All content on this blog from Tim McGhee has moved to the Tim McGhee Substack, and soon, Lord willing, will be found only on that Substack.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Virginia couple has adopted six children from South Korea, China, Thailand, Ghana and India

Virginia’s Board of Health funds abortions for women who meet the financial eligibility criteria of the State Plan for Medical Assistance. 

A minimal number of abortions are funded by the state each year. In fiscal 2010, 23 abortions were approved for a total cost of $14,681; in fiscal 2011, 10 abortions were approved for a total cost of $2,784.

The average cost per abortion is $529.

Virginia pays for abortions with available cash balances from special funds in the state Office of Family and Health Services.

Joe Bartling, 54, of Oakton, and his wife, Karen, said they do not believe the state should finance abortions.

The couple has adopted six children of women from South Korea, China, Thailand, Ghana and India who gave birth to children with physical deformity or mental deficiency and chose not to care for them.

All six special needs children, whose ages range from 6 to 17, have been blind since birth and have cognitive deficiencies. They accompanied Joe Bartling to a Senate Education and Health Committee hearing on Thursday, where he testified in support of the bill that would cut off state abortion funding.

“Seventeen years ago, after years of unexplained infertility, Karen and I set out on a course of adoption,” Bartling said. “Being in our mid-30s, and not really knowing what we were getting into, we thought we could offer a home and family to a child with special needs.”

They adopted their first daughter, Hannah, 17, when she was 9 months old. She was born with no eyes and abandoned by her mother at a nursing home.

Another daughter, Abi, 11, was left in a garbage can in a park in Calcutta, India, “screaming her little heart out,” Bartling told the committee. Abi was rescued by a police officer who heard her screaming and took her to an orphanage, he said.

Bartling said that sometimes when Abi screams now, they just let her scream.

“If she didn’t know how to scream, she wouldn’t have survived a single night in the garbage can,” he said.

Karen and Joe Bartling send their children to public schools in the area, where trained professionals have helped them learn and develop.

Karen Bartling, 54, said it is a coincidence that all the children they have adopted are blind, and she considers the six children the family she never knew she wanted.

“Today we’re here to testify not for the mom who is going through the unwanted pregnancy, not for the doctor, or the physician, who may be looking out for the wife and the mother, not for the social worker who is determining the eligibility criteria … and not for the state agency who is administering these funds,” Bartling said.

“Today we are here to testify on behalf of that little unborn child who, unbeknown to him or her, may just so happen to have a gross or totally incapacitating physical deformity or mental deficiency… who one day might be somebody’s proud son or daughter,” she said.

House Bill 62, offered by, Delegate Mark Cole, R-Spotsylvania, would end the aid for poor women.

The bill passed the House this week on a 64-35 vote. The 20-member Senate will vote on the measure later next week. If approved, it will head to Gov. Bob McDonnell’s desk.

Virginia Statehouse News: VA may eliminate abortion funding for poor women

Thursday, February 16, 2012

National Prayer Breakfast Highlights

President Obama Attends 60th Annual National Prayer Breakfast
Thursday, February 2, 2012

The President & The Prophet:
Obama’s Unusual Encounter with Eric Metaxas

By the time he wrapped up his speech with a rendition of Amazing Grace, one got the feeling that this was a modern-day, and perhaps more humorous version, of what Old Testament prophets regularly did to Kings of Israel: deliver brutally honest messages from Yahweh with little regard for their personal safety.

Eric Metaxas:

President Obama:

Closing Prayer by Robert Griffin, III
2012 Heisman Trophy Winner

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A timeline of Tim Kaine and religious freedom lead to a couple questions

A Virginia parallel to the Timeline of Prevention nationwide:

February 8
The Washington Post
Tim Kaine splits with Obama on birth control rule for religious groups
Former Virginia governor Timothy M. Kaine criticized the Obama administration’s new policy requiring some religious institutions to provide coverage for prescription contraceptives, a rare instance of disagreement between the Senate candidate and his close political ally.

The insurance rule has sparked fierce criticism from religious groups, particularly the Roman Catholic Church, which say the policy will require them to violate their beliefs.

10:32 PM, Feb. 9, 2012
The Associated Press
Obama birth control mandate puts Kaine in corner
A White House mandate that could force Catholic organizations' insurance plans to cover their employees' birth control costs tugs former Gov. Tim Kaine between his Roman Catholic faith and his Democratic ally, President Barack Obama.

