Dear Friends and Supporters of the Pro-family Movement,
My tenure as Chairman of the Board of United Families International has now reached the ten-year mark. Over that past decade, I’ve come to see that the pro-family movement is like one great orchestra of organizations, individuals and families who are passionately committed to defending the family, religious freedom, and the dignity of each one of God’s children.
For 2023, the orchestration had some magnificent moments:
First, despite the rather constant media refrain that the pro-life effort has “crashed on the rocks” since the Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe v. Wade, there have been many pro-life wins. One of the most impactful was the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals forcing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to restore critical safeguards for the use of drugs that induce abortion. In addition, during the legislative sessions of 2023, at least 59 pro-life laws were passed and signed into law. You can read about many of these laws here.
Pushing back against anti-family/anti-life activism
Sometimes wins come because bad policy initiatives simply do not advance. Such was the case with the 2023 outcome document for the UN Commission on Population & Development. Pro-family/pro-life countries stood strong and stopped a very bad UN commission document from achieving “consensus.” You can read about that rather unusual turn of events, here.
Along similar lines, despite many bills being pushed in the U.S. to legalize Physician Assisted Suicide – or Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) – none of this legislation was successful. This is a victory for both young and old, and for anyone who understands the sanctity of life!
The wins for religious freedom continued to pile up in 2023. This year’s highlights include:
- The 303 Creative vs. Elenis. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Lori Smith, a Colorado artist who designs websites for weddings. The court made clear that Lori, and other businesspeople like her, cannot be forced by government to communicate messages with which they disagree.
- The unanimous S. Supreme Court decision granting victory to Gerald Groff, an employee at the U.S. Postal Service; restoring his ability to observe the sabbath day in the way his religion requires. This important decision overturned a 1977 decision and precedent that negatively impacted an employee’s ability to seek religious accommodations from their employer – a win for every religious person in the country!
- The decade-long case of the Klein family, in Oregon, whose bakery declined to bake cakes for same-sex weddings. The U.S. Supreme Court sent their case back to the Oregon Supreme Court, requiring that court to consider the U.S. Supreme Court’s precedent on religious freedom when re-considering the Klein’s case.
Parental Rights, Safeguarding Women’s Sports and Protecting Children
The legislative efforts to protect women’s sports continued during 2023. Twenty-three states now have laws designed to protect women’s safety, privacy, and opportunity in sports, with the first bill in the country being passed just three years ago. This is a remarkable accomplishment!
At the same time, twenty-three U.S. states have passed laws to protect children from a predatory transgender industry and its activists – while maintaining and protecting parental rights. Some 84 separate laws were passed in those 23 states, just this year. In these states, children can no longer be subjected to mutilating surgeries performed for “transitioning,” the use of drugs and hormones to stunt or alter their development, be subject to sexually explicit drag shows and other spoilers of children’s lives. As we speak, there are numerous legislative efforts already underway to pass more protective legislation during 2024.
The courage to stand and be counted
It has also been a year full of remarkable examples of courage. Our team at UFI has marveled as we’ve seen people, around the world, stand up for children, for family, for religious freedom, parental rights, for life. Recently, we felt admiration and gratitude as we watched country after country stand in the UN General Assembly and state their positions against the prevailing anti-family dogma coming from the western societies. These UN missions forced the chairperson of the Commission on Population & Development (April 2023) to retract an egregious UN outcome document.
This work of defending the family in the face of constant opposition goes on at the UN, in the judiciary, within state houses, and – most importantly – in your home. We’ve felt to praise the providential hand of the Orchestra Conductor as we’ve seen these, and other efforts of United Families International, bear fruit in ways in which we’ve been directly or indirectly connected. It is a testament to the importance of this work, the efforts of countless others in the pro-family world, the enduring hard work of UFI’s staff, and to the friends of this most vital cause everywhere.
We thank you for your tireless support and ask that you continue to stand with us during 2024, to make it an even greater year.
Wishing you a Happy and Prosperous New Year,
Bob Spiel, Chairman of the Board
United Families International