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Who Doesn’t Oppose Child Abuse?

“It’s child abuse,” they told us. “It must be stopped.”

It was the 2014 legislative session and we heard about kids being subjected to shock treatments or being put in ice baths and made to watch gay pornography in an effort to stop them from being gay.

Understandably, everyone was appalled.

These stories, we were told, are the reason it is so critical to support legislation that bans therapy to help a child deal with unwanted same-sex attraction.

Moments before the House of Representatives voted to pass the bill, Rep. Laurie Jinkins told an emotional story about her friend who was involuntarily institutionalized by her parents and subjected to shock treatments. “That is the kind of abuse that none of us wants to see for any child ever. And that is what this bill addresses.”

With that, the bill passed the House of Representatives and moved to the Senate.

After all, no one likes child abuse.

In the Senate, legislators starting paying just as much attention to the bill itself as the stories being told about child abuse.

And when they did, it became apparent that the bill did much more than protect kids from things like involuntary shock treatments.

In fact, it prohibited licensed therapists from using talk therapy to help a minor reduce or eliminate unwanted same-sex attraction. The ban even extended to church employees and pastors who happened to be licensed therapists.

Under the bill, church employees could have been professionally reprimanded for simply communicating their church’s understanding of human sexuality.

Furthermore, it would have taken choices away from clients and made it impossible for a minor to get help from a licensed therapist for unwanted same-sex attraction.

None of this had anything to do with stopping ice baths or shock therapy.

The bill failed to pass the Senate.

But at the beginning of this legislative session, the issue was reintroduced.

Built on the areas of agreement (let’s stop child abuse) while avoiding points of contention (let’s prohibit speech we dislike), the Senate advanced a narrower version of the bill (SB 5870) which prohibited aversive therapies like shock treatment and ice baths but did not attempt to restrict the kinds of talk therapy a client could request.

On March 11, it passed the Senate without opposition.

However, yesterday morning, when the House Health Care and Wellness Committee held a public hearing on the bill, something amazing happened.

The same people who spent the last year talking about the need to protect children from ice baths and shock therapy suddenly and strongly opposed a bill specifically designed for that purpose.

What was the problem?

The bill didn’t go far enough. “It must restrict talk therapy”, they said.

Last year, not a word was uttered about the need to ban talk therapy because everyone was so horrified by the stories of involuntary shock therapy.

All they talked about was the need to protect kids from child abuse.

But now that they have been given the chance to stop involuntary shock therapy without the ability to regulate conversations…suddenly shock therapy isn’t such a big deal.

There are two things we can learn from this recent development.

First, the advocates of this bill have always been mostly interested in prohibiting conversations they dislike, not stopping physical forms of child abuse everyone opposes.

The attempt to focus on stories of abuse was just part of the bait and switch. People suspected as much before, but now they have admitted it.

Second, and maybe more importantly, the fact that they are willing to oppose a bill to stop child abuse in the hopes that they can pass a bill to ban conversations illustrates the depth of their conviction about this issue.

From their perspective, telling kids same-sex attraction is not necessarily permanent is child abuse. The harm of involuntary shock therapy and the “harm” of a child being told change is possible are the same.

If this tactic is successful now, it won’t just be the therapists who are affected.

If it is “child abuse” for a therapist to tell a child that sexual desires can be controlled or changed, why wouldn’t it be child abuse for someone else to say the same thing?

The only limits are political. You don’t limit “child abuse” selectively. All you pastors, unlicensed counselors, friends and parents who believe homosexuality is wrong and sexual desires can change be warned. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Nonsense, you say. The First Amendment protects my right to say whatever I want.

Arlene’s Flowers believed the First Amendment’s guarantee to the free exercise of religion protected her right to decide which events she celebrated in her business. And once upon a time it did. But now the courts say that the state’s “compelling interest” in stopping “discrimination” in public accommodations trumps the first amendment.