Kaine, Virginia's first Catholic governor and now running for a U.S. Senate seat, says the administration's new rule is too broad and has to include exemptions for schools and hospitals run by religions that oppose birth control.

"You've got to have a vigorous religious employer exemption," Kaine said Thursday in an Associated Press interview.

1:05 PM ET, 02/10/2012
Updated: Kaine backs Obama compromise on birth control rule for religious groups
The Washington Post
Updated 1:05 p.m.: Timothy M. Kaine praised President Obama’s announcement Friday that he would alter his administration’s new rule requiring religious institutions to pay for employees’ prescription contraceptives, four days after Kaine said he disagreed with the initial policy.

February 11, 2012 12:14 A.M.
National Review Online
Nothing but Squid Ink
Proponents of Obamacare’s anti-conscience mandate on preventive care kept telling critics to wait and see what the final rules held. As of Friday afternoon, we now know. It wasn’t worth the wait.

If there was a question Friday morning whether the Obama administration might cede ground, there was no doubt at the end of the day. They haven’t budged.

Despite what President Obama said at his White House press conference, the actual regulations make permanent the “interim final regulations” issued August 3, 2011 — the ones that sparked the furor in the first place.

To be fair, the President's announcement sounded like a lot of things and raised a lot of questions. The most important of which (that Tim Kaine did not wait to have answered before responding) was what would the new policy actually say?

The answer: it says the exact same thing.

Thus, two questions for the former governor:

Governor Kaine, considering that you disagreed with the President and said, "You've got to have a vigorous religious employer exemption," and that the same policy is set to be implemented "without change," do you retract your "religious organizations will not be asked to violate their beliefs" statement and do you still have "grave concerns" about the policy?

Governor Kaine, considering you "support the contraception mandate," why should religious employers be the only ones entitled to conscience objections? Why should every job creator in the country be forced to become its own little mini Planned Parenthood?

How many "women" do you know who are 14 years old?

KATHLEEN SEBELIUS: Well, there were certainly people who felt we should broaden the exemption greatly.

I think the president from the outset determined that he was not willing to have millions of American women bear the financial burden of their employer deciding they should not access contraception, a drug that is the most frequently used prescription drug of women 14 to 40, and that often has a serious financial cost, up to $600 if a woman is paying out of pocket for it.

Timeout: Since when are 14-year-old girls considered "women"?

What percent of high school freshman girls are prescribed a daily dose of the pill?

Actually, the current number is irrelevant because under this policy, the intended number is 100 percent of "women" who are 14 years old would have "access" to "the full range of FDA-approved contraception" at no cost to her.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Is the Obama Administration trying to put Planned Parenthood out of business?

How would the contraceptive part of the contraception/abortion mandate affect Planned Parenthood?

There are two options here:

1. It's bad for Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood claims contraception is 33.5 percent of their services. Under the contraception mandate, every job creator in the country would now be its own little mini Planned Parenthood and provide these services instead.

Wouldn't that threaten a large justification for Planned Parenthood's existence, and certainly its federal funding?

You would think Planned Parenthood would be nervous about such a massive effort to undercut its business, wouldn't you?

Their reaction?

There's another option:

2. It's good for the bottom line of Planned Parenthood's billion-dollar budget.

Although no one on the pill would pay anything directly for birth control, they would still have to "buy" it somewhere, right? (And by "buy," the government translation in this case means "trigger a government reimbursement.")

Imagine, "millions of American women" getting birth control from the "largest provider" of birth control at a rate of $600 per year and $18,000 over a lifetime—"millions of American women!"

This would indeed mean "no additional hurdles" for that provider's bottom line.

Either way, the hypocrisy here runs thick.

Scenario #1: If most of the federal funding for Planned Parenthood affiliates is used to pay for contraception, then why isn't this mandate a threat to their existence?

Scenario #2: With so much money pouring in because of comprehensive contraceptive coverage, then with its supposedly core services now already funded why is federal funding necessary?

Planned Parenthood can't have it both ways. Federal funding can no longer be essential if it is mostly used to pay for something that would be paid for by employers.

It's almost as if Planned Parenthood wants to get money from you twice: once through the government, and again through your employer.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Are 335,000 churches really exempt from the contraception/abortion mandate? Here are 3 reasons that is questionable.

