May Day for Planned Parenthood


May Day for Planned Parenthood

May 01, 2018

When Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards walked out of her office for the last time yesterday, fans gushed that her legacy wouldn't be forgotten. They're right -- because Richards's legacy is the brutal slaughter of 3.5 million unborn lives. In her 12 years at the top, Planned Parenthood destroyed a population bigger than Chicago's -- and somehow managed to convince Congress to help.

We'll never know how much taxpayers have unwillingly propped up the group's killing machine -- but we know enough. A half-billion dollar investment into a group that thinks carving up tiny bodies is a great way to make a buck, or jokes about hitting the gym before snapping babies' necks, is an indefensible use of American money. Then, of course, there's the organization's political hobby. "Richards reaped the rewards of taxpayer largess," Kristin Hawkins writes, "made possible in part by cozy relationships with those holding Uncle Sam's purse strings." Now, thanks to Congress keeping the tamer side of business afloat, Planned Parenthood can sink another $30 million into a midterm election campaign designed to elect people who will protect their federal gravy train. All of this while the organization is under criminal investigation by the FBI!

No wonder President Trump is huddling with staff to give Richards the perfect parting gift: a change to the government's funding rules. According to multiple sources, the administration has been discussing a major rewrite of Title X "family planning" funds for weeks. After last weekend's #ProtestPP rallies in 150 cities, leaders are getting the message: it's time to act. And while Congress may have let pro-lifers down in the latest omnibus spending package, the White House doesn't need to prove its sincerity on the issue after a series of policy victories.

With a new set of regulations, the president could draw a bright line between abortion groups and true family planning programs. What's on the table at the White House now are Reagan-era rules that would still let Planned Parenthood take Title X funds -- but not at the clinics where they perform abortions. Under this "co-location" policy, they'd have to choose between dropping their abortion services from any location that gets Title X dollars and moving those abortion operations offsite. Either way, it could take away a significant bite out of the group's $80 million in family planning funds.

The Hill's conservatives are certainly on board. In letters released today, 106 House and 41 Senate Republicans appeal to HHS chief Alex Azar to move forward with the rule change. Led by Reps. Ron Estes (R-Kans.), Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) Chris Smith (R-N.J.), and Diane Black (R-Tenn.), House members argue:

The separation between abortion and family planning has been weakened by permitting Title X clinics to be 'co-located' within the same facility as an entity that provides abortion... Such an arrangement raises concerns about program integrity. Co-located centers may be vulnerable to misuse of funds in support of abortion activities and send a message that abortion is considered a method of family planning in federally funded family planning programs. To ensure that the federally funded family planning services offered by Title X grant recipients are unquestionably separate and distinct from abortion, Title X service sites should be physically, as well as financially, separate from facilities that provide abortion.

Pro-life senators like Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) agreed, writing separately:

We ask that you restore the regulations issued on February 2, 1988 (53 FR 2922) which clarified that Title X programs may not promote, counsel, or refer clients for abortion or co-locate or combine family planning services with abortion activities. These rules required not only complete financial separation, but also physical separation of abortion activities from Title X service sites and separate personnel. These rules were upheld by the Supreme Court in Rust v. Sullivan (500 U.S. 173) in 1991.

We applaud the states that have acted on Congress' 2017 legislation overturning an Obama-era Title X rule (P.L. 115-23) by redirecting these funds from abortion entities like Planned Parenthood towards community health centers that provide more comprehensive health services for women, but not abortion. Nevertheless, we urge the administration to do more.

Conservatives will get another crack at Planned Parenthood's funding stream -- hopefully soon. Until then, the $80 million they get under Title X is a major step to the ultimate goal: ending taxpayers' forced partnership with abortion for good.


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


Trump Calls out Nigeria on Christian Killings

May 01, 2018

As toxic as our culture can be, Americans still take going to church safely for granted. In places like Nigeria, the simple act of showing up to worship can be deadly. Late last month, the world was horrified to read that another remote village in the African country lost another 19 people to a mass shooting at church. Radical Islamists walked into the service and opened fire, killing two priests and 17 others. The ones who survived watched helplessly as the Muslim herdsmen set fire to more than 50 of their homes. And the violence shows no sign of stopping.

