National Eagle Forum Capitol Hill Report
August 29, 2019
So far, in the House of Representatives, the 116th Congress has been a term of extending freedoms to some at the expense of others. We’ve seen bills, committee hearings, and floor speeches promulgating the Left’s talking-point demanding that our laws affirm a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI).
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), H.R. 1585, was one of the House’s first successful attempts at including SOGI language in a piece of legislation. SOGI language in VAWA has been interpreted to allow biological males who identify as a woman to enter into biologically female only places, not only violating the privacy, but also sometimes the safety of women seeking shelter.
On top of this, the House’s passage of the Equality Act, H.R. 5, has also been celebrated by liberals and main-stream culture. Proponents of this legislation believe it is a landmark win for the LGBTQ community that gives them the protections from discrimination they deserve by making SOGI protected classes under federal civil rights laws.
Most recently, the House unanimously passed the PRIDE Act, which allows same-sex couples to receive tax benefits that were previously awarded only to traditionally married couples, a husband and wife, by nullifying the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). It does so by modifying the tax code to allow same-sex couples to receive retroactive tax refunds from years prior to the 2013 Supreme Court decision striking down DOMA in U.S. v. Windsor.
These three pieces of legislation are dangerous because they undermine the United States Constitution. Our Constitution already grants all people equality under the law, especially through the 14th Amendment, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972. Furthermore, by not including any conscience protections in VAWA and the Equality Act, and providing retroactive benefits in the PRIDE Act, all three pieces of legislation extend special protections and privileges for only LGBTQ people at the detriment of Americans who oppose their lifestyle, like Jack Phillips, the owner of a bakery repeatedly targeted for his refusal to bend his conscience and the Downtown Hope Center, which refused to allow a transgender female into their women’s only shelter.
It is more important than ever to continue telling Washington, especially the Senate who has yet to vote on these pieces of legislation, of your disapproval of these harmful policies. Eagle Forum will continue to fight the assault on our Constitutional rights.
NATIONAL EAGLE FORUM CAPITOL HILL REPORT
August 19, 2019
This past July, recipients of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Title X grants had to implement several institutional changes to qualify for funds. These changes target abortion providers, like Planned Parenthood, who have manipulated the Title X federal funding stream into supplementing their “reproductive health services” for too long.
The changes, announced in February 2019, are meant to restore the integrity of the Title X programming, which is the only federal grant program providing low-income individuals with access to comprehensive family planning and preventative health services. Specifically, some of the provisions include:
In response, Planned Parenthood announced that it would be forgoing Title X. The organization brought in more than $1.6 million in revenue and received $563.8 million in government funding for the year ending on June 30, 2018. On top of that, Planned Parenthood is still receiving government money in the form of Medicaid reimbursements, which accounts for the majority of its government funding. Planned Parenthood will have no problem continuing their abortion services to millions of women.
In reference to HHS’s rule change, Planned Parenthood President Alexis McGill Johnson said:
"Imagine if you show up as a patient to a health center and the doctor's only ability is to refer you to prenatal care, and you may have already decided that you want to have an abortion," McGill Johnson said. "Federal regulations will ban that doctor from actually giving you advice and referring you to abortion."
For them, abortion is a necessary piece of medical care. They even have a section on their Planned Parenthood Action website dedicated to defending and implying their use of Title X funds for abortion procedures: “By giving women more control over if and when they have children, Title X allows women to have more control over their lives, including their health, careers, and economic security.”
Unfortunately, Americans have also funded abortion globally. In 1984, President Reagan took a step to prohibit this through his Mexico City Policy, which prevents global health organizations that receive U.S. federal funding from providing abortion services. Unfortunately, the policy is not law and has been rescinded by both the Clinton and Obama administrations. President Bushand President Trump both reinstated the policy at the beginning of their Presidential terms.
Although HHS’s Title X rule change and President Trump’s implementation of the Mexico City Policy are good measures, the policies are too easily swayed by Presidential opinion and action. If a Democrat administration were in power, both policies would most likely be reversed. The American people need Congress to enact a permanent ban on the federal funding of abortion to prevent this catch-22. In the meantime, Eagle Forum will continue to support policies preventing government-funded abortion.
