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Doreen Denny

Denny: How Trump Can Save Women’s Sports

By | Feminist / Women's Issues, News and Events, Social / Cultural Issues | No Comments

Vice President for Government Relations, Doreen Denny published an opinion piece in the Washington Times calling for President Trump to step in and save women’s sports.

“What’s happening right now in college sports should be a wakeup call to all American women. Title IX is under attack, and women’s sports are being compromised. Repeat assaults make a federal response all the more urgent.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights notified Concerned Women for America that it has opened an investigation into our complaint that Franklin Pierce University has violated Title IX by permitting male transgender athletes to compete on women’s teams. This is the first federal investigation of its kind in college sports.

Title IX is a federal law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities. Every school in America receiving federal funds, K-12 through college, is required to follow Title IX law prohibiting sex discrimination. Sex has never been defined as anything but male and female.”

Read Doreen Denny’s Entire Piece Here:

Democrats Playing Election-Year Politics with the Violence Against Women Act

By | Feminist / Women's Issues, Legislative Updates, News and Events | No Comments

CWA’s Vice President of Government Relation, Doreen Denny wrote the following Op-Ed about the Violence Against Women Act.

Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Dianne Feinstein (D-California) spent months collaborating on a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Their attempts to bring bipartisanship back to the process after the House majority rejected such collaboration were noble.  But their effort came to a “screeching halt” when Senate Democrats called a press conference to announce they were sponsoring the House bill instead.

“Once again, the Democrats are putting politics ahead of people and have decided to move forward on the House-passed VAWA bill,” Sen. Ernst announced.  This is a bill which Senate Democrats know full well is a non-starter for Senate approval.  Rejecting any history of bipartisanship or restraint, House Democrats loaded their reauthorization bill, H.R. 1585, with gun control, unemployment entitlements, and expansive ideological mandates.

Sen Ernst went on to explain how her good faith efforts with the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee were derailed as a political calculation. “Election-year politics are in full swing, and the grim reality is Democrats cannot afford to be seen giving Republicans a win. The far-left agenda of the House has hijacked the process.”

The politicization of something as significant as the Violence Against Women Act should have no place in the development of policy. Women victims of violence should be the last thing used as a pawn for political gain.  And yet that is exactly what the Democrats have done again this year.

This is not the first time VAWA has been held hostage in high-stakes partisan politics. It happened last year as VAWA was set to expire during the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence (NTF) is a coalition of activist groups who guard the programs and funds for VAWA grantees. For years, they have worked in lock step with the Democrats to promote a progressively leftist agenda on VAWA and to demand that the same money go to the same providers. They are not fools in playing political games.

At the height of the Supreme Court battle, NTF sent a letter to Senate Republican leadership “to apprise you of our intention to disengage from negotiations over VAWA” to protest the handling of Christine Blasey Ford.

NTF laid out ground rules for how the Judiciary Committee should proceed with  Ford, concluding that, “Justice demands a fair process that treats Professor Ford far better than with the derision, scorn, and humiliation to which Professor Hill was subjected 27 years ago.”

Following their Kavanaugh defeat, the left cried foul at the “expiration of VAWA” and used it as a weapon against congressional Republicans in the 2018 election. Their prize: a House takeover, Speaker Pelosi, and a VAWA reauthorization bill showcasing their leftist policy agenda.

Considering how VAWA has been politicized over the last decade, it should come as no surprise that Sen. Ernst’s noble effort to work with the Democrats on an improved and modernized Violence Against Women Act broke down.  It didn’t surprise us. NTF is back on message demanding that the Senate pass the left’s wish list: unbounded unemployment benefits that could bankrupt states, gun confiscation orders that could disarm vulnerable women, and expansion of transgender rights giving biological men who claim to be women access to female domestic violence shelters and prisons, compromising the safety of women who have no other place of refuge or escape.

Meanwhile H.R. 1585’s partisan overreach falls short of important improvements that the Senate should correct. It overlooks meaningful protections for emerging threats to women in our country including female genital mutilation, honor killings, and forced marriages.  It deletes sex trafficking as a form of sexual assault against women and girls. It lets pimps off the hook and ignores the acceleration of threats from online predators.  It rejects full transparency and accountability in VAWA grant programs, including the hundreds of thousands of taxpayer funds that have gone every year to Planned Parenthood.

So long as Democrats choose to put election-year politics above safety, protection, and justice for women survivors, the effort to put a stronger VAWA on solid ground for the coming years will be futile. It’s time for Democrats to stop using VAWA to score political points and embrace a truly bipartisan reauthorization bill that can reach the President’s desk this year.

See Additional Pieces Written by Doreen Denny.

Denny: The Epstein Case Is Back – Will Justice Be Done?

By | Legal, News and Events, Sex Trafficking / Pornography | No Comments

In a recent opinion piece featured in the Townhall.comDoreen Denny – CWA’s Senior Director of Government Relations discusses the Jeffrey Epstein case and asks, ” … if justice will be done in sex cases involving wealthy, sex-obsessed men?”

