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King of the Ill: Pro-Life Dem Tops Party Rivals

Tony Perkins · Mar. 22, 2018

Planned Parenthood is betting $20 million that it can change the outcome of the midterm elections. And in Tuesday’s Illinois primary, it lost a lot of money trying. America’s largest abortion business-turned-campaign donor had been determined to knock off one of the Left’s biggest nuisances, Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL), sinking hundreds of thousands of dollars into a candidate who wouldn’t fight to defund it. In the end, it not only lost its bid to beat one of the few pro-life Democrats in Congress, it showed how popular his brand of social conservativism can be.

In the incredibly shrinking tent of the Democratic Party, Congressman Lipinski is used to going it alone. When the last few elections managed to wipe out the Hill’s crop of moderate Democrats, Lipinski survived. But, in a post-Obama party that demands 100 percent extremism on abortion, he’s been left to fend for himself — usually in battles against his own bosses. So far, that’s worked out just fine for Lipinski, who hasn’t budged from his belief that you can be a Democrat and still support the dignity of the unborn.

And while the national party may have abandoned him, voters haven’t. By a 51-49 margin, they lined up to put Lipinski one step closer to an eighth term. That is, if his opponent, businesswoman Marie Newman, ever comes to grips with it. Tuesday night, the darling of Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and the Human Rights Campaign pettily told reporters that she would not concede. “I would like to make Mr. Lipinski have a very painful evening,” she said bitterly, “so we’re going to wait.” Well, she can wait all she wants, but the message from Illinois is clear: Americans want leaders who share their cautious approach to abortion.

Like us, NRO’s Alexandra DeSantis thinks the DNC needs to rethink its strategy and come to grips with the reality of the political landscape.

Lipinski’s victory is a win for the notion that Democratic politicians can be pro-life and survive within a party that’s swiftly becoming more radical on the issue — an important victory for the notion that defending innocent human life need not be a matter of purely partisan politics… [H]e remains one of only a handful of Democrats in Congress willing to vote for anti-abortion legislation such as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act or the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.

Of course, Democrats got a glimpse of this in Pennsylvania with Conor Lamb. He, too, positioned himself like a moderate Democrat — one who supported guns and claimed (somewhat disingenuously) to be pro-life. Rural voters responded to his promises of social restraint, sending Lamb to a surprising victory in a Trump-heavy district. But the reality is, he won by portraying himself as a conservative — which, if we’re honest, is the Democrats’ only real path to victory. If Lipinski’s party wants to take back the majority, it means dialing back the radicalism on bathrooms, gender, sexuality, faith, firearms, and a host of policies that turn off the majority of everyday Americans.

And Democrats aren’t the only ones who are paying for straying. Liberal Republicans like Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner very nearly lost his re-election bid to a state legislator that pundits nearly laughed off the stage last fall. Down 45 points in October, Jeanne Ives made up the gap, thanks to major social missteps by Rauner. After he became the first Republican governor to reinstate funding for Planned Parenthood, the base was stunned. Its outrage only grew when he worked to ban therapy options for kids with same-sex attractions, change genders on birth certificates, and force pro-life nurses, doctors, and pregnancy care centers to refer for abortions. Despite a huge war chest, Ives came very close — within three points — of sending the governor to a stunning defeat. One more month of campaigning and she might have pulled it off. Either way, the results are clear: Social issues not only matter in the elections, they may very well decide them!

Originally published here.

The Capitol’s Trafficking Cops

The rest of the city may have ground to a halt during Winter Storm Toby, but the House and Senate were still open for business. And one of the biggest priorities of the day is something we can all agree on: ending sex trafficking.

For Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO), it’s been a goal she’d been working toward for the last several years. After meeting with young girls and studying the dark world of sex slavery, she was more convinced than ever that there was a lot more she and her colleagues could do. Ultimately, she settled on one. Hurting the business by hurting its advertisers.

Under a measure that sailed through the House 388-25, Rep. Wagner took a unique approach: holding the webpages who are advertising these girls accountable. Her Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act gives the government — and victims — the tools they need to crack down on websites like Backpage, which are knowingly selling people online. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) thinks it’s past time for Congress do something about it. This legislation, he explained, would close “a loophole in existing law that allows websites to avoid responsibility even as they knowingly facilitate trafficking. It would ensure any institutions that are party to this reprehensible practice are subject to the strict penalties they deserve.”

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), who’s worked on his chamber’s companion legislation, thinks these online companies have been skating by scot-free under some misguided notion of “free speech.” They don’t remove the ads, he told CNN, “because they didn’t want to lose the revenue. You can imagine, this is a very lucrative business.” Victims also had no way of fighting back or suing the companies for their role. That all changes under the language that passed the Senate (97-2) yesterday!

Krishna Patel, a former federal prosecutor who specialized in anti-trafficking cases, thinks America is reaping the consequences of a lack of regulation “that doesn’t exist in any other field.” “… [Y]ou’re seeing it with children being raped day in and day out. We wouldn’t tolerate the recruitment of terrorists on website,” she says. So why would we tolerate the recruitment of sexual predators? Thank goodness the House and Senate don’t. We applaud them for doing their part to modernize the rules and end the exploitation!

Originally published here.

Libs Try to Psych Out Therapists in CA

If you want to live in freedom, don’t move to California! The state, which seems to be the nation’s incubator for radical policy, is at it again — this time in a desperate push to stop hurting people from getting the help they need.

California already had the dubious distinction of being the first to interfere with the privacy of the therapist-client relationship when it banned minors from seeking out sexual orientation change efforts, or SOCE. Now, it wants to expand its push with even more draconian laws. Only now, every private therapy client would be a target. Under AB 2943, it would be illegal for any counselor (including a religious one!) to accept money for any service that might help any patient, client, or customer of any age to change any aspect of their sexual orientation or gender identity, including their feelings or behaviors.

FRC’s Peter Sprigg is astounded at the legislature’s sweeping approach to therapy that even the liberal American Psychological Association admits can have positive results. “These bills would violate the privacy and confidentiality of the therapeutic relationship; the core ethical principle of client autonomy — including for clients with unwanted same-sex attractions or gender dysphoria — to set their own goals for therapy; the freedom of speech for the therapist and counselor; and the religious liberty of all involved, since many of the people who seek or provide SOCE do so out of religious conviction.”

And, as our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) point out, the threats don’t stop there. This bill is so extreme that churches and pastors could be punished. The way AB 2943 is written, attorney Matt Sharp explains, “It could be a violation if a pastor encourages a congregant to visit the church bookstore to purchase books that help people address sexual issues, perhaps including the Bible itself, which teaches about the importance of sexual purity within the confines of marriage between a man and woman… The breadth of this censorship is staggering.”

Of course, the timing of it couldn’t be more ironic. Tuesday, we were standing in front of the U.S. Supreme Court speaking out against yet another California law that tries to drown out the speech of pregnancy resource centers. As usual, opponents of freedom can’t compete with the truth, so they try to silence it. We’ve watched it happen in the abortion debate, the marriage debate, education, and now even private industries like counseling. Some extremists like to call this kind of therapy “torture.” But the real torture is telling people who want help they can’t have it.

For more on this debate, and what’s at stake, check out Peter’s paper, “Protect Client and Therapist Freedom of Choice.”

Originally published here.

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

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