Congress worked into the weekend and won three “A’s” on its report card for the pro-life, pro-marriage and pro-family causes.
First “A” Abortion: In a vote on the Weldon-Hyde Conscience Protection amendment not opposed, incidentally, by Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania) no doubt because he couldn’t afford to further substantiate his pro-abortion reputation and thus alienate those whose support is necessary for him to move into the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee — the Congress approved legislation that will keep agencies at all levels from discrimination against pro-life health care providers. Health care providers will not have to perform abortions in order to receive government funding. Such a provision is important because 86 percent of U.S. hospitals will not perform abortions.
Response from the Left (including Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America) was immediate and predictable; they call the provision a “gag rule.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) called the bill “an extraordinary sneak attack on women’s rights and a disgraceful display of ideology over health.” Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-New York) said, “When the women in America find out what is happening here, there is going to be a great outrage.” Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-California) called the bill “a payoff to the religious right.”
The complaints, of course, come from people who advocate “choice” and preach “diversity.” Congress has given health care providers a choice: If they don’t want to provide abortions, they don’t have to, and their funding will not be affected. That is Democracy and that is freedom of choice.
Second “A” Abstinence: Although funding fell short of what President Bush requested, Congress increased funds devoted to abstinence education by nearly 40 percent, bringing funding for abstinence programs to a record level of more than $104 million, a step in the direction of equality with funding for “safer” sex programs. This victory clearly indicates that the conservative gains in Election 2004 are making a difference. Abstinence education programs, overwhelmingly advocated by parents for their children according to an international poll by the Zogby organization, teach abstinence until marriage and follow an eight-point program contained in the 1996 welfare reform legislation.
In Gaining Ground: A Profile of American Women in the Twentieth Century, the Beverly LaHaye Institute tracked the birth rate of unmarried teens and found that among 15- to 19-year-olds, the rate began a four-year decline after 1995. This decrease indicates significant progress in the effort to inform teens about the lies inherent in so-called “sexual freedom.” Mixed messages confuse teens. Since teens have been getting a clear, unequivocal abstinence message, teen pregnancy rates have been going down. With the help of the funds designated for abstinence education, we will continue to present the truth to teens and we will see rates of sexually transmitted diseases begin to decline and the teen pregnancy rates continue to go down.
Third “A” Abolition: In a major victory for the Bush administration, Congress reinstated $25 million for abolition efforts against modern-day slavery sex trafficking. Those funds had been designated by the president with the money coming from the United States Agency for International Development; specifically, the money was from United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) coffers because its “reproductive health” efforts were supporting abortion and prostitution. In last year’s Congress, where conservatives could not prevail, the UNFPA funds had been withheld. Now, they will be used for the intended purpose: to support the president’s policies, bringing the total amount designated for abolition to $50 million.
In addition to the praise for the 108th Congress for these pro-life, pro-marriage and pro-family victories, there are choruses of praise around the nation for the fiscal restraint shown in the 2005 Omnibus Spending Bill. Though the $388 billion bill (which passed the House by 344-51 and the Senate by 65-30) is an improvement with non-defense discretionary spending and education spending held below 2 percent, and funding cut to the Environmental Protection Agency the document reached 1,000 pages long.
Janice Shaw Crouse, senior fellow of the Beverly LaHaye Institute, the think tank for Concerned Women for America, has worked on pro-life, pro-marriage and pro-family issues for over a decade and she serves on national task forces to combat sex trafficking.