“Jeffrey Epstein is back in the news.  The case against multi-millionaire, serial pedophile and sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein is sickening, outrageous, and a total annihilation of due process and the rule of law. The absolute tragedy of the case cannot be overstated.

Pedophile sex trafficking charges against Epstein underscore the travesty of how wealthy, sex-obsessed men can get away with years of predatory behavior and leverage special treatment from prosecutors.   In Epstein’s case, vulnerable girls as young as 13 were groomed and enticed with cash for massages and sexual favors.  They were victims of sexual abuse.

In November, the confirmation hearing of William Barr for Attorney General served as a catalyst for resurrecting the decade-old case.    Senator Ben Sasse called for an investigation of the Department of Justice’s handling of the plea deal after The Miami Herald published a bombshell  investigative report. That report mustered scant attention. Outrage was relegated to random op-ed pages and an occasional columnist.”

Click here to read the entire article.

 

See Doreen’s previous article explaining why it’s now up to the Federal Government to keep our precious children safe in places like restrooms and locker rooms.

Only Trump Has The Power To Keep Men Out of Girls’ Restrooms

By | Family Issues, Feminist / Women's Issues, News and Events | No Comments

In a recent opinion piece featured in the Daily Caller, Doreen Denny – CWA’s Senior Director of Government Relations explains why it’s now up to the Federal Government to keep our precious children safe in places like restrooms and locker rooms.

“It’s up to the Trump administration to keep students in the right restrooms and locker rooms, because the courts are taking a pass. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case Joel Doe, et. al v. Boyertown Area School District challenging students’ rights to sex-specific facilities. Even so, the Trump administration has a job to do: enforce federal law.

The federal government is obligated under Title IX to prohibit discrimination “on the basis of sex.” No federal law has defined sex to mean anything but it’s biological fact: male and female — period.

Boyertown students sued their school district for mandating use of restrooms and locker rooms based on “gender identity” not biological sex. Alexis Lightcap, one of the plaintiffs, described the fallout: “Why is it so hard for school officials to understand that young girls care about the privacy of their bodies? It’s natural for us and our parents to worry about who might walk in on us in a vulnerable moment. The school bureaucracy has no right to say my privacy is irrelevant.”

Click here to read the entire piece here.

Read one of Doreen’s previous opinion pieces.

For Liberal CEOs, Abortion is Good For Business

By | Commentary, Defense of Family, News and Events, Sanctity of Life | No Comments

CWA’s Senior Director of Government Relations, Doreen Denny, penned the following opinion piece featured on The Daily Signal:

“As more states pass restrictions on abortion, companies are coming out of the woodwork to oppose them.

Recently, some 180 companies “employing more than 108,000 workers” purchased a full-page ad in The New York Times under the banner “Don’t Ban Equality: It’s time for companies to stand up for reproductive health care.”

Translation: It’s time for businesses to defend abortion.

Many of these companies aren’t typically considered far-left organizations. Exactly what message are they sending to women by spending ad dollars to promote abortion? Are they saying babies are bad for business?

A closer look at these companies may help to unmask what’s driving this ad.

It turns out that only two of them are listed among the top 180 companies offering the most paid maternity leave to women, according to Fairygodboss, a women’s career advancement network. And those two companies are nowhere near the top of the list.

In other words, these companies are stingy. They aren’t supporting women; they’re protecting their bottom line.”

Read the entire opinion piece.

Transwomen are just transwomen, not women

By | Feminist / Women's Issues, News and Events, Sexual Exploitation | No Comments

The push for trans-rights is a blight on the body politic.

The push for trans-rights may have just pushed too far. Persuading Americans that a person identifying as the opposite sex is the opposite sex ultimately will only convince those willing to call a lie the truth.

Last week marked the 100th anniversary of Senate passage of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. The Women’s Suffrage Movement knew clearly what the word “sex” meant and who they were fighting for: women, in the full biological sense of the word. These brave suffragists believed women embodied the hallmarks of the female body. They wore yellow sashes and bore the scars of long-sought recognition in the voting booth. They fought for women.

“Gender identity” is an expression of self; a perception, not a fact. There is no objective standard, no medical diagnosis that turns a male into a female. Those promulgating the idea that a “transwoman is a woman” also co-opt female status, saying one’s “gender identity” should entitle a transwoman to all the rights and recognition of the female race.

Today, if you are a woman clinging to the belief that women’s rights are limited to females, I have bad news. Proponents of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) have sacrificed that goal. In an era of progressive ideology, the conventional understanding that a woman must also be female is outdated.

Click here to read the rest of this column as featured in the Washington Times.

House Votes on (In)Equality Act and Rejects Efforts to Save Women’s Sports

By | Blog, Defense of Family, Feminist / Women's Issues, Legislative Updates, News and Events, Social / Cultural Issues | No Comments

Last week, the House passed H.R. 5, the deceptively-named “Equality Act” by a vote of 236-173.  By redefining the term sex to include “sexual orientation and gender identity” in civil rights law, this bill elevates “gender identity” over the protected class of sex as male and female, giving any person the right to claim “gender identity” as the opposite sex at any time.  This sounds absurd, but the bill strips women from any protection from men who would identify as women in bathrooms, locker rooms, women’s shelters, sports competition, and more.

