All Posts By

Jaime Ballew

Abortion at 20 Weeks Takes the Senate Stage

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

Since Roe v. Wade, technology has changed our understanding of preborn life, and we need to face the truth on this issue: unborn children do feel pain. Science and medicine have no issue acknowledging this. While some preborn children are administered anesthesia during necessary surgery in utero, others have their limbs ripped from their bodies in a late-term dismemberment abortion with no anesthesia or regard for suffering. Read More

House Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Disappoints, Fails to Protect Women

By | Blog, Defense of Family, News and Events, Sexual Exploitation | No Comments

This week, the House passed a reauthorization bill of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), but this bill falls short and fails to accomplish its namesake goalFrom its inception, the purpose of VAWA has been to protect, support, and seek justice for women who have suffered assault or abuse. CWALAC fully supports that mission. The goal of the current VAWA reauthorization efforts should advance these objectives, not compromise them. The reauthorization must address misguided efforts to go beyond the scope of VAWA, which represent a fundamental threat to the privacy and safety of women and girls. Unfortunately, the House-passed version of VAWA ignores and even exacerbates the current problems with the VAWA law  Read More

Has Your Representative Signed the Discharge Petition?

By | Sanctity of Life | No Comments

Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA) filed a discharge petition on H.R. 962, the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. The Senate has voted on this bill, but Speaker Pelosi refuses to bring it to the House floor for a vote, even though House republicans have publicly asked almost thirty times.

A discharge petition is a special tool that can be used to get a bill on the floor for a vote, even if the Speaker, who controls the bills that are voted on and the House floor schedule, does not want a vote. A discharge petition needs 218 signatures from representatives, a majority of the House. Members are now able to sign this petition demanding a vote to protect babies born alive after failed abortions.

As of April 9, 2019, the following representatives HAVE signed the discharge petition to take up H.R. 962, the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. If you do not see your representative listed, please click here to contact them and ask them to sign the discharge petition!

 

                         200                                            18

             SIGNATURES TO DATE                    SIGNATURES NEEDED

 

Title

First Name

Last Name

Party

State-District

Rep.

Ralph Lee

Abraham

R

LA-05

Rep.

Robert

Aderholt

R

AL-04

Rep.

Rick

Allen

R

GA-12

Rep.

Justin

Amash

R

MI-03

Rep.

Mark

Amodei

R

NV-02

Rep.

Kelly

Armstrong

R

ND-At Large

Rep.

Jodey

Arrington

R

TX-19

Rep.

Brian

Babin

R

TX-36

Rep.

Don

Bacon

R

NE-02

Rep.

James

Baird

R

IN-04

Rep.

Troy

Balderson

R

OH-12

Rep.

Jim

Banks

R

IN-03

Rep.

Andy

Barr

R

KY-06

Rep.

Jack

Bergman

R

MI-01

Rep.

Andy

Biggs

R

AZ-05

Rep.

Gus

Bilirakis

R

FL-12

Rep.

Rob

Bishop

R

UT-01

Rep.

Mike

Bost

R

IL-12

Rep.

Kevin

Brady

R

TX-08

Rep.

Mo

Brooks

R

AL-05

Rep.

Susan

Brooks

R

IN-05

Rep.

Vern

Buchanan

R

FL-16

Rep.

Ken

Buck

R

CO-04

Rep.

Larry

Bucshon

R

IN-08

Rep.

Ted

Budd

R

NC-13

Rep.

Tim

Burchett

R

TN-02

Rep.

Michael

Burgess

R

TX-26

Rep.

Bradley

Byrne

R

AL-01

Rep.

Ken

Calvert

R

CA-42

Rep.

Earl

Carter

R

GA-01

Rep.

John

Carter

R

TX-31

Rep.

Steve

Chabot

R

OH-01

Rep.

Liz

Cheney

R

WY-At Large

Rep.

Ben

Cline

R

VA-06

Rep.

Michael

Cloud

R

TX-27

Rep.

Tom

Cole

R

OK-04

Rep.

Chris

Collins

R

NY-27

Rep.

Doug

Collins

R

GA-09

Rep.

James

Comer

R

KY-01

Rep.

K.

Conaway

R

TX-11

Rep.

Paul

Cook

R

CA-08

Rep.

Eric

Crawford

R

AR-01

Rep.

Dan

Crenshaw

R

TX-02

Rep.

John

Curtis

R

UT-03

Rep.

