Monday, January 31, 2005

Dark Humor in the MSD Scandal

There is more to tell about the Meridian School District scandal involving tax-funding of employee abortions through their insurance plan:

For those who have a little background with the ins-and-outs of the situation, there was a good deal of dark humor in the responses of the Idaho Education Association, Blue Cross of Idaho and the Meridian School District.

During our news conference last week, I raised the issue of the teachers’ union involvement in developing this scheme. After all, the IEA staff coordinates collective bargaining across the state. We also know that the IEA is a large contributor to the Idaho Women’s Network – one of the most outspoken advocates of abortion-on-demand in the state. And then there is the simple reality that the IEA’s parent organization, the National Education Association, is a prime mover of the Abortion Lobby’s agenda across the country.

But the President of the IEA told the Idaho Statesman my suggestion they were involved in demanding abortion benefits in the teacher contract was “a scurrilous lie”.

It seems no one is sure how this outrageous thing came about.

And a spokesman for Blue Cross assured the public their arrangement was legal – despite the fact that Idaho law clearly prohibits group plans from offering a blanket abortion benefit. Apparently their reading of Idaho law is that groups covered by law can opt out upon someone’s decision to do so. I wonder if this kind of thing applies to regular people – say on the question of paying income taxes? I suppose not.

But seriously, we are going to have to somehow settle the question of whether this sort of arrangement is legal or not. Obviously the Idaho Legislature intended something to happen when it took all the time to pass a statute in the 1983 session.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Kathleen’s Baby Girl Matters

I want to thank you for your prayers on behalf of Kathleen Ciccone’s family these past few weeks. She is the young woman killed in the fall of 2003 by her husband. Also killed that awful day was her preborn child.

Earlier this week, a jury in Mountain Home returned a guilty verdict on two counts of murder. One for Kathleen, one for her baby girl. That is an historic moment in Idaho, since it is the first test of “Noah’s Law” – passed by the Idaho Legislature in 2002.

Of course, nothing could console the family of Kathleen Ciccone; their loss is immeasurable. Yet, their pain would be greatly enhanced if this crime had happened before that session.

We know from our involvement with the Smith family a few years ago that the salt in their wound was being told by prosecutors that nothing could be done about the beating death of little Noah. It was as if he mattered not at all. At least the family of Kathleen Ciccone will not have to suffer that indignity.

And speaking of the Smith family, I had the great blessing of talking with Kathy Smith the day the verdict was announced. She is the grandmother of baby Noah. She and Lisa Smith, Noah’s mother, are the unspoken heroes of this verdict in Mountain Home. Without their courage and loving sacrifice, the Idaho Legislature would probably not have seen fit to enact a fetal homicide statute in 2002. They beat back their own pain and fears to testify on behalf of our legislation – because they wanted to make sure that what happened to them never happened again.

Well, it didn’t.

You’ll be happy to know that Lisa is in school, courageously pressing forward with her life. Our prayers go with her and with Kathleen Ciccone’s family as they struggle to carry terrible grief.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Meridian School District Pays for Employee Abortions

We held a news conference with prominent legislators yesterday afternoon at the Capitol to expose an appalling abuse of taxpayers by the Meridian School District. Here are the details:

For at least the past two years, all employees of the Meridian School District have been given abortion benefits in the group health insurance plan. A special rider allows for employees to get “elective abortions”. We don’t know yet how long this has been going on, or how many abortions the patrons of Meridian have paid for. Hopefully, those details will emerge in coming days.

Sen. Jack Noble, Vice-Chairman of the Senate Education Committee joined us in decrying this situation. He said, “…the patrons of the Meridian School District will be very upset to learn that a portion of their hard-earned tax dollars are not going to educate children, but to abort them.”

This insurance plan certainly violates the conscience of most Meridian families. And that includes a big chunk of Meridian teachers themselves.

No one asked them if they’d like to trade vision or dental benefits to get cosmetic abortions. In fact, most teachers didn’t even know such language was in their insurance plan until earlier this year.

