Tuesday, 01 March 2011

Will House Leaders Cave on Defunding Planned Parenthood?

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On February 17 the U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) to prohibit federal funding of Planned Parenthood for the remainder of the fiscal year. The amendment was part of a Continuing Resolution to fund the federal government through September 30 and prevent a government shutdown.

Although the House passed the full CR, the Senate failed to take it up, necessitating a new CR. This one is slated to keep the government funded for two additional weeks after the current CR runs out on March 4, during which time the House leadership will attempt to negotiate a long-term CR with the Senate and the White House. The question pro-lifers are asking now: Will the Pence amendment survive the CR negotiations?

Seeing this coming, the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life organization, sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other House leaders on February 24 stating:

The House vote on the Pence Amendment is nothing more than symbolic unless it remains intact through the legislative process. Defunding Planned Parenthood must be a non-negotiable in the Continuing Resolution and we urge you to accept nothing less than this outcome.

One of those copied on the letter was House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). During a February 28 press briefing, CNSNews.com quizzed Cantor on the leaderships resolve to keep the Pence amendment intact:

At the briefing, CNSNews.com asked Cantor: Conservative leaders have called on the Republican leadership to make defunding of Planned Parenthood a non-negotiable element of any CR. Under any circumstances, are Republican leaders willing to approve a final CR that funds the government for the remainder of the year and does not prohibit funding for Planned Parenthood?

I think that were trying to demonstrate right now we dont want to see a shutdown and there will be no policy changes in the temporary CR, Cantor responded. However, in the long-term, again for the remaining of the fiscal year, is up to Harry Reid to answer to the members of his body and then, thus, their constituents as to where they stand and why he is fearful of holding a vote on some of these issues is really the question to be asked.

Not satisfied with this response, CNSNews followed up with Cantors press secretary, who said: The House has already made it very clear that we do not support tax dollars going to Planned Parenthood funding and the Pence amendment to accomplish this limitation was approved with bipartisan support in the seven-month CR. As Eric said, we now need to see where the Senate stands on this and other big issues.

That certainly does not sound as if defunding Planned Parenthood an organization that received nearly $350 million in taxpayer dollars in 2008, the year of its latest publicly available annual report is non-negotiable. In fact, it sounds highly negotiable given that Cantors spokesperson said they have to see where the Senate stands on the issue. It doesnt require any inside knowledge to figure out that the Democrat-controlled Senate is adamantly opposed to the Pence amendment, which may, in part, explain that bodys unwillingness even to consider the previously passed CR that included the amendment.

In short, as CNSNews put it, Cantor would not rule out a final CR that permits federal funding of Planned Parenthood.

This is how the GOP repays the pro-life voters who loyally pull the R lever every election on the basis of promises to end federal funding of abortion and ultimately to overturn Roe v. Wade. The House leadership cannot even give a straight answer regarding something as simple and straightforward as banning unconstitutional federal funding of Planned Parenthood, an outfit that not only murders the unborn but also is willing to assist in covering up statutory rape and sex trafficking, as the clandestinely recorded videos by Live Action amply demonstrate. Who doubts that the Pence amendment will probably be scuttled in negotiations with the Senate negotiations that, if history is any guide, will almost certainly give liberals practically everything they want while depriving conservatives of even the smallest of victories?

Those pro-lifers who sent the pro-Pence amendment letter to the House leadership, along with everyone else who cares about life and the Constitution, had better hold the GOPs feet to the fire on this issue. If they do not want their tax dollars to pay for something they find morally repugnant, they cannot allow the Democrats and a spineless Republican leadership to do to Pences amendment what Planned Parenthood does to hundreds of thousands of babies every year.

Photo: Children from the New Clavery Baptist Church of Montclair, N.J. hold up banners during a rally outside the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters in Washington, June 26, 2008, calling for the DNC, and the Republican National Committee (RNC), to refuse campaign funds from Planned Parenthood: AP Images