Month Archives: March 2022

A Call to Pray and Stand for Human Life

by Dr. Jay Johnston

March 31, 2022

During the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, the judge was asked the following question by Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.): “Can you provide a definition for the word ‘woman’?” After a pause, Jackson responded, “No, I can’t. … Not in this context. I’m not a biologist.” Judge Jackson’s answer has elicited a variety of responses, but I can only imagine how her comment broke God’s heart. As Creator, God created women in His image, bestowing value and dignity on each. 

While various secular commentators may struggle to define what a woman is, we know that God has clearly defined woman. Women are image bearers created in God’s image with a distinct beauty and femininity that ought to be celebrated and affirmed. We see this in Genesis 1:27-28 and Mark 10:6-9. As followers of Jesus, it is appropriate for us to be frustrated at Judge Jackson’s cowardice evident in her unwillingness to defy the progressive Left’s gender ideology. Yes, we can love Judge Jackson, but we do not need to be silent about her disqualifying comment about women and her liberal judicial leanings.  

As people of prayer, I am calling on you to pray and engage others to pray for the United States Senate as they consider Judge Jackson’s nomination. I encourage you to first gather people in your home, churches, ballfields, coffee shops, or wherever you can gather people to pray:

  1. Pray and give thanks that God created men and women in His image.
  2. Ask God to forgive us for making a mockery of human life.
  3. Ask God to stir the hearts of pastors and church leaders to love all people and to be bold and clear that God has created only two sexes, male and female.
  4. Pray that senators will take a stand and not vote to confirm Judge Jackson because of her extremism on issues related to life and human sexuality.

Thank you for praying for this urgent need in our land.

 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Dr. Jay Johnston is National Prayer Director at Family Research Council.

Democrats (and Some Republicans) Are Pushing to Fully Legitimize Marijuana

by Family Research Council

March 31, 2022

The movement to legalize the recreational use of marijuana has seen astonishing success in the U.S. over the last decade. After voters in Colorado approved a ballot initiative to legalize its recreational use in 2012, 17 other states, plus Washington, D.C. and Guam, followed suit and legalized recreational pot over the next nine years.

The head-spinning sea change that has occurred in how our culture views marijuana over a relatively short period of time is hard to fathom. Not long ago, smoking pot was largely seen as a vice—and an illegal one—that was mostly indulged by rebellious teenagers and west coast hippies. Now, United States senators and congressman passionately advocate for the full legalization of marijuana from the Senate and House floors with straight faces.

While there are a multitude of reasons why this has happened, the indisputable fact is that marijuana has been federally registered as a Schedule 1 drug (alongside heroin and LSD) since the 1970s for a simple reason: it contains high levels of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a powerful psychoactive chemical that is highly addictive, has high potential for abuse, and can cause an array of negative psychotropic effects including anxiety, delusions, hallucinations, panic, paranoia, and psychosis. What’s more, the concentration of THC in marijuana has increased three-fold from 1995-2014, exponentially increasing the risks of widespread addiction, abuse, and detrimental health effects.

Despite the clear dangers that marijuana poses to public health, Democrats in the House have brought forward the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act of 2021 (H.R. 3617) for a vote this Friday. This bill would de-schedule marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, making it fully legal at the federal level. It also includes provisions to dramatically increase financial investments into the marijuana industry, including tax incentives for marijuana businesses and legalizing advertisements for marijuana products, making it easier for these businesses to manufacture high-potency and kid-friendly products. While many of the bill’s co-sponsors are Democrats, they aren’t its exclusive supporters. And Republicans have increasingly been supporting the legitimization of marijuana in recent years. This is problematic.

De-scheduling the drug is bad enough, but the MORE Act contains almost no public health guardrails or regulations. This will open the door for international drug cartels—who already use marijuana legalization as a cover for their illicit activities—to have increased money laundering access.

At a time when the opioid epidemic and other illicit drugs continue to ravage our communities, the last thing we need is the legalization of more recreational drugs. Contact your congressmen and urge them to vote against the MORE Act ahead of tomorrow’s vote in the House.

5 Ways to Draw a Loved One Back to Christ

by Dan Hart

March 31, 2022

In March of last year, a Gallup poll revealed that for the first time in America’s history, church membership had fallen below a majority. Survey data shows that since the 1970s, “Americans [who] said they belonged to a church, synagogue or mosque” has been dropping steadily, from around 70 percent in 1975 to 47 percent today.

This data fits with the experiences of many believers who have adult children, siblings, parents, or friends who were once churchgoers but have now fallen away and are living a fully secular life apart from God. For followers of Christ, it can be a gut-wrenching and painful experience to watch a loved one publicly turn away from their faith or renounce what we believe is the ultimate source of truth, human fulfillment, and flourishing on earth.

