Do Parents Have the Right to Seek Help for Their Children?

Who decides what medical or mental health care is best for your child? Would it surprise you to know that in the mental health arena the ‘age of consent’ is only 13 years of age in Washington?  Like laws surrounding abortion, parents of adolescents are potentially cut out of the decision making and mental health care of their teenage children.

When it comes to mental health treatment for issues of sexual orientation or gender identity, it could be even worse.

Conversion therapy, the use of talk therapy to help children suffering from questions of Sexual Orientation or Gender Dysphoria, was banned in Seattle as of August 2016.

The legislation sponsored by Councilmember M. Lorena González made the practice of conversion therapy on minors by licensed medical or mental-health professionals punishable by fines of up to $1,000. It also prohibits the advertising of conversion therapy.

In 2017, the Washington state senate introduced SB5722, which would extend the ban to minors statewide. When the legislature returns early in 2018, the debate is set to continue.  If such a ban were to pass, parents would not be able to seek mental health treatment for their children who may be struggling with gender identity or sexual orientation issues.

The American Psychological Association (APA) calls transgender, an “umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth.” The diagnosis often assigned these individuals by the clinical community is Gender Dysphoria. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) contains separate criteria for diagnosing it in adults and adolescents versus children.

While it is typically recognized that adult citizens of the United States have full jurisdiction over their own medical choices, those under 18 are considered under the authority of their parents. A debate, on these terms, surrounding the appropriate treatment for children and adolescents who may be transgender is taking shape all around the world.

The Daily Mail recently profiled parents who felt the state-sponsored, National Health Service (NHS) in England was pressuring their kids to go through with medical procedures to change their sex. The article reports that one mother was shocked to find her child being referred to a specialist transgender clinic, after only a 40-minute evaluation. Some of the parents made claims that their children only began hating the biological sex they were born after cases of extreme bullying by other students and that NHS employees refused to listen to their claims.

The rush to label children transgender comes on the heels of the NHS signing a “memorandum of understanding,” which is nearly identical to implementing a ban on conversion therapy. The memorandum makes it illegal for staff to challenge the person’s gender confusion.

It is pertinent to note that the science on this matter has not been settled yet either. There is much debate in the medical community as to whether transgender is a clinical disorder and furthermore if those who don’t adhere to the gender binary deserve protections similar to that which is guaranteed based upon immutable characteristics like race.

Dr. Quentin Vanmeter, a pediatric endocrinologist from the American College of Pediatricians does not view transgenderism as a civil rights issue. He says that transgenderism is a mental health issue, and there is no scientific evidence that it’s a physiological phenomenon. He believes that treating it as if it’s a natural phenomenon and speaking about it as a civil rights issue is doing a disservice to the children struggling with this type of mental illness.

He’s not alone either, former Chief of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Paul McHugh, also believes that being transgender is a psychological problem, not a biological phenomenon. He thinks that transgender individuals should be referred to mental health counseling, not surgery.  A statewide ban such as Seattle’s on talk-therapy for minors dealing with gender dysphoria would make this impossible.

With a degree of doubt cast on the advocacy of LGBT groups painting transgender as a biological phenomenon and not a psychological problem, parents need to be skeptical of hormone therapies and sex reassignment surgery, which hold the potential to alter a child or adolescent’s  life indefinitely.

Parents should have the right to explore all of the options available for their children and adolescents and make the decision that seems most appropriate to them, not the state.

Genevieve Malandra is a contributing writer to Family Policy Institute of Washington.

The Devil Hit the Jackpot

[Editor’s Note: As FPIW prepared to post this entry, the following quote appeared on a Facebook Friend’s timeline; it serves as an excellent introduction.  “What a jackpot the devil hit with the sexual revolution. Hard to imagine it delivering for him more than it has (including its own ongoing, no-end-in-sight genocide).”]

