Tony Perkins / July 13, 2018

Adoption Finds a Home in House

Kelly Clemente was like a lot of college freshmen — she ran track, did well in her classes, and joined a sorority. Then, she made a decision that changed her life: She got pregnant.

Kelly Clemente was like a lot of college freshmen — she ran track, did well in her classes, and joined a sorority. Then, she made a decision that changed her life: She got pregnant. She remembers lying down on the road by her driveway and praying that a car would run over her. “I want to die,” she thought. “I can’t handle this.” She talks about breaking the news to her Christian parents and the moment she knew, deep inside, that she should give this baby a chance — with another family.

“I just remember being so grateful and proud,” Kelly’s dad says in the family’s powerful sit-down with The Daily Signal. “I expected them to be angry,” Kelly recounts, amazed. Instead of being disappointed, her parents promised to walk with her, grateful that their daughter was giving another family a gift they could appreciate: a child like they’d adopted in Kelly’s little sister.

Walking into Bethany Christian Services turned out to be the answer to Kelly’s prayers. She thought for sure the adoption agency would judge her. Instead, Kelly explains, “They showed me what it was like to walk with someone through the hardest time of their life when they are feeling so down on themselves and so alone, they were there.” Before she had her little boy, Kelly says, “I thought the hardest day of my life would be finding out that I was pregnant. It wasn’t.” Giving him to another family was. In the hard months that followed, she had one peace: Alex’s new parents loved God.

Now, 10 years later, she says that being able to handpick her son’s family was the greatest comfort she had. So when a movement started to take away that right from moms like her, she couldn’t help but speak out. When liberal activists started punishing adoption agencies for making sure kids were placed in homes with matching beliefs, Kelly was horrified. She watched as the dominos started to fall in places like Philadelphia, Massachusetts, Illinois, California, and DC. Suddenly, groups like Bethany and Catholic Charities were being given a choice: start putting children in homes that violate the morals of birth moms like Kelly, pay crushing fines, or shut your doors.

“I would never tell a gay couple, ‘Oh, because you two are in love with each other, and you’re not a heterosexual couple, don’t even think about adopting a child.’ That’s not what I’m saying,” Kelly explains in the Signal’s new video. “What I am saying is that birth mothers have a right to choose.” On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Committee agreed, voting 29-23 to protect the freedom of moms like Kelly. Thanks to adoption champions Reps. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) and Mike Kelly (R-PA), the new Labor-HHS spending bill now includes an amendment that says the federal government can’t discriminate against faith-based groups if they decide not to provide services like adoption or foster care on religious grounds. The bill also says that if a state or local government is found in violation, HHS will withhold up to 15% of the federal child welfare funding from the areas responsible.

“What occurred today is a milestone,” Congressman Kelly celebrated. For “five years and three congresses, we’ve been fighting to advance the Inclusion Act against incredible obstacles,” he said. “Now, it’s finally going to see its day on the floor of the People’s House. This is a win for the entire faith-based child welfare provider community and, most importantly, all the innocent children they serve who are waiting for forever homes.” Congressmen like Tom Cole (R-OK), Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), Andy Harris (R-MD), Evan Jenkins (R-WV), John Carter (R-TX), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) worked until well past midnight making this longtime religious liberty goal a reality.

The Democrats, meanwhile, continued cranking out lies about what the amendment really does, insisting that it somehow stops same-sex couples from adopting. Hardly! The same adoption agencies that matched them with kids before this bill will still be matching them with kids after. That’s because this debate has never been about banning LGBT adoption — it’s about letting everyone operate by their own set of beliefs.

“Choosing to place your child for adoption is the hardest decision that I’ve ever made,” Kelly Clemente says, “but what gave me reassurance was that at least I had control over the family that I was choosing. And for me that did include faith. They were committed to raising that child in a Christian home. I can understand why people might perceive that as intolerance, but what I would tell them is that when you’re pregnant, that child is yours. If your priority is matching that family’s faith to yours, that’s your prerogative.”

Of course, it’s sad that we need amendments like this at all. But, as Rep. Kelly agreed, “This is not a fight that conservatives or the faith-based community started — but it is one that we’re ready to win. The Left’s faith-shaming cannot be permitted to close the doors of one more adoption or foster care center in our country. For all the parents and providers who have been targeted and bullied by activists both inside and outside of government, today’s passage is a sign of hope.”

It’s also a sign that House Republicans aren’t about to help abortion groups snuff out lives like Alex’s. Despite a fierce push to change the direction of HHS’s new funding decisions, adoption wasn’t the only big win in Wednesday night’s debate. Conservatives blocked amendments that would have reinstated the large chunk of Title X “family planning” dollars to abortion businesses and boosted sexual risk avoidance (abstinence) funding to $30 million! Democrats also lost the fight to strip out the language of the bill defunding Planned Parenthood — then watched as GOP leaders tacked on another win for religious freedom by adding the Conscience Protection Act. All in all, it may be one of the most pro-life, pro-values Labor-HHS spending proposals ever to come out of committee! Thanks to our pro-life leaders for moving America one step closer to building the culture of life this administration envisions!

Originally published here.