But we also know that life is full of suffering and disappointment. The trials of earthly life can feel overwhelming for everyone, believers included. It’s safe to say that we have all had moments in our lives when we have doubted God’s existence, or at least doubted His goodness or questioned His wisdom. We also know the powerful allure that the world offers us in its material things, sinful pleasures, and idolatrous philosophies that draw us away from God. Therefore, we must have empathy for those in our spheres who struggle with doubt. We also must think biblically about those who profess to no longer believe. After all, if it weren’t for God’s grace, none of us would have any faith at all (Eph. 2:8-10).

When we first learn about a loved one turning away from the Christian life, it can be tempting to react quickly and strongly, confronting the person with theological, intellectual, and what may seem to us commonsense reasons for why they are making the wrong decision. But as experience will tell us, this rarely works and often only increases tension and resentment. Instead, our ardent desire for our loved one to return to the faith must be seasoned with patience, patience, and more patience.

As we move forward in the hope that God will draw our loved one back to Himself in a manner according to His will and in His own good time, here are a few suggestions on ways we can reflect Christ’s love to our struggling loved ones.

1. Focus On the Relationship First

Instead of focusing on your loved one’s lack of faith, make a sincere, directed effort toward building your relationship with them on a human level. In your conversations, focus on discussing day to day activities, such as jobs, children, family matters, illnesses, shared interests, and the like. When possible, make a concerted effort to be there for your loved one at a moment’s notice, whether it be if they are sick and need errands to be run, need a last-minute babysitter, or just need someone to talk to during a time of difficulty. If faith-related topics come up, seek to listen well, ask good questions, and don’t try to win an argument.

In this way, you will build trust with your loved one, showing them that you care for their whole person no matter what their faith status is and no matter what season of life they are in.

2. Be Vulnerable

Being able to relate to your loved one even when they have abandoned the faith that you hold so dear is extremely important. The best way to do this is to let your guard down in your conversations with them and be as vulnerable as possible. If they bring up faith-related questions and show an interest in discussing them, share your own faith journey story from the very beginning without omitting any embarrassing details. Share any struggles you have had over the years in your relationship with Christ and the theological questions and Scripture passages that you continually wrestle with. Share your personal faults, weaknesses, and familial wounds and how they have affected your faith journey.

The more you share about your own personal struggles as a believer and the more honest and vulnerable you are, the more likely it is that your doubting loved one will make a connection with something you say—however small of a detail it may be—and be able to relate it to their own experience. Who knows—some seemingly insignificant anecdote you share may just be the mustard seed that plants itself in your loved one’s soul that will one day become a beautiful tree of renewed faith.

3. Share Life’s Beauty

As believers, we know that everything that is beautiful on earth is ultimately a reflection of God. This underscores the importance of talking with your loved one about the beautiful things in your life that you are passionate about. Discuss the ins and outs of the novel or biography you are currently reading. Share why you loved a particular movie or TV show that was excellently acted and produced and describe how it edified your soul. Illustrate how the latest concert you attended electrified you. When your loved one shares their own experiences and passions, listen attentively and connect with them over shared interests.

By keeping your discussions focused on passions and hobbies, the arts, and the multitude of other beautiful things that fill the earth, you can connect with your loved one in a deep yet unthreatening way that does not directly touch on faith. Even so, your conversation still has the potential to nudge your loved one a little closer to the Creator of all that is beautiful.

4. Live Your Life as a Witness

As previously mentioned, directly confronting your loved one about their doubts regarding faith is generally not advisable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be an active witness of faith to them. How? By living a life of virtue fueled by your faith, which will be difficult for your loved one to ignore.

There are few things on earth more beautiful than a believer living an authentically free life to the fullest, being a visible sign of God’s presence on earth by living out the virtues of faith, hope, and charity. Christians like this have a palpable sense of joy and peace that radiates from their soul, and which anyone, believer or not, can’t help but notice. Give your loved one the freedom to recommit to the faith through the witness of your own life.

5. Fast and Pray

There is a storied tradition throughout the entirety of Scripture on the importance and effectiveness of fasting for a particular intention. When we combine this with prayer, it is a potent means of calling on the Lord for the conversion of a loved one. As Christ Himself said, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will” (Mark 11:24). Here are a few themes we can meditate on as we pray for our loved ones to return to the fold of faith.