It comes as little surprise to those veterans of the so-called “culture wars,” who have for decades been predicting the catastrophic consequences of abandoning traditional sexual norms in favor of the spirit of the age. Nonetheless, it is astonishing to stand at a distance and survey the carnage it has wrought on our society. The damage of the sexual revolution is most clearly seen in the mass slaughter of innocents via abortion, the prevalence of STDs in America today, and sky-high rates of porn usage.

Undoubtedly, the bloodiest fruit of the sexual revolution is the normalization and legalization of elective abortion. Since Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton forced abortion on all 50 states in 1973, more than 55 million babies have been dismembered, starved, and burned alive. Our medical waste buckets are full of the dead bodies of our children, and we have no one to blame but ourselves. If this were all, it would be enough to condemn the sexual revolution and abandon its precepts to the trash heap of history. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end here.

It turns out that ram-rodding “comprehensive” sexual education classes into our schools and giving billions of dollars to Planned Parenthood is not enough to create institutions capable of handling the fallout from the sexual revolution and a culture dominated by casual sex. As evidence, one need look no further than the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). According to recent CDC statistics, at any given time 110 million Americans, or about 1 in 3, has an STD. Mind you that these numbers include both the very young and the very old, so If they were isolated for just the sexually active the numbers would be even higher.

Equally concerning is the astronomically high rate of porn consumption. A 2014 Barna survey found that 79% of men aged 18-30 reported watching porn at least monthly. This piece is not an article on the harm of pornography—abler pens than mine have devoted themselves to that question more efficiently than I can in this blog. Suffice to say that porn is not a laughing matter, and its prevalence in our society is an awful testament to the pervasiveness of the sexual revolution.

It becomes difficult to separate these three consequences from each other, and this is understandable because they are related. They are different fruits from the same deadly tree. Enough souls have been broken and spirits crushed by the insidious lies of the sexual revolution. As David French recently wrote in National Review: “Now is the time for Christians to leave their defensive crouch, to approach the public square with confidence. A wounded and broken sexual culture searches for answers. Who are we to withhold the truth?” In light of the sad state of our culture, the church must prepare itself to love and serve the survivors of the deadliest revolution of our time—the sexual revolution.

Porn statistics found at- https://www.provenmen.org/pornography-survey-statistics-2014/
David French’s quote is from- http://www.nationalreview.com/article/452683/sex-consent-morality-culture-ruined-sexual-revolution

Bryce Asberg is a contributing writer to Family Policy Institute and a full-time student at Hillsdale College.

With more teens “sexting,” should we abandon child pornography laws?

Do minors have a First Amendment right to take and distribute sexually explicit photos of themselves? The answer is no, according to a 6-3 ruling by the Washington State Supreme Court.

A 17-year-old in Spokane was charged with and convicted of “dealing in depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct” under state law after he texted a picture of his erect genitalia to a 22-year-old woman. Arguing that the First Amendment guarantees his right to express himself by sending sexually explicit images of himself to others, he appealed to the Washington State Supreme Court after the appeals court affirmed the trial court’s decision.

Astonishingly, the ACLU and supposed children’s rights organizations Columbia Legal Services and TeamChild filed a brief to the court on behalf of the 17-year-old defendant. In their brief, the organizations argued that the court’s ruling would “jeopardize thousands of minors across the state by criminalizing increasingly common and normative adolescent behavior [using phones to distribute sexually explicit pictures of minors].”

To some extent, the ACLU and their friends are right. Children shouldn’t be forced to register as a sex offender simply because they voluntarily took pictures of their genitalia and consensually swapped it with someone from school (most of the time, law enforcement show no interest in pursuing such offenses). There exists a significant difference between an adult distributing pornographic images of minors, a high school boy sending pictures of his naked minor girlfriend to his friends, and a high school student texting lewd photos of him- or herself to someone he or she knows. Our state laws should be updated to reflect the growing phenomenon of sexting, a practice that wasn’t even technologically possible decades ago when these child pornography laws were enacted.

