skip to main content

Commentary

See the movie

April 8th, 2019

Unplanned, the motion picture, continues to challenge the assumptions of Hollywood and the modern American culture.  It tells the story of Abby Johnson, an ostensible Christian southern woman, who became ensnared by Planned Parenthood while yet a student in college.  The independent film has expanded to over 1500 screens and is generating enough revenue to presently rank #4 in America, beating out a number of studio-backed productions.

I was able to see the film yesterday, and I am still processing it emotionally.

The film is well-acted and well produced. That is an important part of its appeal to a culture accustomed to slick production values.

I was also impressed by the decision of the film’s makers to avoid preaching pro-Life values at the audience. Abby Johnson’s story lends itself well to letting the dark reality of abortion and our cultural confusion speak for itself.  The film allows Planned Parenthood to be judged by its own words and actions.  And it presents the emotional struggle many women and girls face in dealing with an unplanned pregnancy with resonating compassion.  But the film won’t let the audience rest there. Unplanned shows, without blinking, that abortion does not resolve that struggle; rather, the lies of Planned Parenthood transform it into something much bigger, much more painful – a solution which cannot be undone.

The film is an exercise in truth-telling. It shows the slow-walk of Abby Johnson from accepting a “woman’s right to choose”, to rationalizing her work for Planned Parenthood as a way to reduce to abortions, to finally realizing that a human being is killed in an abortion.  It exposes the callous treatment women receive at the hands of their “liberators” – Planned Parenthood.

But the powerful heartbeat of this film is the inescapable truth that abortion stops a baby’s heart from beating.

After some forty-five years, no lawsuit or rally or bumper sticker has been able to alter that reality. Or to silence the voice of those crying out for justice on behalf of God’s little ones.

This film has the potential of altering the entire abortion debate in this nation. I encourage pro-Lifers to see the film, and to bring friends with them.  Even those with different views on the most important challenge of our time.  Let the truth of this film do its work in their lives

David Ripley

Risch and Fulcher Sign on to Amicus Brief Defending States Rights

March 21st, 2019

An amicus brief was filed yesterday by 77 members of Congress in a landmark case before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.  The case involves a lawsuit brought by Planned Parenthood against the State of Texas because it has been disqualified by that state from receiving Medicaid funds.

Senator Jim Risch and Congressman Russ Fulcher are among those represented in the brief by legal counsel from Americans United for Life.

In the brief, the members of Congress argue that the states have broad and shared authority under the Medicaid program to operate the health care system within their borders. Congress recognizes the sovereignty of the states as partners in the program, the brief argues, with the right to disqualify providers it deems unfit.

And that is exactly the authority Texas exercised when it chose to exclude Planned Parenthood from the state’s Medicaid program as a “qualified provider”.

This is a landmark case because Planned Parenthood has been quite successful in pushing federal courts over the past decade into defending their “right” to taxpayer monies – especially under Medicaid and Title X. Such edicts have trampled upon States’ rights and placed legislators and taxpayers in the untenable position of choosing between helping low-income neighbors with health care costs and financing the Abortion Industry.

We applaud Risch and Fulcher for fighting this insidious trend in federal courts.

Democrats Move to Protect Kittens

March 14th, 2019

Guest Post from Tony Perkins:

What do cats have that newborn babies don’t? Democrats’ support. In one of the sickest ironies no one is talking about, Senate liberals picked this moment — 17 days after they voted to kill America’s perfectly healthy infants — to fight for the humane treatment of kittens. Maybe the DNC’s strategists are out to lunch, or maybe the Left really is this shameless, but I can’t wait to see some of these politicians standing on debate platforms next year telling the American people that when it comes to protecting living things: We chose cats over kids.

