FRC Blog

Celebrating 40 Years of the Hyde Amendment and Rep. Henry Hyde, A Pro-Life Hero

by Arina Grossu , Andrew Guernsey

September 30, 2016

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal funding for abortion. As a result of the Hyde Amendment, over 2 million Americans are alive today. To learn more see this op-ed in The Federalist and watch FRC Action’s new ad.

Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) was a tireless warrior for preborn babies, as this transcript clearly depicts. In 1976, only three years after Roe v. Wade legalized abortion, he introduced the Hyde Amendment to stop taxpayer funding of abortion. From 1973 to 1977, the federal government spent about $50 million annually to fund about 300,000 abortions per year under Medicaid. He wanted to put an end to this, saying we “cannot in logic and conscience help fund the execution of these innocent, defenseless human lives.”

The Hyde Amendment is one of the spending bills Congress must pass each year. It has been renewed every year since and signed into law by both Republican and Democrat presidents. In 1980, the Supreme Court upheld the Hyde Amendment in the 5-4 Harris v. McRae landmark decision. Hillary Clinton has promised to make repealing the Hyde Amendment a key priority if she becomes president. In addition, this year’s Democratic Party platform for the first time ever called for its repeal. In contrast, Donald Trump has pledged to make the Hyde Amendment permanent. Congress must enact the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 7, S. 582) to codify the Hyde Amendment and to apply it across the government, including Obamacare.

Below, we reprint from the Congressional Record, Rep. Henry Hyde’s remarks when he first introduced his famous amendment in 1976, and again in 1977. Hyde’s remarks show his incredible passion not only to stop the taxpayer funding of abortion, but also to end all killing of preborn babies.

Thank you Rep. Henry Hyde for standing up for the rights of unborn babies, and happy anniversary to the Hyde Amendment that has saved over 2 million lives.

  

Congressional Record

June 24, 1976

Mr. HYDE Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

The Clerk read as follows:

Amendment offered by Mr. HYDE: On page 36, after line 9, add the following new section:

Sec. 209. None of the funds appropriated under this Act shall be used to pay for abortions or to promote or encourage abortions.”

Mr. HYDE. Mr. Chairman, this amendment may stimulate a lot of debate—but it need not—because I believe most Members know how they will vote on this issue. 

Nevertheless, there are those of us who believe it Is to the everlasting shame of this country that in 1973 approximately 800,000 legal abortions were performed in this country—and so it is fair to assume that this year over a million human lives will be destroyed because they are inconvenient to someone.

The unborn child facing an abortion can best be classified as a member of the innocently inconvenient and since the pernicious doctrine that some lives are more important than others seems to be persuasive with the pro-abortion forces, we who seek to protect that most defenseless and innocent of human lives, the unborn—seek to inhibit the use of Federal funds to pay for and thus encourage abortion as an answer to the human and compelling problem of an unwanted child.

We are all exercised at the wanton killing of the porpoise, the baby seal. We urge big game hunters to save the tiger, but we somehow turn away at the specter of a million human beings being violently destroyed because this great society does not want them.

And make no mistake, an abortion is violent.

I think in the final analysis, you must determine whether or not the unborn person is human. If you think it is animal or vegetable then of course, it is disposable like an empty beer can to be crushed and thrown out with the rest of the trash.

But medicine, biology, embryology say that growing living organism is not animal or vegetable or mineral – but it is a human life.

 And if you believe that human life is deserving of due process of law—of equal protection of the laws, then you cannot in logic and conscience help fund the execution of these innocent defenseless human lives.

If we are to order our lives by the precepts of animal husbandry, then I guess abortion is an acceptable answer. If we human beings are not of a higher order than animals then let us save our pretentious aspirations for a better and more just world and recognize this is an anthill we inhabit and there are no such things as ideals or justice or morality.

Once conception has occurred a new and unique genetic package has been created, not a potential human being but a human being with potential. For nine months the mother provides nourishment and shelter, and birth is no substantial change, it is merely a change of address.

We are told that bringing an unwanted child into the world is an obscene act. Unwanted by whom? Is it too subtle a notion to understand it is more important to be a loving person than to be one who is loved? We need more people who are capable of projecting love.

We hear the claim that the poor are denied a right available to other women if we do not use tax money to fund abortions. 

Well make a list of all the things society denies poor women and let them make the choice of what we will give them.

Don’t say “poor woman, go destroy your young, and we will pay for it.”

An innocent, defenseless human life, in a caring and humane society deserves better than to be flushed down a toilet or burned in an incinerator.

The promise of America is that life is not just for the privileged, the planned, or the perfect.

 

Hyde Amendment Passes, Roll Call: 207-167 (57 Not Voting)

Congressional Record, House, Vol. 122, pt. 15, 20410 

 

***

June 17, 1977

 

Mr. HYDE. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

The Clerk read as follows:

Amendment offered by Mr. Hyde:

On page 39, after line 23. add the following new section:

Sec. 209. None of the funds appropriated under this Act shall be used to pay for abortions or to promote or encourage abortions.”

