The Washington State Department of Health has announced its intention to adopt a new rule allowing a “third-gender option” on birth certificates.
If implemented, the new rule would formalize the department’s process for changing sex designation on birth certificates and add an option for a “non-binary” sex designation.
The Department of Health plans to begin gathering comments on the proposed rule next month. It hopes the rule will be adopted and implemented by January 2018.
In 2009, the Washington State Department of Licensing made it more difficult for Washingtonians to change their gender designation on driver’s licenses in an effort to reduce identity fraud and aid policing. The department has since reversed its policies.
Washington State isn’t alone in its proposal to offer a “third-gender option” on government documents. Oregon became the first state to offer the option on driver’s licenses and state ID cards in June, and California will shortly follow suit if a bill recently passed by the state legislature is signed by the governor.
The California bill faced opposition from the California Family Council, which “believes government documents need to reflect biological facts for identification and medical purposes,” said Greg Burt, the organization’s director of capitol engagement.
“Eye color, hair color, height, weight, and Sex: These are all listed on a driver’s license because these physical characteristics can be independently verified by physical evidence,” he said. “If you allow someone who is physically male to list themselves on a government document as a female, or vice a versa, then the government will be legalizing a lie.”
Up north, Canadians can now choose the “gender X” designation on their passports after their government changed its policy earlier this week.
Commenting on the “gender X” designation now available on Canadian passports, Jack Fonseca of Campaign Life Coalition told LifeSiteNews that “the government is trying to force its citizenry, en masse, to deny scientific fact and biological reality.”
According to Fonseca, the “sexual revolutionaries” pushing for these changes “are willing to put our country’s national security and our privacy at risk.”
Should controversial mandates from Obamacare—which many believe are on the way out in Washington, D.C.—be made a permanent part of Washington State law?
That is the question the House Healthcare and Wellness Committee considered this morning. The committee heard public testimony on HB 1523, which would require all health insurance plans to cover all preventative services required under federal law as of December 31, 2016. It also bans plans that would share the cost of any of those services with employees.
Even before public testimony was heard, members of the committee expressed concern about the details of the bill. The one-page bill is remarkably short. However, it incorporates hundreds of pages of federal law and an untold volume of “guidance” into Washington State law. No one seemed to have an understanding of exactly what the mandates do and do not cover.
Proponents of the bill argued that mandatory coverage for “preventative care” would make it easier to detect diseases like cancer at a time when it was most treatable.
But concerns about the legislation focused on very different issues.
Arina Grossu, from the Family Research Council, testified that the mandate to cover “preventative services” includes requirements to pay for abortifacients like Plan B and Ella, which destroy human embryos and are therefore objected to as a matter of conscience by many.
Brett Kinney, Director of Business Operations for Everett-based manufacturer Electric Mirror, explained the concerns of businesses owners in being forced to pay for a product that violates the beliefs of business owners:
“We offer a comprehensive affordable medical plan to our nearly 400 employees that does not include abortifacients. Not once have we heard complaints that our medical plan or the prescriptive drug plan was not adequate to serve the needs of our employees which includes over 100 women ages 18 to 70. This bill is trying to solve a problem that is not a problem and forcing us the employer to add cost which reduces our ability to grow our business and put more people to work.”
The Washington State Catholic Conference also offered testimony stating that they will not comply with legislation that forces them to pay for abortifacients, regardless of what the law says.
In addition to concerns about conscience rights, insurance industry representatives expressed concern that the bill appears to be an attempt to preempt a change in federal law before those changes actually take place. They expressed a preference for waiting to see what happens in Washington, D.C., before reacting to it.
Obamacare mandates involving abortifacients led businesses like Hobby Lobby to sue the federal government, claiming that such mandates violate their religious beliefs. In the Hobby Lobby case, the Supreme Court held that the mandates were invalid because they violated the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). However, Washington State does not have a state RFRA, which means the protections for conscience rights in Washington State are less robust than those that restrain actions of the federal government.
To advance, this bill needs the support of a majority of the members of the House Healthcare and Wellness Committee.
If that happens, it would need to receive passage from the entire House of Representatives before moving to the Senate for consideration.
Please contact your legislators and share your thoughts about this and any other issue through the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 or email them by clicking here.
As always, be respectful but be heard. If you don’t speak for yourself, someone will speak for you.
In the second major move this week to stop taxpayer funding from being used to fund abortions, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to make the Hyde Amendment Permanent.
Yesterday, President Trump signed an executive order reinstating the Mexico City Policy.
The Hyde Amendment has prohibited taxpayer dollars from being used to pay for abortions since 1976. However, it became a hotly debated issue during the Obama Administration.
The Hyde Amendment was never permanent law but has been routinely attached as a “rider” to various appropriations bills.
Significantly, the Affordable Care Act was passed without Hyde Amendment language, a fact that nearly prevented it from getting enough support to pass. However, President Obama issued an executive order prohibiting the use of federal tax dollars for abortions to secure the final votes necessary for passage.
Still, critics have pointed out numerous ways in which the Obama administration violated that executive order without any apparent concern from the executive branch.
