PA Family Institute, counting on thousands to heed their calls to action and for financial support, is the state’s leading advocate for pro-life, pro-family principles.
Tom Shaheen, Vice President for Policy at the Pennsylvania Family Institute, offers insight on what to expect in the coming year:
Question: What are going to be some of the top legislative proposals in 2016 that would advance pro-life, pro-family principles?
Tom Shaheen: There are several. One would be shifting state tax dollars away from abortion-focused businesses like Planned Parenthood and moving it to holistic health facilities that provide a range of services to low-income women. This protects taxpayers who object to enriching an organization that not only performs the most abortions but brazenly fights against every reasonable pro-life measure.
Another is supporting passage of an important bill that would help fight sex trafficking by regulating sexually oriented businesses; such as strip clubs which are “havens for sex-trafficking” (FBI).
And I can tell you there are additional pro-life legislative initiatives currently in the works that would add protections for both unborn children and their mothers. We will be sure to get the word out as we progress.
What do you see as the biggest threats to faith and freedom from other legislative proposals in Harrisburg for the coming year?
There is an unprecedented, active push to add new protected classes to our state’s anti-discrimination law for “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” (often labeled as a “SOGI” bill). Such laws in other states have been used to punish good people and ministries that believe marriage is the union of one man and one woman. If it passes, it could be used to force religious schools to violate their own doctrine on human sexuality when hiring staff; to force Christian adoption and foster care agencies to place children in same-sex homes; to fine photographers, florists or bakers for declining to participate in same-sex weddings; to force schools, gyms and other facilities to allow biologically men or women who consider themselves “transgender” to use the bathroom or shower rooms of their choice.
On another front, working together with families across Pennsylvania, we will continue to fight the push to legalize online gambling and video gambling that would put our most vulnerable citizens at risk – including children – by giving instant access to addictive casino gambling on smartphones or laptops or neighborhood restaurants and bars.
What are some things the Pennsylvania Family Institute has planned in 2016 that you’re excited about?
As we have since 1991, we will publish voter information comparing the candidates for both the April 26th Primary Election and the November 8th General Election, where Pennsylvanians will be casting votes for President, U.S. Senate, Congress, State Senate and State House.
And I always look forward to our annual City on the Hill youth leadership and worldview conference happening this summer (July 24-30).
Why is an organization like the Pennsylvania Family Institute needed in 2016?
Without the Pennsylvania Family Institute, there would be no full-time representation for the family in Harrisburg. Our skilled team is positioned to inform individuals, parents, pastors and ministries on what’s happening in the State Capitol and to best protect and advance pro-life, pro-family principles.
Pennsylvania Family Institute is a non-profit organization financially supported by tax-deductible donations from individuals and families across Pennsylvania.