Before final passage, Republicans attempted to expose the threats to female athletes with a “motion to recommit with instructions.” A motion to recommit (MTR) is a procedural vote that would send the bill back to the relevant House committee with instructions on changes that should be made.  If an MTR is successful, a vote on final passage would be delayed until the committee fixes the bill and sends it back to the whole House for consideration.

The so-called Equality Act effectively erases women’s sports by opening up any competition to biological men who identify as women. The MTR for H.R. 5 was very narrowly tailored to amend the bill to ensure that nothing may be construed to weaken any protections under Title IX to ensure female athletes have equal opportunity.  This would have at least safeguarded the integrity of girls’ and women’s sports. Negating Title IX in the so-called “Equality Act” is a deep flaw in the bill, acknowledged by people across the political spectrum.  Unfortunately, the MTR was rejected along party lines by a vote of 181-228.

The need to protect female sports is not a hypothetical situation; the unfair playing field is happening already because of similar state and local laws. Selina Soule, a high school track athlete in Connecticut, lost her chance to compete in the New England championship this year after two biological males took first and second place in the 55-meter dash. This week, CeCe Telfer, who previously competed as a male, has stolen an opportunity for a female athlete to compete in the 100 and 400-meter hurdles in the NCAA Division II Women’s Track and Field Championships.

The so-called Equality Act’s unverifiable and unscientific attempt to address discrimination by elevating protections for certain groups on the basis of a new definition of sex is a direct threat against every woman in America.  Its effects are nothing less than extreme, far-reaching, and uncontainable and the gutting of Title IX is just one of these effects. Supporters have no way of defending the “Equality Act” against these threats to women even though basic common sense makes it obvious to most people. It’s a shame 228 House members blindly jumped on the bandwagon.

At this time, the Senate has no plans to take up the bill. However, 46 Senators, almost half the Senate, are cosponsors of the identical Senate bill. It remains a threat that must be opposed.

Is It Fair Play? How Female Athletes Are Losing in the Age of Gender Identity

By | Feminist / Women's Issues, Marriage, News and Events, Sexual Exploitation | No Comments

I’m the mother of two athletes, a son who currently plays college baseball and a daughter who was captain of her volleyball team and on elite club teams. Today, my daughter’s leadership, work ethic, and resiliency from sports is translating in her college endeavors, including Army ROTC.

Doors of opportunity open for female athletes through sports. But in today’s age of gender identity, this could all radically change.

Senator Birch Bayh was a Democratic Senator from Indiana who spearheaded the Title IX amendment that banned discrimination against women in college sports. Obituaries from his passing on March 14, 2019 hailed him as the “father of Title IX.”

The senator’s crowning legacy achievement will go to the grave with him if his own party has its way in passing the Equality Act…

__

Click here to read the rest of this column as featured in Townhall.com

Congressional Hearings on the So-Called “Equality Act” Expose True Threats to Women and Girls

By | Blog, News and Events, Sexual Exploitation | No Comments

Congress is debating the “Equality Act,” a top-ten priority of Speaker Pelosi (D-California) and House Democrats.  It would enshrine “gender identity” as a protected trait in federal civil rights law.  This denies the biological, scientific fact that being male or female is inscribed in our DNA and determines our sex.  Self-declared “gender identity” would be sufficient to claim protected legal status as either sex.  Simply put, “Whatever I claim to be, I am.”  Such claims could be fluid, because gender-related identity and characteristics could be changed at any time.

CWA recently received a call from a public-school mom in Georgia whose daughter faced a transgender in track competition who won uncontested.  Her concerns were dismissed by the National Organization for Women and the Women’s Sport’s Foundation when she called them thinking they would be fighting for women’s rights.  Not so.  Thankfully she found us.  Here’s what this mom had to say in a letter submitted at the House Judiciary Committee hearing:

“To say that my daughter, as well as the other female athletes, were humiliated and had a sense of defeatism is an understatement.  In the words of my daughter, ‘What’s the point Mom, we can’t win.’  Hearing this broke my heart, for my daughter and for all the female athletes, who train so hard, but no matter how hard they work and train they will never be able to beat a biological male. … What are we doing to our girls by forcing them to race biological males?”

At the hearing, Congressman Gaetz (R-Florida) asked, “If President Trump were to say, ‘I am now the first female president,’ who would celebrate that? Would those who support this legislation think that’s a good thing?”

Advocates have no response to the legitimacy of that question.  More importantly, they are denying the threat of this policy to women and girls.  I was in the hearing room and, frankly, was shocked to hear how women, who are 51% of the U.S. population, are now an afterthought for those promoting the trans agenda.  They are not fighting for females anymore.

In 2016, Sports Illustrated showcased female candidates who were college athletes, including Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, and New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, both cosponsors of the Equality Act.  They said how playing competitive sports prepared, and propelled, them into politics.  “It took the fear out of losing,” said Gillibrand, now a presidential candidate.