Today’s action by the House of Representatives would eliminate the need to debate the Hyde Amendment in every appropriations bill by permanently prohibiting taxpayer dollars from being used to pay for abortion.
It would apply to all Obamacare health plans starting the next plan year.
This bill also protects conscience rights by requiring the full disclosure of abortion coverage in Obamacare plans. This is in response to numerous complaints from members of the public who preferred plans that did not include abortion coverage but found it difficult to determine which plans provided abortion coverage and which ones did not.
The House passed HR 7 by a vote of 238-183. Three Democratic Members voted in support of HR 7 (Lipinski-IL, Peterson-MN, and Cuellar-TX ), no Republicans voted against the bill.
It now moves to the Senate for consideration.
During his campaign, President Trump promised to make the Hyde Amendment permanent law if it made it to his desk.
As the legislative session picks up steam, so does the ongoing debate over aborted fetal tissue in Washington State.
Yesterday, we wrote about a new effort in Congress to eliminate federal funding from entities that traffic in aborted fetal tissue.
The effort picked up steam in Washington State as well as Rep. Brad Klippert, from Kennewick, introduced House Bill 1243 to ban the sale, use, and donation of aborted fetal tissue.
The legislation comes on the heals of a Final Report by the Select Panel on Infant Lives, commissioned by the House of Representatives, which discovered that the largest bank of aborted fetal tissue in the United States was the Birth Defects Research Lab (BDRL) at the University of Washington.
According to the final report, BDRL has procured aborted fetal tissue from thirteen separate abortion providers in Washington State and distributed aborted fetal tissue to forty different entities around the country.
All of that would become illegal under the proposal.
In addition to banning the use of aborted fetal tissue, the legislation would also require the remains of an aborted baby “be decently buried, or cremated within a reasonable time after death.”
The legislation has thirteen co-sponsors in addition to Rep. Klippert.
The bill has been assigned to the House Health Care and Wellness Committee but has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.
You are encouraged to contact your legislators about this legislation through the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 or email them by clicking here.
Planned Parenthood has received a lot of public scrutiny lately. Even before the Center For Medical Progress released videos that revealed how intricately Planned Parenthood is involved in the trafficking of aborted baby parts, they were already the nation’s number one provider of abortions with a very troubling past.
President-elect Trump has promised to stop federal funding of Planned Parenthood, and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said that effort is included in a critical reconciliation bill.
But Planned Parenthood isn’t the only entity deserving of losing its federal funds.
Last week we wrote about the Birth Defects Research Lab (BDRL) at the University of Washington and its refusal to cooperate with federal subpoenas.
Their refusal to cooperate with subpoenas or respond to public records requests means there are many things we do not know about the BDRL.
But the things we do know raise serious concerns about the wisdom of giving them federal tax dollars.
In response to the disturbing videos from the Center for Medical Progress, the House of Representatives created a Select Panel on Infant Lives to investigate whether baby body parts were being sold for a profit.
The Select Panel’s final report was released on December 30th.
Along with fifteen recommendations for criminal charges for Planned Parenthood and related entities, the Select Panel’s final report identified the BDRL at UW as the largest bank of aborted fetal tissue in America.
They have received aborted fetal tissue from thirteen different entities around the country (though all but one are in Washington State) and they have provided aborted fetal tissue to more than forty entities throughout the world.
They are also funded by federal tax dollars. In 2015, they received a $600,000 grant from the National Institute for Health to fund general operations.
In addition, the doctors who work at the Birth Defects Research Lab are also abortionists who perform abortions at some of the same abortion clinics that provide the BDRL with aborted fetal tissue. Others BDRL doctors have focused their research on abortion.
When the Select Panel subpoenaed documents from the BDRL, the documents they provided concealed much of the information the Panel was actually requesting. They described UW’s cooperation with their subpoena in this way:
“The invoices either do not specify what clinic services are involved or, when they apparently elaborate on the nature of such services, those elaborations are redacted—rendering it impossible for the Panel to conduct a forensic analysis of UW’s financial arrangements with clinics. UW’s incomplete production raises more questions than it answers and demonstrates the need for further investigation” 
Setting aside the nature of the work taking place at the BDRL, there is something people of every political persuasion should be able to agree upon.
Entities subject to public records laws that do not want the public to know what they are doing should not be funded by the taxpayers. If you want to do something privately, do not ask for public money to do it.
Regardless, there is simply no good reason tax dollars should ever be used to fund those who traffic in aborted baby parts.
The Hyde Amendment is a federal law prohibiting the use of federal funds for abortion. It is a recognition of the fact that hundreds of millions of Americans do not want their money being used to pay for abortions.
Since we have the decency to honor the Hyde Amendment, why would we require federal tax dollars to be used to fund the dissection of aborted babies?
But what about the lost opportunity to cure diseases? Significantly, the Select Panel’s Final Report noted that there is more than enough tissue from babies who die naturally through miscarriage to support all current research.
Selling the parts of aborted babies isn’t necessary for science and it isn’t something civilized people do. Moreover, entities that refuse to allow the public to inspect their activities should not be funded by the public.
