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Promoting Fiscally-Responsible Parental Leave Plans

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

Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) have put forward an innovative plan for paid parental leave. The CRADLE Act would allow parents to receive up to three months paid parental leave in a fiscally-responsible way. Instead of creating a new entitlement program, as many on the left have suggested, the CRADLE Act is an opt-in program that allows working parents to access Social Security benefits for up to three months and then subsequently postpone the activation of their Social Security benefits by two months for every one month of parental leave taken. This plan has no impact on the Social Security Trust Fund, is budget-neutral, and the benefit would be calculated using the existing Social Security disability formula. There are other safeguards to assure this program would not be used in conjunction with any employer-paid leave program and would only be used in conjunction with a birth or an adoption.   

Paid parental leave proposals like the CRADLE Act give moms and dads the ability to stay at home with their newborns or adopted children during the crucial first few months. The CRADLE Act is one among similar, fiscally responsible, pro-family, conservative plans to address paid family leave. Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Missouri), along with Sen. Rubio (R-Florida), proposed legislation last Congress to address paid family leave in a similar fashion and plan on introducing similar plans again this Congress. 

Paid parental leave has many societal and familial benefits, including greater workforce attachment, better child and maternal health outcomes, and increased parental engagement. However, the costs of a government mandate are often far greater than the benefits. Governmentmandated leave programs like the liberals’ FAMILY ACT put a strain on businesses, particularly small businesses, and make women of childbearing age less appealing to hire. Additionally, new entitlements irresponsibly pile on to our already crushing national debt. Many businesses know and understand the importance of these benefits to their workforce and offer their employees paid parental leave. For those parents who are not so fortunate, plans like this would bridge the gap without hurting seniors or enacting a new fiscally disastrous entitlement. 

Conservative plans like the Wagner-Rubio and the Ernst-Lee proposals reach a good balance of incorporating fiscal concerns with the benefits of paid parental leave. New parents need new avenues of support, but our nation cannot afford a new government-mandated entitlement program 

 

Deep in the Heart of Texas

By | Blog, Defense of Family, Texas | No Comments

For the ninth time during a session of the Texas Legislature, Concerned Women for America of Texas hosted “Dinner with Texas Legislators.”  This year, seventeen Texas legislators participated in the program on Tuesday evening, March 12, at the DoubleTree Hotel in Austin.

Each legislator had a moment at the mic to speak to the gathering about issues important in the current session.  Several spoke of CWA’s current prayer campaign to encourage legislators during the session.

Rep. Bill Zedler, long-time advocate for life and family values in the Texas Legislature, was awarded the 2019 CWA Family Advocate Award.  Mrs. Pat Hanson, who was the South Texas Area Director was commended for many years of service before her retirement. Lastly, Dr. Shea Garrison, Vice President of International Affairs for CWA, was the dinner’s keynote speaker and addressed gender identity issues confronting women and their families in the current culture.

Several young women who are part of Young Women for America’s leadership on Texas college campuses were present. The dinner preceded the subsequent day’s rally at the capitol, where several hundred participated in visiting with legislators about Faith-and-Family issues.

CWA at the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women

By | Blog, Defense of Family, International, United Nations | No Comments

This week, government delegates and non-governmental organizations from all over the world met in NYC at the United Nations for the 63rd Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63).

Concerned Women for America (CWA) sponsored a side-event panel on Friday, March 15, with the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-Fam) titled, “Putting Women and Girls Back at the Center of Gender Equality Policies.” The event focused on the importance of promoting the empowerment of women and girls with effective and holistic, culturally appropriate, family-centered measurements.

Our Dr. Shea Garrison, VP of International Affairs at CWA, spoke about “Focused Economic Empowerment” and used her own research and experience training women entrepreneurs around the world to recommend well-rounded strategies and measurements that most effectively empower women and their families.

Also on the panel was Dr. Rebecca Oas from C-Fam, Emilie Kao from the Heritage Foundation, and Sharon Slater from Family Watch International.

