Senate bill defunds Planned Parenthood

It passed, it was a big deal, but far from a done deal.

It had barely happened, barely got attention, when the San Bernardino violence erupted the next day and dominated news and attention for days and still does.

What was the deal that went almost unnoticed? The U.S. Senate passed a bill that would, among other things, freeze federal funding to Planned Parenthood for a year.

The House passed similar legislation in September.

The House vote represents the first time that congressional Republicans have approved legislation to defund Planned Parenthood in the wake of this summer’s undercover video controversy. The vote is largely symbolic, as Democrats are expected to block the bill in the Senate.

Right. It was expected that such a measure would never pass the Senate. Thursday evening, it did.

“The Senate is right to recognize that taxpayer money should go to fund local community health centers, not to subsidize a scandal-ridden, billion-dollar abortion business. Americans shouldn’t be forced to give their money to Planned Parenthood, which has a long track record of abusive and potentially fraudulent billing practices, not to mention that it has also been caught in authenticated undercover videos trafficking aborted babies’ body parts and has repeatedly failed to report the sexual abuse of girls. That tax money should be redirected to trustworthy health care providers.”

Which is what the reconciliation bill the Senate passed intends to do.

“Tonight’s vote is a landmark victory for all who prioritize comprehensive women’s health care over abortion industry profits. We thank Senate Leadership for following through on their promise to advance this defunding provision to the President’s desk,” said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser.

“The debate over the reconciliation process has continued the national conversation on Planned Parenthood and established an important precedent for the next administration,” continued Dannenfelser. “If Americans elect a pro-life president next year, and safeguard our pro-life majorities in Congress, this bill – and many others – could be law by 2017.”

That’s the sizable significance of this bill passing the Senate, to the pro-life movement.

Abortion advocates and complicit media and politicians tried to pitch it differently.

The bill is not expected to become law.

It now goes to the House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass. The House passed a similar version on Oct. 23, but must vote on it because the Senate made changes to adhere to budgetary rules.

The White House has already said that President Barack Obama will veto the legislation once it reached his desk, and Republicans do not have the two-thirds majority needed to override that veto.

However…

Two attempts to save funding for Planned Parenthood failed. One attempt was made by Senate Democrats and the other made by a group of moderate Senate Republicans.

It’s becoming increasingly well known that federally qualified health clinics proliferate across this country, serving women with comprehensive health care far better than Planned Parenthood. Shifting taxpayer funds to them would better serve women, better than Planned Parenthood ever did, even with so much money pouring into their coffers.

So what exactly are taxpayers getting for the $528 million they provide to Planned Parenthood each year? And more important, what could they get if that money were spent instead at the thousands of federally qualified health centers around the country that do provide a full range of services and diagnostic screenings, as well as birth control, pap smears, and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases?

In fact, women have the most to gain from a congressional decision to reallocate money away from Planned Parenthood and to community-based health centers that already serve their localities. The quality of women’s health care will be improved by shifting money to medical providers that focus on the health and well-being of the whole woman; the priority should not be funding an organization that treats women’s reproductive health in isolation.

Women’s access to health care will improve, as well. There are more than 13,000 qualified health centers providing a full range of health-care services to women, including 4,000 in under-served rural areas.

Take a look at the map on that site. Now that’s real choice.

For those who want to argue on behalf of Planned Parenthood, here’s more to discuss.

…Planned Parenthood can absorb the cut considering its relationship with private donors and its excess revenue, while on the other hand, community health centers have the capacity to acquire and serve new patients. Proposals in Congress to “defund” Planned Parenthood, therefore, merely reallocate women’s health expenditures to agencies that offer women a full menu of primary care.

After all

Government funding of various social welfare and public health programs is meant to advance the common good. But intentionally killing innocent human lives is never good; and that’s why the federal government has rightly insisted that no funding through the Department of Health and Human Services may be used for elective abortion. Unfortunately, Planned Parenthood receives government funding for other services it provides. This is morally bad public policy. Planned Parenthood and other providers of elective abortion should not be eligible for any government funding. No matter how beneficial the other services they provide may be to a community, their participation in the unjust ending of innocent human lives should prevent them from receiving any governmental funding.

The landmark vote in the Senate, together with the House bill, got little attention and continues to get none outside the pro-life media, though the presidential debates and campaigns going forward will thrust the issue back into the spotlight, which where it should be.

As SBA-List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said about the Senate vote following the House version, it should fortify voices in the national conversation over federally funded abortion, and the resolve of pro-life citizens feeling defeated for so long.

Live Action’s Lila Rose said as much.

“The voices of millions of Americans were heard: Taxpayers should not be forced to fund an organization that kills over 320,000 preborn children every year and hurts thousands of women and young girls.

“While President Obama may veto this bill, we’ve proven we have the pro-life votes to get a defunding bill through Congress and to the president’s desk. It is clear that there is now only one hurdle left, and that makes 2016 even more critical for pro-life Americans.

