A Person’s A Person No Matter How Small

A Person’s A Person No Matter How Small

In Dr. Seuss’s book Horton Hears a Who!, we read, “A person’s a person no matter how small.” Little did Theodore Seuss Geisel know how poignant his words would become over the next decades. Dr. Seuss clearly wasn’t making a political statement about abortion, but what he expressed is profoundly biologically accurate.

The moment a human egg is fertilized, a human person is formed—a human person distinctly different from his or her biological mother—right down to distinct DNA. Yes, a person’s a person no matter how small.

That reality played into the news this week here in Wisconsin and around the country. Last week, the Alabama Supreme Court handed down a decision in a case involving in vitro fertilization that seemingly set the world on fire. Much of the firestorm is because people don’t understand what happens with in vitro fertilization. Typically, in this process, many eggs are fertilized creating many embryos. Only a few embryos are implanted in the woman using this process. The embryos that are not implanted are usually frozen. If they are not used or adopted in a certain amount of time, they are destroyed.

The Alabama case focused on whether someone responsible for destroying some of these frozen embryos could be held liable under the state’s Wrongful Death of a Minor law. In this instance, someone had wandered into the room where these frozen embryos were stored and removed several, ultimately dropping them, which in the wording of the majority opinion author, “killed them.”

Bear in mind that these tiny human persons were the developing children of identified couples. The couples bringing the lawsuit alleged their minor children were killed. The high court agreed, ruling that the state’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act “applies on its face to all unborn children, without limitation.” The majority opinion also stated, “Unborn children are ‘children’ under the Act, without exception based on developmental stage, physical location, or any other ancillary characteristics,” meaning the fact that these embryos were not implanted did not make them less human.

Essentially what the Alabama high court said was a person’s a person no matter how small and no matter whether that person is in utero or in a frozen suspended state.

Some are saying this ruling means IVF will be deemed illegal in Alabama and perhaps elsewhere if other courts follow suit. That’s not what this decision says. What it says is you cannot destroy these tiny humans with impunity. We have long said every embryo—every tiny human— created in the IVF process must be implanted and given the opportunity to grow and develop. Creating excess embryos to freeze them and then most likely destroy them is wrong. You don’t have to stop doing IVF, but it must be done ethically.

Then, here in Wisconsin, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin announced last week that they have petitioned the Wisconsin Supreme Court to, in their words, “clarify” whether our State Constitution provides an unfettered right to abortion, apparently right up to birth. Planned Parenthood says our Constitution’s Declaration of Life, Section I, includes a right of “self-determination,” meaning women have a right to decide if they want to carry to term their tiny unborn human baby.

That section includes language declaring people “have certain inherent rights; among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” It appears Planned Parenthood takes the “self-determination” idea from “the pursuit of happiness,” conveniently ignoring the first inherent right—life. Tragically, the abortion giant has never acknowledged that a person is a person no matter how small, and now wants our state’s highest court to agree with them.

Rounding out last week on the life issue here, another abortion facility, one that has been shuttered since Roe was overturned, is reopening on March 5, putting our state back to where we were with abortion before the Dobbs decision.

Societies that do not operate by the biological reality that a person’s a person no matter how small are on a disastrous, destructive path—especially when you consider that at the moment of conception, a tiny human is bearing the image of God.

 

The Danger of Political Pragmatism: WI Bills Add “Gender Identity” to Non-Discrimination Language

The Danger of Political Pragmatism: WI Bills Add “Gender Identity” to Non-Discrimination Language

When is it right to do wrong in order to get a chance to do right? The answer is never! That’s pragmatism…and it takes us places we should not be going.

Wisconsin has the unfortunate distinction of being the first state in the nation to add sexual orientation as a protected class in non-discrimination laws related to employment, housing, and public accommodations. That was in 1982.

Non-discrimination laws had previously been used to protect innate or immutable characteristics such as sex, age, race, nationality, ethnicity, and disabilities, or to protect strongly held religious beliefs. The addition of sexual orientation violated that premise since sexual orientation is not an immutable or innate characteristic nor is it part of some strongly held religious belief.

Through the years, this non-discrimination language has remained largely unchanged. In recent years, however, and not surprisingly, there has been talk and effort to add “gender identity” to non-discrimination statutory language. Of course, “gender identity” is not an immutable or innate characteristic, nor is it part of some strongly held religious belief. Despite that reality, recently, Republicans in the state Legislature turned talk into action in a surprising bill.

Assembly Bill 953 and its Senate companion Senate Bill 905 deal with direct primary care agreements. These bills exempt valid direct primary care agreements from the application of insurance law. In layman’s language, direct primary care is one option for covering the cost of medical care. It’s an agreement you make directly with your provider. It doesn’t use insurance claims. More and more people are seeking direct primary care providers to cut out insurance.

On the face of it, we shouldn’t have any problem with this bill. In fact, all things being equal, we might even actually support such a proposal because in many ways, protecting direct primary care providers in our state helps families.

Unfortunately, this is the bill Republicans decided to use to add “gender identity” to the non-discrimination language. This is not the first time a bill to protect direct primary care providers has been introduced in our state. Two sessions ago, such a bill passed without this non-discrimination language. The governor vetoed it, saying he did so because the bill did not include “gender identity” in the non-discrimination section.

This year, the bill is back with the non-discrimination language that includes “gender identity.” In the public hearing in the Senate, the bill’s author said she included “gender identity” because she believes the governor will sign the bill as long as that group is given special rights and protections.

Adding “gender identity” as a protected class in this bill is dangerous. First, it sets a precedent for “gender identity” being added in other areas of the law. In this particular case, and with the specific wording in the bill, this could mean that a direct primary care provider’s religious liberty and conscience rights could be violated, in addition to having to violate his or her best medical judgment.

One argument the Republican authors and supporters are using to defend including “gender identity” is the very poor US Supreme Court Bostock decision. That decision dealt with Title VII employment matters and the court opined that employers cannot discriminate based on “gender identity,” essentially changing the definition of “sex” to include “gender identity.” In the majority opinion, the justices made it clear that this decision applies only to Title VII employment matters.

That reality apparently doesn’t matter to the authors and co-sponsors of these current direct primary care bills. They maintain this court decision demands including “gender identity.” It does not, nor does any law or Wisconsin court decision demand its inclusion. This is an inclusion for one reason—to attempt to get the governor to sign this bill. This is raw political pragmatism where the desired ends supposedly justify the means.

If this bill passes with “gender identity” language this session and the governor signs it, you can be sure that “gender identity” as a protected class will be enshrined in Wisconsin law. It’s profoundly sad that an otherwise good bill that could help many in our state is being used pragmatically, trouncing on rights, and taking us places we should not be going.

Election Integrity is Under Attack in WI Ahead of Critical Elections

Election Integrity is Under Attack in WI Ahead of Critical Elections

As the political climate heats up in Wisconsin, recent developments in election integrity cases are setting the stage for an intense election cycle. 

Most recently, a Dane County Circuit Court judge directed the Wisconsin Elections Commission to adopt regulations permitting local election authorities to count absentee ballots that include incomplete address information. 

In a clear blow to election integrity, Dane County Judge Ryan Nilsestuen dismissed the Wisconsin Elections Commission’s suggestion that a complete address must include the street number, street name, and municipality name. He determined that a witness address on an absentee ballot envelope may exclude the municipality and ZIP code, or even use terms like “same” or “ditto” when the witness resides with the voter, provided that clerks can ascertain the witness’s residence. This would increase the number of valid votes in critical upcoming elections where slim vote margins could determine the outcomes. At the same time, Governor Evers has vetoed a slew of Republican-led election reform bills that aimed to secure our state’s elections. 

Meanwhile, we also had a good election-related court decision recently. Last month, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) won a lawsuit against the City Clerk of Racine and Wisconsin Elections Commission, securing election integrity in the process.  

The Racine County Circuit Court ruled that the City’s use of a mobile voting van at particular sites around the City was illegal under state law. Specifically, the Court found that the mobile voting sites gave a partisan advantage to one political party over others and that state law did not allow the use of a van as an absentee voting site. 

Other court cases that involve Wisconsin’s legislative maps could significantly impact upcoming elections. Last month, a leftist attorney filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn Wisconsin’s congressional maps to advance his political agenda. 

Up to this point, our Assembly and Senate legislative maps have been the focus of controversy, with the State Supreme Court deciding the current legislative maps are unconstitutional and demanding that new maps be implemented for this fall’s elections.This lawsuit challenging the congressional maps adds yet another wrinkle.

WILL last week took steps to try to block this latest legal maneuver regarding the congressional maps. WILL is calling for Justice Janet Protasiewicz to recuse herself from any ruling that revisits the case that resulted in the current congressional maps because of explicit statements about the maps as she campaigned. 

Lucas Vebber WILL Deputy Counsel, stated, “Wisconsin’s current congressional map was proposed by Governor Evers and adopted by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 2022. Any attempt to revisit this ruling and once again alter Wisconsin’s Congressional districts is both procedurally improper and legally wrong.”  

WILL notes that Wisconsin state law mandates that judges, including Supreme Court justices, must recuse themselves from cases in which impartiality might be compromised or if they have a substantial personal stake in the outcome. The law stipulates that any judge “shall disqualify” themselves whenever they “cannot, or it appears…they cannot, act in an impartial manner.”

Further, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin made a substantial contribution of nearly $10 million to the campaign of Justice Janet Protasiewicz. Throughout her campaign, she labeled Wisconsin’s district maps as “rigged” to benefit Republicans and specifically criticized the congressional maps, stating “we know something’s wrong.” Her repeated comments on the Johnson v. WEC case during the campaign underscore the argument for her recusal.

These court cases challenging maps need to stop; the fall elections loom. We the people have a right to know well in advance what districts we will be in, as do candidates who are preparing to run for office. For sure, part of the liberals’ plan is to keep people uncertain and confused as to what is legal and what is not. Keeping everyone questioning about what districts they live in for voting purposes is part of their plan.

The foundation of our republic relies on elections that are transparent, secure, and trustworthy. To preserve a government that truly reflects the will of the people, it’s crucial that we advocate for and demand the integrity of elections and the establishment of fair and transparent electoral laws. 

Most importantly, we must show up and vote in the upcoming elections, regardless of how election integrity cases and legislative proposals in our state play out. The surest way for liberal progressives to take over is for conservatives to get so discouraged by the possibility of election fraud that they don’t vote. We cannot hand our state or our country over to the left without a fight.

WILL’s Status Report on Education in WI Reaffirms Importance of School Choice 

WILL’s Status Report on Education in WI Reaffirms Importance of School Choice 

School Choice Week (January 21-28) was recently observed here in Wisconsin and around the country. (January 21-28).  It’s appropriate that we reflect on the critical role that educational choice plays in our state. School choice empowers parents and students, giving them the freedom to choose educational options that best suit their individual needs, aspirations, and personal and family values.

Wisconsin has a plethora of educational options for parents, including district-based public schools, open enrollment for families wanting to send their children to a public school in another district, charter schools, virtual schools, regular private schools, and private schools participating in one of our three Parental Choice Programs–Milwaukee, Racine, Statewide–and homeschooling.

Reports like the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty’s annual Apples to Apples play a pivotal role in this educational choice discussion. This study provides valuable insights into the performance of various types of schools (public, independent charter, and voucher), offering data-driven evidence on why school choice matters by putting schools on a level playing field to assess education across all types of Wisconsin schools. 

WILL found that students in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program consistently achieve higher academic results in English/Language Arts and math than their counterparts in public schools. Students enrolled in Milwaukee’s charter schools in general outperformed their peers in public schools. Twelve of the top 20 schools in Wisconsin are in the state’s choice (aka, “voucher”) programs. Moreover, choice and charter schools more efficiently use taxpayer money. In general, our voucher program is a win for both students and taxpayers.

