Abortion Group: Free Abortions for Flood VictimsSep. 11, 2017
Do you live in or near Houston, TX? Do you feel especially vulnerable and desperate and want an abortion but lack the means to get one because of the extensive flooding in your area? No worries…just come on down for your easy no-cost abortion on demand!
That’s the way at least one group has decided to step in and “help” (read: take advantage of) the victims of Hurricane Harvey that has left much of southeast Texas flooded and many people displaced from their homes and families. The Lilith Fund for Reproductive Health, according to its website, “assists Texans in exercising their fundamental right to abortion by removing barriers to access.”
Typical of the abortion industry, they are seizing this time of great need and desperation to prey on vulnerable women and men who are even less sure about how they will be able to provide for their families’ needs. ‘Why worry about how you’re going to care for yourself and your child when we can help you make it all go away,’ they whisper deceitfully in their ears. It’s their “bread and butter” play.
Insidiously, the Lilith Fund also states that “Our vision is a Texas where all people have the means and opportunity to plan their futures and families with dignity, respect and community support.”
What they don’t explicitly state is that their help in planning for your future and family only includes planning a future in which the family you would otherwise have does not exist. They don’t plainly admit that the extent of the “dignity” to which they refer is access to a largely unregulated abortion clinic, which after the Supreme Court’s 2016 Whole Women’s Health decision, is no longer required to comply with many basic health and safety requirements – exposing women to substantial risks.
If this group truly had in mind “respect and community support” for “all people,” then at the very least, they might also try offering financial support for them and their unborn babies prior to and after their child’s birth. The fact that this is not an option offered to the women and men in need exposes the group’s real purpose. Clearly for this group, “community support” can only mean providing the means to destroy and dispose of your unborn child.
It is quite ironic that the pro-life community is often told that it isn’t really “pro-life” because it allegedly doesn't care what happens to the baby after it's born, and yet it is the churches and pro-life Christian organizations are who are rushing in to help during Texas’s time of need. But notice how the abortion industry is never challenged to support a woman who chooses anything other than abortion. Yet even in times of great crisis, like Hurricane Harvey, it's abundantly clear they won't.
The Governor is at it again.Aug. 30, 2017
The Governor is at it again.
Never one to “let a crisis go to waste,” Governor McAuliffe seized upon the tragedy of Charlottesville as another opportunity to push an ideological agenda that seems to always end with people of faith holding the short straw. Last week, the Governor issued Executive Order Number 69 “Establishing The Commonwealth Commission On Diversity, Equity And Inclusion.”
In a statement released with the Order, the Governor prefaced the move by stating: “In the wake of the tragic events in Charlottesville, it is important for the people of Virginia to have an honest discussion about what we can do to combat hatred and violence and continue our work building a Commonwealth that is open and welcoming to everyone.” We agree. But then, the statement takes a turn that reveals the Commission’s true purpose:
“Created in the wake of the violent white supremacist events on August 11th and 12th in Charlottesville, the commission will be charged with assessing how hatred and discrimination against racial minorities, religious groups and gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered individuals led to those tragic events.”
Typical of today’s Left, this characterization conflates the issues by attempting to equate the civil rights movement against racial injustice with the more recent campaign to normalize a long train of deceptions about human sexuality. But of course, these issues could not be more different – both in substance and in historical experience.
Among other things, the Order charges the Commission with:
- Identifying any Virginia laws, regulations, and agency procedures that perpetuate racial, ethnic, or religious intolerance or divisions, as well as recommending changes in law that can better promote tolerance and diversity.; and
- Identifying and recommending ways to partner with non-governmental organizations working to promote a culture of diversity and inclusion. Such organizations shall include nonprofits, foundations, and faith and community organizations.
Given that the Governor has a history of using executive orders like this to discriminate against individuals and organizations of faith, we have to wonder: Will this administration allow all religious viewpoints to have a seat at the table on the Commission, or just those that affirm a certain ideology about religion and sexuality?
Well if we have anything to do with it, The Family Foundation will be there speaking on behalf of the rights of all people – not just some.
The Order also tasks the Commission with compiling a final report to “be submitted to the Governor no later than November 15, 2018.” Given that Terry McAuliffe will be long gone by then, it seems pretty obvious this is little more than political pandering. Though is it clear that certain prejudices should always be condemned when they fail to respect the value and dignity of all persons who have been created in the image of God, including racism in all its forms, the Governor’s latest Commission on “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” gives us no indication to believe that’s what it’s actually designed to do.
Standing for the Rule of LawAug. 25, 2017
“The demurrer is overruled.”
That’s the critical language from the Henrico County Circuit Court Judge earlier this week rejecting the McAuliffe administration’s attempt to shut down a challenge to its lawless actions before the debate could even begin.
When earlier this year the State Board of Health, at the direction and aide of Gov. McAuliffe and Attorney General Mark Herring, ignored the law in at least 22 ways to peel back reasonable health and safety measures for abortion centers, four Virginians, with the help of The Family Foundation, decided to stand up and say ‘Not on our watch.’
If the inspection reports from Virginia’s abortion centers have shown us anything since they first began in 2012 (pursuant to health and safety standards implemented through regulations in 2011), it’s that abortion facilities desperately need oversight and accountability that, until then, they had completely been without.
For example, Virginia has abortion center operators like Stephen Brigham, who has had his medical license revoked in at least five other states and was arrested in Maryland in December 2011 and charged with five counts of first-degree murder and five counts of second-degree murder after police discovered 34 late-term aborted babies in a bloody freezer at one of his Maryland facilities. And only because of Virginia’s abortion center health and safety regulations that went into effect a month later in January 2012, one of Brigham’s Virginia abortion centers was shut down for good in April 2016 – and by Governor McAuliffe’s own Health Commissioner, no less.
Many hundreds of recorded inspections violations within the now fourteen-remaining facilities statewide have accounted for more than enough proof to demonstrate that women who enter these facilities are by no means safe. Now just imagine how unsafe those women will be in these facilities now that this administration has used the regulatory process to gut most of the substantive portions of those standards.
