News Blog

Pencils, Prisons and Planned Parenthood

When most people speak of Black History Month they speak of the Civil Rights Movements of Martin Luther King Jr, Harriet Tubman or Rosa Parks. They reference the “lunch counter sit-ins” and Hollywood spends millions on movies referencing the movements that helped further the state of African-Americans in our society. These are important and crucial moments in history that should not be devalued or “watered down”. There is one issue however that has continually affected the black community since the early 1960’s yet has been one which has been consistently ignored; Abortion in Black America. What is most important to understand is; not only is the discussion about abortion within the black community necessary, it is vital to understanding the epidemic that is happening within this community.

I recently watched a documentary called “Commonwealth”. The basis of this program was to bring awareness to what is currently happening within the Philadelphia Public School System. There is a lot of social science that goes into understanding what is happening there and I have been following this closely as an Educator but one of the things I found the most interesting was the fact that so many parents interviewed seemed to be blindsided by the rampant school closures happening in their community whereas the teachers could tell you that they saw it coming for years. The cutbacks on supplies, the teacher shortages, the buildings that were unsafe and went without repair, the signs were all there and the watchful ones knew something was coming. This is similar to the pro-life community which for decades has been calling attention to the strategic and systemic killing of black children. We’ve watched the abortion mills being built in the poor communities where disadvantaged families are a prime target for “big abortion”. So where are all these schools that are closing you ask? 93% of the schools that will be closed by the end of 2015 are in low-income areas of Philadelphia, where more than 83% of students are black and live at or below the poverty line. Did I also mention that while they are closing these schools in “a coordinated effort to save the state nearly $304 million” the state is spending over $400 million building a “super-prison”…it doesn’t take a PhD to figure out what’s happening here. This is the definition of “school to prison pipeline”. By closing public schools in low-income or disadvantaged neighborhoods we are pushing children out of the education system and into the corrections system.  For decades research has proven that a lack of access to adequate education is a key factor in determining whether or not a child in a disadvantaged community will become an offender or not; yet throughout the country in urban areas of large metropolitan cities public schools are closing or deteriorating at a rapid rate while prison expansions are doubling. What does this have to do with abortion you ask? Everything; and here’s why. By removing access to education services we are showing these children and their families that we do not value the priority of their potential in the same way we value children from wealthy families or communities. Pulling access to these services restricts parents, particularly single mothers from having resources and options available to them. In public schools where resources are available for teen mothers those girls were more likely to not only finish high school and earn their diploma but to go on to attend college or vocational programs following high school. Without availability of these programs teens facing an unplanned pregnancy are more likely to turn to abortion.

The pro-life community has continually provided evidence about Planned Parenthood’s strategic placement of abortion clinics within low-income/disadvantaged areas. These neighborhoods are being targeted for extermination and where Planned Parenthood fails, the state has no problem stepping in to pick up the slack by closing schools and funneling the children from these communities into the juvenile justice system.  It is almost like the message being sent is “If we can’t kill them, we’ll lock them up” That may seem like a shocking statement to some but as we all know; money is what it all boils down to in the end. The methodical placement of massive abortion mills in disenfranchised communities and low income neighborhoods is reaffirming that the voices and the lives of the disadvantaged do not matter. There is no “choice” for these women because they are continually forced into thinking abortion is their ONLY choice. Money talks and the more “services” that Planned Parenthood can claim to offer {outside abortion} guarantees a continuing funnel of taxpayer dollars to flood their organization. Money earned through the degradation of the black community, soaked in the blood of the innocent black lives lost. What I ask you does this show about the environment that WE as a society have created for these communities. We strip public schools of funding, close them down and take away options for educational growth, we de-value these marginalized communities to the point where the options become PRISON or Planned Parenthood. We hold the members of the community accountable yet take away the majority of their resources. We hold fathers accountable for not being present in their child’s lives yet we devalue their position within the family by denying their paternal rights. We expect so much of them and yet give them so little. How can a person know their true value when the value of their life has been stripped away?  The media is right though, abortion is not Black History, it is Black Present and until we stand up to fight for TRULY equal protection for these devalued families the degradation of a race will continue until Black History Month is all that will be left for African Americans in modern society.

 “When we said we would no longer sit in the back of the bus; a place was reserved for us down at the abortion clinic.”-Dr. Alveda King

 

Election 2014- HUGE Victories & A Few Defeats: How the Midterms have and will impact the Pro-Life Movement

 

Without a doubt Tuesday’s Midterm Elections were a HUGE victory for the GOP, and the conservative movement nationwide.  Not only did the GOP take back control of the Senate for the first time in 8 years but several states made history with their choices for elected leaders and ballot measures/amendments that will have continued impact on the Pro-Life Movement. Let’s take a moment to break it down and see where we stand and where we still have a lot of work ahead of us!

