Babies Aren’t Us. You may have heard that the formerly great retail chain Toys R Us has filed for bankruptcy. The filing papers cite lots of reasons, including increased competition from other “big box” retailers. But one paragraph stood out: “The decrease of birthrates in countries where we operate could negatively affect our business. Most of our end-customers are newborns and children and, as a result, our revenue are dependent on the birthrates in countries where we operate. In recent years, many countries’ birthrates have dropped or stagnated as their population ages, and education and income levels increase. A continued and significant decline in the number of newborns and children in these countries could have a material adverse effect on our operating results.” An article in “The Washington Post” said that this problem wasn’t just a problem for Toys R Us, but for us all. The article concludes: “Toys R Us focuses on kids, so it’s feeling the crunch from declining birthrates long before the rest of the economy. But it’s just a matter of time before the trends that toppled the troubled toy maker put the squeeze on businesses that cater to consumers of all ages.”
Protecting the Unborn. Mississippi now protects unborn babies as young as 15 weeks old. On Monday, Gov. Phil Bryant signed a new law that bans abortions after 15 weeks. It’s the most robust protection for unborn babies in the nation, strengthening the state’s previous 20-week limit. Proving the old saying that “no good deed goes unpunished,” The Center for Reproductive Rights immediately said it would challenge the law in court, calling it “the latest in the state’s string of cruel and unnecessary assaults on reproductive rights.”
Supreme Court Showdown. A California law requires pregnancy care centers to tell women where the nearest abortion providers are. Pro-lifer pregnancy care centers are refusing, and that confrontation is going to the Supreme Court. According to the Associated Press, “California’s law was challenged by the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, an organization with ties to 1,500 pregnancy centers nationwide and 140 in California, including Informed Choices.” Informed Choices, represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, will argue its case before the Supreme Court today. Anne O’Connor, NIFLA’s vice president of legal affairs, said the centers exist to promote childbirth. She told the AP, “The crux of this issue is, can the government force anybody … to advertise for a message that they’re morally opposed to. We feel strongly that it violates our First Amendment rights.”
Helping Homeless Families. America has about 550,000 homeless people. About a third of them are families. A government program to alleviate homelessness is simply to give the homeless a home. Sounds logical enough. A person with a home is not homeless. But a growing body of evidence suggests that “housing first” policies are not working and may even be contributing to the underlying causes of homelessness. WORLD has published a thoughtful and balanced look at the “housing first” or “rapid rehousing” movement. To augment my friend Sophia Lee’s excellent article, I also recommend my interview with Tony Marciano of Charlotte Rescue Mission, who explains that any solution to homelessness and addiction that does not include a strong spiritual component is doomed to failure.
Milestones. Writer and life advocate Kara Tippetts died this week (Mar. 22) in 2015. To read and listen to my interview with her, held shortly before her death, click here.