The state also has a compelling interest in stopping child abuse as well.

The First Amendment will be just a speed bump.

Unless we act to stand up for the therapists and the florists who are the current targets.

You can contact your legislators about this issue through the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 or email them here.

March 6, 2015 Legislative Update Conference Call

Hosted by: Joseph Backholm

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

Broken Promises on Religious Freedom

Back in 2012, when the Washington State legislature was debating a same-sex marriage law, supporters assured the public at every opportunity that there was absolutely, positively, promise to God, cross my heart and hope to die, no risk to religious freedom.

Senator Marko Liias was in the House of Representatives at the time.  Here’s what he said about the impact of religious freedom on same-sex marriage.

In light of these unambiguous comments, Marko Liias should be sponsoring legislation to protect businesses like Arlene’s Flowers from the lawsuits he promised us would never happen.  Contact Sen. Liias and the rest of your state legislators and urge them to do what they said they were going to do in the first place…protect conscience rights and religious freedom.  You can call them through the legislative hotline number at 1-800-562-6000 or email them here. 

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

Therapy Ban Resurfaces in the Legislature

In the on-going quest to ban choices they disagree with, a handful of legislators in Olympia have re-introduced bills to prohibit Sexual Orientation Change Effort (SOCE) therapy.

These bills (HB 1972 and SB 5870) would make it professional misconduct for a licensed therapist to help a minor reduce or eliminate unwanted same-sex attraction. As a result, a minor who is experiencing unwanted same-sex attraction would be unable to get professional therapist.

A similar bill was introduced last year and passed the House of Representatives before dying in the Senate without a vote.

The politics behind this issue are not complicated. The homosexual lobby is deeply committed to marginalizing those who disagree with their view of human sexuality.

Generally, non-discrimination laws are the tools used to compel conformity. They have been used to sue florists, bakeries, photographers, and property owners who did not want to participate in a same-sex ceremony.

One counseling student was even kicked out of school for “discrimination” when she referred lesbian clients to another counselor she believed would be better able to help.

However, it is apparently difficult to accuse a therapist who is in the process of counseling a client of discriminating.

“But they disagree with us?” they protest. “They must be punished. What can we do?”

“I know, I know. If they’re not discriminating against gay people, we’ll make it professional misconduct to help a gay person with something we don’t think the gay person should want.”

“Brilliant, why didn’t we think of this before.”

The world of counseling is supposed to be a patient driven process. But this bill makes therapy a legislature driven process, where politicians get to decide if the therapy is politically correct enough to be allowed.

They don’t believe someone should want to change their sexual orientation so they want to make it illegal to try. Believing change is impossible, they are convinced the only possible outcome of such therapy is pain.

Never mind the fact that many people’s feelings have changed and others have made a conscious choice not to identify as gay. The idea that change is either possible or desirable hurts the feelings of some who have no interest in changing or have tried and failed. Since that is true, you should have the good sense to stop talking.

This is America. You’re not allowed to say things that hurt people’s feelings.

Supporters of the bill claim it will stop abuse of kids who identify as gay. They tell stories about shock therapy and children being forced to watch gay pornography from ice baths in an effort to make them associate pain with same-sex attraction.

While that kind of therapy unfortunately did occur in the 60’s and 70’s, those practices are widely condemned, exceedingly rare, and already prohibited as either unprofessionally coercive or simply abusive.

In two years, no evidence has been presented that the type of therapy described has happened anywhere in Washington in recent history. Actual instances of this kind of therapy are (thankfully) so uncommon that proponents in New Jersey were forced to make up stories about camps that abuse kids in an effort to generate sympathy for their position.

Curiously, proponents of this legislation have so far declined to support a bill that would ban aversive therapies like ice baths and shock therapy. Instead, they prefer legislation that regulates talk therapy.

This suggests the motive is less about protecting children from abuse and more about controlling speech they disagree with.