 (By unanimous consent. Mr. HYDE was allowed to proceed for 5 additional minutes.)

Mr. HYDE. Mr. Chairman, I regret that I must abbreviate this amendment to exclude the therapeutic abortion qualification, the absence of which was raised as a great argument against this amendment when it was offered last session. So it went through with no exceptions whatsoever. And in the conference committee we were able to put in the therapeutic abortion exemption where the claim for a life is equal to a claim for a life. But I am forced into this position today by points of order. So be it.

Yesterday, remarks were made that it is unfortunate to burden an appropriations bill with complex issues, such as busing, abortion and the like. I certainly agree that it is very unfortunate. The problem Is that there is no other vehicle that reaches this floor in which these complex issues can be involved. Constitutional amendments which prohibit abortions stay languishing in subcommittee much less committee, and so the only vehicle where the Members may work their will, unfortunately, is an appropriation bill. I regret that. I certainly would like to prevent, if I could legally, anybody having an abortion, a rich woman, a middle-class woman, or a poor woman. Unfortunately, the only vehicle available is the HEW Medicaid bill. A life is a life. The life of a little ghetto kid is just as important as the life of a rich person. And so we proceed in this bill.

Lest anyone think it is aberrational that millions of people are concerned about our tax dollars paying for the slaughter of innocent, inconvenient, unborn children, I point out that this Is no novel position. In most every session. There is a bill, HR 4897 this session, which provides that a taxpayer conscientiously opposed to participation in war may elect that his income, estate, or gift tax payments be spent for nonmilitary purposes. This creates a trust fund, the world peace tax fund. 

Many people, I am sure, who will speak today against my position, the pro-life position, are vigorous supporters of H.R. 4897.

But if it is wrong to spend money for defense of this country, then may we not object to spending millions of tax dollars for the slaughter of innocent children?

I think it is important to clarify the constitutional issue that is involved in this question. In the first place, conceding that under Roe against Wade a woman has a constitutional right to seek an abortion, the question here is whether it is mandatory that the taxpayers pay for that abortion.

The Washington Star’s editorial last Tuesday put this issue in perspective when it said:

The glib argument that it is a denial of the 14th Amendment equal protection to deny Medicaid subsidy to abortions strikes us as overingenious.

This Government, through the National Endowment for the Humanities subsidizes writers all over the country. Is it then a burden on our first amendment rights to free expression to deny a tax -paid printing press to everyone in the street who wants one? Clearly not.

The Solicitor General of the United States said this:

There Is no right to receive an abortion. The privacy right vindicated in Roe v. Wade and Doe v Bolton Is not the right affirmatively to obtain an abortion, but rather the lesser right to be free to seek abortion services without governmental obstruction or Interference. The Government has no constitutional obligation financially to facilitate the exercise of privacy rights. Its constitutional duty Is merely to refrain from violating such rights.

We spend about $50 million a year to pay for about 300,000 abortions under Medicaid. The contention has been made by respectable sources that it costs too much to bring these welfare kids into the world, it is much cheaper to abort them. This argument even the Washington Post said was terrible and inhumane.

One of the “Dear Colleague” letters that came from a distinguished Member of this body called the paying of the bill for the welfare kids “economic imprudence.” Well, I cannot accept that argument.

We have heard both sides of the argument: If we deny Medicaid abortions, the women are going to have kids anyway; therefore, let them have abortions in a safe place. The other side of the argument is: If we deny Medicaid abortions, we are going to have an explosion of welfare children, and it is going to cost us a lot of money. Which way is it? Are we going to have a lot of costly welfare kids or are women going to get their abortions anyway? As far as I am concerned, every welfare study I have seen shows these children will be born and not slaughtered, and I am prepared to pay the price to see that they get an education, decent housing, and adequate clothing.

I have read every pro-abortion editorial I can lay my hands on and every article I could find, and they all emphasize that the decent and economic and compassionate thing to do is to let these welfare mothers abort their unborn children. Never do they discuss the essential question, the humanity of the unborn.”

What is it that is being aborted? Is it a chicken? Is it a tumor? Is it animal? Is it vegetable? Is it mineral? Is it a bad tooth to be pulled out, or is it a diseased appendix to be cut out and thrown away? No. It is a human being.

Theology does not say it is a human being; biology says it is a human being. Theology does not say, “Thou shalt not kill a fetus”; it is biology that says “Thou shalt not kill a fetus.” That is a part of the tradition and the criminal code subscribed to on the part of individuals in every civilized nation. This is what biology says. Let us quit kidding ourselves. This is human life.

Mr. Chairman, let me read a quotation from the California Medical Association Journal. This is not a religious publication, I assure the Members. In an editorial the California Medical Association said as follows:

… It has been necessary to separate the idea of abortion from the idea of killing, which continues to be socially abhorrent. The result has been a curious avoidance of the scientific fact which everyone really knows, that human life begins at conception and is continuous whether intra- or extra- uterine until death. The very considerable semantic gymnastics which are required to rationalize abortion as anything but taking a human life would be ludicrous if they were not often put forth under socially impeccable auspices.

