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Jaime Ballew

“What are we doing about Planned Parenthood now?”

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

One of the most common questions I get from grassroots advocates, supporters or even other D.C. folk is, “What are we doing now about Planned Parenthood?” Although we have proven we can get Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid reimbursement funding redirected to better healthcare providers through a House vote, the Senate makeup is not changing right now, so we are tackling this from a different angle.

According to their most recent annual report, in 2016 Planned Parenthood received approximately $543.7 million from the government. This is a big pot of money that is divided in a lot of ways. The main ways Planned Parenthood receives funding is through Medicaid reimbursement for services performed and through Title X (family planning) dollars and through other various government (state and federal) grants. The healthcare reconciliation bill that failed by one vote in the Senate last year tackled the largest portion: their Medicaid reimbursement, but we are not giving up because that bill failed.

The Title X Family Planning Program was authorized in 1970 and is intended to assist in “voluntary family planning projects,” offering “a broad range of acceptable and effective family planning methods and services,” and may not fund “programs where abortion is a method of family planning.” The statute gives the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) the ability to determine qualifications for this money. These qualifications are mostly outdated and although the statute firmly differentiates between abortion and family planning, Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, is a large recipient of these funds. Obama regulations required all grantees to refer for abortion. This obviously deters many from applying for funds who do not believe abortion is a method of family planning.

Members of the House know this issue well and are currently circulating a letter to the Secretary of HHS to update these regulations. HHS recently issued new Title X regulations lifting the abortion referral mandate, but members of Congress are now asking for these funds to be fully separated from abortion clinics. As it stands, several Title X locations are also abortion clinics, but members are calling to renew similar Reagan Administration regulations (that the Supreme Court upheld) that require Title X service sites to be physically and financially separate from abortion facilities.

This is just one of the ways you won’t hear about on the news that we are working to cut off the government funding stream to Planned Parenthood. Their free ride on the backs of taxpayers is not forgotten in D.C. and is coming to an end.

CWA Advocates for Pompeo’s Swift Confirmation

By | Blog, News and Events, Uncategorized | No Comments

Moving this week is support for President Trump’s new nominee for Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.  You will see CWA becoming more active later this month on the Hill when Pompeo appears in the Senate for his official hearings for his new position as Secretary of State.  This week we joined with other conservative organizations to lend our voice to his swift approval by signing on to a letter of support that will hit the Senate soon.

The letter stated that, “Mike Pompeo’s career also shows a regard for the sanctity of life, the solidarity of the family, and the solemnity of marriage.  These principles will be key in re-building a State Department that, under President Obama, actively pushed a radical social policy around the world.  His belief in religious freedom as a foreign policy priority is equally important in directing the State Department’s efforts to protect the freedom of all people.

“Mike Pompeo will be a positive agent for change at the State Department, and a valuable asset to President Trump in imparting his agenda at home and abroad.  We support his nomination and urge his swift confirmation.”

CWA Legislative Victory – Senate Passed FOSTA

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This week the Senate passed the House-passed Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 (FOSTA). We were apprehensive about the senate vote because Sen. Wyden (D-Oregon) has had a hold on this bill which prevented it from moving forward. Sen. Wyden, working with the tech industry, was planning to offer several amendments that would have drastically changed the bill and would have rendered it useless should they have been adopted. We worked with a pro-victim, anti-sex trafficking coalition to educate senators that these amendments were horrible and would significantly hurt the bill. The first amendment Sen. Wyden offered failed 2-97 and the second one was withdrawn, theoretically, because it would have suffered the same fate.

Sen. Wyden was one of the two senators to vote against final passage; the bill passed 97-2, and now the bill heads to the President’s desk to be signed. FOSTA provides survivors and law enforcement with new tools available to hold bad actor websites that are knowingly participating in sex trafficking accountable.

This is a victory for law enforcement officers who are working relentlessly to combat sex trafficking in their communities. This is a victory for prosecutors and the 50 state Attorneys General who support FOSTA who have asked for better tools and resources so that they can better prosecute those involved in sex trafficking. Perhaps most importantly, this is a victory for victims who have encountered substantial obstacles while trying to achieve justice against those found complicit in their trafficking.

