Family Policy Institute of Washington created this video to encourage pastors to take a stand for religious freedom. This video appears on their website and on YouTube. Please feel free to share with your pastor.
Family Policy Alliance works with nearly 40 state-based policy groups just like Family Policy Institute of Washington.
Family Policy Alliance is proud to partner with nearly 40 state-based groups, including Family Policy Institute of Washington. Joseph Backholm is the executive director. This article first appeared on FPIW’s blog.
Two days ago, FPIW’s communications director, Zach Freeman, was served legal papers naming him as a defendant in a lawsuit. The suit was filed by 10 unnamed plaintiffs, identified only as “Jane and John Does”, asking the court to prohibit the University of Washington from releasing public records that had been requested by Mr. Freeman.
Those asking for their personally identifying information to be withheld include four current or former employees of Planned Parenthood, one employee of Cedar River Clinic (a controversial late term abortion clinic) as well as an employee of Evergreen Hospital and the University of Washington.
David Daleiden, founder of the Center for Medical Progress, was also named as a defendant because he made a similar public records request.
Mr. Daleiden made national news last year with the release of videos showing Planned Parenthood and abortion industry executives discussing how to harvest the organs of aborted babies and maximize revenue.
Shortly after those videos were released, a group of Washington State legislators wrote two letters to Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson asking him to investigate whether the parts of aborted babies were illegally being sold for a profit. (A copy of those letters can be found here and here).
After a couple of months had passed, the Attorney General wrote a memorandum to the legislators notifying them that he had done an investigation and Planned Parenthood had done nothing wrong. (A copy of that memorandum can be found here).
It is no secret that Bob Ferguson is a strong political ally of Planned Parenthood. Therefore, we thought it would be wise to verify that the evidence supported the Attorney General’s office conclusion that nothing illegal had taken place.
As a result, Mr. Freeman filed a public records request seeking information relevant to the AG’s investigation into Planned Parenthood. That request provided a number of documents, including an interaction between the AG’s office and the University of Washington from September 2015 that caught our attention.
In that correspondence, Deputy Attorney General Paige Dietrich asked Ian Goodhew, Government Relations Director at the University of Washington for “the contract you mentioned”.
Mr. Goodhew responded to this request by seeking assurances that “You will hold those confidential and not share with anyone without consent?”
In response, Ms. Dietrich said, “I don’t think we’ll need copies of the agreements.” (A copy of this correspondence can be seen here.)
While we don’t know what this contract they were referring to is, it seems plausible given the context that it would be an agreement UW had with an outside entity to procure aborted body parts.
The fact that the Attorney General’s office rescinded their request for information after UW expressed concern about that information becoming publicly available was interesting enough to warrant further investigation.
That, in addition to other things, is the reason Mr. Freeman filed the public information request with the University of Washington. Even if the Attorney General was not interested in those contracts, we decided we were.
Since they are public records, the public has the right to inspect them.
It is entirely possible that those records are innocuous and/or irrelevant to the investigation. We simply don’t know.
Still, the response to our request for those records as well as others has done nothing to dampen our curiosity.
While the requests were not intended to gather information about any individual, it is inevitable that public records will reveal the identity of people involved in public work. As a general matter, if you are having conversations with public entities you can expect that the public might discover that through public records.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit claim that their safety would be in jeopardy if their identities became public. They argue that because Mr. Freeman and Mr. Daleiden are pro-life that they intend to harass and/or commit violence against the individuals who might be identified in these documents.
Coming from an industry built on violence to others, this is deeply ironic. But that is beside the point.
The conversation about who is a bigger threat to whom is irrelevant to the legal question about whether anyone in Washington was illegally profiting off the sale of baby body parts.
It is possible that all relevant information will be turned over once this distraction is resolved and the public will be able to see if anything illegal is happening. It also possible that this is just an initial attempt to keep information away from the public.
We don’t know. Yet. But we intend to find out.
The federal government is threatening to withhold federal education funding from local school districts that disobey the recent Obama Administration bathroom directive.
The directive, issued via letter from the Departments of Education and Justice, mandates that public schools affirm a student’s chosen gender identity by allowing the student to use whichever showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms correspond to his or her chosen internal gender identity, regardless of his or her biological sex.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has called the federal government’s threat “blackmail,” saying that the president “can keep his 30 pieces of silver.”
Texas and officials from 10 other states recently filed a lawsuit against federal agencies and administration officials, asking a federal court to overturn the directive, which was handed down by the executive branch without any congressional vote. The plaintiffs claim that the directive exceeds the executive branch’s authority and violates the 10th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution.
This lawsuit supplements the existing lawsuit filed by the State of North Carolina against the Department of Justice, and a lawsuit filed by families in North Carolina surrounding the same debate.
As states count the risk of losing federal education funding, it is important to understand how that funding is used.
Here in Washington, just 8 percent of a local school district’s budget comes from the federal government. Most of that money comes in the form of categorical grants that fund programs for disadvantaged students, such as special education, school lunches, Head Start, transportation services, and others.
It is unconscionable that a presidential administration would bully local school districts by threatening to withhold funding for programs aimed at low income and disadvantaged students unless they adopt the agenda of social experimentation foisted upon them by federal bureaucrats. Local school districts should consider responding by using this as an opportunity to finally liberate their budgets from federal education funding and the strings that come with it.
The burdensome mandates that accompany federal funding give federal officials significant control over the affairs of local schools. It is estimated that the regulations that accompany federal education funding saddle states and local school districts with millions of hours of administrative work, costing local schools millions annually and converting them into bureaucracies that must do the bidding of the federal government for fear of losing their federal funding.
Federal mandates also hinder innovation and experimentation by creating a one-size-fits-all regulatory scheme. The good news is that states and local school districts can escape many of these obligations by choosing to refuse federal education funding.
Students benefit when local communities – not distant, unelected bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. – retain control over their schools. Maintaining local control over education allows schools to be more responsive to the unique needs of students in their communities. Because of this, schools and students will be in a better position if state and local education officials use this opportunity to rid themselves of federal education funding and the onerous regulations that accompany it.
The debate over gender confusion is everywhere right now. Protecting the privacy and safety of women and girls in the most vulnerable spaces – locker rooms, showers and restrooms – is on the national stage.
Family Policy Alliance is proud to work with the Family Policy Institute of Washington. FPIW has produced a series of videos unpacking opinions on the subject. The latest asks college students whether there is a difference between men and women. Their answers may surprise you.
Family Policy Alliance is proud to work with nearly 40 state-based family groups, including the Family Policy Institute of Washington.
What happens when a 5’9” man visits a college campus and tells students he’s really a 6’5” Chinese woman? Joseph Backholm found out! Our allies at the Family Policy Institute of Washington are making headlines with this insightful video.