Biden's Vaccine Push: A Mandate with Destiny

Biden's Vaccine Push: A Mandate with Destiny

July 30, 2021

Joe Biden isn't a doctor, and he's certainly not your doctor. But that hasn't stopped the president of the United States from making every Americans' health decisions for them. The "scare-monger in chief," as former Civil Rights Division leader Roger Severino calls him, has decided that when it comes to COVID, the facts, the law, and the science don't matter. You will be vaccinated, this Democratic leadership says -- and surrender every constitutional right to privacy, employment, personal safety, and free speech until you do.

When the president announced his outrageous new COVID policy, that every federal employee cough up the information on whether or not they'd been vaccinated, even the liberal media was stunned. This raises "a lot of uncomfortable questions," the AP pointed out -- not the least of which is the profound abuse of Americans' civil rights. Who's going to pay for the testing? How will religious exemptions be accommodated? If federal employees are still working remotely, will they be required to test? What about HIPPA laws? Under this shocking new intrusion into people's lives, Biden has decided to make it so burdensome for people to be unvaccinated that Severino thinks there's a massive case to be made in federal court.

"No COVID-19 vaccine on the market has yet been granted full FDA approval," Severino points out, "only Emergency Use Authorization, which means, according to statute, that Americans have 'the option to accept or refuse administration of the product.'" Not in Joe Biden's America. After six months of trying to eliminate mandates, Democrats want to subject workers to forced testing, forced masking, and forced health care disclosures. "That's irrational," Severino argues -- "unless, of course, the point is not infection control, but making the lives of every last unvaccinated person as miserable as possible. Lack of consistency and evidence of pretext are killer arguments against mandated medical tests under the ADA and should be deployed immediately in lawsuits," Severino insists. "Lots of them."

Meanwhile, the political dominoes are already falling. Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) over-the-top crackdown on maskless House members (most of whom have been vaccinated) has sparked near-mutiny on the far-side of the Capitol. To the astonishment of people on both sides, she's threatened to arrest visitors and staff who are in the Capitol complex without face coverings. Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.), like so many conservatives, was livid over the announcement. "This is crazy," he fumed on "Washington Watch." "It's not America when you start [acting like a totalitarian state]. And the strange thing is," he pointed out, "if you go just to the Senate side of the Capitol, there's no mandate! So apparently there's some invisible barrier that falls somewhere around the rotunda that splits the House and the Senate. So on the Senate side," Rosendale half-joked, "I guess this is not contagious and not a problem... And again, most of this boils down to just control of people's lives and those who want to try and take control over our lives."

And for what? There's no science that says this is necessary. This administration has completely dismissed the idea of natural immunity from the tens of millions of Americans who've already had the virus, which -- medical experts say, is better than the vaccine itself. In Israel, a new study showed that people who had the antibodies are seven times less likely to get infected than vaccinated individuals. "And yet our FDA, our CDC, completely ignores the claims that they're basing on real science," Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) vented on "Washington Watch". "We have tossed the basic premise of medicine aside. And I cannot explain why... Now, they're not providing the American people with the data to back up their other pronouncements -- [like these new] guidances on masks. Why don't we know, like India now knows, [that] 60 percent of the Indian population has antibodies for COVID. What is that level in America? We're wealthy. We can do studies. We can estimate how close we are to herd immunity. That would be useful information for American people to have. But we don't have it."

And yet there's this heavy-handed approach from the government, which is turning people against the very vaccine they're trying to promote. As I've said: I'm not against the vaccine. What I'm against is people not being able to choose for themselves whether they need it based on their own health. A government mandate is absolutely the wrong way to go about this, Rosendale agrees. "This is Orwellian, it's draconian," and it's eroding the public trust. "You're getting so much differing information from the so-called 'experts,'" he argued. One day the CDC says no masks, and the next day it completely reverses itself. It's no wonder the general public is reluctant to take the agency seriously.

Adding to that frustration, Johnson pointed out, is the collusion between Big Tech and government that's shutting down information Americans could be getting. "They're silencing any kind of opposition whatsoever. They're controlling the conversation that people are trying to have. They are supposed to be platforms... [yet they're really just] the propaganda arm for the Left... We have this marvelous technology called the Internet, where you have this free flow of information and ideas. But doctors who were actually treating patients... they were censored on YouTube. Now, rather than allowing doctors to try different theories of the case, try[ing] different off-label medications, and then broadcast[ing] that success, everything had to filter through government agencies -- that apparently are now the voice of God, basically the font of all wisdom."

