Wisconsin: A Frustrating Legislative Session for Pro-Lifers

From the desk of Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling:

State capitolUnless something odd happens, the current state legislative session is over this week. Unless the Governor convenes a special session or the legislature calls for an extraordinary session, the legislators will go home this week and begin campaigning for the fall elections.

I started in this work nearly 17 years ago. That means I’ve endured 8 two-year sessions of our state legislature.  You start thinking you’ve seen it all, especially after the 2011-2012 session when we had weeks of the state capitol being closed because of tens of thousands of protestors swarming the building.  I really figured that would be the most bizarre session I—or anyone else, for that matter—would ever be involved with.

However, in my opinion, this legislative session tops even that session.  Words I would use to describe this session include “incredible,” “unreal,” “disappointing,” and “maddening.”

The session began in early January 2013, following the 2012 fall elections.  Governor Walker was beginning the third year of his four-year term.  The Republicans had majorities in both the Senate and the Assembly.

Whichever party has the majority controls the respective house.  That means Republican leadership has control in both the Assembly and the Senate.  That majority determines the committee to which bills are assigned, has input on which bills get hearings and committee votes and certainly determines which bills get to the floor for a full vote on passage.

Frankly, to a large degree it’s fair to say the Republicans “own” state government right now in Wisconsin.  If pro-family, pro-life, pro-liberty bills don’t get passed, it’s pretty safe to say Republicans didn’t want them passed.

And that is precisely why I find this legislative session the most frustrating of all the sessions I’ve been involved with.  Unless something dramatic happens in the next couple of days, at least 3 solid pro-life bills will die in the Republican-controlled state senate.  Assembly Bill 216 would keep taxpayers from having to pay for the abortions of state employees and would also provide a narrow religious exemption for churches and certain other religious organizations regarding health insurance.  Right now, it is illegal for insurance companies in Wisconsin to sell health-insurance coverage that does not include a fully array of contraceptive drugs and devices, some of which cause early abortions.  Assembly Bill 216 would permit insurance companies to write policies for churches and other religious organizations that do not cover contraceptives, if the church or organization wanted such a policy.

ImageAssembly Bill 217 would ban sex-selective abortions—abortions sought simply based on the sex of the baby.  Assembly Bill 206 authorizes the production and sale of a Choose Life Wisconsin specialty license plate.  The proceeds from the sale of this plate would go to Wisconsin’s wonderful Pregnancy Resource Centers—places where women receive real help during crisis pregnancies—help that focuses on both the unborn baby and the health and well-being of the woman.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald

In addition, Republican Senators have killed a bill that would put a process in place for the development, adoption, and implementation of state model academic standards, a process that would prevent a repeat of the Common Core State Standards disaster we’re all living through right now.All four of these bills had solid support in both houses.  In fact, the 3 pro-life bills all passed in the State Assembly.  All that was necessary for them to become law was for the Senate to vote on them and send the bills to the governor.

Instead, all 4 bills are dead, in spite of ongoing, repeated, and aggressive efforts by outside groups to get them on the senate floor for a vote.  Senate Republican leadership has blocked them, determining them to be unnecessary, unimportant, messy, divisive or something.  We’ve heard all kinds of reasons for these bills dying.  We’ve heard whining about its being an election year and insinuations that the Governor doesn’t want them and recently that the Senate leadership says they don’t have enough Republican votes to pass them.

What I know is in a session where any reasonable person would assume these bills would all pass, they have not passed. They remain buried in the Republican controlled Senate.  And yes, that makes this session one of the most bizarre, if not the most bizarre, I’ve ever been part of.  It’s maddening, frustrating, and downright reprehensible and inexcusable.

Selling Out Independence of Single Women; Creating a Boogeyman for a Vote

Today’s op ed published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, by Julaine Appling, Wisconsin Family Action president:

“By now, we are all painfully familiar with the refrain “war on women” from those on the left. Contrary to what they want us to think, liberal progressives are actually the ones waging a war on women with policies bent on making women — particularly single women — dependent on government. You may be surprised by the brilliance of their agenda.

Single-MomsConsider the liberal policy of excessive business regulations. It is not easy for anyone to raise the capital necessary to start a new venture, but it can be especially difficult for women for a number of reasons. When legislators pile regulatory policies on start-ups, they raise the cost of doing business, make compliance and reporting a nightmare and limit profitability for women trying to pursue the dream of owning their own company.

Then consider the high taxes that diminish the family’s bottom line, often eliminating the option for women who want to stay home with their children. Instead, to make family ends meet, moms often are compelled to go into the workforce — at least part time — which frequently puts a strain on their families and marriages.