Yesterday, a group of senators claimed that 335,000 churches are exempt from the contraception/abortion mandate.  There are reasons to question that claim.

First, let's take a look at explicitly how a religious organization is defined.

According to both HRSA and, the rule states “a religious employer is one that:
  1. Has the inculcation of religious values as its purpose;
  2. primarily employs persons who share its religious tenets;
  3. primarily serves persons who share its religious tenets; and
  4. is a non-profit organization under section 6033(a)(1) and section 6033(a)(3)(A)(i) or (iii) of the Code.”
That means one is not a “religious employer” if:
  1. the inculcation of religious values is not its purpose, or
  2. primarily employs persons who do not share its religious beliefs, or
  3. primarily serves persons who do not share its religious beliefs; or
  4. is not a non-profit organization under section 6033(a)(1) and section 6033(a)(3)(A)(i) or (iii) of the Code.”
Let's look at Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago as an example.
What Willow Believes: "Willow Creek exists to turn irreligious people into fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ."
If your mission is "irreligious people," then can it honestly be said that it "primarily serves persons who share its religious tenets"?

Upon seeing this definition, a local missionary in the DC area who serves 200 local churches asked, "Who does this cover?" This definition covers those elected and unelected officials who are promulgating this mandate on all employers. They are very clear on their mission. Their goal is all American women, religious or not, and that was clearly restated yesterday.

Second, the rule does not require HRSA to consider an employer to be a religious employer if it meets those four narrow criteria. It simply is there to "provide HRSA additional discretion to exempt certain religious employers from the Guidelines where contraceptive services are concerned."

If HRSA at its discretion determines an employer is religious, then it may or may not actually exempt that organization from the requirement.

Third, the stated intent of the rule is to "provide for a religious accommodation that respects the unique relationship between a house of worship and its employees in ministerial positions."

If a church has more administrative support staff than ministerial staff, that may call into question whether the federal administrator wants to exercise discretion and exempt that church as a religious organization.

Every house of worship in America has reason to be concerned about this rule.

And even if it doesn't directly affect you, what about any organization you support? Does it pass these tests? If not, are you then supporting an organization that covers abortion?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Figuring out the point

Journalism 101
Nora Ephron is a screenwriter who scripts for Silkwood, When Harry Met Sally, and Sleepless in Seattle have all been nominated for Academy Awards. Ephron started her career as a journalist for the New York Post and Esquire. She became a journalist because of her high school journalism teacher.

Ephron still remembers the first day her journalism class. Although the students had no journalism experience, they walked into their first class with a sense of what a journalist does: A journalist gets the facts and reports them. To get the facts, you track down the five Ws—who, what, where, when, and why.

As students sat in front of their manual typewriters, Ephron's teacher announced the first assignment. They would write the lead of a newspaper story. The teacher reeled off the facts: "Kennelth L. Peters, the principal of Beverly Hills High School, announced today that the entire high school faculty will travel to Sacramento next Thursday for a colloquium in new teaching methods. Among the speakers will be anthropologist Margaret Mead, college president Dr. Robert Maynard Hutchins, and California governor Edmund 'Pat' Brown."

The budding journalists sat at their typewriters and pecked away at the first lead of their careers. According to Ephron, she and most of the other students produced leads that reordered the facts and condensed them into a single sentence: "Governor Pat Brown, Margaret Mead, and Robert Maynard Hutchins will address the Beverly Hills High School faculty Thursday in Sacramento ... blah, blah, blah."

The teacher collected the leads and scanned them rapidly. Then he laid them aside and paused for a moment.

Finally, he said, "The lead to the story is 'There will be no school next Thursday.'"

"It was a breathtaking moment," Ephron recalls. "In that instant I realized that journalism was not just about regurgitating the facts but about figuring out the point. It wasn't enough to know the who, what, when, and where; you had to understand what it meant. And why it mattered." For the rest of the year, she says, every assignment had a secret—a hidden point that the students had to figure out in order to produce a good story.
Made to Stick, pp. 75-76

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

United States 10-Year Fiscal Outlook

In the spring of the year, when kings normally go out to war...
2 Samuel 11:1

In Washington, the kings go to war in spreadsheets and charts.

Congressional Budget Office:
The Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2012 to 2022

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