Republican presidential contender Ted Cruz says he plans to launch a grassroots campaign that will defund Planned Parenthood in all 50 states and prosecute all criminal violations by the nation’s largest abortion provider.
Cruz invited thousands of evangelical pastors from across the country to participate in a conference call Tuesday night, and let them know he would do his best to ensure the government is not funded if funding includes taxpayer monies for Planned Parenthood.
As the Washington Post reported, Cruz told the pastors that, when it comes to the funding of Planned Parenthood, both Democrats and Republicans are seeking an “empty show vote” that “has no teeth and no consequence,” one that is not tied to an appropriations bill to fund the federal government.
“We can expect President Obama and many of the congressional Democrats to cry loudly that if Congress uses its authority, Congress will be quote ‘shutting down the government,’” Cruz said. “That, of course, is nonsense.”
Cruz was a co-sponsor of the Senate bill to defund Planned Parenthood earlier in August, but the vote for cloture was 53-46, which fell well shy of the 60 votes needed to end debate and proceed to a vote.
As Breitbart News reported after the Senate failed to advance the vote, Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell dismissed any potential conservative attempt to block funding for Planned Parenthood.
“There’s no education in the second kick of the mule,” McConnell said, referring to an attempt by Cruz and other conservatives to block the funding for ObamaCare. “We’ve been down this path before.”
Now, Cruz is urging pastors to speak to their congregations about the recent undercover investigative videos that revealed top medical directors at Planned Parenthood discussing the harvesting of the body parts of aborted babies for potential sale on the open market.
“Preaching from the pulpit Biblical values on life and comparing those values, the teachings of Jesus, to this nationwide business of trafficking in the body parts of unborn children is a message that needs to be heard around this country,” Cruz said. “It is important that [Congress] hear also that a show vote will not suffice. An empty vote with no teeth on it will not suffice. Now is the time for Congress to act and actually end taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood.”
Coming off a rally in Des Moines, Iowa last Friday with over 2,500 participants – called a “Rally for Religious Liberty,” Cruz is reaching out for conservative Christians to join him in the “war on faith.”
“You wonder why we have a federal government that comes after our free-speech rights, that comes after our religious liberty, that comes after life, that comes after marriage, that comes after our values,” Cruz said at the rally, observing that 54 million evangelical Christians stayed home during the 2012 presidential election that re-elected Barack Obama.
“I’m here to tell you we will stay home no longer,” he said.
Similarly, in an op-ed last week in USA Today, Cruz wrote:
I intend to lead the fight in the United States Senate to defund Planned Parenthood, even while investigations continue. The time for show votes is over. Funding the federal government does not require funding Planned Parenthood. But basic decency and our commitment to the right to life does require that we stop taxpayer funding of abortions and any trade in baby parts.
On Tuesday during a Newsmax TV interview on The Hard Line, Cruz repeated his pledge to immediately defund Planned Parenthood if he were elected president next year.
“I will instruct the United States Department of Justice to open an investigation into Planned Parenthood and to prosecute any and all criminal violations by that organization,” he said.
Cruz urged all Americans to watch the Planned Parenthood videos produced by the Center for Medical Progress.
“In this latest video, they describe a little boy who after an abortion his heart was still beating and yet the technicians took scissors and cut the child’s face open to remove his brain, to sell it for profit,” Cruz said. “That is inhuman.”
It is a federal crime. It is a felony to sell the body parts of unborn children. What a sad statement about our government today that nobody in the media, nobody in the political world, thinks there’s any chance whatsoever — zero chance — that the Obama Justice Department would even investigate Planned Parenthood because they’re a political ally of the president.
It doesn’t matter that they’re caught on tape admitting to multiple felonies. The administration of justice should be blind to party and ideology and should follow the laws and the Constitution.
ForAmerica president David Bozell tells Breitbart News that Cruz’s outreach to evangelicals and focus on Planned Parenthood is a “smart play.”
“It enables him to gain some traction and chip away at the Mike Huckabee vote, the Rick Santorum vote, and some of your other cultural conservative candidates in the race who are speaking largely about the same things and promising the same things,” Bozell said during a phone interview. “The advantage for Ted Cruz is that in just a couple of weeks, this is going to be front and center news, they’ll consider funding Planned Parenthood in the 2016 fiscal budget.”
“Cruz is basically planting the seed, saying, ‘I’m going to be at the ready, and not just Day One of a Ted Cruz administration, but in just a couple of weeks,” he added.
“Guys like Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, the rest of the establishment, they were counting on Ted Cruz being quiet during the budget process in a couple of weeks,” Bozell continued. “But they were counting on the wrong senator being quiet.”
Bozell explained Cruz’s aggressive strategy will be an opportunity for him to improve his standing in the polls.
“It’s an opportunity for him to distinguish himself from some of the other cultural conservative candidates, and being a sitting senator, he has that opportunity,” he said, adding that the issue of the Planned Parenthood videos cannot be ignored.
“These folks are caught on video tape seven times now, embarking on a criminal enterprise that involves cutting off the heads of children and cutting their faces off to get to their brains to sell them for money,” Bozell emphasized. “If the Republican Party can’t stand up against that, can’t protect the American taxpayer against funding that, they are of no use to us.”