Month Archives: July 2011

Illinois Foster Care System: Leaving No Good Deed Unpunished

by Christopher Marlink

July 29, 2011

As someone whose extended family has been significantly impacted by the foster care system, this story out of Illinois was of interest to me personally—but the implications for the over 2,000 children involved and for Christians are profound.

The Chicago Tribune recently reported week that the state of Illinois has acted to sever its longstanding relationship with Catholic Charities. The state has found Catholic Charities and Catholic Social Services to be in non-compliance with the states new law authorizing civil unions. The Trib reports:

In letters sent last week to Catholic Charities in the dioceses of Peoria, Joliet and Springfield and Catholic Social Services of Southern Illinois, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services said the state could not accept their signed contracts for the 2012 fiscal year.

Each letter said funding was declined because your agency has made it clear that it does not intend to comply with the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act, which the state says requires prospective parents in civil unions to be treated the same as married couples.

Illinois civil unions law contains exemptions for those religious bodies that do not want to perform or officiate civil unions. But as weve stated elsewhere, so called religious exemptions are usually just a way of greasing the skids to get controversial legislation passed. The exemptions could be challenged in court or be removed by future legislation. In a classic example of dont believe their talking points, Equality Illinois published this statement about the law on their website under a section titled Religious Freedom prior to its passage:

  • This Act would also not impact faith-based adoption agencies or adoption procedures. The Act does not amend the Adoption Act.

Thankfully the Catholic Charities is not taking this lying down. The three agencies in question have filed suit with the Thomas Moore Law Center against the Illinois attorney general and DCFS. Their request is altogether reasonable:

In the lawsuit, the agencies sought the courts permission to preserve their current policy of granting licenses to married couples and single, non-cohabiting individuals and referring couples in civil unions to other child welfare agencies.

Some readers may remember that in 2006, Catholic Charities of Boston ceased doing adoptions rather than violate their conscience and religious convictions by placing children with homosexual couples. We hope and pray that Catholic Charities in Illinois will receive a better legal outcome.

What is fascinating in this debate is that you have the state claiming that the law requires Catholic Charities give homosexual couples in civil unions equal consideration with married coupleseven though the social science data overwhelming demonstrates that children do best when raised by a married mother and father. A cursory reading of the social science makes it obvious that not all family situations are equal in the benefit they provide to children. (See Dr. Pat Fagans work on the MARRI project here, here and here for starters.). And yet the state demands that adoption and foster care agencies treat different family structures as if they were, in fact, the same.

While Catholic Charities works for the undeniable good of placing children in the best family situations available, the state of Illinois has embraced a social experiment wherein the best interests of children becomes subordinate to special interests of a vocal minority.

Finally, its important to remember why the state is involved in adoption and foster care services in the first place: to serve the best interest of the children under its care, not to bestow parenthood on individuals or couples desirous of the title or affirmation. Its about the children. Or at least it used to be in Illinois. Might one legitimately ask when the state will decide that Christians who disagree with normalizing homosexuality are unfit to serve as adoptive or foster parents?

Christians across our nation have an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ by welcoming children in need into their families. Our friends at Focus on the Family have some great resources and a model in Colorado for making a difference through adoption and foster care.

Treating Advanced Breast Cancer with Adult Stem Cells

by David Prentice

July 29, 2011

Stanford doctors have shown that women with advanced breast cancer show greater survival when treated with aggressive chemotherapy and their own adult stem cells. Their study looked at long-term results for women with advanced, stage-4 breast cancer, who were treated 12-14 years ago with high-dose chemotherapy and their own, purified adult stem cells, compared to women who received chemotherapy and unpurified blood stem cells.

While the numbers of patients in this long-term study are small, the results are striking. Five of the 22 women (23 percent) who received their purified adult stem cells are still alive, four of whom have no sign of disease. Only seven of the 74 women (9 percent) who received the untreated cells are still alive, with five of those seven having no sign of disease. Women who received their own purified adult stem cells had a median survival of 60 months, whereas those receiving unpurified stem cells had a median overall survival of 28 months.

Senior author Dr. Judith Shizuru said:

Our study suggests that the high-dose therapy strategy can be modified to include the use of cancer-free purified blood stem cells to yield better overall outcomes in women with advanced breast cancer.