Rep. Tom Loertscher was another Defender of Life at yesterday’s news conference. He challenged the arrangement, reminding the Meridian School Board that their insurance plan violates the state’s pro-Life policy. Loertscher was a leader in efforts to end Medicaid abortions in 2001.

So how did this atrocious arrangement come about? My best guess is that the Meridian School Board caved into demands from the Idaho Education Association as part of the collective bargaining process. It would, therefore, be wrong to assume that Meridian is alone.

Teachers in the larger districts need to look at their policies. If you find language about abortions, please call us, toll free, at 877-341-LIFE. In the Treasure Valley you can use our local number, 344-8709.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Please Pray for Terri

I’m sure you’ve already heard that Terri Schiavo was denied justice by the Supreme Court. But I’d like to spend a little time with you today, thinking about the gravity of this situation.

We reported a couple days ago that the Supreme Court held a conference on Friday; the justices gathered to decide whether they would consider the appeal from Governor Jeb Bush to save the life of a helpless woman. Apparently they were unimpressed. It took no time to decide; by Monday morning they were ready to announce that Terri would die.

What is her crime? She is now imperfect.

The rush to kill this woman is very difficult for me to comprehend. She has loving parents who beg only for the chance to care for her. But her husband, and the Death Lobby which has descended upon him, are committed to seeing her die.

I am also very troubled by the method ordered by various courts passing judgment. They have not even seen fit to allow her a merciful death: Terri Schiavo must die by starvation and/or dehydration. That will take one to two weeks. Why is that necessary? So the judges, like Pilate, can wash their hands of responsibility. They can kid themselves into believing that Terri died of “natural causes”.

Some have asked why we have devoted so much time to the Terri Schiavo case, given our mission of serving preborn children.

I am convinced that the Schiavo tragedy is a direct fruit of the abortion culture. We have grown hardened to the gift of Life. And we now have a legal system which has sanctified death through the doctrine of “privacy”. It is not accidental that Terri is being killed under the very same Constitutional doctrine that permits legalized abortion.

But more than that – Terri shares a vulnerability with preborn children that tries our humanity. Many have been found wanting.

Please pray for another miracle.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

BSU Poll on Abortion Suspect

The Los Angeles Times, not exactly a moderate newspaper, released results of a national survey last weekend on America’s attitudes toward abortion. Their numbers showed a majority of Americans opposed all or most abortions. Of that 53% opposing abortion, 41% of all respondents said they believed abortion should be legal only in cases of rape, incest or to save the mother’s life.

This data is very close to a national survey of voters following last fall’s election. Wirthlin Group International found that 55% of Americans described themselves as “pro-Life”, while 40% were more or less in favor of legalized abortion.

That same survey found that President Bush’s pro-Life position gave him a 12-percentage point advantage over Kerry.

That’s the kind of data to which politicians pay a great deal of attention.

Which is why this next tidbit is so curious and significant.

Just before the legislative session opened, the Idaho Statesman reported on a statewide poll by liberal professors at Boise State University. It is an annual exercise, no doubt heavily subsidized by you and I.

The Statesman reported that a 57% of Idahoans were “pro-choice”. In the context of these national surveys, that data is quite odd. Idaho, the most Republican state in the nation, is more liberal on abortion than the nation? By some 17 percentage points? That kind of trending would make us more like California than Kansas – which is simply not plausible.

It is also curious that the Statesman reported other survey questions in great detail – including the questions and exact breakdowns of the answers. Not so with the abortion question. So we have no idea what people were asked, or exactly how they answered.

I’d like to think that this whole effort was merely accidental – but I’ve been doing this work too long. This whole polling and reporting scheme is a blatant attempt to create public opinion – or, rather, public policy. Most legislators don’t have access to polling data in their districts, so they are even more susceptible to this kind of subtle propaganda.

Without doubt, Idaho is a traditional values bastion – including the wide-spread certainty that human life begins at conception, and abortion is therefore wrong.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Prayers for Terri Schiavo Are Needed

It is time to check in on developments surrounding efforts to save Terri Schiavo’s life.

On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court held a conference to discuss what they should do with Governor Jeb Bush’s request that they hear his appeal to save Terri’s life. Gov. Bush is appealing a ruling from the Florida Supreme Court which found that “Terri’s Law” is unconstitutional. The black robes felt that the Legislature and Governor were threatening the power of the judiciary by presuming to stick their unwanted noses into their order that she be put to death by slow starvation.

In his appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, Gov. Bush asserts that all three branches of government in Florida have an independent power and duty to protect the welfare and interests of its citizens. Furthermore, in the Schiavo case, Bush alleges that the whole judicial process has been tainted by conflicts of interest.

Assume for a minute that the allegation is true. According to the Florida judges, there is no remedy. All power rests in their hands as the “super branch” of government.

Meanwhile, the new attorney for Terri’s parents issued a press release earlier this year. Barbara Weller visited Terri for the first time on Christmas Eve with her parents, and said she was quite surprised to see a quite different Terri Schiavo from the one described in most media stories. “Terri is interactive, curious and expressive. In fact, she is so alert that she should have been gathered around the Christmas dinner table enjoying the holiday with her family.”

I ask for your prayer on behalf of Terri – that the Supreme Court might find the humility to return this poor woman to the care of her loving parents.

Friday, January 21, 2005

RNC Elects Pro-Abort Vice-Chair

The new term of the president has also brought forth official changes at the Republican National Committee. The RNC approved the choice of Ken Mehlman as Chairman. Mr. Mehlman managed President Bush’s re-election campaign, so this is a natural choice.

What upset conservatives across the nation, however, was Mehlman’s nomination of Joann Davidson for the position of vice-chair. Davidson served for over a decade on the advisory board of “Republicans for Choice”. She is a former Speaker of the Ohio House, and refused to support a Marriage Protection Amendment to that state’s constitution.

Nevertheless, Mr. Mehlman saw fit to elevate her to a post of strategic importance. Upon Davidson’s nomination, Republicans for Choice posted a statement on its website applauding the selection, and pledged to “help her make sure the concerns of pro-choice Republicans are heard within RNC headquarters.”

Idaho Chooses Life joined with other pro-Life/pro-family groups in making a last minute appeal to the national committee to reject Ms. Davidson’s nomination. The American Family Association, Free Congress Foundation, Center for Moral Clarity and Idaho Chooses Life (among others) issued a press release urging Davidson to be rejected. Copies were sent to all members of the RNC.

At the vote on Wednesday, an open rebellion from pro-Life members of the national committee threatened to erupt. Many members of the panel reported that they were getting angry phone calls and emails from pro-Lifers in their states, angered by the news of a pro-abort being elevated to national leadership.

The Washington Times reported that this was a first test of Mehlman’s leadership. He was aided by a phone conference from the president himself: Mr. Bush expressed support for both Mehlman and Davidson.

Just prior to the floor vote, Ms. Davidson went to the podium to assuage concern.

She promised that if she were elected, she would not speak at fundraising or organizing events sponsored by abort groups. She also promised that she would support retention of the current pro-Life plank in the national platform.

On that basis, she was unanimously elected vice-chair. We shall see what trouble that brings in coming months.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Debate Rages Within Ranks of Pro-Life Movement

Today, I’d like to tackle a fundamental question raging within the ranks of the pro-Life community across the nation. At least four states will consider revolutionary legislation this winter. Bills to ban all abortions, except in cases where the mother’s life is at risk, will be considered in North Dakota, South Dakota, Virginia and South Carolina. I believe discussions are underway in other states about such legislation as well.

At first blush, it may surprise you to learn that the most intense opposition to these bills is coming from pro-Life groups. Foremost among those is National Right to Life, which managed to kill a ban actually passed by the South Dakota Legislature in 2004.

But recently, Americans United for Life has added its weight of opposition to this strategy as well. In an article published by the National Review, Clarke Forsythe has argued that it is a grave mistake to force the issue of abortion bans on the federal courts at this point. Much of his analysis hinges on the view that the Supreme Court is now stacked against us. The 6-3 vote of the Court in striking down a Partial Birth Abortion Ban in 2000 is compelling evidence.