So why do we not face up that abortion does not merely “terminate a pregnancy” nor remove the “products of conception” from a deactivated womb? It is the calculated killing of an innocent, inconvenient human being.

The old argument that we who oppose abortion are trying to impose our religious concepts on other people is totally absurd. Theology does not animate me; biology does. That is a human life; that is not a potential human life; it is a human life with potential.

When a pregnant woman, who should be the natural protector of her unborn child, becomes its deadly adversary, then it is the duty of this legislature to intervene on behalf of defenseless human life.

If that is not so, I do not know why we need this building or why we need law libraries.

By what right do the pro-abortionists seek to deny us access to the political process? That is what we are engaged in today. If they say we have no right to seek to get written into law protection for innocent life, if they say, “No” to us, they turn back 200 years of this country’s history.

I used to think that abortionists had a world view of humanity as animalistic, and that these people feel that the rules of animal husbandry are sufficient to cope with the problems of poverty and need in the ghetto. But I am wrong. I am absolutely wrong.

We think more of animals than we do of human beings. Do the Members realize that today is Whale Survival Day? Today, June 17, in Lafayette Park, there is going to be music, there will be celebrities and whale experts, and there will be whale art, and this is all done in the campaign to save the endangered whale.

There is some kind of schizophrenia that makes us want to protect the snail darter, the baby harp seal, the whale, and the dolphin, and not to be concerned about human life and our unborn children. In our wisdom and compassion, we put a limit on the number of dolphins that can be eliminated; that number is 69,910. You kill one more, and you go to the slammer. But there is no limit on the number of unborn children that are slaughtered simply because they are inconvenient. 

We now what a dolphin can do. It can jump through a hoop and eat a guppie. But somehow that is more important to this Congress and more important than human beings.

Under the Bald Eagle Protection Act of 1940 it is a crime to take possession of a bald eagle’s egg. That seems to be more important than a human life.

Is it not sad that we give more concern to the protection of migratory birds and wild horses than we do to human beings?

The CHAIRMAN. The time of the gentleman from Illinois (MR. HYDE) has expired.

(By unanimous consent, MR. HYDE was allowed to proceed for 1 additional minute.)

Mr. HYDE. I just want to make this comment, Mr. Chairman: We can tell the ghetto mother that she is going to have to fight for everything which the middle-class woman has, such as education, housing, clothing, and food; but then we can say, “We will give you one thing. We will give it to you and we will pay for it. We will let you kill your young.”

Mr. Chairman, the problem of the unwanted child is a human problem. The violent act of abortion is no solution. It is the failure to look for a solution.

Mr. Chairman, I was in Jerusalem recently. I visited a building complex to memorialize the 6 million dead in the holocaust. It is called the Yad Vashem. There is a legend there from the Talmud. It says, “He who saves one soul saves humanity.”

Mr. Chairman, I ask the Members to think about that when they vote on my amendment.

 

Hyde Amendment Passes, Roll Call: 201-155 (77 Not Voting)

Congressional Record, House, vol. 123, pt. 16, 19700–19701

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Question of the Week - September 26, 2016

by Daniel Hart

September 26, 2016

Question: Do you have pamphlets that explain the importance of Christians participating in the voting process?

FRC: We have two brochures that give a thorough explanation on the call of all Christians to fully participate in all aspects of civic life. They are “Why You Should Be Involved“ and “Why Christians Should Seek to Influence Government for Good.”

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New York Times: All the Opinions (about North Carolina’s Bathroom Law) That Are Unfit, They Print

by Peter Sprigg

September 23, 2016

A Facebook friend recently posted a meme that displayed some text upside down. The message was that you have an amazing talent if you are able to read the text when it is upside down and backwards (i.e., right to left).

Actually, it was fairly easy to read. But a similar (modest) talent is needed to read the New York Times these days — especially an editorial about North Carolina’s “bathroom protection bill,” House Bill 2, known as HB2 (“North Carolina Pays a Price for Bigotry,” September 21). Simply take everything the New York Times says and invert it, and you will come close to understanding the truth about the HB2 controversy.

The Times says that Charlotte, N.C.’s sexual orientation and gender identity ordinance was “used as a reason” to pass HB2. Used? Charlotte’s passage of this ordinance in February was the only reason for the state law that was “hastily passed in March” — to prevent the Charlotte ordinance from taking effect on April 1. If Charlotte had left well enough alone — including allowing issues of transgender bathroom use to be settled on a case-by-case basis like they always had — there would have been no state intervention.

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Testimony on the Need for the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

by Arina Grossu

September 23, 2016

Arina Grossu’s Testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice on the topic of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act on September 23, 2016:

Chairman Franks, Ranking Member Cohen, and Distinguished Members of the Subcommittee:

I am grateful and honored to have been invited to testify on “The Ultimate Civil Right: Examining the Hyde Amendment and the Born Alive Infants Protection Act.”  My name is Arina Grossu and I am the Director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council.  As a policy analyst, my issues of expertise and research encompass the dignity of human life from conception until natural death. 

