Tag archives: States

Amidst a Global Pandemic, California Legislators Seek $15 Million for Transgender Hormone Therapy and Dance Classes

by Peter Sprigg

May 13, 2020

Peter Sprigg, FRC’s Senior Fellow for Policy Studies, submitted the following letter on May 12, 2020, to the California Legislature in opposition to AB 2218, the “Transgender Wellness and Equity Fund.”

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Dear California Legislators:

I am writing to urge that you oppose Assembly Bill 2218, which would establish a “Transgender Wellness and Equity Fund” with an appropriation of $15 million. I am writing on behalf of Family Research Council (FRC), a national non-profit public policy organization representing tens of thousands of Californians, and whose issue portfolio includes human sexuality.

In particular, we believe that it is inappropriate to provide taxpayer dollars

to a hospital, health care clinic, or other medical provider that currently provides gender-affirming health care services, such as hormone therapy or gender reassignment surgery, to continue providing those services, or to a hospital, health care clinic, or other medical provider that will establish a program that offers gender-affirming health care services . . .

No “hormone therapy” (neither puberty-blocking hormones nor cross-sex hormones) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the purposes of facilitating gender transition. Fenway Health, which serves the LGBT community in Boston, writes that “no medications or other treatments are currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the purposes of gender alteration and affirmation.” A 2018 article in the journal Transgender Health reiterated that “there are no medications or other treatments that are FDA-approved for the purpose of gender affirmation.” And the American Medical Association’s Council on Science and Public Health reported that “steroidal hormones,” “GnRH analogs” (puberty blockers) and “antiandrogens” are all used “off-label” for “gender re-affirming therapy”—because their use “lacks scientific evidence.” While it is not illegal to use drugs “off-label” in certain instances, the lack of proof that using these hormones for gender transition is safe and effective is a strong argument against the state funding these largely experimental treatments.

Similarly, evidence does not support the assertion that gender reassignment surgery is “medically necessary.” In 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (CMS) declined to issue a new “national coverage determination” (NCD) that would mandate coverage for such surgery under Medicare, declaring that “there is not enough high quality evidence to determine whether gender reassignment surgery improves health outcomes.” CMS examined 33 studies, but found that all had “potential methodological flaws,” and that “[o]verall, the quality and strength of evidence were low.”

Even the evidence that is available does not demonstrate that gender reassignment surgery is effective at achieving its fundamental goal—improving the long-term mental health of individuals. Patients in the best studies “did not demonstrate clinically significant changes” after surgery. One of the strongest studies, out of Sweden, showed a suicide rate among post-surgical transgender patients that was 19 times that of the general population.

In addition to directly funding procedures of questionable medical value (as well as “guided meditation” and “dancing, painting, and writing classes”), this bill would also fund programming that essentially amounts to ideological indoctrination, in the form of “trans-inclusive best practices” and the creation of “educational materials” and “capacity building training.”

It also seems ironic that the sponsors of this legislation, who I presume would support laws to prohibit “discrimination” on the basis of “gender identity,” are actually mandating such discrimination by giving favored treatment to organizations that meet a numerical quota of officers, board members, or a fiscal sponsor who themselves “identify as TGI” (“transgender, gender nonconforming, or intersex”).

Finally, it seems inconceivable that during a crisis caused by a global pandemic, with tax revenues shrinking and emergency expenditures rising, the California Legislature would even consider investing time or money in a program that would have to be considered a luxury even in normal times, and even if it were worthwhile (which, for the reasons cited above, I believe it is not). When, at this writing, nearly 70,000 Californians have become infected with the novel coronavirus and nearly 2,800 have lost their lives, it would reflect misplaced priorities to be appropriating money to support the programs listed above.

I urge you to oppose AB 2218.

Sincerely,

Peter Sprigg
Senior Fellow for Policy Studies
Family Research Council
Washington, D.C.

In USNA’s Tecumseh Court — Bite Army!

by Robert Morrison

December 13, 2013

One of the reasons I don’t plan to move out of Annapolis is that I can probably never find another town where you get fireworks four times a year. (OK, maybe I could move to Disney World.) This past week, the Naval Academy Brigade of Midshipmen celebrated Spirit Week outside Bancroft Hall with a rousing pep rally in Tecumseh Court.