Under such circumstances, Forsythe argues that there are three major drawbacks to moving forward with state legislation banning abortion:

First, it will only harden the pro-abortion will of the Supreme Court by creating more precedent. Second, each legal defeat means states will have to pay the attorney fees of the ACLU and other such groups. And third, this strategy represents real opportunity costs in states where effective legislation, like Informed Consent, could be enacted.

I will talk more tomorrow about this debate – and why Mr. Forsythe’s analysis is incomplete.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Dr. Tom Goes to Washington

Some call him Mr. Smith. On his way back to Washington – this time as a United States Senator.

Tom Coburn is the new Republican member representing the great state of Oklahoma in the Senate. He is an outspoken conservative on both fiscal and social issues. During his previous three terms in the U.S. House, Coburn managed to offend quite a number of his Republican colleagues. He refused to be one of those who simply went along with powerful special interests in order to be liked by colleagues looking for a good re-election deal.

In fact, Coburn has been quoted as saying that many members of Congress are part of the problem; the system rewards politicians who look only to the next election rather than thinking more long-term about the challenges facing the country.

Republican J.C. Watts told the Washington Times that Coburn’s “only special interest is the United States of America.” Watts went on to predict that Coburn will make the Senate a more interesting place.

Coburn did not run for re-election in 2000 in order to keep his promise to the people of Oklahoma that he would serve just three terms.

One of the things that makes Coburn unique is that he is pro-Life – but a pro-Life doctor. To be more specific, he is an Ob-Gyn. That makes him a powerful voice for preborn children.

Dr. Tom is not just a doctor looking for something more interesting to do: He is already involved in a dispute with the Senate leadership over rules which prohibit him from earning an outside living while serving in the Senate. Coburn insists that he will continue to deliver babies while in the Senate so that he can keep up his medical practice in Oklahoma. Obviously, this is a man who does not intend to say goodbye to the folks back on the farm for the charm of Paris.

And among the most important early developments of this new Congress is that Dr. Tom Coburn has gotten himself appointed to the Senate Judiciary Committee. He will be a formidable voice for the babies who cannot speak for themselves.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Planned Parenthood Creates Its Abortion Demand

We told you in Friday’s update that Planned Parenthood is planning to come back to the Idaho Legislature this year to re-gain its place at the public trough. The battle over tax-funding of this nefarious organization remains unresolved following our big push in 2003.

In that context, you might be especially interested in this article from Consumer Reports:

That esteemed consumer interest organization has reported on products from television sets to light bulbs to cars for decades. Now they tackle the question of condoms.

Consumer Reports recently tested a wide variety of condoms currently on the market, 23 in all, including such names as Trojan, Durex and Lifestyles. Their study included those available from Planned Parenthood, distributed free of charge because of huge tax-subsidies to the organization.

Planned Parenthood’s condoms were found to be among the least effective at preventing unwanted pregnancy; in fact, of the twenty-three studied, Planned Parenthood’s were the only ones to receive a “poor” rating by Consumer Reports. One kind had a failure rate of 85%.

Call me cynical – but one cannot help but ponder the implications. A wise old man once told me that it paid to “follow the money”. Planned Parenthood is America’s largest abortion provider. In 2003 it performed 224,628 abortions at a price tag of $104 million. That is more than a third of its total clinic income. Abortion is the organization’s fastest-growing source of income.

First you sell politicians on a weird plan to reduce teenage pregnancy. Then you use tax money to sell teenagers on the notion of free and safe sex. And if there is a little problem with the free gift – you have created demand for the big dollar service!

Now that is a dark and effective business plan.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Planned Parenthood Comes Back for Tax Funding

There has been scant information thus far – but the Abortion Lobby is apparently going to seek increased funding for “family planning” from the Idaho Legislature. The Idaho Statesman carried a little blurb in its pre-session publication last weekend.

This is a fascinating, and perhaps ominous development. Here’s a little history:

For years, the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare helped finance Idaho Planned Parenthood with a yearly grant to provide “family planning” services to low-income families and our children. You know, the usual stuff – condoms, pregnancy tests, referrals to abortion clinics and community education programs aimed at corrupting our teenage sons and daughters.

