can read more about the exchange here at the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot and here at Bearing DriftBut the real story is the left's concentrated attack campaign on ALEC. Why was a representative of ProgressVA at the press conference in the first place? Previously, it issued a half-truth laced "report" on ALEC given credence by the Mainstream Media, especially the Washington Post.  In reality, it is a propaganda piece, not unlike NARAL's "study" on Pregnancy Resource Centers two years ago, which the MSM also jumped on. See a pattern here?

Despite the "report," ALEC reports its activities on its comprehensive website — hardly secretive. As with any other think tank, it provides state legislators with research, legislative concepts and model legislation, but from a distinctly conservative perspective. ALEC was co-founded in 1973 by conservative icon Paul Weyrich. In recent months, though, the far-left and its media allies have set their sights on ALEC and its corporate sponsors, bringing with them the hysteria and bullying that seems to drive American politics these days. Within hours, corporate sponsors of ALEC, such as Coca-Cola and McDonald's, caved faster than the Susan Komen group did to Planned Parenthood.

Writing at Bearing Drift, our friend Norman Leahy succinctly captures the absurdity of it all:

A shoddy report combined with sloppy reporting followed up by badgering questions and even more sloppy reporting. No wonder Howell was frustrated. 

I think the real entity owed an apology here is ALEC — by the WaPo, ProgressVa and the assorted nitwits who insist that the Speaker is engaging in a Somme-like offensive on women.

You may be asking yourself, why does this matter?

Frankly, the only crime that ALEC has committed is to formulate, organize and propagate conservative ideas and assist legislators in seeing those conservative principles put into practice. But in the age of Obama, doing so is viewed by the MSM and the far-left (redundant, I know) as a threat to the American way of life. Conservative discourse has become something that must be silenced. There was a time when the battle of ideas was at the heart of who we are as Americans, and was the very freedom the Founders fought and died (as did subsequent generations) to ensure would exist. Those days are gone.

That's why you should care. We expect the far-left to do all in its power to silence religious conservatives for reasons that go way beyond politics, but now it's going after the most a-religious of conservative organizations with the same hatred and ferocity. It's no longer only about "social issues" — it's about simply being conservative and our right to organize, advocate and promote our principles. The left fears our ideas, cannot defeat our ideas, so it must silence our ideas.

If anyone in Richmond thought the battle this past session was only about ultrasounds and adoption, they were sorely mistaken. It is about all of our conservative beliefs and whether our culture will even allow them to be spoken of. If you don't understand that, you don't understand just how extreme the far-left has become.

Only One Week Left: Help Protect Rights Of Faith Based Child Service Agencies!

There is a lot going on right now in Virginia: An ever earlier presidential race, an earlier than ever U.S. Senate campaign, a vitally important State Senate election only five weeks form now, a phenomenal annual gala this Saturday, not to mention spectacular early fall weather in which to experience great Virginia festivals. But there's something vitally important to add to the check list that won't take long and which you can do from the comfort of your home computer.

There is only one week left in the 30 day re-opened public comment period regarding a proposal that would allow the government to discriminate against faith-based child placement agencies by forcing them to adopt children to homosexuals despite their deeply held faith beliefs and principles. This not only is discrimination, it violates conscience protections and religious liberty.

More than 1,000 people have commented so far. Have you?

If you have yet to do so, please contact the Virginia Board of Social Services and urge them to reject the proposed regulation that would discriminate against faith-based child placement agencies by forcing them to put children up for adoption to homosexual couples — or cease to perform their mission of helping children.

In April, the Board voted 7-2 to adopt new regulations for Virginia’s private adoption services. The regulations approved did not include a proposal that would have discriminated against faith-based child placement agencies by forcing them to adopt children to homosexuals. Despite having nearly two years to make their case through the regulatory process, organizations like Equality Virginia and the ACLU claimed that the Board's decision to not include the discriminatory language was done so without adequate information.

After losing the vote in April, Equality Virginia and the ACLU threatened to sue if they did not get an additional public comment period. During the initial public comment time, more than 1,000 Virginians commented on the proposed regulations, with only around 30 in favor. This compares to the average of less than two dozen comments typically received for any proposed new regulations!

In Virginia, individual homosexuals already may adopt and there are public and private agencies that facilitate those adoptions. Adding discriminatory language to the regulations would not increase the number of children being adopted into homes. In fact, it would decrease adoptions by forcing the majority of private child placement agencies, which are sectarian, to cease fulfilling their mission or violate their faith.

This proposed regulation also places undue restrictions on birth mothers and consequently adoption agencies. Within the confines of an adoption conducted through a private agency, a birth mother is due the freedom to choose an adoptive parent of the same religious convictions so that her child may be raised accordingly. Consequently, private adoption agencies are deserving of the ability to screen adoptive parents based on the agency's beliefs or the beliefs of their birth mothers.

