Author archives: Jared Bridges

Live Webcast at 11:00AM EST

by Jared Bridges

February 28, 2007

Why Do You Persecute Me?

Follow this link to view the webcast.

The religious impulse is a fundamental and basic human yearning. Yet, governments and societies sometimes deny religious freedom, particularly to those whom they view as a threat to their own ideology. Within the past ten years, the question of international religious freedom has become an important part of U.S. foreign policy. How did this happen? What does it portend for the future of religious freedom around the world? In this lecture, Bill Saunders will examine these and related questions.

Bill Saunders is Senior Fellow and Human Rights Counsel at the Family Research Council. A graduate of the Harvard Law School, he has been active in the cause of international religious freedom for more than a decade, first at the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, then at the Family Research Council. He was involved from the beginning in the movement to make this part of U.S. foreign policy. In 1999, he founded an organization to provide relief to persecuted Christians and others in Sudan. He has written on this topic frequently, in a variety of journals.

An Unborn Plaintiff?

by Jared Bridges

February 27, 2007

The penultimate question with regard to issues of life is “what does it mean to be human?” Courts have effectively sidestepped that question in cases like Roe v. Wade, opting to address questions of privacy instead.

However, courts can’t forever avoid the issue, and a court in Brooklyn, New York has decided that a 7-year-old girl has the right to sue the city for injuries she received when she was still in the womb:

Sarah Elizabeth Leighton was only a 14-week-old fetus when a toilet at a Brooklyn public school collapsed, injuring her schoolteacher mom.

The fall in January 1999 ruptured Esther Portalatin-Leighton’s placenta, and Sarah was born prematurely, less than four months later, the family contends.

[…]

Sarah’s learning disabilities and asthmatic symptoms are the direct result of her early birth, which was caused by the ruptured placenta, her parents argue.

City lawyers tried to get the case dismissed before trial by arguing that the child had to have been able to survive outside the womb at the time the injuries occurred in order for her to recover damages.

Well, Sarah has survived outside the womb, and she can now claim the injuries sustained when she was a 14-week old fetus. Whatever the merits of the case, the fact that court now recognizes “fetus Sarah” as the “girl Sarah” is a step toward justice.

The court, of course, made sure not to draw parity with abortion issues:

Abortion cases are genuinely distinguishable from the [Leighton] case since fetuses which are aborted are not born alive,” Brooklyn Appeals Court Justice Gloria Goldstein wrote.

However, the panel did offer conception as a line of demarcation, saying that “as long as the injuries occurred after conception and the child was born alive, she could make a claim.” It almost sounds absurd (after all, what injuries can one sustain before conception?), but it does lend considerable recognition to the notion that personhood begins at conception.

FRC Blogger’s conference call write-ups

by Jared Bridges

February 21, 2007

Matt Anderson at Mere Orthodoxy has written some summaries (with commentary) of two of our recent FRC Blogger’s Briefing conference calls:

If you’re a socially conservative blogger and would like to join us for some of our conference calls,

with your name and blog information.

One huge culture of rejection

by Jared Bridges

February 14, 2007

The Heritage Foundation’s Patrick Fagan pens a Valentine’s Day piece that tackles the “scripting” of America’s youth:

But fewer and fewer of our young men are capable of this long haul. Consider how teenage boys are being scripted. How many pick up the message that it is best to have as many women as possible, versus those who pick up the message to find their one and only true love? How many get the predator/hunter message instead of the message to become the protector of their love?

It is easy for men to take to the predator message; it may even seem to be hardwired. By contrast it takes a massive cultural effort to make the protector lesson take hold among men. Most cultures (not ours anymore, alas) have put enormous energy into the protector message because the children of each generation need their fathers at home with them. Almost a quarter of our children are aborted today, 80 percent outside of marriage, while 60 percent of those who do manage to make it alive through the birth canal eventually end up with their parents rejecting each other. We, the United States, have become one huge culture of rejection.

Fagan’s article suggests a better Valentine’s Day gift that combats this culture of rejection, and it might not be what you think

States shift money from abortion providers

by Jared Bridges

February 14, 2007

The Los Angeles Times noted this week, somewhat disparagingly, that government funding for crisis pregnancy centers is on the rise in many states:

At least eight states including Florida, Missouri and Pennsylvania use public funds to subsidize crisis pregnancy centers, Christian homes for unwed mothers and other programs explicitly designed to steer women away from abortion. As a condition of the grants, counselors are often barred from referring women to any clinic that provides abortions; in some cases, they may not discuss contraception either.

Most states still spend far more money subsidizing comprehensive family planning, but the flow of tax dollars to antiabortion groups has surged in recent months, as programs have taken effect in Texas and Minnesota.

Which group doesn’t like this trend of using state funds to encourage women not to have abortions? It’s none other than the number one foe of unplanned childhood everywhere — Planned Parenthood. The nation’s leading abortion provider is apparently sour on its newfound competition:

In 2005, Texas lawmakers redirected $25 million that was to have gone to Planned Parenthood over two years. Most went instead to primary-care health clinics (which provide contraception but not abortion). But $5 million of the money was set aside for antiabortion centers that do not provide medical care and will not refer clients to clinics that prescribe birth control.

To deal with its 62% budget cut, the Planned Parenthood clinic in downtown Austin began charging for services long offered free to low-income women. Since the fees took effect, the clinic has distributed 40% fewer birth control pills and has conducted 50% fewer Pap smears to screen for cervical cancer. Several thousand patients have stopped coming.

While the article makes Planned Parenthood seem as if it were ready to cut off the heat and make its staff work for free, it does point out that the national organization did receive over $280 million in public funds last year — hardly a pittance. The article quotes Vicki Saporta, president of the National Abortion Federation, as saying, “It’s reprehensible that taxpayer dollars are going to organizations that regularly and deliberately deceive women.”

Now, that’s a statement we can all agree with.

The China boys club revisited

by Jared Bridges

January 24, 2007

A couple of weeks ago, I noted here that China’s one-child policy, along with sex-selective abortions, contributed to what is becoming a dangerous gender imbalance. According to a recent AP story, China has just renewed their one-child policy, despite the evidence that females are vanishing:

[Zhang Weiqing, minister of the National Population and Family Planning Commission] said China’s basic policy — in effect since the late 1970s — was reviewed and renewed without change last month. The policy limits urban couples to one child and rural families to two to control the population and conserve natural resources. Beijing says it has helped prevent 400 million births and has aided the nation’s rapid economic development.

Lest the “prevention of births” in favor of rapid economic development seem too life-affirming, the Chinese government is taking new steps:

China has about 1.3 billion people — 20 percent of the global total. The government has pledged to keep the population under 1.36 billion by 2010 and under 1.45 billion by 2020, Zhang said.

It’s frightful to think what might happen if the number of births began to exceed the government’s pledged limit. We can only hope that PRC leaders would eat their words and move on. Besides, according to Zhang, growing up without brothers or sisters is a good thing:

They are much better off than I was, being one of four kids,” said Zhang, 62. “I envy them.”

I hope his siblings don’t read this…

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