The results were published online in the journal Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry: “Obviously gay marriage is not fine with me…”

by FRC Media Office

July 28, 2011

Last week in Aspen, Colorado, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas addressed New York’s new same-sex marriage law by saying “That’s New York, and that’s their business, and that’s fine with me…”

In his first interview on the issue since making those comments, Gov. Perry spoke with Family Research Council President Tony Perkins today to addresses the Aspen remarks, discuss the 10th Amendment’s application to marriage, and his support for a federal marriage amendment.

Gov. Perry commented:

I probably needed to add a few words after that ‘it’s fine with me,’ and that it’s fine with me that a state is using their sovereign rights to decide an issue. Obviously gay marriage is not fine with me. My stance hasn’t changed.”

Listen to the rest of segment covering marriage here. The unofficial transcript follows the jump below.

To hear the complete interview with Gov. Perry, tune in Friday to Washington Watch Weekly.

For more on the marriage issue, see FRC’s documentary, “The Problem with Same-Sex Marriage.”

TONY PERKINS: You mentioned a moment ago the marriage amendment back in Texas, back in 2005 or, I think it was 2005.

GOV. PERRY: Yes sir, yes sir.

TONY PERKINS: In fact I was down there for a number of those pastors conferences. Worked with you on a couple of occasions as we were promoting that marriage amendment in Texas, so I know where you stand on the issue. But last week you were in Aspen, Colorado, at a Republican governors event, and you made some comments regarding New Yorks recent passage of same-sex marriage. If I can, I want to quote those words from you that have been circulated, and give you a chance to respond to that.

GOV. PERRY: Sure

TONY PERKINS: You said that, Our friends in New York six weeks ago passed a statute that said that marriage can be between two people of the same sex and you know what that is New York and that is their business and that is fine with me, that is their call. If you believe in the tenth amendment, stay out of their business.

GOV. PERRY: Let me just, I probably needed to add a few words after thats fine with me its fine with me that the state is using their sovereign right to decide an issue. Obviously gay marriage is not fine with me, my stance had not changed. I believe marriage is a union between one man and one woman.

My record as governor of Texas reflects that — a very strong commitment to defending traditional marriage, including those efforts of Texas to pass the defense of marriage act, which you were at some of those events where we were promoting the people and state of Texas to go and defend traditional values.

And I might add it overwhelmingly was adopted by seventy-five percent of Texas voters. Again, my comment reflects my recognition that marriage and most issues of the family historically have been decided by the people at the state and local level. That is absolutely the state of law under our constitution.

TONY PERKINS: Well, I agree as an author of nations first convent marriage law in the state of Louisiana back when I was in office. I think marriage and family policy is best dealt with at the state level. But the tenth amendment — and I am a strong supporter. I fought the federal government on a number of issues when they were trying to force us to do things.

But when you look at whats happening on marriage, the real fear is that states like New York will change the definition of marriage for Texas. At that point the states rights argument is lost.

GOV. PERRY: Right and that is the reason that the federal marriage amendment is being offered, its that small group of activist judges, and frankly a small handful, if you will, of states, and liberal special interests groups that intend on a redefinition of, if you will, marriage on the nation, for all of us, which I adamantly oppose.

Indeed to not pass the federal marriage amendment would impinge on Texas, and other states not to have marriage forced upon us by these activist judges and special interest groups.

Our constitution was designed to respect states including the amendment process. That is one of the beauties and why I talk about in my book Fed Up that we need as a nation to get back to really respecting our constitution and the tenth amendment in particular which allows the states to impede against each other, whether it is on taxes or regulations or litigation and create the economic environment.

But the overall constitutional protection, if you will, by and how we amend our United States Constitution to reflect the values of the nation as whole is very important. Balanced budget amendment, another one of those with all of the debt ceiling talk going on right now. The balanced budget amendment and clearly telling those people in Washington, look your spending too much money, and one way we protect your human nature, which is to say yes to special interest groups, is to prohibit you from doing that by passing a balanced budget amendment. And I hope well do that, and I hope we also pass the federal marriage amendment as well.

TONY PERKINS: Governor, we are about out of time but I dont want to put words in your mouth, but I think I hear what you are saying. The support given whats happening across the nation, the fear of the courts, the administrations failure to defend the defense of marriage act.

The only and thin line of protection for those states that have defined marriage, that have been historically been defined between a man and a woman. The support of a marriage amendment is a pro-states rights position, because it will defend the rights of states to define marriage as it has been.