Warren

Davidson

R

OH-08

Rep.

Rodney

Davis

R

IL-13

Rep.

Scott

DesJarlais

R

TN-04

Rep.

Mario

Diaz-Balart

R

FL-25

Rep.

Sean

Duffy

R

WI-07

Rep.

Jeff

Duncan

R

SC-03

Rep.

Neal

Dunn

R

FL-02

Rep.

Tom

Emmer

R

MN-06

Rep.

Ron

Estes

R

KS-04

Rep.

A.

Ferguson IV

R

GA-03

Rep.

Brian

Fitzpatrick

R

PA-01

Rep.

Charles

Fleischmann

R

TN-03

Rep.

Bill

Flores

R

TX-17

Rep.

Jeff

Fortenberry

R

NE-01

Rep.

Virginia

Foxx

R

NC-05

Rep.

Russ

Fulcher

R

ID-01

Rep.

Matt

Gaetz

R

FL-01

Rep.

Mike

Gallagher

R

WI-08

Rep.

Greg

Gianforte

R

MT-At Large

Rep.

Bob

Gibbs

R

OH-07

Rep.

Louie

Gohmert

R

TX-01

Rep.

Anthony

Gonzalez

R

OH-16

Rep.

Lance

Gooden

R

TX-05

Rep.

Paul

Gosar

R

AZ-04

Rep.

Kay

Granger

R

TX-12

Rep.

Garret

Graves

R

LA-06

Rep.

Tom

Graves

R

GA-14

Rep.

Sam

Graves

R

MO-06

Rep.

Mark

Green

R

TN-07

Rep.

H.

Griffith

R

VA-09

Rep.

Glenn

Grothman

R

WI-06

Rep.

Michael

Guest

R

MS-03

Rep.

Brett

Guthrie

R

KY-02

Rep.

Jim

Hagedorn

R

MN-01

Rep.

Andy

Harris

R

MD-01

Rep.

Vicky

Hartzler

R

MO-04

Rep.

Kevin

Hern

R

OK-01

Rep.

Jaime

Herrera Beutler

R

WA-03

Rep.

Jody

Hice

R

GA-10

Rep.

Clay

Higgins

R

LA-03

Rep.

J.

Hill

R

AR-02

Rep.

George

Holding

R

NC-02

Rep.

Trey

Hollingsworth

R

IN-09

Rep.

Richard

Hudson

R

NC-08

Rep.

Bill

Huizenga

R

MI-02

Rep.

Duncan

Hunter

R

CA-50

Rep.

Will

Hurd

R

TX-23

Rep.

Bill

Johnson

R

OH-06

Rep.

Dusty

Johnson

R

SD-At Large

Rep.

Mike

Johnson

R

LA-04

Rep.

Jim

Jordan

R

OH-04

Rep.

David

Joyce

R

OH-14

Rep.

John

Joyce

R

PA-13

Rep.

John

Katko

R

NY-24

Rep.

Mike

Kelly

R

PA-16

Rep.

Trent

Kelly

R

MS-01

Rep.

Steve

King

R

IA-04

Rep.

Peter T.

King

R

NY-02

Rep.

Adam

Kinzinger

R

IL-16

Rep.

David

Kustoff

R

TN-08

Rep.

Darin

LaHood

R

IL-18

Rep.

Doug

LaMalfa

R

CA-01

Rep.

Doug

Lamborn

R

CO-05

Rep.

Robert

Latta

R

OH-05

Rep.

Debbie

Lesko

R

AZ-08

Rep.

Daniel

Lipinski

D

IL-03

Rep.

Billy

Long

R

MO-07

Rep.

Barry

Loudermilk

R

GA-11

Rep.

Frank

Lucas

R

OK-03

Rep.

Blaine

Luetkemeyer

R

MO-03

Rep.

Kenny

Marchant

R

TX-24

Rep.

Roger

Marshall

R

KS-01

Rep.

Thomas

Massie

R

KY-04

Rep.

Brian

Mast

R

FL-18

Rep.

Ben

McAdams

D

UT-04

Rep.

Kevin

McCarthy

R

CA-23

Rep.

Michael

McCaul

R

TX-10

Rep.

Tom

McClintock

R

CA-04

Rep.

Patrick

McHenry

R

NC-10

Rep.

David

McKinley

R

WV-01

Rep.

Mark

Meadows

R

NC-11

Rep.