For sponsors like Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), the optics are nauseating. Here he is, arguing that America “must stop killing kittens,” when, three weeks ago, he stood in the U.S. Capitol and agreed with 43 Democrats that human beings should be put down. “The USDA’s decision to slaughter kittens after they are used in research is an archaic practice and horrific treatment, and we need to end it,” Merkley said with a passion that he and his colleagues couldn’t muster for a generation of perfectly healthy newborns. His Kittens in Traumatic Testing Ends Now — or KITTEN – Act wouldn’t stop the research, but it would keep the animals from being destroyed.

“The KITTEN Act will protect these innocent animals from being needlessly euthanized in government testing,” Merkley told reporters, “and make sure that they can be adopted by loving families instead.” Does he even hear himself? They should be treated and adopted? That’s exactly what Americans have requested for living, breathing babies. Democrats said no. Killing a child is a “personal decision,” they said, and Congress shouldn’t get in the way. What a comfort for abortion survivors like Melissa Ohden to know that, given the choice, Democrats would save a stray cat over her.

“The fact that we need a piece of legislation to tell the federal government to stop killing kittens is ridiculous on its face,” Congressman Brian Mast (R-Fla.) argued. But “ridiculous” doesn’t begin to describe a party that tells America to back away from the tables of crying newborns while it rushes to the rescue of kittens instead. I suppose we should also tell firefighters when they run into burning houses to look for the pets first? After all, on the Democrats’ sliding scale of “wantedness,” shouldn’t we find out how loved someone is before we decide if they’re worth saving?

Just incredible.

Planned Parenthood is the Heart of the Democrat Party

March 2nd, 2019

If “enviro-socialism” has overwhelmed the brains of the modern Democratic Party, then Planned Parenthood is its heart. We saw that deep emotional commitment to darkness when every Democrat in the U.S. Senate voted to protect infanticide just last week.

This week brought news that the passion for Planned Parenthood’s death agenda runs through every artery and vein of the “new” Democrat Party.

Various elected Democrats in Washington, Oregon, Connecticut, New York and California announced that they were banding together to use taxpayer dollars to defend Planned Parenthood’s access to Title X money in federal court. The level of corruption is just astounding – given that each of these office holders is the direct beneficiary of Planned Parenthood’s political operation.  We have now reached a new low in America – Planned Parenthood doesn’t even have to file its own lawsuits.  Debased Democrats will do the work for them, by abusing their offices and taxpayers.  What a scandal.

The backdrop for this story is the new rule change President Trump implemented on the use of Title X funds. It enforces a federal statute requiring that agencies receiving Title X funds maintain separate physical facilities if they also provide abortion.  That same statute requires that each of the facilities – one offering family planning services, the other abortion services – maintain separate staff.  The federal law was intended to get at the on-going problem of taxpayers subsidizing Planned Parenthood’s abortion operations.  President Reagan ordered his Department of Health & Human Services to enforce this law.  President Clinton revised the rule and officially determined to “look the other way”.  And no president, including President George W. Bush, chose to revise the rules and enforce federal law.  Until President Trump.

We learned that disturbing history after members of the U.S. Senate – including Idaho’s Mike Crapo and Jim Risch – called on President Trump to carefully review the rules governing Title X because they conflicted with federal law. The Trump Administration has responded by returning to the old Regan rules, and the rule of law.

The “Reagan Rules”, adopted in 1988, also include a prohibition of any Title X agency from treating abortion as a legitimate method of family planning. That would include abortion referrals from the staff or office of a Title X recipient to the “abortion side” of the building.  Planned Parenthood screamed that this amounted to a “gag rule” and, of course, sued.

The good news is that the U.S. Supreme Court has already upheld the old “Reagan Rules” in a 1991 decision (Rust v. Sullivan).  Thus, we can be fairly hopeful that the Democrat lawsuit(s) on behalf of Planned Parenthood will ultimately fail.

But how do we address the underlying corruption which animates the Democrat Party?

 

UPDATE: The list of Democrat-led states filing lawsuits against the Trump Administration has now grown to 22:  California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington, DC, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.  What a despicable turn of events and abuse of taxpayers.