Less than 24 hours after the bill passed, “adult” “escort” websites like cityvibe have already shut down because they know this bill will hold them accountable for selling human beings online. The language in FOSTA not only allows prosecution of websites who knowingly traffic humans, but also allows prosecution of websites who knowingly facilitate prostitution. We all know that backpage is responsible for trafficking women and minors, but this bill is about more than shutting down backpage, it is about stopping the next backpage, and it is clearly working before it is even the law of the land.

Another Hard-fought Victory This Week – Sex Trafficking

By | Blog, House Legislative Updates, Legislative Updates, News and Events, Senate Legislative Updates, Sexual Exploitation | No Comments

This week the House passed a sex trafficking bill (H.R. 1865) that would allow state attorneys general and victims to sue websites that knowingly facilitate sex trafficking. This bill was created to target sites like Backpage.com, which is currently under Senate investigation because of the hosting of ads that promoted the trafficking of minors. The legislation passed changes Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which the first circuit ruled shields websites from lawsuits over user-generated content.

This bill was a fight from the very beginning. Fortunately, human trafficking is a big issue nationally, and generally, everyone agrees it is a horrid practice that must be stopped. However, this issue has a lot of money surrounding it, and that means there are a lot of anti-sex trafficking groups with a lot of opinions about how this type of legislation should be handled. This issue also touched the bipartisan golden child of Congress: the tech industry. Democrat and Republican leadership are both heavily funded by the tech industry, and, unfortunately, they hated this bill when it was originally introduced, so we had our work cut out for us.

CWA worked with Rep. Ann Wagner’s (R-Missouri) office almost weekly for a year, meeting and strategizing how to get people in D.C. on board with something for which states were asking. The original bill was altered several times to appease not only the trafficking groups, but also was altered per DOJ’s request. When it passed, it was supported by all 50 state attorneys general. The final bill is a reflection of what should happen in Washington. Everyone: groups, congressional Democrats and Republicans, and the administration, worked together (eventually, not everyone was on board initially) to make a stronger and better piece of legislation.

We were not happy with the Senate counterpart for the House bill. It is what I would refer to as a “pat ourselves on the back” bill; it seems like it is accomplishing something, and it sounds really good, but ultimately it was not as strong as the House bill, and we had major concerns. Unfortunately, we were one of the few who did have major concerns with only the Senate language, and many sex trafficking groups loved the Senate language, but we vocalized those concerns and worked with Rep. Wagner’s office to educate members and leadership on why the House bill is better.

H.R. 1865 passed the U.S. House by a vote of 388-25.   The Senate will take up the House-passed bill the week of March 12.  Congratulations to Rep. Wagner who led the charge on the passage of this bill.  CWA worked long and hard on this legislation.  We look forward to seeing it through to passage in the Senate, also.

 

CWA in the Budget Battle

By | Blog, News and Events | No Comments

The house and senate again failed to agree on spending language by the midnight deadline, therefore shutting down the government for a few hours overnight. President Trump signed the continuing resolution into law a few hours later, but the spending battle is far from over.

This spending bill was paired with defense spending and a large relief fund for hurricane victims. Many of our faithful grassroots leaders were impacted by the hurricane, and we all remember stories of communities and churches coming together to help each other rebuild. Houses of worship were not immune from the impacts of the hurricane, and they should also be eligible for aid. The President himself noted this. Finally, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 includes language allowing for houses of worship and religious schools to be eligible for FEMA disaster aid. We will continue to work with House and Senate leadership to assure this provision makes it through the budget process.

What’s the latest on tax reform?

By | Blog, House Legislative Updates, Legislative Updates | No Comments

This week, the Republicans finished up their plan to overhaul the tax code. There is always a lot of work behind the scenes on big issues like this, and CWA has been working with the Senate, the House and the Administration to advocate for a pro-family tax code. Families are the foundation of civil society, and tax reform that is pro-family is an investment in our future.

A huge part of our work surrounds the Child Tax Credit (CTC). Concerned Women for America was an original advocator for the CTC, and we are continuing the legacy of our founder, Mrs. Beverly LaHaye, by continuing to work toward a tax system that does not penalize families. Not only are we working to increase the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 annually to $2,500 annually, we are also working to remove the cap on the number of children for which the credit applies; we are pushing to have this credit apply against payroll taxes, and we are working to get rid of the marriage penalty.

