March 6, 2013 Print

Commentary: Bad Bills Snub Life, Religious Freedom

by Guest Author

Written by Research Analyst Lori Arnold for the California Family Council, an organization with which CitizenLink is proudly associated.

Californians will need to open their pocketbooks but close their minds to their own religious and moral beliefs thanks to a series of bills introduced this year.

After poring over the 2,000-plus legislative proposals submitted by the mandated deadline, we have identified at least a dozen that are a serious threat to life, family and religious freedoms.

This week we will focus on the six most egregious. Two of the bills were introduced earlier in the session and have been previously highlighted in This Week Inside the Capitol. Senate Bill (SB) 323, authored by Ricardo Lara (D-Long Beach), would trample on the rights of religious belief and free expression by yanking the tax-exempt status of nonprofit organizations and private colleges that discriminate based on gender or sexual orientation. As written, the law only applies to revenues generated through the sale of products that fund those groups. If this bill — the first of its kind in the nation — is implemented you can be sure it will only be a matter of time before the loss of exemption is expanded to real property.

We also have highlighted Assembly Bill (AB) 154, Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), which would expand abortion across the state by allowing physician assistants, nurse practitioners and nurse midwives to perform the surgical procedures. A similar bill introduced last year by former Sen. Christine Kehoe, also of San Diego, failed to make it out of committee. We hope AB 154 will realize the same fate as its predecessor, by applying grassroots and clergy pressure.

Another repeat measure, but new to this session, is AB 714, introduced by Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont). The bill returns to the table a $1 penalty for every traffic conviction in California to be used to fund spinal cord research using embryonic stem cells. Wieckowski’s attempt to redirect the funds last year through AB 1657 was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown, who said that traffic fines should be based on punishment, not as a revenue source for the general fund. While Brown’s reasoning is sound (and appreciated), the more pressing issue is the unethical destruction of human embryos for the sake of research.

California’s penchant for pushing homosexuality in the schools is alive and well this session as evidenced by AB 1266, authored by Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco). The measure expands on previous laws subscribing special rights to children who believe they are transgender. In this new proposal, schools would be mandated to allow a student to participate in “sex-segregated school programs, activities and facilities, including athletic teams and competitions, consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records.”

Once again, lawmakers are forcing disruptive anti-family laws upon local school districts based on the perceived feelings of minor children. With so many low-performing students in California, public schools need to become havens for learning, not social experiment venues for sexual behaviors.

Faith-based colleges are the target of AB 314 (Richard Pan, D-Sacramento), which is tied to the implementation of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more widely known as Obamacare.

Pan’s bill mandates that all public and private colleges that offer self-funded health insurance must align with those in the Affordable Care Act, including providing birth control and abortifacients. The federal law, which offers no opt-out provisions for faith-based businesses or groups, has already prompted dozens of lawsuits across the country. Among those challenging the law are Biola University and Wheaton College. In addition to forcing private institutions to abandon their religious beliefs, the added coverage will increase costs for the colleges.

Finally, AB 926, by Susan Bonilla (D-Concord), opens up dangerous medical ground by allowing women to sell their eggs for research. The language of the bill says that women should be “compensated for their time, trouble and inconvenience in the same manner as other research subjects.” However, Assemblywoman Bonilla’s concept is flawed, in that human eggs are not another “research subject,” but the foundation for human life —and should be treated as such.

Surprisingly, a bill that we fully expected to see emerge this session — allowing physician-assisted suicide — was not introduced by the deadline. Even so, the bill may make a future appearance through a legislative maneuver called “gut and amend,” where an existing bill is stripped of its language and an unrelated bill is dropped in its place.

Next week, we will examine several more “bad” bills that would expand gambling across the state and a few others that would further extend special protections for homosexuals. We will also include talking points for all of the bad bills on our watch list.

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Learn more about the California Family Council.



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