WILL Research Director, Will Flanders, said, “Once again, school choice has proven significant performance advantages, in math and reading, for Wisconsin students. What’s more, is that the use of taxpayer dollars for these options give more bang for buck. WILL knows that the fight against school choice is far from over. This report highlights the need to continue to inform and defend educational opportunities for all.”

When families have the freedom to choose, they can seek out educational environments that not only meet the academic needs of their children but also align with their values and learning styles. This is especially important as woke indoctrination permeates our school and harms our children. Educational freedom also leads to more engaged and motivated students, which ultimately results in better educational outcomes.

Further, school choice provides equity in education. It breaks down the barriers of zip-code-determined schooling, offering quality educational opportunities to students regardless of their location or background. By allowing funds to follow the student, it creates a more level playing field.

Therefore, parents should take advantage of the school choice programs we have in our state as much as possible. This year in Wisconsin, application windows will open in February for those seeking educational choices for their children other than the public school in their district.

For over thirty years, Wisconsin has been at the forefront of educational innovation with its school choice program (vouchers), providing low-income parents the opportunity to select the best educational environment for their children, which includes both secular and religious private schools. WILL’s Apples to Apples report serves as a crucial reminder that we not only need to keep it that way but continue to find new ways to afford Wisconsin families as much educational freedom as possible. Implementing universal choice in Wisconsin could be a great next step in solidifying our state as a beacon of educational freedom. 

The good news is that we are approaching a critical election cycle. Every Wisconsin voter can play a role in protecting and advancing school choice by electing leaders this fall who boldly advocate for parents’ rights in education. 

Every parent should have the opportunity to choose the best school for their child, regardless of their income, zip code, or the size of their school district. Education shapes not only the present but also the future and expanding school choice is a step towards a brighter future for The Badger State.

WFA Offers Testimony In Support of Age Verification Bill

WFA Offers Testimony In Support of Age Verification Bill

Earlier this week, a state Assembly committee held a public hearing on Assembly Bill 730. This bill would require companies that host websites featuring pornographic material to do age verification to help ensure minors are not able to access the site. While the bill does not provide penalties for those who violate this law, it does allow individuals who have been harmed by a minor’s access to harmful material because of this law being violated, to file civil claims seeking damages, court costs, and legal fees.

WFA Legislative & Policy Director Jack Hoogendyk provided a testimony to the committee in support of AB 730. It reads as follows:

“A report from Common Sense Media revealed:

  • 75% of teenagers have viewed pornography by age 17
  • Average age of first exposure to pornography is age 12
  • 41% of teenagers saying they had seen images of nudity or sexual acts online during the school day (bypassing existing Wi-Fi filtering)
  • Survey of 1,358 Americans age 13 to 17 found that more than half said they viewed violent porn (rape, choking, someone in pain)
  • 5% of teen respondents said they first saw online pornography at age 10 or younger. 

Research on the impact of pornography on children has revealed:

  • 41% of young people (aged between 11 and 17) who knew about pornography agreed that watching pornography made people less respectful of the opposite sex. Only 13% disagreed.
  • The exposure of children to internet pornography is having impact on the development of harmful sexual behaviors. The average age of first perpetration of sexual violence is 15 -16 and is associated with exposure to pornography.
  • A 2016 meta-analysis of pornography research reveals adolescent pornography consumption is significantly associated with stronger gender-stereotypical sexual beliefs, earlier sexual debut, increased casual sex behavior, and increased sexual aggression both as perpetrators and victims.
  • Teens are at a great risk of developing a pornography addiction as their brains are still developing.

Attempts by Congress to regulate or prevent access to pornography by minors have proven unsuccessful:

  • In the 1996 Communications Decency Act, Congress prohibited the “knowing transmission of obscene or indecent messages to any recipient under 18 years of age,” or the “knowing sending or displaying of patently offensive messages in a manner that is available to a person under 18 years of age.” However, the Supreme Court struck down this provision, finding its prohibitions so vague that they would limit First Amendment-protected speech. Here is a quote from that 1996 decision: 

the Internet is not as ‘invasive’ as radio or television… [and]… [c]ommunications over the Internet do not ‘invade’ an individual’s home or appear on one’s computer screen unbidden. Users seldom encounter content by accident… [and] odds are slim that a user would come across a sexually explicit sight by accident.

  • In 1998, Congress tried again to protect children from harmful content online with the Child Online Protection Act (COPA). It required age-verification for minors visiting sites with material “harmful to children.” The Supreme Court struck down this statute on the grounds that “filters are more effective than age-verification requirements” and would place a lesser burden on First Amendment rights. However, filters have since not proved particularly effective at protecting kids from harmful and obscene content online. 

On a more fundamental level, the federal government’s historical focus on communications regulation is not addressing the challenges that social media present to society today, especially with regard to content that appeals to prurient interests and that lacks any literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors. 

Mr. Chairman, AB 730, by requiring reasonable age verification methods to verify the age of individuals attempting to access internet websites or social media that is harmful to minors, we will greatly help to resolve the issue of the purveyors of pornography reaching our children.  The bill’s provision for civil claims allows those harmed by those who seek to ensnare children into the darkness of pornography to seek some measure of justice, which is certainly warranted.

I might add, Mr. Chairman, that parents will be grateful for this legislation. They need our help. Even the best parental-control software available for purchase does not offer full protection and given the lack of current requirements for age verification, a child can easily falsify his age to access online material that is harmful. 

Mr. Chairman, this is common-sense legislation and it is much needed in this cyber-technology driven society. We urge passage of Assembly Bill 730.”

 

 

Celebrating Sanctity of Human Life Month

Celebrating Sanctity of Human Life Month

The US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, but protecting human life remains a top priority for pro-life organizations and individuals in Wisconsin, especially since Planned Parenthood has resumed abortions here. Dane County District Court Judge Diane Schlipper ruled on the case brought by Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul (D) alleging that Wisconsin’s pre-Roe abortion statute, 940.04, is not enforceable. Schlipper says the law doesn’t apply to consensual abortion, but rather to feticide, the non-consensual killing of a preborn baby. Many of us fail to see how she arrived at that decision since the section is labeled “Abortion,” and if nothing else, the exception for the life of the mother makes it clear that the statute applies to consensual abortion. Nevertheless, for now, the intentional, consensual killing of an unborn child is again legal in Wisconsin.

Thanks to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, 14 states in the U.S. have implemented laws that prohibit or significantly restrict abortions. According to the data available, these enforceable pro-life laws are projected to potentially eliminate around 200,000 abortions annually. However, this still leaves hundreds of thousands of babies at risk. As Christians and pro-lifers, our job is not over until abortion is unthinkable in our country and every child is safe in his or her mother’s womb. 

Commemorating Sanctity of Human Life Month in January is a good way to highlight this issue. January was officially designated as Sanctity of Human Life Month in 1984 by then-President Ronald Reagan. This year, Sanctity of Human Life Sunday is on January 21. Wisconsin Family Council urges churches to preach on life and pro-lifers to recommit to robustly and persistently defending life this month and every month. 

We are dedicated to doing everything we can to strengthen, preserve, and promote human life from conception through natural death. We believe in the power of prayer, action, and education to bring about change. When churches teach and preach on the issue, so many people gain a clear understanding and then use their personal influence to help others advance the pro-life cause.

In addition, to safeguard the lives of the unborn, we need to not only expose the harsh realities of abortion but also offer support to local pregnancy care organizations that consistently provide hope and life-affirming messages to women and families. By promoting a culture that celebrates life, we can counter the false narrative pushed by the left and present alternatives that affirm the value of both mother and child. It’s about creating a community where life is not just protected by law but cherished and supported in practice. 

To this end, Choose Life Wisconsin recently distributed almost $30,000 to eight Wisconsin pregnancy care centers to help with their amazing pro-life work. These funds are raised from the sale of the Choose Life Wisconsin license plate. To date, Choose Life Wisconsin has awarded over $308,000 to more than 30 pregnancy care centers in our state.

Recently, a coffee company dedicated to the pro-life cause donated nearly $300,000 to pregnancy resource centers across the country, assisting them in their role as a “shield and protector” for expectant mothers. 

These funding efforts come at a time when some centers are facing challenges in funding and operational capabilities in certain states.

Seven Weeks Coffee takes its name from the developmental stage at which a preborn baby is about the size of a coffee bean. The company is committed to supporting the work of pro-life pregnancy centers, which offer a range of free services and counseling to pregnant women and their families. To aid these centers, Seven Weeks Coffee donates 10% of its coffee sales revenue. Choosing to spend money at places like this, rather than progressive companies that explicitly support abortion, or to purchase a Choose Life Wisconsin license plate are small but impactful ways we can all help foster a culture of life. 

Further, we must extend radical love and compassion to expectant mothers facing challenging circumstances. Churches and their congregations should actively support women and men vulnerable to choosing abortion by contributing to crisis pregnancy centers, directly assisting mothers in need, or simply being present for those experiencing hardship.

Finally, a key part of defending the sanctity of life in Wisconsin is to elect leaders who will boldly protect preborn life and prevent the left from advancing their radical pro-choice agenda. President Joe Biden has urged Congress to establish a federal legal “right” to abortion. This action aims not only to reinstate but also to broaden the scope of Roe v. Wade by prohibiting states from enacting almost all pro-life legislation. The outcome of the 2024 elections will be crucial in deciding whether the Democrats maintain control of the White House and secure sufficient congressional seats to achieve this despicable objective. 

This fall presents a chance to vote for Christ-centered leaders who will fiercely defend life at all stages. It’s vital to participate in the upcoming election and to encourage others who share these beliefs to do the same.

May our efforts honor the sanctity of human life, not just in words, but through our individual actions, including our vote, and in the laws that govern our state and nation.

WILL Secures Victory For First Amendment Rights

WILL Secures Victory For First Amendment Rights

Recently, the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) and the Mountain States Legal Foundation achieved a victory on behalf of Young America’s Foundation, a conservative student group, after the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse refused to grant the organization official student-organization status.

The school originally denied the group’s designation because the student organization refused to sign onto a “DEI” inclusivity statement, a document full of the university’s prescribed political and social policy stances that contradicted the organization’s values and violated their First Amendment rights. Several of these statements involved a pledge to promote the welfare of individuals who do not have the “documentation” required for legal residency in the United States and compelled student organizations to express their disapproval of enforcing the existing immigration laws in the country.

The university was also asking students to be “committed to… addressing issues of equity and justice,” through implementing race-conscious policies. The school backed down after the legal groups threatened further action. 

Dan Lennington, WILL Deputy Counsel, stated, “This is a victory for free speech and equality. WILL stands ready to defend the Constitutional rights of every Wisconsinite. Period. We applaud the students at UW-La Crosse for standing up for themselves and setting a great example for others to follow. On the other hand, it’s time for academia to ditch the woke nonsense.”

It should go without saying that the purpose of student groups is not to peddle the university’s progressive agenda but to rally around the members’ own unique interests and beliefs. The university went so far as to attempt to force students to violate their beliefs. Thankfully, the First Amendment rights of this group have been restored.

UW-La Crosse has found itself in lots of hot water lately—from the firing of the chancellor for his involvement in porn to this unfortunate incident with Young America’s Foundation. These realities should be a wake-up call for the school, the Universities of Wisconsin Board of Regents, and for any parents thinking about this school for their college-bound teens.

Record Number of State Capitols Display Nativities, Including Wisconsin

Record Number of State Capitols Display Nativities, Including Wisconsin

Two non-profit organizations have joined forces to assist private citizen groups in organizing a record-breaking number of Nativity scenes on the groundsof state capitols during this Advent season.

