Marijuana use up 12% nationwide during first year of legalization in Colorado, Washington

The 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, released yesterday, shows regular marijuana use among Americans ages 12 and older jumped 12 percent nationwide during the first year legalization was implemented in Colorado and Washington. Regular use increased among all ages: click here or on image above to see increases among ages 12-17, ages 18-25, and ages 26 & older.

Better-Landscape-Photo-1024x576

6 Things Paul Krugman Gets Wrong on Medicare by Charles Blahous

My usual custom when writing about Medicare and Social Security finances is to simply present the relevant data instead of discussing others’ commentaries about the programs.

After this year’s Medicare trustees’ report was released, however, a subsequent Paul Krugman column prompted a number of questions from his readers, suggesting it would be helpful to address Dr. Krugman’s specific assertions.

The essence of Dr. Krugman’s column was to cite the latest Medicare report as evidence that “there never was an entitlements crisis.”

Dr. Krugman’s view of the Medicare financing outlook differs with the trustees’ perspective as reflected in our joint message, which states, “Medicare still faces a substantial financial shortfall that will need to be addressed with further legislation.” The difference between these two perspectives derives in part from problems of incomplete information and analysis.

Problem #1: Conflating expectations with reality.

Dr. Krugman’s piece points to long-term Medicare cost projections that now look less daunting than they did in 2009, and asserts that the entitlement cost problem is therefore “disappearing.”

That characterization, however, is incorrect. Comparing to prior projections is in this context a distraction, irrelevant to whether Medicare is now on a stable financial course (it is not).

The mistake is one of so-called “anchoring,” a behavioral economics concept referring to the powerful cognitive illusion whereby our perception of events is distorted by previous expectations.

Whether things are actually getting better or getting worse is not a function of the trend of expectations but of real-world data evolving in time. Medicare cost burdens are mounting, not easing, as the accompanying graph shows. Total program costs have been rising faster than our economic output, and are currently projected to continue to do so.

As many readers will intuit, it is highly problematic for any major spending program to grow significantly faster than the economy that must support it, as this can only lead to continually rising tax burdens, escalating debt, and/or crowding out other priorities.

Problem #2: Inconsistently measuring GDP

The graphs that Dr. Krugman reproduces to make his argument present projected Medicare spending as a percentage of GDP, contrasting this year’s projections with those of 2009. But in 2013 BEA redefined how GDP is measured, both historically and going forward. Adjusting the 2009 projections for this definitional change, one sees that a good portion of the apparent improvement to date is illusory.

Dr. Krugman’s piece does not as far as I can tell disclose this inconsistency. Correcting for it, the recent picture looks only slightly better than 2009 projections, and has actually been worse in some years.

Problem #3: The large apparent improvements are mostly projections that haven’t yet borne fruit.

As shown above, to date the Medicare cost picture is not greatly different than projected in 2009. All that’s really different are the future projections, especially over the long term. These anticipated improvements are due primarily to aggressive cost-containment provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or so-called “Obamacare”) as well as, to a lesser extent, the MACRA legislation passed earlier this year.

The ACA provisions involve ambitious reductions in the rate of growth of Medicare provider payments, while MACRA’s involve reductions in the long-term growth of physician payments. Similar past efforts have not been adhered to, and some experts are skeptical that these new measures will be. This is why the CMS Medicare actuary has prepared an alternative projection scenario showing much higher future costs.

We should all hope, whether we supported or opposed these laws, that their cost-containment provisions prove successful and sustainable. Were they to be abandoned, other provisions would need to be enacted in their place to achieve equal or greater savings – otherwise taxes and/or premiums must be raised.

That said, we cannot declare victory unless and until these provisions produce the savings now projected from them.

Problem #4: We haven’t fixed the entitlement growth problem, only changed the mix of entitlements.

Dr. Krugman’s graphs show 2015’s Medicare cost projections well below 2009’s, prompting the conclusion that any supposed spending crisis has been solved or never existed. But this leaves out a defining part of the overall picture.

True, the ACA reduced projected Medicare growth — but it also expanded Medicaid as well as created a whole new system of health insurance exchange subsidies.

If the thesis is that changes in spending projections since 2009 illuminate whether we really have an entitlement spending problem, one can’t simply show the one large entitlement where projected spending has gone down, and omit the ones where projected spending has gone up. Unfortunately, we cannot analyze the whole picture using the trustees’ methodology because the trustees do not issue projections for the ACA’s health exchange subsidies.

But earlier this year CBO estimated that by 2025, the ACA would add roughly $210 billion a year in new Medicaid and exchange subsidy spending, or roughly 0.8% of GDP. As it happens, 0.8% of GDP (adjusted for the changed definition of GDP) is roughly the amount by which the trustees have lowered (between 2009 and 2015) our projections for Medicare spending through 2025.

Given that these two effects almost net each other out over the next decade it seems inappropriate to state, as Dr. Krugman does, that “most of that projected (spending) rise has gone away.”

Problem #5: Crediting the ACA For Effects It Didn’t Cause.

Dr. Krugman’s column states in one place, “health spending began moderating after the passage of the ACA.” This is incorrect. The health spending slowdown began several years prior to the ACA’s 2010 passage (see CRFB’s “Exhibit 2”).

Dr. Krugman’s phrasing also lends itself to the misreading that the ACA is a primary reason for recent spending moderation. The CMS actuaries find, to the contrary, that the ACA’s effect has been on balance to slightly increase national health spending.

Problem #6: Not Reflecting Current Law.

Less egregious because it involves a relatively arcane aspect of budgetary scoring, the graphs shown by Dr. Krugman reflect the trustees’ estimates of the costs of paying scheduled Medicare benefits, which is not the same thing as would occur under current law (because, over the long term, current law does not provide for the financing of these benefits).

The distinction does not by itself undermine and indeed could be said to support Dr. Krugman’s argument that the entitlement crisis is overstated. It is, however, another reason why it is incorrect to credit the ACA for fiscal improvements, because on a literal law basis the ACA added on balance to federal entitlement spending, as CBOCRFB and others including myself have explained.

Conclusion

Dr. Krugman’s piece reaches incorrect conclusions about entitlement spending challenges “disappearing” based on incomplete information and analysis. When critical missing information is taken into account, it is more readily seen that lawmakers still face a substantial challenge to address unsustainable spending growth in federal entitlement programs.

This post first appeared at e21.

Charles Blahous
Charles Blahous

Charles Blahous is a senior research fellow for the Mercatus Center, a research fellow for the Hoover Institution, a public trustee for Social Security and Medicare, and a contributor to e21.

A Deadly Caution: How the FDA’s Precautionary Principle Is Killing Patients by Alexander Tabarrok

I have long argued that the FDA has an incentive to delay the introduction of new drugs because approving a bad drug (Type I error) has more severe consequences for the FDA than does failing to approve a good drug (Type II error).