The Mids are hoping to extend their streak against West Point to twelve straight wins in the classic Army-Navy football game. This year, the Mids are taking extra precautions to keep their mascot — Bill the Goat — from being kidnapped by the Cadets of the U.S. Military Academy. In past years, the Army’s Black Knights have had the pleasure of getting Navy’s goat.

But this year, Navy is protecting Bill the Goat. (Actually, both Bills; there are two official Navy goats). To prevent any raiding of goats, Navy is hiding Bills the Goats and not letting anyone know where. They’ve posted a guard dog to alert everyone to any attempts made to liberate the Navy goats. In this case, the watchword is not just Beat Army — it’s Bite Army!

I’d suggest that Navy hide Bills the Goats at nearby Fort Meade. That’s also where the National Security Agency (NSA) is located. We could all rest assured that ex-NSA contractor, Edward Snowden, won’t spill the Navy’s beans. At present, Snowden is snowed in. In Moscow.

Goat snatching and Mule bashing are all a part of the great traditions of our service academies. So, too, is another T Court event: The Induction Day ceremony that each summer brings to the Academy about 1,200 new Midshipmen. (Yes, the young ladies are called Midshipmen, too.) They come from every state in the Union and from a number of foreign nations, too. The foreign Midshipmen are excused from taking the Oath of Office.

It’s a moving and powerful scene. The “Plebes” crowd into the vast expanse of T Court. They’ve had their hair buzzed (or cropped for the ladies) and been issued baggy new “white works” as uniforms. They have been medically tested vaccinated.

For the five years my wife, a Navy captain, and I attended this ceremony, she would remark how young they all looked. Finally, I pointed out the Plebes’ parents sitting in the bleachers and noted how young they look.

Navy jets (if they aren’t grounded by the sequester) storm overhead. You feel the roar of their engines in your gut. They call it “the sound of freedom.”

And then the Plebes take this Oath of Office:

OATH OF OFFICE

Having been appointed a Midshipman in the United States Navy, do you solemnly swear (or affirm) that you will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that you will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that you take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that you will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which you are about to enter, so help you God?

There is hardly a parent who witnesses this ceremony who is not in tears. Many of the Plebes, likewise, are tearful. For good reason. Added to all the normal emotions of a son or daughter going off to college is this sobering thought: The oath they have just sworn, the step forward they have just taken, could be the first step toward a patriot grave.

Inside Bancroft Hall is the Memorial to hundreds of Naval Academy graduates who laid down their lives that we might live in freedom. From across College Creek, on a hill, the crosses and Stars of David in the cemetery bear silent testimony to the importance of the oath these Mids are taking.

This is the Oath taken by tens of thousands before the Class of 2017. It is the Oath that binds — and must bind — all the members of our all-volunteer military services.

There is currently a controversy over this Oath. The atheizers have succeeded for the time being in having “So Help Me God” dropped from the Oath as administered at the U.S. Air Force Academy. No one is forced to swear to any belief he or she does not hold. The Constitution of 1787 banned religious tests for all federal offices. But what the atheizers are demanding — and too often getting — is official atheism. They want to suppress our constitutionally protected free exercise rights.

George Washington was not only the first president; he was also the first Commanding General of the armies — and the navy — of the United States. Before he took his own Inaugural Oath as president, Washington presided over the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787. For four months, Washington attended every session of the gathering, mostly in silence. It was the greatest tutorial in political philosophy, history, law, and economics ever held on this continent.

So when he took the Oath as President of the United States on April 30, 1789, it is no small matter that he added to the constitutionally prescribed Oath of Office four words.

So Help Me God

Washington understood the importance of oaths. In his Farewell Address to the Nation, he asked: “Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths?” If George Washington could do that, so can every other officeholder in America.

Courage is What Counts in Battle for Life

by Rob Schwarzwalder

September 20, 2011

For years, Christians and other people of conscience have worked to undo the great damage done (53 million unborn lives lost, and countless women deeply scarred) by the 1973 Supreme Court ruling known as Roe v. Wade.

