Despite a year on defense following its worst scandal yet, Planned Parenthood hasn’t lost its place at the government trough for 2016, a fact that means the nation’s largest abortion provider has yet another year to push its narrative that defunding it would be “harmful” to “women’s healthcare.”
“For months, women’s health supporters have been pushing back on our opponents’ relentless stream of attacks on the women and men across this country who need reproductive health care,” a press release at Planned Parenthood’s website states. “Last night, congressional leadership announced a budget deal that contains no new harmful policy riders on women’s health, and maintains current funding levels for important preventive health programs.”
Former Obama staffer and now vice president of public policy for Planned Parenthood Action Fund (PPAF) Dana Singiser thanked Democrats such as Minority Leaders Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, and others in the Senate and House “for holding the line against these harmful policy riders and cuts to key women’s health programs.”
“Extreme members of Congress spent an entire year targeting access to reproductive health care at every opportunity — even threatening to shut down the government,” Singiser continued. “Today’s budget bill maintains access to critical preventive health services and lacks these harmful attacks on women’s health care — at home and abroad.”
Still, Singiser thought it necessary to chastise Congress for not providing everything Planned Parenthood wanted. The $1.6 trillion omnibus spending bill cut funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) program by seven percent.
“Even this small cut to UNFPA will have a harmful impact on women’s health globally,” Singiser said. “So while we are pleased that the bill includes no new harmful policies, Congress should have taken this opportunity to re-invest in women’s health, and eliminate the existing harmful policies carried over from previous years that continue to prevent low-income women from having access to abortion and other critical health services.”
Additionally, Planned Parenthood thought it was in a position to demand even more funding for family planning under Title X. As The Hill observes, however, Democrats boasted the $286 million for family planning funding in the spending bill could have been easily eliminated by Republicans if it were not for them.
Planned Parenthood can make these demands because it has funded the campaigns of many of these Democrats. A new report by Open Secrets Center for Responsive Politics found that taxpayer-funded Planned Parenthood affiliates dominated the list of nonprofits breaking IRS tax law by devoting more than half their total spending to influence elections between 2008 and 2013.
In fact, the six pro-abortion Democrats chosen by Pelosi to serve as members of the Select House panel investigating Planned Parenthood’s activities have received thousands of dollars in contributions from the abortion business.
While pro-life groups are happy about the small reduction in UNFPA funding, the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act to protect organizations and doctors that do not wish to cover and perform abortions was not included in the omnibus, nor was compromise language that would give states the opportunity to choose to defund the abortion business.
“[B]ecause of the closed door process, the exclusion of all but a handful of elected officials and the absence of any acknowledgment of this terrible ethical dilemma from Leadership, California churches will continue to be forced to pay for abortions through their own insurance, a violation of federal law,” March for Life Action vice president for government affairs Tom McClusky said in a statement. “With this spending bill, Congress shoulders the responsibility alongside the Obama Administration for this gross violation of our First Amendment rights. Ironically, the text of this bill came out on the 224th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights.”
Moreover the ultimate problem is that the budgetary process is broken. The most important requirement for our legislators is to implement a structured order to fund the government, which has not been accomplished for over 20 years. And this breakdown is the responsibility of both the White House and Congress, regardless of party control. When Speaker Paul Ryan accepted the speaker’s gavel, he made a vow to return to regular order, in which the Congress runs by deliberation rather than fiat and lawmakers have more control over amending and shaping legislation…
The omnibus is a big victory for Democrats, but some Republicans are still blaming former House Speaker John Boehner and not his successor, says the Washington Examiner.
“I know Paul Ryan is more likely to get this through than if Boehner stayed around,” Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) said. “Because everyone is going to give him a little extra room to get over this first hump.”
“I think John Boehner is the one that charted this course and sailed this ship to the place where we are now,” Rep. Steve King (R-IA) – who plans to vote against the spending bill – also said.
For his part, Ryan said, “I think we played our cards the best we could, given the cards we were given, given the situation we inherited.”
Republican leaders have delayed until January a House vote to strip out most of Obamacare’s key features and block federal funding for Planned Parenthood. The measure that cleared the Senate through the reconciliation budgetary process will likely be passed by the House then. President Obama has promised to veto the legislation.