Family Research Council

DNC on Abortion: We'll Always Have Perez

May 16, 2017

Democrats dug themselves into quite a hole with the party's hardline social platform last summer. And climbing out hasn't exactly been easy. By almost everyone's estimation (including Nancy Pelosi's, D-Calif.), the Left's extremism on issues like abortion and transgender bathrooms cost them the White House. But months after the loss no one saw coming, the party is still struggling to rebound.

And many would say the party's disgust for pro-lifers is one reason why. The DNC made no secret of that last month in a local race that would have never become a national headline if Chairman Tom Perez hadn't intervened. After initially throwing in his lot with mayoral candidate Heath Mello (D), Perez walked back the endorsement of the Nebraska candidate because he dared to "personally" oppose to abortion. Trapped in a pressure cooker of the party's deep-pocketed pro-choicers, Perez came out swinging. "Every Democrat," he insisted, "like every American, should support a woman's right to make her own choices about her body and her health. That is not negotiable."

Days later, Mello lost -- another victim of the party that talks about diversity but never practices it. To most Americans, it was just another sign that Democrats never really learned anything from November. Instead, the choke-hold of groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL is even stronger now that the DNC has named former Emily's List executive director Jess O'Connell as its new CEO. Unfortunately for them, that's not where some in their party are -- and, more importantly, it's not where the country is. A whopping 74 percent of Americans (including 54 percent of "pro-choicers") support significant restrictions on abortion.

That doesn't exactly jive with the DNC's platform, which, for the first time, staked out extreme ground in its embrace – not only of taxpayer-funded abortion, but abortion on demand. Now, caught in an incredibly shrinking tent, Perez is trying to convince everyone that pro-lifers are indeed welcome (despite all the evidence to the contrary). But party moderates like Senator Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), who's been put in an almost impossible position by the party's intolerance, aren't sure they believe him.

"What Mr. Perez said makes no sense to me. This is a deeply personal issue, and we should be about respecting one another," said the self-identified pro-lifer. "I don't know why we would want to start walking away from folks, like myself, who have a personal conviction on the pro-life issue." (And those in predominately red states who feel likewise.) "We ought to be able to include everyone, as opposed to saying 'no, we don't want these folks, even though they fight with us on jobs, even though they fight with us for economic rights, even though they fight with us on healthcare.' It just seems to me to be very, very short-sighted." Maybe that's starting to sink in at DNC headquarters, where Perez just agreed to meet with Democrats for Life of America. It's part of a broader outreach to pro-life Democrats, the office says.

But saying there's room in the party for pro-lifers and proving it are two different things. Just yesterday, Democrats couldn't accept even the mildest of conditions on global health aid, which is that our tax dollars not fund overseas groups who promote or perform abortions. Under the Trump administration's new order, an $8.8 billion pool of foreign assistance will be redirected to organizations that understand abortion isn't health care. To most Americans, that's just common sense. But predictably, Democrats lost their minds. From Reps. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) to Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), they called the decision to put more money into actual care "a cruel and unprecedented attack on the world's most vulnerable women." Using the same playbook as the debate over Planned Parenthood defunding, they insist that conservatives are somehow "threatening the lives of millions of women and children."

No, what threatens children is a procedure that actually kills them. All President Trump has done is ensure that U.S. dollars aren't a front for overseas abortion and instead provide true medical help. Still, Senator Shaheen fired back, "This administration's pathetic rebranding of this policy is a thinly veiled attempt to hide the tremendous harm it has around the world." If the Democratic Party can't even concede what used to be bipartisan ground -- that tax dollars shouldn't be used for the destruction of innocent life -- then their efforts to reconcile with pro-life Democrats is a hollow gesture indeed.

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

Ruling Fits Screen Printer to a Tee

May 16, 2017

When the Constitution protects the freedom of the press, it includes t-shirt presses! The owners of a Kentucky screen printing shop are relieved that at least one court recognizes it and ruled in the Lexington business's favor. Five years after an LGBT group filed a complaint that Blaine Anderson's Hands On Original wouldn't print gay pride t-shirts, the state's court of appeals sided with the owners, ruling that no one should be forced to engage in speech they disagree with -- including small business owners.

Initially, the city's Human Rights Commission found Anderson "guilty" of breaking the town's "fairness" ordinance and sentenced him to "diversity training." At the time, the Commission's Executive Director, Raymond Sexton, infamously said it's time for Christians in the marketplace "to leave their religion at home." By a 2-1 decision, a panel of judges disagreed, ruling that "The right of free speech does not guarantee to any person the right to use someone else's property. The 'conduct' Hands On Originals chose not to promote was pure speech. There is no contention that Hands On Originals is a public forum in addition to a public accommodation. Nothing in the fairness ordinance prohibits Hands On Originals, a private business, from engaging in viewpoint or message censorship."

For Blaine, it was a relief to know that "the legal system worked." (Along with great representation from our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom.) As he told reporters, "I don't leave my faith at the door when I walk into my business." Nor should any Christian. Does the government have the power to force citizens to engage in speech they disagree with? The answer is no. Unfortunately, that won't stop the Lexington Human Rights Commission from asking the Kentucky Supreme Court the same question. Unanimously, they voted last night to appeal the ruling to the highest bench in the state. Hopefully, it -- like every court on this case -- will agree: surrendering our First Amendment rights is not the "price of doing business."

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

Royce the Choice of HHS

May 16, 2017

Defending democracy is a tough business -- so it's no wonder President Trump would want someone like FRC's Ken Blackwell on the job. At the end of last week, the White House announced the creation of a bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Integrity, chaired by Vice President Mike Pence. As former Ohio Secretary of State, Ken, who will join six other members, has been internationally recognized for his work on election integrity.

In addition to serving as FRC's Senior Fellow for Human Rights and Constitutional Governance, he also serves as Chairman of the Board of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES). I've known and worked with Ken on some of the toughest issues facing our nation for years. I can't think of anyone better prepared to help ensure that our democratic system is a fair and honest one. Every American, regardless of party, has a stake in election integrity -- something that we should never take for granted.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Human Services is getting another prize in FRC's Chief of Staff Shannon Royce. After two years serving alongside us, Shannon is transitioning to a position of leadership at Secretary Tom Price's HHS, where she'll join former FRCers Teresa Manning and Charmaine Yoest. Shannon's new job, Director of the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, will give her an opportunity to use her vast coalition-building experience in defense of solid health care policy. We couldn't be happier to see her use her talents to advance the pro-life message in the Trump administration. Please join us in congratulating Shannon and Ken!

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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