The testimonies in this article make the case that reducing opportunities for female college athletes could reduce the number of women running for office.  Is that what Democrats want?

Supporters have no way of defending the Equality Act against these threats to women and girls, even though basic common sense makes it obvious to most people.  Many proponents have blindly jumped on the bandwagon – it’s time they consider the impact.  Women will lose, which is why we need you to get active and oppose the Equality Act.

Contact your congressman and senator today, and tell them to oppose the (In)Equality Act!

New House Minority Flexes Muscle on Abortion Threat

By | Blog, News and Events, Sanctity of Life | No Comments

As soon as members were sworn in and Nancy Pelosi was handed the speaker’s gavel, the battle to protect life in the 116th Congress was underway on the floor of the U.S. Houses of Representatives.   The new Democrat majority’s first legislative move to “end the government shutdown” also contains provisions to advance pro-abortion policies overseas.   Pelosi’s Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019 undermines a signature prolife initiative of the Trump Administration, the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy (formerly known as the Mexico City policy) which prohibits American taxpayer funds from being used by nongovernmental organizations to perform or promote abortion abroad.   The Democrat bill also proposes to expand aid to the United Nations Population Fund which notoriously stands by China’s policy of coerced abortions.

Spurred on by Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee and partner prolife groups who promised to score against the bill, Republicans flexed their minority muscle and stood in strong opposition.   Taking to the House floor under the leadership of incoming Appropriations committee ranking member, Kay Granger (R-Texas), prolife members chastised Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats for pushing a pro-abortion agenda on the American people from Day One.   Pro-life Caucus chairman Chris Smith (R-New Jersey), and Values Action Team chairwoman Vicky Hartzler (R-Missouri) were among those exposing the Democrat’s tactics.  Rep. Granger offered a Motion to Recommit with instructions to strike the pro-abortion policy provisions from the bill.  Along with impassioned floor speeches, the Motion to Recommit is among the minority party’s best tools to amend legislation and contrast the views of members.  Democrats Dan Lipinski (Ohio) and Collin Peterson (Minnesota), the only prolife Democrats in the House, voted with the Republicans on Rep. Granger’s motion.

As will be the case in the new Congress, House Democrats will prevail in passing legislation that will break the hearts of the prolife community, as they did on final passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019.  But in flexing its muscle on the House floor, the new Republican minority set the stage for Senate debate, where a new class of prolife Senators were sworn in this week, and the Pelosi bill is expected to be dead on arrival.

Even with congressional threats to prolife policy, we can still take productive administrative action through rulemaking.  Currently the Trump administration is working to add crucial integrity measures to the enforcement of Obamacare to require transparency in abortion coverage.  The Department of Health and Human Services has submitted a rule for public comment that would require insurance providers to collect a separate payment for abortion coverage.  This is the best interpretation of the law which specifies a separate payment must be collected. The Obama administration did not accurately interpret or enforce this law, and taxpayer funds for healthcare are being co-mingled with abortion coverage.  We need your support for this rule to be put in place. Click here to submit your public comment before the deadline on Tuesday, January 8, at 5:00 p.m. EST.  Tell the Trump Administration you don’t want taxpayer funds covering elective abortion!

Legislative Update: Congress Punts on Full Transparency for Sexual Harassment Claims

By | Blog, News and Events | No Comments

You know it’s a lame duck Congress when action on bills that members have been trying to avoid but have no excuse left not to deal with finally get passed.  Then they hold a press conference and pat themselves on the back. I admit such cynicism might not be welcome during the Christmas season, so let’s give some credit to a Congress that managed to enact something so bipartisan that no roll call vote was necessary.  The departing 115thCongress can now breathe a sigh of relief for having dealt with updating their procedures for handling workplace sexual harassment issues on their own turf in the #MeToo era.

Earlier this year, Concerned Women for America mailed thousands of petitions to Capitol Hill, asking leaders to step up and hold members accountable who had settled harassment claims in secret using a federal “hush fund” paid for by the American taxpayer. Constituents were kept in the dark about such claims, and cases were settled behind closed doors.  The fact that elected officials and senior staffers were engaging in such conduct — with at least $15 million paid out over 20 years — rightfully raised alarm bells and discredited prevailing congressional accountability rules as outdated and ineffective.

For example, the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 imposed an artificial cooling off period requiring a victim (usually subordinate congressional staffer) to wait 30 days from the time of reporting conduct before deciding to press a case.  This requirement reinforced the all-too-common problem of victims being held to a higher standard of believability than perpetrators.  The compromise bill scraps this cooling off requirement, so due process can begin earlier for victims of workplace harassment.  In addition, the compromise requires that a member of Congress reimburse the government for any settlement using the congressional hush fund and requires that an annual report be made public identifying the amounts disbursed from the fund, the types of harassment claims, and the employing offices involved.

