Good Morning! 

It was the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who said, “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” 

As Focus president Jim Daly notes in our opening headline, the quest to protect every innocent life remains a magnificent obsession for Focus on the Family – and having a realistic snapshot of where we are in that battle is an important part of the effort: 

  1. Decreasing CDC Abortion Numbers Don’t Tell the Whole Story 

Focus on the Family president Jim Daly writes: 

Headlines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) heralding the claim there were over 10,000 fewer abortions in 2019 as compared to 2018 suggests abortion is on the retreat. 

Unfortunately, such a report is misleading – and for several reasons. 

First, media often fail to distinguish between abortions reported versus performed. California along with a few other states and the District of Columbia haven’t reported any abortions for years. So, in reality, we have no way of knowing specific numbers in those areas – but what we do know is that abortion clinics in those areas remain very busy.  

In addition – and this is the most significant shift in years – chemical abortions (the killing of pre-born children by taking a drug called mifepristone) are rising rapidly. Those are not included in the tallies because many women are now aborting their children at home. In fact, within the last two weeks, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the distribution of abortion pills by mail. Abortion has become an epidemic of ease.  

The irony of the FDA – a government agency established to protect the health and safety of Americans – encouraging the distribution of a drug that kills children and jeopardizes women’s health seems lost on most.  

Nonetheless, abortion zealots are on the run. Their murderous and exploitive obsessions have now been exposed, time and time again. Even widespread polling indicates that Americans are increasingly uncomfortable with abortion on demand.  

At Focus on the Family, we’ve been advocating for the protection of the preborn since our inception in 1977. It remains a cornerstone principle and objective. In part that’s because what you believe about the most innocent and vulnerable informs your opinion and behavior on most everything else. When people wonder why culture has grown coarser and more hostile, they need look no further than the legalization of abortion in all fifty states back in 1973.  

We’re making a difference and contributing to the upward swing of pro-life sentiment. That’s because we’re encouraging women to choose life and showing them what they thought impossible is actually very possible. Our Option Ultrasound program is helping women recognize that life is the better choice. When abortion-minded women see their child, they are exponentially more likely to carry their baby to term.  

In addition, our partnership with Heartbeat International’s Abortion Pill Reversal Network is providing lifesaving help to mothers who have made a tragic mistake – but for whom it is not too late to save their child’s life.  

Our Wait No More program is calling attention to the plight of the orphan along with children in foster care and encouraging churches and congregants to live into God’s call of service.  

All in all, Focus on the Family is a bright spot in a dark culture.  

Allow me to reiterate a pledge to you. We have been in this battle from our beginning – and we will continue our efforts to protect all innocent life. 

As we consider the very real prospect of a post-Roe America, what can be done to prepare for this coming shift? We must redouble our efforts to support birthmothers – before, during and after birth. Wherever and whenever possible, the local church is in a unique position to provide housing, job training and other practical assistance. We must work to make adoption an easier and more attractive option for both birthparents and adoptive mothers and fathers, encouraging and affirming the adoption tax credit. Might we create a national data base connecting birthmothers with prospective adoptive parents? We must continue to champion pro-life laws in family-friendly states, recognizing these states will become a magnet for people to move to because the culture of life is so much more appealing than the culture of death. 

So much work remains as we strive to help mothers and their children. We are here for them. We are here for you and your family.  

Thank you for your help and support in 2021. This new year promises to be the most consequential in the history of the pro-life movement. Please join me in praying for strength and courage for all those on the front lines. Hold on and hold tight – the Lord is on the move!    

2. Judge Sides with US Navy SEALs Challenging Biden Admin, DoD Vaccine Mandate 

From CBN: 

A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction Monday, stopping the Department of Defense and the Biden administration from punishing U.S. Navy SEALs who object to getting the COVID-19 vaccine on the grounds of religion. 

Attorneys with First Liberty Institute filed a federal lawsuit in November on behalf of 35 servicemembers. The lawsuit outlined that multiple plaintiffs have religious objections to getting immunized against COVID-19 because “the vaccines were developed, tested, or produced using aborted fetal cell lines.” 

Many of the SEALs have already contracted and recovered from COVID-19, while some have had antibodies tests showing that they acquired natural immunity.  

3. Schumer ramps up filibuster fight ahead of Jan. 6 anniversary 

From The Hill: 

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is leaning into a fight on changing the Senate’s legislative filibuster, as Democrats try to use the Jan. 6 attack anniversary to inject new momentum into their quest to change the chamber’s rules.  