According to a press release from the Thomas More Society, 43 state capitols, including Wisconsin’s, will feature Nativity scenes this year. The society is collaborating with the American Nativity Scene committee to facilitate this initiative.

Thomas More Society is offering support to ensure that individuals who wish to sponsor a Nativity scene at their state capitol can do so, as protected by the First and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

Every year, WFA takes our Christmas sign and Nativity to the state Capitol to put on display in the first-floor rotunda. This year, we were the first organization to put our sign and display up on December 1st. The state Christmas tree was up and decorated; and just a couple of hours earlier, the governor had lit the tree that he insists on referring to as a “holiday tree.” During the tree-lighting ceremony, however, high school choirs that had been invited were singing traditional Christmas carols, not just secular Christmas songs.

Over the years, there has been an ongoing battle of the signs, and now a battle of the nativities, with Freedom from Religion Foundation. According to a press release from Freedom from Religion, headquartered in Madison, for 27 years we’ve had a battle of the signs, and for about 11 years we’ve had a battle of the nativities.

Our Christmas sign says, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15. Then in huge letters, the sign says “JESUS,” followed by “Merry Christmas from Wisconsin Family Council.”

Freedom from Religion is apparently now combining their sign and their blasphemous so-called nativity display. Freedom from Religion says that its own display is an “irreverent cutout by artist Jacob Fortin” that “depicts Founders Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington gazing in adoration at a ‘baby’ Bill of Rights while the Statue of Liberty looks on. A sign beside this tongue-in-cheek depiction reads: ‘At this Season of the Winter Solstice, join us in honoring the Bill of Rights, adopted on Dec. 15, 1791, which reminds us that there can be no religious freedom without the freedom to dissent. Keep religion and government separate!’” How’s that for a cheery, truthful Christmas message? 

Our sign and traditional nativity display offer a stark contrast with Jesus as the central word on the sign and the central figure in the Nativity.

A smaller sign accompanies our Nativity. It reads, “Jesus…and she shall bring forth a son and thou shalt call his name Jesus for he shall save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21),” as you can see in the picture to the right. 

We want every visitor who is in the building this month to see the beautiful Christmas tree as well as the truth of this holy season. We are privileged to receive permission each year to put the sign and Nativity up, and it’s always done with a prayer that God will use them to encourage young and old alike to know that at this time of year, we are worshipping the Creator, not the Creator’s creation, as some do, such as those at Freedom From Religion Foundation.

If you’re in Madison this month, we hope you’ll stop by the state Capitol and take time to go to the first floor to see the displays there. If kids are with you, this is a great opportunity for some worldview and Bible instruction, as well as sharing with them, as their ages allow, that we can install these displays because we have religious freedom in our state and in our nation.

The battle between good and evil, truth and error, will rage until Christ returns and declares time shall be no more and all evil will be eternally banished. Until then, we keep telling the truth of Christmas and of the entire Gospel everywhere we can, every opportunity we have—and Christmas is a perfect time to share the good news—in our state Capitol and everywhere. To echo the glorious Christmas carol, let’s “Go, tell it on the Mountain! That Jesus Christ is born!”


 

An Update On Our Offices’ Firebombing Case—Culprit Pleads Guilty

An Update On Our Offices’ Firebombing Case—Culprit Pleads Guilty

Some days are just emblazoned in our memories. One of those days for me is May 8th, 2022, Mother’s Day. I was at church early that morning to help get ready for a ladies’ brunch happening at 9 a.m. At 7:45 or so, I received a call from one of our team members telling me I needed to immediately call the folks who manage our office building because we had had a “break-in.” I quickly dialed building management and was told we’d had more than a break-in. I was told we had been firebombed and had a fire started in our office and that graffiti had been written on two of the building’s outside walls near our office. I immediately left church with another one of our team members, with a quick stop by my home, only to find that the Watertown police were looking for me because the Madison police hadn’t been able to locate me. After verifying who I was, I was told to get to Madison as soon as possible and to call the Madison Police Department en route. I did so. Interestingly, the Madison PD wouldn’t tell me what the graffiti said.

As we drove by the front of the building at the office, I saw the message on one wall: “If abortions aren’t safe, then you aren’t either.” On another wall was what we later learned were anarchist and anti-law enforcement symbols. The reason we were attacked was unmistakable.

We entered the building to an acrid odor and found it came from our office, all the way at the end of the hall—at least 150 feet away. Walking into the office, we found the receptionist area a mess from firefighters who had arrived to put out the fire. Then I saw that my personal office had been the point of the attack. Windows broken, glass everywhere, furniture destroyed, books burned, a segment of wall burned away, disarray everywhere—and horrible air, even to the point of making it hard to breathe. Later I’d learn that the air in my office was not just bad, it was truly toxic and no one should have been in there! Meanwhile, I’d given countless interviews standing or sitting in the middle of the destruction for at least two days!  

Needless to say, such a day is permanently embedded in my memory. That day, FBI agents were in the office, along with an ATF agent, and at least two Madison Police Department officers—one a detective. When they left with physical evidence late that afternoon, they told me work on the case would begin immediately, but it might take several months for anything of significance to happen. That proved to be true. It wasn’t until March of this year, that I was told that an arrest in our case was imminent—thanks to graffiti that had been written on a sidewalk near the state capitol—in a handwriting style that matched the one used on our walls. After several weeks of work, law enforcement recovered a half-eaten burrito left by the suspect and extracted DNA from the refuse. That DNA matched one set of DNA taken from the physical evidence gathered at my office. Shortly thereafter, police arrested Hridindu Sankar Roychowdhury in Boston getting ready to board a plane to Guatemala, using a one-way ticket. 

Seriously! This is the kind of thing you see in an NCIS episode! Mr. Roychowdhury was charged with attempting to cause damage through the use of fire or an explosive device and was eventually extradited to Wisconsin where he was put first in jail and then in a federal prison.

Fast-forward to the Monday before Thanksgiving. The US Attorney’s office handling this case filed a signed Plea Agreement with the Western District Wisconsin Federal Court. Mr. Roychowdhury was scheduled to actually plead guilty before federal Judge William Conley on Friday, December 1, 2023, at 1 p.m. Shortly before 1 p.m., I entered the courtroom and sat down. Shortly after, a sergeant-at-arms told me I’d probably be more comfortable moving to the other side of the gallery. I had sat directly behind where Mr. Roychowdhury would be sitting with his attorneys. I obliged and sat behind the detective handling our case and an FBI agent who had made the arrest. Eventually, the other side filled up with the accused’s friends and family members (interestingly, all wearing masks).

Eventually, Mr. Roychowdhury was escorted in wearing an orange jumpsuit, but in no way restrained. I watched him for a long time. His demeanor throughout the process of the judge asking him a whole series of questions was calm, self-assured, and perhaps a bit smug and arrogant. I don’t know if he recognized me or not, although he looked my way several times. I couldn’t help but wonder how he got caught up in all this radicalization and violence, and I pondered how his life will be different because of this crime.

This 29-year-old from India (now apparently a US citizen) did plead guilty and took responsibility for the crime. The judge told him very clearly the law requires a minimum of five years of incarceration with a maximum of 20and that the judge would ultimately determine his sentence and hand it down on February 14th, 2024. He will get some consideration for accepting responsibility, but the judge cannot give him less than five years. He could also be fined and required to pay restitution for damages. As I’ve said many times, we are not looking for revenge or retribution, just justice under the law.

This arrest and guilty plea is, as far as we know, the first in the nation as it relates to the series of attacks targeting pro-life organizations and churches that happened after the leaked draft of the Dobbs U.S. Supreme Court decision suggested that Roe v. Wade would soon be overturned.

It’s taken longer than anyone thought it would to reach this point in the firebombing of our office, but I believe justice is being served at this point, and I trust this will be encouraging to other pro-life organizations and churches that have endured similar attacks.

You, our friends, have prayed for us, financially supported us, and encouraged us as we have walked this very different path. Thank you! The case is still open because we believe there are more suspects yet to be identified and apprehended. So this attack remains very much on our minds as we continue to work with law enforcement. Your prayers and ongoing support are such a blessing and so necessary as we continue, in partnership with you, to show up, stand up, and speak up for LIFE in Wisconsin. We will keep you posted as this story continues! 

Critical Updates On Recent State Elections And Implications for WI

Critical Updates On Recent State Elections And Implications for WI

While we did not have any elections here in our state last week, several states had some really significant elections. Of prime importance, Ohio voters weighed in on two ballot initiatives. One of the referenda ensconces a right to abortion in the state’s constitution, and the other legalizes recreational marijuana. Unfortunately, both proposals passed.

The abortion proposal passed 56%-44%. The referenda stated that individuals will have the “right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions.” My counterpart in Ohio—my friend Aaron Baehr—who worked hard to defeat the amendment and provided leadership for a pro-life coalition, made some important points about the heartbreaking loss.

The statement from Protect Women Ohio said, in part, “Our hearts are broken tonight not because we lost an election, but because Ohio families, women and children will bear the brunt of this vote. When Michigan voters passed a similar amendment last year, they were sold the lie that parental rights would be unaffected, that late-term abortion would remain illegal, and that women’s health and safety standards would not be touched. But just last week, the Michigan legislature voted to repeal penalties for partial-birth abortions, to eliminate health and safety protections at abortion facilities, and they called parental consent laws ‘unconstitutional.’ They even vowed to come for informed consent laws and 24-hour waiting periods next. We know the same barbaric attacks on parents and children are now coming home to Ohio.”

They went on to say that as pro-lifers, they will not quit—which is encouraging to be sure. But I want to note what this statement points out about Michigan because it is very telling. Voters in Michigan were told one thing about abortion regulations if they passed a “right to abortion” amendment, but yet the pro-abortion advocates are never satisfied. They want abortion any time, for any or no reason—truly abortion on demand. Ohio pro-lifers recognize that this could easily happen in their state with this so-called “right to abortion” now in their constitution.

So how does this relate to Wisconsin? Remember that lawsuit challenging whether our pre-Roe law is enforceable? That lawsuit is still in Dane County Circuit Court—but it will eventually move from that court and go either to the appellate court and then to the state Supreme Court, or the appellate court could send it directly to the state Supreme Court.

Most observers believe one way or another, this case will land at our state Supreme Court, which now leans liberal by a 4-3 margin. And of course, new Justice Janet Protaciewicz made it very clear in her campaign that she supports what she called “reproductive rights” for women—which is a euphemism, and a bad one, for abortion.

When this case gets to our state Supreme Court, it wouldn’t take a great deal of legal maneuvering for our court to create a “right to abortion” in our state constitution. And then, like Michigan, it would not be long before serious challenges will come, probably via the courts, against our abortion regulations, like the 20-week abortion ban, the ultrasound requirement, the 24-hour waiting period, parental permission, and others—all of which are designed to protect women and their unborn children.

As I have said and will continue to say, elections have very real consequences—and sometimes those consequences are literally life and death.

Regardless of what happens with our pre-Roe law here in Wisconsin, WFA and WFC, in full partnership with you, will continue to relentlessly fight for the dignity of every preborn child and advocate for the support of every woman facing a crisis pregnancy. Thank you for all you do to promote a culture of life in our state!

School Choice Is Under Fire In Wisconsin

School Choice Is Under Fire In Wisconsin

For over thirty years, Wisconsin has been at the forefront of educational innovation with its school choice program, providing low-income parents the opportunity to select the best educational environment for their children, which includes both secular and religious private schools.

Our Parental Choice Program began in 1990 with just the City of Milwaukee, but has expanded to include Milwaukee County, and under the Walker administration, a Racine choice program and a statewide choice program were launched. Currently, about 52,000 students are enrolled in private schools using a state-issued voucher.

As of last week, this successful program is facing a challenge in the form of a lawsuit filed by the Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC, a leftist group publicly stating it is out to destroy Wisconsin’s choice program. This lawsuit was filed directly to the state Supreme Court and asks the court to shut down the choice program before the 2024-2025 school year. It is disheartening to witness such a baseless, politically motivated attack on a program that has empowered families and improved educational outcomes for tens of thousands of children.

The essence of the lawsuit revolves around the claim that the school choice program diverts funds from public schools, crippling their ability to provide quality education, which is a fundamentally flawed assertion. Currently, statewide public school districts receive, on average, almost $15,000 per student of taxpayer money. Even with the increase in vouchers that the governor signed into law in the new budget, vouchers for K-8 students are just 64% of that amount, while vouchers for high school students are now 81% of the public school per-student cost. What this means is the voucher programs are saving taxpayers money.

Importantly, recent research done by School Choice Wisconsin shows that the choice programs are giving taxpayers a very good return, with voucher students consistently outperforming their public school peers on core subjects such as reading and math, as well as on standardized tests such as the ACT and the state’s Knowledge and Concepts Exam.

This lawsuit fails to acknowledge the diverse needs of Wisconsin’s students. Every child is unique, with individual learning styles, interests, and aspirations. Additionally, families differ in their values. Many families today, especially Christians, are realizing public schools are foisting values on their children that are antithetical to their family values. A one-size-fits-all approach to education simply does not suffice. School choice ensures that parents can tailor their child’s education to match what they want for their children, fostering an environment where students can thrive academically and personally, and also for many, spiritually.

While the lawsuit does not directly raise concerns about the participation of religious schools in Wisconsin’s school choice program, it is important to know that this issue was settled by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 1998 in a case that challenged the original Milwaukee Parental Choice Program. The high court determined including religious private schools in the choice program did not violate either the US Constitution’s First Amendment or Wisconsin’s constitution. Subsequent and quite recent US Supreme Court decisions have also upheld the inclusion of religious private schools in such programs.

The bottom line is we have people in our state who despise the choice program; they have tried to discredit it and undo it for years. Now, with our state Supreme Court leaning liberal, they believe the time is right to aggressively use the courts to accomplish their goal. Fortunately, Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty is ready to fully defend this educational option on behalf of the tens of thousands of students and families who are flourishing because of this program. We call on Christians to pray for the justices and their decision and for the attorneys who will be involved with this high-stakes case.

Parents Must Prioritize Worldview Development

Parents Must Prioritize Worldview Development

Speaking recently at Family Research Council’s Pray Vote Stand event, researcher George Barna attributed our societal problems to a transition from a biblical worldview to alternative philosophies.

Christian post reports that Barna contends parents err in prioritizing “academic achievement, emotional happiness, and good health” over “worldview development,” and wanting their children to be a “good person” as opposed to being a disciple of Christ. Currently, Barna says, “less than 1 percent of adolescents and teens are on track to have a biblical worldview.” This means our world is in desperate need of true disciples.

Barna notes that a disciple is not simply someone who believes in God, but rather is someone who follows Jesus’ teachings and adheres to His commandments. Doing so requires us to be counter-cultural. A disciple’s life should look radically different from those around him, and will almost certainly involve some level of cultural challenge or even persecution.

It’s not wrong to want children to do well in school, be emotionally and physically healthy, or be a good person. But they should first and foremost be disciples who see the world through the lens of Scripture. Without a biblical worldview, children will ultimately struggle in every area because such a worldview grounds them and prepares them for discerning true from false, good from evil, and right from wrong. This calls for intentional, purposeful parenting.

A crucial part of instilling a biblical worldview in our children, especially in our modern culture, is teaching them what the Bible has to say about the value of life.

For example, Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Similarly, Isaiah 49:1 says, “The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name.” Lastly, the sixth commandment forbids the direct and intentional killing of another person.

God makes it very clear. Christianity and abortion are entirely incompatible. 

Unfortunately, we are now living in a state where innocent lives are once again being taken under the guise of “healthcare.” Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin resumed abortions yesterday in Madison and Milwaukee. The Associated Press reports that appointments at the Milwaukee clinic were completely filled within 24 hours of Planned Parenthood announcing that it would resume abortions, despite the fact that our state’s pre-Roe abortion ban is still in place. (Our press release in response to PPWI’s illegal, life-taking decision is available HERE.)

The good news is that this battle is far from over. Please pray for our judicial system and all those involved. As Christians, we are called to do everything in our power to end abortion in Wisconsin. Doing so will require that we raise up the next generation to be disciples of Christ who see life, from the moment of conception, through a biblical worldview.

The Multiplied Power of One Works

The Multiplied Power of One Works

Last spring, the Town of Hayward used an obscure state law to hold its annual meeting without public notice. At the meeting, three resolutions were passed, including a $15 million building project and reorganization of the town board. This came despite the fact that during a 2019 advisory referendum, residents of Hayward expressed their disapproval of a comparable $5 million construction project.

More than 270 residents took initiative to organize and gather signatures with the aim of convening a “special town meeting” to reconsider the resolutions. Residents and town electors have provided three separate written requests, but to date, the town clerk has refused to call the meeting. Citizens also contacted Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL), which has now sent the town a letter demanding that they abide by Wisconsin law and hold a public town meeting so residents can weigh in on spending projects.

WILL’s client, Brenda Dettloff, said, “The Town of Hayward is denying citizens open, accountable, and transparent government. Before significant updates to town infrastructure and amenities are made, taxpayers deserve to have their voices heard. Because of that simple fact, hundreds of Hayward citizens, from across the political spectrum, are speaking out as one voice and demanding a true public meeting ‘of the People’ to properly vet the pending resolutions.”

WILL’s letter asks the town to fulfill its legal duty by either confirming that it will provide the public notice of a September 15 town meeting, as requested by the residents, or explain how the town believes their petition was insufficient. “If you refuse to do so by Monday, August 28, 2023, we will petition for a writ of mandamus in circuit court ordering you to do so,” wrote WILL.

This story beautifully demonstrates “the multiplied power of one.” When one person gets involved and reaches out to recruit even just a handful of others who in turn reach out to others, they end up making a huge difference, especially at the local level.

It’s been said that all that’s necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Alert citizens willing to get involved can make a tremendous difference. Holding elected officials accountable is essential and is part of being a good steward of this republic we are blessed to live in. We should each consider how we can use the “multiplied power of one” where we live to make our communities truly good for families!

“Earthquake” Rocks WI

“Earthquake” Rocks WI

On Wednesday, August 1, Wisconsin experienced an earthquake. Did you feel it? No Richter scale picked up its magnitude, but the impact was felt all across the state, from large cities to small towns. While no buildings were toppled, in fact no property damage was done, the destruction began almost immediately with more to come. It’s true that no lives were lost at the time, but the aftershock will no doubt result in loss of human life as well.

The devastating earthquake  happened just as Justice-elect Janet Protaciewicz was sworn in as the newest member of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. At that moment, the tectonic plates in our state shifted, as the ideological balance of our high court suddenly went from a slim 4-3 conservative majority to a slim but very significant 4-3 liberal majority.

The new liberal majority lost no time in flexing its muscle and causing the first aftershock. The very day of this human-made disaster, the liberal majority voted to fire the Director of State Courts, Randy Koshnick, who had served with distinction for six years in this important, non-judicial position.

Shortly after Koschnick was fired, the court hired a new interim Director of State Courts. Senate Majority Leader Republican Devin LeMahieu objected, saying that this individual didn’t meet the legal requirements to be appointed to this job. But that didn’t deter the liberal juggernaut in the least.

According to the current Chief Justice, Annette Ziegler, one of the conservatives on the court, the court continued its destructive path by convening a meeting in a way that if not illegal is at least in violation of the court’s self-determined policies and procedures. Some news reports indicated the liberal justices responded pretty much by saying, “too bad. We’re in charge now, and we’ll do what we want, when we want, in the way we want.” Talk about an aftershock!

Legal pipelines were immediately filling up when the ground in Wisconsin shifted on August 1. By Monday, August 7, two lawsuits had already been filed directly with the state Supreme Court, challenging the state legislative district maps that the Wisconsin Supreme Court under a conservative majority had approved in late 2021.

During the campaign in this spring’s election, then Judge Protaciewicz made it very clear what she thinks of the maps in question that gave us the Assembly and Senate districts under which the 2022 midterm elections were conducted. Protaciewicz said they were “unfair” and “rigged.” Used to be that such clear proclamations on an issue sure to come before the court would have been assiduously avoided by a judicial candidate. But the earth in Wisconsin had already begun shifting well before August 1; unfortunately, too many people ignored the signs. Based on what we’ve already seen, I’ll predict the court quickly accepts at least one of the two cases, if not both, and sets a date in the near future for oral arguments.

We care about these maps because they have a great deal to do with who controls our state assembly and state senate. Right now, both houses have solid conservative majorities. But that could change in January 2025, if the maps are redrawn in a way that favors liberals. Imagine Wisconsin with Governor Evers and the liberal majorities in both the Assembly and Senate. Talk about an aftershock!

Democrat Attorney General Josh Kaul wasn’t about to be left out of this opportunity to wreak further havoc as a result of the August 1 quake. Last week, he filed a motion in with the Dane County judge who is handling the case challenging our state’s pre-Roe abortion ban, asking that she expedite her decision. Now, why would he do that with a case that has been lollygagging in the system since late June of 2022? Because he now wants this case before the State supreme court sooner rather than later, knowing that Protaciewicz made it very clear in her campaign that she is pro-abortion. And this is how the loss of life happens as a result of Wisconsin’s August 1 ideological earthquake.

I wish I could tell you no more aftershocks will happen, but that would be dishonest. The rumblings have been happening for some time related to Act 10, school choice, executive authority, religious freedom and more.

Elections have consequences. Sometimes they set the stage for cataclysmic, ideological earthquakes that destroy foundations and result in widespread damage that includes the loss of precious human lives. Maybe now people will actually believe it when we talk about election consequences. We can only hope.

Democrats Take Aim at WI Legislative Maps

Democrats Take Aim at WI Legislative Maps

Last week, Judge Janet Protaciewicz became Justice Protaciewicz when she was sworn in as a member of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, a move that changed the ideological balance of the court from 4-3 conservative to 4-3 liberal. Two lawsuits have already been filed with the state supreme court that challenge the current legislative maps. Democrats are asking the state supreme court to overturn GOP-drawn maps. The court has to formally accept these “direct-action” petitions, which will likely happen soon given the new makeup of the court.

The filing of these lawsuits was anticipated following the addition of Justice Protasiewciz to the court. She emphasized the existing maps, crafted by GOP legislators and implemented by the state supreme court in spring 2022, as a central theme of her campaign, characterizing the maps as “rigged” and unfairly skewed in favor of Republicans.

Democrats argue that the state legislative maps exhibit partisan gerrymandering. As a result, one of the lawsuits calls for all 33 state senators to run according to new districts next year, and the other lawsuit says all state legislators should be compelled to compete in redrawn districts in fall 2024. Both lawsuits, if successful, would mean the half of the state senate who was elected last year and wouldn’t be up for re-election until 2026 would still be forced to run again next fall.

Republican legislative leaders criticized the lawsuits, and Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) pledged to protect the existing maps.

“The timing of this lawsuit questions the integrity of the court,” he said“It’s clear that liberal interest groups are coming to collect from Justice Protasiewicz after her campaign broke judicial code to earn their financial support earlier this year.”

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said the petitions appear to be an “attempt to get the Wisconsin Supreme Court to do what the United States Supreme Court has said judges cannot — decide political issues about redistricting.” Vos is referring to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said federal courts cannot play a role in deciding partisan gerrymandering claims. The 2019 verdict undercut a district court’s decision that had determined the Wisconsin GOP legislators’ drawn boundaries constituted an unconstitutional gerrymander.

Both lawsuits are directed exclusively at the current state legislative maps (Senate and Assembly districts), not the congressional maps, which were accepted by the U.S. Supreme Court at the same time as they rejected the original state legislative maps submitted by Governor Evers. If either of these lawsuits is successful (and in all likelihood if the state supreme court decides to accept both, they will be combined and heard together), and new maps are drawn and ultimately forced upon the legislature, the strong majorities Republicans have in both the Assembly and the Senate would be in jeopardy. This, of course, is exactly what the Democrats want: to eliminate or at least reduce the majorities.

With 2024 being a presidential election year and Wisconsin once again being a targeted state, we can be sure an all-out assault on our state legislature will be waged with massive amounts of money being spent to flip both houses from conservative to liberal majorities. Should that happen while Evers is governor, well, let’s just say it won’t be good for marriage, family, life, religious freedom, or any other freedom.

As we know, elections have consequences. These map challenges are significant; please join us in prayer as these cases and others impacting marriage, family, life, and religious freedom will no doubt soon be filed.

Parent Sues WI School District After Teacher Announces Gender “Transition”

Parent Sues WI School District After Teacher Announces Gender “Transition”

The Daily Wire reports that a Wisconsin school district is facing a lawsuit from a parent who claims that a teacher announced his gender “transition” to students, including those in elementary school, without notifying parents.

On Monday, Leah Buchman, a mother within the Eau Claire Area School District (ECASD), lodged a formal complaint accusing the district of violating open records law and neglecting to inform parents about the teacher’s gender transition announcement.

According to the complaint, on June 5th, all orchestra students at Northstar Middle School were required to meet in the orchestra room along with their orchestra teacher and school counselor, Jacob Puccio, and the district’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) director, Dang Yang. During this gathering, the middle school students were informed that their orchestra teacher, Mr. Puccio, would be undergoing a “gender transition.”

Further, music students at three elementary schools and one high school in the district were purportedly read a scripted statement regarding the teacher’s gender transition.

According to the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL), the statement was curated by ECASD with the intention to “ensure that students received information in a particular way.” Additionally, WILL asserts that parents still remain unaware of the exact contents of what was read to the students and are seeking clarification on the specifics.

Buchman immediately requested a copy of the scripted statement but was denied access to it. An attorney representing the school district stated that the document could not be released at that time due to an ongoing investigation into whether any school employee had acted inappropriately during the June 5th announcement.

Following the school’s refusal to provide the statement, Buchman proceeded to file her lawsuit with the assistance of the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL).

“All I am asking is for the school district to provide what was told to my children and their peers in the classroom. As a parent, it’s my responsibility to help my kids understand all that life throws their way, and I do not understand why it has taken the school district so long to update parents,” said Buchman.

“It’s ridiculous for a school district to refuse to produce a statement that was read out loud to dozens of minor students in several district classrooms. What was told to these kids should be readily accessible to parents,” said WILL attorney Cory Brewer.

Other Wisconsin schools have been under fire for undermining parents’ rights in an attempt to indoctrinate students with radical LGBTQ+ ideology. 

The Eau Claire Area School District (ECASD) was sued for hosting gender identity trainings that instruct teachers and school staff on how to hide students’ gender transitions from parents. America First Legal (AFL) and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) filed the lawsuit on behalf of several parents, arguing that the district’s policies violate their freedom of religion and their parental rights. 

Similarly, last  November a group of Wisconsin parents sued the Kettle Moraine School District (KMSD) for a policy that allows minor students to “transition genders” at school, even despite their parents’ objection.

In a third case, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) filed a lawsuit in 2020 in Dane County Circuit Court against the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) for its policies that allow children to change their gender identity at school without parental notice or consent. The policy also instructs district staff to hide information about students’ gender identity from parents.

Cases of Wisconsin schools violating parental rights have become far too common– and these are only the instances that have been reported. Hopefully, these lawsuits are successful and send a clear message to Wisconsin schools: teachers have no right to parent students or push a radical agenda without parents’ consent. 

Let’s Talk Leadership!

Let’s Talk Leadership!

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a law last Friday banning most abortions after a baby’s heartbeat can be detected, just weeks after the Iowa Supreme Court blocked a similar law. The bill signing took place at The Family Leadership Summit, a gathering of nearly 2,000 faith-based conservatives organized by The Family Leader, a state family policy council in Iowa. The governor told the sold-out crowd, “the most important human rights cause of our time [is] protecting unborn human lives from the atrocity of abortion.”

“All life is precious and worthy of the protection of our laws,” Reynolds added. “Everyone understands that a heartbeat signifies life, and we understand that when it falls silent, something precious has been lost.”

Reynolds also acknowledged with gratitude who was in the audience— pro-life activists, saying, “You have lifted us in prayer, grounded me in God’s Word, and reminded me that He is always in control.”

I was privileged to be at that event and to meet Governor Reynolds. The crowd went crazy in applause for the governor and for the at least 50 pro-life legislators flanked her as she signed this bill. 

One of the other speakers at the Summit was Pastor Alistair Begg who did a session on the importance of having a biblical worldview. As he wrapped up his remarks, he gave three words that he said should characterize leaders: integrity, bravery, and humility. 

From what I can discern about Governor Kim Reynolds, especially after listening to numerous Iowans who actually know her quite well, she epitomizes these characteristics. Because of her, people like me have “governor envy,” as we consider what Wisconsin could be like if we had leaders anywhere in our government who were people of integrity, bravery, and humility. 

These are leaders who do the right thing, at the right time, in the right way, for the right reason, even if no one is watching— that’s integrity. Such leaders have the courage of their convictions and are willing to do hard things in the face of adversity because doing right is always good and right. 

Leaders in every walk of life who exhibit integrity, bravery, and humility are rare indeed, and the world is starved for them. We are doing all we can to help develop these types of leaders this week during our LEAD Wisconsin teen worldview and leadership camp. 

At LEAD Wisconsin, 125 teens are undergoing biblical worldview training and are having opportunities to develop leadership skills, all while being encouraged in word and example to be people who have integrity and who are brave and humble.

Who knows? Maybe from this week of LEAD Wisconsin will one day come another Kim Reynolds who will lead a state, business, church, or school well for the glory of God and the good of the people they are leading. We work and pray to that end.

WFA Testifies Against Bill Allowing Pharmacists to Prescribe Contraception

WFA Testifies Against Bill Allowing Pharmacists to Prescribe Contraception

Last week, Wisconsin Family Action (WFA) provided testimony in opposition to Assembly Bill 176, a bill authored by Republicans and supported by many others as co-sponsors. AB 176 would allow pharmacists to prescribe contraceptive drugs and devices. Currently, pharmacists in Wisconsin cannot prescribe any medication— none. But Republicans think prescribing potent contraceptive drugs is the one thing they should be able to prescribe and dispense.

Jack Hoogendyk, WFA’s Legislative & Policy Director, offered the testimony on behalf of WFA, including answering questions from committee members.

Hoogendyk began by noting that one of the main arguments being presented in support of the bill is that it will reduce poverty by addressing unintentional pregnancies. However, the solution to poverty is certainly not contraception.

We acknowledge the public and personal cost of babies born to single moms, but allowing pharmacists to prescribe contraception is not the answer. One of, if not the best, antidotes to poverty is marriage. It certainly is not contraception. If this body is truly interested in reducing poverty in any kind of meaningful way, it will promote the Success Sequence, which is finish school, get a job, marry, and then have children,” he said.

Further, authorizing pharmacists to prescribe contraception promotes unmarried individuals to engage in sexual activity, at least to some degree, and contraception can fail, leading women to seek abortions. Some forms of contraception even cause a pre-implantation chemical abortion themselves.

Hoogendyk went on to explain problems with the language in the bill, such as the fact that it never uses the word “woman,” but rather “person” and “patient,” opening the door for men with malicious motives to obtain the drugs. 

He also notes that contraception is not health care, as the bill suggests. “Contraception is about the personal choices and decisions of individual women, typically made under the advice and guidance of a doctor because of the potency of the pharmaceuticals involved. To talk in terms of this being about women’s health care is, at a minimum, disingenuous.

Read the full testimony HERE

This isn’t the first time this bill has been introduced; it’s at least the third time. Typically, the Assembly passes it, and fortunately, it dies in the Senate. However, that may not be the case this time, since the Senate version of the bill got assigned to a committee chaired by senators more favorable to the idea.

Ultimately, this bill would open the door to far more harm than good. Please pray that our elected officials have a change of heart and decide to defeat this bill.

Contact your assembly representative and senator and let them know your opinion on this bill. You can get full contact information for these officials HERE. Just put your address in the appropriate area at the top right. Your senator and representative info will pop up on the map.

Dane County Judge Hears Arguments Over Abortion Ban

Dane County Judge Hears Arguments Over Abortion Ban

Last Thursday, Dane County Circuit Judge Diane Schlipper heard oral arguments in the case that challenges the enforceability of Wisconsin’s pre-Roe law that prohibits most abortions. Schlipper heard oral arguments for over 90 minutes, but has not yet released a decision.

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul filed the lawsuit within days of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade in June last year. The defendants in the lawsuit are the district attorneys from Sheboygan, Milwaukee, and Madison—all places where surgical or induced abortions were being performed before Roe was overturned.

The defendants argued the judge should dismiss the lawsuit because Kaul lacks the legal standing to bring the lawsuit, as the ban does not affect his ability to carry out his duties as attorney general. 

Attorney Matthew Thome argued that modern-day laws that restrict abortion, such as the 1985 post-viability restriction, can act in “harmony” with the ban. Thome also implored the judge to “get back to principles,” noting that the legislature decided not to repeal the abortion ban,and Schlipper should respect the rightful place of the legislature to enact these laws instead of imposing her own opinion.

The case will undoubtedly end up before the state Supreme Court, which by August, will have a 4-3 liberal majority. 

Until then, innocent lives are being saved every day while the abortion prohibition is in place. Please pray that everyone involved in this case recognizes the humanity of the unborn and rules according to God’s will.

Updates on major religious liberty cases: Groff at SCOTUS and Catholic Charities Bureau in Wisconsin

Updates on major religious liberty cases: Groff at SCOTUS and Catholic Charities Bureau in Wisconsin

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments for a monumental religious liberty case on April 18th. Groff v. DeJoy is an important opportunity for the High Court to affirm the right of employees to honor their religious beliefs and the duty of employers to grant reasonable religious accommodations. 

Christian mail carrier Gerald Groff requested the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) for a religious accommodation that would excuse him from working on Sundays after they started doing Amazon package deliveries so that he could observe the Sabbath and live by his Christian faith. The fact that regular mail isn’t delivered by the USPS on Sundays was a major factor in Groff’s choosing to work there over a decade ago. USPS refused to grant him the accommodation and Groff chose to resign rather than be fired. 

Groff is appealing to the Supreme Court in hopes it will overturn its erroneous 1977 precedent in Trans World Airlines, Inc. v. Hardison, which enabled employers to deny religious accommodations. 

Liberty Counsel filed an amicus brief in the case asking the Supreme Court to restore Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which provides protection against religious discrimination. 

“This Court should overrule the interpretation in Trans World Airlines, Inc. v. Hardison that Title VII does not require an employer to accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs if doing so would impose more than a de minimis burden on the employer. Hardison’s de minimis standard—found nowhere in the Title VII’s text or legislative history—has led to absurd results, allowing employers to discriminate against religious employees with impunity, thereby forcing workers to choose between their religious beliefs and their jobs,” reads the amicus brief

The Supreme Court justices spent much of the hearing debating the exact meanings of “undue hardship” and “de minimis.”

