Did He Just Say That? One Candidate Demonstrates Support for Life, Marriage, Family

In West Virginia politics, the unwritten rule most candidates live by is the assumption that they are pro-family.  Almost every politician in the Mountain State, with the exception of a notable (and vocal) few, will profess to being pro-life because they know that West Virginians value preborn human life.

But the issue of marriage is a more tough one.  On the democratic side, they walk a tight rope.  They know that the national party platform seeks to redefine marriage and, needing national money to succeed in their campaigns, many democratic candidates just punt the issue, or take the, “if a court ever redefines it, I’ll do something” approach.

Republicans here are a bit better, but unless they’ve been running at the local level (delegate, state senate), there is usually a reluctance (not an unwillingness) to speak to the social issues, beyond declaring themselves to be “pro-life.”  When it comes to marriage, if pressed, they will avow support for marriage as one man and one woman, but rarely does that issue make it to their web page or public comments.

Last week, conventional wisdom flew out the window.

Candidate for governor Bill Maloney threw down the political gauntlet to his opponents.  With a crowded field, perhaps it was an effort to be noticed, but I do not think so.  Instead, could it be that there is a politician that is allowing what he believes in his heart translate to his campaign rhetoric?  We shall see.

Here’s what I’m talking about.  Last week, Bill Maloney introduced his first campaign radio ad.  Frankly, I hadn’t listened to it closely, but this morning I heard it playing on my alarm.  As it hit the :40 mark, I heard through my waking stupor something about “life” and “traditional” marriage.  If I could muster a thought at that point it was, “Did he just say that?”

You see, while I’ve known several candidates who privately profess to being pro-life, support marriage between one man and one woman, and wish to strengthen West Virginia’s families, few care to say so publicly, let alone nail it down as a plank in their political platform.

Listen for yourself (you can scrub ahead to the good part starting about about :40 in):

Did you catch that?  Here’s what it said, “Bill Maloney will work to defend life, protect traditional marriage, and make West Virginia the most family-friendly state in America.”

Impressive rhetoric, but how does he stack up to the rest of the field?

[Read more...]

About Jeremy Dys

Jeremy Dys is the FPCWV's President and General Counsel. In addition to his duties of providing strategic vision and leadership to the FPCWV, Dys is the chief lobbyist and spokesman. Dys is regularly featured in local, state, and national print, radio, and television outlets. He lives close to Charleston with his wife and growing family.

PRESS RELEASE: Tennant Receives EMILY’s List Endorsement, Ignores Majority of West Virginians

Sec. of State Natalie Tennant

Pro-life leaders question if candidate will represent the views of West Virginians or scandal- ridden abortion industry.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Late last week, EMILY’s List – the nation’s largest pro-abortion political action group – endorsed West Virginia’s Secretary of State Natalie Tennant for Governor.  The endorsement leaves pro-life West Virginians wondering whether she would, if elected, represent them, or a scandal-ridden abortion industry.

“Proponents of abortion invest millions in politicians that they expect to steer millions of taxpayer dollars into the abortion industry,” said Jeremiah Dys, president and general counsel of the FPCWV.  “We encourage Sec. Tennant to show that she truly wishes to represent the people of West Virginia by rejecting this endorsement and refusing further funding from the abortion industry.”

In a joint letter sent last week to each candidate running in the special election for governor, leaders from West Virginians for Life and the Family Policy Council of West Virginia (FPCWV) challenged lawmakers to sign the, “Vote for Life” Pledge.  The letter, signed by Karen Cross and Jeremiah Dys, also urged the pro-life community in West Virginia to commit to voting only for a candidate who refuses the millions of dollars the abortion industry offers to many candidates today.  Thus far, Natalie Tennant has not signed the “Vote for Life” Pledge.

This endorsement confirms rumors that EMILY’s List, a multi-million dollar, out-of-state political action committee, had met with at least one candidate in the race for governor.  In the 2009 – 2010 election cycle, EMILY’s List raised spent more than $38 million dollars to elect pro-abortion candidates across the country.  Along with NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood, the abortion industry has spent more than $184 million over the past decade to advance their agenda.

