Fifth Circuit Short Circuits Planned Parenthood
In the abortion debate, there aren't many areas where the two sides agree. But shouldn't women's safety be one of them? Planned Parenthood doesn't think so -- and spends hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees proving it. In one of the greatest ironies of politics, the one thing standing between women and safe abortions continues to be the people providing them. In Texas, the abortion giant isn't fighting the "war on women," it's fighting the war on health care accountability.
No sooner had Governor Rick Perry (R) signed his name to the bottom of HB 2 than Cecile Richards's group was in court, filing for the right to keep the clinics' shoddy standards in place. Despite a five-clinic sting that same month, in which inspectors found everything from rusty suction machines to contaminated medicine in several locations, a lower court sided with Planned Parenthood in its crusade to protect clinics from the accountability they so desperately need.
Yesterday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on the side of women's health and upheld the state's abortion rules -- dealing a huge blow to Planned Parenthood and other groups who insisted that the law didn't protect women, but instead put an "undue burden" on them. A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit unanimously disagreed. Instead, the judges -- all women, ironically -- believe HB 2 "reduces the risk that abortion patients will be subjected to woefully inadequate treatment." "During these proceedings," Judge Edith Jones wrote, "Planned Parenthood conceded that at least 210 women in Texas annually must be hospitalized after seeking an abortion. Witnesses on both sides further testified that some of the women who are hospitalized after an abortion have complications that require an Ob/Gyn specialist's treatment."
Under the ruling, two sections of HB 2 were upheld: the requirement that doctors have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and a mandate that the dangerous RU-486 abortion drug (responsible for killing at least 10 women) be administered according to FDA procedure. Sounds logical enough. Not to Planned Parenthood, apparently, which blasted the judges' opinion as an infringement of a woman's right (to sub par care). "Safe and legal abortion will continue to be virtually impossible for thousands of Texas women to access."
If that's true, it's only because abortion tycoons like Planned Parenthood refuse to spare the money to upgrade their system. Like most of the industry, they say they care about women but refuse to prove it with simple modifications. As a result, 19 Texas abortion clinics have closed after failing to meet these common sense health standards.
For Governor Rick Perry (R) and state leaders, who survived death threats, Satan chants, political bullying, and even being chased down Capitol hallways for supporting the law, Thursday's victory was especially sweet. "The people of Texas have spoken through their elected leaders and in support of protecting the culture of life in our state," Governor Perry told reporters.
Meanwhile, the Fifth Circuit's decision was a huge rebuke of state Senator Wendy Davis, who became a household name for single-handedly trying to keep Texas's abortion regulations as lax as possible. Thanks to this ruling, Americans are finally getting a picture of who the real extremists are.
Shop to It! Get out There and Support Hobby Lobby!
Whatever your plans are this weekend, make sure they include a stop at Hobby Lobby! Join FRC, Senator Rick Santorum, and Governor Mike Huckabee in shopping your support at the arts and crafts store on Saturday for #HobbyLobbyDay. While the Supreme Court considers Tuesday's arguments for religious liberty, you can deliver your own verdict by using social media to promote the family businesses like Hobby Lobby who are under attack with the HHS mandate. If the justices don't intervene, companies like Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood will be forced to provide pills and procedures they morally oppose -- or pay fines, which, for Hobby Lobby, would be as much as $1.3 million each day.
What can you do? It's simple. If you have a Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter account, change your profile picture by clicking here. Shop at your local Hobby Lobby or online at HobbyLobby.com and say "thank you" with a card from your family -- then share those photos with the hashtag #HobbyLobbyDay at social media. Get involved in standing for religious freedom!
Farewell to an Unsung Hero
Throughout these 31 years, there are a handful of people who are synonymous with Family Research Council. Paul Fitzpatrick and his wife, Anne, are two of them. Together, the Fitzpatricks have poured their hearts into building FRC (literally!) into one of the clearest voices for faith, family, and freedom in America. While most people know my face, General Boykin's, and a handful of others, they don't see the dozens of individuals supporting our missing outside the public eye. Today, FRC is saying goodbye to one of those leaders, as Paul leaves the organization he spent two decades serving. As the Director of Foundations, later as the Vice President for Development, and more recently, FRC's Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Paul formed deep and lasting relationships with hundreds of families who make our work possible. From his first days until now, Paul had a passion for growing FRC's reputation as an organization of excellence -- and he has been an invaluable part of making that vision a reality. Like everyone on our staff, the Fitzpatrick family has sacrificed a lot for this calling -- but we rejoice that the fruits of that sacrifice will live on, impacting countless people who care about life, marriage, faith, and family. Paul will continue to work in the broader movement, just with a new organization. As he follows the Lord's calling, we offer him our most profound thanks for a job well done. He will be sorely missed!
** FRC's billboard near the Air Force Academy caught a lot people's eye -- including the mainstream media. Check out some of the coverage in The Blaze, Christian Post, WorldNetDaily, Charisma News, and OneNewsNow.
*** We know the HHS mandate is a freedom-killer, but as FRC's Emily Minick points out in NRO, it's also a job-killer. Check out her piece, "The Anti-Jobs HHS Mandate." Also, don't miss Ken Blackwell's new op-ed, "A Marriage Spring -- like the Arab Spring? The Dangers of the Un-Marriage Movement."
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.