Pro-Life Leaders Doubt Government Shutdown Would Harm Cause Against Planned Parenthood

Anti-abortion activists hold a rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol on July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) announced a Senate deal to vote on legislation to defund Planned Parenthood before the Senate goes into recess in August. (Photo by
Olivier Douliery/Getty Images

Only one national pro-life leader is publicly taking the position that a bill to defund Planned Parenthood attached to must-pass legislation would be harmful to the pro-life cause.

Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee, says she has problems with conservatives who want to attach a bill to defund Planned Parenthood to a temporary spending bill, according to the New York Times.

“[I] think Planned Parenthood is a vile organization, and I resent the fact that they get any tax money,” Tobias said. “But realistically, with President Obama in the White House holding that veto pen, I don’t know that any government shutdown could accomplish what we want. What we have to do is get a new pro-life president in, and we’d have a much better chance of actually taking away their money.”

Tobias’ comments come as House Speaker John Boehner faces a challenge to his leadership from conservative House Republicans who are demanding Planned Parenthood be cut off from federal funds. These members say they will not vote for any temporary spending bill that includes funding for the nation’s largest abortion provider.

“Speaker Boehner is the most prolife Speaker in history and no one wants to defund Planned Parenthood more than he does,” Emily Schillinger, spokeswoman for Boehner, tells Breitbart News. “After working with the National Right to Life Committee for decades, he has great respect for their opinion and that’s why we are working with our members to stop these horrific abuses and advance the pro-life cause.”

However, on September 2, some 60 pro-life leaders signed a letter, sent to House Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, in which they urged the leaders to attach a bill to defund Planned Parenthood to must-pass legislation.

“We applaud efforts at the committee level to engage in the much needed investigations of Planned Parenthood’s abortion practices,” the pro-life leaders say. “Yet while federal and state investigations ensue, we urge you to act to withhold funding for PPFA and do so on a must-pass bill.”

“We will support such must-pass legislation if it contains a provision to defund Planned Parenthood,” the pro-life leaders say. “It is time for America to wash its hands of the blood money we offer to PPFA year after year.”

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, rejects the idea that the pro-life base of the Republican Party – which has worked consistently to elect pro-life candidates – must wait to defund Planned Parenthood.

“Never before has Planned Parenthood been on the ropes for their actions, never before have their executives been filmed admitting to selling ‘fresh’ baby parts for profit,” she tells Breitbart News. “This is the time. We’ve worked for decades to get pro-life majorities in Congress and now is the time for them to lead.”

She continued:

Leadership is hard and demands that those serving put the well-being of those they serve above their own. That’s what we demand of the GOP leadership right now. Not only is it the morally right decision, it’s the way to ensure victory in 2016. Pro-life Americans, especially millennials who are just now emerging as a political force, are watching and the GOP risks losing these voters, these grassroots volunteers they depend on if they don’t show leadership here.

Rep. Steve King has expressed concerns about H.R. 3134, the major bill to defund Planned Parenthood that will be voted on by the House this week.

The bill is summarized as follows:

This bill prohibits, for a one-year period, the availability of federal funds for any purpose to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc., or any of its affiliates or clinics, unless they certify that the affiliates and clinics will not perform, and will not provide any funds to any other entity that performs, an abortion during such period. The restriction will not apply in cases of rape or incest or where a physical condition endangers a woman’s life unless an abortion is performed. The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture must seek repayment of federal assistance received by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc., or any affiliate or clinic, if it violates the terms of the certification required by this Act.

“H.R. 3134 simply restates current law – the Hyde Amendment,” said King in a press statement.This bill does not defund Planned Parenthood – it reauthorizes Planned Parenthood to perform abortions with federal funds in the cases of rape, incest, and life of the mother. It does not take away any of their other streams of funding from the federal government or reduce federal funding to Planned Parenthood by even one dollar.”

King has offered an amendment that states, “No funds authorized or appropriated by Federal law may be made available for any purpose to Planned Parenthood…any affiliate or clinic of Planned Parenthood…any successor.”

“I expect much stronger language…in the CR coming up in the next few weeks,” King said. “Innocent, unborn babies deserve more than just a show vote.”


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