Certainly, of all people, a Virginia woman of child-bearing age is among those most affected by those actions and has the right to challenge them if they were undertaken illegally. Surely, that person has “standing” in court to demand that the administration follow the law they are tasked with faithfully executing. Well this week, a judge agreed.
Judge: McAuliffe Position Rejected!Aug. 23, 2017
Henrico Circuit Court judge John Marshall has released his decision allowing an administrative appeal against the state Board of Health to proceed. In doing so the judge rejected the arguments of the McAuliffe administration and its Attorney General that individual Virginians do not have the right to challenge regulations that violate other provisions of state law. The judge recognized that two appellants in the case had "standing" to bring the appeal.
“The judge’s decision is a blow to Terry McAuliffe's and Mark Herring’s effort to prevent citizens of Virginia from challenging actions by the government that they deem illegal,” said Victoria Cobb, president of The Family Foundation. “In its zeal to appease the abortion industry and with its dismissiveness of the rule of law, the McAuliffe administration acted outside the law. The regulatory process has rules that must be followed. Again, this appeal is about that legal process and this administration’s ignorance of or disdain for that process. Judge Marshall’s decision is a first step in holding them accountable for their actions.”
Judge Marshall heard oral arguments regarding “standing” in a Henrico Circuit Courtroom on Friday, August 11. Arguing on behalf of the McAuliffe administration, a deputy Attorney General for the Attorney General's office claimed that none of the appellants challenging the Board of Health’s actions in watering down abortion center health and safety standards had the legal right to bring their case. Judge Marshall's decision to recognize standing for two appellants advances the case to arguments over the merits of the claims by the appellants.
In their appeal, appellants alleged twenty-two violations of the law. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) initially listed six specific sections of the abortion health and safety standards in which it planned to propose particular amendments. Those six sections were stated in the Department’s original “Notice of Intended Regulatory Action” (NOIRA) Agency Background Document. Although the scope of an agency’s proposed regulatory action is limited by law to the parameters set forth in its NOIRA, the Board significantly expanded the object of its rulemaking by amending a total of 21 distinct sections both within and beyond the original six, thus well outside the scope of what was set forth in its NOIRA.
“Regardless of one’s belief about the merits of basic health and safety standards for abortion centers, all Virginians should care about the rule of law,” added Cobb. “Over and over again Terry McAuliffe and Mark Herring have sought to undermine the principle of the rule of law. Our hope is that they will be held accountable for their actions by the courts.”
Opioids and AbortionAug. 16, 2017
The Washington Post headline screams, “Fentanyl fuels the nation’s opioid crisis.” It is another in a long line of articles seen in most news sources about the growing public health crisis that is opioid abuse and addiction, a plague destroying lives, families and communities across the nation and our Commonwealth.
Fentanyl is a Schedule II opioid pain reliever, and is “is 50-100 times more potent than morphine, according to a recent statement on fentanyl by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and 25-50 times more potent than heroin.” A Schedule II drug is defined as having “a high potential for abuse which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.”
So, why did one doctor who owns four abortion centers in Virginia get nothing more than a slap on the wrist when it was discovered that his facilities kept no legally required records of the fentanyl he had obtained and allowed unlicensed staff members to transport the drug from facility to facility? (Never mind that he allowed an unlicensed staffer to administer the drug to women unfortunate enough to enter one of this abortion centers.)
In its July 9 and 10, 2014 inspection report from the Charlottesville Medical Center for Women, Department of Health officials found that unlicensed staff members were transporting narcotics (fentanyl) from one facility to another with no record or documentation. In fact, the facility had no records in accordance with federal and state laws regarding any drugs used at the facility. According to the inspection report:
“…the facility failed to keep records of all drugs in Schedules I-V received, sold, administered, dispensed or otherwise disposed of…”
The Charlottesville Medical Center for Women is owned by W.K.G. and J., Incorporated (the secretary is Marianne Fitzhugh), which also owns the Roanoke Medical Center for Women, the Richmond Medical Center for Women and the Peninsula Medical Center for Women. W.K.G is William Fitzhugh, one of Virginia’s more notorious abortion doctors. The Commonwealth of Virginia’s Board of Medicine apparently “investigated” and found an incredible record of Fitzhugh violating federal and state drug laws. Among other violations, the Board concluded that “for several years prior to July of 2014” he “failed to maintain a record of all drugs administered or otherwise disposed of at his Charlottesville clinic.”
For several years. Didn’t keep track of fentanyl. Fentanyl being one of the most abused opioids on the market. With unlicensed and unaccountable staff members transferring the drugs from abortion center to abortion center. With no way of knowing what happened to those drugs.
The Board of Medicine acted as forcefully as you would imagine when a doctor who performs abortions is involved – it issued a “reprimand” and required him to make a pinkie promise to be good from now on (okay, it was to promise to read the law and follow the law, but seriously?).
Other than that, there is no evidence that anyone ever did anything to find what happened to the fentanyl of which no one at Fitzhugh’s clinic kept record. You know, like is required by every other medical doctor and medical facility in the United States of America because fentanyl is dangerous and we have an opioid crisis!
Now, there is also no evidence that the fentanyl Fitzhugh obtained was distributed illegally or abused, but that might be because no one ever bothered to investigate because, you know, it’s abortion and, well, the abortion industry is “singled out.”
A Board of Medicine that makes decisions like letting Fitzhugh off the hook certainly doesn’t give hope that it’s serious about dealing with Virginia’s opioid crisis. At least not when it involves abortion doctors.
"Highly Unlikely" They SayAug. 11, 2017
“Gene Editing for ‘Designer Babies’? Highly Unlikely, Scientists Say”
That’s the title from a recent New York Times piece highlighting last month’s successful modification of DNA in a human embryo by scientists for the first time in the United States.
The scientists were able to “edit” a known disease-causing mutation at life’s earliest stage in order to prevent the disease from manifesting later in the person’s life. With this sort of “germline” editing, a person’s DNA is not only permanently altered to prevent the contracting of a particular disease, but those mutations that cause the diseases would no longer be inherited by successive generations.
