Pro-Life Leaders Meet with Pence to Urge Planned Parenthood Defunding

Vice President Mike Pence, left center, speaks to a group of grassroots organizations calling on the Senate to take action on health care legislation, during a meeting in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex, Friday, July 21, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

National pro-life activists were among the conservative leaders who met with Vice President Mike Pence on Friday to emphasize the importance of debating an Obamacare repeal bill and the elimination of Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding.

The pro-life leaders have an ardent advocate in Pence, who became the first sitting vice president to address the annual March for Life in January:

The leaders gathered with Pence Friday as Republicans’ proposals to repeal Obamacare have failed thus far, largely because of a desire on the part of liberal GOP members to keep much of the onerous healthcare reform intact.

“SBA List’s hundreds of canvassers knocked on over 1.6 million doors over the last two election cycles to deliver a pro-life Senate majority and a pro-life President,” said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “They have done their job. It’s time for the Senate to do theirs.”

“Obamacare has been a disaster for unborn children through its unprecedented expansion of taxpayer-funded abortion,” she added. “The 2015 reconciliation bill that was sent to President Obama’s desk or the Better Care Reconciliation Act would roll back this damage and help return us to the principle that abortion is not health care.”

Many conservative and libertarian-leaning Republicans would like to see a clean repeal of Obamacare first, while they work over the next two years to implement reforms that are based on free market principles and individualized patient care.

The GOP Obamacare repeal/replacement proposals have all contained a provision to eliminate most of Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding that comes from mandatory government spending and would also redirect that funding to community healthcare 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.

The GOP Senate bill would also prohibit Americans from purchasing health insurance plans that cover abortion with tax credits:

The pro-life activists met with Pence on the same day the Senate parliamentarian ruled that the pro-life provisions in the GOP healthcare plan do not comply with the rules for the reconciliation procedure, and, thus, would require 60 votes instead of a simple 51-vote majority.

However, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has argued that, as the vice president, Pence should overrule the Senate parliamentarian’s decision to exclude the pro-life provisions from the healthcare bill.

“Under the Budget Act of 1974, which is what governs reconciliation, it is the presiding officer, the vice president of the United States, who rules on what’s permissible on reconciliation and what is not,” Cruz explained, according to the Hill. “That’s a conversation I’ve been having with a number of my colleagues.”

Breitbart News reported:

Democrats would find it nearly impossible to overrule Vice President Pence’s ruling; Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer would need 60 votes to overrule Pence.

The Texas senator claimed that Pence, as the presiding officer of the Senate, can choose to interpret the rules and ignore the parliamentarian’s counsel.

Sen. Cruz said, “You don’t have to override the parliamentarian or get a new parliamentarian. Under the statute, it is the vice president who rules. It is the presiding officer who makes the decision. The parliamentarian advises on that question.”

Despite the fact that abortion is Planned Parenthood’s primary service, keeping its taxpayer funding enables it to appear as a legitimate “healthcare provider.” Nevertheless, the organization no longer enjoys the public trust following years of scandals, including Medicaid fraud, allegations of child sex abuse coverup, and, most recently, alleged profiteering from the sale of body parts of babies aborted in its clinics.

According to the most recent Marist poll, 62 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funding for abortion, including 65 percent of African Americans, 61 percent of Latinos, and 45 percent of those who identify themselves as “pro-choice.” When political affiliation is a factor, 84 percent of Republicans, 61 percent of independents, and 44 percent of Democrats oppose taxpayer funding of abortion:

“Obamacare was the largest expansion of abortion in more than 40 years,” said Vice President of Strategy for Students for Life of America Brendan O’Morchoe, who was at the White House meeting. “The majority of American people, including millennials, oppose taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. It’s time for Congress to repeal this deadly legislation.”

President Trump has made four specific commitments to the pro-life movement, including reallocating Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding to comprehensive, whole-woman healthcare centers.

“Every day, American taxpayers are forced to contribute $1.5 million to Planned Parenthood, while the abortion chain commits 897 abortions,” Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins said. “It’s time for the Senate to deliver on their promises and defund our nation’s largest abortion business.”


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