Supporters of changing the 60-vote hurdle required for most legislation to pass the Senate face hurdles because Democrats need total unity from their 50-member caucus. But Democrats are hoping that tying the voting rights discussions to the looming one-year mark of the Capitol attack will sway key holdouts.  

Schumer, who is under heavy pressure from his own caucus and outside groups, is vowing to bring the rules change discussions to a head in a matter of weeks.  

Democrats are discussing a range of ideas. One option would get rid of the 60-vote hurdle needed to start debate on a bill paired with a deal on guaranteed amendment votes. But that plan would still leave the 60-vote threshold in place to end debate and move to a final bill, meaning that GOP support would still be needed to ultimately pass voting legislation.  

Other ideas include creating a carve out for voting rights legislation that would exempt it from the filibuster while leaving it in place for other bills; moving to a talking filibuster that would let opponents block a bill from getting a simple majority vote for as long as they could hold the floor; or changing the threshold from 60 “yes” votes to break a filibuster to 41 “no” votes needed to sustain it.  

It’s far from guaranteed that Democrats will be successful in convincing their own members. Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have withstood months of high-profile criticism and pressure campaigns to try to get them to cave on the filibuster with few signs of movement.  

4. Wisconsin Governor Vetoes Commonsense Pro-Life Legislation; Demonstrates Radical Position of Abortion Activists 

From The Daily Citizen: 

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, a Democrat and abortion supporter, vetoed five commonsense pro-life pieces of legislation passed by the pro-life, Republican-led Wisconsin state legislature. Abortion activists have embraced a radical, all-or-nothing position on abortion and it is deeply out-of-touch with how the majority of Americans think about abortion. 

This isn’t the first time Evers has vetoed pro-life legislation. Evers was elected governor in 2019 and has been vetoing pro-life legislation ever since. Unfortunately, pro-life lawmakers don’t have enough votes to override the governor’s veto, so those sensible pro-life policies won’t be enacted until there’s a change in leadership. 

In a statement released by Evers on his vetoes, he remarked, “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again today: as long as I’m governor, I will veto any legislation that turns back the clock on reproductive rights in this state — and that’s a promise.” 

Wait a second? How does a law requiring an abortionist to provide medical care to a baby who survives an abortion turn back the clock on “reproductive rights?” It doesn’t. 

That’s exactly what one of the vetoed bills would have done.  

5. On Fatherly Figures 

From Public Discourse: 

One of the most important aspects of the modern conservative movement has been its fight against the new liberal ethos that actively seeks to undermine and dismantle the family unit. In his 2017 book, Cheap Sex, Mark Regnerus shows how the state of marriage and monogamy is at an all-time low. But perhaps the most perverse position held by the new dogma is that fathers don’t matter. Here are just a few examples. Recently, Mary Eberstadt wrote a brilliant and heart-wrenching essay about the effects of fatherlessness on America’s youth. Perhaps the scariest few lines from her essay read: 

Six decades of social science have established that the most efficient way to increase dysfunction is to increase fatherlessness. And this the United States has done, for two generations now. Almost one in four children today grows up without a father in the home. For African Americans, it is some 65 percent of children. 

The issue is real, and the conservative movement is right to fight so fiercely to reverse this pendulum swing. But what until then? What social institutions are in place to guide today’s fatherless children? 

I myself am a child of divorce. I have no relationship with my father. I recognize that it is in my interest to have no relationship with him (he was emotionally abusive), yet I also realize that I am disadvantaged because of this absence. When my parents got divorced, I was a junior in high school. For a very hormonal seventeen-year-old boy, this was detrimental. Who would be there to help me navigate manhood? Who’d tell me how to ask a girl out? Who’d be there to discuss sensitive topics with me? Who’d show me how to shave or change a flat tire? Not my father. Instead, I bought a book. The book was helpful, but obviously no substitute for a father

6. ‘An invisible addiction.’ Amid pandemic, a rise in gambling addiction emerges 

From the Los Angeles Times: 

Unlike more visible addictions, problem gambling is fairly easy to hide, yet nonetheless leaves about 2 million Americans annually feeling alone, ashamed and, in many cases, broke. 

A recent survey from the National Council on Problem Gambling, a Washington-based nonprofit, showed that the risk has doubled since 2018. The survey of 2,000 people nationwide focused on attitudes and experiences gambling both online and at casinos. 

