The Sinister Side of the Gender War

“But it’s just a phase!” How many parents have made that same desperate plea to a teacher, a counselor, or doctor? Deep down, they know their children weren’t born in the wrong body. They know the confusion about their teenager’s identity is coming from somewhere else — a struggle that doesn’t have to be permanent. But in a culture that’s determined to indulge these fantasy, at any cost, who will believe them?

The stories from parents are real-life nightmares. On a panel about gender ideology at the Heritage Foundation, attorneys shared one heart-wrenching testimony after another. Jennifer Chavez, a liberal with liberal clients, explained that she may disagree with conservatives on abortion or taxes, but the transgender movement is a place where every Americans can come together. Why? Because this ideology is no respecter of persons. It will haunt families — and rob futures — on both sides.

Chavez told the story of a 13-year-old girl, who came home and told her parents she was “transgender” after watching a presentation about it at school. “Without evaluation or therapy, the mother was told by a ‘gender therapist’ to buy her child a breast binder and put her on puberty-blocking drugs. If she didn’t comply, she was told, her child would face a high risk of suicide. She only realized later how inaccurate and baseless this clinical advice had been.” Furious, the liberal mom wrote, “Why are physicians medicalizing children in the name of an unproven, malleable gender identity? Why are lawmakers enshrining gender identity into state and federal laws?”

National Review’s Madeleine Kearns horrified people with the testimony of a family, whose 14-year-old girl accused her parents of “child abuse” because they wouldn’t use her male name. “Without my knowledge, a pediatric endocrinologist taught my daughter, a minor, to inject herself with testosterone. She then ran away to Oregon where state law at the age of 17 allowed her… to undergo a double mastectomy and radical hysterectomy… The level of outrage and rage I’m experiencing as a mother is indescribable. Why does Oregon law allow children to make life-altering medical decisions? …Why are doctors who took an oath to first do no harm allowed to sterilize and surgically mutilate mentally ill, delusional children?”

Why? Because America is being hijacked by an aggressive, take-no-prisoners LGBT agenda that doesn’t care about your rights as parents — or your children’s wellbeing. If they did, they’d know that “98 percent of gender-confused boys and 88 percent of gender-confused girls accept their biological sex after puberty.” Suggesting that these kids are anything other than their biological gender, the American College of Pediatricians argues, is “child abuse” that will scar them for life.

Fortunately, a brave group of young adults is coming forward to make that case themselves. As teenagers, they identified as transgender. Now, they want the world to know what a mistake that was. The founders of the Pique Resilience Project talk about their journeys in an interview with NRO, each drawing the same conclusion: transgenderism is a false and dangerous ideology.

“Helena had a history of not fitting in and feeling uncomfortable with her body. She had been badly bullied and was feeling very low when she turned to transgenderism. She took high doses of testosterone, which has altered her voice. At the age of 18, she wasn’t thinking about her long-term future. She wasn’t thinking about the serious risks and possible infertility. Now, she has some advice for other young people who think they might be transgender:

‘Step back from the activism, the ideology, the community — think about the reasons why you might feel this way about your body. Because there’s just a lot of people with just glaringly obvious reasons why they don’t like their body…'”

Read Helena’s story and powerful testimonies at National Review. Then, make sure you download FRC’s “A Parent’s Guide to the Transgender Movement in Education.


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


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EDITORS NOTE: This FRC column is republished with permission.

Virginia Raises Smoking Age to 21—as Congressional Members Seek to Lower Voting Age to 16

It’s a laughable notion that an 18- to 21-year-old can be locked up with career criminals but can’t legally buy a cigarette at a corner store.


Virginia Governor Ralph Northam recently signed legislation to raise the legal age for purchasing cigarettes and other nicotine products to 21. The move isn’t just a misguided nanny-state intervention into the decisions of adults, but it also spells disaster for public health.

By the age of 18, Americans can sign contracts, vote, and even (theoretically) get drafted into the army. They are also tried as adults and, at times, face life prison sentences for crimes. There is even talk now about lowering the voting age to 16, with 14 states and Washington DC already allowing teenagers to pre-register to vote.

“I myself have always been for lowering the voting age to 16,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently said. “I think it’s really important to capture kids when they’re in high school, when they’re interested in all of this, when they’re learning about government, to be able to vote.”

Earlier this month, freshman Massachusetts congresswoman Ayanna Pressley filed legislation that would require states to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in federal elections.

Voting matters aside, it’s a laughable notion that an 18- to 21-year-old can be locked up with career criminals and exposed to an American prison’s brutality—but can’t legally buy a cigarette at a corner store.

There are effective deterrents in tobacco control policy, like cigarette tax hikes. But the same can’t be said for new age restrictions. Longstanding bans on cigarette sales to those under 18 have done nothing to prevent over 8.1 percent of American high schoolers and 1.8 percent of middle schoolers from taking up smoking. It’s not hard to see why: It’s fairly easy for youngsters to borrow cigarettes off adults or to ask adults to purchase cigarettes for them. There’s no reason to think things will play out differently if the legal age is raised to 21.

Proponents of the law might argue that raising the age requirement does have precedent. After all, the legal drinking age is 21. But that’s not even a good example. Indeed, many developed, western nations maintain a legal drinking age that is far lower than 21—sometimes as low as 16—and have lower rates of alcohol-fueled violence and binge drinking.

Indeed, more than 120 college presidents have signed on to the Amethyst Initiative, which notes the negative consequences of America’s late legal drinking age, like higher rates of binge drinking, the proliferation of fake IDs, and the impracticality of enforcement.

The age requirement also moves drinkers from open, social environments that are easier to regulate—like bars—to locked dorm rooms, apartments, or other discrete locations where irresponsible behavior is easier to hide and more likely to occur.Raising the legal age for purchasing cigarettes and nicotine products will also play into the hands of the tobacco black market—already a multi-billion dollar global industry known to fund other illicit enterprises like human trafficking and terrorism. Aside from impinging on individual liberty, this also means less tax revenue for the government since the black market will grow to accommodate new demand.

But the worst consequence of Northam’s law will be making it harder for current smokers to access life-saving vaping technology. Receiving nicotine from a vape rather than a cigarette allows smokers to satiate their cravings without exposure to the tar, toxins, and carcinogens produced by burning tobacco. Denying legal access to vaping will either remove incentives for young smokers to quit or push smokers and vapers onto potentially dangerous, unregulated products sold online.

Vaping isn’t completely safe, but compared to smoking, it’s a much better option. The UK Royal College of Physicians conservatively estimates that it is at least 95 percent less harmful than smoking—and likely to be even less harmful.

Medical authoritiesaround the world recognize vaping’s value as a quit-smoking strategy that adds decades to the lives of smokers who transition.It makes no sense, then, to restrict the sale of nicotine vapes or juices to adult smokers trying to make responsible decisions about their own health when other nicotine-infused, less effective quitting aids like patches and gums are available to adults.

Dire implications aside, raising the legal smoking age amounts to little more than a condescending excuse to intrude into the decisions of adults that primarily affect just themselves. But that won’t stop politicians like Northam from finding any excuse to pat themselves on the back for appearing to be tough on smoking.

COLUMN BY

Global Warming — Science vs Political Science

Since you have an interest in the Global Warming issue, I’m sending along a current public exchange I’m having with a well-known climatologist. As he publicly disparaged my qualifications to even discuss the AGW matter (!), it should be no problem for a person of such elevated expertise, to win this debate. You decide…

[FYI, if you’re pressed for time, or only have a passing interest in the Global Warming issue, then just look at #7 and #8.]