“I still hold out some hope that Mr. Obama may finally realize that whatever his views on abortion, it is indefensible to continue to force taxpayers to fund a corporation that has been complicit in covering up sex trafficking and the sexual abuse of minors, that lies to women about the complications of abortion procedures and how developed the babies are in their wombs, that has had hundreds of documented health and safety violations, and that has been caught on video promoting illegal race- and sex-selective abortions.”

There it is. The truth in one brief statement. With violence to innocent humans at an alarming level and frequency, every sane, intelligent, and especially powerful person should be searching for ways to protect and defend people, and build safe havens for their well-being. This provides the occasion for both.

Planned Parenthood’s political power

There’s a lot in the news about contraception and health care and Planned Parenthood right now. And a lot more that should be.

The scope of this is staggering.

Let’s go through just a few of the many stories.

Contraceptives are now recommended to be required in health care law.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is praising a recommendation from the Institute of Medicine that insurance companies be required to offer free contraceptives to all women in a report she called ” historic,” suggesting she may make the recommendation an official policy.

The prospect of free, government-ordered contraceptives and even agents to induce abortion, has ignited a national debate. Some are clearly pleased.

Many are clearly not.

After the Institute of Medicine (IOM) this week publicly backed government-mandated birth control coverage, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is standing in the breach against what would prove a massive victory for abortion giant Planned Parenthood…

“Pregnancy is not a disease, and fertility is not a pathological condition to be suppressed by any means technically possible,” said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Tuesday.

Like other conservative leaders, the USCCB pro-life chairman noted that the mandate would violate the conscience rights of Americans morally opposed to birth control, and objected to coverage of “emergency contraception” such as ella, a chemical functionally identical to the abortion drug RU-486.

But the cardinal’s challenge did not stop there: DiNardo noted that the IOM report was so radical as to have indicated interest in recommending full abortion coverage as well. The report stated that, “despite the health and well-being benefits to some women,” abortion was outside of the project’s scope given federal legal restrictions.

“But most Americans surely see that abortion is not healthy or therapeutic for unborn children, and has physical and mental health risks for women which can be extremely serious,” wrote the cardinal, who noted the celebration of Planned Parenthood, “the single largest abortion provider in the United States,” over the report.

“I can only conclude that there is an ideology at work in these recommendations that goes beyond any objective assessment of the health needs of women and children,” he said.

That’s an understatement.

Let’s go back to some coverups by federal agencies for the abortion industry. Like this one that would have been called famous had it been reported by the media.

Though it did get reported.

Less than two months since the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force issued new guidelines recommending against routine mammograms for women in their forties, a second breast cancer scandal involving a U.S. government panel of experts has come to light which has implications for healthcare reform.

An April 2009 study by Jessica Dolle et al. of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center examining the relationship between oral contraceptives (OCs) and triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) in women under age 45 contained an admission from U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) researcher Louise Brinton and her colleagues (including Janet Daling) that abortion raises breast cancer risk by 40%.

(emphasis added)

“Although the study was published nine months ago,” observed Karen Malec, president of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, “the NCI, the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and other cancer fundraising businesses have made no efforts to reduce breast cancer rates by issuing nationwide warnings to women.”

Brinton was the chief organizer of the 2003 NCI workshop on the abortion-breast cancer link, which falsely assured women that the non-existence of the link was “well established.”

(emphasis added)

Brinton has been out of reach of the media since the 2009 report that abortion raises breast cancer risk by 40 percent. Even liberal pro-choice writers checking on this incongruity have found the NCI website to only answer inquiries by linking back to the faulty and biased 2003 report.

The founders of the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute have abundant resources on their site detailing the scientific studies and medical evidence linking contraceptives and abortion to breast cancer.

Which is why it’s crazy to think that the Susan G. Komen For the Cure Foundation would be linked in any way with Planned Parenthood. They ought to extend their considerable resources to researching prevention before a cure is necessary. But that would direct them back to Planned Parenthood…

Which is why some U.S. bishops have finally called on Catholic institutions to redirect their charitable contributions and fundraising for breast cancer prevention and cure to other organizations without any morally objectionable connections. Toledo Bishop Leonard Blair issued this letter, for instance. Here’s a snip:

For some time, moral questions have been raised from various quarters about the research funded by the Komen Foundation. The Bishops of Ohio have discussed this and have looked into the matter. As best we can determine, at present the Komen Foundation does not fund cancer research that employs embryonic stem cells. However, their policy does not exclude that possibility. They are open to embryonic stem cell research, and may very well fund such research in the future. They are also contributors to Planned Parenthood, which, though it may claim to provide needed medical services to poor women, is also the largest provider of abortions in our country.

But they got that way by being extremely industrious and aggressive in their lobbying and political activism. Which gets back to the top and latest news story in this cycle…

Abortion as a political football

Or, Planned Parenthood, in particular.

That’s how WaPo’s blog ‘The Fix’ put it.

While the high-profile congressional fight over Planned Parenthood’s funding is over, the group is still engaged in a number of legal battles across the country, fights that could become an issue in the 2012 elections.

It may not be high-profile at the moment, but the effort to defund Planned Parenthood is far from over. True, the organization is embroiled in legal battles around the country wherever states pass laws like informed consent, parental notification, waiting periods or ultrasounds required before women proceed with abortion. They’ll be an issue in the election alright.

