Obamacare Failed Breastfeeding Mothers

In a classic case of unintended consequences, what was meant to help new mothers actually made things more expensive and difficult.

Lauren K. Hall

by  Lauren K. Hall

I recently had a conversation with my health insurance company that gave me some interesting perspective on the current US health care system. I’m pregnant, so I called to figure out whether my insurance covered a new breast pump for when I return to work while nursing. There was good news and bad news.

Good news: insurance covers (most of) a new breast pump!

Bad news: Due to federal regulations and insurance bureaucracy, I cannot simply order the pump I want from Amazon, where prices are clearly laid out, the pump I want is in stock, and I know what I am getting. Instead, my insurance gave me a list of 10 different medical supply companies, all of which provide different pumps and half of which do not list prices. This is a problem since my insurance only covers $178 of the pump’s price.

So rather than spending two minutes ordering a pump from Amazon, I will spend at least an entire morning sifting through websites mostly designed circa 2004 and filling out various information request forms to find out whether the company carries the pump I want and how much the same pump costs at these different websites. I will also need to get a prescription from my doctor, which will require another appointment and more paperwork.

All in all, a process that should take two minutes will now take at least a week of back and forth, many emails, multiple phone calls, and shipping that will definitely take longer than two-day Prime shipping.

So what’s going on here?

The Unintended Consequences of Health Insurance Mandates

The breast pump example is a classic case of unintended consequences. When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed, one much-lauded goal was to provide better support for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. The requirement was touted as a way mothers could nurse longer (a major public health goal that may or may not make a lot of sense), particularly once they re-entered the workforce.

The requirement, as many have noted, turned a normal consumer good into a medical device that all women could get for “free,” regardless of income level. Some four million American women give birth every year, and some large percentage of those at least attempt to breastfeed. Many, if not most, nursing mothers will need a breast pump at some point, so the costs of this mandate are not small.

Insurance companies, predictably, did not respond altruistically and absorb the costs of an expensive new mandate. They passed some of these costs on to consumers in the form of higher premiums but also sought to control costs by limiting the kinds of pumps mothers had access to. My insurance, for example, only covers a single electric pump, which is ironic because the last time I checked, most women have two breasts. But insurers’ rationale is understandable: they’ve been ordered to provide a free thing — not necessarily the best free thing out there, nor the free thing that actually would meet women’s wants and needs for pumping.Companies also, predictably, increased the red tape associated with ordering a breast pump, both to ensure they can prove their compliance to the federal government, and also probably in part to make it harder for women to access the benefit. I didn’t bother getting an insurance-covered breast pump for my second child (the ACA wasn’t fully in effect when I had my first) because I had an old breast pump a friend had given me and I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of getting a new pump while wrangling a newborn.

Without government interference in my insurance plan, where would I be today? I probably would have taken some of the money I would have saved in slightly lower premiums and bought myself the breast pump I really wanted. Instead, I’m faced with both paying higher premiums and being forced to choose a product that does not fit my needs. As FEE’s Pamela Hobart discussed, lower-income women already had access to low-cost breast pumps through the supplemental nutrition program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Why did the government believe it necessary to mandate coverage for all women, when most women not on WIC would have been better served simply buying the breast pump they really wanted out of pocket? Obviously, the answer is political, but it makes little to no economic sense.

Government Micromanagement and Insurance Bureaucracy

My breast pump saga is merely one example of a much broader lesson that goes well beyond nursing mothers. The more government micromanages what insurance companies are required to do, the more insurance companies will respond with red tape and hurdles to lower their own costs and prevent being taken advantage of.The breast pump saga is also an important reminder of what insurance was originally not meant to do. Health insurance was meant to help cover the catastrophic costs of medical care that an average person could not have foreseen: getting hit by a bus, developing cancer, or needing a liver transplant. Health insurance was never meant to provide people with basic consumer goods they can and should be saving for themselves. It also was never meant to pay for regular checkups, physicals, and the foreseeable and moderate expenses of being a human being with a fallible body.

Now we use health insurance to pay for everything from yearly physicals to breast pumps to blood pressure screenings, and the government continues to mandate more and more covered items and procedures. The result has not been better care, but escalating costs and more restrictions on consumer choice. None of that seems like much of a “benefit” to me.

So how did my pump saga ultimately end? After a few hours of wasted time Googling and talking to medical supply companies on the phone, I ended up ordering the pump I wanted from a local medical supply company. That pump, available for $174.98 on Amazon, ended up costing my insurance $178.00 and me another $70, while the sticker price on the receipt inexplicably totaled $318.00. Total extra bureaucratic costs: a few hours of my time, my insurance company’s time, the medical supply company’s time, and an extra $70 to $140, depending on which price you hold to be the “real” price.

But yes, by all means, let’s get MORE government involvement in healthcare.

Reprinted from Learn Liberty

Lauren K. Hall

Lauren K. Hall

Lauren has is Associate Professor of Political Science at the College of Liberal Arts, Rochester Institute of Technology. She is also a member of the FEE Faculty Network.

EPA’s Scott Pruitt to repeal ‘Clean Power Plan’

“The war against coal is over” was the message coming out of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s visit with coal miners yesterday in Hazard, Kentucky.

Today Pruitt signed a “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” beginning the regulatory process to repeal President Obama’s Orwellian-named “Clean Power Plan.”

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt minced no words:

“The Obama administration pushed the bounds of their authority so far with the CPP that the Supreme Court issued a historic stay of the rule, preventing its devastating effects to be imposed on the American people while the rule is being challenged in court,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.  “We are committed to righting the wrongs of the Obama administration by cleaning the regulatory slate.  Any replacement rule will be done carefully, properly, and with humility, by listening to all those affected by the rule.”