GOV. PERRY: Yes sir, and I have long supported the appointment of judges who respect the constitution and the passage of a federal marriage amendment. That amendment defines marriage between one man and one woman, and it protects the states from being told otherwise. It respects the rights of the state by requiring three quarters of a states vote to ratify. Its really strong medicine but is again our founding fathers had such great wisdom and their wisdom is just as clear and profound today as it was back in the late eighteenth century.

TONY PERKINS: Well Governor Perry I want to thank you from taking time out of your schedule to join us on Washington Watch Radio. I look forward to being with you in Houston, Texas, in Reliant Stadium I look forward to seeing you.

GOV. PERRY: Its going to be a great day and I look forward to being with you, God speed to you and God bless you.

Leroy Carhart and the Summer of Mercy

by Jeanne Monahan

July 28, 2011

People of faith in Washington, DC and Baltimore, Md., are dedicating nine days from July 30th to August 2nd, “Summer of Mercy”, to pray for Leroy Carhart and for an end to abortion.

You will recall that Carhart is an advocate of late-term abortion (a procedure that most Americans strongly disagree with) and recently set up shop outside of the nation’s capitol after a pro-life state law on fetal pain ousted him from Nebraska. Since that time people have gathered daily in front of the facility where he performs abortions, Germantown Reproductive Health Services, to peacefully and prayerfully protest the destruction of life in the womb.

Summer of Mercy includes “24/7 prayer and worship, inspiring evening rallies with national political and Christian leaders and cutting edge public events.” For more information, click here.

If you cannot participate in the events, consider spiritually uniting with Summer of Mercy by praying from home or work for the defense of our helpless and weak unborn.

Response to NYT Editorial, Sound Medical Advice

by Jeanne Monahan

July 28, 2011

On July 20th the New York Times published an editorial Sound Medical Advice which despite its name ironically included misinformation about the recent IOM report recommending that contraceptives be covered by all health plans with no co-payment.

The writer states that the report was guided by medical evidence but makes no mention of the dissenting committee member who would not put his name to the recommendations because evaluation for evidence lacked transparency… The process tended to result in a mix of objective and subjective determination through the lens of advocacy.

Additionally the writer suggested that studies show that cost is a major barrier to regular use of contraceptives when in fact the opposite is the case. The Guttmacher Institute, originally the research arm of Planned Parenthood, a group that stands to benefit enormously from this report, reports that only 12 percent of women not using contraception are doing so because of financial reasons.

Lastly, the writer criticizes groups, such as the FRC, who oppose this mandate but does not delve into the science and rationale behind the opposition: drugs included in this recommendation have modes of action that will not only prevent the creation of life, but also in fact destroy it in its early stages. While this might be an insignificant point to the writer of the editorial, it is of utmost significance to the millions of pro-life Americans who deserve transparency and should not be forced to pay for abortions.

Will Abortionist James Pendergraft Be Undone by the 10-year old Girl He Crippled?

by Cathy Ruse

July 28, 2011

Reading Internet stories about late-term Florida abortionist James Pendergraft is like walking through a funhouse mirror only the warped, grotesque image is the one thats true.

For over a decade, abortion defenders have propped up this man as a hero to their movement, lauding him in their blogs, inviting him to speak at their rallies. This man, who aborts babies as old as 27 weeks gestation and who sends women home to have abortions in their toilets or to emergency rooms for unwanted hysterectomies, has managed to continue profiting from his chain of abortion clinics for over a decade despite numerous run-ins with authorities, including repeated suspensions of his medical license. But a little disabled girl might finally be his undoing.

In 2001 he was convicted of federal extortion charges and put behind bars after threats he made against county officials were caught on tape. The abortion-rights crowd rallied behind him and invited him to speak at their rallies. (Source) His conviction was later overturned.

His license to practice was later suspended, Florida Department of Health stating that he showed a flagrant disregard for the laws of the state of Florida and a willingness to endanger the lives and health of pregnant patients. (Source: LifeNews)

After the suspension ran its course, he was suspended again. See Operation Rescue.

Now, a morbid lawsuit over a failed abortion brought on behalf of the little girl who barely survived it has resulted in a verdict of 36 million dollars. See Jill Staneks Article and LifeSiteNews.