The yearly tax payments amounted to about $164,000. More important is the credibility it lent this nefarious organization. According to documents we obtained from the Department, Planned Parenthood of Idaho claimed to have “counseled” 38,000 Idahoans in 450 group presentations. Without doubt, most of those Idahoans were children.

They also claimed to have “treated” 824 Idaho teenagers, aged 15-17, and another 79 under the age of 15.

Ask yourself: What are these children being taught? Are the parents involved – or even aware of the fact that Planned Parenthood is indoctrinating their children with a completely different world view of profound moral questions – including easy abortion?

Planned Parenthood withdrew from the program under pressure following the 2003 session.

One would think that in the “most Republican” legislature in the country, Planned Parenthood would have little chance of re-gaining pubic money. But they found serious allies in legislative leaders like Bruce Newcomb, Joe Stegner and Dick Compton; in fact, a majority of the Senate Health & Welfare Committee actually went so far as to endorse the State’s partnership with Planned Parenthood in 2003.

With your help, perhaps we can persuade these Republicans this year that Planned Parenthood represents a substantial threat to our children and families.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Michigan Case Rips Open the Ugly Guts of Abortion

A tragic and bizarre case of murder has been proceeding in the State of Michigan during the holiday season. It highlights many of the strained underpinnings of legalized child murder in America.

A teenage couple became pregnant, but did not want to obtain the girl’s parents permission for an abortion. So they began a series of regular beatings of the baby with a baseball bat. The finally managed, after several weeks, to beat their child to death; the mother discharged the dead baby in October and they buried the baby in a neighboring township.

Authorities were alerted when the girl spoke about the experience at some kind of student leadership conference.

The father has been charged under Michigan law which prohibits assault or murder of a preborn child by a third party. This is a fetal homicide statute similar to Idaho’s “Noah’s Law”. The mother has not been charged, because the law specifically exempts mothers from prosecution for crimes against their preborn children. Many have commented on the basic injustice of this situation, given that the teenage mother willingly participated in the plot to kill the baby.

But that is just one bizarre result of a national legal system which recognizes the so-called “right” of a woman to abort her child at any point in the pregnancy. Rather than criticizing the pro-Life groups who promote fetal homicide statutes – critics ought to recognize that the real problem is with a court system dedicated to injustice against preborn children.

To make this case even more disturbing, both sets of grandparents have come forward to defend their teenagers, arguing that it is wrong to prosecute anyone for the abortion-by-beating. And that demonstrates the coldness of conscience which grips much of America.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Mountain Home Murder Trial Tests “Noah’s Law”

Kathleen Terry Ciccone was just 27 years old when she was run down by her new husband, according to Elmore County Prosecutors. She was 3 months pregnant at the time of her death.

The trial of Albert Ciccone, 28, has begun in Mountain Home and is expected to run through most of January. He is being charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

Ciccone becomes the first person charged under the 2002 “Noah’s Law”, which Idaho Chooses Life helped enact. That statute provides for the criminal prosecution of any third party who harms or kills a preborn child. The statute was enacted by the Legislature following the beating death of baby Noah Smith in Nampa, and is similar to the national “Laci & Connor Law” recently signed into federal code by President Bush.

Elmore County Prosecuting Attorney Aaron Bazzoli is not seeking the death penalty.

The case has received little media attention so far, probably because of the anti-baby bias of the state’s media.

Kathleen’s family is asking for support as they enter the trial phase, which was postponed from the summer.

Kathleen’s mother, Mrs. Kathy Fiqueredo, has shared some of her memories of her daughter: “When she was a little girl, I nicknamed her the Pied Piper, because she always had a trail of kids following her. This held true into her adult life. Everyone wanted to be in the same room with her. She was fun to be with and had a contagious laugh. When you were her friend, you knew it was for life.”

Pro-Lifers in the Mountain Home area are asked to spend time at the courthouse in support of the family. Prayers for the trial and family are needed from Christians across the state.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

ICL To Seek Justice in 2005 Session

The new legislative session is officially underway with last night’s State of the State address by Governor Kempthorne.