This means that we’re talking about the potential for significantly benefiting (or harming) the human race not just today, but in perpetuity. Talk about power and influence. The possibilities are seemingly endless to the imaginative and the motivated.
Of course, it doesn’t take long for inquisitive minds to wonder: If we can harness scientific methods to prevent “bad” traits, couldn’t we use the same methods to enhance “good” or “preferable” traits – like height, intelligence, skin or eye color, etc.? (Hence, the term “Designer Baby”) And couldn’t this create a number of foreseeable problems?
Not to worry, say the “scientists,” because doing those things would be really hard since modifying other traits is more complex. So for that reason – and that reason alone, apparently – permanently altering human embryos for purposes other than eliminating disease-causing genetic mutations is “highly unlikely” to occur.
Gee, that’s reassuring.
But as the saying goes: “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Meanwhile, it’s hard to think of a scenario in which one person possesses more absolute power over another person than when the latter consists of only a few cells under a microscope, created by the former in a lab for the purposes of scientific experimentation. If human nature holds true, we can be certain, then, that no matter how much “good” may come out of this kind of “genetic engineering,” by man’s corruption that good is destined to be far outweighed by its as-of-yet incomprehensible destruction of human life.
Let’s think about this: When was the last time someone said “that’s just too complex” and everyone else simply responded “well, I guess there’s no use even trying then”? That’s just not the America I know. No – we’re the ones who resolve to put a man on the moon (and bring him safely home) within a decade for little more reason than because we don’t want the Russians to get there first! Do you suppose the Russians – who seem to have even less regard for human life than Americans – might be thinking at this very moment how they could harness this science to create a form of genetically-modified super-human for a superior military force, for example? I’d be surprised if they weren’t already working overtime to make it a reality.
If man’s ability to split an atom and harness its power led within a few decades to a nuclear arms race that brought the world to the brink of utter destruction (not that long ago), imagine what might become of man’s ability to split the DNA of a human cell and to harness the power of bending it to our will.
“Highly unlikely,” my foot. Not only is the experimentation, exploitation, abuse and destruction of innumerable human lives highly likely to occur if we continue any further down this path of embryonic gene editing. It’s a guaranteed certainty.
“Scientists” can predict whatever they want about what humans will do in the future, but as long as they ignore history and human nature, they’ll always get it wrong. And as long as we as a society fail to respect the value and dignity of every human life, we will continue to justify mass carnage upon the human race by dressing it up with words like “abortion,” “death with dignity,” and most recently, “embryonic gene editing.”
The Abortion Litmus TestAug. 10, 2017
Somehow, I made it on to the campaign email lists of Ralph Northam and Mark Herring and have been the recipient of hundreds of their pleading missives over the past year or so. I’ve noticed a theme.
They love to use their gutless euphemisms like “women’s health,” “access” and “choice” to avoid the word abortion, but the message has been loud and clear:
For Democrats, the Virginia elections of 2017 are about abortion.
In fact, the overwhelming majority of emails I get from both Northam and Herring are about a single issue – the promotion and defense of the killing of unborn children.
For them, 56 million abortions just aren’t enough. We need more; a lot more.
And we need them paid for by the taxpayer, money funneled to their friends at Planned Parenthood.
And now we see where Democrat candidate for Lt. Governor, Justin Fairfax, attacked Republican Jill Vogel at their first debate over the ultrasound bill from five long years ago. A bill that simply required abortion centers to do what they claimed they already did – an ultrasound prior to an abortion to make sure 1) there really is a pregnancy, 2) that it’s not a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy, and 3) the size of the unborn child to make sure they use the right procedure to kill the child and not put the woman’s life at risk. For that, the left and media went into hysterics, and Democrats can still fundraise and motivate their base. Of course, what they really feared was the requirement that abortion centers offer women an opportunity to see the ultrasound picture before they make their decision.
That window into the womb scares the abortion industry perhaps like nothing else.
Vogel’s response, as quoted in the Washington Post, nailed it – “There was nothing in that bill that forced them to do anything against their will.” In fact, no doctor can force anyone to have a test against their will – you just have to live with the consequences of your decision to ignore the doctor.
Regardless, the irony in all this is that the party with the real litmus test on abortion is the Democrat party, which then uses the media to attack and ridicule Republicans for having a litmus test on abortion, when most Republicans talk about the issue only when asked. All while Democrats are having a now public internal debate nationally over whether they need to stop having a litmus test on abortion because it’s costing them elections. While Virginia Democrats make elections all about abortion.
You can’t make this stuff up.
Politics and elections are all about a narrative, and for Virginia Democrats, that narrative is abortion, all the time, anywhere, taxpayer funded, with no restrictions. Ralph Northam and Mark Herring are counting on it energizing their base. So is the abortion industry.
The Family Foundation Action is a non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)(4) organization and paid for this informational communication. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
Evolving EthicsAug. 09, 2017
What are ethics? According to good ole Merriam-Webster, they are “a set of moral principles or a theory or system of moral values.”
Ethics, principles, values…all words that generally, throughout history, implied something intrinsic, moral, perhaps even permanent.
Of course, we now live in a culture where such notions are something at which many scoff. Everything changes, particularly ethics and morality.
So it came as no surprise in a recent meeting I attended when an “ethicist” with a major hospital association in Virginia voiced his opinion about how health care ethics “have evolved,” attempting to lend credibility to the idea that medical doctors should be allowed to help their patients commit suicide under certain circumstances. Generally, that would be when someone has a “terminal” illness with fewer than six months to live. Simply providing “relief from suffering” (i.e. helping them kill themselves) must be moral, according to this ethicist. The “ethical” argument in favor of this included that, according to some polling, it’s supported by a majority of Americans. (Another member of the group chimed in with, “like with abortion,” the morality has changed, as if one couldn’t possibly have a moral objection to killing an unborn baby.)
Now, never mind the reality that doctors are notoriously terrible at predicting the lifespan of the terminally ill, and that new treatments for many once incurable diseases are helping extend lifespans each and every day.
