House Votes to Make Hyde Amendment Permanent

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.

 

Klippert Bill Would Ban Sale, Use, Donation of Aborted Fetal Tissue

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.

Who Else, Besides Planned Parenthood, Should Lose Federal Funding?

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” [1]

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.

[1] Select Panel on Infant Lives Final Report pg. 259-260

Padden Formally Requests AG Investigation of Planned Parenthood PAC Contribution

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 Gov. Jay Inslee Vetoes Bills, Calls Special Session

 

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.

For more updates, follow @FPIW on Twitter and Facebook.

Senate Committee Passes Bathroom Rule Repeal, Sex-Selective Abortion Ban

 

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.

U.S. House to Vote on Defunding Planned Parenthood on Friday

While efforts to completely defund Planned Parenthood appeared to have stalled, many members of Congress haven’t given up the fight just yet.

After passing the House Budget Committee over a week ago, H.R. 3762, the “Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015” has been scheduled for a full vote on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

This Friday, October 23rd, Congress will vote on the bill that, if passed, would halt funding to Planned Parenthood for a year and repeal numerous unlawful provisions of ObamaCare.

According to LifeSite News, “House members plan to use a process known as reconciliation to stop most federal funds from flowing to Planned Parenthood,” adding that “[b]ills passed using reconciliation are not subject to filibuster, so they need only a simple majority to pass both Republican-controlled chambers of Congress.”  The Congressional Budget Office has also reported that passage of this bill would decrease budget deficits by approximately $130 billion over the next ten years.  You can read the bill in its entirety here.

This may be the best chance we’ve had to date at halting federal funding to Planned Parenthood.  Therefore, FPIW is urging Washingtonians to call their U.S. Representative, and all Washington representatives, to let them know how you feel about this bill.

To find out who your Congressman or Congresswoman is, click here.

Washington Congressmen and Congresswomen

Rep. Suzan K. DelBene (D – 01) 202-225-6311 https://delbene.house.gov/contact-me/email-me
Rep. Rick Larsen (D – 02) 202-225-2605 https://larsen.house.gov/contact-rick/email-rick
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R – 03) 202-225-3536 http://herrerabeutler.house.gov/contact/
Rep. Dan Newhouse (R – 04) 202-225-5816 https://newhouse.house.gov/contact/email
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R – 05) 202-225-2006 http://mcmorris.house.gov/contact/
Rep. Derek Kilmer (D – 06) 202-225-5916 https://kilmer.house.gov/contact/email-me
Rep. Jim McDermott (D – 07)* 202-225-3106 https://forms.house.gov/mcdermott/webforms/new/contac …
Rep. Dave Reichert (R – 08) 202-225-7761 https://reichert.house.gov/contact-me
Rep. Adam Smith (D – 09) 202-225-8901 https://adamsmith.house.gov/contact
Representative Denny Heck (D – 10) 202-225-9740 https://dennyheck.house.gov/contact/email-me

* Rep. Jim McDermott sits on the House Budget Committee and voted “no” on 10/9 to refer this bill to the floor for a vote.  While unlikely to support the bill, we still encourage Washingtonians to call his office and share your thoughts on the bill with him.   

Again, the bill number is H.R. 3762, the “Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015,” and the sponsor is Rep. Tom Price (R-GA).

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

WA House Proposes Saving Money by Eliminating Children of Illegal Immigrants

The Washington State Legislature is at a stand-off.

The State Senate, controlled by the Republican-lead Majority Coalition Caucus, believes the projected $1.9 billion in new revenue from existing taxes is sufficient to fund state operations.  However, the state House, controlled by the Democrats, has been seeking $1.5 billion in new taxes to fund the budget they favor.

In recent years, the Washington State Legislature has gone into extra sessions to pass a budget when there were multi-billion reductions in state revenue and when there were multi-billion increases.

Buried in the weeds of the current stalemate is a unique, yet offensive, House budget proposal that seeks to save money by reducing the number of babies born to illegal immigrants.

The proposal would make illegal immigrants eligible for a program called “Take Charge”, which funds contraceptives and abortion.  The program estimates that it will enroll 12,000 illegal immigrants who are not currently part of the program.

According to the House Budget, “Savings will be achieved by preventing unwanted pregnancies that generate state costs for prenatal, birth, and postpartum services and for medical coverage of newborns.  These women are eligible for state medical assistance upon pregnancy and their children are eligible for continued coverage.”

The proposal is troubling because the racial implications are unavoidable. “We hope there will be less of you.”

Family Planning Budget Item Edited (1)

The proposal also seems to contradict the spirit of the recently passed REAL Hope Act in which the Washington State legislature made government funding for higher education available to students who came to the country illegally.

