Category

Sanctity of Life

Sixth Circuit Greenlights Ohio Law Prohibiting Public Funding of Abortion Clinics

By | Case Vault, Legal, Planned Parenthood, Sanctity of Life | No Comments

Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio v. Hodges

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a decision from the Southern District of Ohio at Cincinnati invalidating an Ohio law barring the public funding of abortion clinics. This is good news. The law has now been upheld and can go into full effect.

The court said the state’s condition for receiving public health funds “does not violate the Constitution because the [clinics] do not have a due process right to perform abortions.” I know that seems obvious, but this is exactly what Planned Parenthood has tried to argue for many years. They claim not only that women have a constitutional right to abortion but also that they, as the providers of this “holy” right, have a constitutional right to provide abortions. The court appropriately and emphatically rejected that claim. The court’s sound reasoning now opens the door for the will of the majority of Ohioans to be carried out. The citizens of Ohio, along with the majority of the rest of the country, do not want their tax dollars to subsidize abortion providers.

In 2016 Ohio passed a law prohibiting funds from being used to “(1) Perform nontherapeutic abortions; (2) Promote nontherapeutic abortions; (3) Contract with any entity that performs or promotes nontherapeutic abortions; (4) Become or continue to be an affiliate of any entity that performs or promotes nontherapeutic abortions.”

Ohio made clear the purpose of the law is, (1) to “Promote childbirth over abortion” which the Supreme Court has already said is constitutionally permissible (“[A] State is permitted to enact persuasive measures which favor childbirth over abortion, even if those measures do not further a health interest.” Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 886 (1992)), (2) “to avoid ‘muddl[ing]’ that message by using abortion providers as the face of the state healthcare programs” (there are thousands of quality health care options for women besides Planned Parenthood – in Ohio, one study found 280 federally qualified health clinics and rural health clinics, compared to just 28 Planned Parenthood Abortion Clinics), and (3) “to avoid entangling program funding and abortion funding” (public funding inevitably helps Planned Parenthood be the number one abortion provider in the country, performing more than 300,000 abortions a year – more than 27,000 a month, more than 900 a day).

Planned Parenthood, having become synonymous with abortion, promptly sued Ohio, “claiming that the law violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments by conditioning government funding on giving up their rights to provide abortions and to advocate for them.” The district court and a panel of the Sixth Circuit agreed and permanently enjoined the State from enforcing the law.

Thankfully, the Sixth Circuit en banc (before the full court) now reverses those misguided opinions and correctly applies the law, including applicable precedent, to this case. Judge Jeffrey Sutton, writing for the court, reminds us that, “The United States Constitution does not contain an Unconstitutional Conditions Clause.” Writing clearly and concisely, he says, “Governments generally may do what they wish with public funds,” citing Rust v. Sullivan, 500 U.S. 173, 192–94 (1991). He continues, “What makes a condition unconstitutional turns not on a freestanding prohibition against restricting public funds but on a pre-existing obligation not to violate constitutional rights.” In other words, the government cannot deny a clinic’s funding on a reason that violates the clinic’s constitutional rights.

But the constitutional right at issue here “prohibits a State from imposing an ‘undue burden’ on a woman’s access to an abortion before fetal viability. Casey, 505 U.S. at 877 (plurality).” It has nothing to do with a clinic’s right to perform abortions. “The Supreme Court has never identified a freestanding right to perform abortions.”

Therefore, since there is no constitutional right, there can be no constitutional violation of that right. It is that simple.

A woman may bring a claim, as the dissent envisions, saying this law places an undue burden on her constitutional right to obtain an abortion, but this is hard to imagine, given the facts of this case where the clinics have all publicly expressed their commitment to abortion with or without this law. Ruling for Planned Parenthood in this case, “would create a constitutional right for providers to offer abortion services and, in doing so, move the law perilously close to requiring States to subsidize abortions. Case law rejects both possibilities.”

Bottom line, “so long as the subsidy program does not otherwise violate a constitutional right of the regulated entity, the State may choose to subsidize what it wishes — whether abortion services or adoption services, whether stores that sell guns or stores that don’t.”

Mario Diaz, Esq. is CWA’s general counsel. Follow him on Twitter @mariodiazesq.

Time for the FCC to Take Parent’s Concerns Seriously

By | LBB, News and Events, Sanctity of Life, Sexual Exploitation | No Comments

In a recent Public Notice, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Media Bureau sought comments on “the accuracy of the television content rating system, known as the TV Parental Guidelines, and the ability of the governing body for TV ratings, the TV Parental Guidelines Oversight Monitoring Board, to oversee the rating system and address public concerns.”

We thank those of you who took the time to write comments in response to our post. It is important for the commission to hear from you personally.

Your voice will also be heard as a supporter of Concerned Women for America (CWA). We submitted an official comment on your behalf, asking the FCC to “put American families

first.” In it, we argue the current rating system benefits the big entertainment conglomerates to the detriment of families and, especially, children.

An effort that was presented as aiming to benefit the public has in fact developed, unsurprisingly, into a system benefiting those who control it, the entertainment industry. Television is more dangerous for families today than it was before this system was devised.

You ask, “Are programs with violent, sexual, or other content that may be inappropriate for children being rated accurately?” No, they are not. Graphic sexual scenes, adult topics, violence, and profanity are routinely rated as appropriate for children. TV-14 and TV-PG ratings are routinely abused to peddle violent, lewd, and salacious content, to the horror of parents who are helpless once their children are exposed to the material without proper warning. This is, of course, an ideal business model which gives advertisers a much larger audience, but it is most certainly not in the best interest of families.

A major breakdown in the implementation of the rating system is the unaccountability of the industry-proposed and self-governing Oversight Monitoring Board (OMB). Here, too, we raise serious concerns on your behalf.

This is a darkly covered body overwhelmingly composed of industry members who even get to choose the very few advocates for families that are part of it. Transparency, which should be at the core of such a body, is virtually non-existent. There is no record of their meetings, when and how often they meet, what is discussed — everything is secret. How can the public feel any assurance that their complaints are being handled appropriately when the people they are complaining about get to judge themselves in secret with virtually no accountability?

The entertainment industry has been masterful in keeping this body under a deep cloud. Most parents do not have any idea that OMB even exists, let alone who is a member of it. They are completely unaccountable. How can we allow this to continue? CWA supporters can’t believe it when we inform them that not even a representative of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is part of this mysterious group. And since no press is allowed in the meetings either, can there be any doubt that the public is systematically and intentionally being kept in the dark on this process?

We conclude by urging the FCC to intervene.

It is time the FCC takes the concerns of parents in this area seriously and exercises the considerable power Congress has granted it to act in the best interest of the public. The entertainment industry has been granted the chance it wanted to do the right thing by families and come up with a process that could empower citizens with the information they need to make the best decisions for their families. But it has taken advantage of the public, betraying our trust, and it is time for the FCC to intervene.

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.

 

 

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.

Senate Born Alive Vote Is a Yea or Nay for Infanticide

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

CWA’s Penny Nance:  “Americans are Watching Your Vote.”

Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote on the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (S.311), sponsored by Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) and cosponsored by 49 Senators.

Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America LAC, warned U.S. senators about the significance of today’s vote on the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act:

 “Friday marked the ninth anniversary of Kermit Gosnell losing his medical license for crimes against babies born alive after an abortion.  As we’ve heard from Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, defending Gosnell-like infanticide is alive and well in some liberal corners of our country.  Today, senators have a choice to make; will they stand for protecting the lives of children who survive abortion or support infanticide?  At the point a child is born alive, she is a patient, and doctors should be required to provide care.  Congress has already agreed, unanimously, that a child born alive is a person with legal protections under U.S. law.  The Born Alive Survivors Protection Act is about enforcing that law.  Eighty percent of Americans agree with this bill, including 77 percent who identify as pro-choice.  Senators, Americans are watching your vote.”

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.

 

Last Call! Urge Your Senators to Reject infanticide!

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

This Monday, February 25, the Senate will vote on the Born Alive Abortion Survivor’s Protection Act, S. 311, sponsored by Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse. The Born Alive bill requires doctors to provide a newborn who is born alive after an attempted abortion the same medical care that a child would be granted at the same gestational age in other circumstances. Also, it imposes penalties on health care practitioners who break the law, while providing mothers a private right of action and an avenue of justice against a doctor who would deny an abortion survivor the professional care and hospital admission necessary to preserve the life and health of the child.  This bill is not about abortion; it is about rejecting infanticide.

So many of CWA’s State Directors and state leaders have been active this week visiting their senators’ district offices asking for their support of S. 311. So many of you have called and emailed and tweeted and written your senators and asked for their support. CWALAC legislative staff have stormed Capitol Hill encouraging senators to vote to protect and preserve the lives of born alive children.

Thank you for your efforts; they are not in vain, and people are hearing you, but now is the time to keep pushing. Make one more call or send one more email or another tweet over the weekend to each of your senators and encourage them to vote in favor of S. 311. We are expecting the vote around 5:00 p.m. on Monday, so contact them before then!  Here is the link to our action center with a sample message you can personalize.

If you’re not sure what more to say, check out CWALAC’s talking points on the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. Thank you!!