“…but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.” –Daniel 11:32 (ESV)
In case you missed it, there have been several stories in the news recently related to our core issues at Family Policy Alliance of New Mexico. One of our goals is to keep you informed on current events so we can anticipate some of the potential challenges and opportunities headed our way, particularly as they relate to religious freedom, the family, and life.
Religious Freedom – California State Legislature Passes Draconian Anti-Religious Freedom Legislation
Over the past several weeks, the California State Legislature has been rushing through one of the most controversial and anti-religious freedom bills on record. AB 2943, recently passed by the California Assembly, would make it illegal under California’s consumer protection law to offer “any practices that seek to…change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.” The legislation, which has been misleadingly advertised as a mere “conversion therapy ban,” is so broadly written that it could cover any financial transaction. This could lead to a ban on Christian books, retreats, and conferences, and a ban on any paid Christian counseling that helps those with unwanted same-sex attraction.
Family – British Toddler at the Center of UK Legal Battle Passes Away
After weeks of debate and legal appeals, 23-month-old Alfie Evans passed away when his life support was withdrawn by order of a UK Court over the objections of his parents. Alfie was on life support in a UK hospital for nearly half his life due to a degenerative brain disease. The doctors at the hospital ultimately determined that it was in the child’s “best interests” to have life support removed. Alfie’s parents fought desperately in the Court system to save his life and requested permission to seek treatment outside the country. Unfortunately, a UK High Court Justice rejected their request and ordered the termination of Alfie’s life support. Contrary to expectations by the doctors, Alfie continued to breath on his own. His parents appealed to the government once more to leave the country for treatment but, once again, the Court ruled to ban their travel. Alfie passed away a few days later.
Life – Iowa Legislature Passes, Governor Signs Heartbeat Bill
Let’s end this week on a positive note. Last Friday, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a bill to ban most abortions once a heartbeat is detected on the child.
After signing the bill, Governor Reynolds stated, “I believe that all innocent life is precious and sacred, and as governor, I pledged to do everything in my power to protect it. That is what I am doing today. I understand that not everyone will agree with this decision. But if death is determined when a heart stops beating, then doesn’t a beating heart indicate life? For me, it is immoral to stop an innocent beating heart. For me, it is sickening to sell fetal body parts. For me, my faith leads me to protect every Iowan, no matter how small. I understand and anticipate that this will likely be challenged in court, and that courts may even put a hold on the law until it reaches the Supreme Court. However, this is bigger than just a law. This is about life. I am not going to back down from who I am or what I believe in.”
These stories and many others serve as a powerful reminder of why we need elected leaders who are willing to protect religious freedom, family, and life. Next month, Family Policy Foundation will hold our annual Statesmen Academy to train elected officials to stand firm in their faith and advance these values through laws they pass. Two of our legislators from New Mexico have received invitations and confirmed their attendance! If you would like to support the Statesmen Academy, a generous Christian family has provided a matching grant, so every dollar given will be matched – now up to $120,000!
Thank you for standing firm and taking action with us!
For God’s Glory Alone,
President & Executive Director
By Stephanie Curry, Esq., policy manager for Family Policy Alliance
The image above commands our attention as a powerful symbol of a government standing between Baby Alfie and life.
This photo shows the British police guarding Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, the UK Hospital where Baby Alfie died over the weekend. The police were ostensibly there to ensure the hundreds of protestors supporting baby Alfie didn’t charge into the hospital after a court decided that the hospital could remove Baby Alfie’s ventilator, against his parents’ wishes. The hospital argued keeping Alfie on a ventilator was futile and his condition was beyond hope.
Interestingly enough, the Judge writing the decision to remove Alfie’s life support wrote that Alfie’s father’s “core dilemma” was that he was, “unable to relinquish hope.” Alfie’s father, Tom, passionately argued “no stone should be left unturned” in pursuing treatment for his child, and ultimately Alfie is “our child and a child of God.”
Tom didn’t know what the future held for his son, but he certainly knew the value of his son’s life must not be in the hands of the government.
Tom had the support of a hospital in Rome, ready to take over Alfie’s care and continue his life support—even standing by to provide a full air ambulance to Italy. And if that didn’t work out, Alfie’s parents were prepared to take him to Germany. If that didn’t work, they asked the judge if they could take him home.
Yet, the UK government, both literally and figuratively, stood between Alfie and his chance of life. They denied all of Tom’s requests to remove Alfie from Alder Hey—even his request to take his son home. The judge agreed with Alder Hey that a journey to Italy or even Germany would be too risky. In other words, Alder Hey argued on one side that death would be a merciful end to Alfie’s life, but yet refused to allow him to be transported to a different hospital because there was a risk of death.