Wisconsin Family Action has done a rather detailed analysis — to be published soon — of government benefits for single mothers compared to married mothers, and by our cautious calculations, the state and federal governments pay working single moms in Wisconsin approximately $31,000 per year to not marry the working father of their children. From an economic standpoint, government encourages single moms to remain single and incredibly dependent on government welfare, which, incidentally, could change at any time, significantly affecting their monthly income. Policies that essentially pay single moms to remain single condemn women and children to poverty rather than help them become strong and independent.

regret abortion2Liberals are adamant that unregulated, taxpayer-funded, elective abortions at any time during pregnancy is a woman’s right. Yet abortion comes with great risk to a woman and is sometimes accompanied by years of physical, psychological and emotional issues. Keeping a minor girl’s reproductive health information from her parents is dangerous — even medically — for the girl. Opposing parental consent for a minor girl to have an abortion leaves girls at the mercy of abortion clinic staff.

Fighting efforts to have women get an ultrasound prior to an abortion limits information and choice for women. Perhaps most ironically, actively working to make women dependent on government for abortion and contraception effectively puts women’s so-called reproduction rights at the mercy of the appropriations power of the legislature. These policies are the real war on women, yet liberals have vigorously and aggressively supported these policies over the years.

Conservative policies, on the other hand, respect individual liberty — for men and women — and encourage entrepreneurship, job creating, saving, wealth creation and pro-family, pro-life initiatives. Why then accuse conservatives of waging a war on women?

It is really no secret. Liberals desperately want the significant voting bloc of single women in America who lean Democratic. It is a large but sometimes inactive voting bloc, which means liberals need to create a boogeyman for single women in order to galvanize their vote, particularly in an off-year election. Thus we end up with the ominous, but wrongly-attributed, war on women rhetoric from Democrats.

There is a real war being waged on women, but it is in fact the work of liberals who want to make women dependent on government and who are willing to sell out the independence of our women for the price of a vote.

Julaine Appling is president of Wisconsin Family Action, a statewide organization dedicated to strengthening, preserving and promoting marriage, family, life and liberty in Wisconsin.”


Planned Parent selling…….Baby Onesies?

                    Care – No Matter What.

Seems ironic that the nation’s abortion icon, Planned Parenthood, should be selling, of all things, baby onesies with the above slogan.  Since only 8 out of 100 unborn babies make it out of Planned Parenthood abortion facilities alive, we doubt the sales will skyrocket any time soon.  If anything, this latest money grab attempt appears to be more like a major marketing faux pas.

Taxpayer Money Used For “Services” at New Pro-Abortion Facility in Lake Delton/WI Dells Area

ImageThe deceptively-named Family Planning Health Services is opening a so-called clinic in Lake Delton, Wisconsin to offer “services” for “women’s health.”

>>>>>read more here

ImageWisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling has this to say about the pro-abortion facility, “For years families have been planning vacations at the Dells.  The last thing this jewel in Wisconsin’s tourism crown needs is a facility that promotes promiscuity among unmarried young people and consistently refers young women for abortions all under the misguided notion of “family planning.”  In addition, much of what this facility will offer will be paid for with taxpayer money”

THIS SUNDAY: Sanctity of Human Life Sunday – Life Issues Gaining Ground in WI

Sanctity of Human Life SundayFrom the Desk of Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling:

It’s January which means it is Sanctity of Human Life month.  Sanctity of Human Life Sunday is this coming Sunday.  On January 22 of this month it will be 41 years since the United States Supreme Court concocted pretty much out of thin air a “right to privacy” that made abortion legal across this country.

Over those intervening 41 years, Planned Parenthood both nationally and at the state level, has grown into multi-million dollar organizations.  Planned Parenthood remains, nationally and here in Wisconsin, the number one provider of abortions each year.  Planned Parenthood receives millions of dollars each year of taxpayer money—that’s your money—that then is used to promote in public schools and elsewhere programs and materials and ideologies that encourage our young people to engage in promiscuous, recreational sex—often illegal activity because of state under-age-sex laws.  In so doing, Planned Parenthood is virtually assuring future business, if not for abortion at least for tests for sexually-transmitted diseases and infections.

While Planned Parenthood has been using millions, if not billions, of our hard-earned dollars to propagate it’s dangerous and insidious message and work, pro-life groups have managed to gain some important victories—nationally and at the state level—without drinking at the trough of government funds, a euphemism for your money.

In spite of this very obvious tilting of the field against us, pro-life organizations and pro-life citizens continue to gain the high ground.  In Wisconsin, the number of abortions has consistently gone down over the last several years, reaching a record low in 2012 in both number of abortions performed and the abortion rate.  The 2012 numbers are 6,927 abortions and 6.1 abortions per 1,000 Wisconsin women ages 15-44, which is well below the national statistics.

