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FPIW Joins Effort to Encourage Trump to Protect Religious Freedom

FPIW has joined with dozens of pro-family organizations asking President Trump “to swiftly sign a broad religious freedom Executive Order protecting the right of all Americans to freely live out their faith.”

In a letter to President Trump, Vice President Pence, Speaker Ryan, and Majority Leader McConnell, the organizations call on the new presidential administration and Congress to reverse President Obama’s attacks on religious freedom and enact strong protections for the sacred right.

The letter evokes many high profile religious liberty cases of the last eight years, including Hobby Lobby, Little Sisters of the Poor, Illinois Catholic Charities, and Sweet Cakes by Melissa:

“Under his ‘hallmark achievement’ (Obamacare) alone, the Obama Administration attempted to: force Christian family-owned businesses like Hobby Lobby to pay for drugs and devices that can cause early abortions, force Christian charities like the Little Sisters of the Poor to include those same drugs in their healthcare plans, and contravene longstanding federal policy protecting Americans from being forced to fund abortions against their religious beliefs. …

“Families in our states have felt the impact of the disregard and disdain for religious freedom from the federal level. Frequently, state non-discrimination laws have been used as a weapon to punish people of faith and prevent them from earning a living— unless they comport their businesses in the image of the government’s viewpoints. The Kleins in Oregon are a tragic example—Melissa Klein lost her bakery business and was forced to pay a fine of over $100,000 simply because as a family-owned business operated in accordance with the Kleins’ deeply held beliefs, they disagreed with using Melissa’s cake-decorating talents to participate in a same-sex wedding. Illinois Catholic Charities—an organization that partnered with government to serve the state’s poor and neglected children for over 40 years—was forced to shut down rather than comply with the government’s rule requiring them to abandon the core convictions that motivated their charity in the first place.”

It also details the Obama Administration’s attempts to limit religious liberty to a more restricted “freedom to worship”:

“The Administration unsuccessfully argued that the First Amendment does not exempt churches from employment discrimination laws, even when hiring their own pastors and teachers. Ironically, in the name of ‘preventing discrimination,’ President Obama issued an Executive Order in 2014 that discriminates against faith-based entities by preventing them from contracting with their own government unless they forfeit their religious beliefs about human sex and sexuality. One final example is the Obama Administration’s regular use of the term ‘freedom of worship’ instead of ‘freedom of religion’—implying a deep misunderstanding about the depth of First Amendment protections. We are guaranteed the right to freely live out our faith in all aspects of life—not just the freedom to worship our God within the four walls of our church or home.”

The letter concludes by asking President Trump to sign an executive order protecting religious liberty, much like the proposed executive order that was leaked earlier this month:

“A broad religious freedom Executive Order affirming that persons and organizations do not forfeit their religious freedom when providing social services, education, or healthcare; earning a living, seeking a job, or employing others; receiving government grants or contracts; or otherwise participating in the marketplace, the public square, or interfacing with local, state, or federal governments is an excellent and vital first step to truly make religious freedom great again. Congress should follow your lead to pass strong religious freedom protections into law.”

Click here to read the letter in its entirety.

Write to President Trump and ask him to sign the executive order: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact#page.

Session Summary: What You Accomplished

On Monday, the Washington State Legislature passed a budget and the Governor signed it last night. This will be the end of the Legislature’s third special session.

We want to thank you for all your help calling, emailing, and visiting your legislators! There were numerous bills that you helped make a difference on. With your help:

  • A bill to facilitate the use of telemedicine was changed to prevent it from being used for webcam abortions
  • Parental notification for abortions was moved through the legislature the furthest in years
  • The Abortion Insurance Mandate was killed for the fourth year in a row
  • Parents still have a choice on whether their children receive immunizations or not
  • A bill to ban therapy that would help minors with unwanted same-sex attraction was defeated

Listed are some highlights of what was in the budget and also a summary of the bills we worked on this past session.

YOUR TEXT

BUDGET

A two-year $38.2 billion operating budget was passed to avoid a government shut-down. The House passed it 90-8, while the Senate passed it 38-10.

Budget Highlight: Funding for Abortions and Contraceptives for Illegal Immigrants
The abortion industry attempted to increase revenues by expanding a state program called Take Charge to illegal immigrants. The reasoning is if there are less babies being born, the State can save money on illegal immigrants’ “prenatal, birth, and postpartum services and medical coverage for newborns.” Read more here. However, this proposal was defeated in final budget negotiations.