WIN: Trump on College Campuses

By | Blog, YWA | No Comments

CWA CEO Penny Nance with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

President Trump signed an executive order to protect free speech on college campuses today. Because of our Young Women for America chapters and efforts across the country, we were asked to be there when he signed it! Our YWA leaders have been effected by, and watched first-hand, the attack on the First Amendment on college campuses. Because of YOU we have a seat at the table to promote constitutional principles and fight for the future of America. We are thankful for the President’s commitment to ensuring that the rights of every student be protected.

President Trump promised that “agencies will take appropriate steps to ensure that college and university campuses are places of free thought and debate.” The Trump administration believes that “public schools should fulfill their obligation to uphold the First Amendment,” and “schools should be transparent about their speech policies.”

He also discussed information transparency and student loan debt. Read the executive order here.

Strengthened Debbie Smith Act Introduced in Senate

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

On Thursday, Senator Cornyn (R-Texas) and Senator Feinstein (R-California) introduced the Debbie Smith Act of 2019, a bill that would reauthorize funding aimed at increasing capacity for DNA testing to reduce the rape kit backlog. The Debbie Smith Reauthorization Act was first signed into law in 2004 in response to the story of Debbie Smith, a rape victim who only saw justice because of DNA evidence and testing.

Last July, CWALAC CEO and President Penny Nance testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on her experience as an attempted rape victim and why we must work to end the backlog. Unfortunately, after fifteen years since the inception of the Debbie Smith Act and over $1 billion spent, an unknown number of rape kits still sit untested in evidence rooms across the country. Meanwhile, the statute of limitations ticks on with no resolution for victims.

CWALAC partnered with RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) on specific improvements to the Debbie Smith Act, introduced by Sen. Cornyn, that would increase prioritization of rape kit testing and improve accountability in tracking the backlog of sexual assault cases. A recent New York Times piece highlighted Maisha Sudbeck, a rape victim who saw justice years after her assault only because of funds prioritized through programs to clear the backlog. Ms. Sudbeck cited the testing of her rape kit as “a catalyst for hope.”

Not only is testing these kits a crucial step in pursuing justice for victims and possible exoneration for the wrongfully accused, it often shows patterns of assault and can take serial perpetrators off the street. Ms. Sudbeck’s kit showed a hit for a man who had raped at least six other women. This phenomenon is far from uncommon. One study found that about half of the DNA kits tested resulted in hits for serial offenders. In her Senate Judiciary testimony, Penny stated, “We must push ourselves until each sexual assault kit is accounted for and every last one is processed — because every kit represents a brave woman waiting for justice.” CWALAC will continue to work with Congress to ensure this crucial legislation is passed, so that every victim has the chance for justice.


See Penny’s letter to cosponsors.

Tell President Trump to Protect our Children!

By | Blog, Sanctity of Life, Sexual Exploitation | No Comments

Are you frustrated and bothered by what you see on TV? You are not alone. In recent years, Hollywood has taken advantage of their self-regulated TV ratings system and cable TV looks more like HBO than family-friendly programming. Networks advertise their mature and explicit programming during family-friendly shows; these commercials include overtly sexual themes, violence, and foul language. Most advertisers will not run ads during “mature audience” rated programming; therefore, Hollywood has no incentive to rate any program “mature” and, instead, rates things that should be for mature audiences as “TV-14” or acceptable for children over 14 years old to view. There is virtually no “G”-rated TV on prime-time.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is responsible for evaluating the TV ratings system and determining whether or not children are adequately protected from violent, foul, and graphic content. Right now, the FCC is accepting comments regarding the TV ratings system and whether or not they are doing their job to protect our children. There is no doubt that Hollywood, with their vast resources, are inundating this system to avoid further regulation. The content on cable TV is shocking, and no industry, especially one as corrupt and worldly as Hollywood, should be able to regulate themselves.

Submit a comment to President Trump today and tell him you are fed up with the graphic content being shown to our children.

 

 

Hostility Towards Religion on Display at the Supreme Court in Maryland Cross Case

By | Blog, Maryland, News and Events, Religious Liberty | No Comments

This week the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in The American Legion v. American Humanist Association. The case deals with a 93-year-old World War I memorial shaped like a cross that was erected to honor fallen soldiers. The memorial stood for 80-plus years without challenge, but now it offends the American Humanist Association (AHA), so they sued the state of Maryland and have gotten all the way to the Supreme Court to have it removed.

