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Senate Committee Kills Tebow Bill; House Fights For Life, Rule Of Law

On the same day a bold headline in the Richmond Times-Dispatch announced that the Virginia High School League had created a policy to allow "transgendered" students to play high school sports, the Senate Education and Health Committee killed legislation that would allow home school children access to those same sports — with the VHSL leading the opposition to the bill. VHSL, a pseudo-private organization that controls public high school sports in Virginia long has opposed equality for home school students. Hiding behind its own policies and definitions of "student enrollment" and "academic standards," it fights to keep students who legally home school and whose families pay taxes to support public schools from having an opportunity to try out for teams. It consistently implies that the academic record of home school students can't be trusted and that allowing them to participate would be "unfair" to public school students. The education establishment, from the VEA to the PTA to the School Boards Association, the Superintendents Association and more, fell into their annual lockstep of opposition with the VHSL in opposing the bill.

Testimony from several home school kids was poignant and compelling. Many talked about their participation in sports with their friends up to high school, where they are then blocked from continuing to play by an organization that is accountable to no one but itself.

Commonly called the "Tebow Bill," after Heisman Award winning quarterback Tim Tebow, who benefited from a similar law in Florida (and which 29 states have), HB 63 failed on a party line vote of 9-6. We are grateful to Delegate Rob Bell (R-58, Albermarle) for his impassioned advocacy for his bill and for the home school community. We have no doubt that as public support for this policy of fairness continues to grow (see VCU poll), Delegate Bell and home school athletes across Virginia will see success!

Also yesterday, the House of Delegates adopted budget amendments introduced by Delegate Todd Gilbert (R-15, Shenandoah) to both the current state budget and the next state budget that prohibits the attorney general from using taxpayer funds in his challenge to the state constitution. We thank all of you who contacted your Delegate since last night! Delegates have definitely heard your voice.

The House also rejected attempts by Democrats to strip the budget of several pro-life amendments, including prohibiting Medicaid funds for abortion, defunding Planned Parenthood, and prevent any governor's efforts to undermine abortion center health and safety standards. Pro-abortion advocates, as usual, used misleading arguments in trying to defeat the amendments.

Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn (D-41, Springfield) alleged that the current abortion center safety standards have led to clinics closing, leaving "thousands of women" without access to "health care," such as cancer screenings. The problems with that argument are numerous. For example, one of the two that did so (NOVA Women's Healthcare in Fairfax), closed because of lease and financial issues, not because of the safety standards (see LifeSiteNews.com). If the $1 billion abortion industry really cared about women's health, it would spend some of its cash improving health and safety instead of $2 million getting its pick for governor elected.

But the misrepresentation by liberals didn't stop there. Topping the deception was Delegate Scott Surovell (D-44, Mount Vernon), who introduced a budget amendment that would have undermined conscience clause protections for faith-based child placement agencies, a law passed into law two years ago. He made the outrageous claim that the law allows faith-based adoption organizations to discriminate based on race! First, that is illegal under federal and state law to discriminate based on race and second, it is appalling to imply that faith-based organizations like those that serve families and orphans across Virginia are racist. It was an utterly insulting claim that should sicken every thinking Virginian.

Thankfully, the House didn't listen to Delegate Surovell (it usually doesn't) and overwhelmingly rejected his discriminatory amendment.

 

This Is How It's Done

The procedure used for a late-term abortion — starting at 20 weeks — is called Dilation and Evacuation, otherwise known as D&E. It is brutal, even barbaric. But don't take my word for it. Ask Dr. Anthony Levantino. Congress did. Dr. Levantino is a former abortionist who now is pro-life (see (The Record). He testified before a Congressional committee earlier this year in support of a House bill that would end abortion after 20 weeks (and which passed during the summer). In his testimony, he described the procedure in heartbreaking, stomach-churning detail:

With suction complete, look for your Sopher clamp. This instrument is about thirteen inches long and made of stainless steel. At the business end are located jaws about 2 ½ inches long and about ¾ of an inch wide with rows of sharp ridges or teeth. This instrument is for grasping and crushing tissue. When it gets hold of something, it does not let go. A second trimester D&E abortion is a blind procedure. The baby can be in any orientation or position inside the uterus. Picture yourself reaching in with the Sopher clamp and grasping anything you can. ... Once you have grasped something inside, squeeze on the clamp to set the jaws and pull hard — really hard. You feel something let go and out pops a fully formed leg. ...

So, that's how it's done. Conscience, anyone?

If that's not enough detail, here's video of more Congressional committee testimony:

"You can then extract the skull pieces. Many times a little face may come out and stare back at you. Congratulations! You have just successfully performed a second-trimester Suction D&E abortion."

