Posts

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

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.