This will be one of the most challenging sessions in history for the pro-Life movement. There are a number of important issues on the table.

First is Parental Consent. The Attorney General is seeking a Supreme Court review of our setback at the 9th Circuit. But with delaying tactics by the Abortion Lobby in the case, it seems unlikely we learn whether the nation’s highest court will take the case before the legislative session adjourns.

That means that we face a crucial question: Should we let all our hopes ride with the Supreme Court, or should we seek an amendment of the law from this current Legislature? The stakes are very serious for Idaho’s teenagers and their families. As of now, there is no protection for babies, girls or their parents.

If we fail to act this session, and the Supreme Court fails to act – we will be faced with that awful situation for at least another full year.

Another crucial issue for us will be Informed Consent. It is unbelievable that Idaho women and girls are continuing to undergo abortions without a full understanding of their options or the risks they are assuming. Long ago the Idaho Legislature determined that this was an untenable situation. Some 17 mothers choose to abort their babies each week in Idaho. Perhaps one-third of them would choose otherwise if they had comprehensive information beforehand.

We will be presenting legislation to address this situation. But our odds of success are shortened by continued tensions within the pro-Life community. This division is being carefully fed by ambitious politicians who want to escape responsibility for the lives that are being sacrificed each day.

I assure you that Idaho Chooses Life seeks to work with any politician or group honestly interested in solving this terrific problem. We seek peace with those groups – but it must be a peace founded on justice; justice for our daughters, and justice for our preborn brothers and sisters.

Please join me in praying that such a path is found.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Honoring A Pro-Life Family

Christian author and commentator Chuck Colson recently wrote a powerful column on pro-Life values under real pressure.

His parents call him “B.J.” He’s imperfect, and sometimes the B.J. stands for “Big Job”. But his family and members of the community also know he is a “Big Joy”. His Dad, Burt Kettinger, explains that “B.J. can make almost anyone smile. He has an unending empathy for others. In terms of heart and spirit, he outdoes us.”

That is quite a big statement from a father who chose the harder path.

His wife Sharon’s ultrasound offered warning signs that B.J. might not be like other children. The doctor advised her that her baby was at risk for Down Syndrome. Sharon knew that many babies with similar ultrasounds end up quite normal and healthy.

Regardless of the risk, Sharon and Burt determined that they would keep God’s gift. These are folks who not just “pro-Life” as a matter of philosophy – but pro-Life in heart, believing that God is the Author of all life.

Their son was born a month prematurely, and with two heart defects. Colson relates that three times during his first twenty-four hours vital organs shut down. Five months of intensive treatment by one specialist or another.

On top of the emotional, physical and financial strain – the Kettingers had to contend with the condemnation of others who have sipped the Kool-Aid, which seduces the drinker into thinking some people are worth more than others. One doctor told the parents they were irresponsible for bringing someone like B.J. into the world.

With the help of friends and church members, the Kettingers recently celebrated B.J.’s 15th birthday. May the Lord keep them and sustain these people for their loving faithfulness.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Rhenquist Defends Judiciary From Conservatives

We’ve been discussing for the past couple days the looming battle over judicial appointments and the future of the republic. I firmly believe that the dominant domestic battle of the next four years will be a series of bitter campaigns against Bush’s nominees to the bench. His resubmission of twenty presumed pro-Life nominees to Congress amounts to a line in the sand; he has called the liberals out and they will surely come.

During Christmas break, the LA Times ran a story about Chief Justice William Rhenquist. More specifically, they published an article about Rhenquist’s annual year-end report on the state of the federal judiciary. While the Chief Justice has yet to return to the Court because of his cancer, he apparently oversaw the drafting of this year’s report.

In it, the conservative jurist took politicians and others to task for threatening to punish liberal, activist judges. As a reference point, the Times reporter reminded readers that Tom DeLay, House Majority Leader, has repeatedly called for the impeachment of judges who construct law from the bench – thereby abusing their constitutional authority.