  • Hope. Who can forget the incredible true story of Saint Augustine and the faith of his mother Monica? The early life of the man who many consider to be the greatest early church father was marked by sin and a rejection of the Christianity that his mother Monica tried to instill in him as a child (as described in his book Confessions). He embarked on a decade-long affair with a woman he never married, fathered a son with her, and spent years believing in astrology and Gnosticism. Throughout those agonizing 30 years of witnessing her son away from the faith, Monica never lost hope and continually believed and prayed for her son’s conversion. Sure enough, Augustine underwent a monumental conversion to Christianity and went on to become one of the most beloved bishops, thinkers, and writers in church history.
  • Surrender. As hard as it is to let go of our own will when it comes to our desire for our loved one to return to the faith, that is exactly what we must ultimately do—let go. Time and time again, Scripture tells us to humble ourselves and surrender all things to His will. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6). When we entrust our lost loved one in prayer to the Divine Shepherd, we will drive out anxiousness about their fate and bring peace to our souls.
  • The Prodigal Son. Perhaps the most beautiful and moving parable in all of Scripture is Jesus’ Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11–32). Part of the reason why it is so moving is that it is continually relatable and applicable to our lives as believers, for we know that whenever we sin, Christ welcomes us back with open arms time and time again when we beg for His forgiveness, for His mercy never ceases. As we meditate on this parable, let us picture our lost loved ones returning to our Savior, His arms spread open on the Cross, bleeding for their restoration with Him, and being washed in the blood of the Lamb’s embrace.

Human Rights Must Not Be Twisted to Include Abortion

by Arielle Del Turco

March 29, 2022

Senate Republicans are beginning to sound the alarm about a dangerous provision being slipped into U.S. sanction bills. Instead of simply reauthorizing the Global Magnitsky Act—an important mechanism for the U.S. government to sanction human rights violators—Democrats have made dangerous modifications to the language now waiting to be voted on in the Senate. The new changes would make a tool meant to punish foreign individuals for “gross violations of internationally recognized human rights” (a term defined in U.S. law) to simply “serious human rights abuse” (a legally undefined concept).

Some conservative legislators have recognized how this bill might be abused. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told Politico, “If you don’t define what human rights abuses are, you set up something so wide open that you could have abuse of a president who’s allowed to sanction anyone in the world for anything they feel like.”

This begs the question: just how might an untethered definition of human rights be abused by a far-Left administration that promotes an ever-expanding list of what they consider to be human rights? Sadly, the World Health Organization (WHO) offered a shameless example earlier this month of what twisting human rights to fit a radical agenda looks like.

In a massive report on “Abortion care guidelines,” the WHO made a series of bold recommendations meant to guide the policies of all countries. Among the many policy recommendations were the removal of laws and regulations that “restrict abortion by grounds” and the insistence that “abortion be available on the request of the woman, girl or other pregnant person.” Make no mistake—the WHO is urging countries to drop any protections for life in the womb.

To justify this radical push, the report points to several rights listed in international human rights treaties (some of which the United States has chosen not to ratify). Yet, it twists each of these rights to read a supposed “right” to abortion into it. This is a disingenuous interpretation of international human rights agreements; we shouldn’t let the WHO—and all the UN entities that have contributed to this corrupt understanding of human rights—set the standard. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saw this dangerous trend and commissioned a report from the Unalienable Rights Commission to ground the U.S. government’s understanding of human rights in American tradition and our commitment to international human rights principles.

It’s worth noting that both the right to life and the right to be recognized as a person before the law are widely-recognized in human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which the United States ratified in 1992. While activists try to make human rights about expanding abortion, it’s up to us to uphold the integrity of the human rights movement.

Writing in National Review, Wesley Smith hinted at the dangers this WHO report poses for countries that want to protect life. “The WHO has forgotten that the entire world does not share the moral and policy perspectives of progressive Americans, Western European elites, and the odious CCP. In this sense, these so-called leaders are trying to impose policies on the world that I wager the majority of the people it supposedly serves do not find moral or right.”

In fact, the WHO’s guidelines are aligned with the abortion laws of China and North Korea—two of the greatest human rights violators of our time—and, sadly, the United States. However, they are completely out of step with all but six countries around the world that protect life in the womb after the second trimester. Rescinding the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy, which prevented U.S. taxpayer money from funding abortions in other countries, was one of President Biden’s first acts in office, demonstrating his priorities and laying the groundwork for his administration to promote abortion around the world.

This is where the Democrat’s change of the Global Magnitsky Act’s language comes in. If the Biden administration is given the unlimited authority to sanction foreign individuals for “serious human rights violations” (again, a term not defined in U.S. law), there is a legitimate concern that administration officials will use the sanctions to target foreign officials for pro-life laws—something that the WHO would no doubt approve of. This would be a gross misuse of a human rights tool and waters down and confuses the profound meaning of human rights.

Congress should retain the Global Magnitsky Act’s original language. This will prevent opportunities for abuse by leftist administrations to punish countries with conservative values. The recent WHO report is a glaring example of why we must vigilantly protect against vague definitions of human rights that can be twisted to push radical policies.