There are reasons for optimism. The arguments in favor of allowing the cross to stand were powerfully presented by Neal K. Katyal, representing the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission; Michael Carvin, representing the American Legion which erected the monument in the first place; and Jeffrey Wall, Acting-Solicitor General of the U.S.

Mr. Katyal, who previously worked at the solicitor general’s office under Justice Kagan’s leadership in the Obama years, focused on the uniqueness of the cross. He argued (1) it was built 93 years ago, (2) it has at its center the American Legion’s symbol and at its base the memorial words, “Valor, Endurance, Courage, Devotion,” (3) there are no other religious symbols or words associated with it, and (4) it is situated in the city’s Veterans Memorial Park, alongside other war memorials. He also highlighted that the Court has never adopted a view that the mere fact that some people disagree with something would create an Establishment Clause violation. When Justice Sotomayor pointed to some briefs of deeply religious people who regarded “secularizing the cross” as blasphemy, he replied, “I don’t think we let those objectors dictate that.”

Mr. Carvin was more expansive in his defense of religious liberty. He argued, as did our brief, against the use of the unworkable Lemon Test, which has been largely abandoned by the Court. He argued instead that the Court should adopt the coercion test it used in Town of Greece v. Galloway, “which prohibits tangible interference with religious liberty, as well as proselytizing.” Under such a test, “all symbolic, including sectarian, symbols would be presumptively valid except in the rare circumstances where they’ve been misused to proselytize.” When questioned, it was also important that he reminded the Court that, “all symbols are sectarian, and if you ban sectarian symbols, then you are necessarily banning all religious symbols, which evinces hostility and is in stark tension with the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clause.”

Acting-Solicitor General Wall also argued for adhering to Town of Greece. He explained that under that test there is a much higher standard than, “are you offended or excluded? … Are you trying to force people into the pews, are you denigrating another faith?”

But what stood out most at oral arguments was the palpable hostility towards religion, and indeed Christianity in particular, from the American Humanist Association’s (AHA) counsel Monica Miller. “We’re talking about the government being the speaker and essentially giving you the message, as the non-Christian in your community, that you are a lesser citizen,” she explained. She argued the monument would, “contribute to the idea that non-Christians are inferior.” One is left puzzled by such characterizations. How can anyone take a WWI memorial display in this manner? To a reasonable observer, this is a symbol that honors the sacrifice of these men giving their lives for their fellow men. But to the AHA it says only that “Christians have valor, Christians have courage, Christians have devotion, Christians have endurance …”

The size is also a problem for them. Miss Miller seemed to argue for a sort of “loudness test,” where a display that is “not as loud” would be okay. But as Justice Gorsuch quickly pointed out, the Court would have to get into “having to dictate taste with respect to displays.” He said, “We have a Ten Commandments display just above you, which may be too loud for many.”

Miss Miller acknowledged that the Ten Commandments, “it’s basically shorthand for law itself.” But she draws the line at the cross, somehow. It apparently cannot have a dual meaning of sacrifice, aside from the desire of Christians to proselytize.

The hostility, again, seemed aimed at Christianity in particular. Chief Justice Roberts asked at one point about Native American totems with their “spiritual and religious significance.” Would they need to be torn down? The answer was, “no.” No problem there. She tried to argue this based on the fact that the Court did not find a violation in a similar case because the community was predominantly Christian, but the Chief went on to ask her in the context of a predominantly Native American community. She was unwilling to say that it would be a violation.

Clearly, there is some animosity towards the nation’s Christian heritage that undergirds the AHA’s argument.