At the end of the day, this is all going to come down to an election, because as long as we have the current regime in place, we're going to continue to get this type of authoritarian, over-reaching arm of government. "It should not be up to the president or your employer as to whether you get the vaccine," Rosendale argued. "That's unacceptable to me, and I think it's going to be unacceptable to most Americans."

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

House Dems Drop Hyde-rogan Bomb

July 30, 2021

How many votes does it take to kill the Hyde Amendment? House Democrats discovered the answer last night, when they voted along party lines, 219-208, to pass the first appropriations bill in 45 years (since 1976) without the Hyde Amendment. A procedural vote that would have restored the Hyde Amendment was defeated 217-208, also along party lines. The labor and HHS appropriations bill now heads to the Senate, where it remains to be seen whether moderate Democrats like Joe Manchin (W.Va.) will fight to prevent taxpayer dollars from funding abortion.

The Democrats only defeated the Hyde Amendment by uniting against it. Their current majority in the U.S. House is only 220 seats, a five-seat advantage over Republicans. If a mere handful of House Democrats still favored the Hyde Amendment, they could have ensured that it was included in the final passage. Or if the irregular practice of "proxy" voting was brought to an end, Pelosi may not have had sufficient votes. But, as the vote showed, no Democrat voted to support the Hyde Amendment, and nearly every Democrat voted against it, in a bill that passed by the narrowest of margins. This episode presents a stark contrast to the last time an appropriations bill came before Congress without Hyde protections in 1993. Despite a much larger Democratic majority (258 seats), Congress actually reinserted Hyde back into the bill. Every House Democrat today is more radically pro-abortion than dozens of House Democrats 28 years ago.

Not content with stripping out the Hyde amendment, the Democrats excised other pro-life amendments as well. While the Hyde Amendment prevents taxpayer dollars from funding elective abortions at home, the Helms Amendment has prevented taxpayer dollars from funding elective abortions overseas for 45 years. House Democrats excluded the Helms Amendment from the state and foreign operations appropriations bill, which the House also passed 217-212, with only three Democrats opposing. Democrats also eliminated the Kemp-Kasten Amendment, which prevents taxpayers from funding coercive abortions and sterilizations, and instead boosted funding for the United Nations Population Fund, which has cooperated with China's coercive abortion regime.

There was a time when abortion advocates insisted they wanted abortion to become "safe, legal, and rare." No longer. Now, abortion proponents are demanding abortion be subsidized at taxpayer expense. When you subsidize something, you get more of it. In fact, the Charlotte Lozier Institute estimated the Hyde Amendment has saved more than two million babies from abortion. That means it has also saved mothers of more than two million babies from the trauma of abortion and has saved taxpayers from paying for more than two million abortions. While House Democrats have grown more radically pro-abortion, a 2021 Marist poll found 58 percent of Americans are still opposed to taxpayer funding of abortion. They may pay at the polls in 2022 for their precedent-breaking rejection of the Hyde Amendment.

Fortunately, the House Democrats have only won one minuscule skirmish in a colossal war. The federal government can funnel money to abortion in many different ways, as FRC's Issue Analysis explains. Although Democrats in Congress may be working to fund abortion, many states are working to defund it, as you can see on our interactive pro-life maps. And Republican senators are bringing attention to the Biden administration's attempt to promote abortion through repealing President Trump's pro-life policies. For now, though, the next fight will be in the Senate, where radical abortion advocates will pressure senators to keep the Hyde Amendment and other pro-life protections out of the bill. Your senators need to hear from you, and you can contact them and tell them to save Hyde.

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

Guilty until Proven Innocent

July 30, 2021

If you think China and North Korea are the only countries with "political prisoners," think again. According to some conservatives in Congress, some of the January 6th rioters have been held in jail for months under what they consider abusive conditions. At a press conference earlier this week, Republicans warned about the possible mistreatment of some defendants and demanded that they be treated fairly.

"If they're guilty, they need to be charged accordingly," Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) told the Washington Times, "but they need to be treated just like any other criminal." Stories continue to circulate that even the "nonviolent trespassers" have been put in solitary confinement for several hours a day. "Sadly, two systems of justice exist in America today," Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) (a former state judge) argued, "one for former President Trump along with those who support or don't hate him, and the other for everyone else." His colleague, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) agreed. "To my knowledge, none have been charged for insurrection, so I don't consider them insurrectionists."

