- PRI Smeared
- Socialism Sells
- Ohio Heartbeat Bill Now Law
PRI Smeared by Radical, Soros-Funded Organization
Because we promote pro-life initiatives in Europe, we are accused of “subverting democracy.”
A left-wing, George Soros-funded media organization in the United Kingdom, called openDemocracy, has just released a hit piece falsely accusing PRI of “subvert[ing] democracy” in Europe. This is nothing more than an attempt to smear the good work that Population Research Institute (PRI) and other Christian, pro-life, and pro-family organizations in the U.S. do on that continent.
OpenDemocracy’s report alleges that PRI, along with other Christian and pro-life organizations, is funneling so-called “dark money” into Europe because we do not disclose the names of our donors. Altogether, Christian and pro-life organizations have sent over $51 million dollars of “dark money” to Europe since 2008, they claim.
The left-wing group further implies that U.S.-based organizations seeking to promote a pro-life or pro-family message are engaged in “subvert[ing] democracy.” A group of members of the European Parliament cited in the report spitefully refers to the work of PRI and other pro-life and Christian organizations in Europe as “nefarious outside influences.”
This is all nonsense.
For over two decades, PRI has sought to defend the rights and dignity inherent to each and every person. From exposing human rights abuses in coercive population control programs like China’s one-child policy to unveiling the myth of overpopulation and defending the right to life of the unborn, PRI has steadfastly upheld fundamental human rights and the culture of life.
PRI’s impact and reach has been influential in countries across the globe. Our international outreach and influence have infuriated those on the left, like openDemocracy, who seek to undermine the right to life and traditional family values.
Like many Christian and pro-life non-profits, PRI does not disclose the names of its donors. We have adopted this policy in order to protect the safety, privacy, and anonymity of our donors. We note that the U.S. Government has never required 501(c)3 non-profit organizations to make public the names of their donors, meaning that it is fully permissible under federal law for a 501(c)3 to keep its donor lists private.
“We are very proud of what we have been able to accomplish in Europe and elsewhere,” says PRI President Steven Mosher, “We have helped local pro-life, pro-family groups defend the right to life and traditional family values.”
“PRI is largely supported by small donations from individuals who wish to support our mission to defend the rights of the voiceless,” Mosher continued. “Unlike some NGOs, we receive no government funding.”
The report’s allegation that PRI’s work in Europe “subvert[s] democracy” is precisely the opposite of the truth. Instead, PRI fosters democracy through dialogue and advocacy defending the fundamental right to life and traditional family values. Over the years, we have provided technical assistance and training to pro-life and other like-minded organizations in Europe who approach us seeking to make their messaging more effective.
It is revealing that one of PRI’s critics quoted in the openDemocracy report is none other than Caroline Hickson, Regional Director for the European branch of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF-EN).
“The scale of this meddling by US extremists is shocking,” Hickson was quoted in thereport, “This is utterly at odds with the European values of democracy and human rights.”
Yet, the parent organization for Hickson’s own organization—IPPF—spends millions of dollars every year in foreign countries all over the world performing abortions, providing contraception, and advocating for the legalization of abortion.
According IPPF’s 2017 financial statements, IPPF provided $51 million in grants to its subsidiaries and partnering organizations across the globe. That is to say, in one year alone, IPPF spent more money performing and promoting abortion and contraception than all U.S. Christian and pro-life organizations spent in Europe over the past 10 years combined.
Add on top of this the fact that IPPF often promotes loosening restrictions on abortion in countries where the population is generally opposed to abortion on moral grounds. If ever there was “meddling” “at odds” with “human rights,” IPPF’s promotion of terminating the lives of the unborn is certainly it.
OpenDemocracy’s allegations are hypocritical given that a substantial proportion of openDemocracy’s own revenue comes from left-wing philanthropic organizations in the United States. Its funders include George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, the Ford Foundation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Tides Foundation. The U.S.-based Wallace Global Fund was also a significant donor for openDemocracy’s 50.50 project which produced the report.