We will start with California; since that is where Right to Life Central California calls home and where a majority of pro-life, conservative voters have felt disengaged and unheard by our local, state and federal leaders. Here in Fresno one of the greatest victories for the pro-life movement was the re-election of Congressman David Valadao who was going up against Amanda Renteria; an abortion on demand advocate and Planned Parenthood supporter. Not only did David Valadao vote yes on H.R. 1797 {the bill to protect unborn children/pain capable act} but he also voted to repeal Obamacare which currently provides funding for insurance plans that pay for abortion on demand. By choosing to re-elect David Valadao; valley voters are showing that they are taking a strong stance toward ending abortion on demand and taxpayer funded abortion services. Although California had one of its lowest voter turnouts in history and the fact that 40% of voters were unaware that Gov. Jerry Brown was even up for re-election, the polls showed Brown with an early lead over Republican candidate Neel Kashkari. What is disheartening about this is that Gov. Brown has chosen to maintain his strong pro-choice position and had the voters chosen to elect Neel Kashkari a breath of fresh air and support for the pro-life movement would have finally been at the head of our state government.

While Democrats held the majority of their offices in California, throughout the Nation, Republican candidates were knocking Democrats out of their seats in both the Senate and the House, and in some states history was made by electing leaders that are a first for their home state. In both Iowa and West Virginia, voters elected for the first time, female Senators. Joni Ernst and Shelley Moore Capito won their seat in the Senate on Tuesday night, and in Utah; Mia Love became the first African American Republican member of Congress.

It was also a historic night for the younger generation of politics. In New York’s 21st District, Elise Stefanik became the youngest member ever elected to Congress at only 30 years old and in West Virginia; Saira Blair became the youngest candidate to EVER be elected into the House of Representatives for the 59th district; Blair who has been very vocal on her pro-life position will be the face of the pro-life generation in Washington. At only 18 years old Saira Blair is in a position to show that the belief and respect for the sanctity of life is prominent throughout the younger generation and can be the voice for not only the conservative voters in her home state but the voice for the pro-life generation throughout our nation. The importance of these historic choices not only place women in a place of Congressional relevance but also undermine the fallacy that the Obama administration and the DNC have been promoting as the “War on Women” that they have used the GOP as a stomping ground for over the course of this election. By placing these women in a position to change the landscape of politics as they related to the female voting population, we now have the opportunity to be a strong voice with intelligent, conservative leaders.

 

One of the largest victories for the pro-life movement was passing of Amendment 1 in Tennessee. For 14 years the pro-life movement in Tennessee has fought to restore abortion regulations that were once in place ; after being struck down in 2000 by the Supreme Court turned Tennessee into the “destination abortion” state in the Southeast. I was able to speak with Lorene Steffes; a spokesperson for Yes On 1 and she told me that one of the things she contributes to the success of Amendment 1 passing was the 18 month grassroots effort that was led throughout the state. There are 95 counties in the state of Tennessee and the Yes On 1 campaign was able to place a “campaign advocate” in every single one of those counties. The purpose behind this was to not only educate the voters in TN about the amendment but to also ensure that the accurate information was being given to voters in the face of deceptive counter-advertising. While speaking with Lorene she informed me that Amendment 1 not only allows Tennessee to make its own decisions regarding abortion and abortion regulations but it also protects women on all sides. During the 14 year period, the 8 abortion clinics in the state were under no regulation by the State or local government. Without any regulations at all on abortion and abortion services, these clinics were operating and performing abortion procedures even though they were not licensed medical facilities by the state, were not inspected by the State Health Department and even though not all the staff who were performing these abortions were licensed and in one instance a “Nurse Practitioner” was found to be performing surgical abortion procedures even though she was not currently licensed to practice medicine, nor was she able to provide any documentation or proof that she had ever been licensed as a Nurse Practitioner. Whether a female voter chooses to take a pro-life or pro-choice position, by ensuring that regulations are put in place, the passing of Amendment 1 is a step towards safer and better regulated Women’s Health Care Services. The goal of Amendment 1 in the immediate moment is to restore PRIOR state held regulations for abortion services. While there are currently no plans to introduce legislature that would ban abortion in Tennessee, the purpose of the Amendment is to ensure that local and state governments have the right to put in place regulations they feel best fit the states needs which includes stopping the “destination abortion” mentality that Tennessee has held over the past 14 years.

 

As always we know that in the first few days after an election the “winning” side is basking in the warm glow of a successful campaign, but it is so vital that we continue to take steps forward in partnership with our new elected officials to continue the incredible amount of work that needs to continue in order to further the mission of restoring the sanctity of life in our country. Lastly, I want to thank each and every one of you who took the time to go out and vote on Tuesday. As a veteran of the US Armed Forces I am incredibly proud to see citizens exercising their right to vote and making their voices and beliefs heard. Remember OUR government works FOR us, and it is our job to put into leadership; strong, god-fearing and compassionate leaders to guide our nation.

What Happens in DC doesn’t Stay In DC.

abortion-ap_1

For years the “pro-choice” movement has used the argument that elective abortion is NOT a political matter and that reproductive decisions should be kept between a woman and her physician. YET the latest attempt at weakening our  moral fabric is a bill based solely on the opposite opinion of what pro-choice advocates have been preaching for so many years. The latest attack comes from the City Council of DC who is currently proposing a bill which would “require employers to provide health insurance for abortions regardless of the employer’s beliefs and convictions” and if passed would force religious employers and pro-life organizations in our Nation’s Capital to provide these services by law.