Daniel

Meuser

R

PA-09

Rep.

Carol

Miller

R

WV-03

Rep.

Paul

Mitchell

R

MI-10

Rep.

John

Moolenaar

R

MI-04

Rep.

Alexander

Mooney

R

WV-02

Rep.

Markwayne

Mullin

R

OK-02

Rep.

Dan

Newhouse

R

WA-04

Rep.

Ralph

Norman

R

SC-05

Rep.

Devin

Nunes

R

CA-22

Rep.

Pete

Olson

R

TX-22

Rep.

Steven

Palazzo

R

MS-04

Rep.

Gary

Palmer

R

AL-06

Rep.

Greg

Pence

R

IN-06

Rep.

Scott

Perry

R

PA-10

Rep.

Collin C.

Peterson

D

MN-07

Rep.

Bill

Posey

R

FL-08

Rep.

John

Ratcliffe

R

TX-04

Rep.

Tom

Reed

R

NY-23

Rep.

Guy

Reschenthaler

R

PA-14

Rep.

Tom

Rice

R

SC-07

Rep.

Denver

Riggleman

R

VA-05

Rep.

Martha

Roby

R

AL-02

Rep.

Cathy

Rodgers

R

WA-05

Rep.

David

Roe

R

TN-01

Rep.

Harold

Rogers

R

KY-05

Rep.

Mike

Rogers

R

AL-03

Rep.

Francis

Rooney

R

FL-19

Rep.

John

Rose

R

TN-06

Rep.

David

Rouzer

R

NC-07

Rep.

Chip

Roy

R

TX-21

Rep.

John H.

Rutherford

R

FL-04

Rep.

Steve

Scalise

R

LA-01

Rep.

David

Schweikert

R

AZ-06

Rep.

Austin

Scott

R

GA-08

Rep.

F.

Sensenbrenner, Jr.

R

WI-05

Rep.

John

Shimkus

R

IL-15

Rep.

Michael

Simpson

R

ID-02

Rep.

Adrian

Smith

R

NE-03

Rep.

Christopher

Smith

R

NJ-04

Rep.

Jason

Smith

R

MO-08

Rep.

Lloyd

Smucker

R

PA-11

Rep.

Ross

Spano

R

FL-15

Rep.

Pete

Stauber

R

MN-08

Rep.

Elise

Stefanik

R

NY-21

Rep.

Bryan

Steil

R

WI-01

Rep.

W.

Steube

R

FL-17

Rep.

Chris

Stewart

R

UT-02

Rep.

Steve

Stivers

R

OH-15

Rep.

Van

Taylor

R

TX-03

Rep.

Glenn

Thompson

R

PA-15

Rep.

Mac

Thornberry

R

TX-13

Rep.

William

Timmons IV

R

SC-04

Rep.

Scott

Tipton

R

CO-03

Rep.

Michael

Turner

R

OH-10

Rep.

Fred

Upton

R

MI-06

Rep.

Ann

Wagner

R

MO-02

Rep.

Tim

Walberg

R

MI-07

Rep.

Greg

Walden

R

OR-02

Rep.

Mark

Walker

R

NC-06

Rep.

Jackie

Walorski

R

IN-02

Rep.

Michael

Waltz

R

FL-06

Rep.

Steven

Watkins, Jr.

R

KS-02

Rep.

Randy

Weber, Sr.

R

TX-14

Rep.

Daniel

Webster

R

FL-11

Rep.

Brad

Wenstrup

R

OH-02

Rep.

Bruce

Westerman

R

AR-04

Rep.

Roger

Williams

R

TX-25

Rep.

Joe

Wilson

R

SC-02

Rep.

Robert

Wittman

R

VA-01

Rep.

Steve

Womack

R

AR-03

Rep.

Rob

Woodall

R

GA-07

Rep.

Ron

Wright

R

TX-06

Rep.

Ted

Yoho

R

FL-03

Rep.

Don

Young

R

AK-At Large

Rep.

Lee

Zeldin

R

NY-01

Senate Dems Deny the Facts About the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

By | Blog, Legislative Updates, News and Events, Planned Parenthood, Sanctity of Life | No Comments

On Monday, February 25, the U.S. Senate failed to advance S. 311, the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, sponsored by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska). The bill needed 60 votes and failed by a vote of 53-44, with three senators not voting: Sens. Cramer (R-North Dakota), Scott (R-South Carolina), and Murkowski (R-Alaska). Sens. Cramer and Scott’s offices informed CWA they were unable to attend the vote due to weather delays. They are both original cosponsors of the bill and would have voted “yes. Sen. Tim Scott spoke at length on the Senate floor the day after the vote, declaring: “This is common sense; this is human decency. This is not an issue of being pro-life or pro-choice. This is being pro-child.” For information on how your senator voted, click here. 