In the former case, at least some victims are identifiable and the New York Times writes stories about them and how they died because the FDA failed. In the latter case, when the FDA fails to approve a good drug, people die but the bodies are buried in an invisible graveyard.

In an excellent new paper (also here), Vahid Montazerhodjat and Andrew Lo use a Bayesian analysis to model the optimal tradeoff in clinical trials between sample size, Type I and Type II error.

Failing to approve a good drug is more costly, for example, the more severe the disease. Thus, for a very serious disease, we might be willing to accept a greater Type I error in return for a lower Type II error. The number of people with the disease also matters. Holding severity constant, for example, the more people with the disease the more you want to increase sample size to reduce Type I error. All of these variables interact.

In an innovation, the authors use the US Burden of Disease Study to find the number of deaths and the disability severity caused by each major disease. Using this data, they estimate the costs of failing to approve a good drug. Similarly, using data on the costs of adverse medical treatment, they estimate the cost of approving a bad drug.

Putting all this together the authors find that the FDA is often dramatically too conservative:

We show that the current standards of drug-approval are weighted more on avoiding a Type I error (approving ineffective therapies) rather than a Type II error (rejecting effective therapies).

For example, the standard Type I error of 2.5% is too conservative for clinical trials of therapies for pancreatic cancer — a disease with a 5-year survival rate of 1% for stage IV patients (American Cancer Society estimate, last updated 3 February 2013).

The BDA-optimal size for these clinical trials is 27.9%, reflecting the fact that, for these desperate patients, the cost of trying an ineffective drug is considerably less than the cost of not trying an effective one.

(The authors also find that the FDA is occasionally a little too aggressive, but these errors are much smaller: for example, the authors find that for prostate cancer therapies the optimal significance level is 1.2% compared to a standard rule of 2.5%.)

The result is important especially because, in a number of respects, the authors underestimate the costs of FDA conservatism.

Most importantly, the authors are optimizing at the clinical trial stage assuming that the supply of drugs available to be tested is fixed. Larger trials, however, are more expensive, and the greater the expense of FDA trials, the fewer new drugs will be developed. Thus, a conservative FDA reduces the flow of new drugs to be tested.

In a sense, failing to approve a good drug has two costs: the opportunity cost oflives that could have been saved and the cost of reducing the incentive to invest in R&D.

In contrast, approving a bad drug, while still an error, at least has the advantage of helping to incentivize R&D (similarly, a subsidy to research incentivizes R&D in a sense mostly by covering the costs of failed ventures).

The Montazerhodjat and Lo framework is also static: there is one test and then the story ends.

In reality, drug approval has an interesting asymmetric dynamic. When a drug is approved for sale, testing doesn’t stop but moves into another stage, a combination of observational testing and sometimes more RCTs — this, after all, is how adverse events are discovered. Thus, Type I errors are corrected.

On the other hand, for a drug that isn’t approved, the story does end. With rare exceptions, Type II errors are never corrected.

The Montazerhodjat and Lo framework could be interpreted as the reduced form of this dynamic process, but it’s better to think about the dynamism explicitly because it suggests that approval can come in a range for forms — for example, approval with a black label warning, approval with evidence grading, and so forth. As these procedures tend to reduce the costs of Type I errors, they tend to increase the costs of FDA conservatism.

Montazerhodjat and Lo also don’t examine the implications of heterogeneity of preferences or diseases morbidity and mortality. Some people, for example, are severely disabled by diseases that on average aren’t very severe — the optimal tradeoff for these patients will be different than for the average patient. One size doesn’t fit all.

In the standard framework, it’s tough luck for these patients. But if the non-FDA reviewing apparatus (patients/physicians/hospitals/HMOs/USP/Consumer Reports, and so forth) works relatively well — and this is debatable, but my work on off-label prescribing suggests that it does — this weighs heavily in favor of relatively large samples but low thresholds for approval.

What the FDA is really providing is information, and we don’t need product bans to convey information. Thus, heterogeneity (plus a reasonable effective post-testing choice process) mediates in favor of a Consumer Reports model for the FDA.

The bottom line, however, is that even without taking into account these further points, Montazerhodjat and Lo find that the FDA is far too conservative, especially for severe diseases. FDA regulations may appear to be creating safe and effective drugs, but they are also creating a deadly caution.

Hat tip: David Balan.

A version of this post first appeared at the Marginal Revolution blog.

Alex Tabarrok
Alex Tabarrok

Alex Tabarrok is a professor of economics at George Mason University. He blogs at Marginal Revolution with Tyler Cowen.

Video Game Developers Face the Final Boss: The FDA by Aaron Tao

As I drove to work the other day, I heard a very interesting segment on NPR that featured a startup designing video games to improve cognitive skills and relieve symptoms associated with a myriad of mental health conditions.

One game, Project Evo, has shown good preliminary results in training players to ignore distractions and stay focused on the task at hand:

“We’ve been through eight or nine completed clinical trials, in all cognitive disorders: ADHD, autism, depression,” says Matt Omernick, executive creative director at Akili, the Northern California startup that’s developing the game.

Omernick worked at Lucas Arts for years, making Star Wars games, where players attack their enemies with light sabers. Now, he’s working on Project Evo. It’s a total switch in mission, from dreaming up best-sellers for the commercial market to designing games to treat mental health conditions.

“The qualities of a good video game, things that hook you, what makes the brain — snap — engage and go, could be a perfect vessel for actually delivering medicine,” he says.

In fact, the creators believe their game will be so effective it might one day reduce or replace the drugs kids take for ADHD.

This all sounds very promising.

In recent years, many observers (myself included) have expressed deep concerns that we are living in the “medication generation,” as defined by the rapidly increasing numbers of young people (which seems to have extended to toddlers and infants!) taking psychotropic drugs.

As experts and laypersons continue to debate the long-term effects of these substances, the news of intrepid entrepreneurs creating non-pharmaceutical alternatives to treat mental health problems is definitely a welcome development.

But a formidable final boss stands in the way:

[B]efore they can deliver their game to players, they first have to go through the Food and Drug Administration — the FDA.

The NPR story goes on to detail on how navigating the FDA’s bureaucratic labyrinth is akin to the long-grinding campaign required to clear the final dungeon from any Legend of Zelda game. Pharmaceutical companies are intimately familiar with the FDA’s slow and expensive approval process for new drugs, and for this reason, it should come as no surprise that Silicon Valley companies do their best to avoid government regulation. One venture capitalist goes so far as to say, “If it says ‘FDA approval needed’ in the business plan, I myself scream in fear and run away.”