Guest Post: The Celebration of Evil in New York

February 2nd, 2019

New York, abortion and a short route to chaos

By Bishop Robert Barron

It was the celebration that was particularly galling.

On the 46th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, signed into law a protocol that gives practically unrestricted access to abortion, permitting the killing of an unborn child up until the moment of delivery. In the wake of the ratification, the legislators and their supporters whooped, hollered, and cheered, a display depressingly similar to the jubilation that broke out in Ireland when a referendum legalizing abortion passed last year.

Of course, all of the rhetoric about women’s rights and reproductive health and empowerment was trotted out, but who can fail to see what was at stake? If an infant, lying peacefully in a bassinet in his parents’ home, were brutally killed and dismembered, the entire country would rightfully be outraged and call for an investigation of the murder. But now the law of New York confirms that that same child, moments before his birth, resting peacefully in his mother’s womb, can be, with utter impunity, pulled apart with forceps. And the police won’t be summoned; rather, it appears, the killing should be a matter of celebration.

An ideology, taken in the negative sense, is a conceptual framework that blinds one to reality. The purpose of any ideational system, obviously, is to shed light, to bring us closer to the truth of things. But an ideology does the reverse, effectively obfuscating reality, distancing us from truth. All of the buzz terms I mentioned above – women’s rights, reproductive health, empowerment – are ideological markers, smokescreens. Or if I can borrow the terminology of Jordan Peterson, they are the chattering of demons, the distracting hubbub of the father of lies.

I recall that during the presidential campaign of 2016, Hillary Clinton was asked several times whether the child in the womb, within minutes of birth, has constitutional rights, and this extremely intelligent, experienced, and canny politician said, over and over again, “That’s what our law dictates.” Therefore, by a sheer accident of location, the unborn baby can be butchered, and the same baby, moments later and in the arms of his mother, must be protected by full force of law. That many of our political leaders can’t or won’t see how utterly ludicrous this is can only be the result of ideological indoctrination.

As I watched film of Andrew Cuomo signing this repulsive bill into law, my mind drifted back to 1984 and an auditorium at the University of Notre Dame where Cuomo’s father, Mario – also governor of New York at the time – delivered a famous address. In his lengthy and intellectually substantive speech, Gov. Cuomo presented himself, convincingly, as a faithful Catholic, thoroughly convinced in conscience that abortion is morally outrageous. But he also made a fateful distinction that has been exploited by liberal Catholic politicians for the past 35 years. He explained that though he was personally opposed to abortion, he was not willing to pursue legal action to abolish it or even to limit it, since he was the representative of all the people, and not just of those who shared his Catholic convictions.

Now this distinction is an illegitimate one, which is evident the moment we draw an analogy to other public matters of great moral import: “I’m personally opposed to slavery, but I’ll take no action to outlaw it or limit its spread”; “I personally find Jim Crow laws repugnant, but I will pursue no legal strategy to undo them”; etc. But at the very least, Mario Cuomo could declare himself deeply conflicted, anguished, willing to support abortion law only as a regrettable political necessity in a pluralistic democracy.

But in a single generation, we have moved from reluctant toleration to unbridled celebration, from struggling Mario to exultant Andrew.

There is a simple reason for this. A privatized religion, one that never incarnates itself in gesture, behavior, and moral commitment, rapidly vanishes. Once-powerful convictions, never concretely expressed, devolve, practically overnight, into pious wishes – and finally disappear altogether.

In Robert Bolt’s magnificent play regarding St. Thomas More, [ITAL]A Man for All Seasons, we find a telling exchange between Cardinal Wolsey, a hard-bitten, largely amoral politico, and the saintly More. Wolsey laments, “You’re a constant regret to me, Thomas. If you could just see facts flat on, without that horrible moral squint, with just a little common sense, you could have been a statesman.” To which More responds, “Well…I believe when statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties … they lead their country by a short route to chaos.” Abandoning the convictions of one’s conscience in the exercise of one’s public duties is precisely equivalent to: “I’m personally opposed but unwilling to take concrete action to instantiate my opposition.”