Justice Rhenquist took issue with such tactics, saying they threatened the independence of the judiciary. He said judges should be able to administer the law without regard to public opinion.

The remedy, Rhenquist claims, is to appeal an activist judge’s ruling to a higher court. And, over time, he says, the public can modify the courts through the election of the president and members of the Senate.

It is hard not to feel some sympathy for Rhenquist – who is not only sick, but who has stood like a Rock of Gibraltar against the abomination of legalized abortion many times.

But his defense of the institution fails on many levels. First, he does not appreciate the grave threat judicial activism poses to the republic. Nor does he fully appreciate the unused power and responsibility that Congress has to ensure that the federal judiciary does not abuse its limited authority.

Perhaps most importantly, Rhenquist seems confused about the difference between an independence borne of freedom from corruption – and a judiciary unchecked by any bond of accountability. The esteemed Chief Justice needs to be reminded that the judiciary is empowered to serve the People, not enslave it.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Bush Re-Submits Twenty Conservative Jurists to Senate

With the gathering of a new Congress, the great battle to save our courts has been enjoined.

During the Christmas break, President Bush indicated that he would resubmit the names of twenty pro-Life judicial nominees to the Senate. With the Republicans now controlling 55% of the Senate, there is greater hope that these nominees will get a hearing and a straight up-or-down vote.

Priscilla Owen of Texas has been renominated, along with California Supreme Court justice Janice Rodgers Brown. For Idahoans, the resubmission of Boise attorney William G. Myers for appointment to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals may be of greatest immediate interest. Myers is supported by the Idaho Congressional delegation, but was denied a confirmation vote by the last Congress.

Federal law gives each state the right to have at least one of its citizens serving on appellate courts determining its future – but Idaho presently has no judge on the court.

As of this writing, there was no news available on proposed rules changes by Republicans in the Senate to better manage the guerilla tactics of pro-abort Democrats. Over the past four years, Democrats have increasingly abused the filibuster to keep pro-Lifers from even getting votes.

When he learned of Bush’s intentions last month, new Democrat Leader Harry Reid said he was “extremely disappointed” Bush was going to pursue the nomination of “extremist” judges. So much for the hype of a more moderate face to the Democrat party.

But Senators went ahead on Tuesday and confirmed Republican Arlen Specter as the new chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The vote was unanimous by panel Republicans.

At one point following the election, Specter publicly stated that it was “unlikely” Bush’s more conservative nominees could win Senate approval once he became Chairman. After a national firestorm, Specter issued a public letter stating that he was committed to making sure that Bush’s nominees received fair treatment at the hands of the panel.

The wisdom of that move by Senate Republicans and the Bush Administration will soon be tested.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Top Story #1: Bush’s Reelection Offers Hope of Progress

Here, in our view, is the top pro-Life story of 2004 – Bush’s reelection sets the stage for hopeful progress in America over the next four years. We originally broadcast this on November 4th:

Without doubt, the nation received a tremendous reprieve this week. Even as reports surfaced that Chief Justice William Rhenquist did not return to work as promised, the fate of the nation swung back and forth as one state or another counted its vote.

It is time for us all to give thanks to the Lord that we have avoided the disaster of a Kerry presidency. Particularly through the federal judiciary, Kerry’s legacy to America would have been long, devastating and nearly impossible to fix. Any worldly hope for rescuing our children from abortion in our lifetimes would seemingly be a dim one indeed.

Yet, amazingly, the heartland of America rose up in dramatic fashion to choose the politics of Life.

A Bush second term promises progress in the crusade to restore preborn children to the human family, to protect women and girls from the scourge of an abortion history. As I’ve said before, the primary domestic battle of a Bush second term will be appointments to the federal judiciary.

In that vein, it is encouraging that Republicans gained some ground in the United States Senate, as part of the strong Bush victory. The glorious defeat of the chief abortion advocate in the Senate, Tom Daschle is a real blow to the Abortion Lobby.

We should also be encouraged by the strong victory in Florida for a Parental Notification Amendment to the state constitution. By a margin of 65%, voters rebuked the leftist agenda of their imperial judiciary.