FRC has long supported the Hyde Amendment, which has prevented government funding for elective abortion for over thirty years.  This law, if revoked, would increase the number of abortions in the U.S.  FRC also supports the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, on which I will focus my remarks.

In 2000 and 2001, Jill Stanek testified before this Committee about her experience as a registered nurse where she discovered babies born alive after an attempted abortion and left to die in the department’s soiled utility closet.

In 2002, Congress responded by passing the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which was signed by President George W. Bush and is current federal law. It passed by voice vote in the House and with unanimous consent in the Senate.  

Unfortunately, incidents involving born alive children being killed after an attempted abortion have continued after this law was passed and into the present.

Infanticide is unacceptable in a civilized society, regardless of what one may think about abortion itself.  It should be uncontroversial for the federal government to supplement current law with enforcement protections.

 

Up to 2010, abortionist Kermit Gosnell operated his dirty and dangerous abortion facility where  he did “hundreds of snippings” of born-alive babies as part of his abortion process.  The Grand Jury Report noted:

Many of [the women] gave birth before he even got there. When you perform late-term ‘abortions’ by inducing labor, you get babies. Live, breathing, squirming babies…Gosnell had a simple solution for the unwanted babies he delivered: he killed them… by sticking scissors into the back of the baby’s neck and cutting the spinal cord.

See for example the image of Baby Boy B who was found in his facility (A). (warning, graphic content)

Federal and state authorities finally raided his facility, not because he was illegally killing born-alive infants, but because of his illegal prescription drug activity.

While Gosnell’s case was particularly gruesome, he is not an outlier.  A former employee of current Texas abortionist Douglas Karpen described how he regularly killed babies born alive by snipping their spinal cords, fatally injuring them with blows to the soft spot on their heads, and twisting their necks. 

She said:

I’m pretty sure I was seeing at least three or four [large babies] that were completely delivered in some way or another [daily].

….when the fetus would come completely out, of course the fetus would still be alive, because it was still moving… of course you could see the stomach breathing and that’s when he would do [this].

Yet, despite the gruesome photo and eyewitness evidence, Karpen was cleared in December 2013.

The Center for Medical Progress, in its investigative videos, authenticated by in-depth forensic analysis, revealed a lot of evidence of babies killed after being born alive.

Perrin Larton, a procurement manager from Advanced Bioscience Resources said, “The whole point is not to have a live birth…“I literally have had women come in and they’ll go in the O.R. and they’re back out in three minutes, and I’m going, ‘What’s going on?’ Oh yeah, the fetus was already in the vaginal canal whenever we put her in the stirrups. It just fell out.”

Holly O’Donnell, a former procurement technician with StemExpress, recounted one incident where her supervisor said, ‘want to see something kind of cool…And she just tap[ped] the heart, and it start[ed] beating. And I’m sitting here and I’m looking at this fetus, and its heart is beating.”

Data that the CDC collects also confirms babies are born alive after attempted abortions.  Between the years 2003 and 2014 there were somewhere between 376 and 588 infant deaths under the medical code P96.4 which keeps track of babies born alive after a “termination of pregnancy.”

The CDC concluded that of the 588 babies, 143 were “definitively” born alive after an attempted abortion and they lived from minutes to one or more days, with 48% of the babies living between one to four hours.  It also admitted that it’s possible the number is an underestimate (B).

We know it is an underestimate because these are just reported numbers from hospitals, not abortion facilities.  Gosnell is only one abortionist who was responsible for “hundreds of snippings” of born-alive babies, yet he did not report even one.  His numbers alone exceed the “definitive” numbers of the CDC.

Even one baby born alive after an attempted abortion who is then killed, is one too many.  But we are talking in the hundreds of reported ones.

Yet not one person to date has been charged or convicted under current Born-Alive law.

Due to developments in technology, babies who are considered “extremely preterm” can now survive outside the womb as early as 20 and 21 weeks post-fertilization, recent science journals announced, with 67% surviving after receiving active care.

Here, for example is Lucas Moore who was born prematurely at 21 weeks post-fertilization and one year later (C).

Dr. David Burchfield, the chief of neonatology at the University of Florida said of care for extremely preterm babies, “It confirms that if you don’t do anything, these babies will not make it, and if you do something, some of them will make it.”

We need the proposed Born-Alive act to ensure that babies born alive after an attempted abortion are given the proper medical treatment.  The bill:

  • explicitly requires health care practitioners to treat born-alive abortion survivors with the same care they would treat any other born baby and admit such babies immediately to a hospital. 
  • provides enforcement mechanisms such as criminal sanctions and penalties to hold abortionists accountable for killing born-alive infants
  • the bill also expressly excludes any prosecution of the mother of a baby born alive, and it gives her a private right of action to seek relief if an abortionist were to kill her born-alive infant.

The White House promised that the President would veto the Born-Alive legislation citing it would have a “chilling” effect.  I cannot think of a more chilling effect than continuing to let U.S. abortionists get away with infanticide.