John Jalsevac has more about Dr. Levantino, and a full testimony transcript, at LifeSiteNews.com. I can't add much more. About all one can say is that after reading and hearing how D&E abortions are done, this saying all the more relevant. It also makes it's goal all the more imperative:

Caught On Tape: IRS Agent Attempts To Restrain Religious Freedom Of Pro-Life Group

The Texas-based, non-profit organization Pro-Life Revolution received its tax-exempt status from the IRS last week. That sounds fine until you understand it applied for it two-and-a-half years ago. Along the way, the IRS put up several road blocks, one of which was dramatically revealed Monday in an audio recording of an IRS agent trying to discourage Pro-Life Revolution President Ania Joseph from continuing the process (to put it mildly), and telling her if it does continue the process it would have to alter its mission, beliefs and speech, all through a deceptive and factually wrong citation of the law. Throughout the "conversation" — which actually is a diatribe by IRS Exempt Organization Specialist Sherry Wan — Ms. Joseph tries to respond but is either cut off, or never allowed in, by the non-stop Ms. Wan. Hear it for yourself, below (and see John Jalsevac at LifeSiteNews.com for more).

Four months after, Pro-Life Revolution initially applied for its tax-exempt status in January 2011, the IRS sent it a letter

requesting "more information" and an explanation of how the organization's activities are educational or charitable, even though IRS rules specify that an organization need only operate for “one or more” of the three exempt purposes. Ania Joseph nonetheless replied and answered the IRS’s questions.

To further complicate its application process, this past February the IRS requested still more information from Pro-Life Revolution

in another letter and attempted to apply a standard for tax exemption to Pro-Life Revolution that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held to be unconstitutional in 1980. Alliance Defending Freedom pointed this out in a letter responding to the IRS, which finally granted tax-exempt status to the organization in a letter received Thursday.

While the IRS scandal has become common knowledge, the revelation of its tactics still are coming to light. The annoying, deceptive, persistence of Ms. Wan, most likely, is on the mild side of the the IRS' arsenal of liberty squelching weapons. As more are revealed, it will be interesting to see if they in turn will expose those who approved them.

Who Are The “Parents” Of Your Child?

Kelly Decker, from Glen Allen in Henrico County, is the biological mother of a five-year-old girl. Kelly desires the ability to raise her daughter free from the interference of an unrelated third party. Reasonable, no? Unfortunately, Virginia law isn't so sure. Although the way in which Kelly's story came to be is unfortunate, her story is a chilling reminder of the growing threat facing parental rights. Kelly had dreamed for years of being a mother. Unmarried at 33, Kelly, while dating both men and women, began rounds of in vitro fertilization with an anonymous sperm donor. In 2002, Kelly began a same-sex dating relationship with Cathy McCarthey and, two years later, Kelly's artificial insemination was successful and she gave birth to a daughter. Although Cathy and Kelly shared no civil union or marriage, neither of which is recognized as legal in Virginia anyway, they bought a house and moved in together. Two years later, they broke up and Cathy eventually moved out. As far as Kelly was concerned, that was the end of her interaction with Cathy.

But two years after their breakup, Cathy filed suit in Henrico County Juvenile and Domestic Court demanding either visitation rights or custody of Kelly's daughter, despite the fact that Kelly is the only parent listed on her daughter's birth certificate. Cathy stated that Kelly's daughter would suffer harm from their separation.

Legally, what constitutes a parent and, therefore, merits visitation? Along with biological parents, Virginia law recognizes adoptive parents, genetic parents, and surrogate parents. Some states, excluding Virginia, include "de facto parents." De facto parents are typically defined as someone who lives with the child at least two years and shares at least 50 percent of the care taking role. In 2008, the Virginia Court of Appeals heard Stadter v. Siperko (see opinion) — a case in which a woman claimed to be a de facto parent of her ex-girlfriend's child and thus demanded visitation rights. In this case, the women had planned the child's conception together and split the cost. Despite this fact, the judge ruled that the child did not suffer significant harm from separation from the nonbiological parent and visitation rights were denied (LifeSiteNews.com).

In a similar case, Damon v. York (see opinion), the Virginia Court of Appeals denied visitation rights to a woman who married her girlfriend, who already had a child, because Virginia did not recognize the marriage that took place in Canada (see Style Weekly). Kelly and Cathy's case is unique in that the two shared no legal relationship, Kelly's name was the only parent listed on her daughter's birth certificate, Cathy never adopted Kelly's daughter, and Cathy did not share in the planning or cost of Kelly's conception.