No, the problem with “evolving ethics” is that today’s physician-assisted suicide (PAS) for the terminally ill is tomorrow’s PAS for the chronically ill. And then those who have a genetic disposition toward a terminal illness. And then those who simply want “relief from suffering,” regardless of the cause of the suffering. And what about those who aren’t really sick but who believe themselves to be sick? I mean, if you can be a biological female but headlines can scream “Man gives birth” because that woman believes themsel to be male, why can’t a healthy person claim a terminal illness?
And of those in the medical profession, including pharmacists, who have conscientious objections to participating in one’s suicide? Well, the ethicists at the table assured everyone that “no one would ever force someone to participate” in this.
Ummm…but ethics evolve, no? Today’s “no one would ever” is tomorrow’s “you’re denying access” to this “treatment” and must be required to do so (see abortion).
If ethics “evolve,” particularly medical ethics, where does that evolution end? Might makes right is a frightening thought in the world of government controlled health care and PAS. The slippery slope in this evolution takes us to some very dark places – places we should have learned from history we do not ever want to return.
Why is Planned Parenthood so Afraid?Aug. 04, 2017
As we told you about yesterday, the abortion behemoth plans to drop $3 million to ensure the election of pro-abortion candidate for governor, Ralph Northam. This comes as no surprise, of course. As the Washington Post celebrated, “Northam has been a key ally to abortion groups, making the issue a top priority during his time in Richmond.”
Some believe Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry are counting on Northam and his Democrat allies to keep the taxpayer money flowing to their facilities. In our opinion, any taxpayer money funneled to Planned Parenthood is too much. In the Commonwealth, Planned Parenthood benefits from federally mandated Medicaid funds to the tune of around $150,000 annually, plus a small amount of non-Medicaid funding (which we have sought to ban). Not paltry, but a drop in the bucket to a $1 BILLION business like Planned Parenthood.
No, the real money Planned Parenthood fears losing, should someone other than a pro-abortion zealot be elected governor, isn’t directly from the taxpayers.
You see, between the time the abortion center health and safety standards were adopted and today, Virginia went from having 22 abortion centers to 14. Some closed for reasons unrelated to the health and safety standards, such as lease issues, loss of client share, and owner retirement. Two never bothered to try to meet the standards and didn’t even try to get licensed, closing down before even an initial inspection. One, the Steven Brigham owned center in Fairfax, was so bad the Department of Health, even under Terry McAuliffe, suspended its license and it subsequently closed.
And while the McAuliffe administration illegally watered down the standards, the industry knows if a pro-life governor is elected who has the courage to fight to get them fully implemented again, especially the construction standards, many more abortion centers are likely to close.
Fewer abortion centers mean fewer abortions. Since 2010 the abortion rate in Virginia is down 32 percent. That's more than 8000 babies saved. In cold numbers, just like Planned Parenthood likes, at an average of $450 an abortion, it's a loss of revenue of nearly $4 million to the abortion industry. That’s a number Planned Parenthood and the rest of the abortion industry is desperate to reverse.
Besides fewer abortion centers, a big reason for that drop is pregnancy help centers that provide real assistance to women who face an unplanned pregnancy. The very same facilities then state Senator Ralph Northam sought to regulate out of business in 2010, an effort that failed then, but who knows what promises Northam has made to the industry in exchange for the $3 million.
The reality is the abortion industry is terrified that more and more women are choosing to keep their babies, is losing money, and is frantic for people like Ralph Northam to help keep them in business. Funneling $3 million to a campaign (instead of actually providing health care) is just the cost of doing business.
Consistency, People!Aug. 04, 2017
An essential basis for human society is the triumph of rational thinking. Rational thought, meanwhile, demands consistency and coherency. Even in our increasingly “relativist” society, this is still something that is widely recognized.
Well…except, apparently, on many college campuses. (The historic bastions of knowledge and social progress.)
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) recently highlighted one of today’s most prevailing points of disconnect in rational thought involving the issue of market participants being forced to provide a service that violates their religious faith. Watch the students at UW-Madison as they are asked a series of questions about this:
The video effectively draws out the inconsistency – indeed, the incoherence – of many of the students’ thinking on the matter. While most of them found it intuitively abhorrent to force a fashion designer to create custom clothing for Melania Trump or to force a Muslim singer to perform at a Christian church’s Easter service, none of the students in the video appeared to want to admit that it would be equally wrong to force a Christian photographer to photograph a same-sex wedding when doing so clearly violated his religious convictions.
When in actuality, the only substantive difference between these examples is that the latter scenario doesn’t fit neatly within the prevailing liberal philosophy in which certain ideas are affirmed at all costs. In that case, throw rationality to the wind. Majority rules. Might equals right.
To be fair, maybe we should cut these students some slack. After all, as demonstrated by their blushing hesitations, their not-yet fully “zombie-fied” brains are clearly trying to overcome the incoherence of an ideological bent that is no doubt being spoon-fed to them by most of their professors on a daily basis. Their pause, frankly, gives me hope. It confirms that even the most tenacious indoctrinations cannot withstand the mind with even the slightest regard for rational thinking when that mind is presented with the opportunity to think.
$3 Million in Blood MoneyAug. 03, 2017
I have to admit, I wasn't surprised when I picked up the latest copy of The Washington Post and see that Planned Parenthood will be spending $3 million dollars to help elect pro-abortion activist Ralph Northam as Virginia's next governor.
And why wouldn't they?
You see, the Planned Parenthood model is to support ultra liberal politicians, who support them on abortion, because it is a good and successful business model for them. You need to look no farther than Virginia's current governor, Terry McAuliffe. Planned Parenthood spent around $2 million dollars to buy the 2013 election and McAuliffe has delivered for the abortion industry. It’s more than ironic that while Planned Parenthood screams over the prohibitive cost of health and safety compliance measures, it's spending $3 million to determine Virginia’s next governor.
As soon as McAuliffe was elected he got to work paying back the abortion industry for their support by stacking the Board of Health with pro-abortion activists, including members with strong ties to Planned Parenthood board. Then he tasked the State Board of Heath with amending the Health and Safety Standards for abortion centers, which were directed by the General Assembly, and they have delivered by gutting standards aimed at keeping women safe. The Family Foundation is at present suing the Board over their lawlessness in doing so.