At one point, Chief Justice Roberts pointed out that people process these displays in different ways. And the fact that some Jewish people object doesn’t mean all object. He reminded her that “one of the major fundraisers of [the cross] was a Jewish individual. So, he was obviously observing it or anticipating it in a different way.” Miss Miller’s hostility, again, was stark. She said, “Well, Your Honor, I think that we cannot take one person’s example, again, someone who is probably one of maybe the only Jewish people in that county at a time when there was an active Klan burning crosses, burning Jewish buildings or Jewish, you know, businesses at the time when atheists couldn’t run for office, Jews had to swear that they believed in an afterlife in order to qualify, I mean …” At this bizarre comment, there was a bit of a commotion. Justice Kagan was heard saying, “Why does it even matter?”
But Miss Miller was undeterred. Justice Alito reminded her that, “There were 12 African-American soldiers among the 49,” who are honored at the memorial. Yet she dismissed that, speculating that those who placed the names didn’t even know who was honored there. At one point she claimed, “there [are] bushes obscuring the plaque.”

Some might miss it, but the implications of the AHA’s arguments are horrendous. To attribute some malicious, bigoted, Christian discrimination to this memorial without any proof of such hideous intent is unwarranted and reprehensible.

We hope the Court renders a decision that upholds this memorial and others similar to it and sends a clear message for the protection of religious liberty in our nation. The lower courts are in desperate need of guidance on this area of the law. We need a decision that will be helpful in future cases, not just in the protection of this cross.

Miss Miller was blunt in asking the Court to limit its decision and leave every other display to be attacked and litigated by themselves. If the Court heeds her call, it will leave states to continue to be harassed for honorable displays that should be celebrated and respected, instead of smeared and litigated. The Court should not play along. It should stand for religious liberty and our country’s rich religious liberty heritage.

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.  

 

Unconscionably Blocked: Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

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

On the heels of the most electrified month of the life debate, 80% of Americans have spoken out that they do not support infanticide.

Forty-four members of Congress blocked a bill ensuring medical care to LIVING, newborn babies who survive an abortion.

Think about that for a second.

“Picture a baby who’s already been born, who’s outside the womb gasping for air. That’s the only thing that today’s vote is actually about. We’re talking about babies who have already been born. Nothing in this bill touches abortion access.” (Senator Ben Sasse)

And they voted NO. To not provide care to crying babies after a failed abortion attempt.

This is absolutely unconscionable.

Every Democrat who made remarks on the Senate floor before the vote was claiming that this bill was an attack on a woman’s right to abortion when nothing in this bill touches abortion. We’re talking about AFTER abortion.

Whether it be their personal inhumane carelessness or their allegiance to the radical extremism of partisanship, there is no covering up such a disgusting ploy.

How long, O Lord, how long?

That was the question that replayed in my head as I watched the votes roll in on the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.

“Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)

That’s what this is.

Keep fighting, dear friend. And keep praying.

Title X Final Rule Released

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

On Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a final rule governing the Title X family planning program. The Title X program was created to help individuals, particularly low-income individuals, access quality family planning services. This final rule requires physical and financial separation between abortion operations and family planning operations as well as prohibits referral for abortion, which is the best interpretation of the Title X statute.

This final rule from HHS is in response to the hundreds of thousands of comments from Americans who do not want their tax dollars funding the abortion industry. I applaud President Trump and HHS for this integrity and patient-focused rule. Furthermore, because Title X grant recipients are no longer forced to refer for abortion, entities who previously objected to this provision can now apply for these funds.

The Title X statute explicitly states that programs that promote abortion as a method of family planning do not qualify for funding. However, since it is government money in the realm of family planning, the abortion industry, particularly Planned Parenthood, has hijacked this program and has, for decades, used the fungibility of these taxpayer funds as their own personal slush fund. There is no gag rule: doctors are free to discuss options for pregnant women in a non-directive manner. Health care providers are neither prohibited or mandated to discuss abortion.

Planned Parenthood now faces a choice: adhere to the statutory prohibitions and comply with the final rule or give up Title X funding. We don’t need to wait for their predictable and apocalyptic press release to know what they’ll choose: abortion. Planned Parenthood claims that abortion is only 3% of what they do, but their own annual report reveals that abortions make up 96% of their pregnancy resolutions. Abortion is not a small part of what they do; it’s who they are. This final rule integrates desperately needed integrity to a well-intended, but widely-abused program. It is a crucial step to disentangle taxpayer dollars from the abortion industry.