Last week I was in Washington DC discussing the appropriateness of tax dollars being used to fund the BDRL and others who traffic in aborted body parts. For the most part, Congress was unaware that this was happening and they were universally unaware of how hard the BDRL is working to keep their publicly funded work from being seen by the public.
But when they learned, they were as concerned as you are.
While there is a great deal of sympathy, that will translate into action when the public demonstrates it matters to them. That’s why they need to hear from you on this issue.
To contact your U.S. Representative about this issue click here.
For contact information for your U.S. Senators click here.
Additionally, proposed just today in Olympia, House Bill 1243 would prohibit the sale, donation, or use of aborted fetal body parts in Washington State. Please contact your legislators here to share your thought on that legislation.
 Select Panel on Infant Lives Final Report pg. 259-260
Following last month’s revelation that Planned Parenthood’s 501(c)(3) organization in New York may have illegally contributed $75,000 to influence elections in Washington State, Senator Mike Padden – also the Chairman of the Senate Law and Justice Committee – has formally requested an investigation into the contribution.
Washington public disclosure rules require that campaigns and committees report the name of the individual or group making the donation, the address, and the amount of the contribution exactly as printed on the check or transfer documents. The donation in question was initially reported to the PDC as being made by “Planned Parenthood” in New York City – a 501(c)(3) organization not legally allowed to contribute to political action committees – before twice amending the report to indicate that the money came from a legal source. What we don’t yet know is which report is accurate.
Padden’s letter also raises the question of whether or not any of the Planned Parenthood groups have filed a C-5 form, required by state law to be submitted when an out-of-state political committee makes political contributions inside Washington State.
A copy of Padden’s 45-day letter to the Attorney General can be seen here.
Shortly after FPIW reported concerns regarding the potentially illegal contribution last month, Planned Parenthood Votes Washington PAC twice amended filings with the PDC.
The first amended filing erroneously revised the contributor to “Planned Parenthood Votes,” an organization that could be authorized to make this contribution, but is not located at the address originally on record for the donation.
The second amended filing revises the contributor to “Planned Parenthood Action Fund,” an entity of Planned Parenthood that could be authorized to make contributions to campaigns, and also has an office located at the address first recorded.
The question remains: which report is accurate? Did the donation actually come from a legal source? Or are they simply amending reports to make it look like it did?
The reliability of the reports is also called into question, in part, because of who is involved. Lora Haggard, the Treasurer of the Planned Parenthood Votes Washington PAC, previously worked as the Chief Financial Officer of John Edwards’ failed 2008 presidential campaign. As the Campaign’s CFO, it is thought that Lora Haggard was heavily involved in concealing $1 million in hush money that were paid to Edwards’ mistress and daughter. She testified multiple times to convince judges and juries that the funds donated towards keeping the affair quiet were personal, not campaign contributions, despite them taking place during Edwards’ presidential campaign.
Lora Haggard also previously served on the board of three political advocacy organizations: Foundation for Patients’ Rights, Citizens for Strength and Security, and Citizens for Strength and Security Action Fund. These three organizations were involved in “highly unusual” activities regarding their tax status, disclosure policies, and adherence to federal tax laws, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
While Haggard’s involvement doesn’t prove this contribution is illegal, it does raise questions. If Planned Parenthood were looking for someone to conceal activities, contributions, or expenditures, Haggard’s previous experience would qualify her for the job.
We’ll keep you updated here at FPIW.org.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee has called a special session in an attempt to encourage the legislature to pass a budget.
The announcement was made immediately following the close of regular session on Thursday night in Olympia. Earlier in the week, Governor Inslee had said he would veto the bills on his desk if a budget agreement wasn’t reached by the end of session, a tactic that some likened to a “temper tantrum” to achieve passage of his version of the budget.
When it came time to fulfill his promise to veto the bills, Governor Inslee did — well, kind of. Ten of the 37 bills on his desk were signed into law on Thursday night. The remaining 27 bills — all bills which had attained bi-partisan support, an accomplishment in itself — were effectively killed with the Governor’s veto.
The list of bills vetoed by the Governor included bills pertaining to services for students with special needs, personal property rights, and several bills pertaining to healthcare and pharmacies.
While some, like Governor Inslee, believe this budget negotiation period should only last a short time, others are less convinced. Depending on how hard public unions dig their heels in, and how willing or unwilling the legislature is to compromise, it may take a much longer time to pass a budget.
It’s important to note that no legislators can begin raising funds for reelection campaigns until the special session ends. Lawmakers are expected to reconvene to resume budget talks as early as this weekend.
FPIW Legislative Update | Wednesday, February 3, 2016 at 9:29pm PST
The Senate Law and Justice Committee will pass SB 6548*, a bill that clarifies the Washington Civil Rights Act, effectively repealing the Human Rights Commission’s open-bathroom rule, and SB 6612, a bill to ban sex-selective abortions.
These bills will now head to consideration by the Senate Rules Committee and must be approved for a floor vote by that committee before they are eligible to be voted on by all Senate members.
Please contact your legislators to let them know your thoughts on these two important issues.
*SB 6548 is expected to officially pass on Thursday, following receipt of a formal signature from a member who was excused from the hearing tonight. That member is expected to recommend passage.