Family Research Council

Sock Campaign Toes the Pro-life Line

March 20, 2017

St. Patrick's Day may be over, but Planned Parenthood still has green on its mind. In the fight of its financial life, Cecile Richards is doing everything she can to keep her grip on the $550 million dollars her group rakes in from taxpayers each year. And that includes keeping a lid on the organization's latest numbers. While Congress debates the future of Planned Parenthood funding, the nation's largest abortion business is being unusually tight-lipped about its services in 2015-16.

Coincidence? Most conservatives think not. Mallory Quigley, communications director for the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said she's never seen the report come out this late. "For the years that I have been tracking it, it's always been very consistent at the end of the year," she told the Washington Times. If their statistics are anything like 2014 -- when the group aborted enough people to wipe out a city as big as Pittsburgh -- they won't help Richards's cause. She and her friends in Hollywood have spent the last several weeks trying to downplay the business's abortion side and highlight the other services Planned Parenthood offers. But unless there's been a major sea change at the organization, that will be tough to do for an organization that took an unborn life every 97 seconds in 2014.

Equally damning, the group's cancer screenings -- which is a favorite defense of the Left's -- have been in steady decline for years. From 2009 to 2014, Planned Parenthood's breast exams (which, incidentally, don't include mammograms) have consistently decreased and dropped by over half (56 percent): 830,312 (2009), 747,607 (2010), 639,384 (2011), 549,804 (2012), 487,029 (2013), and 363,803 (2014). As if that weren't alarming enough, other cancer screenings have dropped by close to two-thirds (63 percent): 1,830,811 (2009), 1,596,741 (2010), 1,307,570 (2011), 1,121,580 (2012), 935,573 (2013), and 682,208 (2014). And while their services have decreased, taxpayer-funding has increased! No wonder Planned Parenthood isn't racing to show off its work from the last two years. Not only would their report refute everything the group is claiming, but it would also show what a terrible investment Planned Parenthood is.

While Richards drags her feet, Congress is not. As early as this week, the House will hold its first major vote on the Obamacare replacement bill -- and when it does, defunding Planned Parenthood will be a major part of it. Of course, as March for Life President Jeanne Mancini and I point out in a joint op-ed in The Hill, there's still work to be done. As happy as we are that the legislation topples Obamacare's abortion insurance subsidies and guts Planned Parenthood funding, the GOP will need to go to the mat to protect other pro-life provisions in the House bill. "Until Congress specifically states that abortion is not healthcare, and statutorily excludes it from healthcare programs, the courts along with agency precedent show that abortion will be included when the government funds healthcare," we write.

"The final version of the American Healthcare Act must include language to prohibit direct subsidies or tax-preferential treatment for elective abortion services or coverage, whether in healthcare tax credits, subsidies or any other healthcare programs. It is also critical that these pro-life protections survive challenge under the Senate's Byrd Rule, which strictly limits policy-making provisions on a budget bill. If such abortion funding restrictions are stripped out of the bill in the Senate by a Byrd Rule point of order, our organizations would have to strongly oppose the entire bill because it would expand abortion, even though it removes specific funds from Planned Parenthood for one year."

In case Congress isn't motivated enough to save these lives, Students for Life is making the debate personal. For the next month, they're trying to collect 324,000 baby socks -- each one representing a child whose life was taken at a Planned Parenthood clinic every year. In April, they'll display all 324,000 socks to a massive canvass in a powerful display for an event at the U.S. Capitol. They're calling it the #SockIt2PP campaign, and you can help! Join Students for Life in reminding America's leaders that what's at stake in this debate is more than dollars -- it's innocent lives.

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Conservatism: The Choice of the Next Generation?

March 20, 2017

If you're worried about the future, don't be. Your values are in good hands! Generation Z is more than ready to carry the torch for the conservatism that many Millennials left behind, according to an encouraging set of polls. "For years, we've been hearing that one side of the political aisle is on 'the right side of history,'" Eric Metaxas writes for Break Point. "But history doesn't seem to be cooperating."

