Entries by Joseph Backholm

How President-Elect Trump Made Progressives Like “Discrimination” Again

What a difference eight years makes. When President Obama was elected in 2008, he campaigned on the idea that marriage was a relationship between a man and a woman. His political party was obviously good with that. When he leaves office tomorrow, most of that same political party believes that people who hold the position he held when he was elected President should lose their businesses for it. As a result bakers, florists, print shops, pizza shops owners, photographers, graduate students and fire chiefs suffered the wrath of a mob that somewhere along the way decided that tolerance only meant tolerating beliefs you agreed with or understood. In principle, Americans have long agreed that “tolerance” is a good thing. But only recently did we decide that “tolerance” required you to support events, messages, and activities you personally opposed. But then Donald Trump was elected President. And that changed everything. To be sure, it’s a dramatic shift in the nature of the leadership coming from Washington DC. But for progressives, it also required a change in their core principles. For years they told those who didn’t support their view of marriage and sexuality that abstention was a sign of invidious bigotry. […]

Should Women Be Able to Sue Doctors for the Emotional Damage from Abortion?

It’s no secret that abortion can cause significant emotional damage to women who choose it.  But should women be able to sue their doctors if they experience emotional damage from an abortion? Iowa State Senator Mark Chelgren thinks so and has introduced legislation that would do just that. In an interview with Fox News, Sen. Chelgren explained the purpose of the bill. “What we’re asking for is that individuals, doctors and clinics that make money off of women by giving them abortions are simply held accountable. That’s all this does. It protects women from people who would normally be trying to sell them something in a time when they are under the most stress that is kind of imaginable.” The legislation allows a lawsuit regardless of how much time has passed since the abortion. Despite the fact that emotional risks associated with abortion are well documented, no state currently has a law that specifically permits lawsuits for those harms. Known side effects from abortion include regret, anger, guilt, shame, a sense of loneliness or isolation, loss of self confidence, insomnia or nightmares, relationship issues, suicidal thoughts and feelings, eating disorders, depression, and anxiety. Perhaps unsurprisingly, AmericanPregnancy.org describes that the risk of side effects has […]

Klippert Bill Would Ban Sale, Use, Donation of Aborted Fetal Tissue

As the legislative session picks up steam, so does the ongoing debate over aborted fetal tissue in Washington State. Yesterday, we wrote about a new effort in Congress to eliminate federal funding from entities that traffic in aborted fetal tissue. The effort picked up steam in Washington State as well as Rep. Brad Klippert, from Kennewick, introduced House Bill 1243 to ban the sale, use, and donation of aborted fetal tissue. The legislation comes on the heals of a Final Report by the Select Panel on Infant Lives, commissioned by the House of Representatives, which discovered that the largest bank of aborted fetal tissue in the United States was the Birth Defects Research Lab (BDRL) at the University of Washington. According to the final report, BDRL has procured aborted fetal tissue from thirteen separate abortion providers in Washington State and distributed aborted fetal tissue to forty different entities around the country. All of that would become illegal under the proposal. In addition to banning the use of aborted fetal tissue, the legislation would also require the remains of an aborted baby “be decently buried, or cremated within a reasonable time after death.” The legislation has thirteen co-sponsors in addition to Rep. […]

Who Else, Besides Planned Parenthood, Should Lose Federal Funding?

Planned Parenthood has received a lot of public scrutiny lately.  Even before the Center For Medical Progress released videos that revealed how intricately Planned Parenthood is involved in the trafficking of aborted baby parts, they were already the nation’s number one provider of abortions with a very troubling past. President-elect Trump has promised to stop federal funding of Planned Parenthood, and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said that effort is included in a critical reconciliation bill. But Planned Parenthood isn’t the only entity deserving of losing its federal funds. Last week we wrote about the Birth Defects Research Lab (BDRL) at the University of Washington and its refusal to cooperate with federal subpoenas. Their refusal to cooperate with subpoenas or respond to public records requests means there are many things we do not know about the BDRL. But the things we do know raise serious concerns about the wisdom of giving them federal tax dollars. In response to the disturbing videos from the Center for Medical Progress, the House of Representatives created a Select Panel on Infant Lives to investigate whether baby body parts were being sold for a profit. The Select Panel’s final report was released on December 30th.  […]

Judge Halts ObamaCare Mandates on Gender Reassignment and Abortion

A day before they were to go into affect, a federal judge in Texas issued an injunction against Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulations that forbid “discriminating on the basis of ‘gender identity’ and ‘termination of pregnancy.’” The rules had been challenged by eight states, an association of almost 18,000 doctors, and a Catholic hospital system. The regulations would require all 900,000 physicians in America to perform an abortion or gender reassignment surgery regardless of conscientious objection or medical judgement. U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled that the regulations were likely to violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). “This is a common-sense ruling: The government has no business forcing private doctors to perform procedures on children that the government itself recognizes can be harmful and exempts its own doctors from performing,” said Lori Windham, senior counsel at Becket Law, which filed a lawsuit against the new federal regulation. “Today’s ruling ensures that doctors’ best medical judgment will not be replaced with political agendas and bureaucratic interference.” White House spokeswoman Katie Hill described the judge’s decision as a “setback.” In issuing the temporary injunction, the judge ruled that the mandates are likely to be found to be in violation of […]

Which Right is the LGBT Community Most Afraid of Losing?

