Title X's and No's

Title X's and No's

May 10, 2018

Why bother with elections at all? If Democrats get their way, America will be run entirely by the courts. Like a kid running to mom when dad says no, liberals insist on taking the president to court for policies that are entirely his prerogative to set. Like the world's worst re-run, we've seen this strategy play out over and over again -- from military and immigration policy to HHS funding rules and school privacy. At some point, someone needs to remind the Left that voters set a new direction for the country in November 2016.

America isn't an oligarchy -- but you wouldn't know it by the number of lawsuits the Left has brought. Liberals have tried to sue their way to victory on abortion, transgenders in the military, and everything in between. And as usual, activist courts are more than happy to help. This week, two more federal judges tried to deny HHS the power it was granted at the ballot box by ordering the administration to hand over taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood for sex-ed programs that don't work!

Despite the government's own data that these grants are ineffective at best (and harmful at worst), District Judge Catherine Blake ruled that HHS's decision to cut $5 million in funding from a Baltimore program was "arbitrary and capricious." What's arbitrary about a conservative administration funneling money to a more conservative approach? No organization, least of all Planned Parenthood, has a "right" to government funds. They have to earn it -- something their evaluations agree they haven't done. Even without the piles of research rejecting Obama's approach, turning teen pregnancy programs over to groups that profit from ending those pregnancies isn't exactly the smartest idea our government has ever had.

Still, Judge Blake and another federal court are demanding that President Trump reinstate programs that are in his power to defund. "Continuing the program in its current state does a disservice to the youth it serves and to the taxpayers who fund it," HHS argued. "Communities deserve better, and we are considering our next steps."

Of course, the greatest irony of all is that the Left is outraged for losing what is actually a very small piece of the sex-ed funding pie. Even now, with a major boost from the president, abstinence education barely gets ten cents of every sex-ed dollar the government spends. And yet, these activists are determined to snatch away every penny of money from programs that challenge their flawed and costly ideology. As always, Trump's opponents would rather pay for more failure than admit that the conservative curriculum works.

In Congress, a group of Democrats is taking a more civil approach to Trump's policies, writing a letter of protest to HHS Secretary Alex Azar. In particular, they object to the president's plans to move forward with what they call a "domestic gag rule." In reality, it's just a regulation that says groups who get Title X "family planning" money can't promote or refer for abortion. Led by Reps. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), the liberals argue:

Reinstating the domestic gag rule is nothing more than an opportunity for President Trump to fulfill his pledge to 'defund Planned Parenthood,' whose health centers serve 40 percent of Title X patients and remain an essential part of the family planning safety net... Additionally, other providers of Title X-funded care would face immense challenges in attempting to absorb the patients that would lose access to care through Planned Parenthood.

Well, guess what, House conservatives wrote in a dueling letter? Abortion isn't family planning! Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.), who joined more than 150 colleagues and 41 senators in urging HHS to move forward with the rule, understands what the Left is driving at: protecting America's biggest abortion business. "For far too long, the Title X program has been a slush fund for Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood dismembers or chemically poisons a baby to death every two minutes -- killing over 7 million innocent children since 1973. I hope that the administration will finally turn off this funding stream for Planned Parenthood -- 'Child Abuse Incorporated.'"

Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) couldn't agree more. "The integrity of taxpayer dollars should never be in question, let alone specified funding for Title X Family Planning Program recipients. Once again... federal funds are being funneled to abortion service sites when the majority of Americans are opposed to this industry. It is my hope that Secretary Azar will review and update these regulations to stop funding for programs, like Planned Parenthood, that disgustingly dub abortion 'family planning.'"

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

Home Sweet Home...

May 10, 2018

For the three men stepping onto the tarmac of Andrews Air Force Base before dawn, it was an incredible sight. A massive American flag, so big it had to be suspended from ladders of two firetrucks, was glowing from the bank of dozens of spotlights. To the hostages who had endured so much, it was the first real proof that their long and painful journey was over. They were finally, and inexplicably, home.

Kim Dong Chul, Tony Kim, and Kim Hak-song got their first taste of freedom when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that their plane had cleared North Korea's airspace. It had been a whirlwind day for the detainees, who no one -- including President Trump -- expected to actually be released. "Frankly," he told reporters at the men's homecoming celebration, "we didn't think it was going to happen."