According to openDemocracy’s website, U.S.-based organizations gave openDemocracy at least £900,000 ($1.1 million) from 2017-2018. Of this, openDemocracy received over $340,000 from the Open Society Foundations, George Soros’ philanthropic organization, alone.
While openDemocracy implies that U.S. Christian and pro-life organizations are “nefarious outside influences,” openDemocracy itself promotes messaging within the U.K. and abroad supported substantially through “outside influences.”
And indeed, it is openDemocracy’s messaging, not PRI’s, that is “nefarious.” OpenDemocracy’s stance on a variety of issues falls far outside the mainstream. A simple perusal of openDemocracy’s own website reveals that they advocate for extreme positions on the fringe left including legalized prostitution, abortion on demand, andtransgenderism. OpenDemocracy also regularly attempts to portray pro-family countries like Ukraine in a poor light on account of the fact that the people there are generally opposed to gender ideology laws and so-called same-sex ‘marriage.’
Overall, it would seem openDemocracy is guilty of willingly receiving precisely what it accuses us of providing: foreign money to promote what would be considered “nefarious outside influenc[e].”
While PRI works to empower Europeans who want our help and share our pro-life values, openDemocracy is fundamentally seeking to transform European society in its own radical left-wing image.
If that isn’t nefarious, what is?
Socialism Sells – But Is It False Advertising?
The Democrat presidential candidates are moving ever further left, and they’re dragging their party with them. They’ve introduced a wave of radical legislative proposals that have struck a dangerous resonance with millennials. In fact, according to Gallup polls, young Americans are souring on capitalism. Less than half, 45 percent, “view capitalism positively…. a marked shift since 2010, when 68 percent viewed it positively.”
Note that, for Gallup, “young” means those between 18 and 29. So those polled in 2010 are today between 26 and 37 years of age. Have their views changed with real life experience in a fairly capitalist society? We can only hope. But Gallup adds that a startling 51 percent of those polled in both 2010 and 2018 are “positive” about socialism. That’s less surprising from one angle: after all, Gallup polled young Americans, not young Venezuelans. American kids have never lived under socialism. All they know is the promises. But the 2018 group had lived through eight years of Obama advocating socialism, constantly hectoring hard-working Americans with his bitter “you didn’t build that” line.
What factors could possibly account for this consistent approval of socialism among a majority of America’s young people? Here we will consider only two, both from the world of education.
Education to Train, not Think
First comes the destruction of public education in recent decades at the hands of ideological school unions. They constitute the most rabid and effective political force in current American life. Forty years ago, Jim Hitchcock reminded us of Hannah Arendt’s observation of long ago: “The aim of totalitarian education has never been to instill convictions but to destroy the capacity to form any,” she wrote in “The Origins of Totalitarianism.”
Note that word “origins” – because the indoctrination of two generations of public school pupils (and many of their private and parochial school counterparts, alas) is indeed the original sin that “destroys” their ability to think.
Consider: for years, pupils were forbidden to compete in many ways – in academics (“Abolish class rankings!”), sports (“Everybody gets a prize!”), and, in general, any challenge requiring effort (“Great Job!”). That rule goes for behavior as well (remember “deportment”?). (And it can be fatal. An Obama regulation that supposedly prohibited discrimination against minorities in disciplinary decisions led the Broward County School Superintendent to leave the Parkland School shooter in school. Because he was a minority, he was not reported for repeated offenses that would have caused his removal. He killed seventeen of his fellow students).
But what about “thinking”? Clearly, some folks think better than others because they’re smarter – but wait, that’s offensive. On the other hand, even the least intelligent pupil can “feel” just as well as the next guy. And the fake egalitarianism of the Left begins in the schoolroom where every pupil is urged to “feel good about yourself.” Of course, that boils down to “feeling good” –
And that offers the totalitarians the invitation to introduce sexual liberation in Kindergarten, because, after all, how else is everyone going to learn to “feel good”?