The effort to control speech is why these bills have significant constitutional concerns as well. In addition to prohibiting one perspective on the issue of homosexuality from being communicated, the House bill would also regulate what a pastor or church employee says inside their church, provided they are a licensed therapist.

There will be a hearing on Tuesday, February 17th in Senate Hearing Room 4 for SB 5870 at 10 AM.

If you are a therapist who has experience with this issue that would be willing to help educate children, or if you have personally benefited from this kind of therapy and would like to share your experience with legislators who have very little information about the subject generally, please let us know
by emailing us at info@fpiw.org.

You are encouraged to contact your legislators through the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 and share your thoughts on this or any other bill of interest to you. You can also email them by clicking here.

Your involvement is critical.

If we do nothing, we may fully embrace this brave new world where you can be expected to control your gender but not your impulses.

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

Conscience Rights Debates in Olympia

The debate over conscience rights is one of the mostly hotly debated issues in America today.

Stories about fire chiefs being fired because of their beliefs about homosexuality and efforts to force businesses to participate in same-sex ceremonies often headline the conscience rights debate. But the debate over whether the government can compel someone to do something they prefer not to do is taking place in other arenas as well.

Last month the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that the Arkansas prison system could not prohibit a Muslim prisoner from growing a beard as he believes he is required to do.

In the Washington State legislature, three different pieces of legislation are dealing with the issue of whether individuals can be compelled to do things that violate their beliefs.

1.  Abortion Insurance Mandate

For the past three years, the abortion industry has been working to require every insurance policy bought and sold in the private market to cover abortion insurance.  This proposal would make it illegal for someone with a moral objection to abortion to purchase for themselves, their family, or their business a policy that will not subsidizing abortion.

Having been defeated for three years in a row, abortion industry advocates came back this year with a bill that is even worse.  SB 5574 and HB 1647 would not only require every policy to subsidize elective abortions and controversial forms of contraception, but would also require coverage for voluntary sterilization as well.

The number of legislators co-sponsoring these bills has declined significantly over previous years.  This could be a reflection of the fact that some legislators are growing tired of justifying their attempts to force people to pay for things they believe are wrong.

However, a public hearing in the House of Representatives on this issue is expected soon.

2. Overturning Hobby Lobby

Last summer, the United States Supreme Court, in the case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, ruled that privately held companies could not be forced to pay for contraception coverage that violated their conscience.  The Court said that such a mandate violated the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act because there are ways for the government to make contraception available without violating the freedoms of business owners.

In response, Washington State legislators have introduced SB 5026 and HB 1502 which would make sure the religious freedoms protections recognized by the Supreme Court would not extend to Washington businesses.

The bill would require every Washington State employer to pay for objectionable forms of contraception even if they are willing to provide other forms of contraception.

3.  Accommodating the Rights of Religious Objectors

As you probably know, many jobs in Washington State require union membership. For the privilege of educating children, teachers in Washington are required to pay around $1,000 per year to the teacher’s union.

Teacher’s unions in Washington State support many far left causes that are inconsistent with the values of many teachers. For that reason, the law recognizes the rights of religious objectors to opt out of paying union dues and instead contribute the funds that otherwise would go to the union to a charitable cause.

However, employees attempting to exercise these rights have run into challenges.

First, the law states that the beliefs of a religious objector must be “based on bona fide religious tenets or teachings of a church or religious body of which such public employee is a member.” This language allows unions to force employees to prove that their beliefs are explicitly written in the governing documents of a church they are part of.

Secondly, the law requires the union to agree with the employees choice of charity they would like to contribute to in lieu of paying union dues.  This has led to unnecessarily complicated negotiations when a particular union boss wants to control which charity an employee supports.  One religious objector who testified in support of this legislation yesterday was told the only approved charity was the far left American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Senate Bill 5552 strengthens conscience rights and makes it harder for unions to harass employees who disagree with how the union spends money.