Planned Parenthood, which performs more than 300,000 abortions every year and is heavily subsidized by taxpayer dollars, has recently been the center of an undercover investigations revealing their complicity in human sex trafficking, covering up statutory rape, and encouraging racially motivated abortions.

Voters throughout West Virginia may sign the, “Vote for Life” Pledge at www.FamilyPolicywv.com/Life.

The Family Policy Council of West Virginia is a servant organization that advocates for policies that embrace the sanctity of human life, enrich marriage, and safeguard religious freedom.

www.FamilyPolicyWV.com

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About Jeremy Dys

Jeremy Dys is the FPCWV's President and General Counsel. In addition to his duties of providing strategic vision and leadership to the FPCWV, Dys is the chief lobbyist and spokesman. Dys is regularly featured in local, state, and national print, radio, and television outlets. He lives close to Charleston with his wife and growing family.

Alicia Donathan: I Am Thankful My State Let Me Grieve, WV Should Too

My friend, Alicia Donathan, has graciously recorded and allowed us to share her experience with losing children.  It is important that we read and become familiar with Alicia’s story because Bobby’s Law, or the West Virginia Grieving Parents Act, is modeled similarly after the law in Missouri, where Alicia now resides and where her two children have been laid to rest.

The WV Grieving Parents Act would create an optional program that would allow the state to issue a “Certificat of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth” for children who are miscarried, stillborn, or suffer spontaneous fetal death.  In short, it permits the state to give a piece of paper to grieving parents, giving them the legal means they need to lay their child to rest.  If passed, the WV Greiving Parents Act would be second only to Missouri out of 28 states that have such a measure.  Missouri, and hopefully WV, are significant in that they make not provision for the gestational age or weight of the a child that has suffered a spontaneous fetal death, has been miscarried, or was still born.  Alicia’s story highlights why that is important.

Also, while Alicia makes a great point about how this measure reaffirms current West Virginia law that extends personhood to a fetus (See, the Unborn Victim of Violence Act), it takes no position on when life begins.  While science has already settled that question, the WV Grieving Parents act leaves that decision, ultimately, to the convictions of the parents.

For more on Bobby’s Law (the Grieving Parents Act) – including drafts of the legislation, a white paper, and an executive summary – please visit www.FamilyPolicyWV.com/Bobby.

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I Am Thankful My State Let Me Grieve, WV Should Too
By Alicia Donathan

No parent should have to bury their child.  This is something the Meador family knows too well.  They know the pain of saying goodbye to a child to whom they only recently said hello.  They share this pain with other West Virginia families, including my own.

I am a displaced West Virginian living now in Missouri.  In July 2009, while living in St. Louis, I was diagnosed with severe preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome in the midst of my first pregnancy.  This serious condition resulted in my hospitalization and the subsequent emergency delivery of our daughter at just 25 weeks’ gestation.  Our little one died 36 hours later in the NICU.  We buried her on a Tuesday.

Then, five months later, I was pregnant again.  Our joy and apprehension was soon overshadowed by doubt as early symptoms pointed to an ectopic pregnancy (implantation in the fallopian tube).  When my doctor confirmed this, and I soon underwent surgery to remove the misplaced baby along with the tube.  Following this loss, the hospital in St. Louis turned over our tiny baby’s remains to the cemetery, and we buried our second child alongside our first.

We never received any questions from the cemetery director.  The hospital had no trouble releasing the remains to the cemetery.  No birth or death certificate exists for our second child, but these were never required of us in order to bury him or her.

As a fellow grieving parent, I am distressed to learn of the trouble the Meadors had in giving their little Bobby a proper burial.  I do not know what I would have done if the hospital or cemetery personnel had given us any resistance to burying our second child.  I admire the Meadors’ strength and persistence in refusing to give up until their little one had been laid properly and respectfully to rest.

While no parent should have to bury their child, every parent should be able to bury their child.  The Meadors’ struggle to do so raises questions: Why did the funeral director refuse to bury the child in the absence of a death certificate?  Was this because of legal repercussions or simply because it was not customary?  Why should the birth weight of a baby matter for the purposes of issuing a birth and/or death certificate?  Why did Bobby Meador’s doctor not make an exception in this case?