The left is upset.  And who can blame them?  Losing elections isn’t fun.  But sometimes when we become emotional, we become irrational.  And that seems to be happening a little bit too. One recent example is an article in Salon lamenting the fact that the business community will no longer be able to “stop Trump from repealing LGBT rights.“ The first problem with this article is fairly obvious.  Donald Trump is not exactly James Dobson. In fact, his apparent support for the LGBT community is one of the reasons many conservatives struggled to support him in the first place and part of the reason some never did. He has never said anything close to critical of same-sex “marriage”. Peter Thiel, one of his wealthiest and most prominent supporters, gave a convention speech in support of Trump at the request of Trump.  He identifies as gay. So what LGBT rights are they concerned about losing? The article focuses its concern on a piece of federal legislation called the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) which prohibits the government from discriminating against individuals and businesses because of their beliefs about marriage. That’s right. They’re terrified that a bill created to eliminate discrimination based on […]

Do People Choose Their Religion?

Do people choose their religion? It’s a simple question that has arisen out of an apparent contradiction. On one hand, religious conservatives in twenty-one states do not have the freedom to decline to decorate for a same-sex wedding. However, same-sex couples do have the freedom to decline to provide services for religious conservatives based on their belief that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman? Each side has convictions but only one side will face legal penalties. Many of us believe this to be unjust but progressives wonder why anyone is confused. For them, this isn’t a complicated situation at all. In a recent conversation about a dress designer who refused to dress Melania Trump, I asked an acquaintance, “Why should the dress designer see a different result than the the florist who declined to decorate for a same-sex wedding?” The answer was quick. “Religion is a choice, but sexual orientation isn’t.” Essentially, his point was that people should be free to discriminate against people based on their beliefs and convictions but not based on how they were born.  (He apparently assumed sexual desire is fixed and innate.) The conclusion is that if people treat you poorly […]

Does the Left Love Freedom Again?

It’s Thanksgiving this week, which means we’re all looking for things to be thankful for. One thing I’m thankful for is that our friends on the left may be coming around to the idea that freedom is cool again. Over the past eight years, we have seen a massive shift away from an emphasis on individual rights to an environment that prioritized a subjective concept of “tolerance” in the hopes of eradicating a subjective concept of “discrimination.” The cost has been a significant assault on conscience rights and individual freedoms. In 2007, few of us could have imagined: Forcing nuns to pay for birth control, Allowing government to discriminate against Christian organizations that require it’s leadership to be Christians Making it illegal for private individuals to choose not to pay for health insurance, or Forcing a wedding contractor to participate in a wedding they had moral objections to. But all of those became priorities of the Obama Administration. Previously, it was understood that First Amendment protected people in cases like these. Beyond that, however, conservatives and liberals agreed that it was wrong for a political majority to compel a political minority to do things that violated their sincerely held beliefs. […]

WA AG Continues to Fundraise Off Lawsuit Against Barronelle Stutzman

Yesterday, Barronelle Stutzman, the florist from eastern Washington, had her day at the Washington State Supreme Court.  She argued that the First Amendment’s protects her right to choose which messages she communicates with her art and which events she chooses to participate. On the other side, Attorney General Bob Ferguson argued that, “The state’s interest overrides constitutionally protects individual rights”. In addition to being alarmed that the Attorney General believes the state’s interest always override the interests of individuals, there’s something else you should be concerned about. As has been customary at every hearing involving this case, Mr. Ferguson sent a fundraising email to his list of supporters immediately after walking out of court.  Here is what he said. I went to court today, _____. Here’s why: Three years ago, a florist in Richland refused to serve a gay man who wanted flowers for his wedding. That’s discrimination, pure and simple. If a business provides a service, it must provide that service equally and cannot discriminate. This morning, I argued before the state Supreme Court in support of our state’s anti-discrimination laws. Here in Washington, it’s against the law to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation. Just like […]

Barronelle Stutzman Has Her Day In Court

Barronelle Stutzman had her day in court.  Accused of violating the state’s law against discrimination for declining to decorate for a same-sex wedding, today Mrs. Stutzman went to the Washington State Supreme Court to argue that the First Amendment protects her right to decide the kind of messages she supports with her art. She had appealed a lower court ruling concluding that once an artist sells their work to the public, they must agree to do any art someone is willing to pay them to do, regardless of personal objections. The lower court concluded that declining to decorate for a same-sex wedding is always discrimination based on sexual orientation regardless of the fact that Mrs. Stutzman has employed people who experience same-sex attraction, sold them flowers in the past, and repeatedly emphasized her willingness to do so in the future. Because the state has sued her in her personal and professional capacities,  she stands to lose her home, life savings, retirement, and business to the government in this case. A crowd of approximately five hundred people showed up to support Mrs. Stutzman.  The crowd filled the three-hundred person auditorium and two overflow rooms at Bellevue Community College,  where the arguments […]