Groff’s attorney, Aaron Streett, recommended that the justices “construe undue hardship according to its plain text to mean significant difficulty or expense,” which would be consistent with the language in the accommodation standard of the “Americans with Disabilities Act.” 

Arguing on behalf of the Biden administration, Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar told the court that Hardison adequately protects religious exercise, to which Justice Samuel Alito responded, “I’m really struck by that because we have amicus briefs here by many representatives of many minority religions, Muslims, Hindus, Orthodox Jews, Seventh Day Adventists, and they all say that is just not true, and that Hardison has violated their right to religious liberty.”

Chief Justice John Roberts spoke about changes in religious liberty case law since the Hardison ruling, arguing that religious protections had been expanded.

Thankfully, it appears that the conservative justices are poised to rule in favor of Groff and the religious liberty of every employee. The Supreme Court is expected to rule over this case by the summer. 

At the state level, another religious liberty case will soon be heard by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. After the state refused to grant a Catholic charity legal recognition as a religious organization, the charity filed a lawsuit. Without legal recognition as an organization “operated primarily for religious purposes,” the charity is unable to use a Church-run unemployment system and instead must provide funds to the state-run unemployment system.

Although the Diocese of Superior operates the charity, the state refused to grant it its legal rights because it does not consider providing services to the poor, disabled, and elderly to be a primarily religious function. Catholic Charities Bureau is arguing that caring for those in need is central to the practice of the Catholic faith. WFA has filed an amicus brief in support of Catholic Charities Bureau.

Please pray that our justices make decisions informed by the Constitution and our nation’s founding principles in both of these cases. If religious liberty is to be truly honored in Wisconsin and the nation at large, the justices must rule accordingly in these cases. 

U.S. District Court Orders a Florida City and County to Pay Damages for Violating First Amendment Rights

U.S. District Court Orders a Florida City and County to Pay Damages for Violating First Amendment Rights

As radical gender ideology continues to spread throughout health care in the U.S., the left is taking aim at practices that stand in its way while disregarding First Amendment freedoms and the needs of people. 

Currently, 20 states have banned the intentionally misnamed “conversion therapy,” which is actually just the practice of providing counseling to help individuals with same-sex attraction or gender confusion reorient in synch with their God-given sexuality. However, the name “conversion therapy” – a misnomer much like “reproductive health care” in relation to abortion – is intentionally used by the left to conjure up images of patients being effectively tortured, badgered, or bullied into renouncing homosexual interests or abandoning transgenderism.

Banning counseling efforts to guide a patient through struggles with their sexual orientation is a direct violation of free speech, freedom of religion, and patients’ freedom to seek the treatment they want. It also threatens parents’ rights to direct the mental health care and education of their children. 

Some on the left are even attempting to expand the definition of “conversion therapy” to include any form of opposition to homosexuality and transgenderism. Doing so could criminalize even private conversations in which individuals advocate for abstinence from homosexuality or Biblical sermons on God’s design for human sexuality. 

Those struggling with any mental health problem need guidance rooted in Truth and reality, not in lies rooted in the baseless religion of progressivism.

Despite the lack of data regarding the psychological ramifications of the “gender-affirming” approach, and the growing body of evidence that this method doesn’t remedy mental health problems, the left wants “affirmation” to be the only therapy available to struggling minors. 

Thankfully, a U.S. district court has ordered the city of Boca Raton, Florida, to pay a combined $75,000 in damages to two therapists, while also ordering Palm Beach County to pay a fine of $100,000 for passing so-called “conversion therapy” bans for minors seeking help with unwanted homosexual attraction. 

Boca Raton and Palm Beach County passed laws prohibiting conversion therapy for minors in 2017. The two plaintiffs, marriage and family therapists Robert Otto and Julie Hamilton, filed lawsuits arguing that their therapy was voluntary and focused on reducing unwanted homosexual attraction rather than changing the client.

Liberty Counsel, which represented the plaintiffs, said in a statement that the judge’s order sets a “precedent that minors who are struggling with gender confusion can get the help they need from counselors who are free from political censorship” and it should “be a warning to any government that has not repealed similar counseling bans.” 

Several municipalities in Wisconsin have audaciously enacted these bans that blatantly violate counselors’ First Amendment freedoms and rob confused minors of the real help and hope they need. Hopefully, these local governments in our state pay attention to this case and reverse course.

As Christians, obeying God and loving our neighbor require us to call out sin and point one another to God’s Word. The left has no right to stand in the way of our allegiance to God with laws enforcing anti-Christian beliefs about gender and sexuality. Please pray that this case is the first of many victories when it comes to restoring religious liberty and free speech in mental health care and the Wisconsin communities where these bans have been enacted will indeed do the right thing and revoke such policies.

 

Biden Rule Would Override State Laws Protecting Girls’ Sports

Biden Rule Would Override State Laws Protecting Girls’ Sports

Once again, the Biden administration is promoting mass delusion at the expense of women’s rights. Males have stolen at least 30 titles from female athletes between 2003 and 2022, and if the Biden administration has its way, many more titles could be stolen in the near future. 

Last week, Biden officials announced a proposed regulation allowing students to participate in sports teams “consistent with their gender identity.” In other words, boys who “identify” as girls could compete among and against girls in girls’ and women’s sports.

The rule also lowers the age of application to kindergarten, dangerously attempting to normalize the idea that elementary-aged children can fully understand the implications of “identifying” as the opposite sex.

The regulation would override state laws protecting female student athletes from being forced to compete against or share a locker room with men. It would also bar federally-funded schools from implementing a “categorical ban” on boys who “identify” as girls from participating in girls’ sports.

Currently, 19 states have passed legislation to protect women’s sports in recent months, but those new laws would all be nullified with Biden’s new proposal. 

While the Biden administration claims it will allow schools some “flexibility,” pro-family advocates believe schools will face federal intervention over poorly-defined offenses. For example, the proposed rule states that schools may only lock men out of the women’s locker rooms if it is “substantially related to the achievement of an important educational objective,” and schools must “minimize harms” to any student excluded from participating in sports with the opposite sex.

“Without a doubt, institutions are going to err on the side of ‘inclusion,’ because they fear the wrath of the Education Department — thus, achieving the Department’s end goal while allowing them to maintain plausible deniability that they coerced districts into doing so,” said Nicole Neily, founder of Parents Defending Education. 

Title IX was initially implemented to protect opportunities that were previously denied to women and girls. However, the Biden administration’s new rule would unravel Title IX. If it takes effect, women’s sports, at least in schools, could be eradicated. Sports will soon “be divided into a team of men and a team of folks who used to be men, while women are sidelined from the opportunity to compete,” as Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) puts it.

Biological realities tell us that it’s entirely illogical to allow men to compete against women in sports and pretend that the competition is fair. When competing against women, men boast an advantage even greater than if an athlete were taking performance enhancing drugs. Men have 10-30 percent greater muscle strength, greater bone density, better oxygen efficiency, larger heart and lungs, and 10 percent more overall body mass, among other advantages. 

“The Department of Education’s rewriting of Title IX degrades women and tells them that their athletic goals and placements do not matter,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Christiana Kiefer. “The Biden administration’s proposed rules are a slap in the face to female athletes who deserve equal opportunity to compete in their sports.” 

Wisconsin legislators last session introduced bills designed to protect women’s and girls’ sports at both the K-12 and collegiate levels. The Assembly passed the bills, but the Senate did not take either of them up. In this current session, no bills dealing with this issue have yet been introduced.

After the Biden administration officially publishes the rule, Americans will have 30 days to provide comments before officials decide if the rule will be officially adopted. We will be sure to let you know when the 30-day window opens. Conservatives must make it clear that we will not allow the respect and dignity of female athletes to be violated at the behest of gender-confused men and a delusional administration. 

U.S. House Passes Crucial “Parental Bill of Rights”

U.S. House Passes Crucial “Parental Bill of Rights”

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Parents Bill of Rights Act by a vote of 213-208 “to ensure the rights of parents are honored and protected in the Nation’s public schools,” according to the bill’s text.  Wisconsin’s six Republican representatives (Bryan Steil, Derrick Van Orden, Scott Fitzgerald, Glenn Grothman, Tom Tiffany, Mike Gallagher) voted in favor of the bill, while the two Democrats (Mark Pocan, Gwen Moore) voted against it.

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) urged his colleagues to vote for the bill, saying that it would empower parents to always remain aware of what their children are learning in school and how their taxpayer money is being spent.

“Once you are a parent, you will give your life for your child,” said McCarthy. “You have a right to get the basic information about your children’s education….the Parents Bill of Rights is an important step towards protecting children and dramatically strengthening the rights of parents.”

The Parents Bill of Rights outlines five key rights that all parents nationwide should have, including the right to know what’s being taught in schools and to see reading material, the right to be heard, the right to see a school’s budget and spending, the right to protect their child’s privacy, and the right to be updated on any violent activity at school. 

This is common sense legislation that would help protect children from activist teaching by empowering parents to be involved. 

This bill comes in response to the many school districts across the country, including a numbere in Wisconsin, that have been caught hiding or withholding pertinent information about students from their parents.

For example, last year the Eau Claire Area School District was sued for directing teachers and school staff to allow students to change their preferred pronouns, name, and “gender identity” without parental involvement.

Similarly, in November of 2021, the Kettle Moraine School District (KMSD) was sued for a policy that allows minor students to “transition genders” at school, even despite the parents’ objection. A hearing for this case is scheduled for April 19th, and a ruling is expected in the late spring or summer.

In a third case, the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) was sued for its policies that allow children to change their “gender identity” at school without parental notice or consent. The policy also instructs district staff to hide information about students’ “gender identity” from parents. This case is ongoing after the Wisconsin Supreme Court sent it back to the Dane County Circuit Court for further action.

Across the nation, there are at least 6,000 schools that allow or require teachers to hide students’ “gender identity” from parents. Clearly, a parental bill of rights is urgently needed. 

While the Wisconsin Constitution protects the “inherent right” of parents to “direct the upbringing and education of children under their control,” it’s clear that parental rights need more protection.  A relatively strong Parents’ Rights Bill passed in the Wisconsin legislature last session, but Governor Evers vetoed it. The Assembly author, Rep. Rick Gundrum (R-Slinger), has indicated an interest in introducing the bill again this session.

While legislation can certainly help, parents should never rely on it alone to keep their children safe from harmful ideologies. Parents should always remain deeply involved and keenly aware of what is going on in the classroom and during any meetings with school staff. For the sake of children’s safety and well-being, parents must be the primary decision-makers when it comes to their children’s upbringing, education, and mental health. 

It’s also crucial that parents make their voices heard during this year’s Supreme Court election on April 4th. The balance of our State Supreme Court is on the line, which is our last chance and our strongest defense against liberal policies that have resulted in gross violations of parental rights and put our children at great risk in public schools.

 

Supreme Court Candidate Justice Kelly Exposes Protasiewicz’s Lies

Supreme Court Candidate Justice Kelly Exposes Protasiewicz’s Lies

The upcoming Wisconsin Supreme Court race holds incredibly high stakes as liberal Milwaukee Circuit Court Judge Janet Protasiewicz competes against conservative former Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly, and the court’s conservative majority hangs in the balance. This election could determine the fate of the unborn, free speech, Second Amendment rights, gerrymandered political maps and a range of voting rights issues.

For 20 years, Kelly has given legal advice to clients on a variety of legal issues through his private practice. Throughout this race, his corrupt opponent has been spreading lies to smear his reputation, but Kelly is fighting back with the truth. 