Regardless of how we feel about public funding of education for non-citizens, we should be able to agree that, “Get an education, just don’t have any babies” is wrong.

This proposal is not part of the Senate budget and in light of the significant differences on the size of the budget, it is unknown how big of a sticking point this particular item is.

Still, as the country clamors for racial reconciliation in the wake of the tragic shooting in Charleston, the implication that leadership in the House of Representatives is hoping to reduce the number of babies with brown skin is beyond concerning.

Targeting the immigrant community with schemes for population control needs to be condemned in the strongest way.

Racial considerations aside, the strategy of saving money by reducing the number of people is certain to fail if implemented.  Yes, people have created lots of problems.  But people have always been the solution to our problems as well.

People are good.

Babies are really good.

Even if their parents aren’t rich, aren’t white, and weren’t born here.

The legislature has until the end of June to pass a budget before some government services will be shut down.  Call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 to share your thoughts with your legislators or you can email them by clicking here.

Always be respectful and courteous, but always be heard.

Therapy Ban Dies in Senate

Over the last several years, the Washington State legislature has been debating the issue of therapy dealing with same-sex attraction.

The issue was first introduced in 2013 when Sen. Marko Liias introduced a bill to study the issue of conversion therapy, or sexual orientation change effort therapy. The bill called for recommendations to be made to the legislature about the issue.

That bill did not pass. In fact, it wasn’t even voted on.

But the desire to study the issue quickly faded. After all, who needs to learn when you already know everything?

So, in 2014, they moved beyond their interest in talking to the therapists and clients who might be affected and introduced legislation to ban the therapy entirely.

Along with it came stories of children being subjected to shock treatments and thrown into ice baths in an effort to stop them from being gay. They tried to ignore the fact that coercion and abuse is already professional misconduct.

Moreover, no evidence was ever presented that this has happened in Washington in recent years. In fact, the Department of Health has no record or institutional knowledge of any complaint being filed against any therapist for coercive or abusive therapies attempting to stop a child from being gay.

Of course the fact that no complaint was filed doesn’t mean this kind of abuse has never happened. Not only would it be harmful to kids, it would be completely ineffective as therapy. So there is general agreement that this kind of abuse should be stopped.

However, there is not general agreement that the legislature should make it illegal for a client to receive the kind of help they desire.

So, after passing the House, the bill died in the Senate.

But the issue wasn’t dead.

In a good faith effort to bridge differences in order to stop child abuse, the Senate returned in 2015 to unanimously pass a bill (SB 5870) that would prohibit coercive and abusive aversive therapies like shock baths and ice therapies.

However, the bill did not ban talk therapy.

So, when the bill moved to the House, it was amended and returned to its 2014 form. While proponents talked about the desire to stop child abuse, what they really wanted to do was regulate conversations. Essentially they told clients, “We don’t think you should want to change in this way, so we’re going to make it illegal for you to get help doing so.”

The ban would apply even if the therapist is a pastor or church employee operating inside a church.

The bill was then sent back to the Senate where it was not scheduled to be brought up for a vote.

So on Tuesday, Sen. Marko Liias attempted a procedural move to bring the bill up for a vote, but his motion was voted down 27-22.

In response, Sen. Liias issued a statement that said, “I am appalled that the Republican majority killed legislation to protect kids from electric shock, ice baths, and other physical and emotional abuse, simply because they’re gay. We need to end conversion therapy once and for all.”

This is where the debate changed from an honest disagreement to dishonest politicking.

Sen. Liias was present when the Senate unanimously voted to support a bill that would protect kids from electric shock and ice baths. The implication that they support child abuse, when there is a clear record to the contrary, should be beneath the dignity of an elected official.

Sadly, however, it seems that is what every policy debate dealing with marriage, family, and human sexuality devolves into.

If you oppose efforts to make it illegal for a client to receive certain forms of therapy, then you support child abuse.

If you think it’s ideal for children to have both a mother and father, you hate gay people.

If you disagree with me, you’re a bad person.

While there is nothing wrong with debate or disagreement, what would help kids, regardless of their sexual orientation, is leadership that doesn’t dishonestly represent the actions and motives of people they disagree with in an effort to score political points.

Contact your Senators and thank them for their willingness to be thoughtful about these sensitive issues. You can call them through the legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 or email them here.

It’s been a long session. They’re tired. They’ll appreciate someone saying thank you.

Encourage them to continue acknowledging the difference between actual abusive therapies that aren’t good for anyone and the kind of talk therapies that some people want and have been helped by.

After all, if a five year-old can get help to change a gender she’s uncomfortable with, shouldn’t a 17 year-old be able to get help to deal with sexual impulses he’s uncomfortable with?