As a whole, this tax reform package must provide a net gain for families, because as any parent knows, having a child is expensive. The Department of Agriculture estimates that for a middle-income family to raise a child born in 2016 until he/she is 17, it will cost $233,610. The national average of the annual cost of childcare is 31% of the median household income, and in 33 states, the cost of infant care is higher than paying for college tuition. Increasing the CTC allows for more take home pay and, therefore, more financial flexibility raising children. For a family with four children, $4,000 annually may not make a huge impact, but $10,000 annually with the expanded CTC may allow a mother to work part time instead of full time and, therefore, spend more time at home with her children.

Ivanka Trump’s office has been leading the charge on this issue from the early days of the Trump Campaign and Penny and CWA’s legislative team (Caroline Aderholt, Ashley Traficant, and Jaime Ballew) have all met with Ivanka personally about modernizing our tax code so that it helps families. Additionally, Ashley and Jaime have been meeting with key Senate and House staff as well as senators and members of Congress to reiterate to the authors of this legislation that the tax code must help families.

Now that the tax reform package has been revealed, we will continue working with the administration, House and Senate leadership as well as with other groups to get the expansion of the CTC and tax reform, as a whole, accomplished.

Trump Set to End Ridiculous War Against Nuns

By | Blog, Sanctity of Life | No Comments

God bless President Donald J. Trump. As reported by several news outlets, the Trump Administration is set to finally put an end to part of the repugnant ObamaCare contraception mandate which sought to force the Little Sisters of the Poor (LSP) to violate their religious convictions.

One of the most bizarre things about the Obama Administration’s ObamaCare crusade was this insistence that groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor be forced to participate in the process of providing contraception and abortifacients for their employees, regardless of their religious beliefs.  Not only was the policy unconstitutional, as a violation of religious liberty, but it was just so unnecessary.

The whole time the organization I lead, Concerned Women for America (CWA), is working to stand for these poor nuns — who, by the way, take vows of poverty and chastity, and dedicate their lives to serving the elderly, the maligned, and those forgotten by society — I’m thinking President Obama will soon provide a way for them to be exempt and go about their noble work.

But no. It never happened. Abortion groups have such a tight grip on the Democratic Party, they were willing to drag the sisters all the way to the United States Supreme Court before they would recognize their constitutional rights. Ridiculous.

To continue reading in Breitbart, please click here.

Kentucky Clerk Released

By | Defense of Family, Kentucky, News and Events, Press Releases | No Comments

Washington, D.C. – Kim Davis, an elected Kentucky county clerk was released from jail this afternoon after  spending six days behind bars on a contempt of court charge. Davis was jailed after refusing to issue marriage licenses in response to the SCOTUS’ ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges because it violates her deeply-held religious beliefs. Concerned Women for America CEO and President, Penny Nance had this to say:

penny-lg-color“While we rejoice with the release of Kim Davis, this issue is about so much more than a clerk refusing to issue marriage licenses-rather it is a prime example of how Christians are actively being pushed out of public office and their voices silenced. Our Nation was founded on religious freedom, but religious freedom does not mean others should be forced to participate in other’s choices at the expense of their conscience. Religious freedom was at the center of our nation’s founding and remains an essential part of what makes us strong.

“Religious accommodations are made for pro-life doctors and pharmacists who choose to not perform abortions or prescribe birth control, reasonable accommodations are made for Muslim women who go through airport security, and until recently a Texas judge who refused to issue traditional marriage licenses. It is baffling to think that no such accommodation exists in this case.

“Under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, government must employ the least restrictive means for achieving a compelling state interest. Least restrictive means should mean that the County finds an alternative so that homosexuals can get married while protecting the rights of Mrs. Davis. Running someone out of their job due to deeply held religious beliefs is a violation of their civil rights. We all should be worried when we see that happen.

“The same group of people who are condemning Mrs. Davis now, who were chanting outside her office for her to “do her job,” were applauding public officials who violated the law and issued homosexual marriage certificates before the Court issued its ruling on Obergefell. The concern does not lie with the rule of law or justice, but rather with promoting an agenda.”