The three men, who took their first steps on U.S. soil in Alaska during refueling, couldn't believe their nightmare ordeals were over. "We would like to express our deep appreciation to the United States government, President Trump, Secretary Pompeo, and the people of the United States for bringing us home," they said in a statement. "We thank God, and all our families and friends who prayed for us and for our return. God Bless America, the greatest nation in the world." They talked about their days in captivity, which -- for Kim Dong Chul -- included torturous days at a hard labor camp. After three long years, the dream of coming home and being reunited with his family seemed too much to hope for.

"We want to thank Kim Jong Un," said President Trump, who got an unusually early start to his day. "We very much appreciate that he allowed them to go before the meeting. He was nice in letting them go before the meeting ... That was a big thing, very important to me." It was a "big thing" for his administration too. Negotiating the release of Americans is no small feat with a regime like North Korea, especially after the last administration botched any sort of meaningful strategy in the region.

FRC's Lt. General Jerry Boykin (Ret.) said he couldn't be prouder of the president, Pompeo, and the entire White House team. "I think that we need to look at the timing of all of this and recognize that at the same time Pompeo was en route to North Korea, Donald Trump was standing up telling the world that we are canceling the Iran deal. It would seem to me that Pompeo went in with some cards in his deck there and I think it strengthened his hand that Trump canceled this Iran deal. Now he's coming out with three hostages. This is international leadership at its best."

President Obama didn't have the stomach for Trump's brand of diplomacy. Now, with a June 12 summit with Kim Jong Un in Singapore on the horizon, we'll have to see what other history this administration can make. As the editors of the New York Daily News wrote in an open thank you letter to the president for freeing these men:

It was the American government's responsibility to try to get them back. The President and his team succeeded... When Kim released two prisoners in 2014, including the American then held the longest time in the country, North Korea's vice-foreign minister related the following to a South Korean official, according to The New Yorker: 'Kim Jong-un is going to be around for a long time. So, if President Obama doesn't talk to us, we will just wait for the next President.'

The next President is here, and that hope has been met."

For more on this story, check out General Boykin's interview below.

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

Bishop No Pawn in Privacy Showdown

May 10, 2018

It must be exhausting to be wrong all of the time, but that's what's happening to the enemies of privacy bills. Since the debate exploded a few years ago, extremists have been adamant that keeping men out of girls' restrooms and vice-versa would hurt states, candidates for public office, even businesses. They've been wrong on every count -- and Tuesday's North Carolina primary was the latest example why.

Conservative state senator Dan Bishop (R) had heard it all campaign long: he was going to pay for his sponsorship of H.B. 2, the most nationally-known privacy bill. His opponent spent in an inordinate amount of time and money challenging Bishop, insisting that his push to protect women and children was what motivated her to run. H.B. 2, Beth Monaghan told reporters, "saddened and infuriated her." Later, she explained, "I just have too much pride in my state of North Carolina to not do something about this senator." So, she ran for the District 39 seat -- as a Republican no less -- in a direct challenge to a measure, H.B. 2, that had overwhelming grassroots support.

Tami Fitzgerald, who directs the North Carolina Values Coalition, couldn't believe it. "Let's see, she contributed to Hillary Clinton, Roy Cooper, the NC Democrat Party, Julie Eiselt, and a Washington D.C.-based LGBT activist group; she wants to rehash the Charlotte bathroom ordinance; and she's running as a Republican?"

Turns out, that wasn't such a great idea – not her party affiliation, and certainly not her attack of common sense privacy laws. If there's something more lopsided than a landslide, Monaghan experienced it. Her candidacy went down in flames, losing to Bishop 29-71 percent. I guess she showed him. Turns out, the bill had the same negative effect on her opponent as it's had on business: none! If anything, the privacy issue has been a boon to those with the courage to stand up and champion common sense.

Since 2016, the Left's prophecies of doom over bathroom bills have never materialized. Earlier this year, Forbes helped cut the legs out from under an already shaky argument in its latest Top States for Business report. The Lone Star State's economy, which liberals predicted would lose $8.5 billion in GDP for keeping men out of girls' restrooms, finished number two, the state's best showing since 2006. And North Carolina -- ground zero in the bathroom wars? Number one -- a spot above its last two years. So much for privacy debates being bad for business! In fact, of the top 10 states, only ONE (Colorado) has the radical sexual orientation, gender identity (SOGI) law liberals are fighting for.

Congratulations to Dan Bishop and every leader willing to stand up for the safety of his state! It's not just the right platform -- it's a winning one!

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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