Democrat Sens. Manchin (D-West Virginia), Jones (D-Alabama), and Casey (D-Pennsylvania) joined the 53vote majority, while every other Senate Democrat opposed Born Alive. Their excuses for defending infanticide on the Senate floor were straight from the talking points of Planned Parenthood and NARAL. Many of them claimed this does not happen. Wrong. Documented statistics by the Center for Disease Control say otherwise. Only six states require reporting cases of infants born alive after an attempted abortion, so we don’t know just how frequently this happens, but there is no question that it does. Abortion survivors like Melissa Ohden and Gianna Jessen have testified before Congress detailing their personal stories and asking for protections for babies who survive abortion 

Democrats also claimed the bill is unnecessary, because killing a child born alive is already illegal. While Congress did pass, and President George W. Bush signed into law, the Born Alive Infants Protection Act in 2002, it only defined a “person,” “human being,” “child,” or “individual” as including every infant born alive for the purposes of federal law. But the law did not contain any penalty provisions or requirements. This is the issue the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act seeks to correct. It would give law enforcement the legal tools to bring criminal penalties against a health care professional who fails to provide care for a child who is born alive. Some states do impose penalties, but New York repealed their born alive law, and Vermont is close to doing so. Federal law must address this. 

Here are the facts about the Born Alive Act: It is NOT about private medical decisions between woman and her doctor and does not change abortion laws. It is not about first, second, or thirdtrimester abortions; it is about infanticide. The bill only addresses failed abortions and would not substitute Congress’ judgment for standard medical practice in heartbreaking cases when a child is born but is not viable. It mandates the same degree of care be granted to children who survive abortions that would be given to a child born in other circumstances at the same gestational age, including hospitalizationIt also shields birth mothers from prosecution and grants them the right to take civil action against health care professional who fails to provide this care.   

The Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is not an extreme “anti-choice” bill. 82% of Americans oppose removing medical care for a viable child after birth, including 77% of pro-choice Americans. Undeniably, Americans widely support this bill. It is now up to the House to correct the failure of the Senate. Speaker Pelosi is standing in the way by denying daily requests to bring this bill to the House floor.  Next month, House Republicans will attempt to force the bill on the floor for a vote through a discharge petition. Please call your congressman today and ask him/her to cosponsor H.R. 962, the House version of S. 311, and sign the discharge petition when it is ready for consideration.  

 

Legislative Update: House GOP Fights for Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

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

Last Thursday, Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) expressed his disgust with Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s (D) comments describing how a child born alive after a botched abortion would be allowed to die. Sen. Sasse announced his intent to offer his bill, the BornAlive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, via Rule XIV. This procedural measure in the Senate is an expedited way to move a bill, but it requires unanimous consent. The Born-Alive bill protects infants who are born alive after an attempted abortion. The bill requires appropriate medical care for any child who survives an attempted abortion, as well as establishing criminal penalties for health-care practitioners who violate this requirement.

This legislation does not impose restrictions on abortion and is not a way to prosecute women who have abortions; but it is a protection of human dignity and a reflection on our basic humanity. The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act guarantees that if a child of an attempted abortion is born alive, he or she will receive the medical care that would otherwise occur if the child was born at that gestation under normal circumstances. This bill is not even about abortion; it’s about protecting children from infanticide.

Senator Murray (D-Washington) objected to the unanimous consent request and said caring for infants born alive after an abortion was already law. Congress did pass a weak born-alive bill via unanimous consent in 2002, but this law does not have any enforcement mechanism behind it.  That is what Sen. Sasse’s bill would provide. The comments made by Gov. Northam demonstrate there is great need for this existing law to be strengthened. If a governor who served as a pediatrician for decades has no problem detailing how to break the law and allow a newborn child to die after a botched abortion, then the penalties for doctors who do this are not high enough. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stated there will be a vote on Born Alive in the coming weeks, so this is not totally dead in the Senate.