Finally comes thinking. Or – it doesn’t. Thomas Sowell of Stanford’s Hoover Institution thinks a lot. At age 88, he’s written eight books – since he turned eighty. Of students who have been trained to feel instead of being taught to think, this prestigious thinker laments that, “When they tell you how they feel, they think they’re thinking.”
Many graduates feel good about not thinking, and why shouldn’t they? After all, to have an intelligent conversation, they’d have to learn the basics of logic, rhetoric, language, and grammar. Then they have to learn about the subject at hand as well. That’s hard! But if they tell you how they “feel” – about Aristotle, about abortion, about religion – how do you argue with a feeling? They proudly proclaim victory because, after all, they not only “feel strongly” but they have been indoctrinated with the proper feelings to feel strongly about.
The Solution: A Massive Abdication of Responsibility
With that preamble, we consider, second, the attraction of socialism in the light of the $1.5 trillion student debt held by current and former American college students. These debts have been accrued since the 1980s, but the amount has soared since Obama quietly took over the student loan program in 2010, during the cacophony surrounding the adoption of Obamacare that same year. To be sure, all of this debt was voluntarily incurred by students who thought that they were pretty smart
After all, they were smart enough to go to college in the first place. They swallowed the line that graduating from any college with any major with any GPA would guarantee that a college degree would increase their lifetime potential earnings so much that the debt would be worth it.
Did they know what they were doing? Maybe not. The College Board reports that the average grade on the Math section of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) for college-bound high-school seniors in 2018 was 531 out of a total of 800. Now, maybe the average college-bound student could easily calculate the interest accrued on his loan each month over the course of several years, bearing in mind that any unpaid interest would be capitalized and added to his original loan balance.
Or maybe not.
Well, as the kids say, “whatever.” Millions of them don’t want to pay back those loans, period. Obama’s takeover of the program in 2010 means that the federal government could bail them out, the way it did the financial institutions in 2008 during the mortgage crisis. Of course, the feds could have just paid off the mortgages, instead of the banks. That would have saved the underwater homeowners as well as making the banks whole, but that would have been too much trouble, so millions of homes were lost.
Advocates of student loan forgiveness reach for any feel-good argument (forget being rational): the loans are “unfair,” because they’re “just too big.” Or a generation of debtors won’t be able to buy homes (the real estate lobby is powerful, maybe they’ll support us).
Or an entire generation won’t be able to afford getting married and have kids. (this trial balloon is designed to appeal to “pro-family” advocates); or many colleges will close when students realize that they aren’t worth it (of course, this is supposed to be a tragedy). And so on.
All of these arguments take for granted the notion that student debt is somehow “different” from the debt owed by taxpayers to the IRS ($1.6 trillion in 2017), or by homeowners whose mortgage debt is held by Fannie May. Freddie Mac, and other federal agencies ($5.5 trillion).
“And this, and so much more,” says Prufrock. But it doesn’t matter. The Far Left dominates the Democrat presidential primary season. Each candidate is desperate to stake out a position that will distinguish him, or her, or “them” (please choose your preferred gender pronoun at the door) from the rest. And, as usual with socialists, that means promising more government money to more people.
And you can count on this: many fairly intelligent folks who are burdened by student debt will feel good – Really good – about the government telling you and me to pay it off.
Ohio Passes Heartbeat Bill!
New Law Bans Abortion from the Moment a Heartbeat can be Detected
Last Thursday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed the Human Rights and Heartbeat Protection Act (S.B. 23) into law. The new law prohibits doctors from performing an abortion if a heartbeat can be detected. Exceptions include cases to save the life of the mother or to prevent the “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”
The new law follows eight long years of effort by pro-life lawmakers, and makes Ohio the sixth state to have passed such legislation. Using the best ultrasound methods available, a heartbeat can be detected as early as 5-6 weeks gestation, before many women are even aware that they are pregnant. Most abortions are performed after that point.
“Government’s role should be to protect life from the beginning to the end,” Gov. DeWine said at the bill’s signing. The Governor said the new law is “imperative to protect those who cannot protect themselves.”