One abortion is too many; certainly nearly 7000 abortions are horribly too many.  However, we are encouraged that the number is dropping.  The number is going in the right direction because with the help of many of you as pro-life citizens, we’ve passed some good laws restricting abortion and making sure women are truly informed and protected as they consider this life-taking, high-risk procedure.

But it’s not just laws that are helping win the day.  It’s changes in the culture, as well.  More and more people think abortion any time for any reason is not right.  That tells me some of the pro-life media campaigns have hit the mark.  It also tells me that our churches have been getting the biblical pro-life message out.  It tells me families are making sure the next generation knows the truth.  Gains against the formidable, well-funded pro-abortion crowd don’t come easy but they are always worth the money, time and effort expended.  Who can put a price on saving the life of a baby?

Now that’s the question of the day as we mark 41 years of the abortion holocaust in our country and 41 years of Planned Parenthood’s anti-life, anti-women scourge on our communities. That’s the question I ask now as we enter the last couple of months of our legislative session here in Wisconsin.  I ask it directly of the State Senate where we have 2 pro-life bills sitting waiting for action in this house so the bills can go to the governor.  Assembly Bill 216 would keep taxpayers from having to pay for the abortions of state employees and would also create a religious freedom exemption for churches and other religious organizations so they can offer their employees health insurance that does not include contraceptives that are abortion-inducing—against their religious beliefs.  Assembly Bill 217 would ban sex-selective abortions in our state.

choose life plates LGIn addition to these two bills, we have Assembly Bill 206 in the Senate, ready for this body to vote on and get to the governor.  Assembly Bill 206 authorizes a Choose Life Wisconsin license plate with proceeds from the sale of the plate going to our Pregnancy Resource Centers so they can continue and enlarge their life-saving, life-affirming, pro-women work.

Really, who can put a price—whether that price is financial, social, or political—on saving the life of a baby?  I’m hopeful that our State Senate will clearly see the answer to that question and join wholeheartedly in 2014 Sanctity of Human Life month by acting on these bills so that in 2015, we can report more Wisconsin babies saved and more Wisconsin women protected from the horrors of abortion.

Dr. James Dobson vs. Obamacare

Dr. James Dobson Forced to Fund Abortion Pills

ImageObamacare’s mandate requires Dobson’s “Family Talk” ministry to provide access to abortion-causing drugs and devices (like the “week after” pill, or IUD’s) for employees covered by its health plan. Image If Family Tak chooses not to comply, it will be subjected to crushing fines.  Dr. James Dobson and Family Talk have publicly stated they will not comply with this unjust law, and have called upon Alliance Defending Freedom to defend them in court.

Wisconsin Family Action President Julaine Appling responds, “More and more ministries are finding out they are being forced, one way or another, to comply with Obamacare’s abortion  and contraception mandate.  The exemptions are very narrow; the so-called accommodation is a joke, frankly.   Ministries here in Wisconsin had best be taking a close look at what Obamacare is going to mean to them.  There’s legal help available.  Ministry leaders should be proactive on this matter.”

Read more HERE and take action!

Contact Gov. Walker Today Because #WILovesLife !


Two important pieces of pro-life legislation are currently waiting on the State Senate to approve them so they can go to Governor Walker for his signature. (Both of these bills have already been approved by the State Assembly.) One of the two bills (AB 216) also has a religious freedom component that is very important to Wisconsin churches and religious organizations.

  • Assembly Bill 216 will protect Wisconsin taxpayers from having to pay for the abortions of state employees and will protect many religious institutions from being forced to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs.
  • Assembly Bill 217 will prohibit the shameful practice of performing abortions based on the sex of the child.

Please contact Governor Scott Walker TODAY at govgeneral@wisconsin.gov  or phone at 608-266-1212.  Phone is especially effective!

IMPORTANT! Let him know how grateful you are for his staunch support of life issues. 

Then, let him know of your strong support for AB 216 and AB 217.  He needs to hear from his constituents how important it is to have these bills to his desk this January.

If these two bills are not put on the calendar in January, it is likely we will not get them passed before the Senate ends its session.  We are especially concerned that churches and other religious organizations have the right to offer to their employees insurance coverage that does not violate their religious beliefs.

Please don’t delay! 

JOIN OUR TWEETFEST!  Send your message to Governor Walker using hashtags #WILovesLife – and ask your friends to join in, too!

