Tony Perkins / Oct. 10, 2015

Army Petitions Sarge Ahead!

The Pentagon may not have Sergeant First Class Charles Martland's back, but more than 130,000 Americans do! Since the Bronze Star winner came under fire for roughing up a child rapist in Afghanistan, Martland is building his own army of support. More than 130,000 Americans are standing up and demanding the Green Beret's reinstatement for doing what most of them would have done in his place: protect an innocent boy.

The Pentagon may not have Sergeant First Class Charles Martland’s back, but more than 130,000 Americans do! Since the Bronze Star winner came under fire for roughing up a child rapist in Afghanistan, Martland is building his own army of support. More than 130,000 Americans are standing up and demanding the Green Beret’s reinstatement for doing what most of them would have done in his place: protect an innocent boy.

Like a growing chorus of congressmen, men and women from across the country wanted to make their voices on the issue heard. And [Friday], FRC’s Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin (Ret.) made sure they were by taking tens of thousands of signed petitions to Senate Armed Service Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.). Next week, those same petitions will be delivered to Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), who is not only the House Armed Services Chair, but one of Martland’s most outspoken supporters. Thanks to you, Congress will get the message that warriors like Sgt. 1st Class Martland deserve praise, not punishment. What does it mean to be an American soldier if not stepping in and defending the vulnerable?

On [Thursday’s] “Washington Watch,” Captain Daniel Quinn, Martland’s former commanding officer, explained first-hand how deeply these atrocities affect our troops. Quinn, who helped send the message to the boy’s rapist, was candid about how “rampant” these child sexual assaults were — and how little the Afghan government, as well as ours, did to stop it. In this case, the boy had been tied up for as much as a week and repeatedly raped by the local police commander. After the child’s mother pleaded for help, the soldiers felt a moral obligation to act. As Martland himself said, “I chose the morally right decision because moral law transcends all boundaries.” And the tragic irony is that, in the end, they were the ones who were punished!

Most of us would consider the act of stepping between a child rapist and a victim a normal human response. But the Army sees it as a career-ending decision. That, more than anything, bothers veterans like Quinn, who views it as just another sad sign of how much the military has changed under this administration’s watch.

“Ninety-nine percent of being in the military is doing the right thing. The 10 years that I spent in the Army were the best years of my life,” he said. These days, Quinn explained, commanders are so focused on damage control that it almost overshadows the mission at hand. They “play not to lose,” he said sadly, “instead of playing to win by doing the right thing.” Regardless of what any Defense or Army official says, stopping human rights abuses like this one is the definition of doing the right thing. If you agree, and haven’t signed our petition, it’s not too late to add your name to the thousands of Americans stepping up to fight for the men and women risking their lives to fight for us.

Black to Basics…

No one is probably more grateful for the Columbus Day recess than Planned Parenthood. After six tough weeks on Capitol Hill, Cecile Richards’s group will get a slight break from the non-stop scrutiny when the House and Senate break for the holiday. But if [Thursday’s] news is any indication, it’ll be a brief one. With the special investigative panel gearing up for launch and a series of hearings ongoing, the embattled group has nowhere to hide.

[Thursday], the gruesome details — not just of the group’s organ harvesting, but of their abortions in general — was on grisly display in the House Judiciary Committee. At one point, Democrats managed to have a powerful LiveAction video about late-term abortions stripped from the record of the hearing, because it made a compelling case that these dangerous and illegal procedures were similar to what was being performed at Planned Parenthood. Once Republicans gathered, they were able to reinstate the video to the congressional record — defeating the Left’s continued crusade to hide the horrible realities of abortion.

Later, Republicans aired a CMP video segment “showing Planned Parenthood technicians picking through fetal organs in a glass pie plate described as ‘five stars,’ and discussing "per-item’ recompense for organs. It’s ‘another boy!’ one technician announced on the video.” In one of the more revealing moments, Susan Thayer, who worked for at the organization for almost 20 years, testified that Planned Parenthood thought of women’s bodies as “a profit center.” And, as David Daleiden’s footage makes quite clear, that includes the innocent children carried by them.

Meanwhile, conservatives continued to debunk the lie that Planned Parenthood is the only option for reproductive care. Several members reiterated that the point was not to leave women vulnerable and helpless, but actually provide better, more compassionate help from 13,000 community health centers — which also have the benefit of not being under criminal investigation!

For now, the deck isn’t exactly stacking up in favor of Richards’s group. In new emails turned over as part of a Freedom of Information Act request, it seems the Obama administration is not doing the audits of Planned Parenthood that the law requires. “Under the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) should be performing audits on Planned Parenthood, since Planned Parenthood is involved in research on aborted fetuses and HHS is supporting its work with funding. Specifically, according to HHS’s own documents, ‘Section 498A of the Public Health Service Act [42 USC 289g-1] requires the annual submission to Congress of a report describing research involving therapeutic transplantation of human fetal tissue supported or conducted by the NIH.”

Apparently, Planned Parenthood isn’t the only one who should be put under the microscope. It sounds like the Obama administration has some explaining to do of its own.

Reconciling Reality…

Does the president really want to stand by an organization that jokes about cutting up innocent babies for profit? America is about to find out. Thanks to some maneuvering by House Republicans, the issue of Planned Parenthood’s organ harvesting scheme is about to land squarely in the White House’s lap. Using a process called reconciliation, the GOP just took its first step to force President Obama’s hand on the practice by passing a measure out of the House Budget Committee 21-11 [Friday] afternoon.

Although it’s sporadically used, reconciliation allows the majority party to fast-track a funding bill through Congress — clearing the path of Senate filibusters and the 60-vote threshold usually required by the upper chamber. In this case, it would almost guarantee that a bill redirecting Medicaid money away from Planned Parenthood to non-abortion community health centers would finally make it to the President’s desk. From there, the burden would be on him to decide if America should continue to fund an organization that is trafficking in baby body parts.

Not only is it the right strategy morally, but, as the Congressional Budget Office pointed out last week, it’s the right decision financially. Ending the cash flow to Planned Parenthood and redirecting that money to community health centers would actually save the government about $235 million a year. Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), who’s also offered a standalone bill to redirect money away from Richards’s group, pleaded with Democrats to reconsider their opposition.

“Now, I know that some of my colleagues across the aisle have so far refused to watch the undercover videos implicating Planned Parenthood in the trafficking of fetal tissue. And perhaps they haven’t seen this independent forensic report confirming their authenticity. But I have and I believe that, by not offering a response, we in Congress would be shirking our duties to the people we represent.”

A registered nurse, Black is unapologetically pro-life. But, she — like so many members — recognizes that this is about protecting taxpayers too. “We have real and legitimate questions about potential illegal activities at Planned Parenthood. Until those questions are answered, it is fully appropriate to call a time-out on taxpayer funding and send that money to federally-qualified providers that offer a better standard of care to women who need it most. That is exactly what these provisions in the reconciliation package will accomplish.” Let’s hope the rest of Congress agrees.

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

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