“We congratulate the good citizens of Ohio,” said PRI President Steven Mosher. “Ohio pro-life leaders like Molly Smith of Cleveland Right to Life and Janet Folger Porter, founder and president of Faith2Action, have championed heartbeat legislation in the state for a decade. Their efforts have paid off for babies.”
S.B. 23 was passed by the Ohio Senate on March 13. A revised version of the bill passed the House of Representatives on April 10, on a vote of 56-40. The Senate later that day approved of the revised bill 18-13, sending the bill to Gov. DeWine who signed it on April 11. During his 2018 gubernatorial campaign DeWine had vowed to sign a heartbeat bill if presented the opportunity.
Pro-lifers in Ohio have long sought to pass a heartbeat law. In 2011, the Ohio House of Representatives became the first state legislative body in the country to introduce heartbeat legislation. The Ohio General Assembly had twice before passed heartbeat bills in 2016 and 2018, but both bills were vetoed by then-Gov. John Kasich. In 2018, the Ohio Senate fell only one vote short of overriding then-Gov. Kasich’s veto.
Heartbeat laws had also been adopted in Arkansas and North Dakota in 2013 and in Iowa in 2018, although these laws have since been blocked by the courts. Heartbeat laws were also adopted this year in Kentucky and Mississippi, though a federal judge has placed a temporary hold on the Kentucky law, preventing it from going into effect.
Another heartbeat bill passed by the Georgia state legislature in March is also expected to be adopted soon. During his 2018 campaign, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp vowed to support a heartbeat bill.
Ohio’s new heartbeat law has the potential to ban the vast majority of abortions in the state. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 78 percent of abortions in Ohio in 2015 were performed at or after 7 weeks gestation. According to the Ohio Department of Health, there were 20,893 abortions in Ohio in 2017.
S.B. 23 makes aborting an unborn child with a detectable heartbeat fifth degree felony, punishable with 6 to 12 months in prison and up to a $2,500 fine.
Additionally, S.B. 23 permits the state medical board to revoke or suspend the medical license of any abortionist that violates the requirements of the heartbeat law. The state medical board may also assess up to a $20,000 fine for each violation. The money collected through these fines would go towards paying for foster care and adoption programs in the state.
The Ohio House of Representatives made a number of important revisions to the original Senate version of S.B. 23. These included incorporating stiffer penalties for abortionists who violate the law.
The House also removed a problematic provision from the Senate bill. The method of ultrasound that is most likely to detect a heartbeat early in pregnancy. The removed provision would have specifically exempted abortionists from using that method. This exemption would have substantially moved back the gestational limit on abortion in the bill, because an unborn child’s heartbeat is usually not detectable by transabdominal ultrasound until about 7-12 weeks gestation,
So the House removed this provision from the bill. Instead, it directed the state director of health to issue within 180 days regulations specifying the methods abortionists should use when testing for a heartbeat. This crucial change could allow the state of Ohio to ban abortion as early as 6 weeks gestation, instead of 7-12 weeks.
The ACLU has already vowed to sue the state of Ohio over its new heartbeat law. Pro-life lawmakers in Ohio expect that the law will be blocked by the federal courts, setting up a legal battle that could ultimately land the case at the U.S. Supreme Court and possibly lead the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.
In a radio interview with Hugh Hewitt earlier this year, Gov. DeWine acknowledged that Ohio’s adoption of a heartbeat law would likely immediately trigger a lawsuit. “[U]ltimately, this will work its way up to the United States Supreme Court,” DeWine said back in January, “and they’ll make that decision.”
The Supreme Court’s current precedent, as laid out in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, prohibits states from banning abortion prior to viability. The Supreme Court defines viability as the point in pregnancy at which the unborn child can survive outside of its mother’s womb.
Heartbeat laws, however, ban abortion far earlier in pregnancy that the Court’s current definition of viability. As such, heartbeat laws directly challenge the Court’s viability standard. If a case on heartbeat legislation makes it to the Supreme Court, it would provide the Court with an opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade.