Two Appointments the GOP Should Cancel
Two Appointments the GOP Should Cancel
March 10, 2021
It's usually an administration's cabinet nominations that get the most attention -- but two senators are making the case that Joe Biden's deputy picks may be the most controversial of the bunch. Is the president trying to slip in his most radical nominees under Americans' noses? And just how much power do the seconds-in-command at HHS and the State Department have over abortion and transgender policy? Too much, Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) warn.
Most of the Senate's fireworks have been reserved for nominees like Xavier Becerra, Miguel Cardona, and other top-level agency officials. But ignoring their direct reports would be a major mistake, Republicans insist. Maybe Rachel Levine and Wendy Sherman aren't household names, but they'll be affecting your household -- and millions of others -- if they're confirmed.
In a Senate as closely divided as this one, the White House is probably hoping the both parties are too occupied with the cabinet-level nominees to care about the second tier. Senator Rubio dashed those hopes in a scathing op-ed about Biden's choice for deputy secretary of State. "No way," the Florida Republican insisted on the question of whether Sherman should be confirmed. Biden's pick, Rubio reminds everyone, was one of the first directors of EMILY's List, America's largest pro-abortion PAC. That alone, he argues, should make every conservative to think twice.
"Listen," he said on Tuesday's "Washington Watch," "she's a political operative." She helped negotiate the absurd Iran deal, she was a "full-blown advocate for the old notion that somehow we should be doing more with China.... She viciously attacked the Trump administration on a host of issues [like] Cuba, [and] Venezuela -- which, by the way, in [her confirmation] hearing, she couldn't point to what disagreements she had with their policies." In a State Department that has a long history of exporting abortion (with the exception of Donald Trump's), we're talking about installing a woman at the highest level of government whose idea of diplomacy is advocating the killing of unborn children around the world.
Wendy Sherman thinks that we should make abortion availability in other countries a condition of foreign aid -- including as Rubio pointed out, countries where that idea is not widely accepted. "That's the exporting of a cultural and social agenda... when our foreign policy should promote America's national interests and national security..." The point of global diplomacy, Rubio reminds everyone, is "not to take the political viewpoints of domestic policies and then superimpose them upon other cultures and countries" -- unless we're talking about a common good like democracy or human rights. But abortion is a divisive issue that goes "right to the heart of the values of any country. We shouldn't be imposing those sorts of things."
But unfortunately, Sherman isn't the only nominee on the verge of changing national norms. Rachel Levine, a biological man who identifies as a woman, is the kind of person Joe Biden believes should be second-in-command at HHS. Senator Paul, not caring how the media would savage him, decided to ask some pointed questions about how Levine's transgender agenda would impact the children of this country. Now, a week later, he's been called everything from a "transphobe" to a bigot. "And what's amazing about being labeled as a 'hater,'" he told listeners on "Washington Watch," "is that I never even mentioned Levine or the surgery and things that [he's] done to [himself]. I just asked whether a minor, whether a 10-year-old, could override parental consent [to get access to transgender hormones or surgery]." Levine refused to answer, leaving all of us to wonder just what brave new world Americans would be entering under his direction at HHS.
"So your parents say, 'You're 10-years-old, and you're not going to do this.' And then the 10-year-old says, 'No, I am.' And then the government would adjudicate that as the minor having the right to overrule their parents. I think that's horrendous to imagine. People also need to realize what's going on in these [gender] clinics. Ten percent of the kids are between the ages of three and 10. And when they go in... what they do is if the child is confused... four or five people will come up to them and say... 'Oh, you're so brave. It's a great decision.' No one's telling them the opposite. The people who work in these clinics are often people who've undergone these surgeries or done these things themselves. It's one opinion that they're hearing, and then their parents would be overruled."
It doesn't matter whether you're a Republican or Democrat, Paul said. "I think there's a lot of mainstream people who would be horrified to know that a 10-year-old could be goaded into these decisions. And I think Levine's [position] is so far out of the mainstream that people need to hear about it."
As a doctor, Paul pointed out, there's almost no other situation where we let 10-year-olds make their own medical decisions. "I worked as an ER doctor for several years," he explained. And "if your child came in [with] a cut on their finger and you weren't with them -- maybe a neighbor brought them in -- we would say, 'Well, we're going to clean it up, and we're going to wait until mom and dad get here.' We wouldn't do anything, even on the minor scratch or bruises... They need their parents there to be to be there." Even if it's an emergency, Paul insisted, "The parents are always involved with it, even if it's by phone..."
But that's all been turned on its head now, Paul warns, because these people aren't talking aren't talking about "science or medicine. They're talking about a political extremist philosophy that they want to push on kids and society." And yet, Biden says he's "Main Street Joe," he's "middle class Joe with working class values." "But these aren't working class values," Paul shakes his head. "These are bizarre, extreme things" that, unfortunately, are ruling the Democratic Party now.
Make sure they don't rule our government agencies too. Contact your senators and urge them to vote no on Wendy Sherman and Rachel Levine!
Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.
These Days, Anything Can Get You Canceled -- Except Genocide
March 10, 2021
"They're not just labor camps, they are designed to strip them of their religious cultural identity." This is how Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) described the camps where 1-2 million Uyghur Muslims are detained by the Chinese government without trial and utilized as forced labor.
Unfortunately, many American companies are known to benefit from the cheap goods made from the forced labor of Uyghurs in Xinjiang. Incredibly, well-known companies including Nike, Coca-Cola, and Apple have been caught lobbying to weaken a bill meant to address the issue.
In a stunning survey by the Wire China released this week, only one out of the top 48 American companies that operate in Xinjiang expressed any concern over the repression of Uyghurs. Corporations clearly lack concerned for any consequences of their cooperation with China.
This doesn't surprise Rubio, who re-introduced the bill these corporate lobbyists tried to target, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act alongside Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). Rubio described the dangers for companies operating China on Washington Watch: "The price of doing business in China, the price of having access to their market, is to come back to Washington and lobby policymakers in favor of their preferred policies."
Earlier today, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) held a hearing on how the United States might move forward to address the complicity of American companies in Uyghur forced labor.
At the hearing, expert witness Adrian Zenz identified the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act as "the best piece of policy that can be passed." It creates a rebuttable presumption to ensure that goods produced with Uyghur forced labor cannot enter the United States. Only if a company can clearly prove that their operations in Xinjiang are untainted by forced labor can products from Xinjiang be imported under the bill.
This requirement is important because it is so difficult to prove that anything that comes from Xinjiang is not stained by forced labor. "Every credible labor rights audit includes... candid interviews with workers about the conditions under which they are laboring," Scott Nova explained at the hearing. "Such candid testimony can only be obtained if workers can speak honestly without fear of retribution."
Xinjiang's forced labor is no small issue. Zenz emphasized that it affects millions of religious and ethnic minority workers in China.
Witness testimonies highlighted the need for other countries to join U.S. efforts in support of human rights in China.
Louisa Greve pointed out that the U.S. has imposed 68 sanctions on China for its atrocities in Xinjiang. These include import bans, export bans, and Global Magnitsky Act sanctions on individuals. No other country in the world has imposed economic sanctions over human rights abuses in Xinjiang.
The U.S. determination that genocide is occurring compels U.S. leaders to continue leading the way in combatting these atrocities.
Family Research Council released a report today titled "How the United States Can Address China's Uyghur Genocide." It offers four next steps the Biden administration should take to punish China for genocide according to the 1948 Genocide Convention.
These include encouraging Congress to pass the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, ensuring that U.S. support for the UN Population Fund does not contribute to coerced sterilizations in China, applying targeted sanctions, and encouraging like-minded countries to condemn China's atrocities.
China's economic clout makes addressing abuses tricky. Louisa Greve noted that the U.S. did not merely determine that genocide was being committed by Xinjiang authorities, but by the Chinese government. This raises the question, is it appropriate for Western companies to be investing in China at all? Greve said, "Everyone needs to think twice about doing business with a genocidal regime."
Uyghur activist Rushan Abbas also questions companies' decisions to sponsor the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. It brings to mind the Olympics that took place in Nazi Germany, but Rushan pointed out a distinction to The Wired China, "In Nazi Germany, when businesses were making profits off of Jewish forced labor, they claimed ignorance -- blaming the information flow being too slow. But companies can't claim ignorance now." It is shameful that even as cancel culture rages, the Chinese government can commit genocide with near impunity.
Family Research Council President and USCIRF Vice Chair Tony Perkins concluded the hearing by saying, "International trade is important, but it cannot be untethered to a commitment to fundamental agreed upon human rights." The Chinese Communist Party runs a materialistic regime, but the United States was founded with core values which rise above that.
The United States must adhere to our principles. By combatting forced labor and standing up for the rights of oppressed religious groups abroad, America can set a positive example for the rest of the world.
New Arkansas Law Sets up Direct Challenge to Roe v. Wade
March 10, 2021
On Tuesday, Arkansas S.B. 6, the "Arkansas Unborn Child Protection Act," was signed into law by Governor Asa Hutchinson (R). The act, which criminalizes abortion at all stages of pregnancy except when the life of the mother is at risk, paints a big, red target on Roe v. Wade. The bill passed the state senate (27-7) with three-to-one support and the state house (76-19) with four-to-one support. State Senator Jason Rapert and State Representative Mary Bentley worked tirelessly alongside the Arkansas Family Council to ensure the bill's passage.
Instead of tiptoeing around the abortion industry's sacred cow, S.B. 6 opened a direct frontal assault on the Supreme Court's 1973 abortion decision. The bill compared Roe v. Wade (and Doe and Casey), which denies the personhood of the unborn, with the Dred Scott decision (and Plessy v. Ferguson), which denied the personhood of African Americans. This is important because abortion advocates' best argument to defend Roe is that it should be upheld simply because it is precedent and for no other reason. Just as the Supreme Court overturned its unjust decisions in Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson, so it should overturn its unjust decisions in Roe, Doe, and Casey, argues the Arkansas bill.
The Arkansas Unborn Child Protection Act faithfully reflects a pro-life philosophy. It legally recognizes the government's responsibility to honor and protect all human life, even in the womb. That is, the intentional taking of any life, even an unborn life, is morally and legally wrong. Consistent with this truth, the bill omits the common exceptions for rape and incest, which absurdly permit unborn babies to be killed because of who their parents are.
Arkansas Representative Julie Mayberry told her own story while discussing the bill on the state house floor. At 19 weeks gestation, her unborn daughter was diagnosed with spina bifidia. Many children with spina bifidia, Down syndrome, and other disabilities are aborted based on the contorted reasoning that a life with a severe condition is worse than no life at all. Not only is that not true (as anyone who has cared for a disabled child will tell you), but in Mayberry's case the diagnosis was incorrect, and her daughter was born without any disability. Had she thought, as she once did, that abortion was okay, she might have had her healthy unborn daughter killed because of a misdiagnosis.
Christians have always held that no law is valid which flies in the face of God's law found in Scripture. And so the bill's sponsors deserve credit, not only for crafting a bill that consistently values and protects human life, but also for explicitly condemning one of the bloodiest stains on America's national record, Roe v. Wade.
Arkansas isn't alone in passing such a broad ban on abortion. Alabama passed a similar bill in 2019, and other states have considered them too. This demonstrates the increasing momentum of the pro-life movement, energized by popular opinion (millennials dislike abortion more than previous generations) and what may be the most favorable Supreme Court environment in the 48 years since the Roe decision was first handed down. Increasing numbers of Americans are being persuaded of The Legal, Historical, and Cultural Reasons to Overturn Roe v. Wade. It's time for Roe's legacy of death to end.