Born-alive babies after an attempted abortion are already recognized as legal persons since the 2002 federal Born-Alive law.

The proposed Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act simply recognizes the obligations that follow from this reality, to ensure that babies born alive after attempted abortions will be given the best medical care available and the full and equal protection of our laws.

I earnestly ask that you support this bill to stop infanticide in the United States.

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The Social Conservative Review: September 16, 2016

by Daniel Hart

September 16, 2016

Dear Friends,

For Americans, “freedom” is central to our identity. We are the “land of the free, the home of the brave.” Our media and culture tell us that with the progression of “LGBT rights” and with the expansion of “safe spaces” on college campuses, we are now a more free and inclusive society. So are we now happier and more satisfied as a result? R.R. Reno of First Things has pinpointed a “politics of vulnerability” that clearly shows we are anything but.

As Reno writes, current developments have instead led to “new dissatisfactions.” He elaborates: “It’s telling that the institutions with the most highly developed rhetoric of inclusion are the most elite, which is to say the most competitive. Again the paradox: The most successful kids with the greatest opportunities seem to be the ones most eager for protection [i.e. “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces”].” Among LGBT activists, we see example after example of lawsuits being utilized when bathroom policies and wedding cake referrals are deemed “hateful.” Why does this occur? When the most basic human forms of authority and societal structure — the family and the church — are torn down in the public square, people can’t help but feel increasingly vulnerable. What does this lead to? Reno explains: “Without a trustworthy Father in heaven (and often without a father in the home), the rising generation is more and more likely to ask big government (and a culture of political correctness) to provide security and comfort.”

A true understanding of “freedom” can go a long way in restoring this sense of security and comfort that many have lost. As believers know, true freedom is not merely the ability to choose something amongst a multitude of options; it is the ability to become who we were made to become — a child of God. As children, we learn about God’s love and authority — the surest source of genuine security and comfort — through our parents’ example and the faith they instill in us, in both literal and symbolic ways. We in turn pass this example and faith on to our children, and they to theirs, etc. In this way, a society’s well-being and hopeful future depend upon the strength of the family.

Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support of FRC and the family.

Sincerely,

Dan Hart
Managing Editor for Publications
Family Research Council


FRC Articles

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

International Religious Freedom

Military Religious Freedom

Life

Abortion

Adoption

Bioethics

Obamacare

Family

Economics

Marriage

Faith/Character/Culture

Human Sexuality

Human Trafficking

Pornography

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Debunking Right Wing Watch

by Travis Weber

September 14, 2016

Right Wing Watch (RWW) is again sending out alarms about the supposedly alarmist words of FRC.

RWW says FRC “relies on a constant stream of easily debunked tales of martyrdom, and points to “a fundraising email from the group’s president, Tony Perkins, in which Perkins lists a number of debunked tales of Christian persecution in the military.”

RWW then continued by citing portions of the FRC email, but neglected to quote FRC in saying that “[n]o service member should ever be denied the very freedom he or she bleeds and dies to defend!” (Perhaps RWW agreed that was quite reasonable.)

The word “debunk” is defined as “to show that something (such as a belief or theory) is not true,” or “to show the falseness of (a story, idea, statement, etc.).” RWW really seems to like using this term with regard to FRC’s claims. Well, are they “debunked?” Let us examine the two references to the term.

First, RWW claims FRC “relies on a constant stream of easily debunked tales of martyrdom,” with a link to an article posted by its also-biased media buddy People for the American Way. Only one of the incidents listed by FRC is mentioned in the article—the matter concerning Sergeant Monk. The link to the mention of Sergeant Monk contains another RWW posting about his case, claiming it is false (the hyperlink to this claim does not work), and quoting military officials claiming he was not reassigned because of his views on same-sex marriage (of course they are going to say that; they are defending their position). It is quite possible they are wrong, as Sergeant Monk contends, especially since the military exonerated him of making false statements after they had accused him of doing so. At a minimum, Sergeant Monk’s claims that he was reassigned in retaliation for his views have never been “debunked.”

Second, RWW claims FRC President Tony Perkins “lists a number of debunked tales of Christian persecution in the military,” with four different hyperlinks enclosed.

The first link contains a supposed debunking of Chaplain Lawhorn’s claim, but the link (to RWW ally Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU)) does nothing to rebut the claim that Lawhorn’s public mention of his faith got him in trouble (he has humbly maintained he was sharing his personal story). Indeed, the linked source only affirms that it was the public mention of faith which draw the ire of activists.

The second link contains a story on Chaplain Modder by liberal website Think Progress. How this “debunks” his story is quite unclear. The story discusses Chaplain Modder’s allegation of retaliatory action for counseling according to his beliefs on sexuality in private counseling sessions. He suffered adverse action, which was ultimately reversed by the Navy. This is not even close to being “debunked.”

The third link is a story at the Huffington Post by Chris Rodda of Mikey Weinstein’s foundation (which spends its time trying to suppress traditional Christian views from being expressed in the public square) on Monifa Sterling, a Marine who was court martialed after refusing to remove a Bible verse from her workstation. While Rodda can offer her opinions on the matter, that does nothing to debunk the fact that Sterling alleged her religious exercise was suppressed.