First, it allow a religious objector to opt out of membership simply for having a “personally held religious belief” and thereby eliminates the need to prove that it is an official religious tenet of a specific religious organization.

Secondly, it allows the employee to direct their union dues to any non-profit that participates in the Washington state combined fund drive program and thereby eliminate the ability of the union to choose which charity the religious objector supports.

Both changes would further expand conscience rights and make it harder for people to be harassed because of their beliefs.

If you are part of a union and would like to know how to stop supporting causes you disagree with click here.

Each of these bills is currently being debated in the state legislature and each of them will help determine the trajectory of the conscience rights and religious freedom debate in Washington State.

The homosexual lobby, the abortion industry, and union interests are all powerful political forces that each have their own reasons for wanting to restrict your conscience rights.

In addition, their significant campaign contributions have earned them a great deal of political influence despite their strong opposition to individual freedom and conscience rights.

It is up to us to be a counterbalance.

If you have thoughts about any of these issues, contact your legislator through the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 or email them by clicking here.

Remember, freedom is not the status quo. It has been earned at a great price and must be defended with vigilance. Every day, those who want to take away your freedoms are busy in Olympia trying to do so.  The least we can do is make a phone call.

Parental Notification: Why You Should Care & Hearing Information

On Monday, February 2nd at 1:30 PM in the Senate Law and Justice Committee, there will be a hearing on SB 5289 which will require parents to be notified before a minor has an abortion.

The United States is one of only six nations in the world that allow abortion on demand into the third trimester and Washington is one of only thirteen states currently where a minor can get an abortion without her parents awareness.

We are on the fringe of the fringe.

Abortion is the only procedure a minor can get without her parent’s consent, much less notification. In Washington State, a minor cannot get a tattoo or go to a sunbed even with parental permission. She cannot go to an R rated movie or get an aspirin from the school nurse without parental permission.

However, she can get an abortion without their awareness.

There are a couple problems with the lack of parental notification. First, it isolates girls from their parents in moments when they most need parental involvement.

Second, the lack of parental notification makes it possible for abortion providers like Planned Parenthood to assist in the sex trafficking of minors, as documented here, here, and here.

Since medical providers are not obligated to notify parents when a minor indicates she wants an abortion, they are only required to report if a rape has occurred. In the case of a pregnant minor, that means the father is more than 5 years older than the mother.

Unfortunately, the mandatory reporting requirement for rape is easily avoided by serial abusers.

Under the threat of abuse, pimps teach the girls they abuse to lie about the age of the father and organizations like Planned Parenthood tell clients to say as little as possible so they can maintain plausible deniability. As a result, those who claim to be –and should be– looking out for the best interest of these girls are in reality assisting in the abuse of children. Our lack of parental notification makes it possible.

Opponents of the bill claim that parental notification endangers girls whose parents might become abusive when they learn their daughter is pregnant. They say the girl should decide what her parents know.

They assume that in crisis you can trust the judgment of the typical pregnant 15-year old better than the judgment of the typical parent. While it is understandable why a girl would not want to tell her parents, it is equally understandable why it would be good for her parents to know despite the child’s reservations.

Acknowledging that there are too many abusive parents in the world, it is an insult to every parent in Washington that the abortion industry and their allies in the legislature act as though they have a duty to protect our daughters from us.

By requiring parental notification, this bill acknowledges that it is generally a good thing for parents to know what is going on with their children. However, it also contains a judicial bypass provision which would allow a judge to waive the parental notification requirement in the minority of cases in which a child actually could be in danger. It protects those truly at risk without assuming every parent is a danger. That’s what rational public policy should do.

The possibility that parents might respond poorly to news that their daughter is pregnant is an argument for keeping parents out of every decision. After all, parents might also respond poorly to news that their child has committed a crime or received bad grades in school. But for good reason, we still tell them.

The argument that we should favor keeping parents in the dark in order to protect the children is incoherent. That incoherence exposes the fact that the more likely explanation has much more to do with money the abortion industry makes off of children which eventually finds its way to political campaigns.