And this abandonment – evident in Mario Cuomo’s 1984 address – had indeed led by a short road to chaos, evident in Andrew Cuomo’s joyful celebration of a law permitting the murder of children.

 

Bishop Robert Barron currently serves as the Auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Diocese in Los Angeles.

Fulcher Signs Pro-Life Letter

January 17th, 2019

Idaho’s new congressman, Russ Fulcher, was among 169 Members of Congress signing a letter to President Trump, urging him to stand strong in defense of the pro-Life policies he has initiated since becoming president. A similar letter came from 49 Republican members of the U.S. Senate, including Idaho’s Jim Risch and Mike Crapo.

The letter comes in response to the early pro-abortion salvos launched by Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In one of her very first actions in the new Congress, she inserted language into an emergency government spending bill that would restore tax funding of Planned Parenthood International.  That cynical attempt to re-open all of the federal government has been blocked by the Republican Senate.  Some national leaders of the pro-Life movement have expressed concern that Speaker Pelosi may try to blackmail the president into backing away from one or more of his pro-Life policies in order to end the government shutdown.

The letter from Congressman Fulcher and others urges the president to use his veto pen to uphold pro-Life protections like the Mexico City Policy and the Hyde Amendment; the latter restricts the use of federal funds to pay for abortions. Pro-Life advocates believe that some two million babies have been saved from abortion through the Hyde Amendment alone.

Congressman Mike Simpson was not one of the signatories.

Welcome Back to Nancy’s World

January 4th, 2019

On the first day of her restored reign as House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi made a down-payment on her debt to the Abortion Industry.

As hundreds of thousands of federal employees sit at home, Pelosi made an historic pitch to restore funding of Planned Parenthood International as the first priority of her plan to reopen parts of the government. As new caravans of central American immigrants threaten to launch yet another caravan, Pelosi decides that national security can be ignored – but the demand for more money to Planned Parenthood cannot be.

Border agents overwhelmed at the southern border with illegal immigrants, drug cartels and threats of international terror can just get by with the resources they have … but Planned Parenthood’s desire to destroy more innocent lives across the globe is a crisis which must be addressed. The Mexico City Policy must be overturned!  Today!

As profoundly disturbing as it is to see Pelosi’s radical agenda on display, we can’t claim surprise or shock. The folks who just took over the House of Representatives owe a profound debt to the Abortion Industry.  And they clearly intend to make good by helping Planned Parenthood destroy more innocent lives. Thank the Lord that we have a pro-Life president who won’t tolerate such despicable priorities.

The Blessings of 2018

January 1st, 2019

As we launch into a new year, it is always important to spend some time looking back on the victories and blessings of the one just expired. The exercise builds gratitude and strength for the battles ahead.

There were substantial pro-Life victories in 2018. At the top of the list is passage of the Abortion Complications Reporting Law, adopted by the 2018 Legislature and signed into law by Governor Butch Otter.  This law promises to shine the light into the practices of the Abortion Industry in Idaho – and to provide comprehensive information for women and policy makers on the real risks of abortion.  Planned Parenthood has fought hard to protect their stranglehold on this data, preferring to keep women and the public in the dark.  In fact, they are now suing the state in hopes of getting the federal courts to safeguard their monopoly.  They lost in district court, and are now appealing to the 9th Circuit.

We are grateful for the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. While his first vote on an abortion-related case raises some concern, we remain hopeful that he will be a critical vote in advancing the rights of states to defend their preborn citizens.

We are grateful for the election of a pro-Life governor in Idaho. The general election made it abundantly clear that Democrat Paulette Jordan would have pursued an aggressive abortion agenda, driven by her allies at Planned Parenthood.  We take this opportunity to offer our prayers for Governor Brad Little, and ask the Lord to bless his time in office and to provide him with genuine wisdom in helping to build a better Idaho.