In Afghanistan, Women Are Being Subjugated. In the West, They Are Being Erased.

by Arielle Del Turco

March 29, 2022

We are being treated like criminals just because we are girls. Afghanistan has turned into a jail for us.” This is how one Afghan girl describes life under the Taliban. Girls across the country had their hopes dashed last week when Taliban authorities reneged on their promise to allow girls’ secondary schools (above 6th grade) to reopen. The decision was so last minute that the students were not told until they arrived at school Wednesday morning and had to be sent home.

One girl tearfully recounted to her mother, “Mom, they didn’t let me enter my school. They’re saying girls aren’t allowed.” Instead of attending classes and progressing in their education, she and other Afghan girls will be expected to stay inside their homes and help with housework.

The pretext given by some Taliban officials is they were unable to plan for a school uniform dress code for teenage girls. This pathetic excuse is no doubt familiar to Afghans who previously lived under Taliban rule. When the Taliban controlled Afghanistan from 1996-2001, education for girls was similarly restricted. But in recent months, Taliban officials have tried to insist that they’ve changed over the last two decades. However, all pretense of modernization within the Taliban is now over; that is a deeply tragic reality for women and girls in Afghanistan who simply want to go to school and live normal lives.

While Afghan women and girls were grieving the loss of basic freedoms and opportunities because of their sex, a very different scene played out nearly 7,000 miles away in a U.S. Senate chamber. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) asked Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Biden’s Supreme Court nominee, to define the word “woman.” Jackson responded, “No. I can’t…I’m not a biologist.” It struck many as odd that a well-educated and successful person—whom many hail as a pioneering black woman herself—was unable or refused even to define the word “woman.”

But this ambiguity on the nature of womanhood isn’t limited to a Supreme Court confirmation hearing; it’s taking our culture by storm. In recent weeks, we’ve seen biological males who self-identify as women kicking biological females off the podium in women’s sports and taking their slots in “woman of the year” designations.

Clarity on the sexes is needed now more than ever. But the truth is not that complicated. Writing in the National Review, Madeleine Kearns explains why no one needs a degree in biology to know what a woman is: “Sex is observable at birth, detectable long after death, and demonstrable in our chromosomes, gametes, and reproductive organs. We are reminded of our sex every time we go to the bathroom or look in a mirror. The sex of the vast majority of people is identifiable at a glance.”

The West’s erasure of women puts women and girls at physical risk in shared spaces like bathrooms and locker rooms and robs them of opportunities that policies like Title IX were supposed to protect. It also has the potential to undermine global momentum on women’s rights. What does it mean for international women’s rights advocacy if the West can no longer agree on a definition for “woman”?

While the West is embroiled in debate about gender identity ideology, the heart-wrenching and horrifying situations faced by many women around the world are being overlooked. Female North Korean defectors forcibly sent back to North Korea endure rape, torture, forced labor, and forced abortions in labor camps. Young Christian and Hindu girls in Pakistan are at risk of being forcibly converted and married to their Muslim kidnappers. Uyghur women are targets of China’s genocide, undergoing brutal mandatory sterilization, forced abortions, and arbitrary detainment.

Women have come a long way in gaining equal rights and protections in much of the world. Yet, the West does a disservice to those women still fighting for basic rights when it sidelines their plight in favor of trendy, dangerous, and incoherent gender identity ideology.

Women and girls around the world aren’t being helped by the West’s newfound confusion about the sexes. We shouldn’t be afraid to say what a woman is—a biological female—and defend the human dignity of women around the world. We must convey the value and goodness of women’s unique qualities—not ignore them, undermine them, and certainly not erase them.

Why Does the Far Left Want More Women to Have Abortions?

by Mary Szoch , Joy Zavalick

March 28, 2022

The Texas Heartbeat Act, in its mission to protect babies from abortion once their heartbeats are detectable, has faced legal challenges and resistance from the abortion industry—and come out victorious. Along with saving thousands of lives, Texas has also provided a notable case study as the nation awaits the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case with the potential to overturn Roe v. Wade. While pro-life advocates are ready to care for mothers and their babies in the event Roe is overturned, the far Left that used to call for abortion to be “safe, legal, and rare” is now busily working to ensure that more and more women undergo abortions.

The pro-“choice” façade of the past is finally slipping away as progressives become increasingly bold about their desire to increase the national abortion rate. Recently, California Governor Gavin Newsom (D), who has been outspoken about his goal to direct abortion tourism to his state, signed a new law to make abortion even cheaper for people on private insurance plans. Washington and Oregon also had dramatic reactions to Idaho’s Texas-style heartbeat protection, resisting the neighboring state’s move to protect the unborn.