Written by Ryan Neuhaus, August 13, 2019. Originally published in the Washington Examiner
Recently, a coalition of 75 organizations including Planned Parenthood, National LGBTQ Task Force, the ACLU, and the National Abortion Federation released a 116-page blueprint outlining a policy agenda aimed at advancing policies for women and children in the name of “sexual and reproductive health care, rights, and justice.” However, after reading over the policies, one quickly realizes that they would substantially harm American families without bringing forth "rights" or "justice."
Parental rights, for example, are targeted for elimination. The coalition deemed parental consent for an abortion as detrimental to the empowerment of “girls and youth assigned female.”
If the true goal of the coalition is to help empower young women, shouldn’t they encourage young women to look to their mothers, their families, or at least an experienced adult such as a judge for guidance in potentially intense and emotional times? After all, considering that adult engagement is required for getting your ears pierced or taking an aspirin at school, surely making a life-ending decision such as abortion is worth a conversation with someone who isn’t going to profit from it.
Cutting out mothers seems like the most glaring oversight of all.
“Of all familial relationships, the mother–daughter one is most likely to remain important for both parties, even when major life changes occur,” write the authors of a study led by Kathryn Bojczyk of Florida State University. “Multiple theoretical perspectives recognize the mother–daughter bond as lifelong, intimate, and developmentally important.”
Distancing a mother’s guidance regarding the health and well-being of their children is terrible policy.
Research conducted by Paula Goodwin of Purdue University and Osman Galal of UCLA has shown that traditional family structures have positioned women to directly impact the overall health and well-being of their families. If the true intent of pro-abortion activists were to provide healthcare to women, while respecting and valuing women, taking mothers out of the decision-making process alongside their children would be viewed as irresponsible, as it devalues motherhood and endangers adolescent women.
Good policy would uphold parental and adult engagement laws, as mothers and fathers are at the heart of a child’s education and healthcare. And parents will be the ones helping pick up the pieces when things go wrong. Judicial bypass laws also at least ensure that someone with the child’s interest in mind is looking at the needs of all.
Perhaps the abortion lobby’s desire to cut out parents has to do with the fact that they want unrestricted access to minors to make an abortion sale. The substantive work of Dr. Michael New has shown conclusively that when a state passes a law ensuring that parents are involved in the decision, the overall statewide rate of abortion decreases by an estimated 13.6%.
Abortion has harmed millions of women across the United States. Often portrayed as a safe medical practice, abortion has been found to scar the lining of the uterus, damage the cervix and other internal organs, lead to eating disorders, depression, suicidal thoughts, and even death. Complications from botched surgeries have resulted in hysterectomies, ending girls' chances ever to have children of their own later in life.
The overriding problem with the healthcare proposal coming from abortion advocates is a fundamental disagreement over what constitutes healthcare. Pregnancy is not a disease cured by abortion. Pushing an agenda that distills all women’s interests down to the presence or absence of abortion ignores needs for economic advancement, access to education, or a level playing field in the law.
A blueprint for healthcare that values and strengthens the lives of mothers and children is a good idea. It won’t be achieved if we cut the ties between adults and children. The real question is who can be better trusted to help a child make an abortion decision, the people who have devoted their lives to a child, or the people whose goal is to make a sale?
Ryan Neuhaus is Students for Life of America’s Florida Regional Coordinator.
Author: Stephen Done
Many men I know, including myself, experience same-sex attraction. Some of the greatest healing they have experienced is being able to talk to others about it - to stop hiding from it and from others. They and I have learned that it is good to acknowledge the experiences, problems and struggles that we face. It is good to take them head on and not hide them from others. It is good to want to give others courage in the face of difficult circumstances. It is quite another thing to say "I struggle with this, so I'm going to jump in and embrace it, and I'm going to leave my wife and children over it."