We are grateful for the release of the movie detailing the heinous practices of Kermit Gosnell. This film has helped expose the dark reality of the Abortion Industry.

We are grateful that the Trump Administration has moved on a number of pro-Life policies this year: The Administration has just published a call for the FDA to find morally-acceptable alternatives to using aborted baby parts and tissue in medical research it is currently funding. The Administration also further strengthened conscience protections for employers who object to paying for the Obama Mandate on abortion-causing drugs.

We are grateful for the volunteers, prayer warriors and donors who help make this work possible. They must be the most kind-hearted, generous people on earth.

There are serious battles looming, to be sure. But let us take a moment to give thanks to the Lord for the progress we’ve made, looking forward with hope and anticipation to the blessings He will bestow in 2019.

The Magic of Christmas

December 21st, 2018

Christmas carols and lights. Santas at the Mall.  Shopping lists and wrapping parties; Christmas cookies brought into the break room.  The wonderment of the Season is building, as is the rush to get everything done.  Many people of faith worry that such busyness means a loss of the reason we celebrate Christmas in the first place.  Perhaps that anxiety is overblown.

Somehow, the Spirit of Christ transcends in the sounds and smells of Christmas, even for people who have little conscious regard for the coming of our Savior. We live in a secular world, a largely secular America.  We live in a time of heightened social and political conflict.  Yet the shopping, the lights, the Christmas cards brings a healing.  This is a time when one can’t but help be drawn toward helping others, thanking those who have been with us, doing a little act of kindness for the gal at the Post Office.

Even for those who don’t know why… exactly … there is the Spirit of Christ dominating our society in these precious days before Christmas.

Isn’t it rather amazing that a secular music group produces their version of “Holy Night”? They might not truly appreciate the power of the words they sing so beautifully … but they are nevertheless helping to make a joyful noise unto the Lord.  Those given such talents by the Maker of the Universe are somehow brought to a place where those talents are used to proclaim the Gift of the Savior –  not unlike the Magi or the shepherds, men who were compelled to see the miracle of Jesus laying in a manger.

Let us enjoy the precious days of Christmas and draw comfort from the display of Christian values by personages like Santa Claus – even if many of the secular symbols of the Season don’t explicitly proclaim the Name of Christ. The virtues of hope, kindness and giving nevertheless point to Him.

For us, this is the most special holiday of the year. There is something so powerful about Christmas and the fight to protect the vulnerable new lives threatened by the darkness of abortion. The birth of Jesus, the miracle of Jesus, is heralded by each new life in the womb.

Join with us in giving thanks for all the miracles of this Christmas Season – including the opportunity to defend all of God’s innocents.

Blessings to you and your family.

The Legacy of Bush 41

December 4th, 2018

Former President Bush lies in state today at the nation’s capital, following a long life built almost entirely around public service. There can be no doubt that he was a hero, having bravely served his nation in World War II.

While some of his public record remains controversial, there can also be no doubt that he carried forward the pro-Life policies of President Reagan. We appreciate our friends at Life News for recapping some of the moral leadership President Bush provided while president (1989-1993):

  • He defended Reagan’s “Mexico City” Policy – which prohibited federal aid dollars from going to organizations that perform or promote abortion in foreign nations;
  • Bush prohibited the importation of RU-486;
  • The Bush Administration filed amicus briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court, urging the high court to reverse its position in Roe v. Wade;
  • President George H.W. Bush vetoed ten different bills passed by a pro-abortion Congress which would have expanded abortion “rights” – including four pieces of legislation which would have provided taxpayer funding of abortion;
  • Bush also issued an Executive Order to the military, prohibiting the performance of an abortion on U.S. military bases except in cases where an abortion was deemed necessary to save a mother’s life.

We pray that the Lord of Mercies comforts the Bush Family during this time of grief. And we commend President Bush for his service to America and our most important values.