Unlike the United States, the UK government has multiple years of bad law leading up to this moment, where the government has been handed the power to use force to ensure a child’s death. British parents no longer decide the best interests of their child –the government does. And when the government decides the value of a child’s life, children lose. Children like Alfie Evans, Charlie Gard, and Isaiah Haastrup.
Here in America, we still have an opportunity to ask –are these children in the care of the government, or their parents? The American legal system still considers the parent-child relationship one of the most protected and fundamental rights in the United States. Period. In the United States, our children are not the government’s kids.
But, we’re starting to see bills that resemble laws in the UK, allowing courts to overrule parents’ wishes—bills with attractive titles like “Children’s Bill of Rights.” These types of laws would remove parental considerations in determining the best interests of a child, just like in the UK.
Parents and lawmakers in America must learn from what’s happening to these precious children in the UK. Laws that proponents claimed would protect children are now being used to strip parents of their rights and devalue the relationship between a parent and child.
Family Policy Alliance is working to pass laws like Simon’s Law, that ensure parental rights are protected in the most critical moments of their child’s life. We hope you will partner with us in protecting parental rights in America.
During the summer, our team of attorneys works to draft good bills that will help protect parental rights. Please consider donating to support these efforts.
Or, please consider supporting the Statesmen Academy, a program through our Foundation that trains lawmakers to uphold the principles of protecting life and parental rights in the laws they pass. Right now, every gift to the Statesmen Academy is being doubled up to $80,000, thanks to a generous Christian family.
By Stephanie Curry, Esq., policy manager for Family Policy Alliance
Alfie Evans is only 23 months old, but he has been on life support in a UK hospital for nearly half of his young life because of a degenerative brain disease. The doctors at the UK hospital determined baby Alfie is in a vegetative state and that it is in his “best interests” to have his life support removed.
Katie and Tom are fighting desperately for their child’s life in the UK Court system to stop the hospital from removing Alfie’s life support. Alfie’s parents have lost appeal after appeal to prohibit the hospital from making a choice that should only belong to the parents. Sadly, the UK Court of Appeals agreed that keeping Alfie alive was “inhumane”. The UK Supreme Court ruled that Alfie’s life support would be “futile.” And, ironically, even the European Court of Human Rights sees nothing wrong with these decisions and rejected Alfie’s case.
This case may remind you of baby Charlie Gard, whose parents also unsuccessfully fought a UK hospital last summer to give their child a chance at life through experimental treatment. It also may remind you of Simon Crosier, who was born here in the United States. Missouri hospitals made the same decision, that Simon’s condition was futile, and he was denied life-sustaining treatment when doctors placed a do-not-resuscitate order on his file without even notifying his parents.
Alfie’s Dad, Tom Evans has described the pain his family is facing –Little Alfie is “about to be murdered.” Who can blame this father’s heart? Tom and Katie have a fierce desire to protect their child’s life. The heart of a parent fills with hope and love for their child that can only belong to parents. A love that doesn’t belong to doctors, or hospitals, or governments.
Family Policy Alliance and our state allies, along with likeminded legislators, determined that parents should never have to go through what Charlie’s, Simon’s, and now Alfie’s parents have faced.
Family Policy Alliance of Kansas supported passing Simon’s Law, the first in the nation, that gives parents ultimate authority over whether or not a hospital can remove life-sustaining treatment from a child.
Simon’s Law legislation was also introduced in Georgia by Senator Chuck Payne, a legislator who was trained at Family Policy Foundation’s Statesmen Academy last year. Unfortunately, Simon’s Law legislation did not pass in Georgia this session. Elected leaders in Georgia thought Simon’s Law was too controversial for a vote.
This is a powerful reminder of why we need elected leaders who are willing to protect life and parental rights. The purpose of the Statesmen Academy is to train elected leaders to hold fast to their faith and principles in public office and to advance the values—like life and parental rights—that we care about through the laws they pass. Senator Chuck Payne advances these values in his position, but he can’t do it alone.
We still have a chance in America to fight for the right of parents to parent. Simon’s Law will be coming up again in Georgia next session, and other states. As elections draw nearer, be looking for candidates who cherish life and believe parents are in the best position to love and protect their children!
And, if you’d like to support the Statesmen Academy, a generous Christian family has provided a matching grant for this June’s Statesmen Academy, so every dollar given now will be matched—up to $80,000!