We posted EPA’s full press release at CFACT.org.

Pruitt’s points are well taken.

President Obama’s EPA indulged in broad regulatory overreach when it promulgated the “CPP,” which goes far behind its mandate and authority under the “Clean Air Act.”  Bureaucrats usurping the role of Congress was a staple of the Obama era.  Administrator Pruitt is determined to restore the rule of law.

Moreover, the CPP fails not only as a matter of law, but even worse on substance.

The CPP flunks any rational cost-benefit analysis, imposing massive economic damage on the United States while doing nothing meaningful to alter temperature of the Earth, even if climate computer models were spot on — which they have never been!

EPA now estimates that if allowed to go forward the “Clean Power Plan” would cost $33 billion in 2030!

Good riddance to this ill-conceived energy draining, economy-wrecking plan.

Well done Administrator Pruitt.

RELATED ARTICLE: Rolling Back Obama EPA Rule Could Save $33 Billion

SEIU Community Organizer behind the anti-woman “Women’s March to the Polls” in Chicago

There will be a Woman’s March to the Polls in Chicago, Illinois on October 11th, 2017. Is the march about protecting mothers and their children from the gang violence in Chicago? Is the march focused on eliminating the growing number of murders on Chicago’s streets? Is the march’s mission to restore the family and help create jobs for women?

Jaquie Algee

As of October 10th, 2017 Chicago had a total 530 murders, 8 murders since October 1st, according to DNAInfo.com. Is not the murder rate in Chicago a woman’s issue? Does the Woman’s March to the Polls care about Chicago’s murder rate and its impact on women, families and neighborhoods?

QUESTION: What does The Women’s March to the Polls have to do with helping women?

The organizer of the march is Jaquie Algee the Vice President/Director of External Relations for The Service Employees International Union Healthcare Illinois/Indiana/Missouri/Kansas (SEIU HCIIMK).

The Woman’s March to the Polls (WMC) website describes its mission as follows:

WMC is an organization advocating for women’s rights, promoting intersectional feminism, and challenging the political system regarding issues affecting women. WMC brings together women and allies in support of reproductive justice, LGBTQ+ rights, immigrant rights, affordable childcare, racial justice, access for persons with disabilities, environmental protection, voting rights, and active citizenship, and other critical issues.

Let’s look at three of the missions of the Women’s March to the Polls.

The first is promoting “intersectional feminism.”

What is intersectional feminism and is it good for women? USA Today’s Alia E. Dastagir defines intersectional feminism thusly:

A white woman is penalized by her gender but has the advantage of race. A black woman is disadvantaged by her gender and her race. A Latina lesbian experiences discrimination because of her ethnicity, her gender and her sexual orientation.

Intersectionality has received increased attention in part due to how the Women’s March on Washington came together.

So does it help a white woman to hate herself because she is white? Does it help a black woman to hate anyone who is not black? Does being a lesbian help women and promote traditional families? Do LGBTQ+ rights help women, fathers, mothers and children?

Here are ten truths about the LGBTQ+ agenda. Here’s a pediatricians take on LGBTQ+.

Of course affordable childcare helps women and is a priority of the Trump administration as is equal justice under the law.

The second is advancing “reproductive justice.”

Reproductive justice are code words for abortion on demand. Is the act of a woman aborting her unborn child good for her health?

According to the Illinois Department of Health in 2015 there were a total of 39,856 abortions of which 25,809 were by unmarried women. Girls under the age of 14-years old accounted for 82 abortions, with girls between the ages of 14-17 years old aborting 1,144 babies. Chicago is in Cook County, which accounted for 22,892 or 64.7% of all abortions in Illinois. Abortion is the inextricable outcome of “reproductive justice.”

Why do underage girls and women abort their babies?

The Federalist’s Greg Scandlen has an answer in an article titled “How Many Women Are Pressured Into Abortions?” Scandlen reported:

One study from the pro-life side reported, “In a national study of women, 64% of those who aborted felt pressured to do so by others. This pressure can become violent. 65% suffered symptoms of trauma. In the year following an abortion, suicide rates are 6-7 times higher.“ See also this report from “Clinic Quotes.”

But even the pro-choice side is beginning to wake up to the issue. An article in The Daily Beast is headlined, “Coerced Abortions: A New Study Shows They’re Common.” The article is based largely on information from the Guttmacher Institute (a pro-abortion research center) but raises the topic of “reproductive coercion.” This is an interesting twist on the concept. Rather than looking at women who are coerced into having an abortion, it looks at women who are coerced or tricked first into getting pregnant, then also coerced into aborting the baby, identified as “reproductive control.”

Reproductive justice is a form of “reproductive control” and “reproductive coercion.”

Thirdly is futhering “environmental protection.”

How does environmental protection help women? Alex Epstein in “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels” writes:

What does it mean to be moral?

This is an involved philosophical question, but for our purposes I will say: an activity is moral if it is fundamentally beneficial to human life.

By that standard, is the fossil fuel industry moral? The answer to that question is a resounding yes. By producing the most abundant, affordable, reliable energy in the world, the fossil fuel industry makes every other industry more productive—and it makes every individual more productive and thus more prosperous, giving him a level of opportunity to pursue happiness that previous generations couldn’t even dream of. Energy, the fuel of technology, is opportunity—the opportunity to use technology to improve every aspect of life. Including our environment.

Any animal’s environment can be broken down into two categories: threats and resources. (For human beings, “resources” includes a broad spectrum of things, including natural beauty.)

Epstein notes, “To assess the fossil fuel industry’s impact on our environment, we simply need to ask: What is its impact on threats? What is its impact on resources? The moral case against fossil fuels argues that the industry makes our environment more threatening and our resources more scarce.”

With scarce natural resources comes higher prices for food, home heating, gasoline and all other products used by women to sustain human life.

Perhaps the Women’s March to the Polls is all about politics and little to do with the life, liberty and happiness of women?  Or is this march just another a get out the vote to reelect Democrats to continue to lead Chicago on the same path that it is headed? You be the judge.

RELATED ARTICLES:

California Can Now Jail People for Misusing Gender Pronouns

When It Comes to Cost of Living, Red States Win

EDITORS NOTE: The feature image is of Colette Gregory, right, with her mentee Sara Phillips, 27 from the January 20th, 2017 Women’s March on Chicago. Photo by WTTW PBS channel in Chicago.

Final Farewell from Veritence, Inc.

Dear Friends,

Effective today, October 7, 2017,  I have decided to end my aggressive, demanding, ten year long effort to warn my fellow citizens to prepare for a coming cold climate and associated historic earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

This decision is based on the extent of my disability from a stroke I had a little over a month ago and two medical emergencies from stroke related internal organ problems I have experienced in the past two weeks while still in the hospital.

Realistically, I must now devote 100% of my time to a lengthy recovery and end any potentially stressful work that may cause yet another stroke.

Please continue to rely on the many online videos that exist of my public presentations or interviews and my books, “Dark Winter,” and “Upheaval!” to provide you information on how to prepare for what I believe will be a challenging future.

It has been my great honor to have served you during the past decade. Further, I want to say that I have been humbled by the outpouring of support I have received from thousands of Americans who have come to my side over the years – extending their friendship and appreciation for my crusade for truth in climate science.

I wish you all the best as we enter the next predicted cold climate and associated historic earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Good bye and Best Wishes,

John  Casey

The United States Has Entered a Period of Catastrophic Earthquakes!

That is the conclusion of a team of international scientists documented in their December 2016 book: “Upheaval! – Why Catastrophic Earthquakes Will Soon Strike the United States.

Read more about the book and reader comments at Amazon.com.

Veritence, Inc. is in the process of shutting down. Mail for Mr. Casey may be addressed as follows:

John L. Casey
c/o Veritence, Inc.
P.O.Box 608209
Orlando, FL 32860.

The Veritance.net web site and the email account, mail@veritence.net, will be closed by November 1, 2017.

Energy Day: A New Analogy

Earlier this week I gave the keynote speech at Energy Day, the most significant annual energy event in Peru.

The event was hosted by the firm Laub & Quijandría, led by Anthony Laub. One of the highlights of my trip was meeting Anthony’s team before my speech and discussing The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels; they conveyed an understanding that the book’s method is even more distinctive and important than the book’s conclusion.

During the speech I made an analogy I’ve never made before. I thought you might enjoy it.

“The fossil fuel industry is the only industry in history that has figured out how to produce cheap, plentiful, reliable energy for billions of people. Even if there are costs, I think we should be really grateful to the people who’ve done this. I think it’s offensive that we say things like, ‘I hate fossil fuels.’

“I was flying in yesterday on Avianca, and it made me think: what if there had been someone on the plane who had said to the pilot, ‘You know what? I think what you do is evil,’ and they were wearing an ‘I hate pilots’ shirt, and they just spent their whole life denouncing pilots. What would you say to them if you were the pilot? You’d probably say, ‘Get off the damn plane.’ What kind of person takes advantage of this amazing human being that’s allowing him to fly, and then says, ‘I hate you, and I want to destroy you’?

“How is it any different to do that to the pilot than to do it to the person who fuels the plane or the person who created the fuel?

“There’s only one industry that allows us to fly. It’s the fossil fuel industry. We tell the industry, ‘Hey, we want to do the most amazing thing ever. We want to fly, so we can get from point A to point B really fast.’ Only one industry has raised its hand and said, ‘Yeah, we figured out a way to do that.’ Then we say, ‘We hate you. You’re horrible. The earth would be better off without you.’”

Earlier this week I told you about the online version of my course, “How to Have Constructive Conversations About Energy,” part of my brand new Energy Champion program. One of the things I’m most excited about is the live version of this course.

This is a one-day live training program, taught by me, where I will take your team through:

  • The positive impacts of fossil fuel use
  • The negative impacts of fossil fuel use
  • Energy policy
  • Having constructive conversations about fossil fuel use

This course was developed in consultation with training specialists and focus-group tested to ensure that companies get the best possible results. It also features some of the best material we’ve ever created:

  • High-quality videos and other visuals
  • Exercises that will help participants own the material
  • In-depth handbooks, handouts, and other material to maximize employee retention
  • Lifetime access to the online version of our “How to Have Constructive Conversations About Energy” course

If you’re interested, reply to this email and put “Energy Champion Live” in the subject line.

ALSO: Whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help your organization turn non-supporters into supporters and turn supporters into champions.

1. Hire me to speak at your next event.

If you have an upcoming board meeting, employee town hall, or association meeting, I have some new and updated speeches about the moral case for fossil fuels, winning hearts and minds, and communications strategy in the new political climate. If you’d like to consider me for your event, just reply to this message and put “Event” in the subject line.

2. Fill out the free Constructive Conversation Scorecard to assess where you are and where you want to be in your one-on-one communications.

Email it back to me and I’ll send you my step-by-step Constructive Conversation System that will enable you to talk to anyone about energy.

3. Hold a Constructive Conversation workshop.

For the last two years I have been testing and refining an approach to one-on-one conversations that anybody can use. I call it the Constructive Conversation Formula. If you have between 5-20 people who interact frequently with stakeholders and want custom guidance on how to win hearts and minds, just reply to this email and put “Workshop” in the subject line.

PS: I got this feedback in response to a workshop I recently conducted: “It is very encouraging to receive useful tools to help us deal with all-too-common situations we find ourselves in that make us feel very uncomfortable and that we know are just not right…the Constructive Conversation Formula…is fantastic. Doing the role playing and providing examples was absolutely essential.”

VIDEO: Gender Identity — Why All the Confusion?

Are male and female one and the same? Or are there real male-female differences rooted in biology?

Ashley McGuire, author of “Sex Scandal: The Drive to Abolish Male and Female,” explains.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

I’m a Pediatrician. How Transgender Ideology Has Infiltrated My Field and Produced Large-Scale Child Abuse

The Humanitarian Hoax of Transgenders in the Military: Killing America With Kindness

The Demonic Nature of the Transgender Movement: The Devil, You Say

How the Debate on Climate Change Is Cooling Down

The models predicting certain environmental doom were wrong, and they’ve been wrong for a while.

Marian L. Tupy

by Marian L. Tupy

In a previous column, I noted that the typical audience reaction to my talks about the improving state of the world is not joy and thankfulness for the progress that humanity is making in tackling age-old problems such as infant mortality, malnutrition, and illiteracy. Rather, it is the concern about the exhaustion of natural resources and the supposedly irreparable harm that humanity is causing to the environment.

Apocalyptic warnings about the end of the world as we know it are as old as humanity itself, but recent news should give the doomsayers some food for thought and lower the temperature, so to speak, in the debate about global warming and its future effects on the planet.

The Models Were Wrong

In a new study that was published in the journal Nature Geoscience, leading climate scientists have adjusted their previous predictions about global warming and stated that the worst impacts of climate change are still avoidable. Professor Michael Grubb, an international energy and climate change scientist at University College London, said that previous scientific estimates were incorrect because they were based on computer models that were running “on the hot side.”

According to the new estimates, the world is more likely than previously thought to achieve the main goal of the 2015 Paris agreement and limit global warming to only 1.5°C higher than was the case in the pre-industrial era. Only two years ago, many scientists dismissed the 1.5°C goal as too optimistic and Professor Grubb went as far to say that “all the evidence from the past 15 years leads me to conclude that actually delivering 1.5°C” is unattainable.

While it is true that the average global temperature is 0.9°C higher than in the pre-industrial era, the scientists now admit that there was a slowdown in warming in the 15 years prior to 2014 – a slowdown that the models did not predict or account for. Professor Myles Allen, another one of the study’s authors, said “We haven’t seen that rapid acceleration in warming after 2000 that we see in the models. We haven’t seen that in the observations.”

What has changed in the model forecasts since the Paris summit in 2015? The data showing that the climate models are running “on the hot side” has been available for years. In 2015, my colleagues Patrick Michaels and Chip Knappenberger noted that climate models have been overestimating the rate of warming for decades. In 2016, John Christy from the University of Alabama in Huntsville testified before the US Congress that the climate models were inaccurate. For their trouble, all three have been labeled “climate change deniers.”

The Nature Geoscience study suggests that humanity has more time to transition away from fossil fuels. Should it? That’s debatable, argues William Nordhaus, a professor of economics at Yale University, and his coauthor Andrew Moffatt, in a recently released paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research. The paper combines econometric and climate models to estimate the future impact of global warming on worldwide income.

The Laws of Economics Still Apply

By studying 36 estimates of the costs of global warming, the pair predicts that 3°C warming will reduce global income by 2.04 percent and 6°C warming will reduce global income by 8.16 percent by 2100. Nordhaus and Moffatt’s estimates parallel the broad consensus. For example, the IPCC in their Fourth Report estimated that global “mean losses could be 1 to 5 percent of GDP for 4°C of warming”.

As Ronald Bailey of Reason magazine calculates, current global average income per capita is about $10,000. If the world grows at 3 percent per year over the next 80 years or so, global average income per capita will rise to $97,000. According to Nordhaus and Moffatt’s estimations, therefore, an increase in global temperature by 3°C would reduce global average income per capita by $2,000 to $95,000. A 6°C increase in global temperature would reduce global average income per capita by $8,000 to $89,000.

“We have a predicament,” Bailey concludes. “How much are we willing to spend in order to make those living in 2100, who will likely be at least nine times richer than us today, $2,000 better off?”

That is not a purely academic question. Thanks to the concerns over global warming, governments throughout the world have been busy imposing serious additional costs on economic development and reducing real living standards of ordinary people so as to facilitate the fastest possible transition away from fossil fuels. The above studies add to the complexity surrounding the subject of global warming and human response to it. They also strengthen the case of those who argue that any such transition should be driven by technological change, not government mandates.

Reprinted from CapX

Marian L. Tupy

Marian L. Tupy

Marian L. Tupy is the editor of HumanProgress.org and a senior policy analyst at the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity.

Washington Post Employs Deceptive Tactic on ‘Children’ and Guns

The Washington Post has surpassed the Brady Campaign and Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety to take a place alongside the New York Times as the premier anti-gun propagandists in the country. While those gun control groups have been known to pervert the facts to fit their agenda, a recent Post article and accompanying editorial go where even the most hardline gun control groups no longer tread.

On September 15, the Washington Post published an article with the sensationalist headline “Children under fire,” which carried the subtitle, “Almost two dozen kids are shot every day in the U.S. This 4-year-old was one of them.” In it, the author used the tragic shooting of a 4-year-old Cleveland boy as a jumping-off point to discuss the number “children” shot in the U.S. each day. Throughout the article, the author referred to his subjects as “children,” contending, “On average, 23 children were shot each day in the United States in 2015.” Accompanied by extensive artwork of the boy and his injuries, the author’s obvious intent was to give the impression that such incidents involving young children are common.

Using a well-worn anti-gun tactic, the author came to the deceptive 23 “children” a day figures by combining the annual number of firearms-related injuries among those properly identified as children (0-14) with firearms-related injuries among juveniles (15-17) and labeling the entire group “children.” As one might expect, juveniles, rather than children, account for the vast majority of firearms-related injuries.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2015 there were 8,369 firearms injuries among those ages 0-17. Juveniles ages 15-17 accounted for 6,476, or 77 percent, of those injuries. Excluding these individuals from the measurement, the average number of children who sustained a firearm injury each day drops from 23 to 5.

Not content to let the article alone mislead the public, on September 18 the Post’s editorial board weighed in. The online version of the Post editorial carried the headline “Twenty-three children are shot every day in America,” just above a picture of the 4-year-old featured in the article. Once again, the Post’s intent was obvious; to portray young children as suffering gunshot wounds 23 times each day.

Such deceptive tactics place the Post at odds with even the institutional gun control lobby. After using this approach throughout the 1990s (sometimes using ages 0-19), the Brady Campaign (formerly Handgun Control Inc.) now refers to this age group as “children and teens” in their materials. Everytown also uses the term “children and teens” to refer to those ages 0-19. Unlike the Post, Everytown grants some additional context to the statistic, admitting on its website, “Rates of firearm injury death increase rapidly after age 12.”

If this NRA-ILA Grassroots Alert article seems familiar, that is because there has been a recent resurgence in the use of the misleading method employed by the Post. While Americans’ trust in the media is already near a historic low, the Post’s use of a deceptive tactic that even the gun control lobby has abandoned should further inform readers as to the “quality” of journalism to expect from the publication.

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Reuniting The United States With Reciprocity

Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll Throws Wrench in Anti-gun Agenda

Anti-Gun Politicians: Blocking Out The Facts About Suppressors

Lib Teacher Tries to Mx up Kids on Gender

It’s hard enough to raise kids these days without worrying if their teachers are working against you! Unfortunately, that’s exactly what seems to be happening in public schools these days, as elementary schools become even more brazen in their liberal indoctrination. We talked about what’s happening in Rocklin, California yesterday. Today’s threat is in Tallahassee, Florida, where a teacher was quite up front about her real agenda for the year.

In a letter to parents, Canopy Oaks Fifth Grade teacher Chloe Bressack warned homes that only politically-correct pronouns would be tolerated.

“One thing you that you should know about me is that I use gender neutral terms. My prefix is Mx. (pronounced Mix). Additionally, my pronouns are ‘they, them, their,’ instead of ‘he, his, she, hers.’ I know it takes some practice for it to feel natural, but in my experience, students catch on pretty quickly. We’re not going for perfection, just making an effort! …My priority is for all of my students to be comfortable in my classroom and have a space where they can be themselves while learning.”

What if a student is most comfortable being their actual gender (which, I assume in the Fifth Grade, would be the majority)? What if embracing this radical ideology (one the American College of Pediatricians calls “child abuse”) is uncomfortable and scary — as the kids in Rocklin expressed? Don’t their feelings matter? Local parents certainly think it should. Moms and dads are fuming about the policy, which they made quite clear on a Facebook group.

Unfortunately, Canopy Oaks Principal Paul Lambert has no intention of heeding families’ concerns — or common sense. “We support her preference in how she’s addressed, we certainly do. I think a lot of times, it might be decided that there’s an agenda there, because of her preference — I can tell you her only agenda is teaching math and science at the greatest level she can.”

How can a person teach science at the “greatest level” if she doesn’t understand basic biology? Or the English language? Apart from being outrageous, the plural pronouns “they, them, and theirs” are incorrect for addressing a single child. When pressed, Lambert did admit to reporters that the school had fielded a lot of calls from concerned parents who object to the reeducation of their kids. But even Superintendent Rocky Hanna refuses to intervene. In a tone-deaf statement to the Tallahassee Democrat, he insisted that “teachers in our district will not be allowed to use their influence in the classroom to advance any personal belief or political agenda. At this time, I do not believe that is the case in this instance.” Then what, exactly, is this — apart from a gross misunderstanding of a teachers’ role, scientific law, and the rules of grammar? How would they respond if a teacher in Mr. Hanna’s district sent a letter home saying they would only use the proper biologically correct pronouns in a classroom? Would they support that teacher as not promoting an agenda?

Stories like this one are cropping up in every corner of the country — and the only way to stop them is for parents to get involved before bad decisions are made! It’s time for more moms and dads to run for seats on the school board, where they can take back control of our classrooms. As my good friend, Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) says, “We need to push back our vision as Christians to not just vote — but run for office or recruit other Christians to run. We should be just as focused on Filing Day as we are Election Day! Rather than being reactionary (as is often portrayed in article after article of Christians flooding school board meetings AFTER a bad policy decision and trying to convince school board members to change their minds), we should be proactive and purposeful in recruiting Christians to run for school boards in the first place and avoid the problem to begin with.”

She has a book that will help you do exactly that called, Running God’s Way. Pick up a copy and learn how you can start taking back your community!


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


Also in the September 21 Washington Update:

For Senate: Life Begins at 50… Votes

On Adoption, Left Attacks Mich. Again


Previous Washington Update Articles »

For Senate: Life Begins at 50… Votes

Republicans certainly have a flair for the dramatic. With less than four working days to kill Obamacare, Senate hallways are already empty. With their repeal bill still hanging in the balance, members left town late Tuesday to mark the Jewish holidays — adding even more suspense to next week’s September 30th deadline. Even now, Republican leaders aren’t sure where their party will land on the plan from Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.). Although the push seems to be gaining steam, the results are anything but certain — as Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) reminded everyone the last time around.

One thing’s for sure: it will be an anxious few days for Planned Parenthood. Apart from Barack Obama, Cecile Richards’s group has the most to lose — almost $400 million a year, to be exact. Like the string of reconciliation bills before it, the Graham-Cassidy measure guts 86 percent of the organization’s Medicaid funding, putting a huge dent in the forced partnership between taxpayers and America’s biggest abortion business. That should be a major motivating factor for dozens of pro-life senators, who understand that this is conservatives’ best shot at ending the government’s direct deposit to a scandal-ridden organization.

Even Planned Parenthood admits it performs more abortions (328,348 in 2015 alone) than basic breast exams. That’s not difficult to believe since overall health screenings have dropped by half since 2011. Even contraception counseling, the group’s bread-and-butter, fell by 136,244. So what, exactly, are taxpayers funding? Certainly not the “comprehensive care” Richards advertises. Or even the volume of care, since Planned Parenthood saw 100,000 fewer patients in 2015 than the year before.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to change Senator Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) mind. The Kentucky pro-lifer insists he won’t vote for the Graham-Cassidy bill, despite the thousands of unborn lives it could save. That’s frustrating position for plenty of conservatives to accept. Like a lot of pro-lifers, they think the GOP’s concern for these children should outweigh the repeal’s imperfections. Susan B. Anthony List blasted Paul for his “outright opposition to the bill, and his dismissiveness of the pro-life priorities within it is alarming and damaging.” It is, they argue, an “unacceptable position for a pro-life senator to have.”

On Twitter, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) made the case for us, snapping a photo of all of the pro-life language in the bill. “These flags mark all the abortion restrictions in the Republican repeal of Obamacare,” he tweeted. That can only help the GOP’s cause, based on the support from both sides for more limits on Planned Parenthood’s biggest moneymaker.

In a New York Magazine piece this week, liberals try to set the record straight on the real driving force behind the Graham-Cassidy bill. The motivation, Ed Kilgore points out, is:

“…generally assumed to be the potential fury of the GOP’s conservative base if Republicans break their promise to repeal Obamacare. But there’s another thing pushing them toward the abyss: One of the most powerful factions in the GOP and the conservative movement, the anti-abortion lobby, is backing Graham-Cassidy to the hilt. That’s because, like every other GOP repeal-and-replace bill, it temporarily defunds Planned Parenthood” and aims to prevent use of federal insurance-purchasing tax subsidies for polices that include abortion coverage.”

It’s funny. One minute the media says the social conservative movement is dead — the next, it’s complaining we’re too powerful. According to Democrats, it’s the latter. Republicans are “scared to death of a promise they may not keep to the Republican primary base,” Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said.

Let’s hope so. This is a make or break moment for the GOP, as pollster John McLaughlin’s report makes quite clear. Voters elected Republicans to keep their word on Obamacare — seven years’ worth of words, actually. This week, I am in Arizona speaking to supporters in Tucson and Phoenix, encouraging them to get their senators in line on the partial repeal of Obamacare.

Join them by reaching out to yours — before it’s too late!

For more on the debate, check out Ken Blackwell’s interview with Neil Cavuto on Fox Business Wednesday.


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


Also in the September 21 Washington Update:
Lib Teacher Tries to Mx up Kids on Gender

On Adoption, Left Attacks Mich. Again


Previous Washington Update Articles »

The Trans Agenda in Schools: It’s Elementary

Do parents even have a role in their children’s education these days? That was the question posed to one school board in Rocklin, California, where administrators have intentionally kept moms and dads in the dark while they push transgenderism on kids as young as five. Angry parents lined up to complain about the indoctrination, which started when the school demanded that students call a young boy a girl — and continued when another teacher read a book about gender-confusion to her kindergarten class. Hundreds of families, community leaders, and pastors turned out to protest Rocklin’s handling of the situation, which left dozens of young children confused and scared. And why shouldn’t it?

The American College of Pediatricians calls this kind of transgender propaganda “child abuse.”

But despite the outcry, Rocklin’s board went ahead with a ridiculous policy that gives teachers more authority than the students’ own parents. With unanimous approval, the board will now let “teachers decide if an issue is controversial.” Teachers will also decide — not when, but if — parents are notified about controversial lessons on gender. And, in the most outrageous development of all, the district has decided that it will not allow families to opt their kids out.

Forty families have pulled their children from the district — and I don’t blame them!

It shows a stunning amount of arrogance on the part of the academic elite to suggest that teachers know better than parents. That’s in direct contradiction to the biblical instruction to mothers and fathers to train up their children in the way they should go. Parents are the first line of defense for their kids, especially as education becomes an even deeper liberal abyss. Now, districts like Rocklin are robbing moms and dads of their authority on an issue that shouldn’t be a classroom discussion in the first place — let alone an elementary school one.

San Antonio families can sympathize. Monday night, local families streamed into the city’s school board meeting to object to a gender-free policy that would let boys into girls’ bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers. As usual, members approved the rules without ever consulting parents! And the backlash has been severe. More than 1,300 San Antonio residents have signed their names to a petition in opposition to the guidance, our friends at Texas Values explain.

“The community here in San Antonio needs to understand that we’re here tonight for every student –not just one particular kind of student,” said Elizabeth Gonzales. “If we’re truly wanting to be united, we must be fair and just to every student. And to be fair, we must make sure parents and students are being given ample opportunity to come to the table and be heard. I believe in doing that, there will be change.” Until then, she (and countless other parents around the country) aren’t so optimistic.

In schools, discussions aren’t allowed. And in an environment that already stigmatizes any form of religious expression, it’s not difficult to see where this kind of ideological oppression leads. What’s more, teachers are increasingly sending students the subtle message that parents don’t know what they’re talking about. That’s a dangerous seed to plant — and one that only grows as teenagers transition from public schools to public universities.

Too many parents have abdicated their leadership role in their kids’ education. And if moms and dads don’t take it back now, there won’t be much hope left.


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


Also in the September 20 Washington Update:

U.N. Bears the Blunt of Trump

FRC in the Spotlight

Scientists concede climate models wrong

The scientific evidence is mounting against the global warming narrative and climate campaigners don’t like it.

In a study published in the journal Nature Geoscience, a group of scientists concede that climate computer models have been projecting warmer temperatures than observations show for decades.

This is a crucial issue.  If the climate is not as sensitive to atmospheric CO2 as campaigners have claimed, their predictions of doom collapse.

We shared an article by James Delinpole on CFACT’s Facebook page.

“One researcher,” Delingpole writes, “from the alarmist side of the argument, not the skeptical one – has described the paper’s conclusion as ‘breathtaking’ in its implications. He’s right. The scientists who’ve written this paper aren’t climate skeptics. They’re longstanding warmists, implacable foes of climate skeptics, and they’re also actually the people responsible for producing the IPCC’s carbon budget.

In other words, this represents the most massive climbdown from the alarmist camp.”

At the same time this meltdown is taking place, the scientific and historical data shows that recent hurricane activity, while heart-wrenching to watch on our news, is operating well within historic norms.

CFACT senior policy advisor Paul Driessen published a piece at Fox News in which he explains:

“The Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico are warm enough every summer to produce major hurricanes, says climatologist Roy Spencer. But you also need other conditions that have unknown origins and mechanisms: pre-existing cyclonic circulation off the African coast, upper atmospheric calm, and sea surface temperatures that change on a cyclical basis in various regions, to name just a few. The combination of all these factors – plus weather fronts and land masses along the way – determines whether a hurricane arises, how strong it gets, how long it lasts and what track it follows.”

Facts are powerful things.

On global warming they are finally being heard.

RELATED ARTICLE: Poll: Over 40 percent of Canadians think science is “a matter of opinion”

Wall Street Journal gets it wrong Trump still out of Paris Climate Agreement

The Wall Street Journal caused quite a kerfuffle over the weekend when it reported that “the Trump administration is considering staying in the Paris agreement.”

They got it wrong.

The WSJ based its reporting on statements by attendees at a climate conference in Montreal and by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who said the President is “open to finding those conditions where we can remain engaged with others on what we all agree is still a challenging issue.”

However, nothing had changed in the President’s position.

President Trump spotted the inherent flaws in the UN’s Paris Climate Agreement for himself and vowed to pull the U.S. out while he was still a candidate.

White House Economic Adviser Gary Cohn corrected the record saying, “We are withdrawing, and we made that as clear as it can be. I don’t know how to say it any more clearly.”  We posted details at CFACT.org.

While the UN and American climate establishment would like nothing better than for Trump to reverse course on Paris, this appears to have been wishful thinking on their part.  The conditions under which President Trump might reconsider his approach to international climate politics that Secretary Tillerson reiterated presents no small hurdle.

The President is absolutely correct that Paris is a bad deal for America.  It would limit U.S. emissions now, while allowing countries such as China and India to dramatically increase theirs.  At the same time the U.S. would be expected to pay out huge sums of money to UN programs while again China, India and the rest get a pass.  President Obama sent the UN $1 billion for its Green Climate Fund on his way out the door.

The Paris Agreement is and always was a bad deal for America.  If the President sticks to his guns there’s no way back in.

Trump Should End All Speculation on Paris Agreement by Withdrawing From UN Framework Convention

Over the weekend, to the shock of many observers and loyal members of President Donald Trump’s base, The Wall Street Journal reported that the administration was seeking to avoid withdrawal from the Paris climate accord.

Top White House economic adviser Gary Cohn quickly sought to squelch these rumors, saying, “We are withdrawing, and we made that as clear as it can be. I don’t know how to say it any more clearly.”

Cohn’s assertion of U.S. withdrawal is encouraging, but if the Trump administration wants to end all internal and external speculation over Paris, it should withdraw from the entire United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Moreover, if the administration wants to achieve its goal of 3 percent economic growth and give the coal industry an opportunity to compete, withdrawal from Paris and the Framework Convention is critical.

When President Barack Obama joined the Paris accord in 2016, he avoided sending the agreement to the Senate for advice and consent as the Constitution requires for treaties. The agreement committed the U.S. to reducing greenhouse gas levels across the entire economy by 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2025, all without legislative consent.

Following through to meet these targets would require the Trump administration to enforce a number of costly Obama-era energy regulations. Trump has promised to end such regulations—indeed, they would make no noticeable impact on global temperatures.

While the Paris Agreement is nonbinding, remaining in the agreement would provide justification for a future administration to pile additional climate regulations on the energy industry—on top of those that the Obama administration promulgated. Thus, it is essential to withdraw.

Trump campaigned on “canceling” the global warming agreement and then followed through by announcing his intensions to withdraw from the Rose Garden in June. Foreign leaders immediately slammed the decision, calling the move “a major fault against humanity and against our planet.”

Yet these criticisms proved to be an act of hypocrisy. According to a recent article in Nature“All major industrialized countries are failing to meet the pledges they made to cut greenhouse-gas emissions.”

And that’s just the industrialized world. To achieve any meaningful reduction in warming by reducing greenhouse gases, developing countries would have to remain de-developed or meet their growing energy needs without coal, oil, or natural gas.

Conventional fuels will be essential to meeting future energy needs in the developing world, where more than 1.2 billion people (17 percent of the global population) do not have access to reliable electricity. Pretending otherwise is simply ignoring reality.

The German environmental and human rights group Urgewald projects that 1,600 new coal-fired generation plants are either under construction or planned, resulting in 840,000 megawatts of new capacity.

It estimates that these new plants represent a 43 percent global expansion of coal spread across 62 different countries, 14 of which previously have not had any coal power at all.

For countries that do not have access to reliable power, the imminent threat of energy poverty is much more pressing than reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The Paris Agreement is not just poor economic and climate policy for the United States—it’s poor policy for the rest of the world, too.

To formally leave Paris, the U.S. must wait until November 2019 to submit a notice of withdrawal. The U.S. would then officially exit the agreement one year later.

Having such a large window of time leaves more opportunities for discussions of avoiding withdrawal, or potentially seeking a renegotiation of the accord. But renegotiating the agreement is a nonstarter, as there are no terms that could possibly assuage the economic concerns posed by the deal or achieve any meaningful climate benefit.

Rather than wait, there is a shorter, more effective solution than just withdrawing from Paris. Trump could end all speculation by officially withdrawing from the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, which includes the Paris Agreement.

Withdrawal from the Framework Convention would enter into force one year after the secretary-general of the United Nations receives notification.

Such a withdrawal would send a clear signal throughout the U.S. government, to the business community, and to every foreign leader that the current international approach to climate change is costly, ineffective, and unworkable.

COMMENTARY BYPortrait of Nicolas Loris

Nicolas Loris

Nicolas Loris, an economist, focuses on energy, environmental and regulatory issues as the Herbert and Joyce Morgan fellow at The Heritage Foundation. Read his research. Twitter: .

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House Committee Passes SHARE Act by Wide Margin — TAKE ACTION TODAY ON H.R. 3668, SHARE Act

On Tuesday, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands held a hearing on the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act, which had been introduced on Sept. 1 by Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-SC). Following the subcommittee hearing, the full Committee on Natural Resources marked up and passed the SHARE Act by a vote of 22-13.  All amendments offered in an attempt to weaken the bill were soundly defeated.  The bill now awaits floor action in the U.S. House. 

As we have reported, this year’s version of the SHARE Act is the most expansive and far-reaching yet. Besides previously-introduced provisions aimed at enhancing opportunities for hunting, fishing, and shooting and broadening access to federal lands for these purposes, this year’s SHARE Act contains reforms that would widely benefit sportsmen and the gun-owning public at large. 

These reforms would protect Americans traveling interstate with lawfully-owned firearms, amend provisions of federal law that have been abused by antigun administrations to impose gun control by executive fiat, and make the health-promoting benefits of firearm sound suppressors more accessible. 

Attorney and constitutional scholar Steven Halbrook, who has litigated firearms issues before the U.S. Supreme Court, testified at Tuesday’s hearing that the Act would “enhance protection of Second Amendment guarantees” without “adversely affect[ing] law enforcement interests.” 

Halbrook provided background on several key provisions of the act. He noted that under current law, for example, certain federal courts have denied plaintiffs remedies for violation of their federally-protected right to transport unloaded firearms interstate between jurisdictions where they may be lawfully carried. This has emboldened certain states, like New York and New Jersey, to ignore these protections and arrest law-abiding Americans for exercising their rights under federal law.  “Title XI of the bill will rectify this affront to the right to travel and the Second Amendment by explicitly immunizing law-abiding travelers from arrest and recognizing a civil action for violation,” he stated.

Halbrook also testified about the benefits of suppressors and how they were rarely implicated in violent crime. “That is why suppressors are freely available,” he noted, “even over the counter or by mail order, in many European countries.” In this regard, the bill would eliminate the current $200 transfer tax and a federal approval process that can take as long as a year to complete. 

Others testifying focused on Title IV of the bill, the Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage Opportunities Act, which will reduce the regulatory burdens for federal agencies to promote hunting, fishing, and shooting on federal public lands across the nation.

Testifying against the bill was David Chipman, Senior Policy Advisor for the Gabby Giffords/Mark Kelly gun control group, Americans for Responsible Solutions. Chipman claimed to draw on his experience as a special agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in arguing that the Act “assaults the interests of our nation’s law enforcement officials and threatens our public safety and security.” In particular, his comments focused on the Act’s removal of impediments to the lawful purchase of suppressors. He also criticized the Act’s reforms to the “sporting purposes” standard for firearm importation.

Ironically, Ronald Turk, ATF’s current second-highest ranking official – who has spent over two decades working up the ranks of the agency from his initial assignments as a street agent – offered far different takes on these same issues in an interagency white paper that became public in February.  Turk cited both of these issues as ripe for “regulatory changes or modifications … that would have an immediate, positive impact on commerce and industry without significantly hindering ATFs mission or adversely affecting public safety.” 

Turk characterized the import restrictions cited by Chipman as serving “questionable public safety interests,” because they often affect firearms “already generally legally available for manufacture and ownership in the United States.” He also suggested a broader understanding of firearm “sports” was appropriate, to include activities and competitions that use “AR-15s, AK-style, and similar rifles.” Regarding suppressors, the white paper opined, “Given the lack of criminality associated with silencers, it is reasonable to conclude that they should not be viewed as a threat to public safety necessitating NFA classification, and should be considered for reclassification under the [Gun Control Act].”

The SHARE Act now heads to the House Floor, where it could receive consideration as early as Sept. 25. 

Ask Your U.S. Representative to co-sponsor H.R. 3668, the SHARE Act.

Please contact your U.S. Representative NOW and ask him or her to co-sponsor H.R. 3668, the SHARE Act. You can call the Congressional Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your representative’s office.

TAKE ACTION TODAY