Friday, 12 November 2010

Planned Parenthood’s Federal Funding and Republicans’ Pro-life Principles

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pregnantPro-lifers expecting the newly elected Republican Congress to do great things might want to consider this: In its fiscal year ending June 30, 2008, Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, received nearly $350 million in federal funding, according to a report from CNSNews.com. CNSNews obtained this figure from the organization’s annual report; the report for that fiscal year is the latest one that has been publicly released. That money, plus additional federal money for the following fiscal year, helped pay for a whopping 324,008 abortions performed by Planned Parenthood Affiliate Health Centers in 2008, according to a Planned Parenthood fact sheet.

During 2007 and 2008, of course, the man with the power to veto such funding was none other than President George W. Bush, a self-described pro-lifer and darling of many pro-life voters. Bush, who once flatly stated that “we’re not going to spend taxpayers’ money on abortion,” ended up permitting over $2.5 billion in taxpayers’ money to go to Planned Parenthood during his presidency. Between 2005 and 2006 — well after he had made his firm statement against spending taxpayer dollars on abortion — Bush approved a 67 percent increase in federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

Let it also be noted that during most of Bush’s presidency he had the luxury of working with a Congress dominated by his own party, which also claims to be pro-life. Yet both the Republicans in Congress and the Republican in the White House saw fit not just to continue but to increase federal funding of Planned Parenthood every single year — and at a faster rate than it had increased under President Bill Clinton, who never claimed to be pro-life.

Will Republicans turn out to be any more willing to act on their alleged pro-life principles this time around? Certainly the debt crisis offers them ample opportunity to eliminate this unconstitutional and unconscionable showering of taxpayer dollars on such a vile organization. They might also consider reviving Rep. Mike Pence’s (R-Ind.) bill (H.R. 614) that would “prohibit family planning grants from being awarded to any entity that performs abortions.” (Of course, if they simply abided by the Constitution, Pence’s bill would be unnecessary since there would be no federal family planning grants in the first place.) Pence introduced this legislation last January, but it has not gotten out of committee. The press secretary for the House Republican Congress told CNSNews that Pence plans to reintroduce it in the next Congress.

Republicans know that pro-life voters have few alternatives to GOP candidates, so they tend to take pro-lifers’ votes for granted, talking up their opposition to abortion while doing little to prevent it or even actively promoting it. Pro-lifers often play the role of the abused spouse, coming back for another beating every election year. Pro-life voters (and future babies) can only hope that this time the abusive spouse has truly reformed and will be looking out for their best interests. If not, perhaps it’s time for a divorce.