And yet, their cases are being closely guarded by the DOJ, whose attorney general, Merrick Garland, refuses to answer basic questions from these congressmen about their status. Gohmert, who joined Tony Perkins on "Washington Watch" this week, argues that Biden's top law enforcer "is only about seeking to please the Democrats. He has no interest in being fair and judicious as the attorney general. It's really unfortunate. We've been begging for answers... We're not looking into specific cases. We're just wanting to know, is it true about the abuse that's been going on?"

Nothing but crickets in return, Gohmert shook his head. He and three other members went to the D.C. jail where some of the defendants are being held and explained that they were congressmen and wanted to ask a few questions. "A lady in uniform came out and said that we were trespassing, and that we had to get out. And I said, we've shown our ID for members of Congress. We're allowed to be here. We have to do oversight to know whether we ought to cut off funding for this facility or keep funding it. We need to know and we haven't gotten an answer."

Incredibly, a supervisor came over to the group -- a sergeant -- and she walked past them to make a phone call outside. So, the four members of Congress followed her outside to ask their questions, and "she double back[ed] around, went into the facility and locked the doors. I've never seen anything like [it]. It's unreal," Gohmert said.

Regardless of the Biden administration cover-up, Gohmert vows, "We're going to keep pushing... And of course there's the media sycophants, but there's [also] other media and even [Senate Majority Leader Chuck] Schumer (D-N.Y.) and [Senator Dick] Durbin (D-Ill.) have asked in recent weeks, are these people being treated fairly? So we're making headway by bringing attention to this, and we're just going to keep making noise until the demands get more people involved and finally they can't ignore the requests we have. So we'll see what happens. But we're not giving up."

FRC to Supreme Court: Overturn Roe!

July 30, 2021

The case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, concerning Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban, is the most consequential abortion case to come before the U.S. Supreme Court in years, and represents the best shot at overturning Roe v. Wade that we have seen in a long time.

Yesterday, Family Research Council made our views known to the Court and filed an amicus brief in the case. FRC expects the implications of Dobbs will have a lasting impact on abortion jurisprudence -- particularly the viability standard -- and is proud to have been able to take part in this very important case.

In 1992, Planned Parenthood v. Casey affirmed the holding of Roe, and added that a state cannot impose an "undue burden" on a woman seeking to obtain an abortion prior to the point of viability (i.e., the gestational age at which a baby is likely to survive outside the womb, generally pegged at 24 weeks). Viability is an arbitrary line with no grounding in the U.S. Constitution. A life is just as valuable before the point of viability and thus should be protected in the law. Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban is an attempt to do just that.

In addition to creating the arbitrary viability standard, the Casey decision imposed two tests: the undue burden test and the balancing test (i.e., comparing two competing interests and determining which takes priority). FRC's amicus brief argues that the undue burden test is unworkable, as it has produced an unstable legal standard that promotes division and confusion. The balancing test has only exacerbated this confusion.

Now is not the time to waver on this question, and FRC was clear in its request to the Court to overturn Casey. Our brief boldly proclaims that Casey was wrong when it was decided in 1992, and it remains wrong today:

From the outset, the undue burden standard was a "standardless" "policy judgment," reflecting the "philosophical views" of the three-Justice plurality. Because the undue burden standard was created "out of whole cloth" and lacked any "historical or doctrinal pedigree," the workability of the standard depended on the plurality's definition and application of the undue burden standard. On both accounts, the undue burden standard proves unworkable.

The brief also notes that the viability standard forbids states from taking other interests into account when outlawing abortion, and highlighted that:

[t]he undue-burden standard has also protected abortionists whose practices 'approach[] infanticide,' Stenberg, 530 U.S. at 1006- 07 (Thomas, J., dissenting) ... [a]nd it has protected those who would knowingly perform abortions based on a child's sex, race, or disability.

It is unacceptable that states are still forbidden at this point from protecting an unborn child's right to life. Roe and Casey have caused irreparable harm to our country. The U.S. Supreme Court can put a stop to this harm by overturning these cases and throwing out the lower court decisions in Dobbs. Although we will never get back the 60 million lives lost to abortion, we can prevent another 60 million from being lost, and that's a good place to start.