A recent New York Times article sounded gleeful as it relied on shoddy evidence to report that Texas’ Heartbeat Act had not drastically lowered abortions in the state because women were still able to obtain chemical abortion pills or travel across state lines to undergo abortions. National Review’s Michael New refuted these suspiciously enthusiastic claims, explaining, “the reported out-of-state monthly increase of 1,250 abortions is only a fraction of the in-state decline of 3,200 abortions reported by the Texas State Health and Human Services Commission for September 2021.”

Agents on the far Left are determined to encourage women to undergo abortions, even if abortion is the logically less convenient and less safe option for them. Fund Texas Choice promotes abortion by “provid[ing] travel assistance to Texas residents whether your appointment is in Texas or if you have to travel out-of-state.” The group arranges and pays for hotel stays, bus tickets, flights, and gas for women undergoing abortions in cities where they are not residents—in other words, whatever it takes to make sure that women have abortions. Even private organizations such as Citigroup have also chosen to fund travel for their employees to encourage them to get abortions.

Why are progressives hellbent on pushing dangerous chemical abortions and spending thousands of dollars on travel over the simple solution of carrying a child to term and respecting his or her right to be born? Are they really so deluded as to believe that birth, which women are biologically designed to perform, is more traumatizing than invasive surgical procedures or dangerous chemical regimens? Are they simply mesmerized by the profit they stand to gain from vulnerable women when abortion is normalized? One thing is for certain, those who champion abortion have chosen to reject reality.

Whether they acknowledge it or not, Americans know that every pregnant woman carries a unique, unrepeatable human being within her. It is only when a woman is considering an abortion that anyone denies the humanity of the child. As a visibly pregnant woman walks down the sidewalk or through the grocery store, it is not uncommon for men and women to stop to congratulate her on her baby. In fact, perhaps the only way to be more popular than a pregnant woman carrying a baby in her womb is to be a new mom carrying a baby in her arms. Person after person stops to say hello to the baby, play peek-a-boo, or ask, “Can you give me a smile?”

Today, progressives are tripping over themselves to increase “access” to abortion, but they should recognize there is a better route. As the world awaits a decision in Dobbs, churches, communities, and legislators are working to support moms, dads, and children in need. Instead of doing everything possible to ensure that moms believe their easiest and only option is abortion, it is time for the pro-abortion lobby to accept the truth that daily life affirms: abortion ends the life of a beautiful baby. We invite anyone who is or has previously been part of the pro-abortion lobby to join us. There are countless ways to help moms, dads, and babies in need. Encouraging more abortions is not one of them.

Biden’s Supreme Court Nominee Refuses to Define the Word “Woman”

by David Closson

March 23, 2022

Did President Biden keep his promise to nominate a black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court? At first glance that seems like an absurd question. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is a black woman. However, yesterday’s interaction between Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Judge Jackson suggests Republicans might want to ask the president’s nominee some more pointed questions about her worldview as the third day of confirmation hearings gets underway today.

Supreme Court confirmation hearings can be heady affairs. Although the topics of judicial philosophy, legal principles, and how to interpret the Constitution are vitally important to the functioning of our legal system, most Americans do not often consider them. Stare decisis, unenumerated rights, and originalism are simply not part of most people’s daily conversations with their friends or family members. As a result, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s four-day-long hearing on Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to be an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court has likely proven dull for many people. 

However, likely lost among the hours of questioning in yesterday’s confirmation hearing was a fascinating exchange late last night between Judge Jackson and Sen. Blackburn. During her questioning, Blackburn asked the nominee to define the word “woman.”

Can you provide a definition of the word ‘woman’?” Blackburn asked. After a brief pause, Jackson answered, “No, I can’t.” Incredulous, Blackburn replied, “You can’t?” “Not in this context; I’m not a biologist,” the judge responded.

Initially, few news outlets reported on the exchange, and even most conservative court-watchers have focused on questioning by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) about Critical Race Theory and Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R-Mo.) contention that Judge Jackson has been too lenient when sentencing sex offenders. But the exchange between Blackburn and Jackson is a massive cultural moment and reflects how deeply gender identity ideology has taken root in our national subconscious. In short, those pushing gender identity ideology that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago have been so successful in promoting their views that it is now deemed too risky to define a woman as an adult biological female. 

The promotion and acceptance of transgender ideology have accelerated the rampant gender confusion in our nation, and the events of the past few weeks underscore just how successful LGBTQ activists have been in converting the news media, Big Tech, the business community, and now, apparently, the judicial community, to their cause. Just within the past few weeks, we’ve seen a biological male crowned an NCAA champion in women’s swimming and USA Today declare Rachael Levine, a biological male serving in the Biden administration, as one of the newspaper’s “Women of the Year.” 