Thus far, we have been unsuccessful in correcting Roe, which is why, after nearly four decades, there are those who say we should evacuate the public square, abandon political activism, support our local pregnancy care centers, and admit legislative and jurisprudential defeat. Focus on personal and ecclesial acts of charity, they say, but let politics alone.

Such an attitude betrays a weak understanding of the nature of political change. Such change is almost always incremental, involving two steps forward and one step back, over and over again. This process is tedious and sometimes discouraging. It is also necessary and intrinsic to any system of representative self-government.

At some point in the future, a Supreme Court that honors life might end Roe’s legacy of death. Until then, however, conservatives and champions of life will have continued opportunities to hem-in unrestricted access to abortion on demand.

For example, under President Bush, we were successful in enacting the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act, a ban on partial-birth abortion, and the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. We ended U.S. funding for organizations that perform abortions in the developing world and prevented federal funding of embryo-destructive stem cell research. Mr. Bush appointed a series of pro-life judges to the federal courts and actively fought efforts to clone human beings. This is only a partial list.

Under President Obama, some of these have been reversed: Our country now funds groups that perform abortion abroad and subsidizes abortion at home. The Presidents most recent Supreme Court nominee was a leading advocate for the legalization of partial-birth abortion. Yet some of the progress under the previous President has not been, nor likely will be, reversed.

Since the first of the year, more than 400 pro-life measures have been introduced at the state level, with many becoming law (see page 3, FRC Actions State Pro-Life Legislative Report for 2011). For example:

  • In Arizona, Gov. Jan Brewer signed legislation ending tax credits for Planned Parenthood.
  • Florida Gov. Rick Scott “has signed into law four pro-life bills, including an ultrasound mandate and a ban on abortion coverage in the insurance exchanges mandated by President Obamas health care law.”
  • In Nebraska, there is now a law mandating parental consent for under-age abortion.
  • Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a measure preventing late-term abortions in his state.
  • South Dakota now has a law requiring a three-day waiting period before a woman can have an abortion.
  • In Kansas, pro-life champion Gov. Sam Brownback has led his legislature in enacting key pro-life provisions (as detailed here).

Now in Virginia, pro-life Gov. Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli have won approval for new regulations on abortion clinics which require hospital-quality standards for first-trimester abortions. Insisting upon sound sanitation, adequate ventilation, and sufficient physical space in facilities where a woman has one of the most invasive procedures known to medicine strikes most Virginians and most people generally - as quite reasonable.

As University of Alabama scholar Michael New has documented, these state laws play a significant role in reducing the number of abortions.

In other words, the pro-life movement has not won a single, comprehensive victory, but rather we have advanced a series of measures that increasingly have constrained abortion at both national and state levels. We have made great strides in convincing our fellow citizens that the unborn child has value independent of his or her mother, that this child is a person from conception onward and enjoys a God-endowed right to life that should be protected in law.

When some professing conservatives call for their compatriots to relinquish the battlefield for good public policy to those who oppose it, they do so out of a misapprehension as to the nature of political achievement and also an immature weariness that vitiates productive, and needed, action.

Defeat is never fatal, Winston Churchill is reported to have said. Victory is never final. Its courage that counts.

In the wake of the many welcome successes of recent years, lets keep up the battle with the courage of which Sir Winston spoke and with the “grace and truth” Christ alone can give. After all, we know Who wins in the end.

Let Rhode Island Vote

by Christopher Plante

November 19, 2010

The fact that the people of Iowa, when allowed to vote, threw out three of the judges that had overreached their authority by mandating homosexual-marriage on all Iowans, is of great encouragement. Every time the people get to vote on the issue they choose to protect marriage between one man and one woman. Ordinary men and women, mothers and father, know that children have a right to know and be known by their mother and father, and when given the choice they protect marriage.

Rhode Islanders want to have the opportunity to vote on marriage as well. In a public opinion poll conducted in August of this year over 80 percent of eligible voters polled stated they want the marriage issue on the ballot, irrespective of their personal beliefs on the issue. Rhode Islanders do not believe a small group of legislators, or worse judges, should decide such a crucial issue. We have had the opportunity to vote on ports, casinos, and even changing the name of the State; Rhode Islanders want to vote on marriage. And this is not new, public opinion polls conducted in June of 2009 and again in December of that year returned very similar results, with well over 34 of the respondents saying, Put it on the ballot.

