Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski says she is a “supporter of Planned Parenthood,” and that she thinks none of the federal taxpayer dollars that the nation’s largest provider of abortions receives actually go toward abortions.
Murkowski is one of four Republican senators whose votes will be key in the defunding of Planned Parenthood that is included in the House budget package. The measure is expected to be voted on under the rules of reconciliation, a budgetary process whereby no filibuster in the Senate is permitted, but Republicans will need the required 51 votes to approve the package.
The moderate Republican senator from Alaska told local NBC affiliate KTUU about her prior vote against the defunding of Planned Parenthood. “I did not believe and I do not believe that Planned Parenthood should be defunded.”
Nevertheless, Murkowski admits the videos produced by the Center for Medical Progress are disturbing and suggestive of illegal activity.
What I was concerned about and remain concerned about was that Planned Parenthood, through some of its affiliates, may have been engaged in illegal activity when it came to the collection of fetal tissue. We don’t know yet if illegal activity was conducted. The head of Planned Parenthood has come before congressional committees and said there was none. I would like an independent investigation of that. Because if there was illegal activity it not only needs to be stopped, it needs to be punished, because that’s a violation of the law and there needs to be consequences for it.
Several congressional committees are investigating Planned Parenthood in the wake of the release of videos exposing the organization’s apparent practice of harvesting the body parts of unborn babies for sale on the open market. The Obama administration’s Department of Justice has not agreed to an investigation into Planned Parenthood’s activities, and, in fact, has been supportive of the abortion business in its lawsuits against states that have attempted to eliminate the organization’s Medicaid funding.
Murkowski said she and two other GOP Planned Parenthood supporters – Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Mark Kirk – joined together in an amendment requiring another investigation into the organization’s activities, but it was defeated.
The next vote on the defunding of Planned Parenthood, however, is tied to must-pass legislation – the House budget package. Additionally, the budget measure provides for federal funds to be redirected from Planned Parenthood to thousands of other federally qualified health care centers that do not perform abortions.
This is “a full, complete defund everything so that the men and women across this country and here in Alaska who receive many of the benefits, whether it’s sexually transmitted disease screening, or any level of screenings, or birth control, that would be lopped off immediately,” Murkowski said. “I said ‘we should not be shutting down the government over Planned Parenthood or for other reasons. We should not be shutting down the government. We did that in 2013.’ I believe it was a horrible mistake.”
The House budget legislation package also includes a gutting of Obamacare – a repeal of the individual mandate, the employee mandate, the medical device excise tax, the tax on employee health insurance premiums and health plan benefits and related reporting requirements, and the Independent Payment Advisory Board – also known as the “death panel.”
The fact that the House budget panel includes both the defunding of Planned Parenthood and a repeal of Obamacare presents a dilemma for the GOP senators who have vowed to repeal Obamacare but support the abortion business.
“I have not supported the defunding [of Planned Parenthood],” Murkowski told The Hill recently. “I’ve supported the repeal of ObamaCare. I’ve got to look at it as a whole.”