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David Ripley: House Passes Funding Measure with Strong Pro-Life Language

September 21st, 2017 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The U.S. House passed an omnibus appropriations bill (HR 3354) yesterday that consolidates into one piece of legislation all twelve of the big appropriations measures. This is a first step toward normalizing the funding process – which has been in tatters for many years.

What caught our eye about this development was the pro-Life content of the spending measure.

Buried in the section of the bill to fund the Department of Health & Human Services is language to defund Planned Parenthood. The Republican House directs that none of the money in the budget can be given to organizations that perform abortion. Instead, that money is re-directed toward actual health care providers.

In addition, the House bill would prohibit the use of federal funds in experimental research projects using tissue harvested from aborted babies.

There are dozens of other pro-Life measures written into the bill – including a prohibition of funding for the UN Population Fund and Conscience Protections for medical personnel.

That is terrific news. But it immediately raises the question: What next? Is there any chance that the U.S. Senate could pass this appropriation bill and get it to the President’s desk? We believe that this legislation is subject to the Senate’s 60-vote filibuster rule. If so, then the Democrat minority will certainly exercise its veto power and stop this bill from even being voted on.

Which brings us to the conclusion that it is time for the Senate leadership to end the filibuster rule – at least with respect to the budgeting and appropriation process. This is at the heart of the powers and Constitutional responsibilities of Congress. Yet dysfunction has become the norm. Year after year we witness the fiasco of continuing resolutions and perpetual funding of programs and agencies a majority in Congress do not support.

Recovering a rational spending process would go a long way toward rebuilding the public trust in Congress as an institution. But it will require Sen. McConnell and Senate Republicans to take the courageous step of revamping the rules best left to an era long since passed.

We pray the Republicans in the Senate find the will to pass the House appropriations measure.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Presidential Politics, Taxes | No Comments »

David Ripley: Outrageous Assault on the Constitution

September 9th, 2017 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The Trump Administration must take swift action to protect religious liberty in America.

Churches in the Great State of California are being forced to pay for abortions as part of the health insurance plans they are required to provide employees. This gross assault on religious liberty rights began in 2014 when the California Department of Managed Health Care issued an edict declaring abortion to be a “basic health service”. Because of ObamaCare, that bureaucratic edict has the force of law.

And now a federal district court in California has apparently issued a ruling declaring that this ObamaCare rule wipes out the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Several churches in California filed a lawsuit against the State of California begging for relief from the courts. They argued that not only does the California rule violate the right to the free exercise of religion, it also violates federal law in the form of the Weldon Amendment designed to prevent the use of federal tax dollars to pay for abortions.

The federal judge dismissed the lawsuit brought by three churches last week, relying upon a ruling by the Obama Administration’s Justice Department that California’s mandate does not violate the Weldon Amendment.

Pro-Life members of Congress have already been working on the Trump Administration to fix this situation. According to LifeNews, a delegation recently met with Health & Human Services Secretary Tom Price, asking for a fresh review of the outrage in California and the application of the Weldon Amendment to policies sold in California.

It is difficult to understand how a federal judge is free to ignore the clear language of the Constitution, or the various Supreme Court rulings applying the First Amendment to this whole ObamaCare/Abortion Mandate controversy.

Ultimately, it is up to the Congress to destroy the monster which is ObamaCare. Let us pray that, after yet another vacation, Republicans in Congress return to work with a fresh sense of vigor to provide the leadership and relief they have promised.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

David Ripley: Reflections on the Passing of Cecil Andrus

September 6th, 2017 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Idaho Democrats and media folks will be making much this week of Cecil Andrus, the recently deceased former governor of Idaho. And, honestly, there is much about Andrus’ career which is very noteworthy. There is no doubt, for instance, that he is one of the state’s most effective politicians. With his time as Interior Secretary (under Jimmy Carter), Andrus became one of Idaho’s most prominent national exports, ranking with the likes of William Borah and Frank Church as a player on a national stage.

He worked hard to move Idaho in a leftward trajectory during his second stint as governor, and Democrats are, as one would expect, lauding his work at improving education funding and expanding public lands.

We note, however, that the many obituaries and tributes proffered to date fail to mention his most significant historical moment: As the entire nation watched, Cecil Andrus vetoed HB 625 following the 1990 Session of the Idaho Legislature. This bill would have severely restricted the practice of abortion in Idaho. As a pro-abortion Democrat consultant in those days, I was among those urging his veto of the bill. And I was present in his office at the moment he stamped his veto on the bill; much to my shame, I joined with those cheering his action.

Prior to that moment, Andrus had always campaigned as “pro-Life” and something of a moderate. And in that he was not alone. Most Idaho Democrats holding elective office in the immediate post-Roe era identified as “pro-Life”.

But as the lives of thousands of preborn hung in the balance, Andrus chose to defend abortion-on-demand. He then persuaded most Democrats in Idaho to abandon their historical position to eventually become the party of abortion rights. Andrus and Idaho Democrats enjoyed some initial political success with their new “progressive” strategy.

Over the decades since, however, Idaho Democrats began to swallow more and more of the radical social agenda on marriage, homosexuality, abortion and transgenderism. They began to abandon the public argument that they were different from more radical national Democrats, and, today, make little pretense of seeking to represent the values or opinions of the Idahoans they seek to “represent” in office. I believe this alienation is the key failing of the modern Idaho Democrat Party, and central to the reason they hold so few seats in the Legislature.

This transformation was exemplified by Cecil Andrus himself when he heartily endorsed Barack Obama for president.

So, for all his brilliance and skill as a national-grade politician, Cecil Andrus can be rightly charged with leading his Idaho Democrats into a political cul-de-sac. But that is just more politics.

I write this with a heavy heart – not so much for the loss of Cecil Andrus, who enjoyed a long and richly blessed life. No. My heart is heavy in realizing that many thousands of Idaho babies have been lost, many women and men damaged, as a result of that seminal decision by Andrus back in the spring of 1990. My own preborn son is among those casualties.

Perhaps Andrus’ most enduring legacy will be the fact that in the Idaho Statehouse today, Democrats continue to follow his lead by fighting any attempt to restrict their most cherished civic value, abortion-on-demand, at any stage of a pregnancy.

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Posted in Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Politics in General | No Comments »

David Ripley: Oregon Makes Abortions “Free”

September 6th, 2017 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The liberals in Oregon have struck another death blow at the innocent by essentially declaring “free” abortions a right in this west coast enclave. (We say “free” because the women and babies and fathers and families and taxpayers will pay a heavy emotional, financial and spiritual cost).

Under the legislation signed into law by Governor Kate Brown this week, any resident of Oregon – whether legal or illegal – can get the taxpayers of that state to cover the cost of their abortions. Insurance companies are also forced to provide elective abortion services as part of their “essential” benefit package to all policy holders. And they are forbidden to charge a co-pay or deductible.

This is a financial bonanza for Planned Parenthood, of course.

But it is also a distressing development on many levels. It will guarantee an increased rate of killings of preborn children. It also embroils every employer, taxpayer and insurance company in the morally repugnant act of destroying innocent lives.

In his fight against the legislation, Oregon state Representative Mike Nearman made it clear that Oregon has no meaningful restriction on the so-called “right” to abortion. He declared that one could get an abortion at any time in a pregnancy, and for any reason. And, now, that service is cost free to the mother.

In their zeal to enhance Planned Parenthood’s coffers, Oregon Democrats may have jeopardized health care for many Oregonians. Some legal analysts believe that the new law violates the provisions of the federal Weldon Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal taxpayers to pay for abortions.

One can only hope and pray that the Trump Administration will scrutinize the radical policies now in place in Oregon.

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Posted in Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Politics in General, Taxes | No Comments »

David Ripley: Obama Continues to Oppress Americans, as Congress Does Nothing

September 6th, 2017 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Despite being gone from office for some seven months, the Obama Administration continues to impose its will on the people of America.

With the failure of the Republican Senate to move on repealing ObamaCare and all its ugly mandates, the federal government continues to force Christians to pay for abortion-causing drugs as part of ObamaCare insurance plans.

The latest setback came from the hands of the Third Circuit of Appeals, housed in Pennsylvania, which ruled last week that a pro-Life pregnancy center in Pennsylvania was not exempt from the ObamaCare Mandate which forces them to purchase insurance for employees covering abortion-causing drugs. Two of the three judges on the panel issued a ruling declaring that Real Alternatives was “in no way like a religious denomination or one of its nontheistic counterparts” – and, therefore, is not protected by the Supreme Court’s rulings in the Hobby Lobby case or the Little Sisters case.

The pro-Life pregnancy center is, therefore, required to use its funds, donated by Christians to save babies from abortion, to help pay for aborting babies.

In a statement to Life News, the director of the pregnancy center, Kevin Bagatta, argued with the edict by the 3rd Circuit panel, arguing that its decision would be like forcing the American Cancer Society to purchase cartons of cigarettes for its employees.

One would assume that the pregnancy center will ask the Supreme Court to look at the 3rd Circuit ruling. But even a victory there is not sufficient. As long as Congress refuses to destroy this ObamaCare thing, various rebellious courts and rogue agents in the Justice Department will continue to use its provisions to harass and obstruct the pro-Life agenda. They will continue to defy previous Supreme Court rulings. And they will continue to twist and dismiss the liberty protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

We must also observe that it is nearly inexplicable that the Trump Administration has allowed federal government employees to continue to defend the ObamaCare Mandate in the courts. Why did Attorney General Sessions not order the attorneys working for the federal government to drop the case against Real Alternatives? Part of the answer, no doubt, is that the vast apparatus of the U.S. Department of Justice is not really under the control of Trump or Sessions. This huge bureaucracy is staffed with liberal Democrats left behind like roadside bombs by Barack Obama.

Which brings us back to the very slow pace of work being accomplished by the U.S. Senate.

The ruling by the 3rd Circuit illustrates just one of the most egregious aspects of genuine oppression being suffered by the American people as a result of Congress’ failure to act. (Need we mention the huge rate increase being imposed on Idahoans next year by Blue Cross?)

Hopefully members of Congress will be getting an awful earful during their August vacation.

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Posted in Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

David Ripley: Baby Charlie Goes to Heaven

August 1st, 2017 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

News has just reached us that baby Charlie Gard has passed away.

He was denied access to experimental care by a European government gone amuck and a medical/legal system more interested in control than serving mankind. The arrogance of the British court system reached new heights when a London judge even denied Charlie’s parents the dignity of bringing their baby home to die in the privacy of their family.

We believe that Charlie is in a better place. We pray for the comfort of his loving parents. And we can only hope that his death will force a more fierce debate about the dangerous direction in which health care is headed.

Such a debate is now more important than ever given Sen. John McCain’s decision to single-handedly protect and preserve ObamaCare in the United States.

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Posted in Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues | No Comments »

David Ripley: Dark Spirit within Modern Medicine Exposed

August 1st, 2017 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The on-going battle for the life of baby Charlie Gard in England has taken another dark turn. The judge there issued a ruling that the baby’s parents could not take him to the United States for experimental treatment without his permission. Ponder that for a moment.

There might be an argument for a court to get involved in such a case if there is a conflict between responsible family members. Or if there is evidence of neglect. Perhaps one could argue that courts ought to get involved when medical staff don’t feel continued treatment is humane or even reasonable.

But how can one justify the court’s imperious position in this circumstance?

While the medical staff in England have concluded that the baby should be taken off life support, an American doctor has stepped forward and is offering to treat baby Charlie. Why would the medical staff or a court stand in the way? What interests could compel a judge to override the parents’ desire to pursue treatment? After all, they have raised private funds to pay for treatment, so this judge can’t even offer the excuse of representing the taxpayers in socialist England.

The most likely motivation is imperious arrogance.

Given the corruption of England’s health care system by overwhelming governmental intrusion, health care decisions are now a matter of societal concern. Government and its various demi-gods shall be in charge. No longer shall individuals be allowed to make choices for themselves or their loved ones. Families cannot be allowed to struggle through the hard choices inherent in the treatment of deadly diseases. Now lawyers and bureaucrats and prideful medical professionals shall decide who lives and who dies; who is worth saving at what cost.

For those seduced by the Bernie Sanders-Nancy Pelosi scheme to enlarge government intrusion into American health care – we urge a cold-eye review of this tragedy in England. This is where we are headed in this nation: A world in which the primary struggle is not against the disease or injury, but against one’s own government.

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Posted in Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues | No Comments »

David Ripley: This is What Government Health Care Looks Like

July 19th, 2017 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The story of baby Charlie Gard has troubled millions across the world, as courts have stepped in to order the death of a vulnerable child. The parents continue to fight for him, arguing that they have a right to pursue experimental treatment. British courts – and even a “super” European Union Court – have sought to strip these parents of the right to bring in additional medical experts.

It strikes most people as odd, even evil, that courts would regulate access to health care. Why should these parents not be able to defend the life of their precious son for as long as they have the means, the will and the hope to do so? Why have European courts sought to insert themselves in this private, painful, struggle?

The answer lies in the dark side of government-run health care. While politicians love to dole out goodies in exchange for votes and plaudits – there is always a price. Obviously we are the schlocks who pay the taxes they play with. Perhaps more troubling is the control and bureaucracy which inevitably attaches to such public programs. Thus, the real coin of the realm is freedom.

We see this playing out in Washington, D.C. as Republicans struggle to actually relinquish the power they’ve seized to manage our health care. As Americans suffer from the oppressive burden of ObamaCare, the Republicans in Congress dawdle and moan over a real vote to repeal this ill-advised take over of the nation’s health care system. Forget the thousand promises and hot campaign rhetoric. Now it is real, and now it is too hard for some.

If ObamaCare is allowed to stand, Americans will need to develop a close, personal relationship with their member of Congress. Not only will families have to have a good doctor, we will need our Congressman to intervene and help us battle the bureaucracy which doles out the care our children or parents might need. Going forward, we can easily imagine that every session of Congress for decades to come will be dominated by new legislation to “fix” the health care system recklessly destroyed by Obama and Pelosi back in 2010. While the Democrats have earned the scorn they’ve reaped by imposing ObamaCare, Republicans are now dancing with disaster by guaranteeing its permanence.

Let us pray that reason returns to the Republican Congress. Let us pray they again find the will to defend freedom and the free markets.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Politics in General | No Comments »

David Ripley: Defunding PP Very Much Alive

July 3rd, 2017 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Senate Leadership released their draft of ObamaCare “Repeal” this morning. We are relieved, and grateful, to report that the effort to end taxpayer support of Planned Parenthood remains very much alive.

We are in no position yet to comment on the larger content and policy directions of this draft legislation. Yet we are encouraged that Sen. McConnell continues to support defunding Planned Parenthood. In addition, the leadership’s version of ObamaCare Repeal would prohibit the use of any federal subsidies families may receive for health care to be used for elective abortions.

There are broad pro-Life principles at stake in the national debate over health care. We have long been adamantly opposed to ObamaCare because of its fundamental threat to pro-Life values: End-of-Life issues, access and affordability, as well as abortion. Destruction of ObamaCare is a vital pro-Life objective. Congress must find a way to get this job done for America.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Politics in General, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

David Ripley: Planned Parenthood Huge Liability in Georgia Race

July 3rd, 2017 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

As if Republicans need any more justification to defund Planned Parenthood – beyond the moral and death issues – consider this simple fact: They spend a tremendous amount of money trying to defeat Republicans.

Media reports indicate that the abortion chain dumped over $1 million into the Democrat’s campaign coffers, and conducted extensive GOTV efforts in an all-out effort to defeat Republican Karen Handel.

In addition to their pathological opposition to Donald Trump, the organization was especially motivated to defeat Handel: She was the valiant pro-Life champion who resigned from the Komen Foundation back in 2012 over its donations to Planned Parenthood. Radical abortion champion Jon Ossoff made quite an issue of Handel’s “opposition” to breast cancer screening. Of course the voters saw through the insanity of such a charge given Handel’s life-long involvement with fundraising for breast cancer treatment.

One close observer of the race, Phil Kent, former editor of the August Chronicle, was quoted in a Newsmax article as arguing that “Planned Parenthood was a big issue in the race and pro-Lifers came out heavily for Karen Handel”.

The special election was a huge victory for the pro-Life movement and compelling evidence that Republicans in Congress need to press forward on keeping their promises to repeal ObamaCare and Defund Planned Parenthood.

Here is an excerpt from a column we posted about Karen Handel back in 2013:

An Interview with Karen Handel

The National Review has posted an interview on its website with Karen Handel, author of Planned Bullyhood and the woman at the center of the Komen-Planned Parenthood fracas of just a year ago.

She recounts in the interview some of the key material from her expose, as well as a powerful rebuttal of the simplistic definition of “women’s health” used by Planned Parenthood to extort millions from the government treasury.

She identifies the close partnership between government, media and the nation’s leading abortion provider – a partnership which has resulted in the death of millions of American babies. (As we run up to the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, it is important to understand how this abortion culture sustains itself through our tax dollars).

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Politics in General, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

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