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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


A version of this article was published by The Hill

Thanksgiving, the anthem of our nation

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Thanksgiving is deeply embedded in the historical framework of this great nation. While the first Thanksgivings were celebrated by both Virginia and Massachusetts settlers in the New World, November 26, 1789, was the first official Thanksgiving Day. President George Washington set that day apart for the nation to give thanks, and the presidents to follow continued the tradition.

However, it was President Abraham Lincoln who issued the Thanksgiving Day proclamation which prompted the holiday we know and love today.

“It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea, and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and union.”

It was a proclamation made on October 3, 1863 — almost exactly in the middle of the Civil War. In a period of time when our nation was most deeply divided and the American spirit of unity was in tatters, our leader asked us to give thanks. As brother fought against brother, our president asked us to set aside a day to recognize the Lord’s deliverance and blessings. It was in the midst of that darkness that President Lincoln implored the nation to come together in prayer for peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.

It’s striking to me that we hold elections in the same month as we celebrate Thanksgiving. Was it purposeful, the timing of those two events? Elections, whether they should be or not, can be so deeply divisive. But we have a built-in reminder, just three weeks later, to put it all aside and give thanks.

So this month, as we move past an election cycle and on to Thanksgiving, choose unity, prayer, and thankfulness. Set aside time to thank God for His deliverances and blessings. Bow with humble penitence for our national disobedience. Commend to our Father in Heaven every American who has become a widow, orphan, mourner, or sufferer this year. Implore our Savior to heal the wounds of our nation and restore peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.

 

National Adoption Awareness Month: A Chance at Life

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It was the summer of 1952. The Olympics were in full swing, and I was a newly minted high school graduate. I was also 17 and about a month-and-a-half pregnant.

Neither my mother, nor my boyfriend found out until after graduation, and they didn’t seem too interested in helping me decide what to do. In fact, my mother chose to wash her hands of the entire situation and provided me nothing by way of help or comfort. We weren’t a Christian family at that time, so I didn’t even have a church family I could go to for help.

What I did have, though, was an uncle who worked hard to help me. Uncle Dick was 13 years older than me and seemed more like an older brother than an uncle. When my mother told him about my situation, he found the solution. To this day, I do not know how he found it, but near where I lived in the Chicago area, Uncle Dick came across the Florence Crittenton Home for Unwed Mothers, and I moved in immediately.

Uncle Dick also found me a position with Kemper Insurance Company, so I could earn money to help contribute to the “home.” His plan was to help me through the pregnancy as best he could. If I had come home to small-town Evanston with a child and no husband, I would have been treated like a leper. So, Uncle Dick thought the best thing to do was to give the baby up for adoption. (That the suggestion of an abortion never came up — and yes, they were being done back then — is something I definitely consider a blessing.)

He contacted an adoption agency for me — Catholic Charities, if memory serves — and I knew that when I gave birth, the baby would be turned over to them. And that is exactly what happened. On February 3, 1953, I gave birth to a healthy baby girl. I had hoped to hold her before she was given to Catholic Charities, and they even offered. For some reason, though, they never brought her in to me.

In the end, I never got to see her face; I never got to feel her warmth in my arms. I never got to hear her laugh or cry. My daughter was just … gone. I knew then that this loss would haunt me for years to come. Even now, recalling that moment, I am brought to tears.

But those tears were for me. God honored my decision, and my daughter was given to a wealthy couple who were able to love her and give her a good upbringing.

Fifty-three years would pass before God showed me His hand on this situation.

Twelve years ago, after the passing of my second husband, I began to look for my daughter. I wound up visiting only one website that had anything to do with adopted children, and I entered my personal information. Not long after that, I was contacted by Nick, a man who thought that I might be his mother. Why? Because my last name matched that of his birth mother who had given him up for adoption on Christmas Eve in 1946.

We discovered that I could not have been his mother, because I would’ve only been 12 years of age at the time he was born. However, when we started connecting notes, I began to have a very strange feeling about it, as if God had orchestrated this entire thing and connected me with this young man through my search for my daughter. I began to understand that the woman listed on his birth certificate was also my mother. I sent him my graduation photo, and he immediately sent his graduation picture back to me right next to mine. I could definitely see the resemblance. Two of my four brothers joined Nick and me in taking a DNA test. The results were positive that we were related through the maternal side of my family.

