By Warren Cole Smith
The real War Against Women. The U.S. House of Representatives will vote today on a bill seeking to penalize abortionists who knowingly help women carry out gender-selective abortions. The bill was fast-tracked last Friday, so it will need support from two-thirds of the House, rather than a simple majority, to pass. Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., who WORLD featured a couple of months ago, sponsored the bill, which comes to the floor just as another undercover video surfaces from the pro-life group Live Action. The video appears to show Planned Parenthood workers knowingly helping a woman prepare to abort her child based on its gender. According to Live Action, the Planned Parenthood employee advises the undercover investigator to wait until the fourth or fifth month of her pregnancy to have the abortion, since gender can be difficult to determine before then. (See La Shawn Barber's "Sex-selective abortion at Planned Parenthood?")
Democratic leader switches. Every year, a lot of people switch their political party affiliation, but Pennsylvanian Jo Ann Nardelli, who recently changed her voter registration from Democrat to Republican, wasn't your average party member. She was vice president of the Democratic State Committee Women's Caucus, a member of the State Committee Executive Board, and was the founder of the Blair County Federation of Democratic Women and the Women's Equality Coalition of Blair County. But Nardelli is also a committed Catholic, pro-life, and in favor of traditional marriage. When 40-year Democrat made her announcement, she said, "As the Democratic Party has taken the stand for same-sex marriage, then I must make a stand on my faith that marriage is between a man and a woman. God's principles for life never change. His guidelines, given in Scripture, produce fruitful lives when you follow them."
S.C. may soon stand for "school choice." A plan to help low-income and disabled students attend the school of their family's choosing moved closer to becoming law in South Carolina last week, emerging from the State Senate Finance Committee by a voice vote. The proposal has already passed the House. It offers tax credit-funded scholarships to low income and disabled students whose parents elect to send them to private schools or transfer them among different public schools. The models for House Bill 4894 are similar programs already operating in Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Arizona. Two-dozen states now provide some type of program to expand choices among different types of K-12 schools. The bill has opposition. Lobbyists for the School Boards Association (SCSBA) and School Administrators Associations (SCASA) say the bill could hurt education in South Carolina, though it's hard to see how much worse things could get. The American Legislative Exchange Council recently ranked South Carolina 50th (out of 51, including the District of Columbia) in its annual scorecard of state education systems. School choice may be just what South Carolina--and the rest of the nation--needs.
Keepin' it Sweet. Sunday, June 3, is the Sixth Annual Say Something Nice Sunday. According to a press release announcing the event, "The congregation of First Baptist Church Charleston [S.C.], the oldest Baptist congregation in the South, passed a resolution calling for at least one day when Christians would not say anything derogatory toward any other Christian or Christian body, but instead would say only nice things." Other churches followed in subsequent years, and Say Something Nice Sunday became a national event. Now, I'm all for celebrating the good, the true, and the beautiful, but are we supposed to just walk past evil, falsehood, and ugliness without saying a word? Say Something Nice Sunday reminds me of a scene from Flannery O'Connor's Wise Blood, a satire of modern religion. A con artist named Hoover Shoats renames himself Onnie Jay Holy and becomes a charlatan prosperity preacher. He utters one of the most memorable lines in that now classic novel: "If you want to get anywhere in religion, you got to keep it sweet."