On the other hand, states have the legal authority and moral responsibility to criminalize the distribution of sexually explicit images of minors. It makes no difference that sexting has become “increasingly common and normative adolescent behavior.” That the practice is becoming increasingly prevalent is all the more reason to make clear that such behavior will not be tolerated.

Indeed, the same reasoning used by the ACLU and their friends is often also used by those who promote the distribution of birth control and prophylactics to high school students. “The kids are already having sex,” they say, “so we should ensure that they can have consequence-free safe sex.” But this logic was proven faulty by a study published this summer in The Journal of Health Economics showing that pregnancy rates fell by over 40% after cuts were made to contraceptive-based sexual education programs in England.

Minors who practice sexting are simultaneously engaging in distributing and possessing child pornography. Washington State has rightly criminalized this behavior. Although our laws should be modified to recognize the reality of voluntary consensual sexting among youths, we shouldn’t abandon the prohibition on (and penalties for) child pornography merely because more children are engaging in it. If anything, the sexting epidemic only proves that these laws are needed now more than ever.

Yakima School District Principal Instructs Teachers to Lie to Parents

A Yakima teacher is blowing the whistle on school administrators who he claims instructed him and his coworkers to “engage in active deception towards parents with regard to trans-gendered students.”

In a Facebook post on August 28, Jeremy Wuitschick, a teacher at Lewis and Clark Middle School in Yakima, WA, gave details about an interaction with the principal at a staff meeting:

YSD [Yakima School District] PARENTS PLEASE SHARE: Today our principal instructed teachers to engage in ACTIVE DECEPTION TOWARDS PARENTS with regard to trans-gendered students that ask to be called a name of a different gender. I am a teacher at Lewis and Clark Middle School.

I confirmed this by repeating this question three times to my principal in front of a group of 50 people.

Me: “Are you instructing teachers to actively deceive parents?”

Principal: “Yes.”

This issue is most troubling to me (not transgenderism but rather being told to lie to parents about what is going on at the school with their child).

One teacher raised the classic objection to dishonesty and lying; what if she accidentally makes a mistake and forgets which “reality” is the correct to articulate to a parent.

It is important to note that my objection is to intentional deception by agents of the state towards parents with regard to their own children, I HAVE NO PROBLEM CALLING ANYONE WHATEVER THEY WISH.

The school grounds its policy in federal FERPA (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act) legislation, but this is not a legally coherent argument. According to FERPA 34 C.F.R. Part 99.4, “An educational agency or institution shall give full rights under the Act to either parent, unless the agency or institution has been provided with evidence that there is a court order, State statute, or legally binding document relating to such matters as divorce, separation, or custody that specifically revokes these rights.” FERPA was carefully worded to prevent school districts like Yakima from turning it into a weapon to be wielded against parents of middle schoolers. That’s not stopping YSD, however.

This is the latest manifestation of a disturbing trend of state powers encroaching on the ability of parents to act as parents to their children. In 2010, a 15-year-old student at Ballard High School was given birth control by the school nurse without notification of the parents. The birth control failed, and the girl became pregnant. School officials then told the girl that they would cover all expenses including a taxi ride to and from the abortion clinic provided she withheld all information about what had occurred from her parents.

A few weeks ago, a California kindergarten teacher read books to her students explaining that perceptions of one’s body need not conform to the reality of their body. Afterwards, the class hosted a “gender reveal” for a gender dysmorphic boy who was attempting to look more like a girl. “My daughter came home crying and shaking so afraid she could turn into a boy,” one parent said at a public meeting following the incident, according to The Federalist. The parents of the students were not made aware that this would take place.