So, with those results, it makes sense that Planned Parenthood would spend millions more in political blood money to elect another pro-abortion candidate, so they can further expand abortion around Virginia.
And what will Planned Parenthood buy with their $3 million dollars in support? According to this morning's Washington Post, they will deploy canvassers to knock on 300,000 doors, send mailers to 400,000 homes, run digital and radio ads, and drive pro-abortion voters to the polls on Election Day.
The article went onto say that, "Northam has been a key ally to abortion groups, making the issue a top priority during his time in Richmond," and that Northam has “extreme positions supporting abortions in the eighth or ninth month.”
Virginia can't afford four more years of abortion being a top priority.
You may be thinking, how big of an impact can Planned Parenthood have on the election? My answer is, they determined the winner of the 2013 election. You see, the pro-life candidate for governor lost the 2013 election by just 56,435, out of 2.5 million cast, and many political insiders credit Planned Parenthood and their blood money to putting Terry McAuliffe over the top on Election Day. We cannot afford to make that mistake again.
Please prayerfully consider supporting the sanctity of life by supporting our efforts to educate Virginians on the importance of the upcoming election.
Pro-Science. Pro-Life.Aug. 02, 2017
There is a common misconception in our society that the pro-life movement is anti-science. People on both sides hold fast to the idea that opposition to abortion stems only from religious beliefs, which in turn leads to the frequently touted argument that us ideologues should stop forcing our beliefs down the throats of the non-religious masses. Many sum it all up with the concise "keep your rosaries off my ovaries." Now, this slogan makes a pretty nifty bumper sticker, but beyond that, it really holds no water. I don’t want my rosary near anyone’s ovaries, thank you very much. I want science, and science consistently affirms the pro-life worldview. It is also worth mentioning that in our country we have millions of non-religious pro-lifers who oppose abortion just as vehemently as those who ascribe to a faith tradition.
And yet, you cannot delve at all into the abortion debate without abortion supporters claiming the mantle of scientific superiority. They declare that the fetus is just a clump of cells, or a mass of protoplasm, as if being such precludes humanity. But we are all clumps of cells; some of us just have more cells than others, and to pretend otherwise is disingenuous.
If we really want to know when a living human being becomes a living human being, we have to look at basic biology. Human development begins at fertilization, when a male sperm and a female oocyte combine to form a zygote. This isn’t a religious dogma; this is a scientific fact that you can find in any embryology textbook. From the beginning, a zygote is alive, because it has the capacity to grow, metabolize nutrients, and respond to stimuli, all of which are the scientific determinants of life. Furthermore, the zygote is an independent organism, with a unique genetic code, not merely a part of the mother. And finally, since everything reproduces its own kind, and the zygote is the product of human sperm and a human egg, it follows that the zygote itself is human, i.e. a member of the species homo sapiens.
In summary, at fertilization there exists a living, unique, human organism. To say that an unborn child is not human because it is a fetus makes about as much sense as saying a 2 year-old is not a human because it is a toddler. All we are referring to here are different stages in human development. Whether or not the human in question deserves protection under the law is a different problem entirely, but one that should be based in philosophical reasoning, not scientific disputes.
The philosophical side is a bit trickier, though. If the fetus is not a living human, what objection can exist to its removal? If the fetus is a living human, however, then you have to entertain the idea that some humans can be deprived of life against their will, and most rational people are understandably less comfortable with such lines of thinking. This is why so many abortion providers are hesitant to provide accurate information about prenatal development. A recent example of this is the website EarlyAbortionOptions.com, which caters to women early in their pregnancy. In its “what does the tissue look like” section, it depicts a 9 week-old fetus as a formless blob. An actual 9 week-old fetus, however, has already started forming eyes, ears, a nose, arms, and legs. The heart is beating, and several organs have started working. There are measurable brainwaves. The fetus can sigh, stretch, and even hiccup. Hardly a blob if you ask me.
The bottom line is this: science clearly shows that birth does not make us living, unique, human organisms. That happens at fertilization, and you do not have to be religious to recognize such a fact. All you have to do is read an embryology textbook.
By Jessica Skansi
Jessica is a 2017 Summer Intern at The Family Foundation and a student at Texas A&M University where she majors in Genetics, with a minor in Biology.
Should Doctors Prescribe Death?Jul. 26, 2017
Words matter, and so, obviously, does policy. Yesterday, both met at a Joint Commission on Health Care (JCHC) work group meeting studying the question of legalizing “Medical Aid-in-Dying.”
What is that, you ask?
It’s a soft euphemism being used to describe physician-assisted suicide.
Theoretically, the goal of the study is to answer some key questions about the ramifications of enacting such a policy in Virginia, and at yesterday’s meeting, various stakeholders were given the opportunity to weigh in, including Family Foundation VP of Government Relations, Chris Freund.
Our position was made clear: any effort to legalize physician-assisted suicide will be met with our fullest and strongest opposition.
Currently, only six states have statutes permitting physician-assisted suicide, which is defined as the “ability of a patient to obtain (or a doctor to prescribe) a medication to end their (a patient’s) life if [the patient is] competent, terminally ill, and over 18.” The movement to enact such legislation is gaining ground around the nation. Supporters argue that terminally ill patients deserve the right end their own suffering, but their focus on “death with dignity” typically paints over the vast potential for abuse allowed by physician-assisted suicide laws, and the kind of society we are building if we allow physician-assisted suicide to become a reality throughout the Commonwealth.
And while “terminally ill” is clearly defined in medicine, most state laws that allow the killing of the terminally ill prescribe stipulations such as a patient must have fewer than six months to live. We raised the question, “How accurate are doctors when they predict how long someone has to live?” One doctor on the work group admitted, “Doctors are notoriously terrible” at predicting the length of a terminal illness.
This is one of the hundreds of philosophical and practical questions that arise when we discuss allowing people to commit suicide.