In a great new column, he gives Americans plenty of hope about today's teenagers. "According to a growing body of research, they may be, by certain measures, the most conservative generation since World War II -- more than Millennials, Generation Xers, and even Baby Boomers." After growing up as products of war, conflict, and recession (a stark contrast from the prosperity of their older brothers, sisters, and even parents), the generation who are starting to graduate high school have a far different view of the world: "pragmatic," as Godman-Sachs analysts describe it.

In the last election, the first wave of Generation Zers cast their first ballots – and not the way most people would expect. Asked where they rank on the spectrum, eight out of 10 kids said they were "fiscally conservative," Metaxas points out. At 70 million strong -- far larger than the generation that came before them -- that can only mean positive things for America's future. And the news only gets better. In Britain, these same teenagers were asked how they would describe their views on "same-sex marriage, transgender rights, and marijuana legalization." Believe it or not, almost 60 percent of them replied "conservative" or "moderate!" Compare that, Eric notes, with the 83 percent of Millennials who called themselves "liberal" on those same issues.

History tells us over and over again that what one generation rejects out of rebellion, the next generation often embraces out of necessity. As parents, we need to nurture these values and help train up young people to live out their beliefs in a world increasingly hostile to them. Fortunately, they have plenty of positive examples to learn from -- some of which I share in my book No Fear: Stories of a New Generation Standing for Truth. If you're looking for a way to encourage and empower a teenager in your life, pick up a copy. You'll discover there's still plenty of hope for America in their stories and others!

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Bible Class Goes before Judges

March 20, 2017

The Good Book would make an even better textbook. And that's not just my opinion -- it's West Virginia's too. For almost 80 years, Mercer County has giving students the option of taking a class called "Bible in the Schools." But despite the tradition dating back to 1939, a single person is threatening to end a curriculum that's lasted generations in the district.

Earlier this year, that parent teamed up with the atheist bullies at the Freedom from Religious Foundation (FFRF) to file a lawsuit to suspend the class. "This program advances and endorses one religion, improperly entangles public schools in religious affairs, and violates the personal consciences of nonreligious and non-Christian parents and students," the group alleges. Maybe if the course were required the organization would have a complaint. But Mercer County has been careful to make the class elective, giving any student who's uncomfortable with the idea the option to opt out. Even that isn't good enough for the intolerants at FFRF, who called the curriculum "the equivalent of sectarian Sunday school instruction."

Unfortunately for FFRF, the district found a group to defend the class: First Liberty Institute. That's bad news for the atheists, who already had plenty of flawed arguments to overcome. "The purported harms Plaintiffs allege," First Liberty explains in its motion to dismiss, "are merely speculative, resulting from choices the [Plaintiffs] say they may have to make well into the future and related fear of potential ostracism that is grounded only in speculation, not in fact." First Liberty goes on to shame FFRF for attacking the country's "constitutional right to offer optional Bible classes in public schools for the benefit of the many students who are interested in receiving Bible instruction."

Most of us agree that no one should be compelled to attend such a course -- but no one should be able to force others not to attend either. This is an optional course, similar to what I helped Louisiana adopt almost 20 years ago.

And it isn't as if these classes are rare. There are 1,280 school districts across the country that allow this optional study of the Bible as literature, according to the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools. This is just another small-time bully from the anti-Christian crowd picking a fight with a local school district that it assumes doesn't know any better. They assume wrong!

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

A Badge of Sacrifice

March 20, 2017

It was a sad night in East Baton Rouge, when Sheriff's Deputy Shawn Anderson was shot and killed in the line of duty. Shawn was a member of my church where his family attends. The tragedy is just another sober reminder of the men and women who put themselves in harm's way to protect the rest of society. As Jesus said in John 15, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends."

We must never forget what's at the heart of the sacrifice that so many in our military and law enforcement are willing to make: the example of Jesus Christ. Yes, other non-Christian nations have military and law enforcement, but few are there to serve and protect in the selfless manner that those in the Christianized West have and remain willing to do. This is another reason that we must protect, defend, and cherish the religious freedom that will allow and enable Christianity to flourish -- not just in our churches -- but in our society as a whole. And it is a reminder for all of us to give thanks to God for these men and women and to pray for their protection and well-being.

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

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