Judicial Activism Takes Manhattan
She scrubbed in like she usually did. Their patient, she was told, had just lost her baby. It was supposed to be a routine procedure — the kind they usually perform after a miscarriage. Turns out, nothing about the procedure was routine. When she met the doctor, he had an apologetic look in his eye. “Please don’t hate me,” he said. The woman’s baby, the nurse discovered, hadn’t died. They were there to destroy it. Shocked, the nurse turned and asked to be relieved. No, they answered. Faced with losing her job, she did something that’s traumatized her ever since: she helped abort an innocent child.
This nurse’s nightmare is exactly what the Trump administration was trying to avoid when it finalized HHS’s conscience rule this May. Like any sane person, the president thinks men and women in the medical community have a right to walk away from the table in situations like that one. Just imagine if you were asked to hold the scalpel that would mutilate a perfectly healthy teenager in gender transition. Or write a hormone prescription for a confused girl that would sterilize her for life. It’s moral terrorism — the kind a Manhattan judge just upheld.
Apparently, the First Amendment doesn’t apply to doctors and nurses, U.S. District Court Judge Paul Engelmayer has decided. In an obscenely long diatribe, he blasts HHS for refusing to bully nurses like this one into doing something they vehemently oppose — like taking a human life. With a disproportionate amount of outrage, he slams the administration for acting “arbitrarily and capriciously.” He goes on to complain that HHS didn’t have the authority to make the rule (ironic, since the agencies under Presidents Bush and Obama did) and accused the agency of making up a spike in complaints like this nurse’s.
As for “arbitrary” and “capricious,” FRC’s Katherine Beck Johnson can only shake her head. “There were a number of documented conscience complaints at HHS that officials sought to alleviate with this rule,” she pointed out. But then, Engelmayer was probably too blinded by his personal political motivations to realize it. Case in point? Instead of limiting his ruling to the states who sued (26), this lower court (emphasis added) judge decided to vacate the entire policy. “In my opinion,” Katherine says, “it was clear the result the judge wanted to reach.”
Let’s not forget, conscience rights are already settled law under statutes like the Weldon amendment. Not to mention, Katherine explained, that President Bush issued a similar regulation at the end of his presidency in 2008 — and Barack Obama canceled it out with one of his own. “So not only is there legislative authority [under Weldon] to enforce these broader conscience protections, but precedent by past administrations.”
But of course, that hasn’t stopped the liberal headline writers at CNN from referring to it as the “so-called” conscience rule — as if this is somehow an idea conservatives just dreamed up. As Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebr.) insists, “The whole point of the First Amendment, especially the free exercise of religion, is to protect the conscience rights of Americans. In this country, government doesn’t get to tell you that your faith is fine on Sunday at church but not Monday at work. The Trump administration ought to defend basic conscience rights all the way to the Supreme Court.”
No one — not doctors, not teachers, or business owners — should be bullied out of their careers because they think differently than the extreme Left. Besides, David Harsanyi points out, if it’s okay for liberal activists to be driven by their “consciences,” why not everyone? Good question. For the sake of health care providers, and those they serve, let’s hope DOJ appeals the case in time to ask it.
Originally published here.
Mourning on the Border
They travel by military escort to get there, stopping at the charred car where they bury their faces in their hands and cry. It’s the place where their family took their last breaths, victims of a massacre no one saw coming. In the three days since the news sent shockwaves around the world, there are no more answers for the LeBaróns’ brutal deaths — only questions about how a peaceful caravan of U.S. women and children could be in the crosshairs of Mexico’s monsters.
Peppered with bullet holes — more than 200 shell casings dotted the scene — the cars are grisly reminders of Mexico’s war zone, a place where drug cartels murder and ambush at will. “Not even mourning is easy for the family of the nine women and children [slaughtered],” one reporter observed, followings the cars of soldiers in bulletproof vests with guns slung over their arms. As the relatives come from Arizona and Utah to pay their respects, others shake their heads. “We watched as things got more tense, but we thought the same thing we always did,” said Amber Langford, 43, a midwife in La Mora, “they won’t come after Americans.”
But come after them they did, barbarically shooting children at close range, burning babies alive in their car seats. For years, the Mormon community had co-existed next to the border. But that peace is shattered now, as more horrors spill out about the final minutes of the victims’ lives. “In a testament to a mother’s devotion, one woman reportedly stashed her baby on the floor of her Suburban and got out of the vehicle, waving her arms to show the gunmen she wasn’t a threat. Her bullet-riddled body was found about 15 yards away.” The eight children who survived made it to a hiding place in the bush, as rounds of ammunition sprayed into the area behind them. In shock from what they’d just seen, others walked for hours, bleeding from gunshot wounds, just trying to find help.
Thousands of miles away in Washington, President Trump is more determined than ever to use whatever means possible to stop the violence. For three years, he’s tried to secure our border and keep murderers and criminals like these from streaming through our gates. But instead of helping him, liberals have thwarted him. Wednesday, on “Washington Watch,” Breitbart’s Brandon Darby says he hopes that what happened to these innocent people — and so many others — is a wake-up call to Americans about the barbarism knocking at our doors.
“I wasn’t surprised that it happened, because we report on things like this all the time in Mexico. It’s not [always] as egregious. It’s not usually U.S. citizens — women and children targeted — but sometimes it is… [I]t isn’t out of the norm [for] these cartels… They’re very brutal to families and to journalists and to kids — they kill babies.” Obviously, this story is getting international attention because these were Americans with dual citizenship. But this happens, Brandon warns, routinely. There were a record 35,964 killings in Mexico last year alone.
“I wish that people would understand that there are millions upon millions of good people in northern Mexico on the border. And there are a lot of paramilitary, transnational criminal organizations that control the lives of those good people. [There are families like the LeBaróns] living in these communities trying to make it better — and they’re very powerless to actually do so. They don’t have a 9-1-1 to call. They don’t have the Second Amendment. They don’t have any mechanism to fight back. And they have no governmental bodies to help them. And they’re just ignored. So this is what happens when organized crime gangs are allowed to run the country…”
Americans think ISIS is bad. But ISIS doesn’t have much on these cartels. “One is across the ocean,” Brandon cautions, “and one is right here on our border.” But unfortunately, the liberal media doesn’t want to write about the horrors in Mexico “because they’re afraid that if they do, it’s going to support Trump or support Republican calls for border security. And then, [there are] people on the Right, who don’t want to talk about it, because if they do, then it would [give credibility] for the Democrats’ calls for asylum. So what happens? People are ignored.”
It shouldn’t take the blood of innocent women and children for leaders in this country to realize that our nations are in crisis. The unease in Mexico and the disunity in Congress is a threat to American safety. It’s time for both parties to come together and find real solutions to immigration and border security — before more innocent women and children die.
Originally published here.
Uninvited: Chinese Intruders Stake out Uyghur Homes
It sounds like a cheerful sort of mentor program: “Pair Up and Become Family.” But in China, nothing is cheerful, and certainly nothing about this intrusive (and probably abusive) home surveillance is good. When your husband has been hauled off to the country’s modern-day concentration camps, the last thing you want is a government official spending the night in your bed. And yet, that’s exactly what’s happening in more Uyghur neighborhoods.
They call them “relatives.” In reality, they’re communist spies — infiltrating homes and violating the privacy (and who knows what else) of thousands of Uyghur families. Radio Free Asia broke the story on this latest attempt to make life difficult for the Muslim minority, whose horror stories are the stuff of 1930s nightmares. No one survives without scars, as the nauseating testimonies from escapees like Sayragul Sauytbay know. The people inside the barbed wire just try to make it from hour to hour, despite beatings, gang rapes, and torture. Now, their families — the ones left behind — are trying to manage with members of the regime living inside their homes, watching their every move.
“The ‘relatives’ come to visit us here every two months…” one anonymous source explained. “They stay with their paired relatives day and night,” he said. “In addition to working and eating together… the officials even sleep in the same bed as family members, the cadre said, particularly during the winter.” The local explained that he had “never heard” of any situations “in which male officials had attempted to take advantage of female members of the households they stayed in,” but then, most of the world has never heard of half of the horrors taking place inside China’s borders.
As we’ve learned, it’s one thing for Chinese officials to say nothing is happening, and quite another when you hear the truth from the people themselves. When you look at the reports that are coming out of some of these detention facilities, and the abuse — the sexual abuse — the assaults, the torture that’s taking place, and the live organ harvesting, it’s hard to believe that nothing harmful is happening.
President Trump is doing everything he can to expose China and hold them accountable, but what can Americans do? I talked about that Wednesday with FRC’s Travis Weber on “Washington Watch.” We need to understand, Travis said, that as Christians, we have an obligation to advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves. “We still have incredible freedom here in America. We can pray without fear of being harassed by the government knocking at our door. We can take action with regard to our own government, urging [leaders] to stand up for religious freedom around the world, our elected officials. So we still have this freedom to act and advocate for our fellow believers — brothers and sisters in China who cannot advocate for themselves. This is really at the core of it.”
There are a number of things America can do to help ease the suffering of China’s persecuted. FRC’s Arielle Del Turco outlines a number of those in her new paper, “Religious Freedom in China: The History, Current Challenges, and the Proper Response to a Human Rights Crisis.” As she explains, there are several things America can do from a public policy perspective through economic sanctions, official statements, and congressional action.
But we also have to remember, from a very practical standpoint, that one of the biggest problems about the People’s Republic is that it’s exporting its tyranny. Just as America, under President Trump, is working to promote religious freedom, China is working just as hard to promote its own brand of oppression. It influences with its money and with its resources — as we’ve seen with American corporations, Hollywood, and even the NBA, who are all shying away from speaking out because of their financial interests.
American consumers have an important role to play in this, our own Dan Hart points out.
“We can all contact the companies that we buy products from and demand that these companies do all they can to pressure the Chinese government to restore human rights to its citizens. Companies listen to the concerns of their customers. The more we demand change, the more companies will realize how concerned their customers are about the issue of human rights in China and the more likely it will be that they will consider changing their business dealings with China.”
“We American citizens have more power than we think we have. If we demand change from American companies who do business in China and use our purchasing power as leverage, we may be able to hasten the day when the Chinese people are finally free from government oppression.”
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.