At Nova Classical Academy in Minnesota, lawsuits over sex-related issues have forced the school to keep all sex-education curriculum and sex-related policies hidden from parents and not allow parents to opt out of any classes or assignments regarding sexual morality. Joy Pullman at The Federalist wrote extensively on the situation:

“This month’s settlement after 16 months of litigation requires the school to make all uniforms available to both sexes, pay LGBT organizations to ‘train staff’ in politically correct behavior every three years, and ‘not adopt any gender policy that allows parents to opt out of requirements in the gender inclusion policy because of objections based on religion or conscience.’ This lawyer and Federalist contributor, after reviewing the settlement, said it appears to ban the school from even notifying parents of its sex policies.”

The sexual revolutionaries have no shame. They indoctrinate kindergartners with objectively false and harmful ideas about human nature. They push sexual activity on children as soon as young girls are old enough to take carcinogenic hormonal birth control. They put kids on a trajectory of sexual immorality and then grease the skids towards abortion. They do all of this, and you might never even know.

If it weren’t for the few brave enough to publicly reject leftist sexual orthodoxy and exclusion of parents from kids’ lives, we wouldn’t know of any of this. Legal theorists on the side of secular, anti-family “progressives” believe that the state grants you the right to be a parent and thus also has the authority to take away your parental rights. This particularly insidious understanding of the sacrosanct parent-child relationship is trickling down to the district level. It is up to parents to make sure public school officials don’t get away with it.


James Silberman is a guest contributor to the FPIW Blog. He is a pro-life activist from Gig Harbor, WA, and a student at Whitworth University.


Spokane Public Schools Consider Using Planned Parenthood Sex-Ed Curriculum

Spokane Public Schools district board members were scheduled to vote on a proposal last month that would implement a sexual education curriculum developed by Planned Parenthood. Although the vote was postponed following significant community backlash, the curriculum may still be adopted when the school board meets again this fall.

The “Get Real” curriculum emphasizes sexuality from a perspective of gender fluidity. It also represents a significant conflict of interest.

“The organization who makes this material stands to benefit when young people are sexually active and when they need abortions,” John Repsold, a member of HGDCAC, told The Spokesman-Review.

Despite the district’s decision to delay the vote, it remains likely that Planned Parenthood’s curriculum will be used to educate the youth of Spokane come September. Repsold expects only three of the committee’s 15 members will vote against the new program.

One member of the Human Growth and Development Citizens Advisory Committee (HGDCAC), which provides guidance to Spokane Public Schools on issues of sexuality, is Rachel Todd, an education director at Planned Parenthood.

Spokane children aren’t the only targets of Planned Parenthood educational programs. The nation’s largest abortion corporation is also one of the most prominent distributors of sexual education materials. Furthermore, Planned Parenthood intends to begin establishing clinics inside public schools, starting with Reading, PA.

Planned Parenthood has used its access to children and teens to sexualize them in ways that can only be described as child abuse. Its sexual education materials encourage masturbation, pornography use, sexual experimentation,  promiscuous sex, and alternative sexual lifestyles (see video below).

In 2014, Live Action published undercover footage showing Planned Parenthood employees teaching 15-year-old girls how to engage in violent and otherwise perverted forms of sexual activity. The lessons included bondage sex, torture sex, nipple clamps, horse whips, flogging, choking during sex, urinating and being urinated on during sex, defecating and being defecated on during sex, double penetration, pornography consumption, how to hide porn use from parents, pretending her boyfriend is a dog or a horse, being “punished” by her boyfriend, toddler fetishes and numerous other dangerous and dehumanizing sexual perversions.

It is unsurprising that Planned Parenthood teaches kids these things. Their business model depends on widespread sexual immorality in order to increase demand for their sex-related products. Planned Parenthood acquires lifelong customers when they expose children to these behaviors at a young age.

Yet the Spokane public school district is still considering bringing Planned Parenthood’s sexual education curriculum into the classroom.

Planned Parenthood is a billion-dollar abortion corporation that seeks to warp our children’s views of sex.  They simply cannot be allowed access to students.


It is incumbent upon us all to do something. Please contact the following Spokane Public School administrators to voice your displeasure with their decision (as always, please be respectful in your communication):

Deanna Brower (Board President): DeanaBrower@spokaneschools.org

Susan Chapin (Board Vice President): SusanChapin@spokaneschools.org

Jerrall Haynes (Board co-legislative Liaison): JerrallHaynes@spokaneschools.org

Paul Schneider (Board Co-Legislative Liaison): PaulSchneider@spokaneschools.org

Michael Wiser (Board Member): MikeWiser@spokaneschools.org

Shelley Redinger (District Superintendent): ShelleyR@spokaneschools.org

Temira Hatch (HGDCAC Chair): temira@northtowninsurance.com

Hershell Zelman (HGDCAC Immediate Past Chair): (509)-747-2234

Sasha Carey (HGDCAC Member): Sashadaniel@hotmail.com

Ian Sullivan (HGDCAC Member): Ian@OdysseyYouth.org

John Andes (Chase Middle School Principal): JohnAnd@spokaneschools.org

Robert Reavis (Garry Middle School Principal): RobertR@spokaneschools.org

Kim Halcro (Glover Middle School Principal): KimHal@spokaneschools.org

Jeremy Ochse (Sacajawea Middle School Principal): JeremyO@spokaneschools.org

Carole Meyer (Salk Middle School Principal): CaroleM@spokaneschools.org

John Swett (Shaw Middle School Principal): JonS@spokaneschools.org

Ken Schutz (Ferris High School Principal): KenS@spokaneschools.org

Marybeth Smith (Lewis & Clark High School Principal): marybethsm@spokaneschools.org

Steve Fisk (North Central High School): SteveF@spokaneschools.org

Lisa Mattson (On Track Academy Principal): LisaMat@spokaneschools.org

Lori Wyborney (Rogers High School Principal): LoriWy@spokaneschools.org

Julie Lee (Shadle Park High School Principal): JulieL@spokaneschools.org

Cindy McMahon (The Community School Principal): CindyMc@spokaneschools.org


James Silberman is a guest contributor to the FPIW Blog. He is a pro-life activist from Gig Harbor, WA, and a student at Whitworth University.


 

The Collateral Damage of the War on Reality

As two more recent stories indicate, the war on gender has nothing to do with bathrooms.

In the first story, a Canadian parent wants their child’s birth certificate to be the first to identify a baby as neither male or female. The parent, who identifies as neither male or female, had this to say about the baby.

“I’m recognizing them as a baby and trying to give them all the love and support to be the most whole person that they can be outside of the restrictions that come with the boy box and the girl box.”

While all of this started as a call for compassion for the tiny percentage of the population who feel like they are the “other” gender,  it has quickly led to rejecting the idea that there is anything that can be known from one’s anatomy.

But asking children to reach conclusions about things they know nothing about is self-evidently silly.

When a child asks “What am I?”, it doesn’t help if all the adults look back at them and ask, “I don’t know, what are you?”

The adults are supposed to know things the kids don’t.

Still, it could be worse.

While some parents are choosing not to impose a gender, other parents don’t have the same patience.

In this story, three, queer parents of a three-year-old that they dubbed “queerspawn” have determined that their child is transgender.  The author of this story describes himself as transgender and asexual.  He says this about the child.

He was assigned female at birth, but his non-conforming behavior was clear and consistent from day one. It started with his hair. He hated wearing it long, and he hated it when we did anything with it. No ponytails, no braids — nothing. He also refused to wear dresses and skirts.

The child probably can’t be trusted to sleep through the night without wetting the bed, but we’re supposed to believe she has a grasp on gender norms as expressed through hair length and clothing and the awareness to understand both their significance, how to reject them, and the consequences of doing so.

While sure their child is transgender, they now wonder whether she will be queer as well.

I don’t wish him any more marginalization and oppression than he’ll already face as a trans person. But I can’t help but think that if he’s queer, there’ll be yet another community he can join, another supportive place for him to vent about that oppression. There are other queer people who will listen and sympathize with him beyond his family. He will need those people when he gets older and flies away from us.

