Big Apple Parents Beware
From trans fats to Big Gulps, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has insisted that the city's interest in "public health" excuses his overreach on things like dietary choices. This seems a bit hypocritical for a mayor who just last year told a crowd, "The government should get out of your personal life!" Unfortunately, the Mayor's duplicity doesn't stop with targeting those who frequent the city's restaurants. Parents should also beware.
The New York Times reported today that the city is now distributing free "morning after" pills in more than 50 high school buildings. In 13 of the schools in which the city actually runs the clinic (as opposed to a local health clinic), an opt-out form was provided for parents to sign. As is typical, not every parent saw the form and several students even admitted to a reporter that they had not bothered to pass the opt-out form to their parents. Shockingly, during the 2011-2012 school year alone, about 5,500 girls were given Plan B.
Anna Higgins, director of FRC's Center for Human Dignity, was quoted in the The New York Times story, "The moral and physical consequences to this premature sexual behavior are very real. They need to be addressed by the person who knows the child and who loves the child best, which is the parent." This is especially true when it comes to a drug that hasn't been tested by the FDA to demonstrate the effectiveness and safety of the pills on young girls. Even President Obama as the father of two girls has recognized the potential dangers of stocking Plan B "alongside the bubble gum or batteries."
Rather than addressing a public health problem, the Mayor is creating a new one. How's this for harm: Young people under 25 are infected with about half of the sexually transmitted infections (STIs) nationwide -- and Plan B doesn't protect against a single one. Not only has Plan B had zero impact on teen pregnancy rates, but a 2010 study found that it's partially responsible for a spike in adolescent STIs. Surely, moms and dads have a right to help their daughters considering the risks. Unfortunately, the trends will only change when leaders recognize that involving parents in the decision-making process is the best birth control of all.
Harry Reid's Final Countdown
The Defense of Marriage Act, election law, wiretapping, illicit fundraising, Obama Administration delaying the employer mandate . . . If there is one thing President Obama and his party has perfected, it is if they don't like the law or the rules, they are willing to change them unilaterally. Following the President's example, now Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is claiming democracy in the Senate is broken and his solution to fix it is to blow it up. Next week Senator Reid is setting up the Senate to change its procedures, called the "nuclear option," in order to squelch any voice of the minority by creating an exception to the traditional 60 vote threshold.
Hypocritically, the thing Reid is threatening to do he fought against when he was in the minority. At that time, Republicans considered changing the rules to avoid a filibuster, but in a way that would have gone through the rules committee. Reid is proposing a parliamentary gimmick in which Vice President Joe Biden, who under the Constitution serves as president of the Senate, can make an exception to current Senate rules. Recently Reid even stated "The nuclear option was the most important issue I'd ever worked on in my entire career because if that had gone forward, it would have destroyed the Senate as we know it." Now that he is in the majority, the rules protecting the minority mean nothing to him. And the eventual result will be that liberal interests that work against the American people will be the only thing that the Senate will ever debate as long as he is in power. Worse, Majority Leader Reid's plan is based on false premises, not on facts. If Reid insists on changing the Senate procedures by parliamentary gimmick, it will not be because Senate Republicans have forced his hand. Of the 1,564 nominations President Obama has sent to the Senate, only four have been rejected. In fact the Senate Republicans have allowed quite a few horrible nominees through. However this isn't enough for "bomb thrower Harry" who is willing to do whatever it takes, including eliminating Congress's democratic process, to get what he wants.
Porn in the Dorm: Join Us for Our Upcoming Lecture
Pornography is a danger for everyone, but few are more susceptible to it than college students. Away from home and encouraged by their peers, many young men and women fall prey to the lure of "virtual" sex and become entrapped by its destructive embrace. That's why FRC's Dr. Pat Fagan, one of the nation's leading researchers and commentators on social policy and family life, will be giving a provocative, important lecture, "Porn in the Dorm: The Impact of Pornography on College Campus Life." It will be at noon ET on Wednesday, July 17, at FRC headquarters in Washington. We invite you to join us or, if you're not in the DC area, to register and watch the event online at no charge.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.