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Attorney General Responds to Request for Planned Parenthood Investigation

On Friday, Attorney General  Bob Ferguson acknowledged receipt of a request from forty-four state legislators calling for him to investigate whether Planned Parenthood in Washington State is selling fetal body parts in violation of state law.  A copy of a letter sent to the Attorney General can be found here.

The response was brief, stating simply that:

“We are researching your request and considering whether some action on our part is appropriate.”

AG PP Response 150807

However, the response to constituents requesting an investigation of Planned Parenthood has been more specific.

Thank you for your recent correspondence expressing concern about Planned Parenthood and a recent video related to the organization.  We understand that this topic is of concern to many.

The issues discussed in the video, and decisions regarding potential state or federal funding to the organization, are not matters over which this office has authority.  You may wish to reach out to the state and federal legislators representing your area to express your concerns.

The primary function of the Attorney General of Washington is to serve as legal counsel for state agencies, boards and commissions.  Neither the office nor its attorneys are authorized to give legal advice or legal assistance to individual citizens.  I hope that you will understand the limited role that our office plays in such matters.

Kindly,
A. Baker
Constituent Correspondence Liaison
Washington State Attorney General’s Office

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To contact the Attorney General about this issue, call him at 360-753-6200.  Please be respectful, but make sure you are heard.

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3 Ways to Help Defund Planned Parenthood

In the last two weeks, Center for Medical Progress released two videos online showing Planned Parenthood staff members discussing the sale of body parts from aborted babies. The videos were filmed undercover and have since received over 3 million views (combined views for both videos). The videos include Planned Parenthood Uses Partial-Birth Abortions to Sell Baby Parts (click here to watch the unedited version) and Second Planned Parenthood Senior Executive Haggles Over Baby Parts Prices, Changes Abortion Method (click here to watch the unedited version).

Since being released, these videos have ignited a national debate about the taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood. In response to the videos, some states have defunded Planned Parenthood and others have launched investigations into Planned Parenthood. Washington State is not one of them.

Here are three things you can do to help the effort to stop public funding of Planned Parenthood:

1.  Attend a rally Tuesday the 28th to defund Planned Parenthood

A series of “Women Betrayed Rallies” are being formed across the nation in order to send a very loud and clear message to lawmakers, both on a state and federal level, that we do not want our tax dollars to fund Planned Parenthood. In Washington State, Women Betrayed Rallies will be held this TUESDAY, JULY 28, at the following locations and times:

SEATTLE
Noon-1pm
Planned Parenthood Office
2001 E Madison St, Seattle, WA 98122
Contact: latkins@studentsforlife.org

VANCOUVER
12:45pm-1:15pm
Esther Short Park
Downtown Vancouver
Contact: amakar1@gmail.com

Use these flyers to invite pro-life friends and family to attend the rally with you (Seattle rally & Vancouver rally).

2.  Ask your legislators not to send tax dollars to Planned Parenthood

To date, only seven Washington State Lawmakers have called upon Washington State Governor Jay Inslee to pull funding from Planned Parenthood. Is your legislator one of the seven who has made that call? If so, thank each for their efforts to end Planned Parenthood funding in Washington State.

Please also call, email, or visit your state legislators who aren’t among these seven, and ask them to join their colleagues in compelling Governor Inslee to investigate and defund Planned Parenthood (if you need talking points, click here). Please contact grassroots@fpiw.org if you need assistance with reaching out to your legislators.

3.  Tell Governor Inslee to stop public funding of Planned Parenthood

It’s true that Governor Inslee has been a strong ally of the abortion industry.  But a flood of messages from citizens respectfully asking him to stop sending their money to organizations that harvest the organs of babies will touch the conscience if nothing else.  Remember, if they don’t hear from you, they think you don’t care.  So call the Governor’s Office at 360-902-4111 or send him a message here.

But only call if you can be respectful.  Otherwise, we hurt the effort by creating more hostility.  When it comes to life, this is one area in which love really does win.

Planned Parenthood Caught Selling Body Parts

They claim to be advocates for women.

But in a video released today, Planned Parenthood’s Senior Director of Medical Services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, describes how Planned Parenthood sells the body parts of baby girls for $30 to $100 per specimen.

In the video, Nucatola explains the expertise they’ve developed at harvesting specific body parts. “We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”

She even explains how different techniques are used to harvest the parts of the body in greatest demand.

“I’d say a lot of people want liver. And for that reason, most providers will do this case under ultrasound guidance, so they’ll know where they’re putting their forceps. The kind of rate-limiting step of the procedure is calvarium. Calvarium — the head — is basically the biggest part.”

This isn’t a rogue Planned Parenthood employee who has gone off script, this is the Senior Director of Medical Services for the entire country.

In case you were wondering, it is illegal to sell the parts of aborted babies. It is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.” (42. U.S. C 289g-2)

As troubling as this video is, it is simply the latest in a long list of troubling revelations about the nation’s largest provider of abortions.