SCOTUS Causes a Cuomo-tion Over Roe

People will die! Birth control will be illegal! It’s the end of the world! As far as liberals are concerned, nothing’s a stretch under a Supreme Court that knows its constitutional limits. For a movement entirely dependent on activist judges, the sky is falling. And President Trump’s pick to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy is a big reason why.

Of course, you can’t blame liberals for panicking. Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s latest pick for the Supreme Court, has made it quite clear that if he’s confirmed, he doesn’t plan on playing along with the Left’s game of “winning through the courts.” Where does that leave a movement that’s had to sue its way to abortion, same-sex marriage, and religious discrimination? In deep trouble.

“The world liberals have been ‘living in’ is one where all injustice can be cured through government intervention,” Tom Gilson points out in The Stream. “… It’s a world that foolishly supposes [important] matters are for judges to decide, not legislatures. It’s a place where somehow this represents the rule of law rather than the rule of men — even though it took but a simple majority of nine unelected persons to make these decisions into law.”

The idea that the three branches of government might finally rediscover their original purpose is terrifying to a party that can’t seem to win on its issues democratically. “How dare he be allowed to do this?” an emotional Joy Behar shrieked about President Trump on “The View.” In other words, how dare he be allowed to take away the one crutch Democrats have for forcing unpopular things like gender-free bathrooms, transgender military policy, contraceptive mandates, and taxpayer-funded abortion on unwilling voters?

So scandalized are liberals over this nomination that Behar actually asked why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) isn’t “in jail” for refusing to rubber-stamp President Obama’s Supreme Court pick in an election year. Others, like New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), are overreacting with special executive orders designed to “protect” states from the culture of life they fear Brett Kavanaugh might restore. New York, Cuomo wants the country to know, will always welcome the killing of innocent children. When it comes to abortion, he said, “No insurance company can deny it, no bureaucracy can deny it, and no federal agency can deny it.” “Mark my words,” he said, “they are moving to roll back Roe v. Wade. That is going to be the next move by this president.”

Pro-lifers certainly hope so, but it will take a lot more than Brett Kavanaugh — or even the Supreme Court — to accomplish that. The more justices chip away at the rulings like Roe or Casey v. Planned Parenthood, the more important the states become. In many ways, that’s where the battle for life has made its greatest gains. We talked yesterday about the incredible wave of pro-life legislation that’s been sweeping across the country since the most pro-abortion president in history took office eight years ago. “After new restrictions enacted in 2017,” the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute points out, “29 states have adopted enough abortion restrictions to be considered either ‘hostile’ (6 states) or ‘extremely hostile’ (23 states) to abortion rights, with Iowa and West Virginia entering the hostile group for the first time.”

If the Supreme Court is out of reach, the Left’s attention will turn to the states, where, surprisingly, most — including the bluest ones — don’t have laws “guaranteeing a right to abortion.” The New Republic is beating that drum now. “Most states do not have laws, and a number of Democratic-leaning states have either failed to adopt measures that enshrine a positive right to abortion, or, as in New York, they recognize a limited right to abortion that’s seemingly out of step with their states’ politics. Some, like New Mexico and Massachusetts, even have archaic bans on the procedure that could theoretically come into play again.” Instead of sitting around and wringing their hands, liberal activists are trying to light a fire under states that took abortion for granted under Roe.

Suddenly, the few pro-abortion governors and state legislatures that are left are racing to convene special sessions (like Gov. Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island) or furiously working to update the state’s laws. In places like Massachusetts, “The state still has a nineteenth-century abortion ban on the books, in addition to laws requiring elective abortions to be performed in hospitals and banning the sale of contraception to unmarried women.”

The work for pro-lifers won’t end when Roe v. Wade does. Conservatives have to continue making the case for the unborn, understanding that the biggest debate for life is in their home states. A more balanced court doesn’t mean this issue goes away — it means elections are that much more important. Are you paying attention to yours?

Originally published here.

Open Mike: VP Says He’d Overturn Abortion

While the country tries to get to the bottom of Brett Kavanaugh’s pro-life views, they don’t have to guess about someone else’s: Vice President Mike Pence. On a tour of the major media networks to reassure conservatives about the president’s Supreme Court pick, America’s second-in-command left little doubt about what he would do in the justice’s shoes.

“I stand for the sanctity of life. This administration, this president are pro-life, but what the American people ought to know is that, as the president said today, this is not an issue he discussed with Judge Kavanaugh. [And] I didn’t discuss it with him either.” Of course, in many ways, it’s not a topic either leader needed to discuss with Justice Anthony Kennedy’s replacement. President Trump said repeatedly — over the course of the campaign and after — “I’m pro-life. The judges will be pro-life.”

And he pre-released his list of nominees to prove it. Conservatives had months to evaluate the possibilities for Supreme Court, thanks to the first-ever decision by a presidential candidate to reveal his SCOTUS roster in advance. Several organizations and serious constitutional scholars had a chance to comb through the backgrounds of the more than two dozen men and women before it was even announced. If they had concerns about anyone, I guarantee they would have been communicated to the White House and removed.

In the meantime, Vice President Pence’s posture hasn’t changed. Asked if he’d like to see the horrific 1973 ruling overturned, he told CNN, “I do, but I haven’t been nominated to the Supreme Court.”

Originally published here.

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

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