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Missouri Family E-News

December 6, 2011


Salvation Army Targeted for Christmas Boycott

 

 

Homosexual activists are waging a Christmas season boycott of the Salvation Army, urging donors to bypass the kettles manned by the charity's bellringers.  Homosexual rights groups object to the Salvation Army's support for Biblical standards governing sexual morality and same-sex relationships.

 

"As the holidays approach, the Salvation Army bell ringers are out in front of stores dunning shopper for donations,"  says Bill Browning, a national homosexual rights blogger.  "If you care about gay rights, you'll skip their bucket in favor of a charity that doesn't actively discriminate against the LGBT community."

 

Andy Thayer, co-founder of the Gay Liberation Network, claims the Salvation Army engages in hostility toward individuals engaged in a homosexual lifestyle.  "[We believe] it is bigotry, not literal Bible belief, that motivates their actions."

 

Lt. Col. Ralph Bukiewicz, a spokesman for the Salvation Army, denies the charges.  "Nothing can be further from the truth.  In our policies, our practices, in our programs and in our eligibility for any service within the Salvation Army, there is not a request for any details concerning sexual orientation."

 

Homosexual activists also charged that the Salvation Army uses proceeds from its holiday campaign to engage in political action in opposition to homosexual rights.  Major John Hood, community relations director for the Salvation Army, says that charge is baseless.    

 

"The organization uses all of the money from each city's Red Kettle Campaign to help needy families in that town.  The money is used to buy toys and warm clothes for kids, and see to housing and heating issues for families.  The national headquarters doesn't see a dime of it."

 

"We preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and we meet human needs without discrimination,"  Hood adds.  "If people refuse to give, "it's the poor and people in need that will suffer."  

 

The Salvation Army collected a record $142 million last year during its Christmas appeal, a 5 per cent increase over the previous year.  We encourage you to go out of your way to bless the bell-ringer's buckets this year to sustain support for this benevolent ministry.     

 



Missouri Scores High Marks in Human Trafficking Battle

 

 

The State of Missouri has received high marks from an international organization dedicated to the battle against human trafficking and sexual slavery. 

 

Shared Hope International recently released a comprehensive analysis of all state laws in the United States dealing with the sexual trafficking of women and children.  That report showed Missouri earning the second highest rating of all the states in the Union.  Missouri was narrowly edged out for the top spot by the state of Texas.

 

Missouri's highly favorable assessment in the national study follows passage during this year's legislative session of a major overhaul of the state's human trafficking statutes.  The legislation unanimously adopted by the General Assembly this year was developed and advanced by the Missouri Family Policy Council in concert with the Missouri Catholic Conference.

 

Missouri's new human trafficking law provides more effective tools for prosecutors to attack and dismantle human trafficking enterprises.  The bill expanded the definition of human trafficking to include the production of adult and child pornography, and provided victims with a civil cause of action against those who engage in and profit from sexual trafficking and forced labor.

 

Shared Hope International bemoaned the fact that 41 states have failed to adopt sufficient penalties against human trafficking, and that 10 states have yet to adopt any laws cracking down on sexual trafficking activities.   

 

Washington State Attorney General Robert McKenna, President of the National Association of Attorneys General, says that states need to establish consistent laws to more successfully disrupt trafficking networks."

 

"Having a strong, fairly uniform set of laws across the country is very important because traffickers are mobile and their victims are mobile.  We don't want traffickers evading tough state laws by moving their victims to states with weaker laws."

 

Some victims advocates say that more aggressive enforcement of the laws is just as important as strengthened state statutes.  Mary Ellison, director of policy for the Polaris Project, says more resources need to be devoted to identifying and assisting victims.

 

"Traffickers make their money on the backs of the most vulnerable.  There's not a high risk for them because laws aren't enforced as strongly as they need to be.  Until they see these laws being aggressively implemented, they're not going to be deterred because they're making tons and tons of money exploiting people."                

 

Parental Notice Law to Receive Final Ruling by Illinois High Court

The Illinois Supreme Court has agreed to provide a final resolution to the long-running legal battle over Illinois' parental notification statute.  That law, passed by the Illinois Legislature in 1995, requires that an unemancipated minor must notify a parent, grandparent, or guardian before obtaining a legal abortion.

Paul Linton, special counsel for the Thomas More Society, is optimistic that the Illinois High Court will uphold the law.  "The Illinois Supreme Court's action ensures that there will be a prompt resolution of the law's constitutionality.  The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized the vital interests that States have in protecting pregnant minors, and the rights of their parents to provide guidance and counsel in this very sensitive area."

Linton points out that similar laws in other states like Missouri have been associated with substantial reductions in the number of out-of-wedlock pregnancies, births, and abortions among minors.

The parental notice law has been in limbo since its passage sixteen years ago due to a series of tangled legal challenges in state and federal court.  The law was initially enjoined by a federal district court in 1996 because there was no bypass option in place.  The U.S. Supreme Court has said minors must have the option to demonstrate to a judge that they are mature enough to make their own decision, and thus "bypass" the law.

However, the Illinois Supreme Court for years refused to issue judicial rules establishing the procedures for a minor's "bypass" appeal to the court.    Illinois' High Court finally relented in 2006, and formalized the judicial bypass procedure.  Three years later, a federal court of appeals ruled that the law was constitutional, being fully consistent with longstanding U.S. Supreme Court decisions on parental consent and parental notification.

Yet pro-abortion forces refused to give up the battle, and decided to challenge the law on state constitutional grounds.  A Circuit Court in Cook County upheld the law, but an Illinois appeals court reversed that ruling.  The Illinois Supreme Court, which forestalled the law's implementation for years, will now have the final say.

The fate of the Illinois parental notice law is of great significance to the state of Missouri.  For many years, teenagers from eastern Missouri have evaded Missouri's parental consent requirement by traveling to Illinois clinics to obtain abortions.  This problem has been particularly acute in the St. Louis area, where minors
have often traveled to Hope Clinic in Granite City to obtain abortions without their parents' knowledge.

Missouri has had great success in reducing the number of abortions performed in our state since the 1973 Roe v Wade decision.  A total of 20,204 abortions were performed in Missouri in 1984, the worst year on record.  Only 6,881 abortions were performed in Missouri abortion clinics in 2009.  Yet state records show that an estimated 6,331 abortions were performed on Missouri women in that same year by out-of-state abortion clinics, comprising a startling 47% of Missouri resident abortions.

The exodus of abortion-minded women from Missouri to out-of-state providers has been accelerated by the closure and consolidation of Missouri abortion clinics.  There are only two clinics in our state now providing abortions, Reproductive Health Services in St. Louis and Planned Parenthood in Columbia (on an intermittent basis.)  Women in western Missouri typically travel to the Planned Parenthood clinic in Overland Park, Kansas.  Many women in northern Missouri travel to Iowa, and many women in southern Missouri travel to clinics in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Tennessee. 

The state of Illinois has long had a sorry reputation for slipshod, poorly regulated abortion clinics, particularly in the Chicago area.  Chicago pro-life activist Joe Scheidler deplores the fact that Illinois has become a "dumping ground" for the unborn children of pregnant minors.  "All you have to do is look at the license plates of the cars in the parking lots of Illinois abortion clinics, and you realize how many out-of state teens are seeking abortions."

Mailee Smith of Americans United for Life welcomed the Illinois Supreme Court's decision to accept the case.  "Illinois lawmakers have taken an important stand on behalf of parental rights.  When a child is considering a potential chemical or surgical abortion, the parents have a right to know.  Parental involvement decreases both teen pregnancy and teen birth rates, and it is tragic that legal wrangling has prevented parental involvement in a situation where it is so essential." 

 

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