Defunding Planned Parenthood, Pro-Life Ads Censored, Trump as Trigger, and Celebrating Work

Signs and Wonders

grande_prairie_bus_ad1_645_194_55It Might Actually Happen. The nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, received more than $500 million in federal funding in 2014, primarily in the form of Medicaid reimbursements. Pro-lifers have for years said that this funding should end. It could actually happen. Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List and an important Trump supporter, recently told TIME magazine: “We won for a reason. There’s never been a time, ever, when the muscle of the pro-life movement has been so strong.” The TIME article added, “For the first time in eight years, Dannenfelser and anti-abortion advocates are on the offensive and hoping their electoral work will pay off.” It won’t be easy to completely strip Planned Parenthood of funding, because it comes from a variety of sources in the byzantine federal budget. However, last week House Speaker Paul Ryan said Republicans will eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood in a budget bill. Yet Planned Parenthood will not go down without a fight. “Regardless of what Paul Ryan says and what he does, we are not going away, and we are not going anywhere,” said Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards.

Unintended Irony. A city in Canada, Grande Prairie, in the province of Alberta, has censored a pro-life ad campaign because an official there said the bus banners were “likely to cause psychological harm to women who have had an abortion.” Justice C. S. Anderson said the province of Alberta “reasonably” balanced the free speech rights of the pro-life advertiser with the transit authority’s policy of providing a “safe and welcoming” space for passengers. The ruling won’t prohibit all pro-life advertising, but it does prohibit a particular ad that includes ultrasound photos of a developing baby with the caption, “Growing . . . Growing . . . Gone.” The judge ruled that this ad might upset women and children.

Prayers of the People. An Episcopal church in California will no longer pray for the president by name, citing “an active danger to health and safety.” As part of their regular order of service, Episcopalians and many other Christian bodies pray for those in authority, as the Bible commands. Mike Kinman, Rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, blogged this week: “If you come to All Saints this Sunday, you’ll notice that we have removed the proper names from our prayers for those in authority. Whereas before we prayed for ‘Barack, our president,’ we are now praying for ‘our president, our president-elect, and all others in authority.’ This practice will continue for at least the near future. We are in a unique situation in my lifetime where we have a president elect whose name is literally a trauma trigger to some people—particularly women and people who, because of his words and actions, he represents an active danger to health and safety.”

American-Made. I will admit to being a bit of a fanboy of “Dirty Jobs” star Mike Rowe. He has long championed the value of hard work. He’s also been a spokesman for companies that actually “make things,” as he calls it. So it’s no surprise that he is in favor of keeping manufacturing in America. In an interview with Tucker Carlson, Rowe said he liked the idea of bringing jobs back to America, as President-elect Donald Trump has said he would. However, I think I prefer Rowe’s strategy for bringing those jobs back: It’s not about taxes and tariffs, but skills. Rowe said the Americans should focus on adding "the value that comes from getting your hands on a thing and always knowing how you're doing, because you're part of a process." He believes that one of the problems with tariffs on imported goods is that while they may reward the American manufacturer, they punish the American consumer. Consequently, he thinks the secret to blue-collar job creation is to encourage people to acquire skills that must be performed locally. He said occupations such as trucking, pipefitting, and plumbing have more openings than applicants. "Get a skill that's in demand and that can't be outsourced," Rowe advised. I would add that this is a thoroughly biblical idea. We are made in God’s image, and the Bible plainly describes God as a worker (Gen. 2:2 and elsewhere). Work is not a burden, but a blessing. We should seek and celebrate work as much as possible.

Image copyright Candian Centre for Bioethical Reform.

Warren Cole Smith is an investigative journalist and author as well as the Colson Center vice president for mission advancement.

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