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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House Hears Bill Making It Harder to be Exempted from Vaccines

This morning in the Washington State legislature, the House Health Care and Wellness Committee held a hearing on legislation (HB 2009) that would make it more difficult for parents to exempt their children from immunization requirements.

Currently, Washington State requires children to receive certain immunizations unless there are health reasons not to, the parents have a personal or philosophical objection to the immunizations, or they have a religious objection to immunizations.

 This bill would remove the “personal or philosophical objection” requirement.

For parents, this issue is very personal.

Rep. June Robinson, the prime sponsor of the bill, stated that she introduced the bill in response to the measles outbreak around the country. She says that a lot of diseases that were once eradicated are now coming back, largely due to the fact that kids are not receiving their immunization.

Ziggy Siegfried of Spokane questioned the seriousness of the outbreak. “Over the weekend I read that there were four cases of measles statewide. It is hard for me to be concerned about four cases of measles because when I was six years-old, back in the 60’s, there were five cases of measles in my living room.”

These mom’s told the Senate that they should be the ones to decide what medical treatment their children receive.

Proponents of the legislation, including former Secretary of State Ralph Munro and several public health advocacy groups, noted that 4.6% of children in Washington have been exempted out of the vaccine requirement, which is higher than most states. Seventy percent of those who have opted out have cited “personal objection” as the reason for doing so.

They argued that low rates of vaccinations, including some schools in which 30-40% of students have not received all the required vaccinations, are causing communities to lose their community immunity and therefore are risking the reoccurrence of diseases previously eradicated.

Opponents of the legislation argued that it is the parents right to decline or consent to health care provided to their children. They cited legal immunity given to pharmaceuticals and the fact that the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has paid out more than $3 Billion in damages from immunizations as evidence that there are risks for vaccines. They argued that parents should be the ones to decide if the benefits outweigh the risks for their child.

This dad showed up at 5:40 am so he could testify in defense of his parental rights.

Proponents claimed that the low immunization rate was often due to a lack of information. Several parent’s told the committee that the reason they are concerned about vaccinations is not because they are uninformed but because they are very informed and have concluded that the risk to their children outweigh the benefits.

You can watch the entire public hearing on HB 2009 by clicking here. The hearing on the immunization bill begins at the 41:00 minute mark.

This House Health Care and Wellness Committee has until Friday to take action on this bill. The members of the committee are listed below. If the bill is supported by a majority of the committee it would then move to the full House for consideration before moving to the Senate.

Rep. Eileen Cody (Chair)  360-786-7978
Rep. Marcus Riccelli   360-786-7888
Rep. Joe Schmick   360-7844
Rep. Paul Harris   360-7867976
Rep. Michelle Caldier   360-786-7802
Rep. Judy Clibborn   360-786-7926
Rep. Richard DeBolt   360-786-7896
Rep. Laurie Jinkins   360-786-7930
Rep. Norm Johnson   360-786-7810
Rep. Jim Moeller   360-786-7872
Rep. June Robinson (Prime Sponsor)  360-786-7864
Rep. Jay Rodne   360-786-7852
Rep. Shelly Short   360-786-7908
Rep. Steve Tharinger   360-786-7904
Rep. Kevin Van De Wege   360-786-7916

You are encouraged to contact your representatives and share your thoughts on this bill through the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000.

You can also email them by clicking here.

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.

Not Your Grandma’s Homework

For many students in Washington, the new school year will bring with it an entirely different approach to mathematics. Even simple addition and subtraction problems are no longer what they seem.

The much-debated Common Core State Standards are set to take full effect in Washington by the end of the 2014-2015 school year, with new assessments rolling out in 2015.

In honor of back-to-school week, Kelsey Harris at the Daily Signal has written a post describing how Common Core will revolutionize the way second graders think about simple addition and subtraction.

Under this new methodology, students will learn that 9 plus 6 does not ‘simply’ equal 15, as previous generations have learned. In fact, under Common Core, students can now be more “comfortable” when adding and subtracting because they have their “friend” (the number 10) close at hand.

To help parents understand this new mindset, one local news station in New York has even created a ‘Homework Helper’ video series. Check out the article here and watch the video demonstrations below.

