Family Research Council (FRC) and other pro-life groups say they are supporting the Senate GOP’s latest draft of a healthcare measure that would eliminate over 86 percent of Planned Parenthood’s federal funding for one year.
The Senate GOP’s Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) would, for one year, “eliminate more than $390 million (over 86%) of over $450 million in annual federal funding to Planned Parenthood, from all mandatory government spending programs,” said FRC in a statement, adding that the provision would also redirect that funding to community health care centers that outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics 20 to 1. These facilities do not provide abortions, but do offer more comprehensive healthcare services for women and families than the abortion provider, whose latest annual report indicates many of its non-abortion services have declined.
As CNSNews.com observes, however, Planned Parenthood would still, under the BCRA draft, receive approximately $60 million in federal discretionary funds through the federal Title X family planning grant program.
Though other conservative and pro-life members of Congress, such as Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), oppose the BCRA’s funding of premium tax credit subsidies – which they say makes it all too similar to Obamacare – FRC says the fact that the tax credits may not be used for health care plans that cover elective abortion is a reversal of the expansion of abortion on demand that occurred with former President Barack Obama’s signature legislation.
FRC acknowledges that while there are “pro-life concerns” with some of the BCRA’s provisions – such as the new $70 billion bailout fund to insurers – the bill, nevertheless, is moving in the pro-life direction, the organization says.
“We applaud the many Senate leaders who have worked diligently over the last several weeks to ensure that the Better Care Reconciliation Act restores the pro-life principles of the Hyde Amendment that abortion is not health care, and therefore should not be funded or subsidized,” said Family Research Council president Tony Perkins in a statement, adding:
Obamacare bypassed the Hyde Amendment and violated a long-standing bi-partisan understanding that taxpayers who are morally opposed to abortion should not be forced to fund it. The Senate draft restores the Hyde Amendment principles. FRC supports the Better Care Reconciliation Act in its current form, and while we are confident the Senate can pass a bill that respects life, if the abortion funding restrictions are removed we will be forced to withdraw our support.
Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser agrees the current draft of the BCRA contains “strong pro-life protections.” she said in a statement:
Obamacare’s assault on innocent unborn children was an unprecedented expansion of abortion funding. This bill includes significant steps toward rolling back that damage and returning to the principle that abortion is not health care. Furthermore, re-directing $400 million of Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding would be the biggest ever blow to the abortion industry’s taxpayer funding.
While Dannenfelser acknowledges it is “unlikely that every pro-life provision will survive the reconciliation process,” she states that “the final product will represent meaningful progress for the pro-life cause.”
“The pro-life grassroots elected a pro-life House, Senate, and White House expecting these victories,” she added.
Dannenfelser led the coalition that met with then-GOP nominee Donald Trump and former Gov. Mike Pence during the campaign to outline a pro-life agenda for a Trump administration, which included four policy commitments in a letter to pro-life leaders:
- Nominating pro-life justices to the U.S. Supreme Court
- Signing into law the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would end painful late-term abortions nationwide
- Defunding Planned Parenthood as long as they continue to perform abortions, and reallocating their funding to community health centers that provide comprehensive health care for women
- Making the Hyde Amendment permanent law to protect taxpayers from having to pay for abortions
Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, says the latest BCRA draft fulfills the promise to pro-life groups by cutting off federal Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood, and by prohibiting taxpayer dollars from funding insurance plans that cover abortion.
“Many voters who elected this Congress and President were largely motivated by the pro-life provisions of health-care reform, and bills produced by the House and Senate include those provisions,” Pavone said in a statement.