Dynamic, nimble startups are much more in tune with market conditions than the ever-growing regulatory behemoth that is defined by procedure, conformity, and irresponsibility. As a result, conflict between these two worlds is inevitable:

Most startups can bring a new video game to market in six months. Going through the FDA approval process for medical devices could take three or four years — and cost millions of dollars.

In the tech world, where app updates and software patches are part of every company’s daily routine just to keep up with consumer habits, technology can become outdated in the blink of an eye. Regulatory hold on a product can spell a death sentence for any startup seeking to stay ahead of its fierce market competition.

Akili is the latest victim to get caught in the tendrils of the administrative state, and worst of all, in the FDA, which distinguished political economist Robert Higgs has described as “one of the most powerful of federal regulatory agencies, if not the most powerful.” The agency’s awesome authority extends to over twenty-five percent of all consumer goods in the United States and thus “routinely makes decisions that seal the fates of millions.”

Despite its perceived image as the nation’s benevolent guardian of health and well-being, the FDA’s actual track record is anything but, and its failures have been extensively documented in a vast economic literature.

The “knowledge problem” has foiled the whims of central planners and social engineers in every setting, and the FDA is not immune. By taking a one-sized-fits-all approach in enacting regulatory policy, it fails to take into account the individual preferences, social circumstances, and physiological attributes of the people that compose a diverse society.

For example, people vary widely in their responses to drugs, depending on variables that range from dosage to genetic makeup. In a field as complex as human health, an institution forcing its way on a population is bound to cause problems (for a particularly egregious example, see what happened with the field of nutrition).

The thalidomide tragedy of the 1960s is usually cited as to why we need a centralized, regulatory agency staffed by altruistic public servants to keep the market from being flooded by toxins, snake oils, and other harmful substances. However, this needs to be weighed against the costs of keeping beneficial products withheld.

For example, the FDA’s delay of beta blockers, which were widely available in Europe to reduce heart attacks, was estimated to have cost tens of thousands of lives. Despite this infamous episode and other repeated failures, the agency cannot overcome the institutional incentives it faces as a government bureaucracy. These factors strongly skew its officials towards avoiding risk and getting blamed for visible harm. Here’s how the late Milton Friedman summarized the dilemma with his usual wit and eloquence:

Put yourself in the position of a FDA bureaucrat considering whether to approve a new, proposed drug. There are two kinds of mistakes you can make from the point of view of the public interest. You can make the mistake of approving a drug that turns out to have very harmful side effects. That’s one mistake. That will harm the public. Or you can make the mistake of not approving a drug that would have very beneficial effects. That’s also harmful to the public.

If you’re such a bureaucrat, what’s going to be the effect on you of those two mistakes? If you make a mistake and approve a product that has harmful side effects, you are a devil incarnate. Your misdeed will be spread on the front page of every newspaper. Your name will be mud. You will get the blame. If you fail to approve a drug that might save lives, the people who would object to that are mostly going to be dead. You’re not going to hear from them.

Critics of America’s dysfunctional healthcare system have pointed out the significant role of third-party spending in driving up prices, and how federal and state regulations have created perverse incentives and suppressed the functioning of normal market forces.

In regard to government restrictions on the supply of medical goods, the FDA deserves special blame for driving up the costs of drugsslowing innovation, and denying treatment to the terminally ill while demonstrating no competency in product safety.

Going back to the NPR story, a Pfizer representative was quoted in saying that “game designers should go through the same FDA tests and trials as drug manufacturers.”

Those familiar with the well-known phenomenon of regulatory capture and the basics of public choice theory should not be surprised by this attitude. Existing industries, with their legions of lobbyists, come to dominate the regulatory apparatus and learn to manipulate the system to their advantage, at the expense of new entrants.

Akili and other startups hoping to challenge the status quo would have to run past the gauntlet set up by the “complex leviathan of interdependent cartels” that makes up the American healthcare system. I can only wish them the best, and hope Schumpeterian creative destruction eventually sweeps the whole field of medicine.

Abolishing the FDA and eliminating its too-often abused power to withhold innovative medical treatments from patients and providers would be one step toward genuine healthcare reform.

A version of this post first appeared at The Beacon.

Aaron Tao
Aaron Tao

Aaron Tao is the Marketing Coordinator and Assistant Editor of The Beacon at the Independent Institute. Follow him on Twitter here.

LGBT Lobby Rebutted by Medical Experts and Ex-gays

The homosexual movement’s state-by-state crusade to pass laws banning youth with sexual orientation problems from seeking help by therapists, came to a head in the Massachusetts State House at a public hearing on Tuesday, July 28. The well-oiled LGBT lobbying machine was rebutted by pro-family counselors and experts, many of whom who came to Boston from across America, as well as MassResistance activists.

Pro-family team to counter destructive bill. The featured image is outside of the hearing room, from left:David Pickup, licensed therapist from Dallas; Dr. J. Abede Alexandre, child psychologist, Boston; Dr. Alexandre’s wife; Brian Camenker, MassResistance, Greg Quinlan, ex-gay, New Jersey Family Policy Council; Robin Goodspeed, ex-Lesbian, Wyoming; Mari Chamberlain, ADF allied attorney, Massachusetts; Keith Vennum MD, mental health councilor, Florida; Dr. Vennum’s wife; Peter Sprigg, Family Research Council, Washington DC.  [All photos by MassResistance]

At issue is Bill H97, which is a major goal of the LGBT lobby this year. It would make it illegal for licensed therapists to help children deal with traumatic sexual orientation problems, often the result of childhood sexual molestation, rape, or abuse. Instead, the bill would only allow therapy that encourages homosexual behavior.
Read more about Bill H97 here.

Unfortunately, most people have no idea that battles like this are even happening – which is how the LGBT lobby likes it. But these kinds of laws can severely harm vulnerable children.

The hearing was held before the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities. It’s a challenge because the committee is dominated by left-wing social advocates. Plus, House Chairman of that committee, Kay Khan (D-Newton) is the sponsor of H97. But these politicians rarely, if ever, hear the pro-family side of this debate articulated as well as this, and anything can happen. This was the place for the battle!


The hearing room was completely full, and people were standing along the walls.

Normally, the well-organized and well-funded LGBT lobbying machine is accustomed to overwhelming their opponents at these hearings. But this time it was different. They were up against some heavy hitters. And although the people on our side have fewer financial resources, being in Boston for this was important.

Here’s what the legislators saw and heard that day. Below are the claims by the LGBT lobby, followed by the pro-family rebuttal . . .

The LGBT lobby: The usual disinformation, propaganda, and hysteria

To discredit this legitimate therapy, the LGBT speakers presented a campaign of disinformation, propaganda, and ginned-up hysteria to the legislators. They labeled it as “conversion therapy”. They told lurid (and blatantly untrue) stories about children being electrocuted and other alleged abuses by therapists. They claimed that even “talk” therapy causes depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior (it actually heals it). And they repeated the mantra that people are “born that way” and that virtually all the problems that homosexuals suffer through are caused by “prejudice” in society — not childhood experiences, abuse, or trauma.

State Rep. Sarah Peake (D-Provincetown), an “out” lesbian:

“Today you will hear from people who feel it is appropriate to say that being gay, or bisexual, or transgender is something less than equal, it is something undesirable, it is something lacking in dignity.

Mental health director from “Gender Management Service” at Boston Children’s Hospital

(See the gruesome report about Children’s Hospital’s transgender work with children.)

Said that the best way to deal with children with transgender issues is to go through a“gender exploration process.” In contrast, she added, “Reparative therapy does not offer options or questions, and closes the door to exploration for healthy gender development for gender questioning youth.”  One should not attempt “to repair or convert” which “leads to suicide attempts by over 50% of the youth.”

Coordinator from “Campaign to end conversion therapy” at National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Discussed alleged “electric shock”treatment. Claimed that a UN group compares reparative therapy to “torture”. Says it “defrauds” parents. Claims it causes high suicide. “This bill is a matter of life and death.”

Executive Director of Mass. Chapter of National Association of Social Workers:

“Since homosexuality is not a disorder or a disease it does not require a cure.” Instead,therapists should find ways to help youth “become more comfortable with their sexual orientation … Just as one does not choose to be straight, one does not choose to be gay or lesbian or transgender.”

Attorney from Washington, D.C. based homosexual group “Human Rights Campaign.”

(This is a man dressed as a woman.)

These are “dangerous practices” that must be dealt with by the legislature, not trusted to local licensing boards. (But admitted that people haven’t been complaining to licensing boards about this around the country.)

Attorney at Boston-based Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders:

“After all these years, there is still a sense that being gay or lesbian, bisexual or transgender is abnormal … Passing this bill is a message from the state that people do NOT need to change their sexual orientation or gender identity because that is not abnormal. It is a healthy, normal aspect of human development.”

Executive Director of Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition

(This is a female with a beard dressed in men’s clothes.)

“By identifying these so-called therapies for what they are – fraudulent at best and categorically harmful in many instances – the Legislature will make strides in addressing the health and wellness of LGBT youth here in Massachusetts.”

Pastor of a (far-left) Congregational Church in Worcester:

Said that the Bible does not condemn homosexuality, but instead the text actually refers to other issues such as rape. “As a Christian pastor, I believe that religion is at the basis of all of these problems with abuse of our LGBT persons … Reparative therapy for our LGBT brothers and sisters is like attempting to separate Michelangelo from the art that was born in him.”

VIDEO:Nothing but LIES: Testimony in support of H97 (1 min 58 sec)

The pro-family side – telling the truth!

Most legislators almost never hear the truth on this issue. Honest medical people – and those who have been helped through therapy – describe how homosexual behavior is very often a result of early sexual trauma (such as sexual molestation, exposure to pornography, abuse, etc.) or serious issues with one or both parents. If youth can be helped at a critical time, it can save them years of pain, depression, disease, and even suicide.

Dr. J. Abede Alexandre – child psychologist:

“There is no conclusive evidence in the scientific community separating one particular factor that determines one’s sexual orientation. It has failed to conclude that different factors may lead to different psychological responses, which may include serious distress, which one may seek to alleviate using psychotherapy.”

Greg Quinlan – NJ Family Policy Council and former homosexual:

“I’ve heard the term ‘conversion therapy’ used. That’s offensive. That’s a term of hate. We’re not converting a religion here. This is reparative therapy. All therapy seeks to repair something.” He also described how he’s an ex-gay, and therapy was crucial to his healing, “Forgiving my father was the issue that helped me overcome my same-sex attraction.”

Robin Goodspeed – Voice of the Voiceless and former lesbian:

“I did not choose to be sexually abused as a child, but I did choose homosexuality. I made choices that led to that life. And I spent a lifetime fighting depression, addiction, suicide and being victimized by ‘born gay’ lies from the culture and [mainstream] counseling community. I know other ex-gays who had similar experiences. This bill is designed to condemn children like we were to that same experience. Licensed professional therapists through reparative therapy help sexual abuse victims like me heal from trauma.”

David Pickup – licensed counselor (and former abuse victim):

“A sexually abused child comes in at 15 years of age, he knows he’s heterosexual and he’s had sexual abuse. Or homosexual feelings come up and I as a therapist have to say ‘I can help you because I know it works, but I can’t help you because the state makes  it illegal.‘ Can you imagine the horror?”

Keith Vennum, MD – mental health counselor:

“It’s not the job of the legislature to micromanage the work of the helping professionals. … Were there multiple incidents of gay identified teens being harmed at the hands of helping professionals in Massachusetts, each regulatory board would effectively step in and do the job the legislature has already commissioned them to do, but such harm has not been seen.”

Parent and MassResistance activist:

Showed committee that studies show that approximately 10% of youth become confused and think they might be LGBT. But a few years later, when in their 20s,only about 1.6%. actually believe they are LGBT. Proper counseling could relieve so much of the stress and anxiety that these youth go through in that process.

VIDEO:Respecting Our Children’s Voices – Testimony Against H97” – (9 min 9 sec)

What happens next?

This confrontation was very necessary – especially in the Massachusetts State House. The homosexual movement needs to be strongly rebuked with the truth at every turn. Several liberal committee members were visibly moved by our side’s testimony.

However, this is only Round 1 of the fight to stop H97 in the Massachusetts State House. Since the House Chairman of this Committee is the sponsor of this bill. it is quite likely to pass this committee. But that doesn’t mean H97 will pass in the Legislature.

Rep Kay Khan, House Chairman of the Committee, is the sponsor of H97. But that can be overcome.

Last session a nearly identical bill was filed and easily passed through this committee and then a second committee. It was finally derailed before getting to the House floor by strong tactical lobbying by MassResistance activists. We know what’s ahead and we’re getting ready for it. This destructive bill is built on lies and disinformation. When politicians realize this they don’t like it. That’s why most state legislatures so far have rejected this, though the LGBT lobby is just ramping up their fight even more.

So far the committee has not acted on this bill. We would encourage everyone to contact the Committee to reject H97. If you live in Massachusetts, contact your legislators.

You can also follow the status of H97 on our page of bills. We’ll keep you informed on this!

Women and Pornography – update from Whole Women Weekend

I had the opportunity to speak at a women’s weekend retreat yesterday, Whole Women Weekend, and had some eye opening experiences that I wanted to share. Yesterday, I connected deeply with many women. My second workshop had only eight women, but they opened up and shared their raw, unfiltered experiences with pornography.

Lately, I have been so focused on the research. In the many news interviews I’m doing, they want to know the research. In the dozens of meetings on Capitol Hill, they want to know the research. In preparation for the major Summit we are planning for leaders next month in Orlando, I am trying to present the research to equip leaders with the “strongest” messaging arguments.

Gratefully, there is a lot of research today backing up our claims that there is a public health crisis from pornography.

We have incredible tools at our side. But, as I started my usual presentation spouting off these statistics — I saw deep pain in these women’s eyes. They knew what I was talking about because they have lived just what the research proves. I stopped my presentation and the eight of us were able to talk for the two-hour block. The experiences of all of them proved everything we argue.

Quick video sharing my thoughts after the event last night.

Women also struggle with addiction.

The reality of betrayal trauma is real.

Pornography destroys real intimacy in relationships and drives a wedge between husband and wife. It may seem to “spice” things up at first, but it is certain to lead to emptiness and disconnect.

It often leads to the user acting out – either with other women or by force and agression.

It is so closely a part of the story of those who are prostituted/trafficked.

It perpetuates feelings of shame, disappointment, depression, low self-esteem.

It leaves a huge open void in your spiritual life.

Each of these women pleaded for help, healing and understanding. My heart is full of both sorrow that we couldn’t just take it away, but also with gratitude that there is a movement swelling and saying NO MORE.

Thank you for being a part of these efforts. Thank you for not ignoring this public health crisis. Thank you for helping us oppose policies that facilitate exploitation. Thank you for supporting our efforts to bring the leaders together. Thank you for educating others around you.

I saw so much pain yesterday, but also witnessed powerful hope.

Sincerely,

Dawn Hawkins
Vice President & Executive Director | National Center on Sexual Exploitation

The Top 10 Myths about Homosexuality

Peter Sprigg, after doing extensive background research on homosexuality, published his findings in a pamphlet titled, “The Top Ten Myths About Homosexuality.” The following is a list of these myths promoted by homosexual groups. To read the full background on  each myth please click here to download a free copy of Sprigg’s findings.

Here are the top 10 myths:

Myth No. 1: People are born gay.

Fact: The research does not show that anyone is “born gay,” and suggests instead that homosexuality results from a complex mix of developmental factors.

Myth No. 2: Sexual orientation can never change.

Fact: Thousands of men and women have testified to experiencing a change in their sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. Research confirms that such change does occur—sometimes spontaneously, and sometimes as a result of therapeutic interventions.

Myth No. 3: Efforts to change someone’s sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual are harmful and unethical.

Fact: There is no scientific evidence that change efforts create greater harm than the homosexual lifestyle itself. The real ethical violation is when clients are denied the opportunity to set their own goals
for therapy.

Myth No. 4: Ten percent of the population is gay.

Fact: Less than three percent of American adults identify themselves as homosexual or bisexual.

Myth No. 5: Homosexuals do not experience a higher level of psychological disorders than heterosexuals.

Fact: Homosexuals experience considerably higher levels of mental illness and substance abuse than heterosexuals. A detailed review of the research has shown that “no other group of comparable size in society experiences such intense and widespread pathology.”

Myth No. 6: Homosexual conduct is not harmful to one’s physical health.

Fact: Both because of high-risk behavior patterns, such as sexual promiscuity, and because of the harm to the body from specific sexual acts, homosexuals are at greater risk than heterosexuals for sexually transmitted diseases and other forms of illness and injury.

Myth No. 7: Children raised by homosexuals are no different from children raised by heterosexuals, nor do they suffer harm.

Fact: An overwhelming body of social science research shows that children do best when raised by their own biological mother and father who are committed to one another in a lifelong marriage. Research specifically on children of homosexuals has major methodological problems, but does show specific differences.

Myth No. 8: Homosexuals are no more likely to molest children than heterosexuals.

Fact: The percentage of child sexual abuse cases in which men molest boys is many times higher than the percentage of adult males who are homosexual, and most men who molest boys self-identify as homosexual or bisexual.

Myth No. 9: Homosexuals are seriously disadvantaged by discrimination.

Fact: Research shows that homosexuals actually have significantly higher levels of educational attainment than the general public, while the findings on homosexual incomes are, at worst, mixed.

Myth No. 10: Homosexual relationships are just the same as heterosexual ones, except for the gender of the partners.

Fact: Homosexuals are less likely to enter into a committed relationship, less likely to be sexually faithful to a partner, even if they have one, and are less likely to remain committed for a lifetime, than are heterosexuals. They also experience higher rates of domestic violence than heterosexual married couples.

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Nora Patterson former Democrat and Planned Parenthood Board Member running for Florida Senate

nora patterson at opening of pp facility in sarasota

Nora Patterson (sixth from the left) at ribbon cutting of largest Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Florida, located in the City of Sarasota.

Career politician Nora Patterson has filed to run for the Florida Senate in District 23. Patterson will be running against Florida State Representative Greg Steube and and former Florida State Representative Doug Holder in the Republican primary in Sarasota County, Florida.

Patterson is a long time supporter and former President of the Board of Directors of the largest Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Florida, located in Rosemary District, a minority area in North Sarasota County.

In 1998, when running for the Sarasota City Commission, Rod Thompson from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported that Patterson “has served as president of the board of directors for Planned Parenthood of Southwest Florida” … and she is “very much a supporter of Planned Parenthood.”

john and nora patterson

John and Nora Patterson at the March 2013 Planned Parenthood annual dinner. Source: Gulfshore Media, LLC.

In June, 2006 Patterson, with her husband John who is a partner with Shutt & Bowen, LLP law firm, attended a Planned Parenthood fundraiser. Sarasota Magazine reported on the Ruby Gala and wrote:

At the Ruby gala, big names were everywhere: Cornelia Matson in regal purple, Lee Peterson, Nancy Reinheimer, Betty Schoenbaum, Anita Holec, Caren Lobo, Flori Roberts,Leila Gompertz-too many to name. And husbands galore! Many politicos-Mayor Mary Ann Servian, former Mayor Mollie Cardamone, Commissioner Ken Shelin, School Board members John Lewis and Carol Todd, County Commissioner Nora Patterson and Betty Castor. Alex Sink, and other candidates for office were also there.

In 2007 Sarasota County voted for an $8 million bond to help fund a new Planned Parenthood abortion clinic.

While a Sarasota County Commissioner Patterson was the only one to vote to continue using county taxes to continue funding for Planned Parenthood. Steven Ertlet from LifeNews.com in 2008 reported:

Sarasota County in Florida has cut the money it sends to a local Planned Parenthood abortion business. Officials, citing poor economic conditions and the need to better balance the city budget, removed the second $12,500 of the original $25,000 allocated for Planned Parenthood family planning programs.

[ … ]

Nora Patterson was the only member of the commission to vote to retain the Planned Parenthood funding. The county gave the abortion center a $30,000 grant in 2007 and $28,000 in 2006.

Zac Anderson from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports, “Patterson is viewed as a moderate on a number of issues. She is a former Democrat who supports abortion rights ‘up to a certain point in the pregnancy’ and once served as president of the board of Planned Parenthood of Southwest Florida, although she noted her board stint was before the local affiliate performed abortions.” [Emphasis added]

Patterson’s efforts to distance herself from Planned Parenthood is misrepresenting the fact that she has consistently supported abortions, and the funding thereof, using Sarasota tax dollars ever since she left as President of Southwest Florida Planned Parenthood.

Stephanie Armour from the Wall Street Journal reports:

Three Planned Parenthood Federation of America clinics in Florida were ordered to stop performing second-trimester abortions after an investigation found they didn’t have the proper licenses, the state Agency for Health Care Administration said Wednesday.

The investigation also found one clinic that wasn’t keeping proper logs relating to fetal remains, according to the agency. The state may take additional actions, including administrative sanctions, against the clinics.

“Licenses are in place to protect the patient from unscrupulous operators and the state of Florida will ensure every facility is held accountable for its actions,” the agency said in a news release.

[ … ]

Florida Gov. Rick Scott last month ordered an investigation of Planned Parenthood clinics in the state following an antiabortion group’s release of undercover videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing the procurement of fetal tissue for research following abortions.

Perhaps Sarasota County voters should judge Nora Patterson on the company she keeps? That company being Planned Parenthood, and the industrial complex that makes a profit off of baby body parts.

Nora Patterson has been a loyal soldier in the war against the innocent and unborn.

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Florida: Lawsuit filed to stop ‘Blue Zone Project’ in Collier County Public Schools

There is a new initiative making its way across America and the Sunshine State called “The Blue Zone Project.” The name is soothing, much like green zones, but the goal is pure collectivism. The Blue Zone Project targets entire communities including public schools.

One Collier County parent has filed a lawsuit to stop the Blue Zone Project in Collier County, Florida. Read the Bracci vs. Patton lawsuit here.

Melhor Marie Leonor from the Naples Daily News wrote:

Collier County public school parent Steven Bracci filed a lawsuit this week against district Superintendent Kamela Patton, alleging that Blue Zones planning meetings dealing with potential school policies should have, but did not, follow the state’s open meetings laws.

According to its website, the Blue Zones Project is, “[A] community-wide well-being improvement initiative to help make healthy choices easier for everyone in Southwest Florida.” “Help make healthy choices” is code for control of individual behaviors.

According to the lawsuit Superintendent Kamela Patton joined the Blue Zone Steering Committee, thereby abrogating her district decision making authority. There are no parents or citizens of Collier county on the committee. All of the members are elected, appointed or individuals such as Bill Barker, publisher of the Naples Daily News.

This new initiative is really an old form of creating social change, without the consent of the governed. 

Ayn Rand wrote a short nineteen page paper asking: What is the basic issue facing the world today? Rand, in her paper makes the case that, “The basic issue in the world today is between two principles: Individualism and Collectivism.” Rand defines these two principles as follows:

  • Individualism – Each man exists by his own right and for his own sake, not for the sake of the group.
  • Collectivism – Each man exists only by the permission of the group and for the sake of the group.

The Blue Zone Project is the ideal that each man exists only by the permission of the group and for the sake of the group and the group alone.

Satanic Cult Partners with Planned Parenthood — A match made in Hell

PARTIAL BIRTH

Example of Planned Parenthood method of slaughtering babies.

Satanic cults embrace human sacrifice so it makes perfect sense that the Satanic Temple of Detroit would support Planned Parenthood.

In April I wrote a column titled “Time to Remove Satan from the Public Square“.  I wrote that “Satan takes away the ‘essence of what it is to be human’.” Since publishing my column there have been two very public examples of Satanic cults and witchcraft embraced by two progressive groups, supporters of Planned Parenthood and LGBT activists, respectively.

The Washington Examiner reports:

Satan worshipers launched a counter-protest against pro-lifers outside the Detroit and Ferndale, Michigan Planned Parenthood locations Saturday.

Clad in black robes, members of the Satanic Temple of Detroit drenched bound women with milk, simulating water-boarding to “illustrate the theocratic agenda imposed upon female bodies.” The milk symbolized breast milk, one of the protest organizers explained on Facebook.

The group attached a symbol of their temple to the American flag and held up a sign that read, “America is not a theocracy. End forced motherhood.”

Read more.

Below is a short video of the Detroit Satanic Temple’s tactics in support of Planned Parenthood, which is in fact a war against Christians, Jews and humanity itself:

queer devil worshiper

Colby Gaudet, queer Devil worshiper.

In my column “Homosexuals and Transgenders Embracing Witchcraft” I noted:

It’s not enough that homosexuals and transgenders hate Christians. Now we learn that young members of the LGBT community are embracing witchcraft. Moira Donovan in a column titled “How Witchcraft Is Empowering Queer and Trans Young People” on Vice.com reports:

…Witchcraft is seeing a resurgence among queer-identified young people seeking a powerful identity that celebrates the freedom to choose who you are.

Soft-spoken and covered in tattoos, Colby Gaudet doesn’t exactly fit the stereotypical image of the witch. But Gaudet’s been known to launch into a ritual when the moment is right. And identifying as a witch appeals to Gaudet’s self-professed “strange exhibitionist quality” by playing with people’s preconceived notions of tattoos, of Gaudet’s non-binary gender identity, and of how a witch should look.

Non-binary? Really? There you have it. LGBT youth embracing witchcraft to justify their unnatural sexual behaviors. They certainly have sided with the right guy – Satan. Their “powerful identity” is with the devil.

The old crone at the edge of the village has been replaced by the queerest of witches. The Satanist in black robes has embraced Planned Parenthood, which sells aborted babies for profit.

A match made in Hell.

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Lawless Nation: Innocents Are Dying by Elizabeth Lee Vliet, MD

“But if the Watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.” ~Ezekiel 33:6

Physicians have traditionally taken the Oath of Hippocrates to preserve life to the best of their ability and judgment. Your doctor is supposed to be a “watchman” over your health and life. Yet today, with rampant lawlessness on the part of our government leading to the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings—from the most vulnerable unborn babies to America’s bravest warriors—physicians need to sound the trumpet. We cannot remain silent when life is at stake.

At one end of the spectrum the warriors that served our country here and abroad are denied prompt access to medical care when they need it, and many die waiting—either from disease or suicidal despair.

At the other end of the spectrum, euphemistically named “Planned Parenthood” is killing hundreds of thousands of innocent babies, then gruesomely and callously harvesting their body parts to be sold for profit.

Worse, both the unborn and our veterans waiting for medical care are dying at taxpayer expense! Taxpayers have been told they are paying for “women’s health” and “medical care for veterans” while both organizations bring death, not health.

Both Planned Parenthood and the VA have been shown to be violating multiple federal statutes. Both have a pattern of hiding their lawlessness from public and congressional scrutiny. Our government has failed to hold either accountable for their illegal actions. Whether deliberate or due to incompetence, the result is the same—death.

Lawlessness is out of control in many ways across our country. Many innocents are dying because of it. How can we expect the rule of law to prevail when it isn’t even followed in federally funded facilities that are supposed to care for health?

The VA issues were in the news months ago. They are being investigated, while veterans continue to die preventable deaths. Planned Parenthood’s flagrant disregard for existing laws is just now coming to light as a result of the investigative journalism work by the Center for Medical Progress.

Practices at Planned Parenthood that call for urgent investigation and possible prosecution include:

  • Trafficking in human body parts
  • Harvesting organs and removing them from babies who are alive.
  • Harvesting organs without proper consent from the mother.
  • Altering normal abortion procedures specifically in ways to allow salvage body parts for sale (such as liver, brain, heart, thymus, legs).
  • Failure to report statutory rape, thus protecting sexual predators.
  • Failure to attempt to save babies born alive in a failed abortion—instead using them for organs.

Planned Parenthood has fought vigorously to prevent mothers from seeing an ultrasound of their baby prior to an abortion, knowing that the majority of women choose not to abort once they have seen the baby’s image and beating heart.

In addition, Planned Parenthood consistently violates the ethical requirement to obtain informed consent. Clinic staff mislead women by using words to disguise that “it” is a human baby: they call “it” a fetus, they tell women their baby is just a “blob of tissue,” “isn’t a baby yet,” or “it cannot feel pain.”

Planned Parenthood’s “talking points” to clients violate principles of “truth in advertising” required in other medical and business settings.

  • CLAIM: “Abortion is only 3% of our business.” FACT: Based on prenatal visits (fewer than 19,000), adoption referrals (fewer than 2,000), and abortions (more than 300,000), Susan B. Anthony List said abortion was 94% of “pregnancy-related services.”
  • CLAIM: “If Planned Parenthood is defunded, women will not have access to women’s health services.” FACT: In fact, there are thousands of federally qualified community health centers across the United States that provide all of the necessary women’s health services. Abortion is theonly service not provided.
  • CLAIM: “Planned Parenthood is a women’s health organization.” FACT: The abortion centers are the leading killer of black and minority babies, following Margaret Sanger’s Eugenics agenda to “exterminate Negroes.”
  • CLAIM: “Defunding Planned Parenthood would prevent women from getting mammograms.” FACT: Planned Parenthood clinics are not certified for and do not perform mammograms. All mammography services are referred to other facilities.

On August 14, Congress sent a letter to Planned Parenthood demanding answers to the above issues. Multiple state investigations are underway, but the Obama administration has threatened to punish states that are cutting off state Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood while they investigate violations of state and federal law.

Physicians and the American people must now be the Watchmen, sound the trumpet, and act together to stop this Lawless Nation and slaughter of innocent babies and our deserving veterans.

dr elizabeth lee vlietABOUT ELIZABETH LEE VLIET, M.D.

Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D., Dr. Vliet is Chief Medical Officer of Med Expert Chile, SpA, an international medical consulting company based in Santiago, Chile whose mission is high quality, lower cost medical care focused on preserving medical freedom, privacy, and the Oath of Hippocrates commitment to individual patients.

Dr. Vliet is a past Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS).

Dr. Vliet also has an active U.S. medical practice in Tucson AZ and Dallas TX specializing in preventive and climacteric medicine with an integrated approach to evaluation and treatment of women and men with complex medical and hormonal problems.  Arizona Foundation for Women 2007 Voice of Women award for her pioneering medical and educational advocacy for overlooked hormone connections in women’s health.

She received her M.D. degree and internship in Internal Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School, and completed specialty training at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She earned her B.S. and Master’s degrees from the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

Dr. Vliet has appeared on FOX NEWS, Cavuto, Stuart Varney Show, Fox and Friends, Sean Hannity and many nationally syndicated radio shows across the country as well as numerous Healthcare Town Halls addressing the economic and medical impact of the 2010 healthcare law.  Dr. Vliet is a past co-host of America’s Fabric radio show.

Dr. Vliet’s health books include: It’s My Ovaries, Stupid; Screaming To Be Heard: Hormonal Connections Women Suspect– And Doctors STILL Ignore; Women, Weight and Hormones; The Savvy Woman’s Guide to Great Sex, Strength, and Stamina, and The Savvy Woman’s Guide to PCOS. Dr. Vliet’s websites are www.HerPlace.com, and www.MedExpertChile.com.

How Do Planned Parenthood Supporters Talk to their Children?

What is it going to take? After the release of another horrific Planned Parenthood video, what is it going to take for the American Left to call evil what it is?

The Planned Parenthood videos began with discussions of the harvesting of the organs of aborted children. Next, the videos graduated in their depravity to conversations about selling the organs for a “better than break even” price. A short time later, another video was released where Planned Parenthood officials were caught on tape discussing using “less crunchy” abortion techniques to preserve the organs of aborted children in order to sell them. Despite the disgusting content of the aforementioned videos, sadly, the videos have grown in their gruesomeness. The latest video released, where a former Planned Parenthood employee describes in disturbing detail how an aborted child, with a beating heart, had its face cut through with scissors to harvest his brain, is so painful to watch that I had to stop just a few minutes into it.

I am proud to call myself a liberty loving conservative and I take every opportunity to explain to my two young daughters why I believe in free people, free markets, free speech, freedom to worship, and the respect for, and the preservation of, all human life. How do Planned Parenthood supporters talk to their children? If they are so proud of what Planned Parenthood is doing then I wonder if they proudly show these videos to their children and discuss the content with them.

Please spare me the “medicine can be disturbing to watch” garbage because I have zero problem watching a medical operation on video, nor do I care in the least if my daughter watches one. I have an arthritic left shoulder that needs to be replaced and recently watched a YouTube video of the surgery to prepare myself for what’s in store for me. There was nothing gruesome about the shoulder surgery video because, in watching the amazing power of medicine, through a talented surgeon’s hands, give the gift of pain-free movement back to someone like me who lives with chronic pain I was comforted that, despite the anatomical visuals during the surgery video, it was to preserve and further the quality of life, not destroy it.

Also, please spare us all the “these videos are edited” tripe that some Planned Parenthood sycophants are desperately floating to the media in an attempt to preserve this evil organization.

First, the unedited videos are available for the world to watch. Second, no one at Planned Parenthood is claiming that the Planned Parenthood employees and business associates in the videos are actors. Third, the same frauds claiming that the videos are “edited” had ZERO problem with promoting the Mitt Romney “47%” video which was unquestionably “edited.”

Again, what is it going to take? What more does Planned Parenthood have to do before the American Left does the right thing? What level of depravity and gruesomeness in Planned Parenthood’s talk and actions do they have to reach before the Left is willing to call evil what it is? Despite my dealings with the hard Left and my skepticism that they are straight shooters, even I am surprised at their callous defense of Planned Parenthood in the face of such obvious evidence of Planned Parenthood’s ghoulish actions.

It is time for a great American awakening. I refuse to believe that America has morphed into a country where a major political party’s values have degenerated to such a point that the statement “all lives matter” is controversial to them, yet using scissors to cut through the face of a live child to harvest its brain for sale isn’t.

We must stop the moral decay that appears to be growing in intensity. I’m not a preacher or a counselor but I ask that you please, talk to your children about these videos and, more importantly, about the people who support the people in the Planned Parenthood videos. Truth is our most powerful weapon in the war for our collective moral future and avoiding uncomfortable topics, because of the gruesome nature of what is happening, only allows what is happening to continue happening.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the Conservative Review. The featured image of abortion protesters in Columbia, Missouri is by Don Shrubshell | AP Photo.

Planned Parenthood Florida Caught Illegally Doing 2nd Trimester Abortions!

MIAMI – On July 25th, Christian Family Coalition (CFC) Florida called on Florida Governor Rick Scott to investigate Planned Parenthood Florida. Days later he announced an investigation.

State health department inspectors are reporting their results and they found Planned Parenthood abortion clinics are illegally doing 2nd-trimester abortions.  Those are the kinds of abortions that allow Planned Parenthood to gather the body parts of aborted babies for sale.

As the Tampa Bay newspaper reports:

After inspecting all 16 Planned Parenthood clinics in Florida, the state Agency for Health Care Administration announced Wednesday that three have performed procedures outside the scope of their licenses and one has not kept proper records on disposing fetal remains.

“We will take immediate actions against these three facilities for performing second trimester abortions without a proper license,” AHCA spokesperson Shelisha Coleman said in a written statement Wednesday. “These facilities have been notified to immediately cease performing second trimester abortions.”

Clinics in St. Petersburg, Fort Myers and Naples were cited for performing abortions in the second trimester that they are not licensed to do. A Pembroke Pines clinic was cited for improper record-keeping.

Christian Family Coalition (CFC) Florida issued the following statement:

“Unfortunately, we are not surprised by the state’s findings, Planned Parenthood regularly works outside of the bounds of the law.  While they claim to promote women’s health, they do exactly the opposite.  They are the nation’s largest abortion provider, performing 300,000 abortions annually. That’s 20% of all abortions in America every year.  They continuously victimize women and children and do not deserve a dime of taxpayer funds. We are glad they are being exposed and proud of the small part we are playing in this effort.”

Read more.

RELATED ARTICLE: Congress Issues List of Demands for Planned Parenthood, Last One is a Potential Nail in the Coffin

How Sexist Is Your Office Temp? by Sarah Skwire

My Facebook wall is bursting with people arguing over a recent article from theWashington Post that claims that air conditioning in the office is sexist.

Women, argues Petula Dvorak, are naturally inclined to suffer more from the cold, so office thermostats set at 68 or 70 degrees keep men comfortable, but make women miserable. Her article strongly implies that this is done because men lack consideration for the comfort of others and because women are denied the power and the agency to get temperatures set where they want them.

I am a small cold woman who keeps two blankets in her office. I sympathize.

But despite my sympathy, I think Dvorak — and most of my Facebook friends — are missing an extremely important point: The fact that there are women suffering in overly air-conditioned offices is not a sign of how oppressed we are. It is a sign of how far we have come.

The economist Claudia Goldin has written persuasively about the long-term changes in women’s work over the course of the 20th century. She notes that the soaring rate of women’s labor force participation from the 1950s-1970s is part of a greater, century-long revolution. And it is that revolution that means that there are more and more women who are able to be in an office to begin with.

Once we’re in the office, we’re cold. But let’s not allow the chill to lull us to sleep. We can complain so loudly about the A/C because women are present in working environments in increasing numbers. That’s a good thing.

Dvorak gets a lot of mileage from her outrage over men’s office attire. They wear suits and ties and broadcloth shirts and are thus comfortable in air conditioning, while women dressed in seasonally-appropriate attire shiver from cold.

Why, she wonders, don’t men simply dress more appropriately?

Office dress codes are certainly part of the answer, but a larger part of the answer seems to be that women got a revolution that has missed men entirely — a revolution in dress.

Underneath her conservative suit, the working woman of the 1950s would have worn something like the Playtex Living Girdle, made of perforated rubber, and designed to produce the sleek figure required by the fashions of the time.

Rubber girdles certainly did that. But they were also hot, sweaty, and uncomfortable. Women who were freed of them by the new fashions of the ‘60s and the invention of pantyhose were nothing but grateful.

And the current generation of women — who have rejected even pantyhose as a relic of the past — are freer than ever… and colder. Ditching girdles and hose means that we have fewer layers between us and the office air conditioning. We’ve burned our foundation garments, but the fire hasn’t kept us warm.

I certainly don’t suggest returning to girdles or leaving the workplace in order to stay warm.

But I do think it’s dumb to blame the patriarchy, as represented by the guy in the next cubicle, for the fact that we’re cold.

We’re cold because we won the revolution. And now we have the power to request more equitable dress codes for our male colleagues, or to design offices with individualized climate controls, or to recognize that the world isn’t perfect, but that sometimes a little sweater can help.

Sarah Skwire
Sarah Skwire

Sarah Skwire is a senior fellow at Liberty Fund, Inc. She is a poet and author of the writing textbook Writing with a Thesis.

New Muslim Fatwa: Take Drugs before Sex if Your Wife is ‘Ugly’

A married man who believes his wife to be ugly may take cannabis before having sexual relations with her, according to a new fatwafrom a Salafi Moroccan imam.

The religious ruling is going viral on social media in Arabic, after the imam made a Friday sermon on the subject in a mosque.

The imam explained his motive is, “So the husband can see his wife like a stunningly beautiful heavenly virgin, but the conditions are that the man is over 40 and he doesn’t use the drug for more than 30 minutes.”

The fatwa is the best solution for all husbands who were tested by God with ugly women, the religious leader added.

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