Please contact the Board of Social Services by following the instructions below and urge it to reject any regulation that discriminates against faith-based child placement agencies.

» Click here.

» Click "Enter a comment."

» Type "Preserve religious freedom" in the subject line.

» Type and submit your comments.

Points to consider incorporating into your comments:

» On April 20, the State Board of Social Services correctly upheld the fundamental right of faith-based child placement agencies to continue their great work of helping children and families without governmental intrusion into the practice of their faith.

» Faith-based child placement agencies have a right, under federal and state law, to make decisions that are consistent with their religious beliefs, including their beliefs about marriage and family life. This right must be respected and preserved.

» Many birth parents and prospective adoptive parents hold these beliefs as well, and they have every right to work with agencies that share their values.

» Forcing agencies and individuals to choose between following their own values or following the proposed discriminatory regulation would be an unprecedented violation of religious freedom in Virginia. Religious liberty is foundational to our Commonwealth and our country.

» Faith-based agencies provide vital services to our communities. They must be allowed to continue the great work they are doing.

Proposed Adoption Regulations Contrary To Virginia Law And Constitution; Clarifying Where We Now Stand In Process

Just two months before leaving office, former Governor Tim Kaine left Virginians an unwanted present in the form of proposed changes to adoption guidelines for private agencies (see the Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog). These proposed regulations — by a Social Services Board still dominated by Mr.Kaine's appointees — slowly working their way through the process, seek to force private adoption agencies to place children in foster care or for adoption with parents irrespective of faith or sexual orientation. It would force faith-based adoption agencies to either abandon their principles or cease providing adoption services (as did Catholic Charities in Massachusetts, after more than 100 years, when that state's Supreme Court imposed such regulations by judicial fiat). The proposal under discussion here goes far beyond any policy currently in Virginia law. The Virginia Code clearly details who is eligible to adopt. In § 63.2-1201.1, it plainly states:

Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit any child to have more than two living parents by birth or adoption, who have legal rights and obligations in respect to the child, in the form of one father and one mother.

There is no mistaking Virginia's intent. The current regulatory proposal, which includes prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation, contradicts the intent of the General Assembly.

Nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation, whether enshrined in law or implemented through internal constructs, and regardless of their legal weight, highlight the inevitable and unavoidable clash between the unalienable fundamental right of religious liberty and the postmodern era of sexual freedom. While one may agree or disagree with the actions of individuals or private organizations that express their faith in these ways, their fundamental right to do so is at risk with these proposed regulations. Faith-based family organizations have assisted children for decades without unnecessary intervention by government entities. It is very clear that homosexual special interest groups have no concern with preserving religious liberty in pursuit of their political agenda.

Upon learning about these proposed regulations weeks ago, The Family Foundation immediately contacted the governor's office. At that time, we were assured that Governor McDonnell does not support the current non-discrimination proposal and the current proposal would not stand. To ensure our voice was known where it needed to be, we submitted our official public comment and encouraged pastors to do so as well. After the public comment period closed, Governor Bob McDonnell publicly weighed in, telling the Washington Post:

I know I had said during the campaign that I would essentially keep our adoption laws — which I think are good — the way they are now. … I don’t think we ought to force Catholic Charities to make [the proposed regulations] part of their policy or other similar situated groups. Many of our adoption agencies are faith-based groups that ought to be able to establish what their own policies are. Current regulations that say you can't discriminate on the basis of race, color or national origin I think are proper.

Since then, concern has mounted based on the circulation of incorrect information stating Governor McDonnell must act by April 15. However, this is an incorrect interpretation of a section of the Code (§ 2.2-4013) that details the time frame for the Notice of Intended Regulatory Action stage, not the proposed stage. The public comment website shows that the adoption regulations are completing the proposed stage, not the NOIRA stage.

A chart published by the Virginia Department of Planning and Budget is extremely helpful in understanding how the circuitous regulatory process works: The proposed adoption regulations currently are in the bottom box of the middle column (not the second box of the first column). Correct reading of Virginia Code and regulatory process shows that the Board of Social Services has no less than 15 and no more than 180 days from April 1 (April 16 through September 28) to adopt the proposed regulations and submit them for full executive branch review. As displayed in column three of DPB's chart, the proposed regulations must then pass several more reviews prior to final acceptance, including reviews by DPB, the corresponding cabinet secretary, possibly by the attorney general (see Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's stated disapproval in the Washington Post) and the governor, then go through at least one more public comment period. The Department of Social Services already has amended the regulations and will present these changes to the Board of Social Services at an upcoming meeting. During any of these stages, the governor can reject or make changes to the proposal.