 

 

Facts and Observations About the Same-Sex Family Study in Australia

We hear a lot of “a survey has found that…” or “studies prove that…” Public opinion has a big effect on issues that we face. But when presented with such surveys, studies, or polls, how do we know if all the information is accurate? Can we trust everything it says? There have been numerous instances where no one is calling out the errors or omissions in the information presented. Here is a good example that recently happened in Australia:

A study conducted by the University of Melbourne found that same-sex couples are better parents than heterosexual couples. The Australian university collected data from 500 children of same-sex attracted couples or married parents to “established population samples” (information collected from heterosexual homes). The study claims that children in same-sex homes, whether the parents are married or not, scored 6% better than children in heterosexual homes when it comes to the physical health and the social well-being of the children.

However, there are four noticeable errors in the data gathering for this study: (1) there were problems with the methodology; (2) there is no explanation of the comparison group of children; (3) there are huge contrasts in their heterosexual and same-sex parenting samples; and (4) the study contradicts itself. All these issues combined makes for a study that is inaccurate.

Problems with methodology

One of the biggest problems with this study is the methodology has problems. Even the authors of the study admitted there were significant problems with the way the data was collected.

For starters, a group of 500 people is a very small sample and the 500 participants that were selected was not a good representation of children from same-sex marriages. Of the 500 children selected for the study, 406 kids came from a household with an annual income from 60K – 250K. If this were a representative sample, that would mean that 81% of people make at least 60K a year.

Also, the sample that was studied was a “convenience sample”. This means the study was targeted towards gay communities, gay publications, etc., where people in those communities are more likely to attract people who are interested in the topic.

This then led to another problem: parents knew what they were signing their families up for. If you know that your family is not a happy one and you have both health and emotional issues in your home, you are not going to fill out a study on the well-being of your family.

Probably the biggest problem was that the information was collected from self-reports completed by the parents for the children. Also, knowing the importance of the political and rhetorical implications of this study, same-sex parents have a strong reason to provide a positive response to the study, thus skewing the results of the study.

These problems combined make for a study that is not representative of the general same-sex homes. The children were not part of the study at all. Everything is based on the parents’ perspective of their family. Unless the children are completely open with their parents on everything going on in their life, the study is not an accurate description of the child’s health and well-being.

There is no explanation of the comparison group of children

Another flaw in the study is that the authors failed to explain the difference between the sample group and the control group. For instance, they never clarified whether the children from heterosexual homes were from low or high income, single parent or married parent homes, etc.

The authors use income and education to form their opinion, but all they provide in the study about heterosexual homes is the information comes from an “established population [sample]”. This is not an accurate description of what the study is using to compare children from same-sex homes to those in heterosexual homes. How would we know if children who come from same-sex homes are better than children from heterosexual homes if we don’t know what type of families they come from?

There are huge contrasts in their heterosexual and same-sex parenting samples

One more problem with the study is there are huge gaps in the parenting “samples”. There is no information given regarding the demographics of the heterosexual parents, but the study does explain some of the demographics of the same-sex parents.

As was stated before, the sample of children was not a representative group, thus, the parents are not a representative sample, either. One of the reasons being that most of the parents that took the study were from higher income households, had higher education levels, and tended to be older than most heterosexual parents.

Of the 500 children that were studied, 406 children came from households with an income of 60K – 250K, whereas the average heterosexual household has an annual average income of 64K. Also, 384 (76%) of the 500 children had parents with at least an undergraduate degree. That is higher than the average American with bachelor degrees (in 2012, 30% of American adults had a bachelor’s degree). Further, the study doesn’t specify the age of the parents when their first child was born. With same-sex parents becoming first time parents at a later age than most heterosexual parents, they will already have achieved an educational goal, higher income, and life stability. When combined, these factors characteristically foster a more positive outcome for the children.

Study contradicts itself

Finally, a huge error made by the study authors is that they contradict themselves. For example, the study claims children from same-sex homes do better than children from heterosexual homes. However, the study also claims that those same children from same-sex homes are more likely to suffer from serious harm due to the social stigma concerning their family.

In a recent article, Simon Crouch, one of the authors of the study, wrote that “stigma is a common problem. Around two-thirds of children with same-sex parents experienced some form of stigma due to their parents’ sexual orientation which, of course, impacts on their mental and emotional well-being“.

The whole study explains how children in same-sex homes are 6% more likely to have better health and well-being. However, this cannot be true if the children could also be experiencing stigma impacting their mental and emotional well-being?

The four flaws of this study have not been adequately addressed by the authors. Likewise, the media is not questioning the contradictions. This study had enormous omissions, yet no one called the authors on it. Sadly, this happens a lot with studies and surveys, especially with issues that will have huge political implications. With all the information we have coming at us today, it is important that we stay informed and make sure that the data is fair and accurate.