I'm not saying that experiencing same-gender attraction is not a struggle. It certainly is difficult. It certainly is hard. I'm not saying it's wrong to talk about how difficult it can be to navigate. Talking and asking for support is helpful and good. But it is wrong to use it to excuse breaking commitments and call that act a good thing.
Those who discuss their experience publicly in order to announce that they are now going to have romantic and sexual relationships with others of their same gender frequently claim they are acting out of love. They say they are justified in walking out on their wife (or husband) and children. They claim they are being brave. But breaking solemn commitments is not just and brave, and it is not love.
Let me say it again. Breaking promises and commitments of faithfulness to one's spouse and children in order to pursue other sexual partners - regardless of their gender - is not brave. It isn't praiseworthy. It is selfish.
Were a man to announce he left his wife for another woman, there would be no praise for his choice. There is no reason why these situations are any different. Essentially, these men and women leave their spouses and family in search of different sexual partners. That so many people in society, especially the media, seem ready to praise these actions is quite a serious, concerning matter.
I have personally witnessed the devastation and lifelong trauma that parents who leave their families plant in the hearts of their children and spouses. I have seen the brokenness that comes from mothers and fathers abandoning their posts. These wounds are especially deep when parents part because one of them wants to seek other sexual partners.
The society we live in has so greatly magnified the sex act and the accompanying affections that this form of love has become our god.
C.S. Lewis once said that love "begins to be a demon the moment he begins to be a god." And so this love has become a demon. By justifying the breaking of solemn vows, it is leaving pain, bitterness and destruction it its wake.
Sex is not the foundation of a good marriage. Sex and hormones alone will not make a marriage work. Good marriages are made of friendship and common goals, and for many centuries the decision to marry was not tied so deeply to romance and affection. Though our society no longer believes it, men and women who experience same-sex attraction can have happy, fulfilling marriages with the opposite sex.
Given the experiences of many men I know who left the homosexual lifestyle, I am concerned that men or women who leave their families in order to live out their sexual inclinations will find, as did my friends, that the lifestyle will not bring them the contentment or fulfillment they are seeking. In cases where spouses and children are involved, this would be especially tragic.
Some people say men and women who experience same-sex attraction and marry someone of the opposite gender were shamed into it. They claim this justifies ending the current marriage now that same-sex marriage is more acceptable. They assert there is no other way or other choice to be made. But there are other ways. There are other choices. The struggle does not justify the breaking of commitments, and while experiencing same-gender attractions is not a choice, breaking solemn vows is.
Claiming that these men and women are shamed into marrying someone of the opposite gender imposes a narrative that may not actually be true. For instance, I was attracted to my wife when I married her. It was only years later, as a result of repeated exposure to the common societal narrative, that I, for a time, convinced myself that I married her out of duty.
When I first discussed my experience with same-sex attraction publicly, my main purpose was to try change the narrative around same-sex attraction. But there was also some streak of attention-seeking that fueled my announcement. I was not disappointed in that wish. My post received 90 likes and loves on Facebook and 44 comments from family and friends praising me and giving me support. I loved that praise. I loved that support. But I soon realized that very few people reached out to my wife, though she was experiencing a lot of pain. I am still surprised that less than a handful of people said anything to her, asked how she was doing, or offered support.
I am quite concerned that in the current social climate, women, men, and children whose spouses leave do not receive the support and comfort they should. They have to endure deep pain and anguish while their former husband or wife gains attention and praise.
I grieve for the wives and children of any man who chooses to end his commitments to them. I grieve for the children and husbands whose mothers and wives leave them. I hope and pray that more people in our society will recognize and speak out about the need for strong fathers, strong mothers and strong commitments and will cease to praise such acts of selfishness.
I have faith that in a future day men and women who stick by their spouses as they work through difficult things - as so many of the men and women that I know and love do - will no longer receive the ridicule and distain that they currently do from some in society. In that day they will receive the respect that should be afforded anyone who does their best to live according to their commitments and promises and keeps trying.
Volunteers of Utah Eagle Forum.