[Read more...]

About Jeremy Dys

Jeremy Dys is the FPCWV's President and General Counsel. In addition to his duties of providing strategic vision and leadership to the FPCWV, Dys is the chief lobbyist and spokesman. Dys is regularly featured in local, state, and national print, radio, and television outlets. He lives close to Charleston with his wife and growing family.

Having a Rational Debate on an Emotional Issue

FPCWV Delivers 134 Books on Abortion to WV Legislature

This week, volunteers with the Family Policy Council of West Virginia will deliver 134 copies of Dr. R.C. Sproul’s fabulous book, Abortion: A Rational Look at an Emotional Issue to every member of the West Virginia Legislature.

Abortion is a tender issue that hits at the very heart of our humanity.  Amidst the schedule demanded of our lawmakers during the 60-day legislative session, it can be difficult for us to have a thorough, rational dialog on the topic.

Committee hearings and legislative meetings demand so much of attention that conversations often resort to little more than sound bites that overlook the painful eyes of the single mother and the silent cries of the preborn.  We can be tempted to paint those who disagree with us in the caricatures of the most extreme ends of their position.  We are enticed to excuse reasonable dialog for the expediency of the legislative process.  Policy-making suffers.

That is why we wanted to engage and encourage our lawmakers by providing them with this important book from Ligonier Ministries.

Whether they agree with reproductive justice or not, whether or not our lawmakers are committed to defending every innocent human life, we hope they will give this book – a survey of one of the most important ethical concepts of the modern era – the serious consideration it deserves.

Perhaps, after reading it, they will be more firmly entrenched in their position, but at least we will have had the discussion – albeit vicariously – that all of us hope for, but time often deprives us of having.

The generous investments of ministry partners to the FPCWV have made this gift to our lawmakers possible.  If you would like to assist in defraying the cost of this project, please consider making a $12.00 investment in the FPCWV at www.FamilyPolicyWV.com/invest.

About Jeremy Dys

Jeremy Dys is the FPCWV's President and General Counsel. In addition to his duties of providing strategic vision and leadership to the FPCWV, Dys is the chief lobbyist and spokesman. Dys is regularly featured in local, state, and national print, radio, and television outlets. He lives close to Charleston with his wife and growing family.

PRESS RELEASE: Mom Asks Lawmakers to Support Grieving Parents, Honor Son by Passing, “Bobby’s Law”

Loophole in law forced Mom to store her deceased son in fridge until he could be laid to rest.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The Family Policy Council of West Virginia (FPCVW) announced Monday that it is asking West Virginia lawmakers to support proposed legislation, the “Grieving Parents Act,” which will close a legal loophole that has prevented parents of the legal means they need in order to bury, and properly grieve for, their stillborn or miscarried child.

“Every innocent human life is worthy of respect and recognition,” said Jeremy Dys, president and general counsel of the Family Policy Council of WV (FPCWV), “Every parent should have the option of having the state recognize their children.”

When Beckley native Cassandra Meador gave birth to her son, Bobby James, 20-weeks before he was due, she had no idea how being refused a birth certificate could extend her grief at losing a child.   She discovered that without a birth certificate, she was unable to obtain a death certificate.  As a result, she was given her son – dressed in the clothes taken from a gift store teddy bear – in a box to be stored at home until they could convince a funeral home to exhume the grave of Bobby’s grandfather and lay him to rest there.

Distressed at the loss of her son and motivated to make sure this never happened to mothers like her, Cassandra reached out to the FPCWV for help.  The FPCWV immediately began working on a simple policy solution that closes the legal loophole that prevents the state from recognizing children like Bobby James with a birth certificate, the “Grieving Parents Act.”

The “Grieving Parents Act” gives parents the option of requesting formal recognition by the state of their children who are stillborn, miscarried, or suffer spontaneous fetal death.  Cassandra and FPCWV are asking West Virginia’s lawmakers to provide her, and other mothers, with a way to have their children recognized under the law.