Wisconsin “Choose Life” License Plate PASSES Assembly; Heads to Senate

Choose Life WI License Plate Moves to State Senate

State Assembly Passes Specialty License Plate

MADISON, Wis. —  “We are extremely pleased that the State Assembly passed the bill authorizing a Choose Life Wisconsin specialty license plate,” said Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action.

Representative André Jacque (R-De Pere), spearheaded the effort in the Assembly.

ImageAppling continued, “We owe a huge thank you to Rep. Jacque for his work on this bill.  Likewise, we are thankful for those who supported this measure. The liberal representatives in the Assembly went to great lengths in their opposition to this proposal. Their shenanigans on the floor last night showed once again that when they cannot attack an issue on its merit, they will make outrageous, unwarranted personal and organizational attacks.”

Sales from the Choose Life license plates will go to Wisconsin’s Pregnancy Resource Centers to assist in their life-saving, life-affirming work.

Image“Last session the State Assembly passed a resolution honoring Wisconsin’s Pregnancy Resource Center and proclaiming October 2011 as ‘Pregnancy Care Month.’  Just last night the Assembly passed a resolution recognizing November as Adoption Month.  It is altogether fitting that this license plate, the proceeds from which will be used to educate and care for women and their unborn children and to promote adoption be approved in the Assembly right now,” said Appling.

The bill still needs a hearing and a vote in the Senate, where Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) is the lead author.

Photo: Rep. André Jacque (R-De Pere)

Adoption: Whereas and Resolved; Having a Mom and a Dad is Still Best

“Whereas, since 1995, American presidents have proclaimed each November as National Adoption Month and have asked the people of the United States to observe the month by answering the call to find a permanent and caring family for every child in need and by supporting the families that care for them; and
“Whereas, in Wisconsin in 2010, 1,159 foster children in Wisconsin were waiting to be adopted and these children risk reaching adulthood without permanent families of their own; and
“Whereas, foster care was intended to be temporary, but many Wisconsin children remain in foster homes for long periods, the average length of stay in foster care being more than three and a half years; and Whereas, older children in Wisconsin are less likely to be adopted than younger
ones, the average age of adopted children being 6.2 years while the average age of children waiting to be adopted is 7.7 years; and
“Whereas, in 2010, 410 children in Wisconsin became too old to continue in foster care without having been adopted by a permanent, legal family; and
“Whereas, a permanent family plays an important role in helping young adults take their places in society; and
“Whereas, providing stable homes and an opportunity for happiness and success for children who have been displaced through no fault of their own is a commendable act that benefits not only those children and the adopting families but all of us; and
“Whereas, it is in the best interest of our state and its people to encourage and promote adoption; now, therefore, be it
“Resolved by the assembly, the senate concurring,
That the legislature proclaims November 2013 as Wisconsin Adoption Month, commends adoptive families past, present, and future, and celebrates successful adoptions throughout our state.”
I just quoted verbatim and in its entirety Assembly Joint Resolution 71, which was introduced in our state legislature on November 4, 2013. The lead sponsors of this resolution are Representative Debra Kolste and Senator Tim Cullen, both Democrats from Janesville.  I don’t very often get to commend the Democrats for their bills.  However, in general I can commend them on this proposal—with one very important caveat:  we need to make sure we are defining family the same way.
When Wisconsin passes resolution later this week and we join the National Adoption Month and National Adoption Day observance, which is November 23, we must make it clear that we are celebrating children being adopted into “forever families” that are comprised of married moms and dads.  Unfortunately, I suspect that the lead authors of this proposed Adoption Month resolution would disagree with that assertion.  They will say adopting children into any kind of family is better than having them languish in or age out of foster care.
That’s tough for me to believe when the research repeatedly shows that what is best for children is to be brought up with their married mom and dad.  Anything less than that means, typically or normatively, children are likely to suffer a host of problems.
That said, I believe this push to celebrate, recognize and promote adoption in our state is a fantastic opportunity for Christians, married men and women, to consider adding another or even a first child to their family—to provide that “forever family.”  To be honest, it’s hard to hold the argument that children shouldn’t be adopted into single-parent homes or into same-sex homes, if Christians won’t step up on this issue.
Think about what a Christian family offers an adopted child.  A loving mother and a loving father.  The opportunity to see modeled in the parents what real Christianity looks like on a day-to-day basis.  The blessing of hearing the Gospel and the incredible salvation message, of being part of a church family, of learning about service and sacrifice for something much bigger than oneself.   The joy of extended family, family traditions and so much more.
When all of the whereas’s and the be-it-therefore-resolved’s are done on this Adoption Month Resolution, it should serve as a powerful reminder to us as Christians that children are a gift and that giving them a “forever family,” that reflects God’s divine plan for family, is one of the best gifts we can give them.