The mainstream media has not reported on this verdict, but other sources say that attorneys on behalf of a young girl who survived one of Pendergrafts abortions filed a lawsuit seeking a lifetime of medical care for the child, and they have won a $36 million verdict. In 2001, the plaintiffs mother, Carol Howard, apparently paid one of Pendergrafts clinics $1,300 to abort her baby at 22 weeks gestation. She was given multiple doses of RU-486, according to a source, and after 12 hours of labor left the clinic upset and in pain, later to deliver the baby girl in a hospital. The child weighed 1 lb 6 oz at birth, and suffers from cerebral palsy, lack of function on one side of her body, strokes and brain damage, physical, emotional and cognitive delays, lung damage, chronic lung disease, and seizure disorders. According to pro-life witnesses inside the courtroom, the Florida jury verdict orders Pendergraft to pay Howard $18,255,000 in punitive damages, $18,000,000 in compensatory damages, and over $400,000 in court costs.

Will this finally stop him?

The Social Conservative Review: July 28, 2011

by Krystle Gabele

July 28, 2011

Click here to subscribe to The Social Conservative Review.


Dear Friends,

As the White House and Congress continue to debate how to restrain spending and curtail the size and reach of the federal government, American families are concerned with the economy we will be leaving our children.

Family policy is tied directly to economic policy. A society in which the unborn are expendable means we will not have the quantity of workers we need to help our economy grow or the tax base necessary to sustain programs on which many have come to depend, let alone vital needs like national defense. FRC President Tony Perkins recently made this point at a conference here in Washington, DC — social, security, and economic policy are intertwined, and cannot be divorced from one another.

There’s a reason why the Psalmist reminds us that “children are a heritage from the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). It’s for the sake of that heritage that FRC continues to work in partnership with you for faith, family, and freedom.

Sincerely,

Rob Schwarzwalder

Senior Vice President

Family Research Council


Educational Freedom and Reform

Homeschooling

Legislation and Policy Proposals

Government Reform

Regulation

Waste/Fraud/Abuse

Health Care

Abstinence

Conscience Protection

Health care reform: Political and Legislative efforts

Homosexuality

Human Life and Bioethics

Abortion

Bioethics and Biotechnology

Euthanasia and End of Life Issues

Stem Cell Research

Women’s Health

Marriage and Family

Adoption

Family Economics

Family Structure

Media

Pornography

Internet

Religion and Public Policy

Religious Liberty

Religion in America

Secularism

International

Israel

International Economy and Family

Religious Persecution

Sharia law — U.S., foreign

The Courts

Constitutional Issues

Other News of Note

Book reviews

Court Rules in Favor of Taxpayer Funding for Embryonic Stem Cell Research

by David Prentice

July 27, 2011

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth has ruled in the government’s favor on a federal lawsuit challenging current NIH guidelines that allow taxpayer funding of human embryonic stem cell research. In granting the HHS motion for summary judgement, Judge Lamberth dismissed all the plaintiff’s claims. Judge Lamberth had originally ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, Dr. James Sherley and Dr. Theresa Deisher, in a preliminary injunction in August 2010. That preliminary injunction temporarily shut down federal funding, until an Appeals Court placed a temporary hold on the injunction in September 2010. The Appeals Court eventually vacated the preliminary injunction in April 2010 in a 2-1 split decision. Supplemental briefings were filed in the case in June 2010.

In today’s opinion by Judge Lamberth, he noted that the April split decision by the Appeals Court tied his hands in terms of ruling on the main lawsuit

At the outset, the Court notes that the D.C. Circuits opinion, vacating the award to plaintiffs of a preliminary injunction, constrains this Court on remand.”

and

While it may be true that by following the Court of Appeals conclusion as to the ambiguity of research, this Court has become a grudging partner in a bout of linguistic jujitsu, Sherley, 2011 WL 1599685, at *10 (Henderson, J., dissenting), such is life for an antepenultimate court.”

The linguistic parsing is related to the interpretation of the Dickey-Wicker amendment, a rider placed by Congress onto funding bills since 1996, which says in part that no federal taxpayer funds can be used for “research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death…” The specific meaning of “research in which” has been the focal point of the arguments.

Judge Lamberth does say in another part of the opinion that:

Research could destroy, discard, or subject to risk embryos without directly involving them.”

This statement agrees with his original decision regarding the merits of the preliminary injunction. Still, he obviously felt constrained by the Appeals Court.

While the decision is disappointing, it is hardly the end of the question or debate.

State of Public Opinion on Pro-Life Laws

by Brianna Walden

July 25, 2011

One of highlights of the various 2011 state legislative sessions is the successful passage of many solid pro-life bills. According to a recent report by Guttmacher, 80 bills restricting abortion were passed in 19 states, more than tripling the 23 passed last year. This impressive number not only sets a record for the most life-affirming bills passed in one year, but it also more than doubles the previous record of 34 bills in 2005.

