Tony Perkins / August 6, 2015

Bodies of Evidence Don’t Deter Abortion Allies

It didn’t take long for a federal judge to block some of the Planned Parenthood footage — and now we may know why. According to records, federal Judge William Orrick has an interesting political connection to the man who once said, “God bless Planned Parenthood.” Not only was he appointed by this President but, as documents show, raised $200,000 for Obama’s campaign.

It didn’t take long for a federal judge to block some of the Planned Parenthood footage — and now we may know why. According to records, federal Judge William Orrick has an interesting political connection to the man who once said, “God bless Planned Parenthood.” Not only was he appointed by this President but, as documents show, raised $200,000 for Obama’s campaign.

The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway uncovered the link over the weekend and suggested that maybe Judge William Orrick’s deep ties to the most pro-abortion President in history had something to do with his unusually quick ruling. Within hours of filing the restraining order, the National Abortion Federation celebrated Orrick’s decision to suppress the footage.

Unfortunately for the White House and friends, the courts can’t keep a lid on CMP’s videos forever. As Heritage’s Hans von Spakovsky points out, pro-lifers have other ways to bypass President’s truth police. “No federal or state judge,” he explains, “has the authority to prevent a congressional committee from holding a hearing at which witnesses — like representatives of CMP — testify about their experiences or where the committee presents evidence it has obtained such as the undercover videos, which could also be posted on the committee’s website.” This, he explains, may be one option for guaranteeing that the public sees all the evidence against an organization that their tax dollars keep afloat.

Meanwhile, Congress may be going away — but the Planned Parenthood issue isn’t. When the Senate breaks for August recess this Friday, the political pressure cooker will only get hotter back home when members hear from unhappy voters firsthand. Even moderate Republicans like Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) seemed to acknowledge that Congress had a lot more work to do to protect the integrity of taxpayer dollars — and human beings. Despite having a bipartisan majority to defund Planned Parenthood on Monday, the Senate couldn’t overcome the 60-vote procedural hurdle enjoyed by Richards’s supporters, who continue to be unmoved by the spine-chilling revelations.

That vote, Cornyn insisted, “isn’t the end of it. This will be the beginning.” Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who has a long track record of fighting the abortion industry’s corruption, agreed. “This almost certainly becomes part of any final decision about how to move forward on funding. There will be a larger discussion on this.”

For Republicans, the question isn’t whether to cancel Planned Parenthood’s government checks, but how. Some, like Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), think Congress should use “any and every procedural means we have available to end funding for Planned Parenthood.” Others are more cautious. But when even MSNBC is calling for taxpayer alternatives to Cecile Richards’s group, you know the organization is in trouble. MSNBC morning host Joe Scarborough got visibly frustrated when Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) claimed that defunding Planned Parenthood would increase the abortion rate. “How in the world do we prevent abortions by taking away money for birth control for millions of women across the country?” she argued.

Annoyed, Scarborough fired back, “I think there are a lot of people who believe in a woman’s right to choose who wouldn’t support federal funding for Planned Parenthood. They aren’t the only people that can hand out birth control.” Of course, you wouldn’t know that from most liberals. Like McCaskill, the President’s party is resorting to outright lies to justify Planned Parenthood’s funding. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) exaggerations were so over the top that PolitiFact gave him a “pants-on-fire” rating. During the floor debate last week, Reid declared that Planned Parenthood is “the only health care that a significant number of women get. About 30 percent of women, that’s their health care.”

That’s about 39 million women, according to U.S. Census data. How is that possible, PolitiFact pointed out, when the most recent Planned Parenthood report says it only saw 2.7 million women in all of 2013? “Even if every Planned Parenthood patient had no other health care options,” the paper clarified, “the group would have seen about 2 percent of women, not 30 percent.” When PolitiFact contacted Reid’s office about it, a spokesman said he “got the talking point wrong.” In this case, the reporters concluded, “he got it really wrong.” The abortion industry and its supporters may traffic in a lot of things, but the truth is not one of them.

Chai’s View Isn’t America’s Cup of Tea

In the clash between religious liberty and same-sex marriage, it’s hard to find a more unpopular view than the Obama administration’s. After a month of court-created same-sex marriage (and years of religious persecution before it), Americans seem increasingly resistant to this idea that religion should take a backseat to this radical view of human sexuality. For the past few years, a few mainstream polls have borne this out — including Rasmussen’s, which found that 85% of Americans didn’t think people like Elane Huguenin should be forced against her will to photograph a same-sex ceremony.

With the club of same-sex marriage’s targets growing (see for proof!), the media is having a harder time ignoring the difficult position Christians, Jews, and even Muslims are in after five justices redefined marriage for the whole country. Just five weeks removed from one of the darkest days in modern Supreme Court history, Americans show no signs of giving in on this issue. In the latest survey by Caddell Associates, the country is making it quite clear that they aren’t willing to sacrifice religious liberty on the same-sex marriage altar. Only 8% of people agreed with President Obama and Chai Feldblum that protecting gay and lesbian rights is more important than protecting religious liberty.

By a four-to-one ratio, voters said protecting religious liberty should be the priority. (The rest thought both were important.) In numbers just as dismal for the Left, only 18% agreed with the Obama administration that federal and state governments should be able to order “a private citizen to provide a service or their property for an event that is contrary to their religious beliefs.”

And while the New Mexico Supreme Court may not agree with Elane’s complaint, the American people certainly do. “Suppose,” the poll asked, “a Christian wedding photographer has deeply held religious beliefs opposing same-sex marriage. If a same-sex couple wanted to hire the photographer for their wedding, should the photographer have the right to say no?” Eighty-two percent said yes — including 84% of centrists! And if you think the non-religious don’t care, you’re mistaken. A whopping 80% of agnostic/atheists also said the photographer had the right to say no.

Americans may be divided on the question of marriage, but they speak almost unanimously on the issue of our first freedom. No wonder Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) is working so diligently to pass the First Amendment Defense Act. You can help him by contacting your senators and urging them to sign on!

Property Rights — and Wrongs

The city of Houston must not have learned its lesson about picking on local churches. After waging a public war against pastors who believe in natural marriage and biology, the city is once again revealing its distain for the First Amendment. For two years, she’s been trying to bulldoze religious freedom — and now, the local Housing Authority wants to do it literally.

Claiming the churches are in the way of area development, local officials want to demolish one church and condemn another. While no one knows the extent of Mayor Annise Parker’s involvement, it certainly seems in keeping with her anti-faith agenda. “The Latter Day Deliverance Revival Church,” a Housing Authority rep told Fox News’s Todd Starnes, is in the way of “the block we are trying to redevelop. Without that strip of land, we will not be able to build the [affordable housing] units or library.” But just because Houston wants the property doesn’t mean they have a right to it.

Jeremy Dys, an attorney for Liberty Institute, can only shake his head. “The city is trying to steal the property. It’s remarkable that City Hall would ever tell a church where they can and cannot do ministry.” As a fixture in the inner city, both pastors say their outreach has helped turned the bad neighborhoods around. With food pantries and other charities, Bishop Roy Lee Kossie, insists, “This is where the Lord called us, and this is where we want to stay.” (Watch his video here.)

As FRC’s Dr. Pat Fagan will tell you, the city has a lot more to lose by destroying these churches than they might think. “In neighborhoods of disorder and poverty,” he points out, “religious practice serves as a significant buffer against drug abuse and juvenile delinquency. A study of 2,358 young black males from impoverished inner-city Chicago and Philadelphia found that a high level of religious attendance was associated with a 46% reduction in the likelihood of using drugs, a 57% reduction in the probability of dealing drugs, and a 39% decrease in the likelihood of committing a crime that was not drug-related.” At the metropolitan level, areas with high rates of congregational membership also “tend to have lower homicide and suicide rates than other metropolitan areas.”

In the meantime, neither church plans on giving up without a fight. And that’s exactly what the local government should be concerned about. As the Texas Supreme Court explained, no one is above the law — including the people making it.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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