Unfortunately, for Kelly and her daughter, in January 2010, a judge ruled that Cathy did indeed have standing to request visitation rights. The judge relied on a portion of Virginia law that reads:

In any case involving the custody or visitation of a child, the court may award custody to any party with a legitimate interest. ... "legitimate interest" shall be broadly construed to accommodate the best interest of the child.

By moving in with Cathy, Kelly — as determined by the judge — gave Cathy a "legitimate interest" in seeking visitation rights with her daughter. Even though the judge has not yet ruled on visitation, Kelly's daughter was scheduled to meet with Cathy and a counselor to "begin the possible re-unification process."

While Kelly's story is riddled with unfortunate choices and difficult issues, this struggle is ultimately about parental rights. Kelly, as the biological mother of her child, is fighting for the right to make decisions that are best for her child without unwelcome intrusion from unrelated third parties and activist judges. Courts should not allow for the usurpation of a biological (or adoptive) and fit parent's decisions, no matter what we may think of those decisions.

If the judge in Kelly's case rules against her, imagine what that could mean for a single mother who invites a babysitter or roommate into her home. Conceivably, the babysitter or roommate could claim "legitimate interest" in visitation rights, or worse, custody of the child. While there is strong precedent in Virginia due to Stadter v. Siperko and Damon v. York, Virginia's "legitimate interest" law is entirely too broad. Changes must be made to increase the protection of parental rights in Virginia.

Something For The Abortionist-In-Chief To Ponder On His Trip To Notre Dame

President Barack Obama prepares to speak at and receive an honorary doctorate at Notre Dame's commencement this weekend on the heels of a new Gallop Poll that shows a majority of Americans consider themselves pro-life. His appearance flaunts his abortion-on-demand ideology at a Catholic university in contravention of Church teaching (see LifeSiteNews.com), and against the urging of 76 bishops, (including, interestingly, Bishop of Arlington Paul Loverde, but not Bishop of Richmond Francis DeLorenzo), as well as more than 360,000 Catholics who have signed a petition. The decision to honor him, despite his pro-abortion-on-demand fanaticism, provoked outrage at the Vatican (CardinalNewmanSociety.org). It also prompted Mary Ann Glendon, a Harvard professor and former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican, to decline the event, where she was to receive the highest honor for a Catholic lay person, the Laetare Medal (Boston.com). (Not only was she disappointed in the decision to honor him, she was disturbed that Notre Dame issued talking points that, in effect, used her as an apologist for his appearance.)

The angry left, of course, is typically twisting the truth and topic in order to demonize traditional Catholics and all pro-lifers. They say those protesting the president's attendance at Note Dame want to stifle opposing opinions, and worse, stifle them where all points of view are welcome. It's the left's standard operating procedure — not only twist your words and reasoning, but change the entire premise of the debate in order to make opponents look foolish.

But free speech and opposing views are not the point. The point is honoring someone who so violently opposes authoritative Church teaching, a teaching Notre Dame is sworn to uphold. Let him speak all he wants, but Notre Dame has no reason to honor him with the prestige of an honorary doctorate, which gives its imprimatur to his point of view.

Aside from the abortion issue, what has he done in 100-plus days to merit an honorary doctorate from such a prestigious school? By his own admission, nothing! He spoke at Arizona State University's commencement Wednesday, but university officials there previously stated ASU would not confer upon him such an honor because he had not done enough to merit it.

Said the president (from AP):

"But more than that I come to embrace the notion that I haven't done enough in my life. I heartily concur. I come to affirm that one's title, even a title like 'president of the United States,' says very little about how well one's life has been led."  

Still, Notre Dame persists and, despite his seeming humility, there is no doubt the pro-abortion-on-demand president relishes the acclaim the honor will accrue to his image as well as a smug "in-your-face" to pro-lifers. Additionally, Catholic St. Joseph University in Philadelphia is honoring pro-abortion Chris Mathews (Philadelphia Inquirer), as did Georgetown a few weeks ago, with Vice President Bishop Biden

While all of this proves that political expediency over principle isn't limited to individuals, but touches "revered" institutions as well, here is something for Mr. President to look at and ponder as he takes advantage of the Catholic Church this weekend. It a reprise of a paid commercial NBC refused accept for the Super Bowl. It is from CatholicVote.org.

