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Planned Parenthood

Let’s unite to support justice for the millions of brave women who’ve survived sexual assault

By | Blog, News and Events, Planned Parenthood, Sanctity of Life, Sexual Exploitation | No Comments

This week I am scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee to examine federal funding of DNA analysis — with the goal of promoting justice for victims of crime.  As a survivor of assault and attempted rape on a Virginia running path, I am honored to testify in regard to the reauthorization of the Debbie Smith Act, a program within the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that funds the processing of DNA rape kits.

First enacted in 1994 by President Clinton, VAWA has been a hotbed of conflict, deeply dividing party lines — with both sides taking part in public mud-slinging and scare tactics. But, now more than ever, it is time to try to find common ground, and focus on bringing justice and relief to the millions of brave American women who have survived violence and sexual assault.

Over the twenty-four years of VAWA’s existence, the Office of Violence Against Women has distributed over 7.6 billion dollars to VAWA grant recipients.  During this time, Concerned Women for America has had a love-hate relationship with VAWA.  The fight against sexual exploitation is one of CWA’s seven core issues, and as the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization, we applaud any efforts to reduce violence or bring support to victims.

However, we believed combating violence against women was (in most cases) most effectively organized at the state level.  In addition, we have been concerned over the lack of conscience provisions for faith-based service providers.  For example, in 2011 after five years of providing services to sex trafficking victims in 44 states, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was denied participation in the program which many believed was due to their position on abortion and HHS preference for “full-range” of family planning services.

Equally frustrating is the lack of oversight and accountability, fraud, and abuse of VAWA funds. We know that between 1993 and 2010, the Inspector General reviewed twenty-two individual grantees that received VAWA funding.  Of those twenty-two, twenty-one grantees were found to have some form of “violation of grant requirements” which included unauthorized or unallowable expenditures, slipshod record keeping, and failure to report in a timely manner. And these are just a few examples.

The Debbie Smith Act is one small program within VAWA.  This program is an abundantly worthy effort and an example of the kind of work that can be achieved when we work together on a bipartisan basis.  The program has made great strides in helping states begin the hard work to clean up the backlog of unprocessed DNA but we can do better.  Through the Debbie Smith Act, we have spent over $1.2 billion to clean up state rape kit backlogs since 2004. However, due to a lack of accountability and prioritization in this program, we still have little to no idea of whether or not these funds have reached this objective.

What we do know is that in many states the rape kit backlog is still unaccounted for, and in some cases forgotten, such as in the instance of the eleven thousand kits found in an abandoned Detroit warehouse; some of these kits lay unopened and wasting for twenty five years while rape victims waited for justice.

In recent years, CWA has realized we would rather work to improve the Act and focus real and effective help to women.  Instead of raging at the darkness, we are ready to light a candle.  It is for this reason I will testify for the Debbie Smith Act, in a spirit of bi-partisan cooperation and to be sure that the next reauthorization of Debbie Smith will promote justice for victims of sexual assault. That I am sure, is something on which we can all agree.

To that goal, when I testify, I will ask the Senate Judiciary Committee for greater accountability in the Debbie Smith Act — specifically to account for the rape kit backlog — and for prioritizing the processing of rape kits over other crimes. As a condition of receipt of funds, states must be willing to come clean about the number of rape kits awaiting processing.  

Secondly, we must prioritize the DNA processing of the sexual assault kits of rape victims. We understand that processing other types of crimes can increase the chance of getting DNA hits for perpetrators of sexual assault through the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), and we fully support those efforts. But let’s not forget that the first priority should be for the victims who have been waiting for justice for many years, often while enduring significant physical and psychological trauma. Justice demands that every woman represented in each of those forgotten rape kits be accounted for and their evidence processed.

Rarely can I remember a time when our nation was so deeply divided on current issues.  In an era of bi-partisan name-calling, dirt-throwing, and rampant distrust, now more than ever we must unite on an issue on which we can agree: justice and relief for the millions of brave women who have survived violence and sexual assault.

Now is the time for us to demand justice and accountability from both state and federal governments.  Each of the rape kits waiting represents a woman praying that the monster who violated her will be prosecuted before the statute of limitations’ clock runs out.  Let’s make that happen.


Editor’s Note: A version of this article was published by Fox News. Click here to see it there.

Supreme Court Protects Pro-Life Clinics from Government Targeting; Millions of Women Celebrate

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

Washington, D.C. — Moments ago, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a great victory (5-4) to pro-life clinics in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra.

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

“We applaud the U.S. Supreme Court for sending a clear statement today that pro-life Americans cannot be discriminated against and targeted by government. The State of California’s insidious effort to prevent pregnancy care centers from helping suffering women is appalling.

