Texas Law Larger than Life
Governor Rick Perry has signed his name tens of thousands of times -- but rarely is it more gratifying than today. Just by picking up his pen and signing a bill, the Governor of Texas protected women and saved countless young lives. Despite everything the Left threw at him (and would have thrown, if the police hadn't intervened), local conservatives watched with pride asTexas joined the growing coalition of states listening to voters and moving to protect innocent unborn children.
Thursday's victory is especially sweet for state leaders, who survived death threats, Satan chants, political bullying, and even being chased down Capitol hallways for their beliefs. In the end, nothing -- not even the full weight of the national media -- could deter legislators and Governor Perry from doing what they knew was right: defending the human dignity of those who cannot defend themselves. "This is an important day for those who support life and for those who support the health of Texas women," the Governor said at this morning's ceremony. "In signing House Bill 2 today, we celebrate and further cement the foundation on which the culture of life in Texas is built."
Under the new law, which is set to kick in this October, abortion after 20 weeks -- when babies can feel the excruciating pain -- will be outlawed, along with any clinic that doesn't have hospital-admitting privileges and other basic safety measures in place. Right now, the Associated Press reports, only five of Texas's 42 abortion clinics would qualify under the new criteria.
And while the Left calls the policy "extreme," the American people certainly don't see it that way. In a new survey by the liberal Huffington Post, adults overwhelmingly support laws like this one and Rep. Trent Franks's (R-Ariz.) federal Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Seventy percent of people who are pro-choice in some situations said they favor measures like Texas's. In a society that treats animals with more decency than unborn children, even they recognize the inhumanity of aborting babies who suffer.
By enacting this law, Texas is showing the country whose leaders are truly in step with U.S. voters (hint: it's not the radical Left!) Our (ten gallon) hats go off to all the courageous men and women in Texas who reminded us that even when Washington isn't listening, some states are.
Federal Educa-shun: Cantor Tries to Return Control to States
Fortunately for voters, there is one chamber in Congress that seems to understand Americans' priorities: the U.S. House. Our friends on the Hill continue to drive home the importance of life and freedom in a city dominated by Big Government radicals. One of those leaders, Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.) had the pleasure of watching his efforts pay off yesterday in a meeting of the House Appropriations Committee. Thanks to an amendment he wrote -- and FRC advocated -- U.S. taxpayers are one step closer to blocking abortion funding in ObamaCare. Without it, all but one of the multi-state plans under ObamaCare may include abortion coverage.
Now, thanks to the Republicans on the committee, the Financial Services bill headed for the House floor makes it clear that all of these plans have to conform to the longstanding rules on taxpayer-funded abortion. Although Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) did her best to kill Nunnelee's amendment, her attempt to strip the language from the final bill failed. "This committee has had a long history of bipartisan agreement of recognizing that taxpayers should not be asked to pay for elective abortions, nor should the taxpayers be paying for health plans that are administering elective abortions," Nunnelee said. "This amendment simply says that we will not allow dollars, taken by force from the paychecks of hardworking taxpayers, and have those dollars be used to fund administrative expenses for plans that pay for abortions."
Education, another hot topic in the House now that the No Child Left Behind Act is up for reauthorization, got a boost this week from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). When members debate the GOP's revamped Student Success Act, parents will have a strong ally in the House's second ranking leader. Rep. Cantor, who's part of the caucus overhauling President George W. Bush's unpopular bill, insisted that school choice play a stronger role in the country's education policy. Under an amendment written by the Majority Leader, families could take advantage of a national voucher program, in which Title I dollars would follow kids to the public or charter school of their choice. "If parents have choice, kids have opportunity," he told reporters.
Right now, the government funnels money to schools with the most poor students, instead of directing the money to individual students. Leader Cantor's measure would help change that, along with other vastly improved sections of federal education law. As it's written, the law would take a serious bite out of government spending -- doing away with unnecessary programs that are just racking up more debt. To the cheers of most teachers, it would also abolish the one-size-fits-all standards and empower state officials to implement reforms based on their local needs.
Unlike Bush's law, the proposal does away with a lot of federal oversight and returns education to a state-oriented, state-directed venture. And if the states' budgets and economies are any indication, local leaders do much better when Washington isn't involved in local policy. We applaud Rep. Cantor's ultimate goal of putting classroom decisions back where they belong: in parents' hands.
Porn in the Dorm?
FRC grabbed plenty of headlines yesterday -- including a spot on Drudge Report -- for Dr. Pat Fagan's lecture on sex and pornography. Time magazine and U.S. News and World Report were just a couple of the heavyweights interested in Wednesday's discussion. Though some stories only told part of the story, focusing more on churchgoers' sexual satisfaction than the dangers of pornography, helped to highlight the underlying message that relationships -- done God's way -- are not only more beneficial, but more enjoyable too.
Pornography is one of the greatest enemies of that ideal. Pat noted that it results in depersonalization, objectification, and moral collapse -- as other human beings are viewed merely as a means of pleasure, while their true personhood, and that of those who so use them, is lost. Pornography is a source not only of marital collapse and relational brokenness, but is the breeding ground of prostitution and sex trafficking. The good news is that God has prepared a better way: sexual intimacy within the bonds of marriage. Pat carefully documented how practicing biblical sexual ethics leads to myriad healthy, happy results. Check out the video from yesterday's event below.
** The Washington Times took aim at liberals who say religious liberty isn't under attack in the military. Check out this great column on the culture of intimidation, "Christians under Siege Push for More Freedom of Expression in Military." Also, FRC's Ken Klukowski covered the celebration in Texas and talks about the law's chances in court in his new Breitbart piece, "Texas Passes 20-Week Abortion Ban, Should Survive Legal Challenge."
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.