Steps in the right direction certainly, but by no means sufficient to address the scandals that have plagued an institution of public trust and demand a full accounting.  For one, nothing in the bill requires reimbursement to the Treasury of the $15-plus million in taxpayer money spent to settle previous claims.  Nothing is done to bring transparency to previous cases, including who committed the harassment and how much money was involved.  Only some light will shine on future cases because nothing in the bill requires naming the perpetrator, only the “employing office.”  House and Senate committees could ask for more transparency in the rules they write to implement the bill, but only if they have the will power to do so.   Finally, nothing in the bill speaks to nondisclosure agreements as at least one other proposal has.  All too often, such agreements become the means by which aggressive defense attorneys shield perpetrators and leave victims with no leverage to seek justice.

In bidding farewell to the 115thCongress, it is fair to say that members managed to make an eleventh-hour compromise to get their house more in order in the #MeToo era. It is now incumbent on a new Congress to build on this measured progress to ensure full transparency and accountability for past indiscretions as well as future cases of sexual harassment in its workplace.  Full disclosure just might be the greatest deterrent.

New Transparency Rule Proposed for Obamacare Abortion Surcharge

By | Blog, News and Events | No Comments

Last month, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a proposed rule aimed at increasing transparency surrounding the hidden abortion surcharge in many Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans purchased on the state and federal exchanges. The rule has a 60-day comment period and will close on January 8, 2019, at 5:00 p.m. EST. This rule contains two other measures, but we are only concerned with this particular part of the rule.

We need your help to submit comments supporting this transparency rule. Please visit ConcernedWomen.Org/ObamacareTransparencytoday to learn more, read a sample comment, and submit your comment to the Department of Health and Human Services!

Section 1303 of the ACA requires insurance companies to keep abortion-related services separate from the rest of healthcare funds. Abortion-related services are to be collected via a separate payment and kept in a separate fund — at least $1 per enrollee, per month.  When the law was passed, President Obama issued guidance saying “separate” payments could be collected “together” and then failed to enforce the law as written.  This means that taxpayer dollars, through subsidies and cost-sharing reduction payments, are currently co-mingled with funds that pay for elective abortions.

Although Congress will have to intervene and permanently fix the problem of taxpayer dollars co-mingling with abortion funds, HHS can do its part by enforcing the law. The proposed rule better aligns with the letter of the law and requires that the abortion surcharge be collected separately from insurance premiums.

The proposed rule says that qualified health insurance providers must send an “entirely separate monthly bill” and “instruct the policy subscriber to pay the portion of the premium in a separate transaction.” This means separate bills must be mailed or transacted online in entirely separate emails. The proposed rule is the best interpretation and intent of the law and will incorporate a necessary transparency measure that will not only ideally separate taxpayer dollars from elective abortions but will allow policyholders to see that they have been forced to subsidize abortion whether they want to or not.

The transparency rule is not a done deal. HHS must review and consider public comments before issuing a final ruling.  New rules will apply to insurance plans from the year 2020 forward. It is crucial that HHS upholds the law and carries out this transparency rule. Please visit ConcernedWomen.org/ObamacareTransparencytoday for a sample comment and more information on how to make a difference.

Reflections on 41: Three Things I Learned from President George H.W. Bush

By | News and Events | No Comments

I joined the George H.W. Bush White House as a twenty-something presidential management intern after completing my Ivy League master’s degree in public policy. Becoming deputy associate director of education policy for the Office of Economic and Domestic Policy was a dream job. I could never have imagined stepping into an office in the Old Executive Office Building and calling it my own when starting graduate school. Having been invited to serve the man who occupied the Oval Office and declared his intention to be the Education President made it all the more meaningful. As all can attest who accept such a role, the hours are long and the benefits are priceless. Being in the center of the national conversation and influencing the direction of national policy is a heady experience. But that is where the character of the president we honor this week offered lasting life lessons for me.

First, prudence is a virtue. My generation will recall the Saturday Night Live comedy skits Dana Carvey mastered of our 41st president – the hand gestures and phrases that Carvey may have repeated more than the actual president became part of President Bush’s lasting persona. Especially the phrase “wouldn’t be prudent.” I heard this line enough out of George H.W. Bush’s mouth that it would have stuck either way. And I couldn’t help but reflect on what he was conveying. For a young woman new to politics, it spoke volumes. There are situations which tempt an expedited response, but a pause to reflect and a measured approach might result in a better solution or outcome in the long run. Prudence was a guideline to govern the decision-making process. Prudence might lead to results that aren’t always optimal or politically expedient, but generally never regretful.

Second, kindness counts. President Bush admits he was never good at the “vision thing.” But from the moment he took the oath of office, he cast a vision of a “kinder, gentler nation” that guided his presidency. It was this principle that inspired his“Thousand Points of Light” to recognize the organizations in our communities who reach others with kindness and compassion. Literally, one such organization a day was highlighted throughout his presidency from the moment of inception! We staffers would get the press releases and be reminded every day of the virtue of serving others. President Bush’s personal letters were another way he showed kindness. He was a man of the written word, whose heart was not easily expressed vocally, but bled all over the page in ink. Troves of these letters are treasures for so many people and have become the basis of the only autobiography ever written.