“To be clear, this case was not about abortion. Malicious abortion politics definitely were the motivation behind it, but the case centered on the inappropriate mandate of the state compelling pro-life clinics to promote abortion in violation of their consciences.  The case was about forced speech.

“Supporters of the First Amendment, including many pro-abortion women, were appalled to see the way the state tried to punish pro-life clinics where hundreds, if not thousands, of women dedicate their lives to help other women in need.  Millions of women around the country, both pro-life and pro-abortion, reject this form of government tyranny.

“Freedom-loving women should celebrate the Court’s wisdom here in allowing all women to serve their fellow neighbor as their conscience dictates, free from government interference.”


For an interview with Penny Nance, contact Annabelle Rutledge at [email protected] or 916-792-3973.

Weekly Update for June 9, 2018 from CWA’s Legislative Department

By | News and Events, Planned Parenthood, Sanctity of Life, Senate Legislative Updates | No Comments

Washington, D.C. – This week amplified the call to defund Planned Parenthood with shocking new evidence of how abortion clinics have engaged in aiding abusers and intimidating employees from not reporting client sexual abuse. Live Action’s report, Aiding Abusers:  Planned Parenthood’s Cover-up of Child Sexual Abuse, compiles court cases, reports from state health departments, testimonies from former employees, and interviews with survivors to uncover Planned Parenthood’s culture of complicity and unwritten “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.   For example, documented cases have involved girls as young as 12 and 13 years old whose perpetrators, including their own fathers, forced them to abort their pregnancies.  Planned Parenthood did not report the abuse to authorities as required by law and then sent these wounded girls out the door with their abusers.

This unconscionable track record is why the Trump Administration’s proposed Protect Life Rule includes a provision requiring any recipient of Title X family planning funds to comply with all state and local laws on reporting child sexual abuse, molestation, incest, rape, intimate partner violence and human trafficking.

On Thursday, 56 pro-life Senators called on the Trump Administration to investigate Planned Parenthood’s failure to report suspected sexual abuse of minors in their care through the Title X program.  In a letter to HHS Secretary Azar, Senators request all records of incidents of failure to report abuse, documentation of consequences, and data from the past decade of how many children below the age of consent were served and how many reports of abuse were made.

These developments further the importance for every member of CWA to go to our website’s special page, ConcernedWomen.org/ProtectLifeRule, and submit a comment supporting all provisions of the Administration’s proposed Protect Life Rule.  We have a unique opportunity to speak loudly for those who cannot speak for themselves, to protect life and those who give life, to thank this Administration for standing on the side of life and against abortion and abuse.   Please comment today!

Act Now! Title X Comment Period Now Open!

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

Just last week the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a new proposed rule governing the Title X program that has the potential to make an impact on the fight against Planned Parenthood’s government funding. The Title X program is a voluntary grant program that was created to educate and provide family planning services. Even though the law says that abortion is not family planning, abortion giants like Planned Parenthood have used this grant program as their own personal slush fund.

But not under the Trump Administration. HHS proposed a new rule governing Title X funds. This rule, also referred to as the “Protect Life Rule,” proposes regulations similar to the “Reagan rules” that were upheld by the Supreme Court in 1991 in Rust v. Sullivan. These new regulations require physical and financial separation between Title X recipients and abortion providers. Under these new regulations, abortion centers cannot serve as Title X family planning centers, and recipients cannot refer for abortion. Additionally, grantees must comply with state/local abuse reporting requirements. This rule also repeals the Clinton-era regulations that require abortion counseling and instead makes this optional.

This new proposed rule draws a bright line between abortion clinics and Title X dollars. By requiring physical and financial separation of Title X dollars, we can be sure that this taxpayer money is being used to help low-income women and not prop up abortion clinics. This new regulation does not cut Title X dollars by a single cent.

Of course, Planned Parenthood is hysterical because they don’t want accountability for the government money they receive, and they don’t want to separate their abortion clinics from their Title X programs. They could choose to comply, but they won’t because abortion is their bread and butter.

Planned Parenthood wants you to think abortion is just a small part of what they do. The reality is that over 90% of pregnant women who enter a Planned Parenthood clinic will receive an abortion. It’s not a “small part” of what they do, because if it were, they would choose to comply with the law and disentangle their abortion business from family planning services.

However, this rule is not a done deal. As with any federal regulation, there is an open comment period where the public has the opportunity to express their views. After the 60-day comment period is up, HHS will review the comments and issue a final rule based on the public’s feedback.

This is where we need your help. The comment period opens TODAY, and we want to express our appreciation for this important rule. If you’ve never posted a public comment before and don’t know where to start, don’t worry. On our website, we have instructions on how and where to submit a comment and a sample comment you can copy, paste, and submit exactly as is! It is so important that we express our strong support for this rule. Please visit ConcernedWomen.org/ProtectLifeRule for more information.