Since Nick had already started this process, he was able to give me pointers. He said that contacting the health department for the state of Illinois was the best way to connect with my daughter. Best of all, I could do it online.

Days later, the office called me to verify the birth date. I was unable to give them that, as all the papers relating to her birth and my stay at the Florence Crittenton Home were destroyed during my first marriage. Having no written documents, I could only give them an estimate.

Apparently, that was enough. Within a couple of weeks, I held a letter in my hands that left me breathless. Not only had they located my daughter, they had included her personal information; she had been searching for me as well! Now the question was, “Why?” I hesitated to contact her for fear that, rather than wanting to connect, she might only need my medical history information.

A few days later, the phone rang, and that question was answered. The voice on the other end said, “Hello Mom! This is your daughter, Betsy, and I want to thank you for giving me a chance at life.” I nearly dropped the telephone! Within a week, I was able to connect with my daughter and her husband during a trip to Las Vegas.

The rest, as they say, is history. Betsy and her family have been in my life ever since.

Do I support adoption? I certainly do — but not just for situations like mine; I support adoption for anyone who finds themselves pregnant with a child they do not want or cannot keep. If the birth mother is willing to be a part of the process, all the better for her. Mothers should be able to choose an agency that makes them the most comfortable, and people of faith should have the opportunity to work with an agency that shares their beliefs.

Beyond consenting to give up my daughter, I was not involved in her adoption. I never got to hold her, and for 53 years it left a hole in my heart. Now that hole is filled with love. To those women considering abortion, I urge you to choose adoption instead. Giving up your child — either through adoption or abortion — will leave a similar hole in your heart, but with abortion, it’s a hole that you have no hope in filling during this lifetime.

Please give them a chance at life. You won’t regret it.

Barbara J. Ferraro, State Director, Concerned Women for America of Hawaii

Midterms Prove Kavanaugh Vote Key to Senate Gains

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Washington, D.C. — Last night wrapped up the 2018 midterm elections. Results continue to roll in, with important races still to be determined.

Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America, issued the following statement: 

“There are many takeaways from last night’s election, but looming large among them is the reality that the circus that was Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation was a reckoning for U.S. senators. The conservative women behind CWA’s Women for Kavanaugh campaign were largely responsible for the demise of Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota), Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), and Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana).

“Meanwhile, Sen. Manchin (D-West Virginia), the only Democrat to vote in favor of Kavanaugh’s confirmation, held his seat. The message is clear. The voters rejected the mob mentality that tried to destroy an honorable man in the name of political power. This is good news for our political discourse going forward.

“Democrats gained control of the House of Representatives, but this was expected, given the historical precedent of mid-term elections. Concerned Women for America asks them to use this power responsibly and in the best interest of this great nation.”

At the end of the day, we can all be proud of the fact that early numbers show voter turnout exceeded previous midterms by a significant amount, with women making up 52% of voters. Americans showed up to exercise what Ronald Reagan rightly called the ‘crown jewel of American liberties.'”

 


For an interview with Penny Nance, contact Annabelle Rutledge at arutledge@cwfa.org or 916-792-3973.

CWALAC Endorses Rick Scott for Florida U.S. Senate

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Washington, D.C. — Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee, the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization, has endorsed Governor Rick Scott for U.S. Senate for Florida.

Penny Nance, CEO and President, said, “Concerned Women for America LAC has worked alongside Rick Scott for many years on crucial issues impacting Florida. As Governor he has been a leader on issues impacting l both the state and the nation. Not only does Rick Scott show outstanding leadership in times of crisis but he is tireless every day in striving to protect life and safety for the most vulnerable Floridians.  As a successful business man, he has put that experience to work for Floridians never losing sight of the need for more jobs and more economic prosperity for Florida.  Rick Scott isn’t about just talking he is about doing the hard work for Florida.”

Field Update: State Leaders Get out the Vote! (Kansas E-Alert)

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Dear friend,

As you know, we are at a breaking point in history where the rule of law and civil discourse are being threatened by some politicians and radical activists who insist on getting their way, no matter what. Some are actually inciting that violence to be directed at those with whom they disagree.