In a document titled, “Learn the Truth about the False Attacks on Justice Kelly” on the former Supreme Court justice’s website, Kelly outlines the many lies that Protasiewicz has been spreading and refutes each of them. 

The first lie states that Justice Kelly received funds from a “radical anti-abortion group working to take away women’s rights.” The truth is that Justice Kelly never received funds from Wisconsin Right to Life. Protasiewicz is attempting to suggest that Kelly would vote in favor of life in a case dealing with abortion. 

However, as a candidate, Kelly does not discuss his views on abortion. He has said if a case on that subject comes before the Supreme Court, he would analyze it as he does all cases — he would apply the applicable laws, as written, to the extent they are consistent with the state and federal constitutions.  

Protasiewicz, on the other hand, has been clear about her stance on abortion. In one of her ads, she says, “I believe in a woman’s freedom to make her own decision on abortion. It’s time for a change,” showing a clear progressive bias on the issue of abortion. 

Another lie about Kelly is that as a lawyer, Kelly allegedly “defended child sex predators who posed as ministers in order to prey on vulnerable young girls.” The truth is that Kelly briefly handled pre-trial duties in the cases in question, but did no further work to defend the accused. He left the law firm before the trial.  

The same cannot be said for No Jail Janet. As a judge, she gave no prison or jail time to child sex offenders in several cases.

Another lie is that “Justice Kelly was ‘bought off’ over $20,000 in campaign contributions.” In reality, prior to the 2020 election, Kelly removed himself from presiding in a case pertaining to an issue that could have affected an election in which he was a candidate. When the election was over and Kelly had lost the conflict of interest no longer existed. At that point, he asked the parties involved whether they would have any objection to him taking part in the case. No one objected. 

Please read the rest of the lies and rebuttals, which can be found here. 

The best way to help Justice Kelly is to share the truth. As Christians, this is not only our right, but our duty. 

Please share this document on social media and send it to friends and family, urging them to vote for Daniel Kelly on April 4th. 

Please also share WFA’s Facebook posts discussing more of the lies about Daniel Kelly. 

And the only actual debate the supreme court candidates are having happened yesterday. The debate is worth watching to hear directly from these candidates. The lies and accusations are clearly addressed.

 

 

Wisconsin Republicans Aim to Add Unnecessary Exceptions to Wisconsin’s Abortion Ban

Wisconsin Republicans Aim to Add Unnecessary Exceptions to Wisconsin’s Abortion Ban

On March 15th, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) held a joint press conference to introduce legislation sponsored by State Senator Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma), and State Representative Donna Rozar (R-Marshfield). The proposed bill would allow abortions in certain cases to supposedly “save the life of the mother” or in the case of rape or incest. Every pro-lifer should oppose this legislation.

When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, Wisconsin’s Statute 940.04 went into effect, making it illegal for a doctor to perform an abortion for any reason other than to save the life of the mother. 

The new proposed legislation would amend Wisconsin’s abortion ban so that it “does not apply to any pregnancy in the first trimester if the pregnancy is the result of sexual assault or incest.” 

It also modifies the definition of “to save the life of the mother” to mean any “serious risk of death of the pregnant woman or of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the woman” or any “circumstance in which the fetus has no chance of survival, including a physical condition of the fetus that makes survival of the fetus outside of the uterus not possible, an anembryonic pregnancy, an ectopic pregnancy, or a molar pregnancy.”

“A vote to add more exceptions to Wisconsin’s abortion ban is a vote to kill more preborn babies. It is that simple,” said Pro-Life Wisconsin legislative director Matt Sande in response to the proposed bill. 

“The fact is that legal abortion — the direct, intentional killing of a living preborn human being — is incapable of being justified. It is always and everywhere wrong, regardless of motivation or consequence. It may never be employed, even in the narrowest of circumstances, as a means to a greater end. It is incredibly disheartening that legislative Republicans are working to restore abortion to Wisconsin.”

Sande is right. The passage of this bill would certainly lead to an increase in abortions across the state, and in every case, the intentional killing of an innocent child is deeply immoral. Further, the language in the bill claiming that abortion is sometimes necessary to save the life of the mother is entirely false. 

“The bill mentions three specific circumstances,” said WFA President Julaine Appling, “all three of which are either not pregnancies at all or are already recognized as medically necessary to save the life of the mother. Anembryonic pregnancy and molar pregnancy are circumstances where there is no embryo or fetus; so obviously, it cannot be an abortion. Ectopic pregnancy is a life-threatening condition that requires emergency treatment. In all three of these cases, there is no current law that would prohibit a physician from providing the necessary medical care.”

Read Julaine’s full statement here.

Healthcare workers should always respect and care for both lives. Often, both the mother and the baby can be saved. 

It is possible that the child may be harmed as an unintentional side effect of treating the mother. While this is incredibly tragic, it is not considered an abortion, and therefore not a violation of Wisconsin’s Statute 940.04. 

In cases of rape and incest, the child who is conceived is just as valuable as any other child. The child’s “wantedness” or circumstances of conception do not determine his or her worth. Rather, a child’s worth comes from the fact that each and every person is made in the image and likeness of God. Further, the solution to one injustice is never another injustice. Killing a child will not remedy the trauma that the mother endured. It will only add to it. 

Lastly, the proposed exceptions would only empower sexual predators. “The problem with this legislation is that it punishes the innocent unborn child while making it easier for the perpetrator, the real guilty party in this situation, to hide his crime. Abortion is often used to cover up crimes from sex-trafficking to rape. Additionally, and very importantly, the legislation does not require any documentation or police record that an actual sexual assault took place,” noted Appling.

Abortion is not healthcare. In fact, it’s the opposite. “Healthcare” that ends one life and traumatizes another is never “safe,” despite what the left wants us to believe. 

Passage of this bill will only lead to legalizing abortion again in Wisconsin. Pray that this bill is defeated and that robust protections remain in place for the unborn in Wisconsin. Governor Evers shortly after the press conference, sent a message that he will veto the bill because it doesn’t go far enough. Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) issued a statement saying the bill will not receive a vote in the Senate. Contact your state legislators and ask them to protect all preborn life in Wisconsin. You can look up your state legislators and their contact information by clicking here.

WILL brings on expert witnesses to protect parental rights in Kettle Moraine case 

WILL brings on expert witnesses to protect parental rights in Kettle Moraine case 

Last summer, Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) and the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a lawsuit against Kettle Moraine School District (KMSD) for its gender identity policy that allows children to “change” their gender identity at school without parental consent. The policy also prohibits district employees from notifying parents of their child’s “transition” and even instructs staff to override a parent’s objection. In this case, at least one parent called and asked the school to call a daughter by her given feminine name and to use only feminine pronouns. The school refused.

Now, WILL and ADF have brought on two experts in support of summary judgment in this case. The experts specialize in gender dysphoria, asserting that school personnel socially transitioning a minor as is happening in this school district violates widely accepted mental health principles and practice.

Dr. Erica E. Anderson is a transgender clinical psychologist from Berkeley, California. Over the last 40 years, she has worked with hundreds of children and young adults struggling with their gender identity. She has also been a board member for the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) and served as the President of USPATH (the United States arm of WPATH).

Dr. Anderson’s affidavit states, “A school policy that involves school adult personnel in socially transitioning a child or adolescent without the consent of parents or over their objection violates widely accepted mental health principles and practice.”

The second expert, Dr. Stephen Levine, is a psychiatrist and professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. He helped develop the 5th version of the WPATH guidelines and served as the court-appointed expert in the first major case to reach a federal court of appeals pertaining to surgery for transgender prisoners. 

Dr. Levine’s publications include “Transitioning back to maleness” (2018), “Ethical Concerns About Emerging Treatment Paradigms for Gender Dysphoria” (2017), “Meanings and political implications of ‘psychopathology’ in a gender identity clinic: A report of 10 cases” (2009), “The standards of care for gender identity disorders” (1998), among many others. 

If the Waukesha County judge grants summary judgment, then the parents win. This would be incredibly encouraging and right. As the parents’ attorneys argue, not only is the school’s policy harmful to children, it’s an unconstitutional violation of the parents’ rights. School districts statewide and across the country should be watching this case closely. 

The Wisconsin Constitution protects the “inherent right” of parents to “direct the upbringing and education of children under their control.” For the sake of children’s safety and well-being, parents must be the primary decision-makers when it comes to their children’s upbringing, education, and mental health. No school has the right to override parents in any way, especially when it comes to something as personal and important as gender. 

A hearing for this case is scheduled for April 19th, and a ruling is expected in the late spring or summer. Hopefully, Dr. Levine and Dr. Anderson guide the Court to a decision that will protect children and parent’s rights.

Sen. Chris Kapenga aims to eliminate the state income tax to help families thrive

Sen. Chris Kapenga aims to eliminate the state income tax to help families thrive

Wisconsin is losing families—families with children—to states like Texas and Florida, where there is no income tax. Last year 10,000 more Wisconsin families left the state than moved here. This isn’t an anomaly; it’s a trend—a trend with present and future implications for our economy and much more. When those families leave, there’s little likelihood of the parents returning to retire or the children coming back for work or to eventually establish their own families.

When Wisconsin’s best natural resource—its married dad-and-mom families with children—leaves the state in significant numbers, Wisconsin’s present and future are imperiled. This family structure is the only one that gives more than it takes in relationship to government “handouts.” 

Our state is currently sitting on a projected $6.6 billion surplus, making significant tax cuts a plausible option. The government is taking more than they need out of people’s paychecks. Thankfully, there is agreement among Wisconsin Republicans that taxes need to be cut; but opinions differ regarding how to do so.

Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) wants to implement a flat income tax of 3.5 percent. Senate President Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield), however, wants to join the nine states with no income tax. If we want to keep families in Wisconsin, this is the way to go. 

“I think that, if we’re going to do this (tax cuts) and we’re going to do something bold and we’re really going to attract workers to the state and bring more families to the state, (we should) go to no income tax like Florida,” said Kapenga.

Making Wisconsin more economically competitive compared to states that are getting our very best is a smart move, and with this “surplus,” now is the time to give this serious consideration. It would also set Wisconsin apart from other states in the Midwest. At a minimum, such a move might change the trend.

Republicans have enough votes to pass tax reform and a new state budget, but they would most likely not be able to garner enough votes to override a veto from Gov. Evers.

Evers has not yet said what his new state budget proposal will look like, but Kapenga believes he will ask for more money yet again.

“He is going to come to the trough,” Kapenga said. “Basically, I think he’s going to try and take taxpayer money and sift it out to the different special interest groups that he wants to take care of.”

Wisconsin families should not be forced to pay the government any more than is absolutely necessary. Hopefully, Republicans can agree on Kapenga’s plan to eliminate the income tax and convince Gov. Evers that this is the best move for Wisconsin. Families thrive when they are able to keep more of their hard-earned money, and when families flourish, so too does our state. As the family, so the state.

US Rep. Mike Gallagher introduces vital bill to ban TikTok

US Rep. Mike Gallagher introduces vital bill to ban TikTok

Earlier this month, a bipartisan group of Members of Congress introduced a bill that would ban the Chinese-owned social media platform called TikTok nationwide. 

TikTok is directly tied the Chinese Communist Party, as TikTok’s parent company ByteDance lists Chinese state media outlets in its employment history. Further, 50 former Chinese state media employees currently hold positions at TikTok, including a “content strategy manager” who had served as chief correspondent for China’s Xinhua News.

Director of the Strategic Technologies Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies James Lewis believes the Chinese government is using information they get from TikTok to “better tailor their propaganda for a Western audience.”

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R), Illinois Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-CD8), and Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-CD8) are leading the charge to ban TikTok due to its communist ties. 

