The Point Washington Update - March 2015
In this issue:
Reprinted from “The Hyde Amendment’s effect on human-trafficking victims,” commentary by CMA VP for Govt. Relations Jonathan Imbody, published in the Washington Post, March 21, 2015: In annual appropriations bills since 1976, Democrats routinely have united with Republicans in passing the Hyde Amendment, which simply prevents taxpayer monies from funding abortions except in cases of rape or incest or to save the life of the mother. Americans overwhelmingly oppose opening public coffers to the abortion industry.
Nevertheless, Democrats increasingly have been injecting abortion partisanship into human trafficking programs. Congressional hearings revealed how Obama administration officials denied a grant to a faith-based organization over abortion and other morally objectionable issues.
Many would note that abortion would only add to the trauma that human trafficking victims have already experienced. Yet even the Hyde Amendment does not disallow government-funded abortions in cases of rape, nor does it prevent abortions paid for with nongovernment funds. So protests over the Hyde Amendment in this trafficking-victims program are little more than partisan politics designed to enforce a radical abortion ideology.
Jonathan Imbody, Ashburn. The writer is vice president for government relations for the Christian Medical Association.
Educate yourself (CME credit available) with CMDA’s comprehensive online education modules on recognizing, reporting and caring for victims of human trafficking: www.cmda.org/TIP
Reprinted from “Tennessee affirms opposite-sex marriage, not bigotry,” commentary by CMA VP for Govt. Relations Jonathan Imbody, published in The Tennessean, March 13, 2015 - Re: "Discriminated after crossing state lines," March 6, 2015 - In a letter to the editor, a Chicago resident complains that Tennessee does not recognize in law the fact that Illinois considers him married to another man; he labels Tennessee's legal definition of marriage a matter of discrimination and inequality.
The state of Tennessee retains a constitutional right, highlighted in the Supreme Court's recent Windsor decision, which deemed a federal definition of marriage as usurping states' rights, to determine by objective qualifications and definitions who qualifies for a marriage license. Tennessee also uses objective qualifications to determine which of its citizens can vote, practice medicine, own a gun or teach in public schools.
These qualifications only constitute "discrimination" in the sense of discerning the relevant factors that merit granting legal status and privileges.
Why would Tennesseans legally define marriage as between a man and a woman?
Social science research clearly demonstrates that marriage between a man and a woman in a lifelong, exclusive commitment offers society, and children in particular, unique benefits — economical, educational, psychological — that no other relationship offers as well.
These benefits have led governments for millennia to recognize and endorse in law the marriage of a man and a woman.
A state's recognition of the unique benefits of man-woman marriage does not preclude love, respect, dignity or the extension of a host of government benefits and privileges to non-married citizens.
It's simply an objective affirmation of what marriage is and an endorsement of the unique benefits it provides to society and children.
Jonathan Imbody, VP Government Affairs, Christian Medical Association
Learn how to legislatively counteract the politics of same-sex marriage to prevent harm to children served by faith-based groups providing social services:
- Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act - S 667 - would ensure that organizations with religious or moral convictions are allowed to continue to provide services for children
- Youth services bill OPPOSED for gender / religious freedom issues threatening services by faith-based organizations to runaway youth - S 262
Excerpted from "Sen. Ted Cruz seeks to upend D.C. laws on contraception coverage, gay rights," Washington Post, March 18, 2015 - Last month, more than a dozen prominent conservative groups and Catholic institutions asked Capitol Hill leaders to overturn the two D.C. laws, calling them “unprecedented assaults upon our organizations.” The laws would restrict the ability of private groups to discriminate based on religious beliefs.
One, the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2014, would prevent employers from taking action against workers based on their decision to use birth control or seek an abortion. The other, the Human Rights Amendment Act of 2014, repeals a longstanding, congressionally imposed measure exempting religiously affiliated educational institutions from the city’s gay nondiscrimination law.
As is the case for all D.C. laws, the two are now under a mandatory 30-day review period before Congress. Without congressional action, they could take effect as early as next month. That happened last month with the city’s marijuana-legalization law, when, despite threats from House Republicans, no lawmaker introduced a measure to stop it. Some Republicans feared a vote on marijuana legalization could expose a rift between conservative and libertarian wings of the party.
Freshman Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), who co-introduced the measures [disapproval resolutions of Congress to overturn the DC laws], issued a statement Wednesday saying “what the D.C. Council has done is a major threat to the fundamental right to religious freedom for D.C. residents and organizations, and a brazen display of intolerance.” As evidence that Congress would be within its rights to disapprove the D.C. measures, Lankford pointed to a Supreme Court decision last year that family-owned businesses do not have to offer their employees contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act if doing so conflicts with owners’ religious beliefs.
CMA VP for Government Relations Jonathan Imbody: “The Washington Post suggests that these recently enacted DC ‘laws would restrict the ability of private groups to discriminate based on religious beliefs.’ In fact, the laws target and discriminate against religious groups by dictating that they must hire individuals who directly contradict the groups' tenets, standards and mission.
“That's a flagrant violation of First Amendment freedoms, as upheld by a unanimous Supreme Court in the Hosanna Tabor case and by Congress in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
“What the ironically entitled Human Rights Amendment Act of 2014 actually does is repeal a measure that for decades had advanced tolerance by ensuring that the DC Human Rights Act could not be used to coerce religiously affiliated schools into violating convictions of conscience.
“The DC Council apparently has decided, however, that there is not enough room in the District for religious dissenters who question the Council's edicts on sexual morality. Their discriminatory laws inject unconstitutional governmental coercion that subverts the democratic process of free speech and debate that historically has shaped American public opinion and values.
“Intolerance does not advance tolerance.”
www.Freedom2Care.org - CMA's one-stop-shop for news, analysis and resources on freedom of faith, conscience and speech.
Protect conscience freedom in healthcare - HR 940, which would preserve patient choice and protect pro-life professionals from discrimination for moral and ethical views.
Protect freedom of faith and conscience related to abortion - S 50. No health professionals should be forced to choose between their careers and following the principles of ethical medicine.