Right Opinion

Can You Keep a Secret? So Can Your Daughter's School.

Tony Perkins · Jul. 11, 2019

Imagine sending your daughter off to school only to find out that she was headed for an abortion appointment instead. Then imagine this: her teachers knew and never told you. In California, parents don’t have to imagine it. Thanks to a new undercover video, they know — it’s already happening.

It’s unreal footage, even by the ACLU’s standards. When the meeting between state teachers and the far-Left group was leaked, most people had a hard time believing it. And that, the team at Our Watch said, was the point. “[We] know what it’s like to say, ‘Okay, well, I heard somebody said this is happening, but I want to see it for myself.’” So the organization sent someone into a training session and pushed “record.” What they caught was a coordinated effort to keep parents in the dark about one of the most dangerous decisions a teenager could ever make.

“Regardless of how old the student is,” ACLU attorney Ruth Dawson starts off (at 21:08 of this video), “they can walk into a doctor’s office and consent to services without their parental consent. Those services are pregnancy and prenatal care, contraception and emergency contraception, abortion — and for these there is no parental notification.” As school officials, Dawson goes on, “I think a good way to think about this is that these are services that California has decided are so important that… students really need to be able to access them.” So no matter what, she said, “Young people have the right to leave school and seek confidential medical services without the consent or notification of their parents and guardians.”

But Dawson didn’t stop there. Every school, she argued, has a responsibility to keep these secrets — at all costs. “The key thing to remember here is about Confidential Medical Release. The right belongs to the young person. It doesn’t belong to the parent. It doesn’t belong to the school. The right lies with the young person. The most important piece of this is that schools cannot share this information with parents or guardians. Also no parent calls. So a teacher or attendance office can’t call home and say, ‘So-and-so was out at the doctor’s office receiving [whatever procedure]. Did you know about this?’ You cannot do that.” In fact, Dawson goes on, California schools should be in the habit of covering up these appointments on the district record.

Teacher: “So are they considered absent?”

ACLU: “I think it qualifies as, like, an excused absence.”

Teacher: “But once they’re absent, the school calls automatically.”

ACLU: “Right, so I think what has to happen is that the school must develop a policy so that doesn’t happen. When it comes to online attendance tracking, it gets a little trickier, because schools — as everyone in this room knows — have to report attendance.”

Administrator: “Because attendance is financial…”

ACLU: “Right. But if you say [it’s] medical, that’s actually a violation of the student’s privacy rights. If you say ‘unexcused absence’ and penalize them, that’s a violation of state law. So what the heck are you supposed to do? Some districts do things, like, they’ll say the student was with an administrator… and they won’t answer further questions. It’s a little tricky though, which is why it’s more of an art than a science… But saying it was an ‘excused absence’ does not, like, directly violate the law.”

Since when has falsifying state records not violated the law? What if there’s a medical emergency while a girl is off getting her excused-absence abortion? Can you imagine the liability issues if a parent found out the school not only knew about the appointment but covered it up? “No, it turns out, she wasn’t ‘with an administrator.’ She was taking the life of your future grandchild.” This is a world where giving a teenager a Tylenol without asking could launch a thousand lawsuits. Yet somehow, it’s okay to send them on a deadly field trip that destroys one life and forever alters the other without ever calling home?

Amazingly, the video doesn’t stop there. Dawson’s encore for the free lesson in abortion deception is a dose of radical sex ed. She goes through the state’s controversial new guidelines, taking great pains to remind teachers that even when it comes to the most extreme material (which one parent insists is so graphic, he could be brought up on charges for showing it to a child), it’s illegal for parents to opt students out. “In grades K-12, no matter where you teach sex ed… no matter whether you’re teaching fifth graders or twelfth graders, all of that has to be inclusive of LGBTQ…” Schools, she insists, “may not facilitate a selective opt-out just of the queer stuff. We’ve heard, unfortunately, from a lot of parents who say, ‘I want my kid to learn sex ed — it’s important. However, none of the gay stuff. They can’t do that. Practically, it should be impossible.”

By now, you shouldn’t need convincing that your involvement in the local school district matters. If you do, this video is more than enough proof that the Left is targeting your children. But if there’s one thing the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and every other liberal is afraid of, it’s engaged parents. There’s a reason they’re hosting these hush-hush trainings and passing laws to keep moms and dads in the dark. They understand that the more you know, the harder you’ll fight. And in a world where the other side will do anything to get to our children, that’s exactly what we need — fighters.

Originally published here.

Trump Admin: No Greater Friend than Israel

“This is what it must have looked like to be a part of the crowd for the fishes and the loaves,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo joked, looking out at the impressive audience at this year’s Christians United for Israel (CUFI) forum. The two-day summit was full of headliners who all agreed with the State Department chief: “Israel is a friend. Can I get an amen?”

Like Vice President Mike Pence, Pompeo spent a lot of time talking about the administration’s fondness for Israel — and the time this president has dedicated to rebuilding the relationship after Barack Obama. Now more than 70 years into President Truman’s decision to recognize Israel as a new state, Donald Trump is just as committed to doing the right thing, Pompeo points out. “[Truman] later said, 'I wonder how far Moses would have gone if he had taken a poll in Egypt?’… It isn’t the polls or public opinion of the moment that counts. It’s doing what’s right and wrong — and leadership. You have a president like that today too.”

He explained what a privilege it is to work on this alliance — in part because Israel is so unique to other countries in the region. “Compare Israel’s reverence for liberty with the restrictions on religious freedom facing Christians and people of all faiths throughout the rest of the Middle East: In many countries, if a Muslim leaves Islam it is considered an apostasy, and it is punishable indeed by death. In Iraq, Syria, and other countries in the region, the last remnants of ancient Christian communities are at near-extinction because of persecution from ISIS and other malign actors. And just one example: before 2003, there were an estimated 1.5 million Christians living in Iraq. Today, sadly, almost a quarter of a million.”

Pompeo believes, as we all do, that the “flame of existence of Christians must not be snuffed out. Their unalienable rights — Christians’ unalienable rights in the Middle East — their right to worship must not be taken away. Persecution of the faithful is especially intense inside the Islamic Republic of Iran. The regime’s militant adherence to the noxious tenets of the Islamic Revolution dictates all elements of life — and especially the suppression of other faiths.”

It’s so ironic, he explained. “…A lot of people get spun up with the wrong ideas that American evangelicals want to impose a theocracy on America. I wish they would be concerned about the real theocratic takeover that has been happening in Iran for the last four decades. The ayatollahs have grievously deprived the Iranian people of that most basic, simple, fundamental right, their right to worship.” At one particularly poignant moment, the former Kansas representative said, “Every day, I pray — and I’d ask you to, too, to pray for our brothers and sisters in Iran.” He paused. “And not just for them, but for people of all faiths who are persecuted there.”

When it was the vice president’s turn to speak, he took on everything from the growing anti-Semitism in Congress to the threat of Iran. In every instance, every challenge, Pence said, the president has been a man of action. “And he’s a man of his word… And from the very first day of this administration, President Donald Trump has been keeping the promises that he made to the American people at home and abroad. It’s true. President Trump doesn’t apologize for America. He stands up for America every day on the world stage. And under this President’s leadership, we’re standing with our allies, and we’re standing up to our enemies.”

That starts with the enemies of freedom. “You know, in the words of the prophet Isaiah,” Pence said, “for the sake of Zion, ‘I will not be silent,’ it was written. And, my friends, this President, for the sake of Zion, has not been silent.” Nor will he be. Next week, at the State Department’s second annual Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom the administration will remind the world what a high priority it places on these liberties when it comes to our foreign policy.

Late last week, Ambassador Sam Brownback stopped by “Washington Watch” to preview the event in D.C. And when he was asked what he hoped to accomplish at the meeting, he said the goal was to ignite a grassroots movement around the world for religious freedom.

“We’ll have a thousand activists, religious freedom activists, religious leaders, civil society [leaders], and we need them to push in their own countries for religious freedom for their people… We also hope to start a discussion on just some basic minimums of what religious freedom looks like in places. You don’t just arrest somebody for being a religious minority. You keep people alive if someone is killed because they’re a religious minority. You prosecute people who committed the crime. [It’s] just really doing some basics to starting your country down a road of protecting minorities.”

But, as he was quick to point out, this is not an event where people just come and listen to speakers. It’s interactive and there are key takeaways. Last year’s meeting prompted several countries to take positive steps to advance religious liberty. “I think probably the most dramatic was Uzbekistan that wanted to really change their trajectory here. And they let 13,000 people out of prison. They’re changing their laws dealing with religious actors — and it really turned a corner.” Brownback also watched the UAE, United Arab Emirates, “take on a conference about, um, changing textbooks so that they don’t denigrate religious minorities. We had a couple of countries appoint religious freedom ambassadors like Mongolia. So you saw several steps.”

And hopefully — at the kickoff next Tuesday — several more. For the sneak peak of the second ministerial, check out Ambassador Brownback’s full interview below.

Originally published here.

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

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