But even though there have been several stories in the news lately featuring those who identify as transgender, it is remarkable that someone nominated to the nation’s highest court is unwilling to define the word “woman.” It raises the question of how Americans can trust someone to faithfully interpret the U.S. Constitution and apply the nation’s laws who lacks the courage to simply state biological facts. Nevertheless, here we are.

It would be ludicrous to think that Judge Jackson does not know what a woman is. Judge Jackson is a two-time Ivy League graduate. She has served on the federal judiciary for nearly a decade and has been seated on the nation’s second-most important court for almost a year. Without a doubt, Judge Jackson is highly intelligent. But her unwillingness to answer Sen. Blackburn’s question is a foreboding sign that gender identity ideology not only holds tremendous sway in the Democratic Party but has also taken hold in parts of the legal profession. Deference to partisan politics has no place in the judiciary.

President Biden promised to nominate a black woman to the nation’s highest court, and Judge Jackson meets both of those criteria. But the judge’s own refusal to define the word “woman” during her confirmation hearing is disturbing because it suggests an accommodation to a postmodern worldview unable to assert basic truths about human embodiment. Judge Jackson is a woman, and it shouldn’t be controversial to state this fact. Even those who may not agree with Judge Jackson’s judicial philosophy can acknowledge that Jackson’s nomination is historic and that many African American women are especially excited about her appointment. But the fact that the nominee herself cannot confidently answer a straightforward question that contradicts the far Left’s radical gender identity ideology is a sad and revealing commentary on the times. 

You don’t need to be a veterinarian to define what a cat is, a mechanic to define what a car is, a florist to define what a flower is, or a biologist to define what a woman is. But increasingly, you do need courage and a willingness to contradict the misguided zeitgeist of the age. On this point, Judge Jackson failed miserably yesterday. Ultimately, if Judge Jackson cannot define what a woman is, it is troubling to think of how she will interpret and apply the nation’s laws. One can only hope she will find some courage if confirmed by the Senate to the Supreme Court.

Pro-Abortion States Are Desperately Moving to Codify a “Right” to Abortion

by Chantel Hoyt

March 23, 2022

With the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization quickly approaching, legislators in pro-abortion states are bracing themselves for the possibility that Roe v. Wade’s reign over state abortion laws might finally come to an end, returning to the states the ability to regulate abortion as they see fit and more fully protect unborn life.

Not surprisingly, it is the states with the most pro-abortion laws that are leading the effort to enshrine “abortion rights” language in their state codes or constitutions. Colorado is swiftly moving HB22-1279, the Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA), through the legislature, which would not only insert a “fundamental right” to abortion in state statute, but also explicitly deny unborn children any rights under the state (this includes all unborn children, regardless of gestational age).

Maryland (HB 1171) and Vermont (PR 5) are attempting to enshrine a right to abortion in their state constitutions, ensuring that, through future changes in the legislature and governorship, this “right” will remain in the constitution and be difficult to remove. If either of these states are successful, they will become the first to secure a “right to abortion” in their state constitution. If Maryland’s bill passes the Senate, it will go before voters in the state’s November 2022 election. After passing the legislature in February, Vermont’s Proposition 5 is already set to be on the ballot this November.

Additionally, pro-abortion activists in the state of Michigan have launched the Michigan Right to Reproductive Freedom Initiative as an effort to get a constitutional amendment ensuring a right to abortion on voter’s ballots this November. Similar to the language of Maryland’s proposed amendment, it establishes a “fundamental right to reproductive freedom,” which shall not be “denied, burdened, or infringed unless justified by a compelling state interest achieved by the least restrictive means.” This amendment would supersede a pre-Roe abortion ban, enacted in 1931, which has been unenforceable due to Roe. In order to get on the ballot, this measure needs to gain 425,059 signatures (equal to 10 percent of votes cast for governor in the last gubernatorial election). It remains to be seen whether this measure will be on the ballot this year for Michigan voters.

These laws stand to be alarmingly far-reaching, invalidating what few pro-life laws these states have and cementing their current practice of actively funding abortion. Colorado, Maryland, and Vermont’s amendments would guarantee abortion through all nine months of pregnancy for any reason, going far beyond Roe’s precedent of guaranteeing abortion to the point of viability (Michigan’s amendment allows abortion up to the point of viability). Each one of these laws would not only allow but defend abortions sought solely due to the race, sex, or disability of the unborn child.