Prophetic Article? A Must Read To Understand The Future

A Barack Obama presidency has me scared for a long time for a number of reasons. There's the pending economic socialism and the disregard for innocent human life, among many urgent issues. During the campaign the many to whom I expressed my concern would respond with the conventional wisdom that he'll mess it up and the country will swing back to conservatism in the mid-term elections, as in 1994. (That's a big "if," predicated on whether the so-called conservatives in Congress remain scared of their own shadows and remain addicted to "big-government conservatism.")  I would reply to those who responded that way, "Not so fast." Conventional wisdom and the old models don't apply anymore. With such large majorities in Congress and control of the White House, the extreme, Angry Left will ram through several initiatives to permanently seal its institutional advantages. For example, the liberal media, which crossed from only being biased to all out left wing advocacy this campaign, will be cemented by the passing of the so-called Fairness Doctrine, minimizing (if not completely eliminating) conservative talk radio. Advantage, Left Wing Media.

How about the so-called Freedom of Choice Act? Senator Obama said it's the first bill he would sign. It would eliminate all state restrictions on abortion. (No need for state legislatures, then, huh?) Gone would be all parental consent, notification and regulations against partial birth abortion. Advantage, the government grant and profit machine known as Planned Parenthood (see LifeSiteNews.com, here).

The union card check bill, if it becomes law (see The Las Vegas Sun, here), will end the secret ballot in union organizing campaigns. This will create countless new union shops. Aside from the economic peril of making American industry less competitive, this bill will add tens of thousands of new union members to union rolls — along with their compulsary dues, which go to union political action committees and used to elect leftist candidates. Advantage, corrupt Leftist union bosses.

The public education establishment, which largely dumbs down children K-12, and the college education establishment, which largely indoctrinates them because, by then, students have been conditioned to feel rather than think, will get new, large amounts of federal grants to run their politically correct campus societies, further preaching liberal doctrine under the guise of teaching, both in the classroom and in campus regulations such as speech codes. Advantage, Leftist educrats and teachers union leaders.

I could go on. But someone else has for me. Give me one more minute.

When I extolled this theory, some saw credence. Some thought the conventional wisdom would magically re-write history in two years. Many thought I was looking for the man on the grassy knoll. My response was that I would write a thesis on it. End of minute. I don't have to write the thesis. Quin Hillyer, of The American Spectator, has. I don't know whether to celebrate that my theory has been vindicated or mad that I didn't publish it and get compensated for the idea first. Regardless, Hillyer's "Saul Alinsky Takes the White House" (click here) is a must read to understand what Christian conservatives and those who believe in traditional family values and limited constitutional government will face starting January 20, 2009. It is something we need to be prepared for and ready to work against — work very hard against.

Here's an excerpt:

Watch what Michael Barone called the Obama "thugocracy" use the Justice Department to stifle dissent. Anybody who complains about vote fraud will be charged with "vote suppression." Anybody who complains about DoJ's actions will be charged with interfering with an investigation. Anybody who denies having interfered will be charged with perjury. Likewise, anybody who peacefully protests abortion clinics or the use of state-sponsored racial quotas will be charged with a civil rights violation. And the accused won't be able to look to the Supreme Court for help: Anthony Kennedy's "evolving standards" of justice will evolve to match the new zeitgeist, providing a 5-4 majority for the administration. Meanwhile, of course, Obama's other appointments will be filling up the rest of the judiciary at a rapid clip, with nobody able to stop them.

Other ways the Obama axis will tilt the playing field: "card check" legislation to eliminate secret ballots in unionizing and to force union victories in contract negotiations. Provision after provision giving favors to the trial bar so it can sue enemies into submission. Copious new regulations, especially environmental, to be used selectively to ensnare other conservative malcontents. Invasive IRS audits of conservative think tanks, other conservative 501 organizations, and PACs.

What Ohio officials did in rifling through so many of Joe Wurzelbacher's files will serve as ample precedent. (Just watch, by the way: Nobody ever will be effectively disciplined for the violation of Wurzelbacher's rights.)

And, only when the time is right and the ground (or air) has been well prepared, will come the grand-daddy of all fights, the re-enactment of the misnamed "Fairness Doctrine."

It's not just Joe the Plumber. Remember Barbara West, the Florida anchor who dared asked Joe Biden tough questions? Her station was blacklisted. Three newspapers who endorsed John McCain had their political reporters thrown off the Obama press plane (see The Washington Times, here). That's before he was elected! But surely there are bigger fish to fry — perhaps IRS and government intimidation of churches and pastors? By the way, what's with the 250,000 member security force Senator Obama promised? (See Blue Collar Muse, here.)

The coming socialist, one-party state only will be a crazy conspiracy theory if people fully understand what's at stake and decide to get engaged, stay vigilant, remain active and work hard. Work very hard — starting now.