 

Patrina Mosley, Young Women for America Coordinator, was in Kentucky at the time of Kim Davis’ release. She had this to add:

Patrina Mosley Headshot“Our more than half-a-million members stand with Kim Davis, and the First Amendment stands with Kim Davis. Even though Judge Bunning says Mrs. Davis’  ‘good faith belief is simply not a viable defense,’ the Constitution begs to differ. It is simple:

‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…’

“So as you can see, the First Amendment protects, not just religious beliefs, but the exercise of those beliefs. That clearly implies movement and action–it is the living out of our faiths that the Constitution protects. Precisely what Kim Davis is doing in this instance!

“But Judge Bunning and the ACLU want all Christians out of government unless they are willing to betray their beliefs.  We must choose between God and man. And the answer is pretty simple for us. There is no choice in that really. There is no freedom.

“Just like judges and government force were use to spread and sustain the violation of civil rights for minorities in the past, so too now we see the power of the state used to violate Kim Davis’s civil rights, and in doing so, they violate all our civil rights. They want to make an example of Mrs. Davis, to send a signal to the rest of us. We must be quiet or we too will suffer much.

“Notice Judge Bunning could have only fined Mrs. Davis. Any reasonable observer can see that that would have been more appropriate in this case, given the fact that she poses no threat to anyone. But that would not have accomplished their goal: to show you what will happen to you if you dare not renounce the true meaning of Constitution and your faith.

“So, to his shame, Judge Bunning sent her to jail, saying, ‘The court cannot condone the willful disobedience of its lawfully issued order.’ He said Davis would be released only when she agreed to follow his order and issue marriage licenses. Once again the false choice was before Mrs. Davis: God or man?

“This ‘astroturf’ choice shows a deep misunderstanding of faith. Faith led Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to write from his jail cell in Birmingham that:

‘One has not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.’

“Kim Davis and we all stand on solid ground, following his example today. We choose justice.  We choose freedom. We choose God.”

For additional information, contact Jaime Ballew at (540) 849-0107 or [email protected], or Janae Stracke at (712) 269-1724 or [email protected].

Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee is the legislative arm of Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization with 500,000 participating members across the country, over 450 Prayer/Action Chapters and Home Teams, 600 trained leaders, and over 30 years of service to our nation. For more information visitwww.concernedwomen.org 

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Penny Nance Speaks Against the Iran Nuclear Deal at EMET Press Conference

By | News and Events, Press Releases | No Comments

Washington, D.C. – Today, Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) will join the Endowment for Middle East Truth’s Press Conference on the West Front Grassy Area of the Capitol at 12:30 p.m. to speak out against the Iran nuclear deal. CWALAC CEO and President Penny Nance had this to say:

“The content of this deal with Iran is bad for the U.S., our ally Israel, and the four American hostages who were left behind.

“Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism. Once implemented, this deal will release $150 billion in sanctions relief. A good portion of that could be used to fund terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah – both groups which reside around Israel and have carried out attacks against our ally.

“President Obama may have the necessary votes from Democrats to withhold a veto override attempt by Congress, but this week our elected officials get to cast a vote and speak for the American people.

“Almost sixty percent of Americans agree that this deal makes the world less safe. Those serving in the United States Senate and House of Representatives should remember if they vote in support of this deal, they are on record and will not have the support of the Obama Administration once the consequences of this accord are revealed. Those who support this deal will be held accountable for the part they play.”

For additional information, contact Jaime Ballew at (540) 849-0107 or [email protected], or Janae Stracke at (712) 269-1724 or [email protected].

Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee is the legislative arm of Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization with 500,000 participating members across the country, over 450 Prayer/Action Chapters and Home Teams, 600 trained leaders, and over 30 years of service to our nation. For more information visitwww.concernedwomen.org

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I’ve Been Where You Are

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

Editor’s Note: If you’ve ever wondered what a woman can go through with a “safe, legal, and rare” abortion, read on. And if you’re one of those women who has experienced one and is silently struggling with your decision, definitely read on. There is hope … and healing.

Hello, my name is Cathy.