During the State of the Union, President Trump expressed passionate concern over this issue and called on Congress to protect innocent life. Representative Ann Wagner (R-Missouri) introduced this bill in the House this week. Because Speaker Pelosi and her House majority are hostile to this bill, Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) announced that, after 30 legislative days, he will file a discharge petition that would force a vote if it is signed by a majority of House members (218). During these 30 legislative days, different Members of Congress will be speaking in support of Born Alive on the House floor and will be asking for unanimous consent for a vote on born alive every day for 30 legislative days until this discharge petition is ripe and can be considered. Will democrats keep objecting?

Please call your representative today and ask him/her to sign Whip Scalise’s discharge petition for H.R. 962, the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.

 

 

 

The Inequality of the “Equality Act”

By | Blog, News and Events | No Comments

On Monday the Heritage Foundation hosted a panel discussion titled, “The Inequality of the Equality Act: Concerns from the Left” where four self-described liberal feminists, including an openly gay woman and one man who formerly identified as transgender, detailed their concerns over transgender activism.  The left is pushing special, elevated, civil rights-type protections for gender identity, but women are becoming the real losers.

Soon, House Democrats are expected to reintroduce the Equality Act and likely expedite its passage. Although the bill may not see Senate action, the deceptively named “Equality Act” could be a difficult political hurdle for some, and details just how far the left will try to push the debate. The Equality Act seeks to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the immutable protected classes outlined in the Civil Rights Act. In addition to very legitimate religious liberty concerns, the Equality Act would directly harm women and girls by compromising sex-segregated spaces and placing women’s privacy and safety in jeopardy.

The left is openly shutting down anyone who dares to question the transgender movement and has no problem eating their own. One of the panelists, Julia Beck, a writer who is a producer at Women’s Liberation Radio News who is openly lesbian, testified how she was removed from Baltimore’s LGBTQ Commission for “using male pronouns to talk about a convicted male rapist who identifies as transgender and prefers female pronouns.” They referred to her speech as violent.

One of the other panelists, Kara Dansky, a board member of the self-described “radical feminist” group the Women’s Liberation Front, pointed out how difficult it is to even define the term “gender identity” without using circular reasoning or gender stereotypes. Gender identity, according to the left, is fluid and is defined as the gender you identify as or as a man wearing dresses or participating in stereotypical female activities. As we know, a woman’s choice to dress a certain way does not determine whether or not she is a woman, sex is an objective scientific, biological fact. The left is so adamant on destroying all gender stereotypes, yet they are still compelled to use them to define gender identity. This is a regressive policy.

In Alaska we have already seen women’s rights trumped by ordinances requiring transgender accommodation. In Downtown Hope Center v. Municipality of Anchorage, a homeless shelter, serving women who have suffered rape, physical abuse, and domestic violence, is being accused of turning away a transgender woman.  Women staying at the shelter said, “If you allow biological men to sleep right next to us at night, to disrobe and change right next to us at night, we’ll brave the cold.[1]” This clearly undermines protections for women who have escaped abusive, violent situations and forces them into an uncomfortable, vulnerable position in a place that should be safe.

In the words of these feminists, the Equality Act would erase women, making the unique biological character of being female become meaningless.  Sharing similar concerns, Concerned Women for America is joining efforts to ensure women are not erased.

[1]https://www.ktuu.com/content/news/Transgender-woman-at-center-of-Downtown-Soup-Kitchen-lawsuit-speaks-out-504529741.html

California and New York Reach New Lows as Abortion Promoters

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

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Trump Administration has repeatedly stated that conscience rights are a priority, and it has taken strides to do just that. HHS has issued several regulations aimed at conscience protection in contraception, insurance plans, Title X grant funding, and strengthening existing conscience laws. A year ago, HHS created the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division. This is the first time a federal office for civil rights has established a separate division “dedicated to ensuring compliance with and enforcement of laws that protect conscience and free exercise of religion in healthcare and human services[1].”

Last Friday, the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division of HHS notified the State of California that the Reproductive FACT (Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care and Transparency) Act violates the federal pro-life Coates-Snowe and Weldon Amendments. This is the first time any state has been found in violation of these amendments which protect the conscience rights of healthcare entities and healthcare workers from performing, participating, advertising, or referring for abortions.

In 2016, California enacted the FACT Actwhich forced all healthcare providers in the state, including pro-life pregnancy care centers, to advertise and refer for abortion. A group of pro-life pregnancy centers sued.  In June the U.S. Supreme Court, in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra, 138 S. Ct. 2361 (2018) (“NIFLA”) held that the FACT Act was unconstitutional as compelled speech in violation of the First Amendment. Ever since the FACT Act was introduced, CWA and other pro-religious liberty and pro-life groups have been arguing that this Act is also a clear violation of federal laws protecting conscience rights.

Although California is prohibited from enforcing the FACT Act because of the Supreme Court ruling, being found in violation of federal conscience laws by HHS is still significant. This not only tells California they cannot shove aside the conscience rights of those who are pro-life, but it also puts other states on notice and at a pertinent time.

Just this week, New York enacted a law signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo that codified a woman’s “right” to an abortion, removed abortion from New York’s criminal code, and allows women to have abortions after24 weeks when “there is an absence of fetal viability, or at any time when necessary to protect a patient’s life or health.” Not only is this unbelievably horrible, but New York already has been cited for serious conscience concerns and violations for health care workers opposed to an abortion.

New York’s radical law is not about protecting abortion rights; it’s about aggressively promoting abortion, and Planned Parenthood couldn’t be more ecstatic. It is also far out of the mainstream American view on abortion. The New York Legislature missed the memo that 75% of Americanssupport significant abortion restrictions and do not support abortion after the first trimester. Although Planned Parenthood and NARAL were in the New York Senate chamber cheering for a law that can’t get much closer than legalizing infanticide outright, we know science and truth are on the side of life.

 

[1]https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2019/01/18/trump-administration-actions-to-protect-life-and-conscience.html

CWA Engaged to End Unethical Fetal Tissue Research

By | Blog, News and Events | No Comments

Concerned Women for America is actively engaged in the effort to end unethical fetal tissue research. We are working with Congress to stop funding of this gruesome practice and are asking the Trump Administration to change policy. Some fetal tissue contracts were made by the Obama Administration and cannot be rescinded, but the Trump Administration can decline to renew them.

In September the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized a contract with Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR) for fetal tissue use in select research. Aside from the unethical nature of this research, taxpayer dollars should not be funding any sort of contract between the U.S. Government and ABR because ABR is still under federal investigation for illegal profiting from the sale of aborted fetal tissue.  After backlash from the pro-life community, the FDA announced a termination of the ABR contract, and Health and Human Services (HHS) promised an internal review of fetal tissue research policies.

Last week stemming from a report that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is funding fetal tissue research to the tune of $103 million annually, 74 Members of Congress, led by pro-life champions Chris Smith (R-New Jersey) and Vicki Hartzler (R-Missouri), sent a letter to HHS Secretary Azar asking for a moratorium on fetal tissue research in exchange for ethical research alternatives that, unlike fetal tissue research, are showing promise and producing results.  It is unconscionable that NIH research uses the organs of unborn children from elective abortions at 17-24 weeks gestation.

This week a seven-year fetal tissue contract between HHS and the University of California at San Francisco expired.  Instead of the expected long-term renewal, the contract was only renewed for 90 days. While this is a big step in the right direction, a pro-life administration should not be funding unethical, anti-life research. Fetal tissue research is the scientific version of the famed Alaska “bridge to nowhere[1]” and is a waste of taxpayer money.

Fetal tissue research is not groundbreaking or cutting edge; it began in the 1920s and has yet to produce positive results. In 2001 the first NIH-funded clinical trial using fetal tissue to treat patients with Parkinson’s was described as “absolutely devastating,” “tragic, catastrophic” and “a real nightmare” as the experimental introduction of fetal tissue worsenedthe patients’ symptoms.[2]This is just one example of several clinical trials, completed in the U.S. and abroad, where fetal tissue did not produce promising results. Instead, fetal tissue intervention often proved detrimental.

These catastrophic and devastating results are not exclusive to fetal tissue, but also to the use of fetal stem cells[3]. In 2009 a young boy developed spinal tumors after being injected with fetal stem cells[4]. There are promising research avenues, such as adult stem cell therapies, the use of cord blood, and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.

Science is moving away from fetal tissue experimentation because it has failed to produce any significant scientific gains. The U.S. government should be funding promising research not dead-end projects that are outmoded and unethical.