Will it be mob rule or the rule of law?!

There are three simple steps that can have a significant impact on our state and nation’s future. Please join us in carrying them out. 

#1 Pray
As a Christian organization, we are first and foremost committed to prayer. As November 6th approaches, will you join us in praying for our state and nation? Please join us by setting a time daily to pray for this next election. Will you do that? Set an alarm on your phone, your computer, put a sticky note on your mirror, whatever works.

# 2 Encourage
As a Christian organization, we are committed to educating and encouraging others to vote. Will you join us in this? Encourage friends and family through Facebook, Twitter, email, etc.

#3 Vote
It is our duty, as citizens and as Christians, to participate in the process by both praying and voting. The institution of government was ordained by God as seen in Romans 13:1-4.

It is up to you and me to stand up to this mob mentality we saw during the Kavanaugh debacle by praying against malicious tactics and voting November 6.

Did you know . . . in Kansas, early voting starts 7 days before and ends 1 day prior to Election Day.  For more information go to kssos.org/elections/elections.html.

Voter Guides:

Two push cards to freely print and distribute:

Party Platform Comparison(print double-sided 14” X 8 ½” and fold)

Together we will impact our state and nation’s future – Pray, Encourage, and Vote!

Barbara Saldivar

State Director

CWA of Kansas

director@kansas.cwfa.org

ks.cwfa.org

YWA Leaders gear up for midterms!

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As Election Day approaches, our Young Women for America leaders are encouraging their friends and family and complete strangers, to vote! Our YWA leader at Lousiana State University, in her Facebook post of “Concerned Women Vote” graphics, said “Yesterday I did one of my most important duties as a United States citizen … I VOTED! Don’t vote based on a celebrity’s opinion. Don’t vote based on what your friends say. Educate yourself and make the vote you believe in.”

Our leaders are sending out CWA’s voting cards to their chapter members and posting on social media encouraging their peers to exercise their voice by voting. Some of them discussed the ballot in their chapter meetings, will be passing out voter guides on campus, and others are having a voting watch party this coming Tuesday!

YWA leader in Greensboro, North Carolina with Congressman Mark Walker.

Our YWA leader at Stephen F. Austin University wearing our Women for Kavanaugh t-shirt at a Ted Cruz rally!

YWA Leader at Louisiana State University shares on Facebook why voting is so important!

YWA at Hillsdale encourages its members to vote!

Google Blocks Rep. Blackburn’s (R-Tennessee) Digital Ad

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Washington, D.C. — This week, Google blocked a digital ad in favor of Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) claiming it violated their standards.

Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America issued the following statement in response: 

“Google’s recent decision to block Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s digital ad is one more example of google showing viewpoint bias. Concerned Women for America, made up of 500,000 individuals nationwide, is asking Google to correct this issue. We are calling this what it is – censorship and discrimination. Sadly, this is not a new, nor is it an isolated, incident.

“Twitter blocked Blackburn’s Senate campaign announcement in October 2017 because its pro-life message had the potential to offend some viewers. During CWA’s Women for Kavanaugh campaign, supporters were blocked from liking Concerned Women for America Instagram posts in support of Justice Kavanaugh. Just today, our friends at Susan B. Anthony had a 30-second ad supporting Blackburn’s pro-life stance banned by Facebook. This is a reckoning time for all of Silicon Valley.
“While it’s easy to be discouraged by this censorship and discrimination, exposure is the key to fixing the problem. Google has some important work to do, both internally with its treatment of employees and with the way it treats consumers. CWA asks that these changes come sooner, rather than later.”
For an interview with Penny Nance contact Annabelle Rutledge at arutledge@cwfa.org or 916-792-3973.
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 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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LTE: Kamala Harris was not a voice for me

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Rekha Basu’s recent op-ed about Kamala Harris was an attempt to rewrite history [Kamala Harris’ passion, optimism, warmth may be the antidote to Trump’s snide divisiveness]. I was there for the Kavanaugh hearings, and Sen. Kamala Harris’ behavior, especially her treatment of Iowa’s own Sen. Chuck Grassley, was unbecoming for a senator.