There is no question that intentionally causing the premature death of another human being violates the oath that physicians take to “do no harm.” Terminally ill patients deserve our love and support, they deserve unrestricted access to proper hospice and palliative care, and they deserve the dignity that comes from life. What they do not deserve is a system that endorses the deliberate hastening of their death. If we as a society are willing to accept the idea that physicians can be complicit in causing death in some circumstances, there is no telling where the line will be drawn.
There will be an opportunity for public input in this discussion in the coming weeks. We will update you so that you can make your voice for life heard!
On another note, the study is the result of a letter from Delegate Kaye Kory submitted a letter to the JCHC requesting a study reviewing the issue. With the financial limitations faced by the Commonwealth and the cost to taxpayers of these studies, it seems more than reasonable that for a commission to spend time and taxpayer money on a study, it should require legislation from the General Assembly. Many do, but all should.
"Hate" Is Not The ProblemJul. 25, 2017
You’re a “hate group.” They’re a “hate group.” Your mom’s a “hate group.” If you disagree with me, you’re a “hate group.”
That is essentially what I’m hearing more and more these days coming from organizations on the ideological Left, and it has reached a tipping point of ridiculousness. Throwing around labels like this is intellectually lazy. It’s inflammatory. It’s defamatory. Frankly, it’s juvenile – something a school yard bully could get away with saying during recess that could never fly in a real classroom discussion.
It also has the effect of undermining the credibility of those touting these claims. (Much in the same way that reflexively hurling the terms “racist” and “bigot” or “[fill-in-the-blank]-PHOBE” are sadly becoming code words for “I’m not respectful or intelligent enough to engage you in a meaningful dialogue about complex issues.”)
Along with other leftist groups, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has for years been building upon its list of organizations in the United States it deems “hate groups” – a list used as authoritative by the Obama administration in order to target those groups. More recently, the “mainstream” media has been using SPLC’s list to label groups it finds distasteful. Some of the groups being added are Christian or pro-American groups who hold to common-sense traditional values like natural marriage, freedom, national sovereignty, and the rule of law. (In other words, all those things which enable a prosperous society.)
In the past week, SPLC dubbed Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) a “hate group,” apparently because the sitting Attorney General of the United States addressed a group of ADF attorneys at a closed forum wherein he had the audacity to say, among other similarly-themed things, "that every American has a right to believe, worship, and exercise their faith in the public square." Why…that must be code language for “HATE!” Darn it. Can’t get anything past that SPLC.
Considering some of the notables that have made SPLC’s list (Alliance Defending Freedom, American Family Association, and Family Research Council, to name a few) who work hard to protect life, preserve religious liberty, and promote freedom and domestic tranquility through the rule of law, I’m frankly surprised The Family Foundation of Virginia has yet to make their list. (Maybe even a little disappointed.)
As we have also seen, labeling groups with which you disagree “hate groups” is also an invitation to violence. A few years ago, a man entered FRC’s headquarters in Washington, DC intent on killing everyone there and had in his possession SPLC’s list that included FRC as a “hate group.”
The absurdity of it all speaks for itself. Yet few seem to be challenging the “hate group” label at a more fundamental level. The reason I know this is because it is generally true that deeming someone a “hate group” or “hater” is universally received as a kind of social stigmatism with which no one wants to be branded. It’s akin to publicly designating someone a leper, but with an intended effect more like that of designating someone a “terrorist organization.” That’s because it’s really about directing the overall narrative and defining your opponents rather than allowing them to speak for themselves. In that sense, it’s Political Mass Communication 101.
But getting beyond that, we must ask the question: What does SPLC mean by “hate”? And furthermore, is “hate” in itself always bad, as they seem to imply? In actuality, when you take all of three seconds to think about it, you realize that everyone hates some things, while other things, they love.
In other words, while it is undoubtedly true that the groups mentioned “hate” certain ideas and actions they believe are harmful and destructive to individuals and society (clearly SPLC feels similarly about certain ideas), it doesn’t follow that they therefore “hate” the people associated with those ideas and actions. In fact, I bet if SPLC was to really learn about many of these groups, they would find that it is not primarily their “hatred” for particular ideas and actions that motivates them, but rather it is their love of certain truths and for the people who tend to flourish when those truths are embraced.
The relevant question, then, is not whether or not someone “hates,” but rather: Who or what does a person or organization hate? And correspondingly, who or what do they love? Ultimately, it isn’t “hate” that is the problem. If anything, the problem with “hate” lies in the object of our hate vs. the object of our love, whether we have rightly categorized those objects, and whether our energies towards them are being channeled in an appropriate and constructive way.
The goal should be to love those things that are worth loving (like people, and goodness, and truth), and also to hate those things worth hating (like evil, and destruction, and chaos) – even if it means that someone else may be prone to overlook our love, and overemphasize our hate, and unfairly stick us with the dubious label as a member of a “hate group.”
Here's What You Missed!Jul. 25, 2017
On Saturday we launched a brand new grassroots initiative with the unveiling of our Regional Engagement Teams! Our goal is to have a Regional Engagement Team, or RET, in all of the major regions throughout Virginia, and we need your help. If you signed up for a position on Saturday, we cannot thank you enough for volunteering your time and effort to fight for our principles. If you did not get the chance to join a RET, don’t worry! All the information about our RETs and the various positions available can be found online at www.familyfoundation.org/grassroots/.
Thank you so much to everyone involved with Saturday’s Grassroots Activism Project! We had such a great turnout, and we loved seeing each and every one of you. For those of you who were unable to attend, we missed you, but there is still time to get involved!
Not only did we launch our new Regional Engagement Teams but we also spread the news about our weekly Team Timothy prayer meetings. This is an open opportunity to join us at our office in Richmond every Tuesday for intercessory prayer! We hope to see you or have you join in via conference call. Please email us here for more information!
Everyone has something to contribute to the cause of defending the family in Virginia, and we hope you find your place with us.
Now is the time for engagement, and this is your chance. It is so encouraging to witness everyone’s passion for our principles, and we cannot wait to see the amazing things all of you are going to do within your communities.