The fourth link is a November 2013 AU story further discussing Sergeant Monk’s case, repeating the Air Force’s findings as objective fact and dismissing Monk’s assertions. The story claims the Air Force “found that Monk has made false official statements.” Yet an October 2013 memo from the Air Force to Sergeant Monk states it “determined that the allegation” that Monk made a false statement “was unsubstantiated.” Assuming good motives on the part of AU, we can assume the author of its story didn’t know about this Air Force letter, and was not intentionally misrepresenting the status of Monk’s case. If the letter was publicly available, perhaps AU was just negligent. However, another AU publication one year later still only states the following with regard to Monk’s situation: “The investigation also determined that Monk made false official statements to the Air Force. The Air Force considers the matter closed.” It seems AU’s representation of this matter is what is “debunked” here. Such an intentional mischaracterization of the facts reminds us that we can’t trust organizations this scared of religion to be fair in describing these incidents. Their fear of freedom always gets in the way.

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Setting the Record Straight on RFRA (Again)

by Travis Weber

September 8, 2016

A recent NBC article about Indiana’s RFRA and its use by religious minorities (in addition to highlighting the ACLU’s ongoing hypocrisy on religious freedom) fails to accurately describe how RFRA operates.

At one point, the article states:

One week later, after intense national criticism, Pence amended the law explicitly preventing businesses from denying service based on ‘race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or United States military service.’ With this, the Indiana state law came closer to the federal religious law and similar laws in other states.”

This is false. The federal RFRA and almost all state RFRAs contain no such amendment. They’ve operated well for years, protecting individuals like the Muslim inmate highlighted in this article, and others.

The article also implies that RFRA without the “fix” could not help the inmate:

After Pence’s “fix” the law became largely disarmed from doing what many critics said was its original discriminatory intent. In fact, the opposite happened, the law has since become an extra tool to fight against religious discrimination, [Professor] Katz said.”

Yet a Muslim inmate bringing a claim under RFRA with the “fix” is not the “opposite” of what he could have done before the “fix.” The provision of RFRA he is using to bring his claim (the same provision which has been around since 1993 with little controversy) was not changed at all. His claim is the exact same under RFRA with or without the “fix.”

To its credit, the article did accurately frame RFRA in this quote by another law professor:

What people tend to forget is that the statute is not a ‘broad exemption or a get out of jail free card,’ he said. Even though there is an exemption for religious freedom under the law, it doesn’t mean the state will grant it, he said.”

That certainly seemed lost on the media in the public debate last year. This balancing test has been a part of RFRA since its inception, and is true regardless of whether the “fix” is part of the law. If only everyone would take the time to understand this.

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Human-Animal Hybrids Are a Violation of Human Dignity

by Andrew Guernsey

September 8, 2016

Human-animal hybrids? No longer is it simply the stuff of science fiction. On August 4th, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a proposed policy that would lift the longstanding moratorium on the taxpayer funding of certain experiments creating embryos that are part human, part animal, known as “chimeras,” and even letting them grow into adult form.

NIH solicited comments on their proposal, and FRC signed on to detailed comments with the Charlotte Lozier Institute regarding the science and ethics of such research. The comments oppose the NIH proposal and note that ethical and scientifically valid alternatives exist to satisfy scientific demands.

To view the PDF of the full comment, see: Comment by Charlotte Lozier Institute and Family Research Council on NIH Proposal to Fund Human Animal Chimeras

Under the new NIH policy, human stem cells, adult or embryonic, could be added so early in the animal’s embryonic development that they could potentially become any organ or organ system within the maturing human-animal hybrid. Chimera researcher Dr. Izpisúa Belmonte himself admitted “We don’t know how to guide the cells to become the cells we want.” Human cells might contribute to the animal’s brain or reproductive organs, which could cause changes to the animal’s cognitive abilities or produce human sex cells. This research could thereby significantly blur the line between humans and animals, and undermine human dignity, as well as further incentivize the destruction of human embryos.

Nothing in the new policy prohibits such unethical outcomes, and in fact, the new policy explicitly allows research in which there is “substantial contribution or a substantial functional modification to the animal brain by the human cells” and anticipates the creation of chimeras in which “human…stem cells may contribute to the germ line,” that is, animals producing human sex cells. And while the new policy would technically prohibit chimeras from breeding, there is no clear or feasible way for NIH to enforce this ban.

To be sure, NIH is proposing this new human-animal hybrid research on the basis of its potential benefits, such as creating animal models of human diseases in order to prevent and treat illnesses, as well as to create human organs for donation that will adapt better to the human immune system. But it is one thing to conduct non-controversial, ethical research using human cells or DNA in animals, to test the cells for repair, or even to grow an organ. It is quite another thing to significantly modify an animal in a way that undermines the key pillars of human species identity by giving an animal a substantially human brain or reproductive capacities.

