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Next Steps on the Tennessee Heartbeat Bill

Thanks to the hundreds who sent emails and tweets to the nine members of the Tennessee Senate Judiciary Committee urging them to support the rewritten heartbeat bill, SB 1236, during the August 12-13 Summer Study.

Your participation—by contacting the committee members, sitting in the hearing room at the Capitol, or speaking for life on our social media channels—has greatly encouraged us.

There are two things you can do now before the bill comes back up in January to help protect the lives of the unborn in Tennessee.

First, visit the Heartbeat Bill Summer Study Hearing page on our website for resources that you can watch, read, and then share. These include the video of FACT President David Fowler and FACT CEO Gary Humble discussing the Ninth Amendment as it relates to the heartbeat bill and David’s testimony at the hearing as well as that of other proponents of the bill as amended.

Second, pray that the legislature will make the decision that would save the lives of the unborn and help begin the process of restoring the rule of law in our country. We believe many of the pro-life senators in the Senate Judiciary Committee are beginning to listen to the new Ninth Amendment arguments being made in support of the bill.

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Unplanned Movie Top-Selling DVD on Amazon

Unplanned, the unexpected hit movie that told the story of former Planned Parenthood Director Abby Johnson and the horrors of the abortion industry released as a DVD, Blu-ray Disc, and digital download on Tuesday.

It is already the top-selling DVD on Amazon, an incredible feat for a movie that had to be filmed largely in secret due to possible abortion activist backlash, got slapped with an R-rating by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), endured censorship for being pro-life, and wasn’t heavily promoted, any one of which could have been the movie’s death knell.

In fact, the response from the official Twitter account for Unplanned about DVD sales said, “No promotion. No ads. We’ve barely mentioned our DVD release on social media.” Despite its humble beginnings, the movie grossed $19 million at the box office over 19 weeks.

Said Cary Solomon, one of the film’s co-directors, “We presold about 235,000 [DVDs] without even telling anyone it was out there. What does that say? It says that we have a nation that is hungry for stories about life, but not only that [but for] true stories that reveal the truth.”

The Unplanned DVD is also available at Walmart and other retail stores and from the official Unplanned website.

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Cross Will Remain on Pennsylvania County Seal

Lehigh County, Penn., is celebrating its victory for religious liberty preserving the Latin cross on its 70-year-old county seal after being attacked by the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF).

FFRF believed the cross on the county’s seal violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit disagreed that the county was somehow trying to establish a religion by its seal and looked to other cases concerning cross memorials to make its decision.

The court’s opinion states, “The Lehigh County seal fits comfortably within a long tradition of state and municipal seals and flags throughout our republic that include religious symbols or mottos, which further confirms its constitutionality.”

Diana Verm, senior counsel at Becket, which represented the county, said, “It is common sense that religion played a role in the lives of our nation’s early settlers. Recognizing that is just as constitutional as honoring symbols like the Liberty Bell.”

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Christian Women’s Shelter Can Say No to ‘Transwomen’

The Downtown Hope Center, a Christian-based ministry providing shelter to battered women in Anchorage, Alaska, won a victory last week against the “trans” lobby and for the safety and privacy of the women it serves.

Specifically, U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason issued a temporary injunction prohibiting the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission (AERC) from enforcing a municipal anti-discrimination ordinance against Hope Center pending the outcome of the center’s lawsuit challenging the applicability of the ordinances.

In 2018, a “transwoman” identified in court papers as “Jessie Doe” was twice denied access to the overnight shelter due, according to the facts in the court order, to policy violations unrelated to his trans-identity. Days later Doe filed a complaint with the AERC, accusing Hope Center of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The AERC investigation found that the center had violated municipal ordinances prohibiting discrimination relative to “public accommodation” and rentals. Hope Center sued in federal court, contending that homeless shelters are not deemed public accommodations under the law and that it is within its First Amendment right of religious liberty to operate as it does.

In issuing the injunction, Judge Gleason ruled that the civil rights ordinance and the rental law do not apply to homeless shelters because they are not places of “public accommodation.

The AERC can appeal the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit or pursue a trial on the merits in the District Court.

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LGBT-Sympathizing University Philosophers Stand Up for Free Speech

Feminist Laura Tanner, a graduate student at the University of California-Santa Barbara, is under investigation for being outspoken against “transgender” ideology. Now a dozen LGBT-sympathizing philosophers in academia are coming to her rescue.

This group of philosophers from Europe, Canada, America, and Australia say that academic debate is essential and that any measures that censor a colleague’s skepticism toward gender identity “violate the fundamental academic commitment to free inquiry.” They go on to say, “Moreover, the consequent narrowing of discussion would set a dangerous precedent, threatening the ability of philosophers to engage with the issues of the day. . . none of the arguments recently made by our colleagues can reasonably be regarded as incitement or hate speech. . . Academic freedom, like freedom of thought more broadly, should be restricted only with the greatest caution, if ever.”

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