For more on Bobby’s story and what West Virginians can do to help moms like Cassandra, visit www.FamilyPolicyWV.com/Bobby.

A draft copy of the Grieving Parents Act is available at http://bit.ly/GrievingParentsWV.

Media resources, including video, is available to members of the media at www.FamilyPolicyWV.com/Bobby-Media.

An executive summary is available at http://bit.ly/BobbysLaw-ExSum

The Family Policy Council of West Virginia is a servant organization that advocates for policies that embrace the sanctity of human life, enrich marriage, and safeguard religious freedom.

www.FamilyPolicyWV.com

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About Jeremy Dys

Jeremy Dys is the FPCWV's President and General Counsel. In addition to his duties of providing strategic vision and leadership to the FPCWV, Dys is the chief lobbyist and spokesman. Dys is regularly featured in local, state, and national print, radio, and television outlets. He lives close to Charleston with his wife and growing family.

Let Me Introduce You to Bobby James Meador . . .

With the life of Bobby James Meador, the truth that every innocent human life is worthy of respect and recognition has become all the more real to me in recent days.

Cassandra Meador is, in many ways, your typical young mother.  Married to her high school sweetheart, she is the busy mother of an energetic kindergartner.  She and her husband, Jason, were delighted to learn this past summer that they were expecting a baby, another boy.  They had already decided to name their son, “Bobby James” after Cassandra’s father who passed away just a few years ago.

In September of 2010, Cassandra experienced complications with her pregnancy.  Rushed to the hospital, the doctors did all they could to save the pregnancy.  But, at only 20-weeks into the pregnancy, little Bobby James was born.  Too weak to survive, Bobby died within minutes.

Cassandra was beside herself with grief.  Jason was angry at the loss of his son.  It was a loophole in the law that added insult to injury.

Because of a shortcoming in West Virginia law, the hospital could not issue a birth certificate.  Without a birth certificate, Cassandra and Jason could not get a death certificate.  As a result, they were given their son in a box – dressed in a shirt the nurses had taken off a teddy bear in the gift shop – to take home with her.  There, she stored Bobby’s body until they could convince the funeral home to exhume her father’s grave and lay little Bobby James to rest with his PaPa.

Distressed at the loss of her son and motivated to make sure this never happened to mothers like her, Cassandra reached out to the FPCWV for help.  The FPCWV immediately began working on a simple policy solution that closes the legal loophole that prevents the state from recognizing children like Bobby James with a birth certificate, the “Grieving Parents Act.”  Or, what we like to call, “Bobby’s Law.”

In the coming days, you will hear more about Bobby’s story, but for now, please visit www.FamilyPolicyWV.com/Bobby and watch Cassandra’s story in her own words below.  Consider posting this video to your Facebook profile or emailing it to your friends.

Every innocent human life is worthy of respect and recognition.  Parents should have the option of having the state recognize their children.  We hope lawmakers will give parents – like Cassandra and Jason – the opportunity to properly grieve the loss of their children.

About Jeremy Dys

Jeremy Dys is the FPCWV's President and General Counsel. In addition to his duties of providing strategic vision and leadership to the FPCWV, Dys is the chief lobbyist and spokesman. Dys is regularly featured in local, state, and national print, radio, and television outlets. He lives close to Charleston with his wife and growing family.

Op-Ed: Will Manchin Follow Byrd’s Example on DADT?

Will Manchin follow Byrd's historic defense of the family? (Photo Cred: Jeff Gentner/AP/MSNBC.com

During his historic tenure as our Senator, the late Robert C. Byrd consistently placed the First Amendment, freedom of speech, and national security above special interests groups.  West Virginians must now wonder whether Sen. Manchin will follow the example of the historic Robert C. Byrd or advance a political agenda Byrd once clearly opposed?

Sen. Byrd’s committee vote this past summer in favor of the proposed repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) was at complete odds with his half-century, staunch defense of the family – as well as the famed Constitution he carried in his coat pocket.

