Trump's New Regs Move Tax Dollars Away From Abortion
It’s a big day in Washington where an injustice a quarter of a century in the making is finally being corrected. It was January 22, 1993 — the 20th anniversary of Roe v. Wade — when then-President Bill Clinton suspended President Ronald Reagan’s regulation preventing federal Title X funds from going to family planning clinics where abortions are performed. Unbelievably, Clinton even went so far as to require every provider to refer for abortion, which disqualified pro-life and faith-based groups that have religious and moral objections to abortion from participating in the program.
Since then, Planned Parenthood and other abortion centers have used these federal family planning programs as a slush fund to pay overhead expenses including staff salaries, facility rent, and even furniture. Sadly, no president over the past 25 years has stopped this co-mingling of taxpayer funds with the abortion industry — that is until yesterday.
Under President Trump’s rule announced Friday, like Reagan’s, Planned Parenthood and other abortion centers will have to choose between dropping their abortion services from any location that gets family planning dollars and moving those abortion operations offsite. Either way, this will loosen Planned Parenthood’s grip on more than $60 million in taxpayer dollars. The new regulations will draw a bright line between abortion centers and family planning programs — just as the federal law requires and the Supreme Court upheld in a 1991 ruling.
Praise for the president is pouring in from pro-life leaders and members of Congress. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), who serves as co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, applauded the new rule, noting that it “at long last reinstates principles first put forward under the Reagan administration, and upheld by the Supreme Court nearly three decades ago… Abortion is not family planning — in sharp contrast, the violence of abortion wounds families.” Rep. Robert Aderholt (R- AL) also offered praise and explained, “We only have to look to Planned Parenthood’s activities in our own state to see why they do not deserve federal funds. Just within the last few years, the clinic in Mobile performed two abortions in less than a year on a 14-year-old girl. She was clearly being sexually abused, but no one at Planned Parenthood notified authorities, as is required by law. For them, it was another routine abortion.”
And remember, it was David Daleiden and his undercover videos that uncovered Planned Parenthood’s horrific routine of selling baby body parts. Thanks to President Trump, that routine — at least when it comes to treating the taxpayers like an ATM machine — is beginning to change. President Trump has teed up Congress to take the step toward the ultimate goal of ending taxpayers’ forced partnership with the abortion industry. That includes an end to Planned Parenthood’s federal gravy train in multiple federal programs in which it gets over $400 million each year. The House has already voted to redirect tax dollars away from the abortion giant and the Senate came within one vote last year of sending the measure to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.
With hundreds of millions at stake, Planned Parenthood’s PAC announced last month that it will spend $30 million dollars on the midterm elections. Obviously, it’s illegal for Cecile Richards to use even a cent of federal funds on the group’s political activities. And while her accountants use every possible trick to keep the monies separate, it is hard to separate the fact that $30 million is available to influence elections because the outcome of those elections has produced nearly a half a billion dollars of government money to fund their leftist mission. In the meantime, President Trump is following through on his campaign promise that his administration will advocate for mothers and their unborn children every day he occupies the White House and take important steps to ensure taxpayers are not subsidizing the abortion industry.
Originally published here.
Supporting Indonesia’s Religious Freedom-Loving Muslims
The world is growing darker in many ways, and often in ways and in places the public is unaware. For instance, how many have heard about the Rohingya people of Myanmar? This group of primarily Muslim people is trying to simply live peacefully in the north of that country. Yet in a campaign of ethnic and religious cleansing, the Myanmar military is slaughtering its civilian population, pushing many of them into squalid refugee camps in Bangladesh. It is a horror that world leaders must collectively denounce and use their influence to end.
Yet for every disheartening story we hear about, there is also one of hope that is unknown and yet needs to be told. Indonesia is the world’s largest Muslim-majority country and is home to Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the world’s largest Muslim organization. NU is also an organization that has taken a definitive and clear stance against violent Islam, with NU Secretary General Yahya Cholil Staquf at one point stating:
“Western politicians should stop pretending that extremism and terrorism have nothing to do with Islam. There is a clear relationship between fundamentalism, terrorism, and the basic assumptions of Islamic orthodoxy. So long as we lack consensus regarding this matter, we cannot gain victory over fundamentalist violence within Islam.”
I expect many Americans have never heard of Mr. Staquf or of NU. Yet such a clear-eyed partner is just the type that religious freedom advocates need. So it makes sense that Vice President Mike Pence met with Staquf recently at the White House, where they discussed recent attacks against Christians in Indonesia. These attacks are concerning, for although jihadists are a small minority in Indonesia, they have gained visibility in recent years as they have undertaken a string of assaults on worship gatherings. One of the victims of a recent attack was a Christian actually trained by the Muslim organization NU to guard churches from attacks.
Such collaborative efforts between Muslims, Christians, and others who support religious freedom must continue, for without change at the grassroots, cultural level, violations of religious freedom will persist. It is incumbent upon all with a stake in this issue to also recognize that protecting religious freedom will also help achieve security, both near and far. Indeed, an overview of the connection between religious freedom and national security reveals there is hardly any nation which is a security threat to the United States that is not also a major violator of religious freedom.
Thus, we all have a stake in whether Indonesia continues to nurture and grow in its protection of religious freedom, or whether it slides toward violent jihad. We must continue to encourage and come along side people like Mr. Staquf and organizations like NU — for without their help, the likelihood that we will achieve the former certainly goes down.
Our desire is for governments worldwide to protect the ability of everyone to choose their faith and to live out that faith. We should invite everyone who shares this desire to join in achieving it.
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.