Third, faith matters. While private in his demonstrations of religious or spiritual expression, President Bush exemplified the foundation of faith that upheld his life. He stood on solid ground and an abiding belief in God, in humanity, and in the founding principles that birthed and upheld our nation. He conveyed calm in the midst of the storm through major events of his presidency, like the Gulf War. He invited people to the table to negotiate tough issues, like the nation’s governors on education or congressional leaders over major policy pursuits like the Americans with Disabilities Act. He believed that good-faith efforts to find common ground while keeping your word can lead to breakthroughs. His integrity was not always matched by the other side, yet he never lost faith in the potential of people to do the right thing. In Washington, some may call that naïve. I call it noble.

George H.W. Bush, our 41st president, was indeed a man of honor, worthy of our every remembrance for a lifetime of service to our country. Thank you for being my first and lasting example of prudence, kindness, and faith in the midst of Washington politics.

‘Women’ taken out of ‘Violence Against Women Act’

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Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) and 176 Democrat members of Congress have sponsored a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that removes the references to women.

“Children, youths, and adults” are replacing the wording “women and children.” What to make of this? Confusion about what gender means now that “male and female” are being removed from the liberal agenda? Acquiescence to an activist, identity politics that seeks to elevate fluid gender perceptions above biological sex? It’s a travesty women would no longer be the focus of the Violence Against Women Act.

The left’s double speak around sexism seems only a matter of convenience. Think about it. Capitol Hill just endured weeks of mob protests crying out for victims of sexual abuse. The #MeToo movement is populated by women victims of sexual assault. Rep. Jackson Lee supposedly made a stand for women when she and her — dare I say female — colleagues from the House stood in protest at the Kavanaugh committee vote. As one of the “Women for Kavanaugh” sitting in front of that group of Congresswomen, I felt the animosity toward any woman not on their side — as if our voices were illegitimate.

Vulnerable women in the halls of the Hart Senate Building were fed extremist views that justice for survivors would be lost and “women would die” if Kavanaugh were on the court. Manipulating the pain of survivors of sexual abuse by inciting such fear is despicable and ultimately hurts women.

The Democrats’ crass tactics actually exploited women. Christine Blasey Ford was the first exploited when her confidential letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) was leaked to the press. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp(D-N.D.) recounted the sexual assaults of “countless North Dakotans and others close to me” in opposing Kavanaugh, then proceeded to release their names without permission in a campaign ad, before apologizing profusely, but the damage had been done.

The strident, uncorroborated slander against now-Justice Kavanaugh which screamed “a vote for Kavanaugh is a vote against women” rings hollow when considering how the liberals take the focus away from the protection of women in VAWA.

Congress must stand for women of sexual assault and domestic abuse, their privacy, safety and rights as victims first. According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 43.6 percent of women, nearly 52.2 million, experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime.

Twenty one percent of women experience rape, compared to 2.6 percent of men. For all forms of violence including stalking, 25 percent of women compared to 10 percent of men. Despite decades of programs funded by VAWA and similar laws, the number of women who were raped in America rose by 3 percent between 2010 and 2015 from 18.3 percent to 21.3 percent.

If women become secondary in VAWA to advance a sexual and gender identity political agenda, how can Congress expect to turn around this trend? Before politicizing VAWA, members across the political spectrum agreed on this legislation. They should work again to strengthen the focus on justice and support for women.

First, focus support on women and girls in defining underserved populations. Stop forcing sexual orientation and gender identity language, neither of which have shown to be underserved populations in VAWA programs. These efforts take the focus away from all women.

Second, increase accountability and priority in testing rape kits through the Debbie Smith DNA backlog grant program. It is unconscionable that after fifteen years and one billion dollars spent, the rape kit backlog still hasn’t been eliminated. Every sexual assault kit represents a brave woman waiting for justice.

Third, increase penalties for and education around the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation (FGM). Believe it or not, FGM is practiced in the US today on the most vulnerable of our population: little girls.

Fourth, treat nondiscrimination a matter of civil rights for all women, not special rights for some. Including sexual orientation and gender identity terms are unnecessary to provide effective and non-discriminatory legal protection and support services to female victims of violence. Such expansion often leads to violations of the rights, privacy and safety of women.

Under current law, women who have sought refuge in a shelter to escape male abusers can be forced to live in quarters with a man who identifies as a woman. Under VAWA’s nondiscrimination provision women could not seek protection or privacy from these individuals. It’s not right that their safety and privacy is compromised.

Finally, ensure all support organizations that serve victims of abuse can participate fully, including faith-based service providers who compassionately and effectively serve victims of violence and human trafficking. No person or organization should be targeted or excluded based on sincerely held religious beliefs.

These are some of the changes that would increase women’s safety and make VAWA more effective. In short, make women the priority again.

Doreen Denny is the senior director of government relations at Concerned Women for America.