A major disappointment on the national scene comes from California. Voters approved, by a vote of 59% to 41%, a measure to spend some $6 billion on embryonic stem cell research, leading to the death of untold thousands of tiny humans. I fear this will become a dark trend within the nation’s medical community – unless we can muster the political will to push a measure through Congress banning such practices in this nation.

May the Lord bless the president and those around him during these next four years, helping Mr. Bush choose the right.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Top Ten Story #2: Lawsuit Filed Against Health & Welfare

There are many heroes in our battle against the State of Idaho. This is a righteous action designed to enforce Idaho’s long-dormant “Right to Know” statute. This law was passed by the Idaho Legislature as a safeguard for women and babies. Yet the bureaucrats running the Department have exercised a “pocket-veto” over the Legislature.

As you know, we have filed a lawsuit with the State of Idaho to see that Idaho women and girls finally get the information they need in order to make an informed decision about abortion. That action would probably not have been possible without the courage of three post-abort women who were denied information. And on behalf of all the pregnancy centers in Idaho, we were joined by Lifeline Pregnancy Center in downtown Nampa. This is a seventeen-year old institution in Idaho, having helped thousands in their quiet mission of mercy.

I just received in the mail their monthly newsletter, in which Chairman Mark Hilty explains to their supporters why they joined us in the lawsuit. I’d like to read a little from his letter:

“Our board made it clear that we would not participate in the suit while reasonable avenues for settlement existed…. Regardless of what you may hear in the coming weeks and months, Idaho Chooses Life made every reasonable effort to resolve this matter with the Governor’s office….

“Whether to participate in this lawsuit was, for me, the most difficult decision I have had to make during my eight years on the Lifeline Board…. However, I simply could not look the other way. With knowledge comes responsibility…. In the end, the Lifeline Board voted somberly but unanimously to move forward with litigation. Now as always your prayers are coveted ….”

I assure you this is unpleasant duty. But we are blessed to have leaders like Mark Hilty and the loving hearts of Lifeline with us in the battle. May our Lord keep them safe as this battle intensifies.

Monday, January 03, 2005

TOP TEN STORY #3: PRIMARY ELECTION PROGRESS

I’d like to spend the next few days wrapping-up our review of 2004. With the new legislature about to descend once more on Boise, Top Story #3 is particularly important: a review of election gains. This was originally broadcast on June 3rd:

Well, the spin-meisters and pundits are out in force, telling the public what last week’s primary election was all about. It is more than a report on who won and lost – this media and public relations effort is about jockeying for political power and moving agendas forward.

For instance, the Idaho Association of Commerce & Industry has published a newsletter for its members – gleefully explaining that conservative Republicans were handed a general defeat in the primary. Here’s the headline: “The Republican Right Wing Came Up Short in the Primary”, celebrating the victories of Sen. Hal Bunderson, Rep. Mark Snodgrass, Rep. Joe Cannon, Sen. Brad Little and Rep. Clete Edmunson.

Frankly, this is a rather strange perspective for the state’s leading business group to take. Most of these politicians are responsible for the largest tax increase in Idaho history. But there is clearly a liberal agenda dominating the Treasure Valley business groups. For example, the Meridian and Boise Chambers of Commerce endorsed pro-tax Republicans this past primary against incumbents with 100% pro-business records.

In contrast to the story line being pushed by IACI – Randy Stapilus, veteran political reporter, offered this view of the primary results:

“No conclusive sweep in this year’s Republican primaries, but if you had to balance the wins and losses … [conservatives] fared just a little better.”

That is much closer to the truth. With the huge exception of Henry Kulczyk’s narrow defeat last week – the pro-Life community had a pretty good day. Of the 15 high priority races for Idaho Chooses Life, we saw strong pro-Lifers win 9 of them.

Our celebration is muted, however, by the body-blow of Henry Kulczyk’s loss. More than his strong leadership on moral issues – the loss of Henry is symbolically important. As a leader in the fight for both the Marriage Protection Amendment and the Ten Commandments Monument – Henry’s defeat gives real succor to the “gay rights”/anti-Christian segment of Idaho politics.