The Point Washington Update - March 26, 2013
In this edition of The Point:
- CMA human trafficking commentary published in Washington Times
- House pushed to pass conscience protections
- Miss America promotes sexual risk avoidance education
“Sex trafficking needs more awareness,” published in The Washington Times, March 13, 2013 by Jonathan Imbody, CMA VP for Govt. Relations
Former sex trafficking victim Barbara Amaya highlights the need to “educate the public about the horrors of human trafficking or modern day slavery” (“Sex trafficking: Has anything changed in 45 years?” Web, March 9).
While federal government agencies including State, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services have all impressively ramped up efforts to educate the public and law enforcement communities, there remains a critical need to focus in depth on medical professionals who see but fail to recognize and report many human trafficking victims. One medical study of victims interviewed after rescue found that up to half had been taken to a medical facility, yet not a single victim had been reported for rescue.1
One solution is to invite leaders of America’s medical specialty colleges to a White House symposium on human trafficking and to challenge them to adapt existing awareness building resources and data in order to educate their own members on how to recognize, report and treat victims.
For example, the Christian Medical Association now offers an in-depth online curriculum, with continuing medical education credit, to train healthcare professionals how to recognize, report and treat human trafficking victims (available at www.cmda.org/tip). If other medical specialty organizations do likewise, hundreds of thousands of healthcare professionals can learn how to recognize, rescue and rehabilitate thousands of victims who otherwise would languish in slavery.
Excerpted from “Catholic Bishops to GOP House: Repeal Obamacare Reg in CR or Other ‘Must-Pass’ Bill,” CNS News, March 19, 2013 -- The Catholic bishops of the United States are asking the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to do something concrete and effective--rather than merely symbolic—to repeal a regulation the administration has issued under Obamacare that will force Catholics and other Christians to act against their faith in purchasing or providing healthcare plans that cover sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs.
Last June, the bishops unanimously declared this regulation an “unjust and illegal mandate.” Since then, dozens of Catholic and Protestant private business owners, schools and non-profit organizations have sued the administration seeking to fully or partially overturn the regulation, arguing it violates their First Amendment right to free exercise of religion.
The regulation, however, is beginning to take effect now, and pending lawsuits could take years to reach the Supreme Court--where it is uncertain how they would be decided. Given the gravity and immediacy of the issue, the bishops are asking Congress to act now by incorporating language repealing the regulation into “must-pass” legislation.
H.R. 940 would permanently negate Obamacare’s sterilization-contraception-abortifacient regulation. It would do this by ensuring that no individual worker, private for-profit business, hospital, school, charity or other form of non-profit enterprise could be forced to buy or provide a healthcare plan that included coverage for abortion or any other item or service to which the individual or organization had a moral or religious objection. It would also protect health-care workers from being discriminated against if they decline to participate in abortions or abortion-related services.
CMA Vice President for Govt. Relations Jonathan Imbody: “We’ve been working hand-in-hand with the bishops and many other groups—over 50 are included in our Freedom2Care coalition—on conscience issues for well over a decade. The conscience laws passed in prior years unfortunately do not apply to or provide protections for healthcare professionals under the new Obamacare law. Nor do existing federal laws give health care professionals who have experienced discrimination the option to fight for justice in the courts.
"Currently the only recourse for healthcare professionals provided for in the federal conscience regulation, which the administration eviscerated in 2011, is to file a complaint with the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services—the very agency that Congress recently took to task for committing discrimination! HHS disqualified pro-life service providers from human trafficking grants simply because they declined to participate in abortions.
"After the last election, some politicians normally supportive of pro-life bills unfortunately now feel a bit gun-shy, worrying that social issues distract from their economic message. The only sure way to shore up their commitment is to show the determination of their constituents—particularly influential constituents like healthcare professionals—in demanding conscience protections as an American right and as a requirement for the practice of ethical medicine.
"For the sake of your own career and the rights of many others including your patients, please take a moment right now to make your voice heard."
Excerpted from “Miss America 2011 joins Capitol Hill briefing to communicate the value of sexual risk avoidance education,” Abstinence Works, March 12, 2013 -- Supporters of Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) Abstinence Education held a briefing on Capitol Hill today featuring Teresa Scanlan, Miss America 2011 and Sarah Koniszewski, a teen from New York. Speakers shared information during the briefing that underscored the importance of the recently introduced Abstinence Education Reallocation Act (H.R. 718; S. 13) in Congress. Briefing topics included Sexual Risk Avoidance Education as:
- An optimal public health strategy
- A holistic approach addressing many facets of teen life
- A poverty prevention strategy
- An effective message that benefits all teens
- An approach overwhelmingly supported by parents.
“Informing policy makers of the importance of giving our youth the best opportunity to achieve optimal health by the elimination of all risk is a strategy that must be given serious priority in our national sex education policies. We hope we have clearly communicated the value of this message today,” said Valerie Huber, President/CEO of the National Abstinence Education Association.
Miss America 2011, Teresa Scanlan (from briefing): "I remember doing a radio interview with Sirius XM and the deejay was sarcastically asking me, ‘So, you’re Miss America, so you’re a virgin, right?’ And I said, ‘Yes, actually, I am,’ and he didn’t know what to say.
“It’s one of those things that people are surprised at because they think it’s not possible. But then you see the numbers—that almost 75 percent of 15-to-17-year-olds are wanting to wait. That’s pretty incredible.
“This attitude that people have that ‘everybody is doing it’ is not necessarily the case. It takes some people to stand up and say the truth--that you can 'survive' until you’re 20 years old [as I am] and that you can wait until you’re married. And yes, it’s difficult, but having not only parents but school as well communicating that message makes a huge difference.
“We’re now seeing the results and consequences of [sexual activity]. Our parents grew up in an environment of ‘free sex for everyone.’ Well, guess what—we’ve had enough of that; we don’t want to try that anymore. We want [sex] to be something special; we want it to be something more. Young people are searching for relationships that mean more. Young girls are searching for men who are going to value them more.
“This is about the health issues and should be taught the same way that drug and alcohol prevention are taught. It’s not just ‘okay’ to do—the health risks are too high. There is nothing that will protect against pregnancy or an STD 100 percent except abstinence.
“Now for me it’s mostly for moral and theological reasons, but you don’t have to agree with me theologically to believe that this is the best route to take. There is no reason we should not be presenting this side of the story. Young people are wanting it; they are needing it. I have seen the ramifications firsthand, with so many friends and family members. I’ve had many teenage friends get pregnant just in the past six months.
“It is possible to make smart decisions and to be responsible, and young people need to be encouraged in that. They will rise to the challenge when we say, ‘Your future and your health are in your hands.’”