A version of this article was published by The Hill

Legislative Update: Senate Majority Continues Work to Fill the Courts

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Even while the Senate stands in recess through the November election, the Senate Judiciary Committee is at work holding hearings on judicial nominees to ready them for votes when the Senate returns. Just this week two circuit court nominees for the west-coast Ninth Circuit had hearings, adding to last week’s hearing for Allison Jones Rushing to be a circuit judge for the Fourth Circuit (more on her in a moment). Seven additional lower court judges were on the hearing docket for life-time appointments to the bench.

President Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), and Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) have not flinched in their commitment to Americans to fill federal court vacancies at all levels. Their success not only has been impressive, but historic. To date, 84 federal judges have been confirmed, including two Supreme Court justices, 29 circuit judges, and 53 district judges. This represents an all-time record for the number of circuit judges confirmed in the first two years of a presidential administration. It has happened in the face of unrelenting obstruction by the Democrats who deploy any procedural means possible to delay confirmations.

Women are notable among the list of confirmed judges. One year ago this week, Judge Amy Coney Barrett was the first woman nominated by the Trump Administration to be confirmed. Serving on the Seventh Circuit court of appeals, Barrett is also on President Trump’s short list for Supreme Court consideration. Like Barrett, Allison Jones Rushing of North Carolina is one of the rising stars nominated by the Trump Administration and positioned to take a lifetime appointment on the circuit court. Rushing, 36, clerked for Judge Gorsuch on the Tenth Circuit and Associate Justice Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court. Her professional experience in law has covered a wide range of issues involving complex civil and criminal litigation in the federal and appellate courts. She has argued cases before federal circuit and state appellate courts and been recognized by professional groups for her excellent written and oral advocacy skills.

President Trump won the presidency with conservative voters who cared about filling court vacancies with highly qualified, conservative judges committed to upholding the Constitution and not legislating from the bench. And he hasn’t disappointed. This November voters in key red states have the potential of strengthening that majority in the Senate to move these judges forward.

Chairman Grassley has scheduled the Senate Judiciary Committee’s 19th nomination hearing for the week after the election. Thirty -two judicial nominees are out of committee and ready for confirmation votes by the full Senate. As Chairman Grassley has said, “we are not tired of winning.”

Pro-life Progress in Congress Won’t Come Without a Fight

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Late last week, the House and Senate wrapped up a conference on a spending bill package for the departments of Labor, HHS, and Education, coupled with the Department of Defense (LHHS/DOD).  Conferees also agreed to add a short-term continuing resolution (CR) for remaining federal agencies to get beyond the November election without a government shutdown.  While not the same “omnibus” appropriations bill that we have seen most years, this “minibus” package covers the lion’s share of fiscal year 2019 discretionary spending across the entire federal government.  Unfortunately, in the process of negotiating differences between the House and Senate bills, all provisions that would have advanced pro-life and religious liberty policies that were in the House version were rejected as “poison pills” by conference leadership.  These “riders” included legislation for which CWALAC has been fighting: the Conscience Protection Act, defunding abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood, banning aborted fetal tissue research, and including faith-based agencies in adoption and foster care.
 
Reacting to this unfortunate denial of conservative priorities, all of which had been approved in earlier action by House appropriators, CWALAC CEO and President Penny Nance said:
 
“It is highly disappointing that the only ‘rider’ conference negotiators could make a deal on was a continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown.  Conservative House appropriators fought the good fight for many new pro-life and conscience protection provisions that are desperately needed to prevent taxpayer funds from propping up the abortion industry year after year.   
 
“We need leaders to stand up for innocent life and stand firm to make progress.  It won’t come without the willingness to fight to the end for our principles.  If deals were made in these negotiations, then it is pretty clear who was on the losing side.  Our members want to see results, and unfortunately, once again, pro-life and conscience protection priorities were sidelined.”  
 
In further evidence of the steep climb ahead in this fight for progress, the Senate this week approved the LHHS/DOD spending package by a vote of 93-7 without a fight.  We’ll see next week if the House follows suit.   

Sen. Hirono Should Step Up for Justice

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As a woman and as an American,  I’m dismayed by the message Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) delivered this week telling  “men of this country and the men in this committee” to “just shut up and step up” to the allegation of sexual assault from 36 years ago against Judge Brett Kavanaugh.  Let’s be clear, these allegations are just that — allegations. They are not facts backed up by evidence, and they are unsubstantiated by eyewitnesses.  Judge Kavanaugh, under oath, has categorically denied the claims. And yet, Sen. Hirono has served as judge and jury in condemning not only Judge Kavanaugh, but all men as complicit in the process.

Make no mistake, this is a form of sexism of an insidious nature.  In her rush to condemn, Sen. Hirono is exploiting the sexes, advocating a culture that favors, without questions, the accuser over the accused (even when wrongly accused). Her misguided view lacks any standard of justice.  She is making a mockery of the judicial system and the oath she took to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States that expresslyprotects due process.