Port Angeles School Board Update

Last Thursday, the Port Angeles School Board met to vote on whether or not to make school bathrooms gender neutral. The vote would have determined if a boy who says he is a girl should be allowed to use the girls’ restroom (and same for girls who say they are boys). However, the school board decided to table the vote indefinitely (for more information about the meeting, click here).

The vote was tabled due to the numerous calls and emails sent to the school board in response to the vote, prior to Thursday night. These calls came from the citizens of Port Angeles who were upset with the fact that the school board would even be making this decision. This isn’t a state-wide decision; this is happening at the local level with school districts.

During election years, most people tend to focus on the state or federal elections, but local elections also have a huge impact on our state. So what can we do to make a difference?  Are local elections too small to make a difference?  If we elect like-minded people into local offices, their decisions will make an impact on the rest of the state.

Stories like the Port Angeles School Board have been occurring around the nation, and once again, a school district in Washington was faced with this issue. If a similar situation happens in your school district, please let us know and we will help get the word out and alert your community.
 

WA Florist Sued for Beliefs About Marriage

Yesterday, newly elected Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit against a florist in Richland, Washington because she declined to provide floral arrangements to a same-sex wedding ceremony. Arlene’s Flowers is a small business whose owner, Barronelle Stutzman, had served this customer for years.  She knew he was gay, and it was never an issue, because she’s happy to serve everybody.

But she isn’t willing to lend her services to every activity, and when it came to a same-sex wedding, she just couldn’t do it.   According to her statement, she explained herself, he said he respected it; they hugged and he left.

No one notified Ms. Stutzman that under the new regime, kindness and understanding, while holding true to your convictions, cannot be tolerated.  After all, we’re on a mission to make the world more tolerant.  

The suit asks the florist to promise to never again be so naughty and pay a fine of $2,000 for stepping out of line.  Should a pacifist web designer be fined for telling the National Rifle Association he would rather not design their website?  Should the Republican printer be required to print campaign literature for the Democrats?

During the debate over the redefinition of marriage last year in Washington State, proponents of natural marriage argued repeatedly that this was not simply about people having the opportunity to form relationships, but that redefining marriage had consequences for education, parental rights, and religious liberty.  Despite dozens of examples from around the country, they rolled their eyes.     

“This won’t make any difference for anyone except for the loving, committed couples who will no longer be treated as second class citizens,” they argued.

One wonders how many of those who assured us that no one would lose their liberty will come to the defense of Arlene’s Flowers.

Of course this lawsuit isn’t due exclusively to the redefinition of marriage.  The non-discrimination statute that this suit has been brought under existed previously.  It was bad then, it is bad now.  The difference, however, is this.  Now that the law says marriage is genderless, those who think otherwise are much more likely to be confronted with the Hobbesian choice to conform or be punished. 

This isn’t an isolated case.  All over the country photographers, court clerks, doctors, psychologists, bakers and others are facing a similar dilemma.  State and local governments have decided use their power to prevent people from violating government etiquette standards.

In the 1960’s, the liberals were fighting for the freedom to burn flags, protest, be profane, and generally express themselves in ways that they knew were offensive.   “I may not like what you say,” they shouted, “but I will defend to the death your right to say it!” Almost seems noble.
I miss liberals.

Back in the day, a liberal who was denied service from a business for reasons he didn’t appreciate might express his thoughts with his middle finger, which would be his right, but at the end of the day he would still appreciate the fact that in America people are free to be themselves even if he finds it annoying, inconvenient, or offensive. 

Now they believe they are legally entitled to someone else’s labor.       

There was a time, not that long ago, that you didn’t have to pledge allegiance to a certain political philosophy in order to have the right to the pursuit of happiness.  Let’s do that again.

Friends, you may not be a florist, and you may have made a different decision, but liberty is at stake for all of us.   Draw your line in the sand right here.  Don’t ignore the bully just because he hasn’t punched you in the mouth yet.   A small business owner is looking at years of litigation and huge legal expenses because she won’t bow to the political elites.  

Stand with Arlene’s Flowers.      

If you would like to be part of an effort to do something about this, please send an email to info@fpiw.org and let us know.  We will be helping to assemble Washington citizens to support this small business and communicate to our elected officials that this harassment is not being done with the consent of the governed.  

Then, forward this, like it, share it, etc… Someone needs to tell the boss what’s going on.