Most people do not know that abortion is one of the most common surgical procedures performed in the United States. At least 1.2 million pregnancies ending in abortions are reported each year. Contrary to common perception, abortion is not rare and most likely has affected many people whom we know. By the age of 20, one in seven women has undergone at least one abortion. By the age of 45, one in three women has had at least one abortion.

I am one of those. After 40 years of silent grieving and shame, I am here to share, out loud, how my choice affected my life. I was 17, one year after Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in 1973, when, at the advice of those I loved and trusted (including the minister of the church I grew up in), I was told that abortion was the right thing to do.

So, I left my family and friends and moved to Arizona in August of 1974. My aunt, who happened to work for Planned Parenthood, took me to San Diego that weekend where I terminated the life of my child. I have no memory of the procedure, but waking up in recovery amongst a room full of girls and women in physical pain and mental anguish is a memory I will never forget.

My aunt took me school-clothes shopping right after I was released, and the task of covering up the aftershock continued for the next 39 years. I knew when I stepped out of that clinic that I had done something terribly wrong.

I married not long after that and started an exciting life as a Navy wife. Then, in 1976, I came to know Jesus as my Savior and began a life in Him. Together, Ron and I have two beautiful daughters.

The military moved us to many duty stations across the country and one tour overseas. Our life was normal, filled with church, sports, and school activities. Occasionally, the abortion would come to mind, and the memories would visit me in my dreams. I’d gotten good at covering up my pain … and my walk as a Christian became my best mask.

Once our girls were grown and leading lives of their own, the covering and denial continued to the point where I began to deal with deep bouts of depression. I had a wonderful husband, wonderful girls, and a fulfilled life. Why was I so miserable?

I began to self medicate with alcohol to escape this self doubt and hate. Then I ended up phasing myself out of a church that I loved and served in for 14 years and walked in my flesh for the next 10 years. Praise God; He never gave up on me … and neither did my praying friends.

In 2004, we moved to our present location. I struggled with depression and loneliness and continued with the closet drinking for many years. I hid my pain from my family and my friends. I didn’t know how to talk about it; I didn’t know that it stemmed from that day I walked into an abortion clinic and walked out in physical and mental pain, but no longer pregnant.

In September 2013, I reconnected with ladies from my old church and went to a ladies’ retreat with them. I went grudgingly, but I sensed the Lord for the first time in years. I recalled His love for me — His patience, His kindness, and that HE saved me— but my self destruction continued.

On December 24, 2013, the Lord got my attention loud and clear. It was a day after my last alcohol binge. Two ladies whom I had spent time with at camp called me on the same day to check on my father who was hospitalized at the time, and I ended up telling them everything. They prayed the most powerful prayers, and I knew God was talking to me and wooing me home.

I re-dedicated my life to the Lord that day.

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust (3)

God led me to First Baptist that following Sunday. I had driven by the church on my way to work for nine years and saw the Pregnancy Center sign every day. It was the first time that I had walked into a church in years and not felt like I should not be there.

While the pastor was sharing announcements, I opened the bulletin. There was a flyer about the pregnancy center, and it said, “If you know anyone considering abortion, or suffering from a past abortion, contact the pastor.”

“Could this be it?” I asked myself. “Could this be what is wrong with me?” All that was left was to get up the courage to contact the pastor.

And that I did.

I completed the Bible Study, “Forgiven and Set Free” with Vanessa and Christie from the Pregnancy Center at a near by town in the spring of 2014. For the first time in my life, I did not feel alone. There were and are others who know what I was going through. They called it, “silent grieving” and “Post-Abortion Stress Syndrome.” The healing began.

I had always known that God forgave my past sin, but I did not embrace that forgiveness concerning my abortion until then. I experienced a freedom and relief from my guilt and shame.

I was able to grieve my child with an identity and the knowledge that my baby was with Jesus and someday we will meet. Healing was mine.

I don’t know where my life would be today if that sign had not been on the side of this church. God planned this in my life. He has a plan for this center. We are willing vessels who are trusting God to bring those whose lives need healing and direction, whose lives need the love of Jesus.

And we look forward to partnering with you as we pray for and love on this community in Arizona.

Cathy Barnella is a friend of CWA. Her story begins tragically, like so many others, but ends in hope and healing — two things we pray for every woman who has an abortion. May her story inspire others to seek the help that they may not even realize they need.