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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.

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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.

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 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.

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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!

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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.

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.

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.

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.

8 Things to Know About the Legislature

Today is the first day of a new 105 day session. Those we elected will begin legislative hearings and ultimately will make hundreds of decisions that will affect our lives.

During the next 105 days, we hope you will take the time to introduce yourself to your legislators and let them know how you feel about the issues you care about. The squeaky wheel usually does get the grease. Be kind, polite, and respectful, but be squeaky. And get your friends to be squeaky too.

Whether you’re considering if you should get involved or wondering how, here are eight things to remember about dealing with the legislature.

1. In politics, might makes right: The ideas that win in the legislature aren’t necessarily the best ideas, but the ideas with the most political support. You may be able to prove that your position will save money and lives, but if those who disagree with you have more political influence, they’re probably going to win anyway. You don’t have to like it, but you should believe it. So the key to influencing policy decisions is to make sure that supporting good ideas is politically advantageous. That means bringing people with you.

2. Everyone has good intentions: No one goes to the legislature saying, “I will become a tool that interest groups use to accomplish their purposes at the expense of the public.” They may have bad ideas, and they may eventually regret some of their decisions, but in their own mind they are generally doing the right thing for the right reasons. So if you want to build a relationship with your elected officials and ultimately influence them, don’t begin your conversation by accusing them of willfully causing harm. Give their motives the benefit of the doubt in the same way you hope others will do that for you.

3. Yes, you can make a difference: By virtue of being in elected office, many legislators are inherently insecure. In most cases, state elected officials were elected by a few thousand votes and some by only a few hundred (or less). They know that upsetting a significant number of voters is a good way to lose an election. As a result, your ability to generate even 20 phone calls or emails in a single day on an issue can make a big impact. They know that voters who care enough to contact them about an issue will also be willing to cast a vote on that issue as well.

4. Legislators are people too: None of us has performed perfectly in our jobs. We all need encouragement and we are all subject to being worn down by constant criticism. Yes, when someone runs for office there is a lot they are volunteering for, but encouragement and kindness is universally appreciated. In your dealings with elected officials, kindness is not only the right thing to do, it’s also much more likely to be effective.

5. Quantity is better than quality: Because the best argument doesn’t always win, it is a better use of time to spend two hours convincing 5 or 10 other people who share your perspective to contact their legislators than to spend it writing an irrefutable treatise on why your position is the right position. Of course you want to make good arguments, but good arguments without public support often don’t make it very far. So when it comes to communication with legislators, think quantity more than quality.

6. Legislators aren’t experts on everything: Every year, thousands of bills are introduced and hundreds are voted on. But it simply isn’t possible for a legislator to be an expert on every issue or understand the details of each bill. For the most part, legislators specialize on a few issues and then take advice from those they trust. They don’t want to be ignorant any more than you want them to be ignorant, but they know better than to believe everything they hear. So build credibility and become the educator they need on the issues you care about.

7. Personal communication is better communication: Lots of people ask what the most effective way to communicate with a legislator is. Really, it’s probably not that different than the most effective way to communicate with you. If someone shows up at your home or office to personally share concerns with you, that will probably make more of an impact on you than if they send an email. In general, here’s the most effective ways to communicate with your elected officials:

  1. personal visit
  2. hand-written letter
  3. personal phone call
  4. personal email or hotline message
  5. form email

While more personal communication is more effective, it remains true that quantity is better than quality. One hundred phone calls means a lot more than one personal visit. But one hundred personal visits is much better than one hundred phone calls. So be personal, but make sure you get lots of other people to do the same.

8. 1-800-562-6000: If you want to vent on the go, use the legislative hotline number. Program it into your phone right now because it allows you to contact your legislators even if you don’t know who they are. When you call this number you’ll reach a legislative hotline operator who will tell you who represents you once you provide your address then deliver whatever message you want to the Governor, your State Senator, and both your State Representatives. It isn’t the best way to communicate with your legislators, but sometimes it’s the best you can do and it’s a lot better than doing nothing.

Thank you for being part of the team to create a culture in Washington that recognizes the significance and the sanctity of the family.

To learn more about about the legislature and how you can help make a difference, sign up for our weekly Olympia 101 classes that will be taking place in Olympia throughout the session.

2015 Session: Bills to Watch For

On Monday, a newly elected Washington State legislature will begin the new legislative session. The Washington State Senate continues to be controlled by a 26-23 Majority Coalition Caucus (MCC) majority. Where last year, that majority was comprised of 24 Republicans and 2 Democrats, this year it is comprised of 25 Republicans and 1 Democrat.

The Washington State House has a 51-47 Democrat majority, a gain of four seats for the Republicans.

The primary task of each new legislative session is to pass a budget that will fund operations through 2017. Last month, Governor Jay Inslee proposed a budget that includes $1.4 billion in new taxes, including a new state capital gains tax. That proposal has already been met with some skepticism in the Senate.

But every session involves debates over non-budgetary matters. The influence of the abortion industry and the homosexual lobby is felt every year in Olympia. Thanks to the persistence of citizens like you and the courage of many legislators, their worst ideas have been stopped in the legislature for several years.

But here is a look at four issues we think could be debated in the legislature in the upcoming session.

Abortion Insurance Mandate: Senate Bill 5026 would require every private insurance company in Washington State to cover abortion. Every insurer already offers abortion, but under current law individuals and companies are free to purchase insurance that does not cover it if they prefer. This bill has been defeated in the Senate for the last three years.

Forcing Religious Hospitals to Perform Abortions: The abortion industry is increasingly concerned with the fact that Catholic hospitals are merging with public hospitals because Catholic hospitals are unwilling to perform abortions. Groups supportive of the abortion industry held a number of community events around the state over the summer and circulated a petition in support of legislation that would require religious hospitals to perform abortions in violation of their beliefs. We are not yet aware of specific legislation to address this issue but are preparing for it.

Payment for Webcam Abortions: This bill would facilitate payments from state sources for telemedicine, or medical consultations done remotely via computer. While this would be an efficiency in most cases, the abortion industry wants to be able to charge the state for prescribing chemical abortions remotely. They have used a similar strategy to increase their revenues in other states because it allows fewer medical staff to prescribe more abortions. Encouraging abortion providers to prescribe abortions remotely is especially problematic in Washington State where there is no requirement that parents know about a minor’s abortion. As a result, encouraging remote chemical abortions would create a situation in which minors are getting an abortion without their parent’s awareness and without any medical professionals nearby. In light of the fact that chemical abortions have killed women and frequently cause severe abdominal pain and bleeding, this would be a dangerous situation for the girls involved.

Banning Sexual Orientation Change Effort (SOCE) Therapy: In 2014, an effort was made to make it professional misconduct for a licensed therapist to help a minor reduce or eliminate unwanted same-sex attraction. The bill passed the House in 2014 but failed to pass the Senate. Proponents of the legislation claim that ice baths and shock therapy have been used in this therapy. Proponents have provided no evidence that it has happened recently—if ever—and it is widely condemned. It is also worth noting that imposing therapeutic goals on a client for any reason anyway is already professional misconduct. The real purpose of this legislation is to create legal liability for counselors who communicate the fact that it is possible for some people to reduce or eliminate same-sex attraction. Previous version of this bill would have regulated licensed therapists, even if they are pastors or employees of churches working inside the church, making it a threat to individual liberty, parental rights, as well as religious freedom and free speech.

There will undoubtedly be other issues to deal with as well and we will keep you informed of all the developments affecting marriage, life, religious freedom, and parental rights.

You are encouraged to contact your legislators through the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 anytime you have a thoughts to share or questions to ask.

Save the number as “Olympia” so you can easily share your thoughts.

Remember, in the legislature, without your involvement good things can’t happen. It doesn’t matter who has the better idea, but who has the most people behind their idea.

If you want to influence the policy that is made, make sure good policy is also good politics.

Your contribution of $5 or more allows us to do what we do. Thank you for your support.