"Go Somewhere Else"Jul. 20, 2017
Throughout the entire multi-decade battle to ensure abortion centers have safety standards adequate to protect the moms that undergo this heart-wrenching procedure, the abortion industry and its sympathizers have made one resounding claim: Safety standards will result in the loss of access to abortion – and other medical services they claim to offer – as those centers, they claim, will close rather than comply. While those who hold a pro-life perspective would not be disappointed if fewer unborn lives are lost, basic economics shows that if the “market” has a perceived need, it will adjust to new standards and the customer’s desires will still be serviced.
Personally, I’ve had a hard time being concerned about abortion centers closing that are theoretically so broke they can’t ensure that the equipment used isn’t bloody, or the staff is actually trained in how to handle Schedule II narcotics. Moreover, when Planned Parenthood continues to get approximately $500,000,000 annually from taxpayers—that’s half a Billion with a capital “B”—I figure they can have a couple of basic safety strings attached. Then, when it was revealed recently that they spent nearly $750,000 in an unsuccessful effort to ensure Karen Handel didn’t get elected to Georgia’s congressional delegation, I continue to call this claim of non-access due to no money bunk.
Now, it appears that even the McAuliffe administration doesn’t believe its own rhetoric on center closure. The legal memorandum submitted recently by the AG representing the State Health Commissioner in the case Itzel Melendez v. Virginia State Board of Health that centers on the illegal process of watering down the abortion standards flies in the face of their access claim.
In the brief, the Health Commissioner alleges that the appellants have no “standing” to petition the court. For non-lawyers, the government is arguing that none of the challengers have a right to be in court to contest the illegality of the regulation change process. To have a right, one typically needs to be affected by the regulation changes. This no-standing claim comes despite the fact that one of the four appellants, Itzel Melendez, is a woman of child-bearing years who has visited an abortion facility in the past and could desire their services again. It clearly matters to this woman and a whole host of similarly situated women whether they could obtain a “safe abortion” under now-lessened standards.
In an irony of all ironies, in order to claim this appellant is unaffected, the Health Commissioner contends, “Further, alternatives for obtaining abortion services exist at hospitals licensed under 12 VAC 5-410 that offer such services and at any medical provider that performs fewer than five first-trimester abortions per month.”
The abortion centers under regulation (or non-regulation depending on who is in the Governor’s mansion and on the Board of Health) are defined as facilities that perform more than 5 abortions a month and which are not a full-blown hospital, since those have greater standards already. Bottom line, the Commissioner is essentially saying, if Itzel Melendez doesn’t want an unsafe abortion from the facilities that are in question, she can just go somewhere else. Now isn’t that something, since the abortion industry has argued that “access” to abortion is at the center of their fight against the standards.
Planned Parenthood v. Casey: 25 Years LaterJun. 29, 2017
If you are at all familiar with the modern abortion debate, you know about Roe v. Wade. The 1973 Supreme Court ruling claimed that women have a constitutional right to have abortions and paved the way to where we are today in terms of abortion-on-demand. But for those interested in the eventual eradication of abortion in our nation, there is another pivotal court case that must not be overlooked. On June 29th, 1992, almost two decades after the Roe decision, the Supreme Court released its ruling on the case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Today, exactly twenty-five years later, the implications of that decision present a serious obstacle to the pro-life cause.
Planned Parenthood v. Casey was one of the first cases to significantly challenge Roe, and many saw it as a prime opportunity for the Supreme Court to overturn its previous ruling. Tragically, the complete opposite happened. Not only did the Court’s decision on Casey reaffirm Roe v. Wade, it went even further, adding language that prohibited states from passing statutes which could place “a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman’s choice,” arguing that such regulations would “impose an undue burden” on a woman’s right to choose abortion. Such wording has proven extremely problematic for the pro-life side, primarily because the definition of an “undue burden” is in the eye of the beholder, primarily liberal judges. We have seen fallout from the precedent set in Casey several times since 1992, most notably in last summer’s ruling on Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt.
Though the justices cited Roe v. Wade in their Hellerstedt decision, it was Planned Parenthood v. Casey, not Roe, which gave the court the most substantial grounds for striking down Texas’ laws to regulate abortion facilities. Ironically, the Hellerstedt decision, in which the Court decided that requiring abortion facilities to meet the standards of an ambulatory surgical care center placed “a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a pre-viability abortion,” and thereby constituting an “undue burden” on the right to abortion, was released just two days shy of Casey’s 24th anniversary. Had the court ruled the other way in Hellerstedt, Texas would have been down to fewer than ten abortion clinics in the entire state. Who knows how many clinics would have closed around the country if other states, following Texas’ example, had passed similar measures?
Instead we are here today: a quarter of a century since Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and still suffering the consequences of the Court’s degradation of life. With a President supportive of pro-life efforts and a Republican majority in Congress, there is considerable opportunity to challenge our abortion-on-demand culture, but we should remain mindful of our legislative limitations. We have seen how much wiggle room Casey gives to the states when it comes to restricting abortions, even when it involves improving health and safety standards, but it is not enough. An important struggle lies ahead of us in the courts. In the meantime, we should do what we can, in state and local governments, on sidewalks and in pregnancy centers, but we will never reach an end to abortion until Casey and Roe are gone. Let’s pray it doesn’t take another 25 years to see them overturned.
By Jessica Skansi, 2017 Family Foundation Intern
Forgotten How To BlushJun. 29, 2017
Last week, the school board in Prince William County voted 5-3 to let boys and men use girls’ intimate settings like locker rooms, bathrooms, and showers in schools – and even to be paired with females in overnight lodging situations. All this over the objections of thousands of Prince William County parents and students throughout the past year who pleaded earnestly with them from every logical, emotional and practical vantage point imaginable. And all of this without so much as a single substantiated complaint on the basis of “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” in the school district’s history. New progressivism and secular humanist “moral” grandstanding seems to be their only true concern.
In the end, the five school board members’ complete dismissal of concerns about personal safety, privacy and dignity – as demonstrated by their blanket forbearance to even address them in their remarks – was the equivalent of their saying “Too bad, you better just get used to undressing, showering, and sleeping next to your opposite-sex peers.”
