Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Pro-life, human rights advocate nominated Assistant Secretary of State for Population issues

In an announcement due to be made public tomorrow, President George Bush has nominated Ellen R. Sauerbrey, a vocal pro-life and women’s rights advocate, who is U.S. Representative to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, as the new Assistant Secretary of State for U:S Population Issues.


Monday, August 15, 2005

'I'm So Sorry'

A must read about the president's meetings with families of those men and women who have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Healthy Marriage Initiative

Wade Horn, Assistant Secretary for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on the president's Healthy Marriage Initiative:

Armed with compelling research that shows that children do best when reared in healthy, stable, two-parent households, three years ago President Bush launched his Healthy Marriage Initiative. The initiative's goal is to help couples who choose marriage for themselves gain greater access, on a voluntary basis, to services where they can develop the skills and knowledge necessary to form and sustain a healthy marriage. The initiative is based on solid research indicating that what separates stable and healthy marriages from unstable and unhealthy ones is not the frequency of conflict, but how couples manage conflict. The good news is that through marriage education, healthy conflict-resolution skills can be taught.

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Second, rather than an expansion of government, the president's Healthy Marriage Initiative is an exercise in limited government. Here's how: I run the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. My agency spends $46 billion per year operating 65 different social programs. If one goes down the list of these programs — from child welfare, to child-support enforcement, to anti-poverty assistance to runaway-youth initiatives — the need for each is either created or exacerbated by the breakup of families and marriages. It doesn't take a Ph.D. to understand that controlling the growth of these programs depends on preventing problems from happening in the first place. One way to accomplish that — not the only way, of course, but one way — is to help couples form and sustain healthy marriages.

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Indeed, government is most intrusive into family life when marriages fail. If you don't believe it, try getting married, having kids and then getting a divorce. If you are a non-custodial parent, government will tell you when you can see your children; whether you can pick them up after school or not, and if so, on what days; whether you can authorize medical care for your children; and how much money you must spend on your kids. By preventing marital breakup in the first place — not by making divorce harder to get, but by increasing the odds of a stable marriage by increasing marital health and happiness — one obviates the need for such intrusive government.

White House Backs New Abortion Curb

The Bush administration called on the Supreme Court yesterday to uphold new restrictions on abortion, backing a New Hampshire parental-notification law that has no exceptions for pregnant girls whose health is at risk.

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In filing a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, the administration weighed in for the first time in an abortion rights case before the Supreme Court. In his filing, Solicitor General Paul D. Clement argued that "there is no need for a general health exception to a parental-notification statute."

The 2003 New Hampshire law would require parents to be notified 48 hours before a girl's abortion, unless the procedure were needed to prevent her death. Judges could bypass the notification requirement if they thought the girl was sufficiently mature or if abortion without notification was in her best interest.

Thirty-three states have parental-notification laws. The court has not yet clarified whether O'Connor's "undue burden" standard means such laws must have an explicit exception for cases involving a girl's health. The Supreme Court defined an "undue burden" only as a law that imposes a "substantial obstacle" to abortion seekers "in a large fraction of cases."

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit in Boston struck down the New Hampshire law as unconstitutional last year, citing the 1992 ruling. In appealing the case, Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood, New Hampshire argued that the proper legal standard was not the 1992 case but a 1987 Supreme Court ruling suggesting that opponents of restrictions must demonstrate that a law limits abortion in all cases.

If the Supreme Court reverses the appellate court, other states could be free to pass legislation similar to New Hampshire's.