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Jaime Ballew

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 Wyden offered failed 2-97 and the second one was withdrawn, theoretically, because it would have suffered the same fate.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

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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?

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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

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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

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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

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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.

The Bottom Line

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The (now seven) videos from the Center for Medical Progress have clearly outlined Planned Parenthood’s disregard for not only life but also the law. Another heartbreaking facet is how the mainstream media choses to ignore these facts to better serve their own interests. Instead of fair and unbiased reporting, the media chooses sides and overwhelmingly reports on pieces that illicit a response that does not inconvenience anyone or make anyone unnecessarily uncomfortable.


Yet, these videos force us to come to terms with the immediate consequences of our actions, something to which human beings are naturally resistant. Finally, what the pro-life crowd has been saying for years is staring back at us from a petri dish: these are babies — no doubt about it.

When Kermit Gosnell was charged and convicted, the pro-choice cult was quick to remind us that he is the exception to the rule and most places do not participate in illegal partial-birth abortions. Most places are legal and safe. However, after seven videos, some of which contain upper-level executives of Planned Parenthood confirming our worst nightmares, we now know the gruesome practice of these clinics is not only not the exception, it is the rule.

Planned Parenthood is desperate. The organization and its minions regurgitate the statistical malarkey that a mere 3% of the services it provides relate to abortion, but shockingly that is not the whole truth. Giving a woman a 12-month supply of birth control equals 12 services, an ultrasound equals another, a pregnancy test, yet another. During one visit to Planned Parenthood, a woman can easily rack up 20 “services.” Nothing Planned Parenthood provides that is related to women’s health is exclusive to Planned Parenthood. Federally Qualified Health Centers also provide poor women healthcare, in fact, thirteen times more than Planned Parenthood without participating in abortions and the bartering of baby body parts.

Planned Parenthood has an agenda, and to think that their sole interest is women is a lie. Over and over again one thing has come across loud and clear: Planned Parenthood is concerned with the bottom line; they’ve said so themselves. It is appalling that a cent of taxpayer money has gone towards the vicious annihilation of a generation, especially considering Planned Parenthood tops one billion dollars in assets. Even if no taxpayer funds go directly into providing abortions, those dollars allow Planned Parenthood to keep the lights on and print pink t-shirts to hand out to their blind celebrity following. Do not be deceived; taxpayer funding allows Planned Parenthood to more efficiently operate.

Watching videos, getting upset and then not doing anything is wasted energy. Share the videos, talk about them with your family, share them with your church family, and call your congressman and your senators. Five states have already barred Planned Parenthood from receiving state taxpayer funding. If you live in one of those states, thank your governor and work on your federal representatives. Sign a petition, write a letter to your local newspaper, attend a protest, and help us get the word out. Emotion without action does not illicit change any more than ignoring the issue does.

Editor’s Note: The videos are gruesome and although not everyone can stomach them, everyone should know what they contain. CWA has taken the liberty of summarizing the videos for those who may not be able to handle the visual heaviness of such issues. That summary is available here.

Donald Trump’s Pro-Abortion Past and Present?

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Washington, D.C. – The following is a statement by Concerned Women for America’s CEO and President Penny Nance on Donald Trump’s past contributions to a pro-abortion group and on funding Planned Parenthood:

“While Donald Trump claims to be pro-life, his remarks yesterday morning on CNN to host Chris Cuomo bring into question his evolution on the issue. Further, his personal political contribution to the pro-abortion Women’s Campaign Fund indicates his past pro-abortion stance was stronger than he’d have us believe. He proudly announced at last week’s GOP presidential debate that he contributes to politicians and groups to do his bidding. What did Donald Trump pay the Women’s Campaign Fund to do for him?

“The Mission statement of The Women’s Campaign Fund, states it ‘is dedicated to dramatically increasing the number of women in elected office who support reproductive health choices for all.’
“If Donald Trump’s position is to continue funding for Planned Parenthood of America, which receives more than $500 million from taxpayers annually, then he is out of step with pro-life voters. Recent revelations that Planned Parenthood is selling the remains of aborted babies for research and perhaps altering the manner in which abortions are performed in order to provide ‘intact’ baby cadavers for sale has revealed an almost unimaginable disregard for human life and a new depth of human depravity. Additionally, we now know Planned Parenthood was paying ‘bonuses’ to employees for each sale of an aborted baby body part.

“It is disturbing that a presidential candidate who says he has evolved on abortion from being pro-choice to pro-life may be continuing to fund an abortion provider caught selling the remains of aborted babies and paying bonuses for it and has definitely supported a group that exists solely to support pro-abortion candidates such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sandra Fluke.

For additional information and to schedule interviews with Penny Nance, contact Janae Stracke at (712) 269-1724 or [email protected], or Cheri Jacobus of Capitol Strategies PR at (202) 257-4638 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 visit www.concernedwomen.org 

Democrat Senators Yield to Planned Parenthood Instead of Women’s Health

By | News and Events, Press Releases, Sanctity of Life | No Comments

Washington, D.C. – This evening, the United States Senate took a vote to advance a bill that would redirect federal funds from Planned Parenthood to groups that actually help women’s health. This vote was motivated by videos showing Planned Parenthood officials embracing the dismemberment and marketing of unborn babies.

Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee’s CEO and President, Penny Nance, had this to say:

“Today was the first step in starting a debate to defund Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the nation. Anticipation of additional undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood officials treating human body parts like a product to be bought and sold has the organization doing damage control. Thankfully, opportunities to show the gruesome reality of this organization are abounding.

“The issue presented to the Senate chamber today by Senate Democrats was that Planned Parenthood contributes to health services for women. But the issue that the Senate needed to address is whether the Congress can morally allow taxpayer dollars to fund an organization that bends the rules in order to profit off of baby body parts.

“Despite the Senate not obtaining the 60 votes needed to advance Sen. Joni Ernst’s bill, S. 1881, Concerned Women for America LAC will diligently work to chip away at the inhuman practices carried out by the largest abortion provider in the nation, Planned Parenthood. Our half-a-million members are grateful for the leadership shown by Sens. Ernst in this endeavor and for the members who voted in favor of S.1881.”

For an interview with Penny Nance, please contact Janae Stracke at [email protected] or 712-269-1724.

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 visit www.concernedwomen.org 

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Gold Medals or Gold Stars?

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

Can you identify this person?

Bruce Jenner Vanity Fair

What about this one?

Major General Harold Greene

One of these individuals is revered as a hero for sacrificing his life for the freedom of the other to wear a dress and a wig. You probably could easily identify the first image of Bruce (Caitlyn) Jenner, but the second may have presented a challenge. Major General Harold Greene is the highest-ranking officer killed in combat since 1970. A two-star U.S. Army general, Greene was shot to death in August 2014 in one of the bloodiest insider attacks of the Afghanistan war when a gunman dressed as an Afghan soldier turned on allied troops.Neither President Obama nor Vice President Biden attended the funeral of Major General Greene.

However, President Obama’s official twitter account tweeted that “it [took] courage to share your story” quoting Caitlyn Jenner’s first tweet where Caitlyn “introduces herself” to the world.

And therein lies the problem.

America has a skewed definition of “heroism.” We idolize Bruce (Caitlyn) Jenner for having the “courage” to come out as transgender when, in reality, what he did was very low risk. Our generation is the most “accepting” and “tolerant” generation in the history of the world. We are constantly looking for barriers to break, and we are obsessed with changing the idea of how society views gender and family. In today’s political and social dynamic, there was no way Bruce would have gotten anything but praise for coming out as transgender. He had nothing to lose and only more fame and fortune to gain.

Even if the world rejected Caitlyn Jenner, Bruce will always be the “World’s Greatest Athlete.” He still has a gold medal, millions of dollars, loyal fans, and a famous family. No matter what he decides to do in the future, he will have fans, he will get interviews, he will land magazine covers. Coming out as transgender in 2015 did not take “great courage,” and we should stop treating it as a huge act of bravery.

There are people, however, who make sacrifices every day — voluntarily — so that our country is safe and we are free to wear and say what we want. Fighting in a war that our Commander in Chief says is over is courageous. Fighting in a war the media chooses to ignore is courageous. Obeying orders without question, sacrificing time with family and friends to serve others and ensure the safety of people with whom you don’t necessarily agree is courageous.

I refuse to stand by and allow my generation to ignore the sacrifices that true heroes are making on a daily basis while we idolize the rich and famous’ latest fads.

If not for the brave men and women who stand in the face of the enemy — not for acknowledgement or praise, but out of a pure love of freedom and their country — Bruce Jenner could be wearing a burka.

 

Passing Tests, Failing Life

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

cc blog image

Recently, a bold teacher in North Carolina publicly expressed her frustration with the Common Core system and published her Common Core manifesto. After 23 years of teaching, she had had enough of the bureaucracy, so she left her job. My mom, a teacher in public schools for 35 years, shares many of the same feelings. My best friend’s mother, also a long-time public school teacher, echoes the same frustrations. A September 2014 Gallup poll shows that these teachers are not alone. According to the poll, 65 percent of teachers surveyed were worried about the new common core initiatives and 62 percent felt frustrated. Resignation letters are not uncommon lately, and each one reflects similar frustrations.

Like many teachers, my mother is passionate about her students; she prays for them and is a light for Christ to them and to her coworkers. From the time she was a little girl, she knew she wanted to be a teacher, but what she signed up for years ago is not the school system of today. In the past, teachers were expected to use their professional discretion to evaluate their students and decide how and what to teach to reach learning goals. Teachers could work together on cross-curricular projects that encouraged excitement and creativity among students. Although this kind of cross-subject learning is crucial for application, problem-solving, and critical-thinking skills required in upper-level education and in the job market, test-centered mandates leave little time for it.

In the past, students were required to make progress in order to advance through the grades. Now, if a student fails, the teacher is reprimanded. In addition to preparing lessons, teaching, and grading, many teachers must also prepare their own portfolios showing what they have taught and including examples of student work for their evaluations. Teachers must show that they have taught every standard, and they are expected to justify low scores or a child’s failure to reach a pre-set goal. Teachers whose students do not achieve desired test scores may be moved at the whim of an administrator, overloaded with needy or difficult students, moved to another school, or have extracurricular activities taken away, which could equate to loss of income.

Teachers are crying out for support, but in a sea of micromanagement, another administrative requirement is no life vest. No one would deny that families and children in our society are struggling with problems we could never have imagined just a few years ago. Single parents, absent fathers, drugs, learning disabilities, misuse of social media, and poverty often lead to serious behavior issues that conflict with learning. Theoretically, teachers have more help than ever, and teachers do what they can during the school day, but they cannot provide everything a child needs. Lack of parental involvement, a chaotic home life, or too much unsupervised time may result in a child unprepared or unable to give learning the attention it demands.

Currently, eight states have opted out of Common Core: Alaska, Nebraska, Texas, Virginia, Indiana, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and South Carolina. Although my mom teaches in one of these eight states, the state standards of learning are still aligned with Common Core standards. The curriculum remains focused on testing. Schools are held to the same standards, whether their community is a wealthy suburb or a poor urban area, whether their population includes the exceptionally gifted or the newcomers who may not be able to speak or read English on their grade level, if they can even understand English at all. The school is held accountable for these children, and that equates to loss of funding when mandated standards are not met. Administrators are not left out of the bureaucratic cycle; they have their own meetings and standards and are often unavailable for school management, interaction with children, and working with teachers because they are tied up with testing, testing preparations, and meetings. If the students do not meet standards, schools can lose funding which comes down on the shoulders of the administrators as well.

School is about so much more than learning how to multiply or read. It is about becoming a complete person. It is about a place to learn the value of hard work, conflict resolution, compromise, and diversity not how to pass a standardized test. We have created a one-size-fits-all educational system, but we are not a one-size-fits-all society. Parents deserve choice; students deserve quality education, and teachers deserve a voice. Every student passes, and every student gets a trophy, but not every adult succeeds. The job market is unforgiving, and students who were given a perceived advantage are shocked when their bosses don’t hand them a gold star for completing a simple task. We must raise independent, free-thinking people, not government-dependent robots who are trained only to take tests. Teachers are dedicated, educated people, and they know what their students need more than an administrator and more than a testing company.

CWALAC Celebrates Upcoming Vote on Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

By | News and Events, Press Releases, Sanctity of Life | No Comments

Washington, D.C.— On behalf of our 500,000 members nationwide, Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) wishes to express our support for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36).

Penny Nance, CWALAC’s CEO and President, said:

“The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is one of the most crucial pieces of pro-life legislation since the passage of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban.  This legislation not only protects babies who are five months or more in the womb and can feel excruciating pain, it also protects women who are at an increasingly greater risk of experiencing the harmful effects of late-term abortion.

“As a world leader, it is critical that U.S. passes this legislation.  The United States is one of only seven nations that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks gestation.  This puts the United States within the top four percent of most permissive countries on abortion policies and in the company of countries like China, Vietnam, and North Korea.

“The majority of Americans overwhelmingly agree that abortions, at five months gestation when the baby feels pain, should be restricted. According to The Polling Company’s nationwide poll in March 2013, 64 percent of Americans believe abortions should not be allowed if the baby can feel pain. Recent polls by Quinnipiac, National Journal, Huffington Post, NBC News/Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post/ABC News all revealed: A majority of Americans support limiting abortion after 20 weeks. Sixty percent of women think abortion after 20 weeks should be illegal.

“Furthermore, H.R. 36 is a stronger bill than when it was initially introduced earlier this year.  This legislation protects babies born alive, like the ones the murderous Kermit Gosnell delivered, who were born breathing and then brutally murdered.  The legislation requires the abortionist to use rigorous care to preserve the life and health of a baby born alive and to have the baby transported and admitted to a hospital.

“This legislation also provides protection for women choosing abortion.  Unfortunately, it is common for abortionists to ignore sharing health risks and pertinent information with women.  This bill empowers women by giving them the added protection of a civil right of action against the abortion provider.

“Finally, this bill protects parents and minors against nefarious abortion providers by giving them the tools to sue if the abortionist does not report child abuse to proper authorities.”

Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee commends House leadership and the Members of Congress who steadfastly worked to bring a bill that protects babies which are at least five months in utero from excruciating pain.  CWALAC strongly urges you to support H.R. 36. When this bill is considered on the House floor, CWALAC will score in favor of it and will include it in our annual scorecard.

For an interview with Penny Nance, please contact Jaime Ballew at [email protected] or 540-849-0107.