Far from advancing the human race, creating animal and human hybrids that leave in question their humanity undermines our own. Good science is also ethical science, and supports biotechnologies that advance scientific knowledge and medical treatments, while valuing all human life and maintaining human dignity. Science should never progress nor should human life be advanced at the expense of human life or dignity. Research involving human adult stem cells is one such promising way forward.

If NIH fails to protect human dignity in research funded by federal taxpayers, Congress once again may be forced to step in. For the fiscal year 2016 federal spending bill, Congress did so when it banned the FDA’s approval on research creating genetically modified embryos, such as three-parent embryos, in which the genetically modified information or traits can be passed on. At the very least we should not have our federal tax dollars subsidize the NIH’s new proposed human-animal hybrid research that could blur the line between humans and animals. To do so would undermine the very fabric of our moral order—the affirmation and respect for human dignity.

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Protect Your Military Chaplains from a Bully

by Chris Gacek

September 2, 2016

In the last several years, the religious freedoms of members of the military have suffered an almost constant threat of restriction and reduction. There have been several private organizations, including Family Research Council, and members of Congress who have worked to preserve the religious freedoms of those serving in our armed forces. One of the stalwarts in this endeavor has been Congressman Randy Forbes of Virginia.

Mr. Forbes is leaving Congress at the end of this term, and the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty (Chaplain Alliance), a group dedicated to protecting the rights of military chaplains, chose to honor Mr. Forbes for his service to the nation at a private, after-work event on July 12, 2016. In attendance were several uniformed military chaplains. They included the Chief of Chaplains of the Air Force, Maj. Gen. (Chaplain) Dondi Costin, who delivered a benediction while in uniform. Several members of the House and one United States Senator were also in attendance. Photographs of the event were taken and posted online.

This allowed anti-Christian activist “Mikey” Weinstein an opportunity to attack Maj. Gen Costin and two other chaplains for their participation in the event by filing a complaint with the Inspector General of the Department of Defense, Glenn Fine. With typically histrionic and excessive rhetoric, Weinstein asked that all three be formally disciplined. Weinstein presents a pretext for attacking Rep. Forbes and the event based on the Congressman’s opposition to the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and his orthodox Christian beliefs about sexuality and marriage. Given Weinstein’s longstanding track record of anti-Christian animus, his raising of LGBT issues is mere window-dressing. Forbes could have opposed funding for dog parks in Katmandu, and that would have served almost as easily in Weinstein’s mind as a pretext for his attack.

I point the reader to a nicely crafted blog post by attorney and former law professor Skip Ash who runs through the constitutional arguments involved and finds them, as with most of Weinstein’s hackneyed arguments, to be without merit.

What is of particular note is Weinstein’s complete and utter lack of perspective. Does he honestly believe that a retirement-type event honoring a member of Congress who has supported the needs of chaplains would not be attended by appreciative members of the military chaplaincy? Is he really so misguided as to think that the DOD IG is going to state that military chaplains attending a retirement event for a member of the House in the company of other House members and a U.S. Senator is a punishable offense? Sadly, he appears to be.

It isn’t exactly clear what Weinstein thinks chaplains should be doing. He has repeatedly complained about the public expression of Christian faith in the military. To me, this seems like the perfect event at which chaplains are entitled to work as men and women of the cloth and servants of the people.

Consequently, I would urge those who support chaplains and the vital work they do to assist a “Stop and Protect” petition drive organized by the Chaplain Alliance. The petition states:

As a deeply concerned citizen, I am calling on leaders in Washington, D.C. to stop these unprecedented attacks on military members exercising their freedom of religion and expression. Our servicemen and servicewomen put themselves in harm’s way to protect our freedom and God-given constitutional rights. It’s time for you to protect theirs!

Once 10,000 signatures have been gathered, Chaplain Alliance will hand deliver the petitions “to the offices of key leaders on Capitol Hill, including Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter (D), John McCain (R), who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, Mac Thornberry (R), who chairs the House Armed Services Committee, and others.”

Help protect our chaplains in their important work, and sign the Chaplain Alliance’s petition today.

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Expanding the Definition of “Parent” Expands the Power of the State

by Peter Sprigg

September 2, 2016

New York’s highest state court, the Court of Appeals, ruled August 30th that the former lesbian partner of a woman who gave birth (via artificial insemination) while the couple was cohabiting could qualify as a “parent” for the purpose of seeking custody and visitation rights (Matter of Brooke S.B. v. Elizabeth A. C.C.).

In light of the 2015 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to order a fifty-state redefinition of “marriage” to include same-sex couples (Obergefell v. Hodges), this may seem like something inevitable—merely a legal mopping-up operation. Actually, it is far more troubling, with implications that extend far beyond same-sex couples.

New York’s Domestic Relations Law says that “either parent” of a child living in the state may apply to a court requesting “the natural guardianship, charge and custody of such child.” In a case similar to the current one 25 years ago (Matter of Alison D. v. Virginia M.), the same court had ruled that “a biological stranger to a child who is properly in the custody of his biological mother” has no standing to seek visitation. Despite having upheld it as recently as 2010, the court explicitly overruled Alison D. this week.