Parental notification is not an issue about abortion. It is an issue about parental rights and the well-being of our daughters. It is a disagreement between politicians who pretend they care more about our children than we do and the parents who know better.

Please attend the hearing on Monday at 1:30 PM in Hearing Room 4 of the John A. Cherberg building on the capitol campus. The hearing room is certain to be full, so show up early. Even if you do not wish to testify, your presence communicates the injustice of this issue to legislators who have been dragging their heels for years on this issue. Please bring friends as well and call ahead to schedule meetings with your legislators in person to share your thoughts on this issue.

If you cannot attend the hearing, please call your legislators directly or through the legislative hotline at1-800-562-6000. You can also email them by clicking here.

Thank you for rejecting passivity and standing for what is just.

Senators Seek to Overturn Hobby Lobby Decision

Last year, one of the biggest developments in the national debate over conscience rights was the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) contained a mandate requiring employers to cover twenty specific types of birth control in the insurance plans they purchased for their employees.

Hobby Lobby, a national chain of craft stores, objected to four of the twenty forms of birth control on the grounds that they could cause an abortion. As a result, they filed a lawsuit claiming that the mandate violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). The Supreme Court agreed with them in a 5-4 decision.

In response, a group of State Senators have introduced the Employee Reproductive Choice Act (SB 5026). The bill creates a state version of the mandate which the Supreme Court said could not be imposed by the federal government.

This bill would force every business in Washington to cover twenty specific forms of contraception in the insurance policies, including some that cause abortion.

It was sponsored by every Democrat Senator except Senators Hargrove and Sheldon. (For the past two years, Tim Sheldon has been caucusing with the Republicans).

Despite the Supreme Court’s decision, the state likely has the authority to create such a mandate.  Because Washington State does not have a RFRA, and the federal RFRA does not apply to state law, the federal protections are greater than what appear to exist at the state level.

While eighteen states have adopted a state version of RFRA that extends the higher level of protection state law as well, Washington State is not one of them.

Of course, the fact that Washington State could impose such a mandate does not mean that they should.

For the past three years, the Washington State House passed an Abortion Insurance Mandate requiring every private insurance policy to cover abortion. Each year the bill died in the Senate. Proponents of that mandate claimed it was necessary to ensure that women were not denied access to abortion because her employer’s unwillingness to pay for abortion insurance. However, in three years of debate, no one testified that an abortion had ever been denied or even delayed for lack of insurance.

At least hundreds of women communicated the fact that they wanted choice in the kind of insurance they purchased.

Arguments in support of this new mandate are equally tenuous.

The bill states that employers must be forced to pay for abortion inducing drugs because, “women with reliable access to contraceptive services have forty percent higher earnings than those who lack such access, and access to contraception can significantly increase a woman’s earning power and narrow the gender pay gap.”

All this time I’ve been telling my daughters that kindness, hard work, and good choices are going to make them successful in life. Maybe there really is a pill for that.

Fortunately, the prospects for this bill in the Senate do not appear to be strong. It has been assigned to the Senate Law & Justice committee which is chaired by Senator Mike Padden, who is not thought to be supportive of the proposal. A House companion bill was introduced yesterday (HB 1502).

Regardless of these bills’ success this year, this is yet another assault on conscience rights and a reminder of the continued need for vigilance.

The left in Washington State is working hard to create a work environment in which the willingness to participate in same-sex ceremonies and pay for abortion are preconditions to being in business.

They’re effectively creating the type of theocracy they claim to despise.

In this theocracy, government is god, the gay wedding is the worship service, and abortion is the sacrament. Provided you attend services and partake of the sacrament as often as god requires, you are welcome to participate in the marketplace. If not, they’ll cast you out until you repent.

But it’s for your own good.

To share your thoughts about this or any bill, you are encouraged to call your legislators through the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 or email them by clicking here.