What Is Bill 20-790?

Proposed Bill 20-790 {Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act} would force ALL employers to provide health care funding for reproductive services REGARDLESS if by providing such access it violates the organizations freedom of religion. Religious employers, particularly the Archdiocese of Washington were singled out Rep. Grosso (chief sponsor of the bill) as examples of organizations for which there is a “need to impose this mandate on health insurance plans”. At a public hearing held in June 2014, Rep. Grosso stated that “I believe that religions don’t have to provide contraceptive coverage, which is too bad, but they don’t have to; whereas non-profits and other private entities do have to give what is now considered a healthcare right for all Americans” In addition to Rep. Grosso’s statement that actual “religions” themselves could not be forced to provide contraceptive coverage BUT that religious non-profit ministries could be and should be.

Bill 20-790 further defines “reproductive health decisions” as {a decision by an employee, an employee’s dependent or an employee’s spouse related to the use or intended use of a particular drug, device, or medical service including the use or intended use of contraception or fertility control OR the planned or intended initiation or termination of pregnancy.}  An example of such policy enforcement is as follows; Let’s say John Smith works for a pro-life, non-denominational; non-profit organization based in Texas; he has a 17 year old daughter who finds herself facing an unplanned pregnancy, she leaves Texas (which currently requires parental consent for abortions for minors) and goes to New Mexico (where there is no consent law) terminates the pregnancy AND now Mr. Smith’s health insurance (which is paid for by his organization) is FORCED to pay for the abortion even though it is in direct conflict with the organizations religious beliefs and practices. Not only is this bill a clear violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act but is unconstitutional and a violation of First Amendment rights of expressive association and free speech.

As anyone who works within a non-profit organization is aware, the voice of the organization is spoken through its employees, and in an era of fast-growing and influential social media and hyper-partisan politics these organizations must ensure that their message is not compromised by those who are responsible for communicating that message on the organizations behalf. Any organization (whether religious or not) {*but in this instance we are discussing the attack on religious based non-profit groups who abide by a pro-life stance*} must wholeheartedly and unapologetically guard the integrity of their organization and the mission of the organization as a whole. Pro-Life Organizations messages would be unduly undermined if they were forced through legislation to employ those who advocate for abortion or conduct themselves in a manner that is in contraventions of the organizations core beliefs and religious freedoms by undergoing an abortion. In the same way that a non-profit group who supports abortions takes steps to ensure its employees are not participating in pro-life activism or members of groups such as PETA believe that their message is not effectively communicated by those who choose to consume animal byproducts, a non-profit, pro-life organization must be free  to choose to use its resources, financial and other wise to ensure those who represent the organization are upholding its core beliefs and not distracting from the organizations overall mission.

Lastly, it is important to know that Bill 20-790 contains no express exceptions and that while certain exceptions available under the Human Rights Act {D.C. Code 2-1401.03} might apply, the committee report for Bill 20-790 emphasizes that they would provide no real protection for religious or other pro-life employers UNLESS the organization is directly operated or controlled within connection to a particular religious group. That religious or political organizations not “operated, supervised or controlled” by a religious organization will not be protected. What this is truly infringing upon is our right to have a PRO-LIFE, non-partisan, non-denominational, non-profit organization and that the only way to ensure our constitutional right to freedom of speech and religion is NOT violated is to align an organization with a particular religious group which will cater to the beliefs of that particular faith and not the “sanctity of human life” as a whole. It is somewhat unclear as to why the Council is even considering such an ill-fated bill which truly has no hope of being upheld, will waste taxpayer dollars and funding and could open the door to District employees to personal liability for enforcement of a law that under the Constitution is illegal, what is clear however is that the Committee responsible for backing such a bill anticipates that through passing such a bill it will burden religious and other pro-life employers which as the hearing demonstrated is the very goal of Bill 20-790 “Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment”.

While this is bill is currently only in consideration in our Capital of Washington DC, it is vital that we as a nation and as Christians stand up and in unity and with purpose send a clear and strong message that we will NOT participate in the murder of innocent children, that we will NOT be forced to violate our conscience and morals and that we will NOT submit to FORCED FUNDING of abortion. By using the broad term of “reproductive health” the advocates and supporters of this bill are attempting to continue on with the inaccurate fallacy that abortion is a reproductive RIGHT, choosing to abide by Natural Family Planning is a reproductive right, choosing to use condoms and other PRE fertilization contraceptives are a reproductive right; TEARING limbs from a human being, and INJECTING them with fatal poisons, and other horrific and abhorrent methods used to end their life is NOT “health care”, and it is not a reproductive RIGHT particularly when it is being FORCED upon a person to condone against their moral and religious convictions. The war on life has expanded to a war on liberty of conscience and it is time that we stand up and be a collective voice that refuses to tolerate a “national standard of abortion”.