Some abortion advocates suggest that this is an example of legislators with extreme right-wing social ideologies pushing their agenda on the people in their state who likely do not agree with them on these issues. They even go so far as to assert that there has been an all out attack on women by these state legislators.

Now, thanks to Gallup poll data released today, we can check those assertions. Are these pro-life legislators out of touch or do they reflect the feelings of the majority of Americans? Are women feeling attacked and fighting back, or do they support and advocate bills that require their doctor to fully inform them of potential abortion risks, show them an ultrasound, and get parental consent for minors to receive an abortion?

Gallup says:

Of seven abortion restrictions tested in a July 15-17Galluppoll, informing women of certain risks of an abortion in advance of performing it is the most widely favored, at 87%. Seven in 10 Americans favor requiring parental consent for minors and establishing a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions. Nearly two-thirds favor making the specific procedure known as “partial birth abortion” illegal

 

Data from this poll also affirms a striking consistency in polling data that abortion is not a man verses woman issue, with men pushing pro-life views on women who just want to make choices with their pregnancies. To the contrary, four out of seven pro-life measures addressed in this poll scored a higher percentage of support among women than men!

 

Polling Chart

Read the Poll results in their entirety for yourself here.

Twos company, threes a crowd … and fours an environmental disaster!

by Julia Kiewit

July 22, 2011

One would think that if anyones genes need reproducing, David and Victoria Beckham would have approval. But even in our success-obsessed culture today, the achievement and beauty of Mr. and Mrs. Beckham is not enough to get them off the hook among those who believe that ones family size should be a debate for the whole world to weigh in on.

Recently, an article in the UK Guardian criticized the Beckhams after the birth of their fourth child, Harper Seven, calling them environmentally irresponsible. Simon Ross, chief executive of the UK based Optimum Population Trust was critical of the couple: We need to change the incentives to make the environmental case that one or two children are fine but three or four are just being selfish … The Beckhams, and others likeLondon mayor Boris Johnson [who also has four children], are very bad role models with their large families. He went on to argue, as do many who are concerned with the worlds population, that with 7 billion people in the world and counting, there cannot be more people on this Earth than can be fed.”

Mr. Ross, like others with concerns about overpopulation and the worlds food supply, fail to take a few things into account. When Thomas Malthus predicted in the 1800s that the population would overtake the food supply, he failed to also predict the impact of the Industrial Revolution, along with many subsequent technological innovations that allow crops to be grown faster and in harsher climates than he could have possibly imagined.

The concern about resource depletion isn’t a proven science, and studies show that human capital and labor productivity are what actually drive the increases and reductions of resources. What’s more, worries about overpopulation disregard the principle that life is inherently good. Even if humans and the environment existed adversarially (though I believe that they don’t), human life is still an unqualified good. The choice for life shouldn’t be made on the basis of environmental concerns, though all our decisions about consumption should certainly be with prudence. And empirically speaking, if there’s a crisis in our world today, it’s underpopulation. Most countries in Europe, for example, are seeing birth rates drop below replacement levels (looked at Russia lately?), though immigration will contribute some stability to these nations numbers.

While we must certainly care for the environment, the answer is not that families or developed nations are to blame. Even if developed nations use a larger proportion of the earths natural resources, the technology coming out of these countries allows many people in the developing world to be fed, and affords a greater quality of life to everyone around the globe. The earths resources are not a pie whose portion for everyone at the party shrinks as new guests arrive. Steven Mosher, President of the Population Research Institute, argues that because each person has unique value, more people means more for all of us more economic production, more potential for artistic and scientific achievement, more innovation. And speaking of innovation, two hundred years after the Industrial Revolution, we are still not running out of food.

What is more unsustainable than the current rate of population growth is the increasing numbers of people who do not grow up in stable, married families. Dr. Henry Potrykus, of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute, recently released “Our Fiscal Crisis,” detailing the relationship between the future ofAmericas economy and the proportion of intact, married families. It is impossible for a country to remain strong when fewer than half of its citizens grow up in homes that do not offer the stability that marriage provides. This holds true for any nation, not just theU.S., and the negative effects of broken homes are well-documented.

David and Victoria Beckham have remained committed to one another in marriage, thus demonstrating what is right about families inBritain. To the Beckhams I say, Congratulations! The begetting and raising of human life in the context of marriage is one of the greatest adventures in the world. You are setting a good example for the world to follow.

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