The ‘war on women’ mantra in this piece is tired and not working, because it’s not remotely applicable to the effort to protect women’s and children’s health, family health (as opposed to what’s oddly called ‘family planning’), and to direct taxpayer funds to causes other than ending human life.

The piece claims that

…Planned Parenthood — and Democrats — have succeeded in making the debate about women’s health, rather than abortion rights.

Not really, at least not in the real world outside the closed circuit of those who only talk to each other in the abortion movement and their sympathizers in the media and, as the piece makes clear, the Democrats. Though that’s not fair to pro-life Democrats, relatively small group that it is.

It’s interesting that WaPo’s blog enumerates the battles Planned Parenthood is engaged in throughout many states, and only the high-profile ones among many others. But by doing so it shows how concerted the effort is to stop the radical abortion-on-demand-at-all-cost-and-no-regulation mentality across the states.

It’s clear. Planned Parenthood is a political football. For now, the Democrats are punting. Republicans are huddling over who’s on the field and what their strategy is. And spectators are watching.

Budget battles and abortion

During the course of this contentious week in Washington over federal spending and a government shutdown at the end of it, the issue of abortion has emerged at the height and center of controversy. This isn’t a wonkish debate after all. It’s about core social values. Like….human beings who become the society that drives the economy.

Who saw this coming?

The policy fight threatening to blow up budget negotiations involves an issue that has been on the sidelines in recent months: abortion.

Until this week, social issues have been largely overshadowed by economic matters amid suggestions from Republican leaders that such debates be put aside while the nation tackles its debt. But now, social conservatives are flexing their muscles, insisting that Planned Parenthood be stripped of federal funding in the spending bill for the rest of the current fiscal year.

There is no reason why taxpayer dollars should fund the abortion industry. Or some of the other protected special interests coming to light this week.

And reason is finally being applied to the debate.

And then again…

There’s this update:

Democratic sources tonight said the major sticking point to a budget deal remains the GOP rider prohibiting any federal funding to Planned Parenthood or any of its affiliates. An aide to Speaker John Boehner denied that Planned Parenthood is the main remaining sticking point, saying, “Spending, spending, spending. That is the remaining issue.” Do you think Planned Parenthood should be part of this debate?

Wow, what a question.

Defund Planned Parenthood

For the first time since 2002, the nation’s largest abortion provider has been called to an accounting. How much federal funding do they receive and how much do they spend, and therefore ‘need?’ It took 31 U.S. senators and congressional representatives asking for such a report to get the books opened for review. And what they found was a big discrepancy.

Millions of dollars of taxpayer funds are missing.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s (PPFA) audits show the organization spent just $657.1 million between 2002 and 2008 from federal government grants and programs, but the abortion behemoth’s own annual reports show that it took in $2.3 billion from government grants and programs during the same time period.

That’s not pocket change. Why the discrepancy?

More people are asking these days why the highly profitable abortion giant need or get federal funds in the first place.

Since 2009, at least five nationwide polls have confirmed that a majority of Americans consider themselves pro-life.

Someone, then, needs to explain to all those people why $2.3 billion in tax dollars have been doled out to an organization that admits to systematically having killed more than 1.8 million pre-born babies between 2002 and 2008 and then reports it only spent $657.1 million in federal dollars.

Has Planned Parenthood managed to tuck away megamillions of our tax dollars, seemingly unnoticed? Or is that much of its government funding coming from sources other than the federal government? Or is there a problem with the way Planned Parenthood is reporting its expenditure of our federal monies?

PP has just completed its 2009-10 fiscal year, the article notes. But the organization still hasn’t released its annual report for 2008-09.

In light of the discrepancy revealed in this GAO report, we must ask: What is Planned Parenthood trying to keep secret?

At least those members of Congress are asking, and revealing what they uncover.

Here are the groups, all of which promote abortion or provide abortion: Advocates for Youth,  $8.7 million (2002-2009); the Guttmacher Institute, $12.7 million (2002-2008); International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), $93.8 million (2002-2009); Planned Parenthood Federation of America, $657.1 million (2002-2008); Population Council of the United States, $284.3 million (2002-2008); Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), $1.6 million (2002-2009).

We’ve heard supporters point out that Planned Parenthood provides a range of medical services and proceures besides abortion, and that’s true, though their argument that financially supporting the group for those other reasons reduces or eliminates their culpability in funding abortion.

Not exactly.

“Giving taxpayer money to organizations that promote and provide abortion, even if the money is not used for that purpose, frees up other funds for abortion purposes and gives the government’s stamp of approval to their abortion related activities.

“By funding Planned Parenthood and their allies, we are unwittingly supporting an abortion organization and everything they do. When taxpayer money goes to abortion groups for any reason, it supports the work of the abortion industry. We should not let abortion companies benefit financially from taxpayer funds.

Therefore, Cong. Mike Pence and Cong. Chris Smith, along with close to a hundred other representatives are driving a bi-partisan legal effort to de-fund Planned Parenthood. Time to return to taxpayers funding authentic family health care services that don’t include ending the life of any family member….to state the obvious…