A little more than 40 percent of abortion giant Planned Parenthood’s revenues come from taxpayer dollars. Technically, it is illegal for this money to pay for abortions. In reality, abortion providers have been caught illegally billing parts of the process to Medicaid hundreds of thousands of times, with Planned Parenthood being a prime offender.
This fact, in itself, might be sufficient justification for suspending federal funding, but the problem goes deeper still. Even assuming Planned Parenthood complied with the law, the abortion corporation earns about $100 million in annual pure profit from federal reimbursements. Once in Planned Parenthood’s coffers, this money belongs to Planned Parenthood, and nothing prevents it from paying for suction catheters, Sopher clamps, and the routine operating costs of an abortion mill.
Furthermore, by directing tax dollars to Planned Parenthood, the government helps legitimize an organization that specializes in taking human life by paying for the low-capital health-care services Planned Parenthood provides on the side. When Planned Parenthood provides a pregnancy test, a pap smear, or a sexually transmitted diseases check, it is quite likely they will be reimbursed with tax dollars. In this way Planned Parenthood can maintain its organizational focus on abortion (which accounts for 86 percent of their private revenue) while positioning themselves in the political arena as a non-profit dedicated to women’s health.
We Promise We’ll Stop Paying This Chop Chop…Someday
Unsurprisingly, the pro-life movement has been fighting to cut off these cash-flows for years. “Funding for Planned Parenthood has been a perennial issue” wrote The New York Times’ Avantika Chilkoti, “since… 2010… each time, Republican leaders have finessed it by saying the matter would be settled in a broader health care bill.” “That broader bill,” Chilkoti points out, “is now here.”
The American Health Care Act—currently struggling its way through the Senate as the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA)—includes a long-anticipated section defunding Planned Parenthood for one year. But it doesn’t have the votes to pass. Since its current form, which was released on Thursday, will draw no Democrat support, the 52 Republicans in the Senate can only afford two defections. At the moment, there are several.
This means the defunding provision is by no means secure. Two of these potential “defectors” directly oppose defunding Planned Parenthood—Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Furthermore, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already begun to hint that it might be necessary to rework the bill so it can gather votes from across the aisle. Any efforts in that line would, of course, bring up the issue of defunding Planned Parenthood.
Thus, it is quite plausible—and, indeed, was predicted weeks ago by some close to the negotiation process—that the Planned Parenthood defunding provision, although slated for inclusion in initial versions of the bill, will be scrapped before a final vote.
If you think this unlikely because defunding Planned Parenthood was a significant campaign promise, think again. Republicans ran on repealing Obamacare for years, yet the BCRA keeps most of it in place—particularly if the Cruz amendment, currently in brackets, does not pass. It would be remarkably easy for leadership to pass the buck yet again and state that the difficult path to 50 votes on the BCRA required them to scrap the provision and defund Planned Parenthood in a separate bill.
The problem, of course, is that such a separate bill would never become law. Even if Republicans showed a sudden resolve to pass it, it would not enjoy the privileges against filibuster that the BCRA does. And even assuming that the only Democrats who bothered to filibuster were those who received direct, substantial contributions from Planned Parenthood in 2016, that would include more than 20 senators involved—more than enough to halt a bill.
The fact is, if Republican leadership takes the defunding provision out of the BCRA, Planned Parenthood will be getting our tax dollars for the foreseeable future. This would be a raw deal for the preborn innocents as well as many pro-life Republicans who worked long and hard on the #DefundPP campaign.
What You Can Do to Help
Thus, during the fiddling and negotiation process of the next two to three weeks, it is important that Republican leadership receives the impression that the defunding provision of the BCRA would be politically costly to drop. The easiest way to start, of course, is to email and call your senator. That only takes five or ten minutes, so do it. Planned Parenthood must be defunded, and that means it must be defunded in the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.
Those with more time—especially those affiliated with pro-life organizations—can seek out more creative means to drill the message home. Created Equal, the pro-life organization I am currently working with, for instance, sent a small package with a 12-week-old fetal model in a coffin to each Republican in the Senate. Inside the coffin they placed a “letter from Baby Hope,” imploring senators to defund America’s largest killing company.
While we were in Washington last week, kneeling outside McConnell’s office and making the rounds of others to remind them of our package, one 17-year-old member of our team got a chance to deliver Baby Hope directly into the hands of Elizabeth Warren. It was a small moment in the grand scheme of things, to be sure, but a moment nonetheless. For these kinds of efforts—especially the lucky few that gain media attention—are among the most powerful means regular people have to keep an issue important in the eyes of the ruling class.
If every local pro-life organization across America came up with their own version of Operation Deliver Baby Hope, the cumulative impact on whether Planned Parenthood is defunded in the next two to three weeks would be profound.
We are in the final stretch of a nearly decade-old fight to stop sending money from our federal taxes to America’s biggest baby killer. The entire defund campaign now hinges on whether we can convince wavering leadership to leave the defunding provision alone as they tweak the BCRA to get their 50 votes. Planned Parenthood has hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, and are working tirelessly to keep it. It’s up to you and me and all pro-life Americans to make sure that doesn’t happen.