Some parents hope their kids have an adventure, a healthy family, a place that makes them happy, and life-long love.

Other parents label their three-year-old transgender, hope she is attracted to men, which they say would make her gay because they think she’s a boy, and then hope she finds a community to vent about oppression.

Sadly, in 2017, this qualifies as parenting.

I have no doubt these parents want the best for their child.

But it’s hard to know what is good for your child when your view of the world has replaced the concepts of “good” and “bad” with “preferred” or “not preferred.”

We can all understand the appeal of a world is which nothing is inherently wrong, and the only possible consequences of our behavior were environmental which would allow us to manage the fallout by simply fixing the environment.

If, however, that world doesn’t actually exist, if our pursuit of our preferences continues to collide with the natural laws of the universe, the only actual outcome of our pursuits will be pain.

As is usually the case when adults make mistakes, kids will end up as collateral damage in our war on reality.

 

 

The Politically Correct Defense of Gender Identity is Concealing Much Worse

We’re told over and over that it’s purely hypothetical to suppose that any man would ever use gender identity activism or laws to sanction unethical or criminal behavior. As if we were speculating about angels dancing on pinheads.

This is false. We’re having it proved again, this very month.

National Geographic’s gender issue is a case in point. Featured in one of its photo spreads are Alok Vaid-Menon and Cherno Biko.

Vaid-Menon wrote an essay describing little girls as “kinky,” in seeming allusion to the idea that child sexual abuse could be consensual or desired, and you can read it here.

Cherno Biko’s essay appearing to confess to the rape of a trans man, a female living as a man, for the purpose of impregnation is the reason why I first started writing here at FPIW, and you can find links to both versions of that essay here.

Then there’s the women’s march. Except that it’s neither just for women, nor even just about us.

What started as a simple idea has been taken over by a strain of sex industry activism merged with transgender ideology, and summed up flawlessly by the fact that Janet Mock has insisted that the platform include so-called “sex workers’ rights.”

The march platform was in fact changed to call for the liberation of the prostituted from exploitation, and Mock demanded that it be changed back to reflect the political interests of the sex industry. A group representing the interests of sex industry survivors has been banned from the march following this incident.

While I empathize with Mock’s experiences as a young person trafficked in the sex trade, I find it objectionable that, as an adult, Mock has used their media platform to compare child sex trafficking to liberation from slavery. What decent parent would want such a life for their child, any child? What responsible media outlet would allow any other adult victim of child sexual abuse the opportunity to represent such abuse as positive? It’s unfortunate that Mock was groomed by exploitative adults at a young age. It’s also a serious problem that Mock has chosen to be a spokesperson for other abusive adults.

I have no doubt that very few people truly share or endorse the politics of these individuals, particularly their apologies for, or praise of, sexual exploitation. But I wonder, what will it take for those truly concerned with social justice and feminism to take a good look at what they’re endorsing by having these individuals act as movement leaders?

*Silence is the pseudonym of a radical, progressive feminist.

“For reasons of personal safety and livelihood, I cannot disclose my real identity. But I can tell you this much: I’m a progressive feminist who has spent years working on the front lines of the left. I have opposed conservatism my entire political life in the most strident of terms; under other circumstances, I wouldn’t admit to even reading this site.”

WA School District Spends Remaining Budget on Pro-LGBT Safe Space Training

A month ago, FPIW reported on the Snohomish School District‘s payment of over $14,000 to a group that advocates transgenderism in children.

Now, according to documents obtained through a public records request, FPIW has learned that North Thurston Public Schools (NTPS) spent money last year on “safe space training,” provided by the Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network (GLSEN).

The money was frantically spent at year-end to avoid losing budget resources for the next year.

Funds were also used to purchase GLSEN student resource kits that were placed in school nurse offices.

The GLSEN safe space training contains questionable content for high schools. The kits encourage teachers to become LGBT allies (the student resource kits presumably include the same information):

  • Teachers are told to integrate pro-LGBT material into their classrooms by adding “positive representations of LGBT people, history and events” and “LGBT literature” in the curriculum.
  • Teachers are instructed not to assume a student’s gender and to use gender inclusive language (i.e., “partner” instead of “boyfriend/girlfriend” and the pronoun “they” instead of “he/she”).
  • Teachers are encouraged to “validate [their students’] gender identity and expression.”
  • Schools are urged to adopt gender-neutral locker rooms and bathrooms, “Valentine’s Day celebrations inclusive of LGBT and non-coupled students,” and “proms, homecoming and athletic events that allow for gender-neutral alternatives to ‘King’ and ‘Queen.’”

Additionally, in an email to a state education official sent in June 2015, an NTPS district official lamented that they weren’t able to purchase and assemble Planned Parenthood “birth control kits” for health teachers before the deadline.

The NTPS official stated that the birth control kits would be purchased from Planned Parenthood in 2016. It’s unclear whether the District ended up buying the kits this year. We’ve reached out to the District for comment.

The American Family Association has identified GLSEN as promoting “anti-Christian bigotry” and intolerance toward Christianity. With this in mind, it’s troubling that NTPS seems to have a close relationship with GLSEN.

We agree with GLSEN that students struggling with same-sex feelings or gender dysphoria deserve to feel safe at school. Of course all students deserve respect.  However, public schools shouldn’t teach young children that these behaviors are healthy and normal – and that’s exactly what GLSEN student resource kits do.

Moreover, many North Thurston parents who hold traditional values contrary to those presented in GLSEN safe space training and student resource kits would be shocked to find out what their children are being taught.

The GLSEN safe space training and student resource kits were purchased with NTPS grant money from Exemplary Sexual Health Education (ESHE), an initiative that is partly funded through grants from the Center for Disease Control and administered by the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). Fourteen school districts in Washington State are part of the ESHE initiative.

Trump Taps Rep. Tom Price, Pro-Life Doctor, for HHS Secretary

President-elect Donald Trump has selected pro-life champion Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) to run the Department of Health and Human Services.

Price, a physician, is a known opponent of Obamacare, signaling the incoming administration’s intention of following through with its campaign promise to “repeal and replace.”

“Some Republicans have attacked the Affordable Care Act without proposing an alternative,” reported the New York Times. “Mr. Price, by contrast, has introduced bills offering a detailed, comprehensive replacement plan in every Congress since 2009, when Democrats started work on the legislation.”

Price’s piece of legislation, the Empowering Patients First Act, would repeal and replace Obamacare and create tax credits for the purchase of individual and family health insurance policies.  If passed, it would also create new incentives for people to contribute to health savings accounts, offer grants to states to subsidize insurance for “high-risk populations,” and promote competition by allowing insurers to sell policies across state lines.  His legislation also provides explicit protections for religious freedom and rights of conscience related to the practice of abortion and the dispensing of abortion-inducing drugs.

As an added bonus, Price has consistently — 100% of the time — voted to Defund Planned Parenthood.  He is an outspoken critic of abortion, calling it a “barbaric” practice.

Planned Parenthood and pro-choice advocacy group NARAL seems concerned by the selection as well:

Price has been strong on all of FPIW’s issues in Congress, stating after the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage that it was “not only a sad day for marriage, but a further judicial destruction of our entire system of checks and balances.”

Price must be confirmed by the incoming U.S. Senate next year before taking over the Department.  And of course, if confirmed, he would no longer be a member of Congress, meaning that his legislation would have to be picked up by another member of Congress. But with conservative majorities in the House and Senate, and a clear priority for the incoming Trump Administration to repeal and replace Obamacare, we don’t expect finding legislative sponsors to be an issue.

We’ll keep you updated through the confirmation process.  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Just Like Roe, Marriage Isn’t Settled

In his first interview since winning the presidential election, President-elect Donald J. Trump assured the American people that he won’t advocate reversing the Supreme Court’s decision last year requiring states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Speaking with CBS News correspondent Leslie Stahl on 60 Minutes, Donald Trump indicated that his administration will abandon efforts to overturn the controversial Obergefell decision. The news media has interpreted Trump’s support for same-sex marriage as a sign that the conservative movement has surrendered on the contentious issue.

“I’ve been a supporter [of the LGBT group],” Trump said in the interview this past Sunday. “[Marriage equality] is already settled. It’s law… These cases [regarding same-sex marriage] have gone to the Supreme Court, they’ve been settled, and I’m fine with that.”

In Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), the Supreme Court interpreted the Fourteenth Amendment as requiring states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The Court’s decision to force states to give equal treatment to same-sex marriages “has no basis in the Constitution or this Court’s precedent,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts in his dissent. “Under the Constitution, judges have power to say what the law is, not what it should be…. Five lawyers have closed the debate [about same-sex marriage] and enacted their own vision of marriage as a matter of constitutional law.”

While President-elect Trump may be willing to accept the unconstitutional edict from the Supreme Court, Republicans and conservative Christians shouldn’t abandon efforts to restore traditional marriage.

Conservatives know that laws encouraging traditional nuclear families – consisting of a father, a mother, and their children – strengthen communities.

Furthermore, numerous sociological studies indicate that children raised within intact traditional families are healthier and happier. These children are also more likely to become successful, well-adjusted adults.

Our laws should reflect this social and biological reality. Just as our laws affirm that adultery and polygamy corrode the natural order and weaken families, so too should our laws reflect the truth that normalizing homosexual relationships isn’t conducive to maintaining a healthy society.

When trying to determine which approach should be used to oppose same-sex marriage, conservatives should be careful to avoid the pitfalls that derailed the movement against no-fault divorce. As states began adopting no-fault divorce laws during the 1970s and 1980s, many on the religious right articulately defended the sanctity of covenantal marriage, warning about the harm to children and communities caused by broken families.

Over time, however, the movement abandoned its role as prophet, conceding the issue of no-fault divorce to those who contended for the legal ability to divorce their spouse for any number of personal reasons. As religious conservatives began backing away from the issue, more states passed no-fault divorce laws, contributing to the near 50% divorce rate among married couples today.

Instead, conservatives concerned about the sanctity of marriage should mimic the tactics of the pro-life movement. Despite the monumental legal loss of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade (1973), people of faith have remained steadfastly opposed to the abortion on demand. Pastors, priests, and layman alike have lovingly explained how the inherent dignity of human life, created in the image of the Creator, disallows the notion that a mother has the right to choose to end her pregnancy. Likewise, researchers have published scientific studies detailing the capability of unborn babies to feel pain.

By mobilizing churches and congregations to advocate pro-life policies despite early legal losses, the pro-life movement has made significant gains over the last couple decades. In the wake of Obergefell, Christians should follow the model of political activism and social persuasion that has been so effectively utilized by the pro-life movement.

So here’s the bottom line, conservatives: Don’t give up on the sanctity of marriage just because the Republican in the White House refuses to get involved in the fight. We must continue agitating for a political order that better reflects natural law and the reality of the human experience, even when it’s not politically expedient. Sociologists, psychologists, other researchers should continue publishing empirical studies detailing how same-sex marriage adversely affects couples, children, and communities.

Marriage isn’t a lost cause. Although it may seem like society – including some prominent Republicans – is accepting the falsehood that same-sex marriage is a normal and healthy family arrangement, we must remain faithful to the truth, recognized for thousands of years, that marriage between one man and one woman forms the basis for resilient communities and healthy families.

Just like Roe v. Wade isn’t settled, marriage isn’t settled, either.

Blaine Conzatti is a columnist and 2016 Research Fellow at the Family Policy Institute of Washington. He can be reached at Blaine@FPIW.org.