Some Christians say, “I’m just not into politics,” or, “Politics are so divisive – I just stay away from it all.”
But the truth is, politics – legislation and public policies – affect each of us, along with our children and grandchildren.
Everyone feels the effects when federal and state legislatures tax income, property and purchases; spend money; legalize harmful substances; affirm or deny the sanctity of human life; infringe on parental rights; mandate what’s taught in schools; or interfere with religious freedom and free speech.
While some state legislative sessions have ended, many others are still meeting. Here’s a look at measures in different states across the country on issues affecting life, children, parents and families.
Some of these bills have become law, some have been defeated. But they exemplify why Christians can’t afford to say, “I just don’t get involved in politics.” It’s important that we all become educated about and engaged with these culture and policy issues.
Arizona: The state Legislature passed SB 1600, protecting infants born alive, “including those not expected to live long and those born during an abortion,” reported the Center for Arizona Policy. But the bill was vetoed by Governor Katie Hobbs, who set a record for most vetoes by an Arizona governor, shutting down 63 different measures passed by the state’s representatives and senators.
California: California Family Council’s Capitol Director Greg Burt writes that the organization is “shell shocked at the number of bad bills introduced” in the current legislative session. Here are some of those proposed measures making their way through the state Legislature:
- AB 947 instructs courts to take into consideration, when awarding custody: “A parent’s affirmation of the child’s gender identity because it is in the best interest of the child to affirm their gender identity.” The bill passed the Assembly and is now being considered in the Senate.
- ABB 665 allows children as young as 12 to consent to “mental health treatment or counseling on an outpatient basis, or to residential shelter services” – without parental knowledge or consent – if the minor is deemed “mature enough” by the mental health professional. This measure also passed the Assembly and has moved on to the Senate.
- AB 1078 takes away local control of books and curricula in public schools, allowing schools to remove books, instructional materials or curriculum only with the approval of the state Board of Education. It also mandates that all instructional materials include “the contributions of people of all genders” and “the roles and contributions of … LQBTQ+ [sic] individuals.” The bill is currently making its way through the House.
California Family Council provides more information about legislation and how concerned citizens can get involved.
Delaware: House Bill 110 requires individual and group health plans – including those connected to Medicaid – to cover services related to abortion – with no deductibles, copayments or coinsurance. The Delaware Family Policy Council says, “HB 110 would force Delaware taxpayers to fully fund any abortions, at any stage!” The bill is currently on the “ready list” for the House, and, unless it is stopped, it will move to the Senate.
The legislature also passed HB 1 and HB 2, which legalize marijuana in the state, regulating and taxing the drug. Delaware Family Policy Council stated that the legislation failed to take into account facts like these:
- States that legalized pot saw “a 25% increase in adolescent (12-17 yrs.) cannabis use disorder.”
- Colorado legalized pot in 2014; now, “more than one of every four road deaths” involve marijuana;
- The “harms associated with dispensary locations – increased use, hospitalization, traffic dangers,” disproportionately fall on disadvantaged neighborhoods.
The governor allowed the measure to become law without signing it.
Oklahoma: Oklahoma Governor John Stitt signed legislation protecting minors from so-called “gender transition procedures” such as puberty blocking drugs, cross-sex hormones and surgical procedures that attempt to make a child look like the opposite sex. SB 613 makes it a felony for healthcare workers to provide anyone under the age of 18 with these damaging, experimental interventions. Stitt said:
Last year, I called for a statewide ban on all irreversible gender transition surgeries and hormone therapies on minors so I am thrilled to sign this into law today and protect our kids.
We cannot turn a blind eye to what’s happening across our nation, and as governor, I am proud to stand up for what’s right and ban life-altering transition surgeries on children in the state of Oklahoma.
The new law also allows children damaged by these procedures to file suit up until the age of 45 years.
The North Carolina House is considering a bill that would prohibit gender transition surgeries on minors. HB 808—Surgical Gender Transition/Minors would make it “unlawful for any physician or other health care provider to provide surgical gender transition procedures to any individual under 18 years of age,” with limited exceptions.
The bill would also prohibit health care providers, including physicians, from referring minors to other providers for “surgical gender transition procedures” as defined by the legislation.
NC Family Policy Council also notes that Senate and House Committees “voted to approve a significant expansion of the state’s Opportunity Scholarship school choice program.” The organization says that the legislation provides that “funding follows the child and not the school, working to ensure that every child can receive the best education possible regardless of financial constraints or zip code.”
South Carolina: After the state Supreme Court struck down a ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, the Palmetto Family Council fought hard for The Human Life Protection Act (H3774), which would have established “that life begins at conception.” The bill includes exceptions for rape, incest and fatal fetal anomaly. The measure passed the House, but it stalled in the Senate.
Palmetto Family Council is supporting S627, “a bill that would prohibit gender transition surgeries and treatments for minors under the age of 18.” Such legislation is needed to protect children from damaging, experimental procedures that cause serious harms to growing minds and bodies.
State-based Family Policy Councils are Focus on the Family-allied groups that work to educate voters, train up the next generation, and encourage Christians to engage in important legislative issues. Contact Your State Policy Group to find out how you can get involved and make a difference in your state.
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