Planned Parenthood employees have been documented assisting in the sex-trafficking of children, concealing rape (here, here, here, and here), and receiving contributions to abort black babies.

Despite these facts, Planned Parenthood continues to receive more than $20 million a year from the state of Washington. In the recently concluded legislative session, the House of Representatives attempt to increase government funding for Planned Parenthood was stopped in the Senate.

In 2013, Planned Parenthood received more than $540 million from the federal government.

Call your state legislators and members of Congress and tell them to stop funding Planned Parenthood.  You can call your state legislators at the Legislative Hotline 1-800-562-6000Then send them an email with this information and ask them, in light of these facts, what their position on taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood is.

Then, schedule a meeting with them in person, present them with this information, and ask them the same question.

Politicians are busy people who are inundated with information. They need to be educated.

Some politicians will remain willfully ignorant of stories like these because it puts them in a politically challenging situation. But that’s their problem, not yours. Don’t let them dodge the issue. Too much is at stake.

What we are seeing in this video is the natural progression of the ethic of abortion.

History has repeatedly shown that the only way to deny someone else’s humanity is to behave inhumanely.

William Wilberforce helped to end the slave trade in England because he exposed the social elites, against their will, to the realities of the slave trade.

Many still chose to defend the indefensible, but others could not. And eventually, the slave trade was abolished.

We have the same opportunity today.

Be respectful, but for the sake of those whose lives literally hang in the balance, don’t be shy.

Broken Promises on Religious Freedom

Back in 2012, when the Washington State legislature was debating a same-sex marriage law, supporters assured the public at every opportunity that there was absolutely, positively, promise to God, cross my heart and hope to die, no risk to religious freedom.

Senator Marko Liias was in the House of Representatives at the time.  Here’s what he said about the impact of religious freedom on same-sex marriage.

In light of these unambiguous comments, Marko Liias should be sponsoring legislation to protect businesses like Arlene’s Flowers from the lawsuits he promised us would never happen.  Contact Sen. Liias and the rest of your state legislators and urge them to do what they said they were going to do in the first place…protect conscience rights and religious freedom.  You can call them through the legislative hotline number at 1-800-562-6000 or email them here. 

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.

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.

Washington’s New Legislators

Starting in January, the Washington State House of  Representatives and Senate will have 15 new members, who were elected to office in November.

 These new legislators are:

House
  • 4th – Bob McCaslin (R) – Spokane Valley
  • 13th – Tom Dent (R) – Ellensburg/Cle Elum
  • 14th – Gina McCabe (R) – Yakima
  • 17th – Lynda Wilson (R) – Vancouver
  • 21st – Strom Peterson (D) – Lynnwood/Mukilteo
  • 25th – Melanie Stambaugh (R) – Puyallup
  • 26th – Michelle Caldier (R) – Port Orchard/ Gig Harbor
  • 28th – Christine Kilduff (D) – Lakewood
  • 31st – Drew Stokesbary (R) – Emunclaw
  • 35th – Dan Griffey (R) – Shelton
  • 42nd – Luanne VanWerven (R) – Lynden
  • 44th – Mark Harmsworth (R) – Lake Stevens
  • 48th – Joan McBride (D) – Redmond
Senate
  • 30th – Mark Miloscia (R) – Federal Way (Miloscia is a former Representative, but is new to the Senate)
  • 37th – Pramila Jayapal (D) – Seattle/Renton

Why do we want you to know who the new legislators are?

 Because we want the first constituents they meet in their new job to be the people who share our values. They need to know who you are and that you care about them. Not just as legislators, but as people.

 This week is Session Days down in Olympia, where legislators are holding pre-session hearings, vote for caucus leadership, as well as discuss upcoming legislative issues.

 This is the time to start building those relationships. If you do, you never know what kind of impact it’s going to have down the road when critical decisions are being made.

 The abortion lobby and the homosexual lobby are in their offices early and often, and they’ll be making the case for why more government money should be spent on abortions and why businesses like Arlene’s Flowers should be sued because of their beliefs. If those are the only people who take the time to build relationships with them that share difference values than yours, who do you think will have the most influence when important decisions are being made?

 Remember, life, marriage, religious freedom, and parental rights are not organizational issues. They are family issues that affect all of us.

The legislative session will be starting in a few weeks and once it starts, our legislators will be busy making laws, creating budgets, meeting with other legislators, lobbyists and constituents on top of their other jobs and their family. In other words, they will be really busy.

 So before the Christmas and New Years break, we encourage you to reach out to your legislators, no matter how they stand on the issues that matter to you. Let them know what is important to you; they need to hear that from their constituents.

Click here to email your legislators or call the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000.

 When you are talking with your legislators, please be kind and courteous. Don’t give them a reason not to listen to you. You don’t have to become the best of friends with them, but be friendly.

 “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a hard word stirs up anger.”    Proverbs 15:1