CWA’s Senior Director of Government Relations Talks Title X

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

Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) filed a proposal to update Title X grant requirements. These regulations would reinstate regulations similar to the “Reagan rules” which were upheld by the Supreme Court in 1991 in Rust v. Sullivan. These new regulations require physical and financial separation between Title X recipients and abortion providers. Under these new regulations, abortion centers cannot serve as Title X family planning centers, and recipients cannot refer for abortion. This rule repeals the Clinton-era regulations that require abortion counseling, and instead makes this optional.

Doreen Denny, CWA’s new Senior Director of Government Relations did a 10-minute radio segment on Life!Line with Craig Roberts, a talk radio show based in the Bay Area.

Click here to listen:

Concerned Women for America LAC Applauds New HHS Title X Rule

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

Washington, D.C. —  Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will file a proposal to update Title X grant requirements. These regulations would reinstate regulations similar to the “Reagan rules” which were upheld by the Supreme Court in 1991 in Rust v. Sullivan. These new regulations require physical and financial separation between Title X recipients and abortion providers.Under these new regulations, abortion centers cannot serve as Title X family planning centers, and recipients cannot refer for abortion. This rule repeals the Clinton-era regulations that require abortion counseling, and instead makes this optional.

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

“This new rule is the Trump Administration’s response to the requests of 194 Members of Congress and 85 pro-life advocacy groups to update Title X regulations in light of the fungibility of these funds. Americans want out of the abortion business; six-in-ten Americans oppose taxpayer funding for abortion.

“Today, HHS acted on their statutory ability to decide who is eligible for Title X funding. Abortion is not health care, nor is it family planning. Although the Title X statute and legal precedent make this clear, previous administrations have failed to draw this line. This new rule doesn’t reduce Title X dollars, but it does direct funding to service sites like Federally Qualified Health Centers, rural health centers, and nonprofits that are willing to comply with the law. This provides necessary transparency and ensures that Title X dollars are spent on family planning, not abortion.

“Obviously the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, is apoplectic because they view Title X funds as their personal entitlement. But it is disingenuous to characterize a mere 4% loss of income as a ‘devastating blow.’ As with all grantees, Planned Parenthood and affiliates can choose to comply with the statute or forgo taxpayer support and continue offering these services in whatever fashion they please as a private entity.

“This is yet another promise fulfilled by President Trump and his administration. It is also a necessary response to the frustration felt by our grassroots over funding for abortion providers in the omnibus and the Senate’s failure to pass a law to redirect Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid dollars to Federally Qualified Health Centers. I applaud the House members and senators who pushed for this, Secretary Azar’s response, and President Trump’s leadership.”

 


For an interview with Penny Nance, contact Annabelle Rutledge at [email protected] or 916-792-3973.

True Feminism: The Third Choice

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

Reading articles or listening to debates about abortion, I’m always left wondering, “Why isn’t adoption front and center in the national conversation?” Adding adoption as The Third Choice to the stunted “two-choice solution” — abortion or “keeping my baby” — holds promise for many thousands of women and couples. Together, unexpectedly pregnant and childless women can forge a new outlook on adoption.

Can cultural prevailing winds lift up adoption, The Third Choice? In the past few decades, our culture has shifted regarding unmarried pregnant women. In my generation as a Baby Boomer in the south, young women left town under some pretense and returned some months later “having lived with an Aunt” or they “ran off and got married” at the first inkling of a pregnancy, hoping no one was counting the months. For this discussion, I simply want to address our current cultural realities and offer The Third Choice to save the lives of the pre-born baby.

The loosening of shame in our culture has created a new environment where single pregnancy is most often acceptable. What is unacceptable is overlooking and under-emphasizing the adoption option for unwanted pregnancies. It is tragic that too many birth mothers have been propagandized into thinking that the baby in their womb is not a baby but only a conglomeration of irrelevant tissue. The emergence of ultrasound science is proving that a pre-born human is indeed beginning life in the womb. While science is serving women with a needed reality check to pierce the propaganda, many women who chose abortion pre-ultrasound technology face painful regrets that haunt them for a lifetime.

The pro-abortion propaganda which has seeped into our culture has also robbed infertile couples of the joy of parenting. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 7.4 million women have difficulty getting and staying pregnant. And a 2008 American Community Survey estimated that 1.6 million children are adopted. Statistics indicate that childlessness is increasing. While abortion rates are decreasing and pro-life legislation and tax breaks are increasing, “unwanted” babies are still erased from the population rolls, leaving too many couples with empty arms and less possibilities to parent.

Here are two suggestions in simple terms. Adoption is an option that must be rehabilitated. The adoption process is impaired by a bureaucracy that is not only complicated, it is incredibly expensive. Adoption must be elevated in our culture. Part of that process includes changing the national conversation to lift up birth mothers as heroes who, instead of sacrificing the child in their womb, choose to sacrifice nine months of their lives to fill the arms of childless couples. This is the essence of TRUE FEMINISM; a birth mother making The Third Choice to fill the empty arms of an infertile woman.

I am one of the childless women blessed by two brave heroes. They are called “birth mothers.”


Editor’s Note: Today’s post was written by CWA’s friend, Arlene Bridges Samuels. 

I Met With Ivanka, Too, and Cecile Richards is Being a Drama Queen

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

In a breathless passage, or as People Magazine prefers to call it, a “riveting passage,” from Cecile Richards’ new book about her life as Planned Parenthood’s president for the past 12 years, she describes meeting with Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump in January 2017 to discuss taxpayer funding of her organization, the nation’s largest abortion provider. It is so hyped up and drawn out that I have to wonder about it. Read More

CWA Stands for Free Speech at the U.S. Supreme Court

By | California, Legal, News and Events, Planned Parenthood, Sanctity of Life | No Comments


NIFLA v. Becerra Oral Arguments Recap

It was a cold, rainy day in the nation’s capital today, but that didn’t stop your representatives from Concerned Women for America (CWA) from being present inside and outside the United States Supreme Court to stand for freedom of speech and for life. We were there as the Court heard oral arguments in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra.

CWA National Field Director Janae Stracke spoke at the rally on the steps of the Supreme Court where numerous groups stood together to send a message to the Court that the American people are paying attention to this case.  Janae praised the work of our CWA of California members who have fought against this law since it was first proposed and energized the valiant crowd, which stood there, despite the challenging weather.

Check out some of the highlights:

I was inside the courtroom to hear the arguments and was able to commend the petitioners, the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA). NIFLA has been in our prayers throughout the entire process, and we commend them for how they have stood so strong as the case moved through the lower courts.  I was reminded that CWA actually helped start the organization back in 1993, under the leadership of our friend Thomas Glessner, who still serves as the organization’s president. We thank God for their work.

As an allied attorney, I was also proud to see our friends at the Alliance Defending Freedom give another stellar performance before the Court.  Michael Farris, ADF’s president, argued the case before the justices, and he was calm under intense questioning.

The justice’s interest was evident. Farris started by highlighting the gerrymandering aspects of the case, which are troubling. So troubling they piqued the interest of one of the most liberal members of the court, Justice Elena Kagan. It is evident the State of California wrote this law in such a way as to target pro-life clinics specifically.  The state, represented by Mr. Joshua Klein, tried to argue it was a generally applicable law, not intended to target anyone, but in this, he failed in my estimation.

Justice Samuel Alito honed in on it, asking the state, “If you have a law that’s neutral on its face, but then it has a lot of crazy exemptions, and when you apply all the exemptions, what you’re left with is a very strange pattern and, gee, it turns out that just about the only clinics that are covered by this are pro-life clinics. Do you think it’s possible to infer intentional discrimination in that situation?”

The state had to admit that, yes, it would be a fair inference, even as they denied that was the case here.

The burdensome requirements of this law were also front and center. Justice Sonia Sotomayor tried to get the state to answer a simple question about if a clinic that merely wanted to put up a billboard that said, “Pro-Life” with their logo, would be required to put up the disclaimer at issue in the same size font and in multiple languages.  Mr. Klein danced around on the question until Justice Alito pinned him down and he admitted that, yes, they would be required to put up the disclaimer on the billboard.

Justice Anthony Kenned was visibly disturbed and had this exchange:

JUSTICE KENNEDY: Do you agree that mandating speech that the speaker would not otherwise give — indeed, does not agree with — alters the content of the message?

KLEIN: Yes, it does, Your Honor.

JUSTICE KENNEDY: All right. So then you are saying on this billboard, the state can require that the message be — the content of the message be altered, even though they are not providing medical services?

Even Justice Sotomayor returned once more to her hypothetical expressed concerns with the state’s position:

JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: Would it be fair to say — and I still don’t have a full answer to my question — all right, pro-life, nothing else, an unlicensed facility, it meets all of the criteria, has an ad that says just “pro-life” and puts its name. Does it have to give the notice; yes or no?

KLEIN: Yes, if it meets the other criteria. And it’s possible in an as-applied challenge –­

JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: That seems to me more burdensome and wrong because it’s not tied to an advertisement that is promoting medical services.

It is indeed wrong, and it is one of the reasons why the Court should invalidate the statute here and rule for the pro-life clinics.

Continue to pray for this case. A desicion is expected next summer.