Liberals Try in Vein to Change U.S. Blood Ban
Are you willing to risk contracting HIV to prove how tolerant you are? If the FDA repeals its blood bank policy, you may not have a choice. At this morning's HHS hearing in Maryland, liberal activists did their best to persuade the government to overturn its ban on blood donations from homosexuals. Ironically, this latest push happens to coincide with the agency's latest report that the demand for blood donations is not only dropping -- but becoming more selective.
Under rules from the Food and Drug Administration, men who've had sex with other men in the last 25 years are considered too much of a health hazard to give blood. The government created the policy in 1985 after officials discovered that thousands of hemophiliacs were contracting -- and dying from -- HIV/AIDS-infected blood. According to the CDC, men who have sex with other men "accounted for at least half of persons diagnosed with HIV in all but two states."
That doesn't matter to liberal activists, who seem to think Americans should ignore the science and risk exposing people to disease just to make a political point. People who care more about sensitivity than safety argue that the policy is discriminatory. And they're right. If the FDA wants to protect people's health, it has to be selective. The government can't afford to contaminate the blood supply just to validate anyone who engages in homosexual behavior.
As FRC's Peter Sprigg testified earlier today, "there is no 'right' to donate blood." The current policy should only be changed if HHS can prove all of the following: 1) a change is needed to ensure an adequate blood supply; 2) the change would result in a significant increase in the blood supply; 3) a change would result in no added risk to the blood supply; 4) the change would add no additional costs for added or special screening procedures.
In a transfusion environment where recipients assume all of the risk, the FDA should continue focusing on protection -- not political correctness. Even if the new screening can detect virtually all tainted blood, no test is 100% safe. And the government shouldn't be wiling to risk America's blood supply to prove it.
For Congress, Nothing to Hyde?
It may be the season of giving -- but abortion wasn't the gift most taxpayers had in mind. Too bad, says the Obama administration -- which is not only forcing taxpayers to fund it but also forcing Congress to participate even though it violates federal law. Under a rule from the government's HR department (the Office of Personnel Management), the House, Senate, and their staffs are the recipients of $11,378 that they can use to buy ObamaCare plans with abortion.
And according to Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), there are plenty to choose from. On the D.C. exchange that covers Congress, only nine of the 112 insurance policies are pro-life. The other 90% flies in the face of the President's not-so-solemn vow that "no federal dollars will be used to fund abortion." Well, not only are federal dollars funding abortion, but they're funding them for the same leaders who outlawed it!
Under the Smith and Hyde amendments, Congress -- and for that matter, taxpayers -- can't use government dollars to pay for abortion. But as everyone in America knows, the President isn't going to let a little thing like "the law" stand in the way of his radical abortion agenda. And in this case, he's making the Hill a hostage in his scheme. Think about it. This administration is so corrupt that it's forcing the House and Senate to break the very laws they wrote!
In a bizarre twist, these members and their staffs are the only federal employees with access to abortion coverage through their insurance plans. And if it weren't for Congressman Smith's persistence, even they wouldn't have known it. "It was incredibly confusing, if not impossible, to find out," Smith told reporters. Even Congress, with great resources at its disposal, can't get to the bottom of their insurance benefits. "That is what's happening in state after state. People cannot find out if plans on the exchange include abortion."
The American people shouldn't be forced to pay for a congresswoman's abortion -- or anyone's for that matter! And remember, enough leaders felt strongly about it that Congress almost killed the health care bill in 2010 to prevent it. Without the President's phony executive order, which he insisted would ban taxpayer-funded abortion, leaders might still be debating the White House's plan.
But, recognizing that honesty was the bill's biggest liability, the President stood before the American people and swore to protect the wall between taxpayers and the dark business of abortion. When groups like FRC called his bluff, he accused us of deception. "I know there's been a lot of misinformation in this debate," he told faith leaders on a conference call in 2009. There are some folks out there who are, frankly, bearing false witness -- but I want everyone to know what health insurance reform is all about."
Now, three and a half years later, Americans finally see who was telling the truth (hint: it wasn't Barack Obama). The same Congress that passed ObamaCare has confirmed what FRC said all along -- that nothing is stopping the health care law from funding women's abortions. Not the current language, not the sham of an executive order -- not even preexisting law. If you wonder why Americans of all ages, including millennials, are abandoning President Obama, it's simple. They don't trust him. On the issues they care about -- and life is one of them -- people are running out of fingers to count the President's lies.
A Rich Discussion on the Poverty of Nations
If we're serious about addressing the critical issue of global poverty, we have to do so "intelligently, not of ignorance or warm hearts." This was the counsel of prominent theologian Dr. Wayne Grudem yesterday at FRC, where he discussed his new book, The Poverty of Nations (co-authored with Dr. Barry Asmus), at a noontime FRC lecture.
Dr. Grudem explored the causes of national poverty or wealth including corruption, limitations on human freedom, and the value placed by a society on human dignity and basic integrity. Focusing on cultural values is a unique approach to national economic development -- and a vital one. In a recent report on world corruption, there's one striking similarity. The nations which Grudem and Asmus identify as having high per capita GDP (a prime factor in measuring economic prosperity and poverty) correspond almost exactly to those with lower corruption scores according to Transparency International's Corruption Index.
Could it be that the moral character of a nation is a key factor in its economic growth? The evidence seems to say so. Watch Dr. Grudem explain how biblical and free market principles can transform any economy if applied with honesty, consistency and courage.
** On today's edition of "Washington Watch" Terry Jeffrey, Editor-in-Chief of CNS News drops by to talk about the latest bombshell that congressional ObamaCare plans do cover abortion. Young America's Foundation Communication Director Ashley Pratte will also be on to discuss the wave of young Americans jumping ship on the President. Also, FRC's Senior Fellow for Family Empowerment, Ken Blackwell, explains to listeners how the President is using the IRS to attack free speech. To listen, click over to TonyPerkins.com.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.