We should fear for our children — girls and boys — and the message this sends.  What exactly is the purpose of Sen. Hirono asking men to “shut up and step up”?  Truth?  Justice?  Hardly. Ironically, truth is exactly what the 11 Republican “old white men” on the Senate Judiciary Committee are trying to seek.  Since learning of these 11thhour allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, which Sen. Hirono’s own colleague, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), concealed for months, the Senate Judiciary Committee has set out to investigate these claims, as is their obligation under Senate rules.  Chairman Chuck Grassley has offered any way possible for this accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, to be interviewed and/or to testify in public or private.  This offer has so far gone unaccepted (but he continues graciously to maintain the offer open).

Senate Democrats are looking more and more complicit in colluding with her handlers to set the terms and conditions under which her testimony might be heard to further their ultimate objective of delaying the nomination until after the election and ultimately derailing it altogether.

Make no mistake, too many women have faced sexual assault without the confidence of due process to come forward. But Sen. Hirono’s rant, essentially condemning the male race as abusers first, disregards the very standards of justice that underpin civility and our freedom.   Yes, the #MeToo era has merit, but not at the expense and erosion of the foundations of our democracy.  Sen. Hirono should step up for justice, for women and for men, and perform her duty to uphold the Constitution that she swore under oath to defend.

CWALAC Letter in Support of Kavanaugh

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Today, Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women LAC sent the following letter to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In addition to the nominee’s impressive judicial qualifications and strength of character, the letter highlights Judge Kavanaugh’s advancement of women in the legal field:

“As the largest public policy organization for women in the country, CWALAC takes special note of Judge Kavanaugh’s commitment to the development of women in the legal field…Judge Kavanaugh employed the first all-female class of law clerks in the history of the D.C. Circuit Court, and more than half of his law clerks have been women. There is no question that his incredible efforts to advance women in the legal field will yield incredible fruit for generations to come.”

Click here to access the letter (.PDF).

Kavanaugh Hearings Scheduled for September 4-7. Contact Your Senators Today!

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Immediately following Labor Day when much of Washington returns to a normal schedule, the Senate will hold a week of hearings on Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy to the Supreme Court.  It’s a moment for which CWA has been waiting – and working.  As the Women for Kavanaugh bus tour concludes this week rallying support across the country, we now turn our attention to the process required to get the Kavanaugh nomination across the finish line.

The first step in this process is the Committee hearing. Here is what to expect:  Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley has announced a hearing schedule for the week of September 4-7.  Day 1 of the hearings will include an introduction of Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh and opening statements by members of the Committee.   Days 2 and 3 will be when Committee members asking questions of the nominee, putting Judge Kavanaugh on the hot seat.  Day 4 will include testimony from outside witnesses and the American Bar Association.   As the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings are happening, CWA will be on Capitol Hill standing in support of Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation and praying for Judge Kavanaugh and the Committee as they do their work.   We expect just as many voices will be railing against him, pressuring members of the Senate to oppose his nomination.

Leading up to the hearings, it is more important than ever for Senators to hear from their constituents, whether they have announced publicly how they plan to vote or not.  We need your voice of support to be heard by your Senators TODAY in order for Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to succeed.   You can send a letter of support by connecting to our CWA Action Center HERE. This link will take you to a letter that you can personalize and send directly to the U.S. Senators for your state.  Thank you for taking time to do this NOW!

Pro-Religious Liberty Measure Awaits Needed Action in Congress

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The House and Senate are out of session this week but will face a crucial religious freedom question when they both return.  Last month the House  Appropriations Committee adopted a pro-religious liberty amendment modeled after the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act (H.R. 1881, S.811) in its markup of the Labor-HHs appropriations bill.  This legislation in no way excludes any eligible agency from providing child welfare services, including agencies who choose to adopt to LGBT parents or single parents; it simply prevents the government from infringing upon a faith-based agencies’ sincerely held religious beliefs. Over 437,000 children exist in the foster care system, and approximately 117,000 are currently eligible for adoption. Excluding providers based on religious values hurts these vulnerable children who are waiting and hoping to be placed in loving homes.

Earlier this year, Philadelphia made a desperate plea for more foster families to help care for hundreds of children needing homes, many coming into the system due to the opioid crisis plaguing the city.  Days later, the city of Philadelphia halted all child placements through two of the top-performing agencies, Catholic Social Services and Bethany Christian Services, because of their belief that children should be placed in a home with a mother and a father. A federal judge recently ruled that these religious charities must adhere to the government’s view of an eligible family, thus violating their sincerely held religious beliefs, in order to be eligible agencies. Philadelphia has forced two out of 30 agencies to close for not doing what the other 28 would do. This is why the Inclusion Act is so crucial; government discrimination against people of faith and agencies who represent them must end. This hurts mothers who want to place children in homes that align with her beliefs, it hurts children who are desperate for good homes, and it violates the  foundation of  our religious liberties as a nation.

Breaking new ground in the fight for religious freedom in Congress is possible, but won’t be easy.  Opponents who view including faith-based agencies in any federal program as a threat to LGBT rights are waging an all-out assault against the measure included in the House appropriations bill.  We need your voice to embolden members of Congress to stand up for the freedom of birthmothers and faith-based agencies to express their religious values without threat of government discrimination.