Here’s a brief chronological history:

1) the Adirondack Park (in upstate NY) is the largest park on the continental US (6 million acres). It is an extraordinary place that has unparalleled natural beauty. I’ve been a lifetime resident of the Park, so I have plenty of first-hand experiences with most of it. As an environmentalist, I’m a Park protector.

2) The Park is overseen by a powerful NYS agency, called the Adirondack Park Agency (APA). They establish a wide assortment of zoning rules, etc. that cover the entire Park. In general these are beneficial. For example, to date, industrial wind energy and solar are both prohibited. Excellent!

3) Political activists are pushing the APA to change their renewable energy restrictions. Their ultimate goal is to get industrial wind energy into the Park. As a feeler, in November the APA proposed this Renewable Energy Policy.

4) I then immediately sent the APA a 12-point objection to their proposal. (I have yet to hear any response back from them.)

5) In addition, to make citizens aware of this profoundly anti-environmental plan, I wrote a layman overview of the situation, which was published in some Adirondack newspapers.

6) After that was seen, I was asked by the editor of the well-respected bi-monthly Adirondack Explorer magazine to submit commentary for a feature they have, where major issues are debated. I submitted the con-piece about the APA’s proposed renewable energy policy. It came out a few weeks ago.

7) A NYS paleoclimatologist, Dr. Curt Stager, took issue with my Adirondack Explorer commentary, and last week got a lengthy op-ed published (attacking my competence, etc.).

8) I just finished a response to Curt’s polemic— and submitted it for publication, today. I’m sharing a slightly longer version with you, as I thought you might like to see a rather impassioned exchange between scientists about some of the key Global Warming issues.

There are multiple things to learn from this exchange. Although this is a moderate amount of reading, it’s an interesting, informative discussion of the Global Warming matter — making some points rarely seen.

Global Warming is THE issue of our times. After reading this you’ll have a much better understanding of this whole matter, and what’s really going on.

Let me know any questions.

As usual, please forward this information to any other open-minded parties you think might profit from it.

RELATED ARTICLE: Media Touts ‘Clear Sign of Human-Caused Climate Change.’ Here Are the Facts.

Kitten Act Scratches at the Surface of Hypocrisy

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

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

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

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

Meanwhile, as if legal infanticide isn’t revolting enough, House Democrats have decided Americans should pay for it. In what’s turning out to be a test for the most unpopular majority in history, Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) chamber is pushing a bill that would force a country who overwhelmingly opposes late-term abortion to bankroll it – along with abortions in any trimester. Rep. Diane DeGette (D-Colo.), another liberal who can’t seem to take taxpayers’ “No!” for an answer, is trying to overturn the Hyde amendment. “It’s just important as we move forward that we pass legislation that honors women’s reproductive health and their decisions,” she said.

But what about honoring taxpayers — two-thirds of whom fiercely oppose the idea of financing the Left’s killing machine? And that includes “pro-choicers.” Although the bill doesn’t stand a chance in the Senate, it could still make history. If Pelosi keeps up with the Left’s tone-deafness and brings DeGette’s bill up for the vote, it would be the first time the House has voted to overturn Hyde in history.

While House and Senate Democrats seem obsessed with taking lives, at least one court is helping states protect them. In what may turn out to be the ruling that turned the Supreme Court tide, the Sixth Circuit Court sided with Ohio in defunding Planned Parenthood. For three years, the Buckeyes have been fighting to redirect the $1.5 million for abortion providers to real health clinics. Buckeye leaders, including former Governor John Kasich, were sick of “using abortion providers as the face of state health care programs.” A lower court said too bad. But 11 judges on the Sixth Circuit disagreed, insisting that Ohio’s law doesn’t violate the Constitution “because the affiliates do not have a due process right to perform abortions.”

And while President Trump didn’t have anything to do with the ruling, he had plenty to do with the people who made it. Four of the 11 judges who defended Ohio’s law were appointed by this White House. If you’re wondering how much this administration’s commitment to nominations matters, this is proof. There are men and women on benches across America today who are literally saving lives because this president made the courts a priority. Thanks to Donald Trump, pro-lifers know better than anyone: you don’t need Congress to win on life.

However, we are pushing Congress to pass the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. In the U.S. House, congressional leaders may not yet see the light, but they will see thousands of newborn baby hats – thanks to all of you who’ve supported our End Birth Day Abortion campaign. If you haven’t had a chance to add your voice, click over to our website and join us!


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


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RELATED VIDEO: Abby Johnson DESTROYS Abortion Arguments at Hearing.

EDITORS NOTE: This FRC column is republished with permission.

Architects of Woke: Judith Butler’s War on Science

The first episode of Dangerous Documentaries’ new web series, The Architects of Woke, is live on Facebook and YouTube.

The first episode exposes the outsized influence of Professor Judith Butler, the Berkeley feminist, famous as the mother of the modern theory that dozens of “genders” exist, with no relation to the two biological sexes. Judith Butler’s War on Science explains the myriad ways Butler’s gender-bending theories infiltrate academe and American culture. Watch it here:

The series takes aim at far-left post-modernist and Marxist thinkers and activists responsible for the spread of identity politics from college campuses to society at large. Stay tuned for more episodes as we expose Slavoj Žižek, a highly influential philosopher who’s fond of Lenin, and Chapo Trap House, the radical socialist podcast that’s been called “the last stop off the socialist train before Antifa.”

We hope you enjoy the first episode in this series. If you subscribe to our YouTube channel, you’ll never miss an episode.

EDITORS NOTE: This Capitol Research Center column with video is republished with permission.

Sacrificing Freedom to Vaccination

Preview:  

  • But aren’t the risks worth it? What if large numbers of parents start to refuse vaccination? Maybe there would be a huge outbreak, spreading like wildfire, causing thousands or millions of deaths? Shall we not pit the worst imaginable hypothetical scenario against an unknown number of vaccine adverse reactions? Is it not worth it to eradicate the scourge of measles?
  • Trading freedom—and free speech—for supposed security ultimately leads to a loss of both. And if government can dictate what you must inject into your own children, what limits can be placed on its power?

According to the Oath of Hippocrates, physicians have the duty to advise their patients according to the best of their ability and judgment. In In most cases, most physicians recommend vaccination, believing that for a particular patient, the benefit exceeds the risk. Patients or their parents, however, have the right to decline to follow their doctor’s advice.

But with vaccination, government restricts this right. Every time there is a measles outbreak somewhere there is an outcry to restrict vaccine exemptions, to protect the public—and, just coincidentally, vaccine manufacturers.

Measles is extremely contagious, and with today’s air travel, a patient incubating measles but not yet sick can arrive any time and cough virus particles all over Disneyland. Most patients recover fully, with robust lifelong immunity. But some get serious complications or die. Measles is two to four times worse than in pre-vaccination days because it affects more adults and infants. Mothers with only waning vaccine-induced immunity cannot give their babies the antibodies that once protected infants of naturally immunized mothers during their most vulnerable period.

The public health or guilt-trip rationale is this: “My baby is immunosuppressed and can’t get vaccinated. So, you must vaccinate your baby because if there’s an outbreak, your unvaccinated baby might catch measles and give it to my baby, who might die.” Of course, parents fear for their children, although the last measles death in the U.S. occurred in 2015.

This argument assumes that the risk of vaccine to healthy children doesn’t exist—or doesn’t matter. Worries are attributed to “antivax quacks,” and the omniscient Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook is reportedly going to protect the public by suppressing information he judges to be “not credible.” Public health people prevented the screening of the 2016 movie Vaxxed: from Coverup to Catastrophe in Phoenix. The film shows children with devastating neurologic damage, and parents telling how their once normal child changed dramatically just after getting a vaccine. But these are mere anecdotes; there is “overwhelming evidence” of safety, the experts assure us.

Most children tolerate their vaccines well, but package inserts list an intimidating number of rare but serious events—that might or might not have been caused by the vaccine. Moreover, according to the Cochrane Collaboration, “The design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies, both pre- and post-marketing, are largely inadequate.”

Safety studies are always limited. Terrible but rare complications might not show up in the limited number of study subjects, or might be delayed until after the study concludes. Chloramphenicol was a widely used antibiotic, until one in 50,000 patients got lethal aplastic anemia. And let us not forget thalidomide and the babies without limbs. One incentive to be cautious and avoid attempts to cover up adverse effects is the prospect of being sued. But vaccine manufacturers are immune from product liability. The only recourse for vaccine-injured patients is Vaccine Court, which has paid out $4 billion in damages. Two out of three claims are denied.

But aren’t the risks worth it? What if large numbers of parents start to refuse vaccination? Maybe there would be a huge outbreak, spreading like wildfire, causing thousands or millions of deaths? Shall we not pit the worst imaginable hypothetical scenario against an unknown number of vaccine adverse reactions? Is it not worth it to eradicate the scourge of measles?

The fact is that measles probably can’t be eradicated, not with an imperfect vaccine. In Saudi Arabia, where vaccination rates were between 95 percent and 98 percent, there were 4,648 cases of measles in 2007 compared with 373 in 2005. The best we can do is probably to aim for disease control. A freedom-based approach—for example, seeking better vaccines, excellent diagnostic and contact-tracing tools, and open communication—is more likely to lead to an optimal result than forcing the currently available vaccine on unwilling recipients.

Deciding what is best for individual patients is difficult, fraught with danger and full of uncertainties. Doctors may advise, or patients may choose a course that is harmful. But if governmental authorities, imbued with a sense of infallibility, impose their will on everyone, the consequences of a bad choice affect millions.

Trading freedom—and free speech—for supposed security ultimately leads to a loss of both. And if government can dictate what you must inject into your own children, what limits can be placed on its power?

STUDY: Using marijuana just once or twice may change teen’s brain structure

BREAKING . . .

Grey matter volume differences associated with extremely low levels of cannabis use in adolescence

A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience today “presents evidence suggesting structural brain and cognitive effects of just one or two instances of cannabis use in adolescence.” The researchers note that nearly 35 percent of 10th graders report using marijuana.

Read study abstract here.


Teens and vaping marijuana: Understanding the dangers of “dabbing”

Dabbing among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders is on the rise, according to the Monitoring the Future Survey. Dr. Ruben Baler, a health scientist at the National Institute on Drug abuse, which funds the survey, estimates that of the 3 million teens now vaping e-cigarettes, 30 to 40 percent are vaping marijuana.

The term vaping generally applies to heating capsules of nicotine in an e-cigarette and inhaling the fumes, while dabbing refers to inhaling fumes from a heated capsule of THC in a vape pen. And those THC capsules contain concentrates with 60 to 90 percent THC compared to about 12 percent THC in today’s marijuana that is smoked. Americans were getting high less than 5 percent THC in the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s.

“This is a very dangerous trend,” Dr. Baler says. E-cigarettes and vape pens “are very easy to hide. They’re odorless, and they’re marketed very aggressively for kids, whether they have flavorings or high concentrations of nicotine or marijuana.”

He warns that an adolescent brain is still in development and “should be completely clean” of any “drug that can derail that trajectory of development.”

Read Chicago Sun Times story here.


Police: Vape shop owner, employees charged with selling marijuana to minors

Police arrested the owner and four employees at a vape shop called Kloudy Visionz in Taunton, Massachusetts after finding a stash of marijuana behind the counter, which allegedly was sold to teenagers.

Even though marijuana is legal in Massachusetts for adults, Kloudy Visionz does not have a license to sell it to anyone, let alone someone under age 21. An investigation had revealed teenagers leaving through a side entrance with marijuana.

The store had been opened for only about a year, but its license to sell tobacco had expired.

Read WFXT Boston story here.


Thousands of people in DC area seek treatment for marijuana dependency each year

Several thousand people in the area surrounding Washington DC have sought treatment for the drug that “isn’t addictive” (marijuana) as many legalization proponents claim.

An investigation by the NBC Washington News4 I-Team found that Virginia health agencies admitted approximately 4,000 residents each year for the past four years to treat marijuana dependency. While the majority were men, more recent records show an uptick in women ages 31 to 40 seeking treatment.

In 2016, experts testifying before the US Senate Judiciary Committee told members that 8 percent to 9 percent of adults and 17 percent of adolescents who try marijuana become addicted. The experts estimated that some 2.7 million Americans were dependent on the drug.

Those seeking treatment are encouraged to call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s free, confidential hotline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Read NBC Washington story and see video here.


Marijuana use and driving in Washington State: Risk perceptions and behaviors before and after implementation of retail sales

This roadside study surveyed drivers in Washington State the month before marijuana retail sales began, 5 to 6 months later, and 1 year later. Some 2,355 drivers completed the survey.

They were asked about their past and current marijuana use and whether they believed driving after use increased their risk for having an accident. They also were drug tested for the presence of THC in oral fluids or blood.

The proportion of daytime THC-positive drivers increased from 8 percent before retail sales to 23 percent 6 months after sales began. No such change occurred among nighttime drivers. The odds of being THC positive were 40 percent lower among drivers who believe marijuana can impair driving.

Further research should continue to monitor marijuana and driving and to develop a way to determine impairment.

Read Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study here.

Unplanned: Pro-Life Movie Screens at CPAC

CPAC attendees were provided a first-look at a movie that is sure to rally the pro-life movement this spring.

Unplanned is the true life story of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood employee who left the abortion industry after seeing the ultrasound image of an abortion. Johnson now runs the And Then There Were None ministry that helps former abortion workers find new careers after leaving the industry.

The MPAA has unexpectedly given Unplanned an R-rating. LiveAction explains why:

While Unplanned features simulated abortion scenes that include blood, it doesn’t contain any of the MPAA cautions for profanity, nudity, or sex. Therefore, the MPAA decision to give the film an R-rating is quite possibly because of the abortion scenes — and the MPAA’s opinion that these scenes depict violence. The rating essentially means that the MPAA is (perhaps unintentionally) supporting the pro-life community’s long-held argument that abortion is an act of violence against innocent human life — one pro-lifers believe should be illegal.

Indeed, 2ndVote staff who attended the screening will attest that the realistic depiction of an abortion procedure is difficult to stomach. And, that is one reason why you and your family should see this film.

However, Johnson’s story is also a story of redemption. Unplanned, which is based on her memoir by the same title, powerfully exposes the abortion industry’s lies. It chronicles how she was healed by faith.

Before Thursday night’s screening, Johnson said:

There’s never been a film that has shown just the barbaric truth of abortion like this one does, and I think the beautiful thing about this film is that it really creates a conversion in all of us.

…a conversion moment for all of us that maybe we haven’t been doing enough, maybe we’ve been apathetic about this issue. Maybe we’ve harbored resentment in our hearts toward those who’ve had abortions or those who work in abortion facilities. Maybe we just haven’t believed in the radical mercy of Christ like we should.

Unplanned will be in theaters nationwide on March 29th. You can learn more about the movie and find showtimes here.

This is a movie the 2ndVote movement will want to support. Don’t just take our word for it—MyPillow (3 – Neutral) founder Mike Lindell has invested $1 million into Unplanned’s production.

Click here to see the corporations still financially supporting Planned Parenthood’s abortion business.

Help us continue highlighting how corporations support the left’s agenda by becoming a 2ndVote Member today!

EDITORS NOTE: This 2ndVote column with video and images is republished with permission.

Should Pro-Lifers Support The Heartbeat Bills?

“Destruction of the embryo in the mother’s womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed upon this nascent life.  To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue.  The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of his life.  And that is nothing but murder.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“A young pregnant wife has been hospitalized for a simple attack of appendicitis.  The doctors had to apply ice to her stomach and when the treatments ended the doctors suggested that she abort the child, they told her it was the best solution because the baby would be born with some disability, but the young brave wife decided not to abort, and the child was born.  That woman was my Mother and I was the child.” (And yes, he is blind, and he has a voice like the angels.)  Andrea Bocelli – Listen to him sing “O Holy Night

To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical. Thomas Jefferson

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is not guaranteed to unborn human babies in America.  Yet, if you’re pronounced dead when your heart stops beating, why are we not pronounced alive when an unborn baby’s heart is heard beating?  Within 16 to 24 days after conception, the unborn child’s heart can be heard, especially via ultrasound. 

Doctors use several different methods to listen to the fetal heartbeat. At about 3 weeks, when the heart first begins to beat, the sound of the little heart is too soft to hear. A doctor’s stethoscope is not sensitive enough to hear the baby’s heart beating.  Very soon thereafter however, physicians can see the motion using ultrasound technology. 

A special stethoscope called a fetoscope works well when the unborn baby is larger, usually around 15-17 weeks. An active baby however, can make this method of listening a bit challenging. Often when the fetoscope is finally in the right place on the woman’s belly, the unborn baby will change positions and the doctor must move the stethoscope again in search of the heartbeat.

The presence of a fetal heartbeat confirms pregnancy, as long as doctors are certain to distinguish the baby’s heartbeat from the mothers. Usually this is not difficult as the unborn baby has a much faster heart rate than the mother.  

State Heartbeat Bills

In the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court said states can’t abolish abortions before viability — the point at which a fetus can survive outside of the womb which is 24 to 28 weeks gestation; full gestation is 40 weeks. 

But pro-life advocates hope a newly configured U.S. Supreme Court can overturn the decision and are pushing for measures to undercut the ruling in legislatures across the country.  Seven states now allow abortion up to the minute of birth, not just New York.  Heartbeat bills get challenged by the courts, but abortions in the last trimester or minutes before birth do not.

Iowa – A federal court blocked a heartbeat abortion measure in Iowa after it passed into law over the summer.   In mid-February 2019, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said that she will not appeal a ruling that struck down a state law that banned most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected.  Her decision not to appeal means the law will never take effect, handing a major victory to supporters of legal abortion.

Reynolds signed the law – which would have been the most restrictive abortion limit in the country – last year. Abortion providers quickly sued and District Court Judge Michael Huppert ruled the law unconstitutional.

Reynolds said in a news release that she doesn’t see a way to successfully appeal the ruling to the Iowa Supreme Court, in light of its ruling last year that struck down a 72-hour waiting period for abortions and found a fundamental right to abortion in the Iowa Constitution.

Arkansas – A fetal heartbeat bill, banning abortion after twelve weeks, was passed on January 31, 2013 by the Arkansas Senate, vetoed in Arkansas by Governor Mike Beebe, but, on March 6, 2013, his veto was overridden by the Arkansas House of Representatives.  A federal judge issued a temporary injunction against the Arkansas law in May 2013, and in March 2014, it was struck down by federal judge Susan Webber Wright, who described the law as unconstitutional.

North Dakota – North Dakota HB 1456 was signed into law in March 2013 by former Governor Jack Dalrymple, who stated that it was “a legitimate attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries of Roe v. Wade. A federal district court found that it clearly violated the constitutional protections afforded in Roe v. Wade and it was quickly blocked.  

In July of that year, a lawsuit had been filed with regard to the law by the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) on behalf of the only abortion clinic in North Dakota, Red River Women’s Clinic. In July 2015, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the bill. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court, but the court denied a writ of certiorari in January 2015 and let stand the decision of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.

North Dakota spent $491,016 to unsuccessfully defend the laws, and also paid the clinic’s lawyers $245,000 as part of a settlement.  Other states should take notice. Link

Federal courts have already struck down similar “heartbeat bills” including the 20 week bans in Arizona and Idaho.

Kentucky – Already mired in three lawsuits over abortion restrictions, Kentucky lawmakers are ratcheting up the stakes with a new bill to ban most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected.  In January of 2017, Pro-life Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin signed two pro-life bills into law: The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (SB5) and a bill that offers an abortion-minded woman the opportunity to see an ultrasound of her unborn child (HB2).  Link I like both of these bills.  They eat away at the ability of abortion clinics to kill our babies.

SB5, like the laws in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, says you cannot abort a child capable of experiencing pain, a capacity that medical science has demonstrated takes place no later than at 20 weeks.

Tennessee – State Representative Micah Van Huss has rewritten his original heartbeat bill.  It is HB0077.  State Senator Mark Pody introduced SB1236.  Both bills require the person attempting to do the abortion to check for the unborn baby’s heartbeat.  In reading Senator Pody’s bill, it appears as though ultrasound is always done, and it is not.  If our new Governor, Bill Lee, signs onto the heartbeat bill, I am sure, like other states, it will be challenged in court.

Here is a complete list of states who have tried to pass heartbeat bills. 

Abortion Providers

All pro-lifers are praying to save our unborn human babies.  We want the murders stopped, but each of the heartbeat bills are challenged because of the original Roe v. Wade decision regarding viability of life.  The very text of these bills leaves it up to the abortion provider to check for a heartbeat.  Check the summary of Tennessee’s House Bill 0077.  These bills put the requirement of the finding the heartbeat on the person least likely to want to find a heartbeat—the abortion doctors themselves. 

Are we to believe every abortion clinic is going to hire a certified pro-life ultrasound nurse who will honestly do the work required to find a heartbeat…the pressing, searching, roving, seeking with the tools required to find a tiny heartbeat? No. And why would they? 

Ultrasound is completely operator dependent. One can manipulate the scan however they want. And in the hands of an abortion provider, that scan can prove to be deadly. 

Killing unborn babies is a huge cash crop.  Abortion providers know this.  And why would an abortion doctor tell a woman in her third trimester that the heart can be heard when they make far more money on selling baby parts from late term abortions.

Abortion is a very lucrative business, and this has been true from the beginning. By last count, Planned Parenthood (a tax-exempt organization!) has $951 million in total assetsMarvin Olasky observes and documents in his book, Abortion Rites, that there have long been doctors who supported abortion, “if not for principle, at least for principal.” Link

It’s all about money, that’s the bottom line.  Pro-life lobbyists think up these bills, and then pound their chests in pride, and when it fails, this allows them to ask for more money to fight for this useless law in court, all the while bragging about how many lives that will be saved because laws like this magically make abortion doctors have “good faith.” They know abortion providers will never act in good faith with the heartbeat bills.

Supreme Court and Roe

Courts don’t make laws, although in today’s America, our President is stopped by leftist judges from carrying out his constitutional duties. Prior to Roe v. Wade abortion was illegal in 30 states and legal under certain circumstances in 20 states.  It was a state decision and it should have remained so. 

We have to stop placing our trust in multi-million-dollar lobby groups and instead place our trust in the King of Glory.  Keep working, and keep praying because President Trump may actually have an opportunity to put one or two more pro-life justices on the Supreme Court. 

If that were to happen, and Roe was overturned, the State of Tennessee already has bills in both houses of our legislature that will protect our unborn babies.  The Human Life Protection Act (SB 1257 / HB 1029) avoids constitutional challenges by taking effect upon reversal, in part or in full, of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court. It restores Tennessee’s pre-Roe law and prohibits abortion except to save a mother’s life. Such policies have been enacted in Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Similar legislation is presently being considered in other states such as Kentucky and Arkansas where it passed the state Senate.

Rep. Susan Lynn (Republican, Mt. Juliet, Tennessee) said, “It has always been the priority of Tennessee’s pro-life movement to restore protection to the largest number of unborn children and women in our state. While states like New York are moving to strip any limits to abortion–even at the moments just before birth—Tennessee wants to be known for protecting our children.”

Unfortunately, the heartbeat bill has served to cost states many taxpayer dollars and in some states, those dollars went to the very perpetrators of this evil.  How?  Many of the lawyers for the pro-abortion proponents sit on the boards of Planned Parenthood.

Conclusion

America has embraced a culture of death.  The slaughter of our unborn even at the moment of birth is an atrocity of satanic proportions which needs to be quelled.  Roe v. Wade needs to be overturned. Proponents of abortion thrill to dancing in the blood of these babies.  New York Governor Cuomo was overjoyed to pass his infanticide bill promoting abortion at the very moment of birth.  Molech would be proud.

The United States Senate voted on an anti-infanticide bill introduced by Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. The legislation needed 60 votes to pass, and it failed by a vote of 53 in favor and 44 against.  The bill stated that “if an abortion results in the live birth of an infant, the infant is a legal person for all purposes under the laws of the United States, and entitled to all the protections of such laws.”  Link  Babies of botched abortions have been left crying for hours to die alone.

A day after Senate Democrats voted to block a bill to stop infanticide, House Democrats blocked a request by Republicans to vote on a similar bill to require medical care and treatment for babies who survive abortions.

This is the 10th time Congressional Democrats thwarted an attempt by Republicans to vote on a bill that would provide medical care and treatment for babies who survived failed abortions — eight times in the House and twice in the Senate.

Every Democratic presidential hopeful — Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Sherrod Brown, Amy Klobuchar, and Elizabeth Warren, along with Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont — voted against this common-sense bill. Democrats Doug Jones, Joe Manchin, and Bob Casey Jr. voted in favor of the bill. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) did not vote on the bill.  Where were they?

RELATED ARTICLE: Watch: Warren Visibly Flustered After Audience Member Corners Her On Infanticide Position

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Maria Oswalt on Unsplash.

The Stakes are Being Raised: The Attempt to Normalize Homosexual Clergy

Stephen P. White notes a shift away from denying a link between homosexuality and the abuse crisis and towards an attempt to normalize homosexual clergy.

Last week’s summit in Rome did not address the problem of clergy harassing and abusing adults. It did not address the issue, which Pope Francis has acknowledged, of gay subcultures among the clergy. It did not say much about the virtue of chastity. What the summit in Rome did focus on was protecting minors from sexual abuse by members of the clergy: the most glaring and widely acknowledged facet of the current crisis and the primary source of the Church’s loss of credibility with the faithful. Which is to say, the Rome summit was a start.

There is, of course, very good reason to distinguish, both morally and legally, between the abuse of a minor and the abuse of an adult. And the fact is that the Church in the United States is (hard though it may be to believe) ahead of the global curve when it comes to treating the sexual abuse of children as the grave matter it is. But it is also the case – and the last eight months should have made this perfectly clear – that when the Church says it has “zero tolerance” for the abuse of minors without the stomach for rooting out or addressing the abuse of those who just happen to be past the age of majority, the result is a credibility gap.

When Theodore McCarrick was accused last summer of having abused a seventeen-year-old boy – the first accusation against him involving a minor – the Church acted swiftly. But of course, McCarrick had been accused for years of molesting “adult” seminarians – two dioceses paid out settlements – and the repercussions for McCarrick were mild and ineffectual. He was even for a while allowed to live in a seminary.

Which brings us to another cause of the credibility gap: The Church’s reluctance to address the fact that the vast majority of those abused, at least in the United States, have been male. After 2002 the “gay priests question” became an ecclesiastical third rail. Surely no bishop wants to be accused of conducting a witch-hunt. And by many accounts, there are a significant number of Catholic priests today – and presumably at least some bishops – who experience same-sex attraction.

Meanwhile, Catholics who express concern about a “gay lobby” in the Church are often dismissed as homophobic ideologues for suggesting that clerical sexual abuse might have something to do with disordered sexual desires among clergy. A 2011 John Jay report, which concluded there was no causal relationship between homosexuality and the abuse of minors, seemed to put a lid on things. For a time.

Then came McCarrick, and the Pennsylvania grand jury report, and a summer of disturbing stories of abuse and homosexual subcultures in seminaries in Newark, Boston, Philadelphia, and Lincoln. The matter is suddenly not so settled anymore. But now, it’s not just the usual “conservative” voices calling for the Church to look more closely at the connection between homosexual clergy and the abuse crisis.


Activists in Dublin, Ireland in August 2018 [Clodagh Kilcoyne, Reuters]

Last July, the Catholic journalist Robert Mickens wrote in The Washington Post, “[T]here is no denying that homosexuality is a key component to the clergy sex abuse (and now sexual harassment) crisis. With such a high percentage of priests with a homosexual orientation, this should not be surprising.” Mickens wasn’t defending the Church’s prohibition on admitting men with deep-seated homosexual tendencies to the priesthood. Mickens was arguing the opposite: that the Church has aggravated the abuse crisis by driving priests and seminarians deeper into the closet.

More recently, a Dutch group called the “Working Group of Catholic Gay Pastors” published an open letter to Pope Francis in which they wrote, “We believe that the current major crisis with respect to [the sexual abuse of children and minors] is primarily the result of the disapproval, suppression, denial and the poor integration of sexuality, and especially homosexuality, on the part of many individual priests and within our Church as a whole.”

Earlier this month, The New York Times ran a lengthy piece under the heading: “‘It Is Not a Closet. It Is a Cage.’ Gay Catholic Priests Speak Out.” Like Mickens and the Dutch priests’ letter, the Times piece insists there is no causal connection between homosexual tendencies and the abuse of children. But like the others, the Times piece also concedes that there are many homosexual priests, that this has in some way contributed to the current crisis, and that the solution is not to keep gay men out of the priesthood or in the closet, but to allow them to live their lives “freely, openly, and honestly.”

[T]hey find ways to encourage one another. They share books like Father James Martin’s groundbreaking “Building a Bridge,” on the relationship between the Catholic and L.G.B.T. communities. Some have signed petitions against church-sponsored conversion therapy programs, or have met on private retreats, after figuring out how to conceal them on their church calendars. Occasionally, a priest may even take off his collar and offer to unofficially bless a gay couple’s marriage.

Some may call this rebellion. But “it is not a cabal,” one priest said. “It is a support group.”

These three pieces represent a shift away from denying a connection between homosexuality and the abuse crisis and toward an open attempt to normalize homosexuality among clergy. The stakes, in other words, have been raised.

Pope Francis, for his part, has reiterated (more than once) the Church’s prohibition on admitting men with deep-seated homosexual tendencies to seminaries. He reportedly told the Italian bishops, “If you have even the slightest doubt, it is better not to let them in.” He has upset activists by saying of homosexual priests and religious, “It would be better if they left the ministry or consecrated life rather than live a double life.”

Last week’s summit in Rome focused on protecting minors from sexual abuse. It was a start. But it was, in many ways, very far from the end.

COLUMN BY

Stephen P. White

Stephen P. White

Stephen P. White is a fellow in Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Pope Francis’ Summit On Clerical Sexual Abuse Was A Charade

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EDITORS NOTE: This Catholic Thing article with images is republished with permission. © 2019 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own. The featured image is by WenPhotos on Pixabay.

The Inner Beauty of Women

I want to speak for a moment on the beauty of women. No, I’m not a cosmetologist, dermatologist, hair dresser, or fashion coordinator, just an ordinary heterosexual with a fondness for the opposite sex. I always knew there were differences between boys and girls, but this didn’t become obvious to me until I entered junior high school whereupon I noticed the girls were beginning to apply cosmetics, change their hair, and wear more fashionable clothes. I guess this marked the beginning of our mating rituals as the boys began to sit up and take notice.

It has been my observation over the years that women depend mostly on physical attractiveness to lure a mate. This is why millions, if not billions of dollars, are spent on beauty products for hair, skin, nails, eyes, lips, legs, even the scent of a women. Let us also not forget the enormity of the fashion industry which includes not just clothes, but shoes and hats as well. It is obviously a gigantic business. Some women are naturally beautiful, and know it. Others have to work at it.

I wonder though if women are too dependent on physical appearance and overlook the allure of a personality. Over the years I have met many women who may have lacked looks, but are incredibly sensual just from their personality alone. They may have a good sense of humor, an ease about them, a confidence, or something simply feminine. I guess they just feel comfortable in their own skin and know how to make others feel likewise. Perhaps this is the “feminine mystique” I’ve been hearing about all these years. I have seen women who know how to light up a room with nothing more than a smile and a gentle wave of their hand, yet are considered frumpy otherwise. Men gravitate to such women naturally as they are more approachable as opposed to a beauty with an incredible figure, simply because they know how to carry a conversation and make the people around them feel at ease.

Some people think such things as sex and cooking are part of the allure of women, and I suspect there are many men who think this way. As for me, such things are nothing more than the icing on the cake. Any relationship based on this alone is doomed from the outset.

Instead of spending tons of money on the physical aspects, I wish they would spend a little on cultivating a personality, something that can put men at ease, even be disarmingly flirtatious. Most men can be intimidated by a ravishing beauty, thereby considering them untouchable. After they have summoned up the courage to talk to such a woman, they are crestfallen when they find there is nothing behind the facade. Instead, they would rather be able to enjoy the woman’s company, but if the lights are on and nobody is home, the encounter will be brief. I’m certainly not suggesting the woman be submissive to the male. In fact, I find that rather unappealing. The women who possesses a wit, a warm heart, an openness about them, a sense of humor, and confidence about themselves in spite of some physical defect can be much more interesting and stimulating than a glamour queen.

I guess what I’m describing is the “inner beauty” of a woman, which can be incredibly alluring, and I presume it is essentially no different for how women consider men. However, for those people who lack both an outer and inner beauty, I pray they’re good in the kitchen or bedroom. Either that, or they begin to frequent a salon, gym or a voice coach. Otherwise they are going to remain rather lonely for a long time.

Originally published: November 30, 2012, updated 2019

Keep the Faith!

EDITORS NOTE: This Bryce is Right column with images is republished with permission. All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies. The featured image is by edsavi30 on Pixabay.

WARNING: CBD is everywhere, but scientists still don’t know much about it

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of roughly 100 chemicals contained in marijuana called cannabinoids, meaning they are unique to the cannabis plant (which contains several hundred more chemicals in addition to cannabinoids). Unlike THC, the psychoactive marijuana component primarily responsible for producing the “high,” CBD is not psychoactive.

Manufacturers tout CBD as a magic bullet that cures or relieves symptoms of a multitude of diseases and conditions and as a “wellness” product that improves health. Hundreds of CBD products — oils, salves, sprays, tinctures, even gummies – are available. But little science supports CBD’s medical claims.

“It is a kind of a new snake oil in the sense that there are a lot of claims and not so much evidence,” says Dustin Lee, an assistant professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University. He is planning a clinical trial to see if CBD can help smokers quit.

Last summer. the FDA approved Epidiolex, the only form of pharmaceutical CBD that has met FDA standards of safety and efficacy, to treat two rare forms of epilepsy. Because CBD is a drug, it cannot be sold in food or drinks, and several states and cities have ordered restaurants to stop adding it to “lattes, smoothies, muffins, and other foods.”

That hasn’t stopped producers from selling CBD gummies, lollipops, and peanut butter, however. Google “CBD,” click on “Images,” and scroll sideways to “edibles” to see the wide array of commercial food products available.

Dr. Yasmin Hurd, who directs the Addiction Institute at Mount Sinai and is professor at the Icahn School of Medicine, has studied CBD extensively. She says there is potential for CBD to reduce heroin cravings in those recovering from addiction. But “let’s do the research,” she says. “It’s crazy that this substance is being consumed by everybody, yet we still don’t know the mechanism of action.”

Dr. Lee adds that procuring high quality, uncontaminated CBD for research remains a daunting task. “It might be available at the local 7-11 in Pennsylvania, but any product you get on the market is not federally regulated by the FDA, so the purity and safety and quality are questionable.”

A recent study of CBD products ordered online found that nearly 70 percent were inaccurately labeled and contained either higher or lower amounts of CBD than indicated on the label.

Says Dr. Hurd, “People are making it out to be a nirvana kind of drug, and that’s a problem. One compound cannot cure everything.”

Read the New York Times article here.

Limited access marijuana laws for medical use

Here is a table compiled by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Network for Public Health Law that lists the states that have legalized limited access to CBD oils and the amounts of THC they permit them to contain.

CBD can be extracted from both marijuana and hemp. Hemp is the marijuana plant but contains only a minute amount of THC (0.3% — three-tenths of one percent). Any amount of THC over 0.3% is marijuana.

Access Table here.

EDITORS NOTE: The Marijuana Report is a weekly e-newsletter published by National Families in Action in partnership with SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana). Visit National Families in Action’s website, The Marijuana Report.Org, to learn more about the marijuana story unfolding across the nation. Subscribe to The Marijuana Report e-newsletter. The featured images is courtesy of Marijuana Break.

Jumping Into Medicare For All With Eyes Wide Shut

Preview:

  • The unveiling of the ballyhooed House of Representatives Medicare for All Act of 2019 bill will be met with chants of “equal healthcare for all!”
  • A key feature of the Medicare-for-All bills is the elimination of private health insurance that duplicates benefits offered by the government. Given the coercive nature of the existing Medicare program, we should be very concerned
  • Will we be somehow punished if we do not want to enroll in the new government program? Will there be an “individual mandate” penalty? Hopefully we’ll know before the bill is passed and we can find out what’s in it.
  • Patients and physicians should be free to pay for services and accept payment for services without being subject to penalties.
  • Medicare for All could be one of those concepts that “seemed like a good idea at the time” – just like diving head first off a cliff into an inviting but shallow pool of water.

The unveiling of the ballyhooed House of Representatives Medicare for All Act of 2019 bill will be met with chants of “equal healthcare for all!” While the country will be forced into a government-run program, the limousine liberals and champagne socialists will keep their array of medical care choices — whether on or off the record.

A key feature of the Medicare-for-All bills is the elimination of private health insurance that duplicates benefits offered by the government. Given the coercive nature of the existing Medicare program, we should be very concerned. Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) is mandatory for those eligible for Medicare who receive Social Security payments. If beneficiaries want to opt out of Part A, they must forfeit all of their Social Security payments — including paying back any Social Security benefits received up to the time Part A was declined. So a “beneficiary” is punished for saving federal dollars by declining to be on the government healthcare dole.

Enrollment in Medicare Part B (all physician and most outpatient services) is not mandatory but beneficiaries are financially coerced to enroll. The standard 2019 Part B premium amount is $135.50 per month, progressing to $460.50 based on income. But if a beneficiary doesn’t sign up for Part B when first eligible, he must pay a lifelong penalty of 10 percent for each full 12-month period that he could have had Part B. So if the beneficiary waited 3 years before signing up, he would pay a 30 percent higher premium throughout his lifetime.

Medicare Part D (prescription drugs) also imposes penalties on those who do not sign up when eligible unless they are in a Medicare Part C/Medicare Advantage HMO that covers drugs. The lifetime penalty is not trivial: one percent per month of the average monthly premium (currently about $33) for all the months they were not signed up.

Will we be somehow punished if we do not want to enroll in the new government program? Will there be an “individual mandate” penalty? Hopefully we’ll know before the bill is passed and we can find out what’s in it.

Another troubling aspect of a new government health program is the lack of an articulated budget or cost controls. According to the Medicare Board of Trustees 2018 Report, Medicare’s Part A trust fund will be depleted in 2026, three years earlier than the 2017 projection. Our 2017 healthcare costs were $3.5 trillion with $1.2 trillion attributed to Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Apparently, financing would depend on monies earmarked for existing federal health programs, heavily taxing “the rich” and an unspecified increase in everyone’s taxes.

In addition to notoriously underestimated cost projectionsMedicare underpayments to hospitals must be addressed. Hospitals receive 88 cents on the dollar from Medicare and 90 cents on the dollar from Medicaid for their expenditures on these patients, translating to reimbursements of $41.6 billion and $16.2 billion, respectively, below actual costs. Currently, hospitals make up the shortfall with higher payments from private insurance — which will no longer exist. Slashing oft maligned CEO salaries would be a drop in the bucket. Hospital workers — unionized or otherwise would not accept pay cuts.

So how will the inevitable funding shortfall be addressed? Private practitioners may be enticed by the promise of a steady stream of patients and income or strong-armed into submitting to lower reimbursement or by new licensing requirements. Of course, many of us remember being paid with IOUs from the California Medicaid program.

The promise of completely “free” medical care of every sort imaginable gives one pause. What happens when the money runs out? Because Medicare defines what care is reimbursable as  “medically necessary,” the simple answer is to decrease covered services. But by then, the private health insurance industry would be decimated and our options limited.

Proponents of government-sponsored healthcare say people want it. But a 2019 Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that enthusiasm wanes when folks are told they would (1) lose their private insurance, and/or (2) pay more taxes and/or (3) have longer waits.

Direct pay independent physicians may be the salvation. Many Medicare patients are paying for direct primary care where a modest monthly fee direct to the physician guarantees full access to a physician, inexpensive medications and lab tests. Some specialists treating various chronic conditions such as diabetes also use this model to provide patients with timely individualized quality care.

The same people who clamor for a woman’s reproductive choice are strangely silent about everyone else’s freedom to choose the type of medical care they want. Patients and physicians should be free to pay for services and accept payment for services without being subject to penalties.

Medicare for All could be one of those concepts that “seemed like a good idea at the time” – just like diving head first off a cliff into an inviting but shallow pool of water.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by sasint on Pixabay.

Tennis Great Navratilova Excommunicated from LGBT Group for Defending Basic Biology

Martina Navratilova, the most dominant women’s tennis player of all time, has been removed from the advisory board of Athlete Ally, an activist group for LGBT athletes.

Her offense? Penning this op-ed that claims men who change their gender and compete in women’s sports have an unfair advantage based in biology.

Navratilova, who is a lesbian, wrote:

To put the argument at its most basic: a man can decide to be female, take hormones if required by whatever sporting organisation is concerned, win everything in sight and perhaps earn a small fortune, and then reverse his decision and go back to making babies if he so desires. It’s insane and it’s cheating. I am happy to address a transgender woman in whatever form she prefers, but I would not be happy to compete against her. It would not be fair.

Simply reducing hormone levels — the prescription most sports have adopted — does not solve the problem. A man builds up muscle and bone density, as well as a greater number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells, from childhood. Training increases the discrepancy. Indeed, if a male were to change gender in such a way as to eliminate any accumulated advantage, he would have to begin hormone treatment before puberty. For me, that is unthinkable.

Apparently, recognizing the innate physical differences between men and women is blasphemy under the left’s transgender ideology dogma. Athlete Ally released this statement on Navratilova’s excommunication:

Athlete Ally unequivocally stands on the side of trans athletes and their right to access and compete in sport free from discrimination. Martina Navratilova’s recent comments on trans athletes are transphobic, based on a false understanding of science and data, and perpetuate dangerous myths that lead to the ongoing targeting of trans people through discriminatory laws, hateful stereotypes and disproportionate violence.

As an organisation dedicated to addressing root causes of homophobia and transphobia in and through sport, we will only affiliate with those committed to the same goal, and not those who further misinformation or discrimination in any way.

Now, it comes as no surprise to see leftist groups like Athlete Ally turn on their own. However, it is a surprise to see many major corporations funding this group’s radical position. These corporate sponsors, through their donations, are essentially endorsing an ideology that says not only can men become women by simply feeling that way, but women should also be forced to compete directly against men on an uneven athletic playing field.

Does “toxic masculinity” include stealing women’s places in sports?

Below is a partial list of Athlete Ally’s corporate sponsors. You can view the rest here.

$5,000+ or in-kind corporate and foundation funders.
Adidas (2.1 – Lean Liberal)
Citibank (1 – Liberal)
Coca-Cola (1- Liberal
Gatorade (1.3 – Liberal)
HBO (1.7 – Lean Liberal)
KPMG (2.3 – Lean Liberal)
MillerCoors (2.1 – Lean Liberal)
NBA (2.7 – Lean Liberal)
NBCUniversal (1 – Liberal)
Northern Trust
Northwestern Mutual (2.4 – Lean Liberal)
Under Armour (2.3 – Lean Liberal)

Employer Matching Gifts

BNY Mellon Corporation’s Community Partnership (1.6 – Liberal)

Goldman Sachs (1.3 – Liberal)

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (1.9 – Liberal)

Microsoft (1- Liberal)

Oracle Corporation (2.1 – Lean Liberal)

Help us continue highlighting how corporations support the left’s agenda by becoming a 2ndVote Member today!

EDITORS NOTE: This 2ndVote column with images is republished with permission. The featured image is by Shutterstock.

How Cuba’s Infant Mortality Rank Fell from 13th to 49th in the World

Cuba has made less progress in health care and life expectancy than most of Latin America in recent years due to its decrepit health care system.

It has never been a safer world in which to be a child. According to the UN, in 1950, most of the world had a child death rate (by age five) of over 20 percent, while only a few countries, such as the United States, Cuba, Canada, England, Australia, and New Zealand had child death rates of below 5 percent. By 2015, most of the world had a child death rate of below 5 percent, and every country on Earth had a child death rate below 20 percent (even war-torn Yemen, whose child death rate fell from 50 percent in 1950 to 4.8 percent in 2015, the first year of its current civil war).

For many developed countries, the child mortality rate is now below 1 percent. It’s less than 1 percent in the United States; all but two countries in the European Union; Japan, Korea, and Malaysia; Canada, Australia, and New Zealand; and parts of Arabia. (See “Child Mortality in 1800, 1950 and 2015,” three maps from Our World in Data).

And world hunger and poverty have diminished enormously. As the Cato Institute’s Marian Tupy pointed out, in 1981, “44.3 percent of the world lived in extreme poverty.” But in 2015, only “9.6 percent” did. The last 40 years have seen a “massive and historically unprecedented decline in global poverty.”

Cuba in 1950 had a lower child mortality rate than all but a handful of the world’s countries—lower than Canada and on par with the United States. That was long before the Communists took over in Cuba in 1959. The Communists did not give Cuba its unusually good world health ranking. Cuba had already achieved it long before the Marxist dictator Fidel Castro seized power.

Yet Castro’s regime took credit for the prior achievement of his non-communist predecessors, and many progressives have gullibly swallowed that propaganda. In 2016, The Washington Post’s fact-checker, Glenn Kessler, debunked such claims. He gave “three Pinocchios” to Canadian Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for claiming that Castro made “significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation.” He pointed to data about how Cuba already had well-developed health and education systems by world standards.

But similar claims have been made by many other gullible progressive politicians. They depict the dictator Castro as the savior of Cuba. Bernie Sanders claimed it was Castro who “educated their kids, gave their kids healthcare.” Jimmy Carter claimed that Castro gave Cuba “superb systems of health care and universal education.” Obama also promoted the myth of excellent Cuban health care, saying, “The United States recognizes progress that Cuba has made as a nation, its enormous achievements in education and in health care.”

In reality, Cuba has made less progress in health care and life expectancy than most of Latin America in recent years due to its decrepit health care system. “Hospitals in the island’s capital are literally falling apart.” Sometimes, patients “have to bring everything with them, because the hospital provides nothing. Pillows, sheets, medicine: everything.”

As Townhall notes, in 1958, the year before the Communists took over Cuba:

Cuba ranked 13th from the top, worldwide with the lowest infant-mortality rate. This meant that robustly capitalist and immigrant-swamped pre-Castro Cuba had the 13th lowest infant-mortality rate in the world. This put her not only at the top in Latin America but atop most of Western Europe, ahead of France, Belgium, West Germany, Israel, Japan, Austria, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. Today all of these countries leave Communist Cuba in the dust, with much lower infant mortality rates.

Today Cuba is ravaged by diseases that had been long-eradicated in pre-Castro Cuba (dengue, cholera, for a few examples.) And of Cuba’s “doctors” fortunate enough to escape their indentured servitude to the Castro-Family-Plantation, the overwhelmingly majority flunk the exam given in the U.S. for licensing as doctors assistants.

And even plummeting from 13th (Capitalist) to 49th (Communist), Cuba’s “impressive” infant mortality rate is kept artificially low by Communist chicanery with statistics and by an appalling abortion rate of 0.71 abortions per live birth. This is the hemisphere’s highest, by far. Any Cuban pregnancy that even hints at trouble gets “terminated.”

A few years ago Dr. Juan Felipe García, MD, of Jacksonville, Fla., interviewed several recent doctor defectors from Cuba. Based on what he heard, he reported the following:

“The official Cuban infant-mortality figure is a farce. Cuban pediatricians constantly falsify figures for the regime. If an infant dies during its first year, the doctors often report he was older. Otherwise, such lapses could cost him severe penalties and his job.”

It should be noted that the official Cuban infant mortality rate is still quite low compared to most of the world. But relatively speaking, it has lost ground, especially compared to capitalist countries in Asia like South Korea.

Cuba also lost the big edge in life expectancy it once enjoyed. Prior to communism, it led virtually all countries in Latin America in life expectancy. But by 2012, Chileans and Costa Ricans lived slightly longer than Cubans. Back in 1960, Chileans had a life span seven years shorter than Cubans, and Costa Ricans lived more than two years less than Cubans on average. In 1960, Mexicans lived seven years shorter than Cubans; by 2012, the gap had shrunk to just two years.

In celebrating Communist Cuba’s non-existent achievements, progressive politicians don’t even listen to fellow progressives who have actually studied Cuba’s record under communism, to their chagrin. As the progressive economist Brad DeLong points out (he calls it “hideously depressing”):

Cuba in 1957—was a developed country. Cuba in 1957 had lower infant mortality than France, Belgium, West Germany, Israel, Japan, Austria, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. Cuba in 1957 had doctors and nurses: as many doctors and nurses per capita as the Netherlands, and more than Britain or Finland. Cuba in 1957 had as many vehicles per capita as Uruguay, Italy, or Portugal. Cuba in 1957 had 45 TVs per 1000 people—fifth highest in the world …Today? Today the UN puts Cuba’s HDI [Human Development indicators] in the range of … Mexico. (And Carmelo Mesa-Lago thinks the UN’s calculations are seriously flawed: that Cuba’s right HDI peers today are places like China, Tunisia, Iran, and South Africa.) Thus I don’t understand lefties who talk about the achievements of the Cuban Revolution: “…to have better health care, housing, education.”

Cuba’s outmoded Marxist education system also does not deserve praise. Obama mistakenly called Cuba’s “system of education” an “extraordinary resource” that “values every boy and every girl.”

But there’s nothing “extraordinary” about Cuba’s educational system. Children are taught by poorly paid teachers in dilapidated schools. Cuba has made less educational progress than most Latin American countries over the last 60 years. According to UNESCO, Cuba had about the same literacy rate as Costa Rica and Chile in 1950 (close to 80 percent) before Cuba was taken over by the communists. And it has almost the same literacy rate as they do today (close to 100 percent).

Meanwhile, Latin American countries that were largely illiterate in 1950—such as Peru, Brazil, El Salvador, and the Dominican Republic—are largely literate today, closing much of the gap with Cuba. El Salvador had a less than 40 percent literacy rate in 1950 but has an 88 percent literacy rate today. Brazil and Peru had a less than 50 percent literacy rate in 1950, but today, Peru has a 94.5 percent literacy rate, and Brazil a 92.6 percent literacy rate. The Dominican Republic’s rate rose from a little over 40 percent to 91.8 percent. While Cuba made substantial progress in reducing illiteracy in Castro’s first years in power, its educational system has stagnated since, even as much of Latin America improved.

The child mortality statistics above are from the United States Population Division (2017) for 1950 and 2015 and Gapminder for 1800. The maps depicting that data are by Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser. The child death rate discussed above refers to the percentage of kids dying by age 5, not just in the first year of their life.

This article was reprinted from Liberty Unyielding.

COLUMN BY

Hans Bader

Hans Bader

Hans Bader practices law in Washington, D.C. After studying economics and history at the University of Virginia and law at Harvard, he practiced civil-rights, international-trade, and constitutional law.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column with images is republished with permission. The featured image is by joffi on Pixabay Pixabay.