Senate Democrats Urge Donald Trump to Protect Planned Parenthood

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., speaks at the C.C. Filson Co. store and factory, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016, in Seattle. Murray was at the outdoor clothing and luggage retailer to talk about her efforts to pass legislation to expand access to paid sick days for workers. (
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

A group of 34 Senate Democrats is urging President-elect Donald Trump to uphold President Barack Obama’s last-minute final rule that blocks states from eliminating Planned Parenthood’s federal family planning grants.

In a letter to Trump, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and other Democrats say they are concerned about “our nation’s family planning centers in the next Congress and under your Administration.”

“The economic security of women and their families is directly tied to a woman’s access to reproductive health care, including birth control and counseling,” the senators write.

Obama’s deputies in the Department of Health and Human Services released a final rule that favors Planned Parenthood – a political ally of the Democrat Party – by preventing states from eliminating its taxpayer funding.

“We urge you to stand with women and against Congressional Republicans by committing to implement a recently finalized rule stopping extreme Republicans from limiting communities’ health care options for purely ideological reasons,” the Democrats write to Trump, complaining to him about his nomination of pro-life Rep. Tom Price as secretary of HHS.

“Regrettably, your selection of Congressman Tom Price…further reinforces threats to women’s reproductive health care,” they say.

Reminding Trump of his own words, the Senate Democrats write, “[Y]ou have as recently as this year claimed to support Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest family planning provider, recognizing that the organization “has done very good work for millions of women.”

However, Trump has also said that Planned Parenthood should be defunded if it continues to provide abortions.

More than a dozen states have attempted to eliminate Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding in the wake of the release of videos last year that alleged the abortion chain harvests the body parts of babies aborted in its clinics and sells them for profit.

The House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives has referred Planned Parenthood, other abortion clinics, and several biomedical procurement companies for investigation for potential criminal violations. The Senate Judiciary Committee has also referred Planned Parenthood to both the FBI and the Justice Department for investigation and possible criminal prosecution.

Planned Parenthood and the ACLU have been successful in challenging state laws eliminating its taxpayer funding in court. The organization has been assisted by the Obama administration, which has claimed states that eliminate the group’s funding are in violation of federal law.

The Obama administration has participated in the narrative set by the abortion industry and the mainstream media that Planned Parenthood provides family planning services to low-income women that cannot be obtained elsewhere.

States that have eliminated Planned Parenthood’s federal funding, however, have redirected it to other healthcare centers that have met the federal government’s criteria.

These federally qualified healthcare centers (FQHCs) provide more comprehensive services than Planned Parenthood to low-income families. Nationally, there are 13,000 FQHCs – a figure that outnumbers Planned Parenthood facilities by 20 to 1.

Rep. Diane Black (R-TN), a registered nurse and member of the House Select Panel, said the rule is essentially an act of desperation:

With this rule, we see an administration that has become unglued at the knowledge of the impending pro-life sea change in Washington, D.C. President Obama knows that hope is rising for the innocent victims of Planned Parenthood’s brutality, and the big abortion industry’s days of taxpayer-funded windfalls are numbered.

“We should not be surprised that his administration would lash out with this eleventh hour power grab on the way out the door, but I am certain this rule will not stand for long,” Black added. “Come next year, our pro-life majorities in Congress will be positioned to work with President-elect Trump and pro-life nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Tom Price, to not only roll back this latest overreach, but also to enact new legal protections for these most vulnerable members of our society.”