In 1996, The New York Times quoted his support for marriage as the union of one man and one woman.  “The drive for same-sex marriage,” he said at the time, “is, in effect, an effort to make a sneak attack on society by encoding this aberrant behavior in legal form before society itself has decided it should be legal.”

Ironically, if Sen. Manchin helped repeal DADT, a soldier quoting Sen. Byrd’s own words would be subject to discipline.

Former President Bill Clinton, in his memoir My Life, confirms this when he reported that Sen. Byrd would never allow his beloved grandson to serve in a military that welcomed the open practice of homosexual behavior.

Yet, if DADT is repealed, soldiers can expect to be put through hours of “sensitivity training” that will sharply disagree with Sen. Byrd’s characterization of homosexual behavior as “aberrant.”  The 1.4 million members of our armed forces will be drilled on the myths of the homosexual movement, including those alleging that homosexual behavior is normal and that homosexual conduct is harmless to individuals and society.

On DADT, as with health insurance reform and the financial bailout, our leaders seem to be ramming through legislation and asking questions later.  But, some of those nagging questions have profound implications for personal and religious freedom in America.

[Read more...]

About Jeremy Dys

Jeremy Dys is the FPCWV's President and General Counsel. In addition to his duties of providing strategic vision and leadership to the FPCWV, Dys is the chief lobbyist and spokesman. Dys is regularly featured in local, state, and national print, radio, and television outlets. He lives close to Charleston with his wife and growing family.

Sen. Manchin Hears – and Wants to Hear – from West Virginians on DADT

Manchin, concerned how repealing DADT will affect religious liberty, wants to hear from his constituents before he votes.

As we reported yesterday, Sen. Manchin has expressed concern over how repealing the so-called, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy might affect the religious liberty of our soldiers.  That has put him at odds with party leadership and, as a result, Sen. Manchin is unsure how he will finally cast his vote.

Phil Kabler of the Charleston Gazette joined other reporters on a conference call with the senator.  He quotes Sen. Manchin as saying:

“I can see a lot of reasons why people could be for or against it,” Manchin said, saying he is hoping to get input from constituents before he casts a vote.

via Manchin feels partisan sting of Washington  – The Charleston Gazette [emphasis added].

Well, that’s exactly what we hope to provide for Sen. Manchin

As Ry Rivard reports in today’s Charleston Daily Mail, concerning Sen. Manchin and DADT:

And he remains unsure how he will vote on a move to repeal the military’s policy on gay soldiers referred to as “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

About 10,000 West Virginians were expected to receive robocalls Monday night from the Family Policy Council of West Virginia urging them to lobby Congress to keep the current policy in place, said Jeremy Dys, the conservative group’s leader.

via Manchin to vote in favor of unions  – Charleston Daily Mail.

The calls we made (and are making) to 10,000 of our core constituents last night continue this morning and into this evening.  And, here is what we have discovered: more than 85% of those being surveyed oppose normalizing homosexual behavior in the military by repealing DADT.

Of that 85%, several thousand have agreed to call Sen. Manchin and politely ask him to vote against repeal.  Given Sen. Manchin’s comments yesterday, we trust these calls will give him the confidence he needs to stand with his people against the administration and senate leadership.

Join in.  Call Sen. Manchin at 202-224-3954 and ask him to protect religious liberty by voting against the repeal of DADT.

About Jeremy Dys

Jeremy Dys is the FPCWV's President and General Counsel. In addition to his duties of providing strategic vision and leadership to the FPCWV, Dys is the chief lobbyist and spokesman. Dys is regularly featured in local, state, and national print, radio, and television outlets. He lives close to Charleston with his wife and growing family.

The Engaging Essentials

Lots of good reading over the weekend.  Take the time to follow these links and get yourself up to speed on the essential reading regarding life, marriage, and religious freedom from across the country.

I Swear – Peter Sprigg reports on a video project by homosexual activists that employees foul language to promote tolerance and equality.  Worse, he says, “what is really shocking about the video is this: three of its participants are children. Not teenagers–young, pre-adolescent children. One is a boy who appears to be about six years old. Another is a girl who looks to be perhaps nine. The third is a girl who is perhaps eleven. And yes–the children drop the ‘f-bomb’ too.”

Debating Marriage – David French laments the lack of ability students – and often faculty – have in defending even the most basic of social conservative issues.  For background reading, you really ought to read Prof. Todd Hartch’s account of what happened to him at EKU.

Why Obama Will Not Move to the Center – You will not find a more kind and sagacious woman than Janice Crouse.  You will also find her wisdom rarely rivaled.  Here’s her main point:

Clearly, the election of 2010 was a rejection of Mr. Obama’s ideology and agenda — a matter of the president’s chickens coming home to roost.  The Obama presidency — with its anti-exceptionalism, anti-capitalist, anti-freedom emphases — is a wake-up call for America.  The president’s rhetoric may continue to resonate with those who want big-government solutions to all of their wants and needs, but if we have learned nothing else, we now know that our nation will survive and thrive only with a fully informed and actively engaged electorate who can tell the difference between truthful analyses of the challenges facing America today and mere demagoguery about “enemies” and divisive appeals to emotion.

Scalia on Faith and the Nation – Justice Antonin Scalia offers some candid remarks, along with a challenge to Christians to be actively engaged in the life of our nation – no matter what the rest of the nation does in response.

Abortion a Winning Issue for Democrats in 2010 – Politico paints a picture of a few candidates who won by creating a caricature of  their pro-life opponent and embracing the pro-abortion position themselves.  This, the article suggests, was a success and suggests social issues lose campaigns.  Balderdash!  Either Americans have (overnight) embraced the plague that is killing children in the womb, or this article is as out-of-touch as the politicians profiled within it.

‘Lies Set Straight’ – From yesterday’s opinion page in the Charleston Gazette comes this whopper straightener that is, in itself, a whopper!  One of the lies it seeks to “set straight” is that taxpayer abortion is funded by HealthCare Reform.  The author claims:

Wrong! The health reform act adheres to the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal dollars for abortion except in the case of rape, incest and the life of the mother. The president even signed an executive order, reaffirming the prohibition of using federal funds for abortion.

Wow.  Where to begin.  First, recall Congressman Stupak.  His entire beef was that Hyde Amendment protections had been removed from the bill and leadership refused to reinsert them.  His (and a few others’) vote was secured on empty promise that was the infamous Executive Order from a pro-abortion President that no abortion would be funded.  It won’t work.  Perhaps Renate Pore needs to consider this legal affidavit from American United for Life’s president, Charmaine Yoest.

(Bonus trivia: Charmaine Yoest is the daughter of Janice Crouse.  Smart women that family produces!)

About Jeremy Dys

Jeremy Dys is the FPCWV's President and General Counsel. In addition to his duties of providing strategic vision and leadership to the FPCWV, Dys is the chief lobbyist and spokesman. Dys is regularly featured in local, state, and national print, radio, and television outlets. He lives close to Charleston with his wife and growing family.

The Engaging Essentials

Hoppy on Straight Ticket Voting – Today’s commentary by Hoppy Kercheval gives a lot of history I didn’t know about straight ticket voting.  Still needs to be altered for today, but interesting nonetheless.

Obama Admin Defends DADT – The president’s administration, perhaps kicking and screaming, has been dragged into the position of defending a policy that, at the same time, they are advocating the repeal of.  Such is the dilemma of the Executive.

More on DOMA Repeal – I mentioned yesterday the several lawsuits facing Americans and, hence, West Virginians as it concerns DOMA.  Here’s more on that.  The overarching message our legislature must hear is that because they lose at the ballot box, same-sex activists will continually resort to the courts to advance their agenda.  This will come to West Virginia and, when it does, it will cost millions more in litigation expenses than it would to simply place the issue on the ballot for the people to decide.

Was the Revolution Immoral? – Wayne Grudem answers:

About Jeremy Dys

Jeremy Dys is the FPCWV's President and General Counsel. In addition to his duties of providing strategic vision and leadership to the FPCWV, Dys is the chief lobbyist and spokesman. Dys is regularly featured in local, state, and national print, radio, and television outlets. He lives close to Charleston with his wife and growing family.