In part, the decision was based on the fact that during the period the couple was together (2006-2010, with the baby boy being born in 2009), same-sex couples could not yet legally marry in New York. According to the opinion, the couple “lacked the resources to travel to another jurisdiction” to enter into a marriage or similar “legal arrangement.”

One is tempted to say that they must have been quite destitute—since the first state to grant civil marriage licenses to same-sex couples (in 2004), Massachusetts, borders on New York state. By the time the child was born, in June 2009, Massachusetts had repealed a 1913 law that had initially prevented many out-of-state couples from marrying there; and New York’s Gov. David Paterson had ordered state agencies to recognize same-sex unions from other states.

In fairness, though, the couple apparently did live in Chautauqua County—at the far western end of the state, about 400 miles from Massachusetts. However, it is only a little over 100 miles from Niagara Falls, Ontario—which was also giving marriage licenses to same-sex couples from the U.S. Meanwhile, New York’s high court had already recognized a right of “second-parent” adoption even for unmarried partners of a biological parent in a case decided in 1995.

All this is to say that, even for a same-sex couple, it may not have been so difficult to establish a legal family relationship by a more traditional means—either a civil marriage or legal adoption.

Family Research Council (FRC) promotes the ideal of the “natural family.” In the natural family, a man and a woman commit to one another in marriage, and their sexual union bears its natural fruit in the birth of children who are biologically related to both parents. Support for the natural family is not just based on abstract principle—there is abundant social science research showing that it tends to result in the best outcomes for children (see this recent blog post reviewing the evidence).

However, we realize that the natural family is not universal, and recognize that parental relationships are sometimes formed without marriage (as in out-of-wedlock births) or without a biological relationship between parent and child (as in adoption). These parents should have their rights respected by the state just as much as those in the more traditional natural family.

However, these have historically been the limits of how legally-recognized “parental” relationships may be established. The court’s decision in Brooke B. smashes through those limits.

Only one of the New York judges, Eugene Pigott, fully acknowledged this. Although he concurred with the outcome of the case, based on its “extraordinary circumstances,” he disagreed with the decision to overrule Alison D. “I would retain the rule that parental status under New York law derives from marriage, biology or adoption,” Pigott wrote. Until now, he said, “Our Court … rejected the impulse to judicially enlarge the term ‘parent’ beyond marriage, biology, or adoption.” Instead, they had “consistently interpreted it in the most obvious and colloquial sense to mean a child’s natural parents or parents by adoption.”

The argument for expanding the definition of “parent” to include “de facto parents” who have lived with, cared for, and formed a close personal relationship with a child is simple—namely that it may be “in the best interests of the child” to preserve that relationship even if the adult couple breaks up. This sounds emotionally appealing—but the problem is what it means for parental rights. While parental rights are not absolute—in the case of serious abuse, for example, a parent may be declared “unfit” and have those rights severed—they are normally entitled to great deference.

The court did quote from its 1991 decision in Alison D., which said that “[t]raditionally … it is the child’s mother and father who, assuming fitness, have the right to the care and custody of their child,” and granting visitation to a “de facto” parent “would necessarily impair the parents’ right.” Without a biological or adoptive connection to the child, the former partner has no right “to displace the choice made by this fit parent in deciding what is in the child’s best interests.”

The New York court claimed it was still protecting this “substantial and fundamental right” (which it acknowledged as “perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests”). It did so by saying that it was only recognizing the “parental status” of a non-biological, non-adoptive partner where the person “proves … that he or she has agreed with the biological parent of the child to conceive and raise the child as co-parents.”

This limitation is small comfort. Libertarians inclined to see this as another step toward “freedom” or “equality” for all sexual preferences, or conservatives inclined to shrug it off as the inevitable consequence of Obergefell, are missing the larger point—which is a massive expansion of the power of the state in general, and of judges in particular.

Judge Pigott addressed the latter point, noting that “other states had legislatively expanded the class of individuals who may seek custody and/or visitation of a child.” In fact, New York had done the same, explicitly extending it by statute to siblings or grandparents—but not to those in the position of the petitioner. If the result seems unfair, “such criticism is properly directed at the Legislature;” but judges had, until now, “refused to undertake the kind of policy analysis reserved for the elected representatives of this State.”

In my view, however, the Legislature should not further expand the definition of “parent,” either. The existence of the natural institution of the family is an inherent check upon the power of the artificial institution of the state. Even when the state does create a parental relationship through a legal act (adoption), it does so only when the natural parents are absent, or there has been a convincing showing, with a strong burden of proof, that they are unfit.

Moving away from the limited definition of families as being formed by marriage, biology, or adoption is a move in the direction of the further deconstruction of the family as an institution. Granting greater power to the government to define or even create “family” or “parental” relationships, meanwhile, is a move toward concentrating greater societal power in the hands of the state across the board.

Both trends should alarm not just social conservatives, but anyone who is concerned about excessive concentrations of power in the hands of the government.

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