The National Organization for Marriage Rhode Island will make every effort to insure that Governor-elect Chafee and the new Assembly hear and follow the voice of the people.

This is particularly crucial given the economic morass that Rhode Island still faces; this is no time to bog down our State government with an issue that impacts less than 5 percent of the population. According to the Providence Journal, October 17, 2010, For example, projected state budget gaps run above 10 percent through fiscal 2015. For the fiscal year that starts July 1, 2011, the forecast deficit is $320 million, largely because federal stimulus money that has supported the last three budgets is running out. That fiscal 2012 budget is the first one that will be crafted by the governor and General Assembly that take office in January. The projected shortfalls get worse as time goes by. The gaps are $416 million in fiscal year 2013, $457 million in fiscal 2014 and $536 million for fiscal 2015.

Even Governor-elect Chafee understands the challenge he faces. According to the Journal on November 7, 2010, A day after Rhode Island voters elected him their next governor, Lincoln D. Chafee stood in front of a bank of reporters in his Warwick campaign headquarters taking questions. Was this redemption? one television reporter asked, for losing his 2006 reelection bid to the U.S. Senate? Chafee paused. Then grinned. To inherit 12-percent unemployment? A $360-million budget deficit? The crowd, including a dozen campaign workers, chuckled. I dont look at it as redemption, Chafee said. I like a challenge.

Governor-elect Chafee and the new Assembly must not bog down the State government with the divisive and grid-locking issue of homosexual-marriage. Instead they should heed the voice of the people who elected them and put the homosexual-marriage question on the ballot.

Legislative Wake-up Call in the States

by Cynthia Hill

April 14, 2010

If you think legislation on the federal level has gone haywire, take a minute to check out whats going on in state governments through FRCs State Legislation Tracker. The present 38 issue profiles currently track 7469 bills of concern. A breakdown of the results (listed below) provides a telling glimpse into the “state of the states” and the subsequent health of our nation. That the top five profiles include domestic violence (2146), gambling (1346), divorce reform (827), and pornography (728 total, 325 dedicated to child pornography alone) should be a serious wake-up call for all Americans.

Whether or not current liberals and progressives approve, Americas Founders understood from historical perspective that their new government must be rooted in Judeo-Christian tenets. Nothing less resilient and enduring could contribute the ongoing stability required for individuals, families and national industry to flourish in the long term. The following contemporary indicators mandate that we re-examine those pro-family factors that precipitated Americas success, and work aggressively at the state and local level to re-introduce and re-implement them.

Numbers of bills (see here a drill-down on each issue):

  • Abortion - Fetal Pain 5
  • Abortion - Parental Notification - 38
  • Abortion - Ultrasound Bills - 60
  • Abortion Alternatives - Pregnancy Care Centers -18
  • Adoption - By Traditional Family - 551
  • Adoption - By Unmarried or Same-Sex Couples - 44
  • Bathroom Bills - Gender Expression & Same-Sex Issues - 185
  • Conscience Regulations - 4
  • Cord Blood - 62
  • DADT - Military Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ - 13
  • DOMA - Defense of Marriage Act - 2
  • Domestic Violence - 2146
  • Eminent Domain - 1340
  • ENDA - Employment Non-Discrimination Act - 3
  • Gambling - 1346
  • Hate Crimes - 27
  • Health Care - States’ Response to Obamacare - 176
  • Homeschool - 341
  • Human Cloning - 149
  • Human Eggs - 8
  • Human Trafficking - 255
  • Jessica’s Law - 5
  • Life Issues - 23
  • Marriage - Divorce Reform - 877
  • Marriage - Marriage Protection Amendments -12
  • Pornography: Child - 325
  • Pornography: General - 403
  • Public Education: Bullying Bills - General - 28
  • Public Education: Bullying Bills - Pro-Homosexual Agenda - 41
  • Public Education: Discrimination Free Zones - 1
  • Public Education: Sex Education - 7
  • Religious Liberty - 29
  • Reproductive Health - 9
  • Same-Sex Marriage - 493
  • Sexual Predators - 60
  • Statutory Rape - 69
  • Stem Cell Research - Adult - 17
  • Stem Cell Research - Embryonic - 37

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