In addition, the group’s helpline has seen a marked increase in use. Through November this year, the helpline received 238,600 calls, an average of nearly 21,700 per month. In 2018 and 2019, the average monthly calls hovered near 16,600. 

Similar helplines in about a dozen states have had a rise in calls from gamblers in their 20s, 30s and 40s since the spring of 2020, said Janet Miller, executive director of the Louisiana Assn. on Compulsive Gambling, which oversees helplines in states throughout the country. 

This month, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission reported an increase in people voluntarily excluding themselves from the gambling floors of casinos in the state. Since the “voluntary self-exclusion” program launched in 2015, the same year the state’s first casino opened, nearly 1,300 people have participated. Currently 1,000 residents — the most at any time — are enrolled in the program. 

  1. Facebook Reverse Course After ‘Permanently’ Locking Account of Conservative Children’s Book Publisher 

From Fox Business: 

Meta, the company that owns Facebook, has reinstated the ads account of the conservative children’s book publisher, Heroes of Liberty, after it previously told the publisher that its account had been “permanently disabled.”  

Facebook originally said that Heroes of Liberty – which has published books about Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, former President Ronald Reagan and author Thomas Sowell – violated the company’s rules against “Low Quality or Disruptive Content.” Facebook originally locked the ads account on Dec. 23, and after Heroes of Liberty appealed the ruling, the company permanently disabled the account.  

“I wanted to let you know that the ads account was disabled in error and has been restored, Drew Pusateri, a spokesperson for Meta, told FOX Business on Monday. 

“They proactively reached out to several members of Congress and told *them* it was a mistake and we’re back online. Those offices told us,” Heroes of Liberty editor and board member Bethany Mandel confirmed to FOX Business on Monday. “They didn’t reach out to us.” 

8. Family-friendly filmmakers eye 2022 as ‘year of Hollywood alternatives’ 

From the Washington Times: 

Coming soon to a (home) theater near you: crowdfunded family-friendly fare. 

That’s the message from filmmakers specializing in Christian and conservative themes and stories. They say 2022 will be the “year of Hollywood alternatives” for a streaming audience that they estimate at 52 million. 

“It’s an exciting time because COVID has turned the entire media industry on its head,” said Neal Harmon, co-founder and CEO of Angel Studios, which distributes crowdfunded independent productions such as the life of Christ series “The Chosen” and the animated free market children’s fantasy “Tuttle Twins.” 

Based in Provo, Utah, Angel Studios reports that it will make at least $168 million in net revenue in 2022 after earning $100 million last year. 

“The real success of Angel is pride of ownership. When people can own something and truly make it their own, it changes the game,” Mr. Harmon said. 

9. 11 Promises from God to Help You Confront the 2022 Culture 

From The Daily Citizen: 

From advertisements in your social media feed to tabloid magazines at the supermarket checkout line, the self-help headlines at the start of the new year promise an enticing trifecta elixir: more happiness, better health and greater wealth. 

But what about navigating a runaway, godless culture that embraces vice over virtue and which champions symbolism over substance, spurning critical thinking for politically correct tropes?  

As we shove off into 2022, here are eleven inspired verses from the Scriptures that Christians can cling to regardless of the storms on this year’s sea: 

# 1: “Anyone who trusts in Him will never be disgraced.”  

– Romans 10:11: As believers, we may feel out of place in today’s upside-down world and for good reason. Maybe the neighbors whisper behind our back because of our family’s size, schooling choice or church attendance. That’s okay. God’s opinion of you is what counts. 

# 2: “The Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.”  – 2 Thessalonians 3:3: It can be daunting to consider the risks of life today – from a virus to foreign enemies who threaten our safety. Take a big deep breath. The Lord is over it all. 

  1. The Babylon Bee’s Top Predictions For 2022 

From The Babylon Bee: 

It’s that time of year again—when the infallible prophets at The Babylon Bee tell you what will happen in the next year with 100% accuracy! Will 2022 be better than this year? You decide!  

Here is a definitive list of things that will happen in 2022: 

January 6 – Second insurrection attempt canceled  

January 20 – Pfizer unveils booster shots 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 

January 21 – Men break every record ever held by women 

January 22 – Harvard gender studies professor discovers five new pronouns 

February 1 – WHO runs out of Greek letters for variants and starts naming them after the Muppets 

February 26 – China officially annexes United States 

April 19 – Man dressed as woman hailed as first woman to not complain about being cold