 In Colorado, some legislators and constituents are cautioning that the RHEA, as currently written, would prevent the state from enforcing its parental notification law for minors seeking abortions. Maryland Right to Life has pointed out that the state’s proposed constitutional amendment would force physicians to carry out abortions against their consciences and religious convictions. After all, if something is a “fundamental right,” can it rightly be denied without the government stepping in to intervene?

Colorado, Maryland, Michigan, and Vermont are each seeking to become abortion destinations in the aftermath of Roe, where women from pro-life states can travel and abortionists can kill their unborn children. As troubling as this is, thankfully, even more states are poised to do just the opposite. Twenty-two states have laws (whether enacted before Roe and never repealed or designed to go into effect in the event Roe is overturned) to protect the unborn at conception or at the point his or her heartbeat can be detected (usually around 6-8 weeks), and others are currently moving to enact legislation to protect more unborn babies. Let these states stand out as a contrast to the states working so hard to maintain their cultures of death. The battle surely rages on, but there is hope in the midst of the darkness.

If you are a pro-lifer living in one of these pro-abortion states, please be encouraged. In Psalm 4:12, David reminds himself of God’s justice and care for the helpless, saying, “I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and will execute justice for the needy.”

If you live in Colorado, Maryland, Michigan, or Vermont, contact your legislators voicing your opposition and vote NO if one of these measures is on your ballot this November. Your voice matters!

For Marylanders, click here to send a message to your state Senators, telling them to oppose HB 1171!

For Coloradans, click here to send a message to your state Senator, telling them to oppose HB22-1279!

Transgenderism Has a Science Problem

by Jennifer Bauwens, Ph.D.

March 22, 2022

Laws protecting children from harmful gender transition procedures are supported by basic scientific facts. Yet such laws are routinely opposed by cultural, corporate, and political figures, who claim they are the ones in alignment with science. The White House recently called efforts in Texas to protect children from gender transition an “attack on loving parents who seek medical care” that is “dangerous to the health” of these children. Is this really true?

Sadly, when it comes to this issue, ideology is driving science more than science is driving itself. Statements like that of the White House avoid the facts about gender transition for children and instead employ a communications campaign fraught with hyperbole, misinformation, and inadequate research that is more emblematic of a bait-and-switch tactic rather than the gold standard of scientific inquiry. What are we to think of all this?

In the midst of the confusion, it’s appropriate to recall a few basic facts about the scientific method:

1. The scientific method is just one way of learning about the world around us. It is not an infallible approach to knowledge, and there are always errors associated with any study. The question, then, is not whether error is present, but how loosely do we hold the findings because of the amount of error in the study.

2. Confidence is gained in the study’s outcome when error has been reduced. One way error is easily identified is by looking at how the study was designed. This means assessing the methods (e.g., web-survey, experimental study), how the sample was gathered (do the people in the study have the same characteristics as those the researchers are trying to apply the findings to), the financial associations of the researchers, and any vested interests the researchers have in a certain outcome.

3. A particular finding is also strengthened when multiple studies draw the same conclusion. It is normal for a research agenda to start with a wide scope and ask a question such as, “What are the experiences of youth who identify as transgender?” As this information solidifies, the research questions narrow, and the methods typically become more rigorous and directive. For example, the methods and question might move to the commonly known clinical trial phase and ask, “What interventions reduce gender dysphoria?”

4. As a research agenda grows, knowledge on a subject matter strengthens. In this way, a fuller picture might emerge, giving insight into the conditions that create an outcome. In this case, it’s clear that the transgender-identifying population has higher rates of childhood trauma, mental health distress, and increased suicidality. When there is clear knowledge about the factors that create a ripe environment for an outcome, it would be remiss to leave those concepts out of research study without a very clear logic for doing so.

With these basic research concepts in mind, there’s no escaping a need to be critical of the transgender literature. Transgender studies have been used to make big claims about the effects of medicalized interventions, but these studies lack solid empirical evidence to back up the assertions that these practices are efficacious. It is critical to keep in mind that these procedures are some of the most intrusive physiological practices used to address any psychological condition listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5; and soon 5-TR) and should demand the most rigorous scientific backing rather than the least. Here are four key things we should be aware of regarding the current transgender literature:

1. First, transgender literature is in its infancy stage of a research agenda. The types of research methods and questions asked in the peer-review literature reveal that these studies are only at the exploratory phase. This means that the approaches used to investigate the experiences of the transgender population cannot establish a causal relationship between claims that are made, such as the claim that the use of cross-sex hormones will reduce suicidal thoughts. The research methods, alone, prohibit such a claim from being made.

2. Much of the research scaffolding the idea that “transgender procedures save lives” is based on web/survey data, which captures people’s opinions from one moment in time. These data points do not account for suicidal thoughts or mental distress over time or long-term. By design, these studies cannot establish that hormones/surgery are responsible for a reduction in negative mental health outcomes. The methods themselves give us this answer, regardless of how many advocacy, medical, academic, or professional groups say it’s true.

3. The transgender literature has recycled some of the same web survey data from participants who were enlisted from the social media platforms Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Although this isn’t necessarily a bad method approach for an exploratory study, in the initial phase of a research agenda, it is unconscionable that this level of inquiry would be explicated to a recommendation for removing healthy organs, particularly for children.

4. This body of literature asserts a causal link between gender affirmative medical care and mental health outcomes. This conclusion is erroneous because the research methods don’t allow for it and the variables known to affect the transgender-identifying population and suicide rates in general have been omitted from the investigations. That is, no study to date can claim that gender affirmative medical care clearly reduces:

  • Depression
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Suicide attempts
  • Gender dysphoria

Would you have any of your vital organs, such as a kidney, removed because a few studies by advocates for kidney removals launched web surveys and found that some people felt less mental distress at the idea of an organ removal or because some people accessed services to remove their healthy kidney?

At this point, we must ask: Where are the research methods to establish the conclusion that access to transgender medical interventions bolsters mental health? There are none. But we still hear from our highest political offices that these practices “save lives.” Such a claim is both dangerous and patently false, and it is based on a body of data that is immature, to say the least. 

**To read more about how the science around transgenderism and other issues is being politicized, see these publications:

Celebrating Life on World Down Syndrome Day

by Joy Zavalick , Kurt Kondrich

March 21, 2022

March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day, and West Virginia has kicked off the celebration with a new life-saving protection for the unborn. In a race against the clock on the last day of the 2022 session, the state legislature passed SB 468, known as the Unborn Child with Down Syndrome Protection and Education Act. The popular bill passed the House of Delegates by a vote of 81-17 and the Senate by a vote of 27-5. By passing SB 468, which is slated to go into effect on July 1, the state of West Virginia is reminding the nation of the precious gift that those with Down syndrome are to the world.

On Monday, Chloe Kondrich joined Gov. Jim Justice (R) at the West Virginia state capitol to witness the signing of SB 468 into law. For weeks, Chloe had been meeting with members of the West Virginia state congress to advocate for SB 468. Chloe, an 18-year-old advocate for life who has Down syndrome, successfully lobbied for Chloe’s Law in Pennsylvania at the age of 11 to ensure that parents who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome are made aware of the resources available to help their child thrive. There is extensive evidence that families of those with Down syndrome recognize the blessing that their loved one is; the bigger challenge is helping the rest of the world to affirm it.

Unfortunately, ignorance and fearmongering directed towards pregnant mothers lead to immense loss of life for babies who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. In the United States, an estimated 67 percent of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. Paradoxically, the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), which claims to be “the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome,” includes the possibility of “termination” as one of its top three reasons why a mother should undergo prenatal testing to determine if her child has Down syndrome.

Unfortunately, despite the many advocates fighting to protect the lives and human dignity of those with Down syndrome, some persist in maintaining discriminatory attitudes. On March 3, World Birth Defects Day, the World Health Organization (WHO) included Down syndrome in its list of the top “most common severe birth defects.” The WHO faced immense backlash on social media from voices around the world passionately disputing the idea that their loved ones with Down syndrome were “defective.” Chloe Kondrich’s simple response, which was accompanied by a photo of her advocating for life at the West Virginia capitol, spoke volumes: “I am Chloe Emmanuel Kondrich, and I am NOT a ‘severe birth defect.’”

The West Virginia law is not only a commonsense measure to prevent discrimination against babies with Down syndrome, but it also protects any child whose mother seeks an abortion on the basis of a prenatal diagnosis of a disability. The law combats the ableist tendencies of the abortion industry, which capitalizes on parents’ fears and convinces them that they are not equipped to raise a child with a disability.

A prenatal diagnosis should never strip a child of their right to life. This year, the theme of World Down Syndrome Day is “inclusion.” According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, this looks like “full and effective participation and inclusion in society.” True advocates for those with Down syndrome are people like Chloe who are fighting to empower families with resources and education to achieve this goal of inclusion rather than dismissing an entire population as a “birth defect” that ought to be simply “terminated.”

On World Down Syndrome Day, let us reject the ableist killing of babies who receive a prenatal diagnosis. Let us celebrate the inherent value of all human life, beginning in the womb. As West Virginia takes a step forward in protecting its unborn citizens from discrimination, the rest of the nation ought to follow.

Kurt Kondrich is a pro-life advocate who after the birth of his beautiful daughter Chloe in 2003 has devoted his life to ending the prenatal genocide against babies with Down syndrome.

Joy Zavalick is Research Assistant for the Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council.

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