This adoption proposal, which tramples religious liberty, is a significant overreach through regulation into uncharted waters prohibited by Virginia Code and Virginia Constitution and will not be tolerated. The Family Foundation has been actively involved in seeing that these proposed regulations are not adopted and will continue to monitor the issue very closely.

VEA/NEA Endorse Policy Contrary To Virginia Law At The Expense Of Education

Yesterday,we reported on the VEA's proud go-along at the NEA national convention endorsing same-sex marriage (see here). Instead of concetrating on issues that matter to teachers and improving education, the VEA has endorsed advocating a radical left-wing policy in contradiction of the Virginia Constitution and statutory law. The president of the VEA, Dr. Kitty J. Boitnott, responded to our post with a long comment on the thread stating that our take on the VEA/NEA position wasn't exactly what the convention meant with its lock-step adoption of the radical homosexual agenda. She goes on about "social justice." What any of this has to do with teaching clearly is beyond most parents' concerns for their children's education. 

Not only is the  homosexual marriage resolution contrary to the views of a majority of Virginians, she did not answer our concern about whether the VEA, with this policy position, now will encourage its member teachers to ignore the new traditional marriage guidelines to the Family Life Education curriculum. A true conflict of interest now is on the record.

Adopting a radical agenda contrary to Virginia law. Wasting time on matters completely non-germane to education. A significant conflict of interest.

We report. You decide. Below is the resolution:

NEA Representative Assembly New Business Items (NBIs) NEW BUSINESS ITEM E ADOPTED

"Resolutions B-13 (Racism, Sexism, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identification Discrimination) and I-13 (Civil Rights) set forth NEA's opposition to the discriminatory treatment of same-sex couples and its belief that such couples should have the same legal rights and benefits as similarly-situated heterosexual couples. The Legislative Program is in accord: NEA supports "obtaining, preserving, and strengthening basic civil and human rights under law," and specifically calls for "passage of a federal statute prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression." Section IV(b). In implementation of the foregoing policies, the Representative Assembly adopts the following action plan with regard to same-sex couples:

1. NEA will support its affiliates seeking to enact state legislation that guarantees to same-sex couples the right to enter into a legally recognized relationship pursuant to which they have the same rights and benefits as similarly-situated heterosexual couples, including, without limitation, rights and benefits with regard to medical decisions, taxes, inheritance, adoption, and immigration.

2. NEA does not believe that a single term must be used to designate this legally recognized "equal treatment" relationship, and recommends that each state decide for itself whether "marriage," "civil union," "domestic partnership," or some other term is most appropriate based upon the cultural, social, and religious values of its citizenry.

3. NEA will support its affiliates in opposing state constitutional and/or statutory provisions that could have the effect of prohibiting the state and its political subdivisions from providing the same rights and benefits to same-sex couples as are provided to similarly-situated heterosexual couples.

4. NEA will take such actions as may be appropriate to support efforts to (a) repeal any federal legislation and/or regulations that discriminate against same-sex couples, and (b) enact federal legislation and/or regulations that treat same-sex couples and similarly-situated heterosexual couples equally with regard to social security, health care, taxation, and other federal rights and benefits.

5. NEA recognizes that the term "marriage" has religious connotations and that same-sex marriages may not be compatible with the beliefs, values, and/or practices of certain religions. Because of its support for the separation of church and state and the right to religious freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, NEA supports the right of religious institutions to refuse to perform or recognize same-sex marriages.

The Executive Committee will monitor the implementation of this New Business Item, and keep NEA affiliates informed of actions taken to achieve its objectives."

Now, It's Jody Wagner's Turn

Yesterday we provided video and commentary of the three Democrat gubernatorial candidates' views on same-sex marriage and on issues dear to the homosexual lobby. Now, we hear from the front-runner for the Democrat nomination for lieutenant governor, Jody Wagner, who sounds as if she's in complete lock-step with the Equality Virginia agenda. Among other things, she told the homosexual-oriented Michael-In-Norfolk blog (read the whole report here) that she:

. . . supports adding "sexual orientation" to the Virginia Fair Housing Law covering all rental and sales transactions. Moreover, she reminded me that she served on the Virginia Housing Development Authority when the VHDA Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to remove the so-called "family rule" that required those borrowing money from the agency to purchase a home to be related by blood, marriage or adoption. The Family Foundation and extreme Christianist groups went beserk over the vote, but the policy change was upheld.

Oh, cool. A gratuitous slap at us! Looks like we've made it, after all. By the way, "Christianist"? Who's using the pejoratives, who's stereotyping, who's staking the claim to righteousness? Not only did this blog take a slap at us Sunday, it attacked Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb.