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Tony Perkins / Jan. 25, 2020

Life on the March

Since that horrible Monday in 1973 — the day our Supreme Court signed the death warrant for millions of unborn children — America has had four pro-life presidents. Not one of them appeared at a March for Life rally — until yesterday. When Donald Trump walked across the stage at the National Mall, in front of a sea of pro-lifers, he wasn't just making a statement. He was cementing a legacy.

Since that horrible Monday in 1973 — the day our Supreme Court signed the death warrant for millions of unborn children — America has had four pro-life presidents. Not one of them appeared at a March for Life rally — until yesterday. When Donald Trump walked across the stage at the National Mall, in front of a sea of pro-lifers, he wasn’t just making a statement. He was cementing a legacy.

“All of us here today,” the president said, “understand an eternal truth: Every child is a precious and sacred gift from God. Together, we must protect, cherish and defend the dignity and the sanctity of every human life.” These weren’t the words of a man who simply speaks out for the unborn. They were the words of a man who’s doing everything in his power to protect them. And that, many of us would argue, is what made yesterday so significant.

“For a long time," Kaylee McGhee wrote in the Washington Examiner, "it seemed that the pro-life movement’s impact would be limited to the culture” — which, she quickly adds, is “by no means insignificant.” But now, she points out, Americans have a leader who is also “lending the credibility and authority of his office to the pro-life movement,” not just in word but deed. Everything he said to the tens of thousands of pro-lifers today “won’t be meaningless,” she insists, “because he’ll have the policies to back them up. This is long overdue. The pro-life movement is a just and noble cause that deserves more than empty promises. Finally, we have a president who understands that.”

Thanks to Donald Trump, not even a Democratic House has stopped him from doing what he knows is right: protecting women and children from the greatest human rights crisis of our time. “They’re coming after me,” he told the crowd, “because I am fighting for you and we are fighting for those who have no voice.” But “we will win,” he promised, “because we know how to win…”

As if his presence at the March didn’t create enough contrast with the Left, the president took time to remind Americans what pro-lifers are up against. “Democrats have embraced the most radical and extreme positions taken in this country for years…” he explained, with nearly every party member in Congress supporting “taxpayer-funded abortion all the way up until the moment of birth.” But they’re not only on the wrong side of history on the issue — they’re on the wrong side of the American people too. While they claim to represent women, the president said, “Millions of extraordinary women across America are using the power of their votes to fight for the right and all of their rights as given in the Declaration of Independence, the right to life.”

“…[E]very human life born and unborn is made in the holy image of Almighty God. Together, we will defend this truth all across our magnificent land. We will set free the dreams of our people and with determined hope, we look forward to all of the blessings that will come from the beauty, talent, purpose, nobility, and grace of every American child.”

To the raucous cheers of the masses, he walked off the stage — leaving people to agree: “Unborn children have never had a stronger defender in the White House.”

** If you missed FRC’s 15th annual ProLifeCon Digital Action Summit, be sure to watch this important event, featuring HHS Secretary Alex Azar’s announcement of an enforcement action issued to implement the pro-life Weldon Amendment, as well as White House official Jennie Lichter summarizing the administration’s efforts to tighten fetal tissue regulations and other pro-life initiatives. Other highlights include the Human Coalition’s Christopher Baggett discussing virtual clinics for women with unplanned pregnancies, a new online tool for them to obtain the services they need. Ryan and Bethany Bomberger also joined the event to announce The Radiance Foundation’s new resources for children to learn about the pro-life cause. All of this and more, in the 2020 ProLifeCon archive below!

Originally published here.

Force Abortion, Lose Federal Funds

President Trump wasn’t the only one making history at this year’s March for Life. HHS Secretary Alex Azar put an even bigger exclamation point on the day when he broke news at FRC headquarters about new action the agency was taking. After four years of watching California attack its own people, HHS is finally saying, “Enough.” If the state can’t be bothered to follow the law, Secretary Azar has decided to make them pay for it — in federal funds, if necessary.

It’s been a problem since 2014. That’s when California’s health department started strong-arming employers into covering abortion on their insurance exchange. As bad as that was, the Golden State made it worse. Instead of exempting churches and other groups with religious convictions, the state ordered them to comply too — forcing pastors like Calvary Chapel Chino Hills’s Jack Hibbs to finance a deadly business in direct defiance of their faith!

Wait just a second, churches complained! That’s a violation of federal law. Under the Weldon Amendment, health care entities can’t be punished for refusing to cover abortion. Instead of reading the plain language of the law, the Obama’s Office of Civil Rights waved off the accusations, insisting that California wasn’t guilty of any wrongdoing. But the actual text of the amendment begs to differ. It says funds cannot be made available to governments (including states) that subject a health care entity (including health care plans) to discrimination on the basis that they do not provide coverage for abortion.“

So, for years, churches like Calvary Chapel have been at the state legislature and in court, fighting not to pay for the killing of innocent unborn babies. When President Trump took office in 2017, HHS went to work enforcing the Weldon amendment. Yesterday, after trying everything else to get California to comply, Secretary Azar’s team issued a formal violation that could jeopardize millions of federal dollars that flow into the state.

"We’ve received complaints by religious entities, including a group of religious sisters from the Roman Catholic Church, including a Protestant church, that have been required by California to cover abortion as part of their insurance. We have sought diligently to remediate that… They have refused… And so as of this moment, I have issued a notice of violation to the state of California for their noncompliance with the Weldon amendment,” he told the crowd at ProLifeCon.

HHS hopes, Azar said, that the notice will be enough to “spur them into action…” After all, conscience rights like these are already settled law. “The law is,” as the secretary pointed out, “unambiguous.” “We’ll work to secure their compliance. And if they do not, we will refer this matter to each of the organizations at HHS that provide funding in any way to the state of California for appropriate action… California is a big consumer of HHS funds. We’re giving them 30 days so that we don’t have to cross that bridge.”

This is at least the fourth time, FRC’s Connor Semelsberger points out, that the Trump administration has issued notices of violation (two of them against California) through the Office of Civil Rights since taking office, showing just how seriously this administration views its role in protecting conscience rights for all Americans.“

As Secretary Azar himself said, "We’re a department that, like President Trump, is committed to protecting life from the moment of conception through natural death, which means, in my mind, we’re the Department of Life.” Like most Americans, this administration understands that abortion isn’t health care. And we can think of no better way of celebrating the March for Life than making sure states know it!

Originally published here.

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

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