In a press release, Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher wrote:

“TikTok is digital fentanyl that’s addicting Americans, collecting troves of their data, and censoring their news. It’s also an increasingly powerful media company that’s owned by ByteDance, which ultimately reports to the Chinese Communist Party—America’s foremost adversary.

Allowing the app to continue to operate in the U.S. would be like allowing the U.S.S.R. to buy up The New York Times, Washington Post, and major broadcast networks during the Cold War. No country with even a passing interest in its own security would allow this to happen, which is why it’s time to ban TikTok and any other CCP-controlled app before it’s too late.”

The ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act aims to “protect Americans by blocking and prohibiting all transactions from any social media company in, or under the influence of, China, Russia, and several other foreign countries of concern.”

China’s national intelligence law requires Chinese tech companies to give any data they collect from users to China’s government. American researchers have been voicing privacy and security concerns about the app for years.

TikTok has even engaged in illegal activity to collect users’ data. In 2019, the social media platform was fined by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for illegally “collecting and exposing locations of young children, as well as failing to delete information on underage children when instructed to do so.”

In 2020, TikTok found an iPhone system loophole and collected personal user data, including cryptocurrency wallet addresses and passwords. In 2021, TikTok was sued for transferring copious amounts of private user data to China. 

Rep. Krishnamoorthi noted that the Chinese Communist Party is attempting to gain any advantage “against the United States through espionage and mass surveillance.” Therefore, it’s vital that we ban social media networks controlled by this hostile power to prevent the platform, which collects data on tens of millions of Americans every day, from being weaponized against us. 

To make matters worse, the app indoctrinates children with dangerous progressive ideas. Gender ideology activists are flooding TikTok with propaganda, causing children to cave to the social contagion of transgenderism and seek gender “transition” procedures. 

Rep. Gallagher and Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson (R), joined by four of their Wisconsin colleagues- Reps. Glenn Grothman, Scott Fitzgerald, Bryan Steil, and Tom Tiffany- called on Governor Evers to ban the TikTok app on any state-owned device. To date, Governor Evers has ignored the request. Such a move is not without precedent. Governors Kristi Noem (SD), Greg Abbott (TX), Henry McMaster (SC), Larry Hogan (MD), Kevin Stitt (OK), Pete Ricketss (NE), Spencer Cox (UT), and Kay Ivey (AL) have all taken such action.

Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty earlier this month issued a report that “recaps the meteoric rise of the China-based social media app…and recounts the invasive ways that the software records data from its users.” The report recommends Wisconsin heed the warnings and take actions similar to these other states.

Washington County Executive Josh Schoemann recently banned TikTok on Washington County devices. This is the first, and to date, the only Wisconsin county to have taken such action. At the federal level, however, the U.S. House Administration Arm has banned TikTok on official devices. This is a good start, but we need to do more.

This federal bill is absolutely essential, and we are hopeful that Rep. Gallagher’s colleagues will agree. Closer to home, we need Governor Evers to take the warnings seriously and, at a minimum, prohibit the app on any government-issued device; and we need more counties to follow the example of Washington County. The Chinese Communist Party is a serious threat to the United States’ security and banning the Chinese-owned social media platform is common sense. In the meantime, parents should closely monitor their children’s social media use and ensure they stay off the app. 

Update:

Gov. Evers announced that he will ban TikTok on government devices. 

In response, Rep. Gallagher said, “TikTok is a CCP trojan horse that can track someone’s location, monitor their keystrokes, and collect other pieces of sensitive information about them. This app belongs nowhere near any part of our government and I’m glad Governor Evers finally made the decision to ban TikTok on state devices. Now that Governor Evers has recognized the threat posed by the app, I hope he will also delete his campaign’s TikTok account.”

Election Integrity is Under Attack in WI Ahead of Critical Elections

The votes are in – here’s how the midterm election played out in Wisconsin

The votes for the 2022 fall midterm partisan elections are in, and overall, the outcome is as expected—not necessarily as hoped for. 

The big races—US senate, governor and attorney general were all close. Unofficially, Republican incumbent Ron Johnson has prevailed over Democrat challenger Mandela Barnes who is currently serving as our state’s lieutenant governor. The margin in this race was razor thin. 

In the race for governor, Republican challenger Tim Michels lost to incumbent Democrat Tony Evers, while in the attorney general race, incumbent Democrat Josh Kaul prevailed over challenger Republican Eric Toney. The AG race was even closer than the governor’s race.

In our congressional races, all incumbents won and in the only open congressional race in our state, Congressional District 3, Republican Derek Van Orden appears to have beat the Democrat opponent. This was an open seat because long-time Member of Congress Democrat Ron Kind decided to retire and not run for re-election. So now, Wisconsin’s congressional delegation, or members of the US House of Representatives, is made up of six Republicans and two Democrats.

Turning to the state legislature, Republicans held strong majorities in both the senate and the Assembly going into this election—not veto-proof, but close. As a reminder, all 99 Assembly seats were on the ballot and half of the senate districts, the odd-numbered districts. 

In the Senate, one noteworthy race resulted in a seat flipping from Democrat to Republican. In Senate District 25 in the northern part of the state Republican Romaine Quinn prevailed in an open race. The seat had been held by Democrat Janet Bewley who decided not to run again this cycle. In Senate District 31, Republican David Estenson narrowly lost to Democrat incumbent Jeff Smith. In other open Senate races, Republican Rob Hutton won in Senate District 5 and Republican Rachael Cabral-Guevera won in District 19—both of those seats had been held by Republicans. So, at this point, even with just the one Republican pick up in the state Senate, it appears there will be a veto-proof majority in the state senate with 22 Republicans and 11 Democrats.

In the Assembly, incumbents held on, with one or two seats flipped from Democrat to Republican (one race is still too close to call). The Republicans basically maintained their strong majority, but it does not appear they will get to the 66 needed for a veto-proof majority. 

With Evers returning to the governor’s office, Republicans would have liked veto-proof majorities in both houses so that they could override the governor’s vetoes. You might recall that this past session, Governor Evers vetoed 126 bills that were put on his desk by the Republican-controlled state legislature. Those bills included pro-life bills, election-reform bills, school choice bills, and many more. We now enter a second 4-year period, which is two legislative sessions, with a divided government which will mean more of the same since the legislature won’t be able to override Evers’ vetoes. 

At the federal level, races in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and a few other states, including Wisconsin, loomed very large going into election day. Pollsters and pundits were saying in the days leading up to the election that it looked very favorable for Republicans to gain control of the Senate. Both Democrats and Republicans needed to win 5 seats in order to maintain or gain the majority. Across the country there were tight, close races, but right now without all the races yet being called, it appears that the US Senate will once again be 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans—with a new face or two in that body, but essentially the same scenario we have had. Johnson’s win here in Wisconsin was critical to maintaining the 50-50 split.

This outcome in the US Senate is going to mean some more tense moments as the Senate looks at the so-called Respect for Marriage Act, the potential codification of abortion, bills that deal with special protections for the LGBTQ agenda, and so forth. On the bills that require the 60-vote threshold, Democrats and liberal outside groups will be very heavily lobbying the Republican senators to peel 10 of them off so they can get the votes they need on these bills and more. From our perspective, this means citizens need to stay very engaged and willing to let their senators know their opinion on these highly-charged, very important issues.

We should take a quick look at the US House of Representatives as well. That body had a Democrat majority for the past two years, but that appears to have changed as a result of yesterday’s election. Republicans now have a narrow majority over the Democrats with the New York Times estimating that the Republicans will have 224 of the 435 seats and the Democrats holding 211. Talk about narrow margins! Wisconsin contributed to this majority by flipping Congressional District 3 from blue to red. 

Of course, this does mean leadership will change from Speaker Nancy Pelosi to likely Kevin McCarthy. Now, with the Republicans in control of the House and the Democrats in control of the Senate, there’s going to be, at least presumably, some gridlock with the House probably passing more conservative bills than the senate will be willing to take up. 

We must remember that in all things, God is sovereign. Scripture says the powers that be are ordained of God, which means we as believers must view even election results through that lens. That doesn’t mean we don’t assess how outcomes happened, what strategies and tactics worked and which ones didn’t. It doesn’t mean we don’t look for ways to do things better if need be to produce different results if that’s what we think is right. But it does mean at some point, we accept the outcome of elections, as at a minimum, God-permitted. We should look for lessons to be learned from whatever the outcome is. 

As always, many thanks for all of your work in this election cycle and for your continued support.

Thank you for whatever you did to help determine the consequences of this election. Whether you voted, used your influence to encourage others to join you, worked the polls, were an election observer, took people to the polls who couldn’t otherwise get there, or prayed—it’s all important. And you deserve great gratitude for what you’ve done.

There will be very real consequences from this election, and we need to be ready for those, both the positive and the negative ones. We do our best to honor God with our vote and we engage elected officials now as they begin making policy. We let them know our opinion on bills, but we ultimately accept the outcome as from God, Who could have changed the outcome of any race if He had chosen to do so. We rejoice in victories, and we accept losses, and most importantly, we push forward with hope in King Jesus and in God’s Word and with courage and determination in our mission of advancing Christian values in Wisconsin—because we love God, and we love our neighbor.

Stay tuned for more information on all that our organizations did in this election. We think you will be very encouraged!

Let’s honor God with our vote on Nov. 8

Let’s honor God with our vote on Nov. 8

With the midterm election just a few days away, we are in the midst of intense spiritual warfare. Politics is always a spiritual business, as it involves truth and ethics. But with so much at stake during this election, the forces of darkness threatening to steal our children’s innocence, destroy the family unit, annihilate another generator of Wisconsin’s unborn future, and remove our God-given rights are working overtime. 

“It was Lucifer’s attempt to displace Christ from the Throne of Heaven that got him expelled (Isaiah 14:12). Lucifer is still seeking thrones for himself, and weak, spiritually naïve human beings seeking power easily become instruments of his quest,” writes Wallace B. Henley of the Christian Post

As Christians, we can fight back against the Devil’s attempt to seek political thrones for himself by honoring God with our vote. This means that the candidates we vote for should stand for biblical principles. ​​They should be unwavering in their protection of parental rights, the sanctity of life, children’s innocence, and religious liberty. 

There may not always be a candidate whose views align perfectly with God’s teaching, but there will likely be an option that is clearly the most ethical. Part of honoring God with our vote is preventing the evil ideas of the left from coming into fruition by voting for the most ethical candidate, even if we don’t agree with him/her on everything. 

Further, if we are going to make significant headway against the evil in our country, we need churches and pastors to directly address the political issues that the Bible takes a clear stance on—in particular, abortion, marriage, and human sexuality.

Pro-abortion advocates and government leaders are working tirelessly to ensure a future of abortion on-demand through all nine months of pregnancy. Unfortunately, many Christians fail to recognize abortion as the grave offense against God that it is, and abortion extremists are taking advantage of that. 

Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi outrageously claim that abortion and the Christian faith are compatible, while California Governor Gavin Newsom is using Bible verses to advertise for abortion across the country. 

The church needs to step up and set the record straight on abortion, marriage, human sexuality, and children’s rights including the right to life. Pastors dare not any longer ignore these biblical issues that have been politicized, as the left shows no signs of stopping in their mission to dismantle the traditional family, immerse young children in inappropriate material, abort the unborn, and elevate adult desires above children’s rights.  

This is not to say that churches should become political power houses. Our interest is rather in making sure God’s people are informed so they can then appropriately engage with the government God has given us in this great country—a Republic, which requires the participation of its citizens. Our dual citizenship—in Heaven and on Earth—requires that we be good citizens of both places. Good citizens vote knowledgeably and responsibly—and honor God in doing so.

Most importantly, as good citizens of both heaven and earth, we must pray for this election. Pray that the most Christ-centered leaders are elected and that they lead our country toward virtue and Truth. 

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12