Budget Lowlight: Funding for Planned Parenthood
While Planned Parenthood was not successful in their legislative policy priorities, they will continue to receive more than $20 million each year from Washington taxpayers. Although Planned Parenthood does not explicitly receive money in the budget, “family planning” is the term the government uses to describe the area where they allocate our tax dollars to pay for abortion and contraception.

YOUR TEXT

 LEGISLATIVE ISSUES

Planned Parenthood will still receive money from the state, however, as noted above, they were not successful in their legislative policy priorities. Thanks to the help of citizens all over the state, pro-life legislation made significant progress than in previous years and bad bills were once again killed before making it to the Governor’s office. Here are some of our collective legislative successes:

PASSED: SB 5175: Telemedicine & Webcam Abortions
This bill dealt with telemedicine and was defeated in the Senate last year after being approved by the House because of concerns that it would make it possible for telemedicine to be used to remotely prescribe chemical abortions.  This is especially problematic in a state like Washington that does not require parental notification for abortions. However, the version signed by the Governor limited the application of the bill to “essential benefits” under the Affordable Care Act, which excludes abortions.

SB 5289: Parental Notification for Abortion
If passed, this bill would have required a 48 hour notice be given to parents before an abortion could be performed on a minor. This bill advanced in the legislative process the furthest is has in years! It received a hearing, was voted out of committee, and was moved all the way up to the Rules Committee.

 

Because of your help, these bad bills did NOT become law:

HB 1647: Abortion Insurance Mandate
This would have required all insurance providers to provide abortion insurance coverage. Pro-life business owners would have no choice but to provide abortion insurance for their employees. Every business, regardless of their religious convictions, would be required to subsidize abortions by paying for abortion coverage.

This is the fourth year that the legislature has tried to pass the Abortion Insurance Mandate and it was the fourth year it died before making it out of the House.

HB 2009: Immunization Exemptions
Current law allows children to be exempted from the immunization requirements for health reasons, religious reasons, or for the personal objection of the parents. This bill would have eliminated the personal objection exemption, which is cited in 70% of the cases in which exemptions are granted.

This bill was threatening to take away a parent’s right to chose what they thought was best for their children.  With support from parents across the state, this bill never made it out of committee.

SB 5870: Regarding Aversive Therapies
This bill banned licensed therapists from providing sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) for minors. It banned aversion therapy, which included ice baths and shock therapy (which we are all opposed to), but also talk therapy. Under this bill, minors would not have received help from therapists, even if the minor and the parents of the minor agreed that they wanted it, and it was in the best interest of the minor to get the therapy.

The Senate passed a version of this bill that would ban ice baths but still protect free speech. The House changed it to ban all forms of SOCE. Your taking action on this bill stopped the Senate from passing the version that limited free speech while protecting minors from abuse.

YOUR TEXT

These are just some of the bills that we worked on this session, but the success of them passing or failing to pass is credited to you. This progress could not have been possible without your participation and your prayers. Thank you for making a difference!

YOUR TEXT

April 3, 2015 Legislative Update Conference Call

Hosted by: Joseph Backholm

Topics: Legislative Cutoffs, state budget, Aversive Therapy (A.K.A. Sexual Orientation Change Therapy), Informed Assisted Suicide, Abortion Insurance Mandate, Internet Crimes Against Children, Telemedicine, National Religious Freedom Restoration Act conversation

 

 

Forcing Hospitals to Perform Abortions

Debates over abortion aren’t really news these days. It’s one of those debates that never really goes away.

However, the debate is changing.

In Port Townsend, Washington, the debate is around whether the hospital that serves that community can be compelled to perform abortions.

In February, the Seattle office of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sent a letter to Jefferson Healthcare claiming that the East Jefferson County Hospital is out of compliance with the state Reproductive Privacy Act by not offering to abortions on the premises.

That same month, the ACLU sued Skagit Regional Health claiming that the hospital violated law by referring those seeking an abortion to the local Planned Parenthood affiliate rather than provide the abortions themselves.

These lawsuits and threats rely upon a 2013 opinion from Attorney General Bob Ferguson regarding the Reproductive Privacy Act, passed by voters in 1991. That Reproductive Privacy Act states that there is a “fundamental right to choose or refuse” birth control or abortion and prohibits the state from discriminating through “regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services or information.”

While no other Attorney General or judge has taken this position in 22 years, Mr. Ferguson declared that it is now illegal for a public hospital not to provide abortions.

There are many reasons rural hospitals might not provide abortions (or other services) that have nothing do with philosophical opposition to abortion.

Rural hospitals don’t have the same resources as urban hospitals.

There are undoubtedly many services East Jefferson County Hospital doesn’t provide and that isn’t because they hate people who need heart surgery or have Ebola.

It is common for one provider to refer patients to another provider to ensure they are cared for by the person best equipped to handle their situation.

Women will not be better served by forcing people to provide a service when they had previously decided someone else was in a better position to do so.

Those of us who have spent significant amounts of time in rural communities have all had the experience of having to travel out of the area for particularized care. It’s one of the trade-offs for not having to sit in traffic for two hours every day.

Only abortion industry advocates consider that to be a legal problem.

Still, this case illustrates how the abortion debate in Washington has changed.

Even before Roe v. Wade, Washington State has made abortion available to women at taxpayer’s expense. The abortion industry gives Washington State an A+ rating.

Washington is an abortionist’s paradise.

But they still aren’t content.

The new frontier in abortion advocacy is forcing other people to be part of their “private” decision to have an abortion.

As a result, now you can get sued for helping a woman find someone who will provide an abortion because that’s just not enough.

You should have done it yourself.

For four years in a row, the Washington State House of Representatives has passed legislation that would require every private insurance policy to cover abortion.

The State of Washington has been trying to force pharmacists in Olympia to sell Plan B, a drug they object to because they believe it causes an early term abortion, since 2007.

The harassment of a rural hospital is just the latest front in their war against choice.

It’s the new debate that doesn’t focus on whether abortion should be legal, but focuses on whether you should be free to make decisions based on the fact that you have a different view.

If you live in Jefferson County, you can contact the commissioners of the Jefferson County Public Hospital District here:

Jill Buhler
jbuhler@jeffersonhealthcare.org
Tony DeLeo adeleo@jeffersonhealthcare.org
Mmarie Dressler, RN mdressler@jeffersonhealthcare.org
Matt Ready mready@jeffersonhealthcare.org
Chuck Russell crussell@jeffersonhealthcare.org

The ACLU has also sent letters to the Whidbey General Hospital in Coupeville and Mason General Hospital in Shelton. If you live in those areas, contact your local hospital boards as well.

Feel free to call Bob Ferguson at 360-753-6200 and share your thoughts.

Be cheerful, but be heard.

March 20, 2015 Legislative Update Conference Call

Hosted by: Joseph Backholm

Topics: Olympia 101Immunizations ExemptionsParental Notification,
Rights for Religious ObjectorsWrongful Life Awards, Employer Contraceptive Mandate, Internet Crimes Against ChildrenInformed Assisted Suicide,
Abortion Insurance MandateAversive Therapy (A.K.A. Sexual Orientation Change Therapy)Telemedicine

 

March 6, 2015 Legislative Update Conference Call

Hosted by: Joseph Backholm

Topics: Olympia 101Parental NotificationImmunizations Exemptions,
Abortion Insurance Mandate, Sexual Orientation Change Therapy, Telemedicine.

February 20, 2015 Legislative Update Conference Call

Hosted by: Joseph Backholm

Topics: Arlene’s Flowers court ruling, Abortion Insurance Mandate, Sexual Orientation Change Therapy, Immunizations Exemptions, Parental Notification, Employer Contraceptive Mandate.

 

 

 

February 13, 2015 Legislative Update Conference Call

Hosted by: Joseph Backholm

Topics: Abortion Insurance Mandate, Sexual Orientation Change Therapy Ban, Immunizations Exemptions, Parental Notification, Telemedicine & webcam abortions, Employer Contraceptive Mandate, Internet Crimes Against Children, Parental Notification, Abortion Insurance Mandate (upcoming hearing), Sexual Orientation Change Therapy, Telemedicine & Webcam Abortions, Employer Contraceptive Mandate

February 6, 2015 Legislative Update Conference Call

Hosted by: Joseph Backholm

Topics: Parental Notification, Abortion Insurance Mandate (upcoming hearing), Sexual Orientation Change Therapy, Telemedicine & Webcam Abortions, Employer Contraceptive Mandate