Even before Dr. Christine Blasey Ford came forward, Harris had set the tone for the hearings, and it was anything but “warm.” Just 30 seconds into Grassley’s opening remarks, Harris rudely interrupted him and spoke over him.

Throughout the nomination, she was hyper-divisive and hyper-partisan, calling Judge Brett Kavanaugh a “fundamental threat” the very day he was announced.

Basu writes that Harris “gave voice to women everywhere,” but she didn’t give a voice to me. I was one of the thousands standing up for due process in support of now-Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh, don’t I count?


Letter to the Editor submitted by CWA of Iowa State Director Tamara Scott to the Des Moines Register. 

Leg Update: The Final Countdown

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In every midterm election since 1876, with three exceptions, the President’s party has lost seats. Voter turnout is always significantly lower in midterm years than in presidential election years. Out of eligible, registered voters: 62.8% voted in 2008, 54.2% voted in 2012, and 58% voted in 2016. Meanwhile, only 40% voted in 2010 and an abysmal 37%, the lowest number in a century, in 2014[1].

Polls are fluctuating but generally show that the Democrats will take control of the House and Republicans will retain control of the Senate and maybe pick up 1-2 seats. Real Clear Politics takes the average of several polls to make their projections. As of November 1, Real Clear has projected 6 toss-up Senate seats: Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, and Nevada[2].

Democrats only need to pick up 23 seats in the House to take control and hand the Speaker’s gavel to Nancy Pelosi. Real Clear has categorized 15 House seats currently held by a Republican as leaning or likely Democrat, 30 as toss ups, and 43 as likely/leaning Republican. Meanwhile, only 2 seats currently held by a Democrat are categorized as likely/leaning Republican, 4 are toss ups, and 16 are likely/leaning Democrat.

I encourage you to take all of this, throw it out the window, and go vote anyway.

Back on Election Day in 2016, the New York Times projected that Hillary Clinton had a 99% chance of taking the Presidency. Pretty much no one thought Trump had any chance. As the night went on and results came in, that number got smaller and smaller, until around 3:00 a.m. when AP projected President Trump the winner.

There are an infinite number of theories as to why the polls were so wrong, and I am not here to speculate on those reasons. I am not a polling expert by any means, but the way we poll Americans has largely not changed. Most people don’t have landlines, don’t answer unknown numbers on their cell phones, and internet polls are unreliable and flawed (you can often vote more than once). Voter enthusiasm doesn’t always equate to voter turnout, this is especially true with young voters, and people who participate in polls or hold protest signs don’t necessarily show up to vote. However, angry people DO vote, and we have seen a lot of anger from the left.

The 2016 election will be analyzed for the rest of time, and unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, most people miss the point. 2016 was more than a referendum on President Obama’s policies, it was a referendum on D.C. as a whole. A very large population of the electorate felt intentionally ignored by both parties; people were tired of being promised the world and given nothing. Conservatives were tired of putting up good men only to see the left annihilate and slander them.

Now we are facing a similar situation. We know where the policies of the left will lead: government funded abortion, persecution for people of faith, , policies that deny ethical  scientific principles, disrespect for the rule of law, and mob rule. People were appalled at the behavior of the left during the Kavanaugh confirmations and it will get much, much worse if those tactics are justified. A win on Tuesday for radical leftists who are calling for incivility against their peers and fellow Americans, will do just this.

A couple of weeks ago, I laid out what we have to lose in this election. I witnessed first-hand the rage and frustration of the mob. This is not politics as we knew it five years ago, this is unhinged tyranny. So, what can we do? It’s really simple, just show up. Don’t fall for the lie that your vote doesn’t count or doesn’t matter. Last year, the control of the entire Virginia House of Delegates was determined by one vote. If everyone in your family. friend group, or church thought, “my vote doesn’t even really count; I’m just one person”, then that adds up to a lot more than one vote.

If you are able, help your neighbors and co-workers who have mobility or transportation challenges get to the polls. This Sunday encourage members from your church to vote. Ask your pastor to make an announcement reminding everyone to vote on Tuesday. We have a great resource online that details political guidelines for pastors and churches if you’re not sure what you can say. Lastly, please pray for our nation. Regardless of the results of Tuesday’s election, we have deep divisions that cannot be healed by politicians or humans, but only through God’s love and redeeming grace.