Yesterday, in a joint press conference with the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, President Trump called out Buhari for not making more of an effort to protect the country's men and women of faith. "We are deeply concerned by religious violence in Nigeria including the burning of churches and the killing and persecution of Christians. It's a horrible story," Trump said bluntly. "We encourage Nigeria and the federal state and local leaders to do everything in their power to immediately secure the affected communities and to protect innocent civilians of all faiths including Muslims and including Christians."

It was a bold move to challenge Buhari publicly -- one that proves the president's deep sincerity on the issue of religious liberty. Although Nigerian officials have taken the threats of ISIS and Boko Haram more seriously, the Fulani herdsman are proving to be more deadly than either. The situation becomes even more delicate when you consider that Buhari is Fulani and also Muslim, which has led several people to wonder if he's trying hard enough to end the bloodshed.

According to Christianity Today, Nigeria's Catholic bishops "have accused Buhari of ineffective leadership and recently asked him to resign, saying, 'Whether this failure is due to inability to perform or lack of political will, it is time for him to choose the path of honor and consider stepping aside to save the nation from total collapse.'" This, on the heels of another middle-of-the-night ambush of Christian homes and a church where families were hiding. Hundreds, officials say, have already been killed this year.

To his credit -- and in stark contrast to the last administration -- President Trump is tackling the issue head on. "We've had very serious problems with Christians who have been murdered, killed in Nigeria," said Trump. "We're going to be working on that problem and working on that problem very, very hard because we can't allow that to happen." With the help of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Ambassador Sam Brownback, let's hope world leaders are getting the message that America won't stand by and let this brutality go unchecked.

FRC will be talking more about this topic Wednesday in a special panel, "Religious Freedom and National Security: Opportunities for Secretary Pompeo." If you haven't registered for the event, check it out here.


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


Are Dems Losing Their Grip on Millennials?

May 01, 2018

Taking millennials' support for granted would be a huge mistake for Democrats this November, a new poll points out. While most people naturally assume the under-34 crowd is in the Left's back pocket, liberals got a jolt from this week's Reuters survey, which shows exactly how much ground Democrats are losing with the generation.

In a survey of more than 16,000 voters between the ages of 18-34, researchers were surprised to see a big drop in Democratic support. Enthusiasm is waning, Chris Kahn warns, with a nine-point slip in the Left's advantage over the GOP. Increasingly, reporters point out, young people say "the Republican Party is a better steward of the economy." With vignettes like Terry Hood's, an African American who voted for Hilary Clinton in 2016, it's obvious that what Donald Trump and Republican leaders have done is helping their midterm election case. "It sounds strange to me to say this about the Republicans," said the 34-year-old, "but they're helping with even the small things. They're taking less taxes out of my paycheck. I notice that."

While the numbers are still on the Democrats' side (only 28 percent "overtly support" Republicans), they're shrinking – especially as millennials age. Among the population's white voters, the shift to the GOP was even more obvious. "Two years ago, young white people favored Democrats over Republicans for Congress by a margin of 47 to 33 percent; that gap vanished by this year, with 39 percent supporting each party."

And the economy isn't the only thing changing people's minds. Ashley Reed, a mom of three, voted for Barack Obama. "But," Kahn writes, "her politics evolved with her personal life... [N]ow 28, she grew more supportive of gun rights... [and] she opposed abortion after having children."

Of course, all of this confirms what we've said for years. As young people marry and have children, they become more socially conservative because they're responsible for protecting and shaping a life. They become more financially conservative when they buy their first house. This is nothing new. History -- and most statistical data -- shows that young people also tend to become more religious as they grow up, get married, and start families of their own. Millennials, like the generations before them, want to live independently and adventurously. Those growing pains usually translate to more thoughtful cultural engagement after they take on more responsibility. That's why promoting marriage and having children (in that order) are not only important to this country, but to the future of conservatism.


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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