Such a shameless and callous disregard for basic human dignity and decency – especially among children as young as 5 years old to teenagers – reminded me of a particular Scripture verse which really says it all:
Jeremiah 6:15 – “Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when I punish them," says the LORD.”
They know no shame. They've forgotten how to blush.
But worse yet, it seems they've forgotten what it means to blush, and that other people still do so. They’ve forgotten that children in particular are highly vulnerable and are not yet prepared to face every kind of sexual circumstance which the board’s policy now potentially opens them up to. They’ve forgotten what an awkward and emotional time middle school and high school can especially be for most kids, who already have enough to worry about that doesn’t include intermixing of the sexes in intimate settings like locker rooms and bathrooms. They’ve forgotten the propensity of school-aged self-interested children to take advantage of what they perceive as “loop holes” in a rule, often at the expense of others.
Or maybe they haven’t forgotten, and instead they just don’t care. But that seems frankly too unthinkable. Then again, so did this policy only a year or two ago.
Perhaps we will see evidence of the second part of that Scripture verse in the near future. There is already a serious campaign underway to oust the school board chairman (the chief architect of this policy). Meanwhile, all eight seats are up for reelection this year. Maybe Prince William residents will say “Enough is enough. Stop making my kids the objects of your radical social experiments.”
For the sake of the many who have not forgotten how to blush, let’s hope so.
Religious Liberty Victory!Jun. 27, 2017
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with Trinity Lutheran Church in Missouri in a major decision in favor of religious liberty. On a 7-2 vote, the Court held that when a church was excluded from a public grant program simply because of its religious character, even though the church’s application was ranked 5th out of 44 applicants (14 were granted), the state violated the First Amendment. Read the full opinion here.
In the Court’s words, “denying a generally available benefit solely on account of religious identity imposes a penalty on the free exercise of religion," and that “it remain[s] a fundamental principle of this Court’s free exercise jurisprudence that laws imposing ‘special disabilities on the basis of...religious status’ trigger the strictest scrutiny." In other words, the government can't exclude religious entities simply because they are religious. If it excludes religious groups, it has to have a really, really good reason.
This case is not only a great reaffirmation of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious exercise, but it has potentially far-reaching implications for other important issues. Central to this case was Missouri’s state constitutional amendment that bars all state funds from going directly or indirectly to religious entities. Commonly known as a “Blaine Amendment”, many other states, including Virginia, have a similar constitutional provision. In recent years, these Blaine Amendments have been the single greatest impediment to expanding education options for parents by preventing initiatives like school voucher programs.
Opponents of school choice have used the Blaine Amendment to stop parents from using their tax dollars to send their kids to a school of their choice because many parents would choose a religiously-based private education. Some analysts are hopeful that today’s Court opinion may provide an opportunity to strike down Virginia’s discriminatory Blaine Amendment once and for all.
Monday's opinion also should provide even greater protection to faith-based entities like charities, hospitals, and universities, many of whom have been coming under increased pressure to choose between their central religious beliefs or continued public benefits. In it's opinion, the Supreme Court repudiated that notion.
All in all, an encouraging victory for religious freedom!
They'll Stop at NothingJun. 22, 2017
Over the objections of thousands of Prince William County parents and students throughout the past year, not to mention a mountain of unanswered legal questions, the school board there defiantly voted (5-3) last night to push through a policy that could allow boys in Prince William County schools to use the girls' locker rooms, bathrooms, and showers, and even to be paired with females in overnight lodging situations.
And what was the Board's response to these concerns? Well, it wasn't to deny that these things would now be permissible, but instead only to dismissively declare various versions of "Oh, that'll never happen." Such a response does make you wonder if these folks really know anything at all about the experience of middle school and high school, adolescent males, teenagers generally, history, or human nature.
Or more likely, they just don't care.
The Board's action last night came after a groundswell of outrage and public pressure last September forced the Board to punt on the issue until this summer (conveniently when school would be out and parents would be less engaged with school policies, or on vacation). In that time, the Board managed to gather the cover they needed in order for a majority of them to vote to place every child in danger - ironically in the name of "safety for all." After going practically off the radar since September, the LGBT activists emerged for yesterday's meeting highly mobilized and organized, all of them showing up more than two hours early to pack the front of the room, and all of them decked out in purple. Even so, as the evening progressed, more and more opponents of the policy change arrived, ending with a crowd split about evenly.
And while the Board and proponents tried to sidestep the issue of opposite sex children in intimate settings by including “guidance” language that says bathroom and locker room policies won’t change, the reality is that the policy adopted cannot be limited in such a way.
But last night’s vote was really just part of the story. Just hours before the meeting, it was revealed that the school board chairman, Ryan Sawyers, ripping a page out of Governor Terry McAuliffe’s playbook of ignoring the law and policy, had tried to use his power and influence to manipulate who was allowed to speak during the required public comment period. Board policy states that the first ten people who sign up with the Board clerk speak, but the chair had sent text messages to the clerk demanding that the names he submitted be placed “at the top of the list.” Exposed through a Freedom of Information Act from Delegate Bob Marshall (R-13, Manassas), the Board then received a letter from our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom explaining that if normal rules weren’t followed, any vote would be subject to legal challenge.
Unlike Governor McAuliffe’s Board of Health, which flippantly ignored the law when it scaled back abortion center safety standards, the Board backed off and followed normal public comment policy.
But both the willingness of the Board chair to ignore the law and the mobilization of secular progressives shows that those who wish to force their dangerous agenda on our children will stop at nothing to accomplish their goal. Public outrage doesn’t matter, the law doesn’t matter, truth doesn’t matter, science doesn’t matter.
So what’s the answer? Pro-family Virginians need to re-double our efforts to organize and mobilize. Churches need to stand up and be willing to mobilize to school board meetings across Virginia. And, people who understand that the dignity, privacy and safety of our children – not to mention DNA – matter need to run for school boards across Virginia!
If science and reality don’t affect school board members, maybe a few election losses will.