[1]https://www.heritage.org/budget-and-spending/report/the-bridge-nowhere-national-embarrassment

[2]https://s27589.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Prentice-writtentestimony-AZ-House-Judiciary-fetal-tissue-trafficking.pdf

[3]https://s27589.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Prentice-writtentestimony-AZ-House-Judiciary-fetal-tissue-trafficking.pdf

[4]http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7894486.stm

How the Republican minority House members can still have influence

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Now that (most) of the election dust has settled, members have met their new colleagues, chosen their party leadership, and everyone is in the process of preparing for next year. On January 3, the largest Freshman (new members) class since WWII will be sworn into office. About 75% of House Republicans have never been in the minority and, inversely, about 65% of House Democrats have never served in the majority.

Come January 3, the House of Representatives will be very hostile to conservative issues, especially the life issue. The last time Democrats controlled the House there were about 40 pro-life Democrats who consistently voted pro-life, now there are 2. During this last election cycle, Democrat party leaders told candidates they were not welcome in the party if they were pro-life, because, as Penny says, “abortion is their religion.”

However, there are ways that members of the minority party can have influence outside of voting “no.” A motion to recommit (MTR) with instructions returns a bill to committee and can amend, or possibly kill, legislation. The MTR is a power held exclusively by the minority and can make things uncomfortable for moderate majority members who may oppose the bill or parts of the bill based on their districts. At a bare minimum, a MTR takes up legislative time. Democrats have said they do not plan on holding votes before 1:00 p.m. or after 7:00 p.m. in order to accommodate members with families, so time allotted for votes will be precious.

Floor speeches are also great ways for the minority party to message for or against something. One-minute speeches might not seem like much, but they are televised by C-SPAN, which can have an audience of 1 million typically engaged, voting citizens at any given time. For those issues that have bipartisan support but not leadership support, a discharge petition can be used to force legislation out of committee and put it on the floor. While it requires the majority of the House (218 members) and is rarely successful, it can be used for political pressure. In 2015, a discharge petition caused a major headache for Speaker Boehner over an immigration issue. Minority members can pick apart the majority’s position in minority committee reports. These reports officially state a position counter to the majority and can be written by one or more minority members of the committee.

These are all ways to draw attention to the stark contrast of the positions on the opposite side of the aisle and can make things uncomfortable for the majority, who is usually fighting to keep their caucus together on controversial issues. But ultimately, a divided government forces us to find common ground and work together.

We do know that the Democrats are drooling over getting rid of pro-life protections, and, thankfully, the Senate will serve as a backstop to make sure we don’t lose gains on that front. While the President can veto bills with concerning language, and we are encouraging him to do so, a pro-life Senate is an added layer of security. With the net gain of 2 pro-life Senate seats, we finally have a pro-life majority in the Senate. Although Senators Collins (R-Maine) and Murkowski (R-Alaska) are Republicans, they are not pro-life and usually vote against pro-life measures. With next year’s Senate makeup, we can lose Sens. Collins and Murkowski on a life issue and still win. This will be crucial during the Appropriations (spending) process, where many of our pro-life gains have been accomplished.

While things in the next Congress will be different, there is always hope, and there is always progress to be made. Like Justice Kavanaugh said during his opening statement, “I live on the sunrise side of the mountain, not the sunset side of the mountain. I see the day that is coming, not the day that is gone. I am optimistic about the future of America …”

 

 

 

 

 

Resolution for the Little Sisters of the Poor

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Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a final rule that provided much-needed relief to employers who had religious or moral objections to birth control or certain forms of birth control. After the Affordable Care Act became law, HHS was tasked with interpreting the intentionally vague part of the law that mandated all insurance plans provide essential women’s health services. HHS, not Congress, determined that, among other things, all FDA-approved forms of birth control must be covered in employer insurance plans.

Although there were narrow exceptions to this mandate and several corporations were “grandfathered” in, the Obama Administration failed to respect the conscience rights of religious employers. This bureaucratic overreach forced companies like Hobby Lobby and religious non-profits like the Little Sisters of the Poor to fight for their religious freedom at the Supreme Court. The Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby’s request to provide 16 of the 20 forms of birth control, excluding only abortifacients (birth control that does not simply prevent conception, but prevents implantation of an embryo, therefore resulting in the loss of a unique human life).

The Obama Administration offered several accommodations to the Little Sisters of the Poor, but missed the mark with each one. In May 2017, the Trump Administration issued an interim final rule that provided relief to the Little Sisters. These new final rules are identical to the ones proposed in 2017 and respect the religious and moral objections of employers. This rule does not prevent the government from providing these services to women who want them; it is a necessary correction to the government’s overreach.