The Battle May Have Been Lost, but the War is Not Over

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The House and Senate have passed H.R.3762, which would federally defund Planned Parenthood for one year. The House passed the edited Senate version of the bill on Wednesday by a vote of 240 to 181. There were three Republicans who voted against the measure: Reps. Bob Dold (R-Illinois), Richard Hanna (R-New York) and John Katko (R-New York). One Democrat voted in support of H.R. 3762: Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minnesota). Concerned Women for America applauds the pro-life efforts of Rep. Peterson for voting with his conscience and constituency instead of playing into party politics.

H.R. 3762 is a modest provision that doesn’t ban or regulate abortion, but is still a pro-life victory in that it strips this scandal-plagued abortion organization of the unjust benefit of taxpayer dollars. The passed bill proceeded to the president, who, as expected, wasted no time in vetoing it.

Planned Parenthood accepts federal reimbursements of medical services covered by Medicaid, Medicare, and other grant programs. This federal funding enables them to focus the other funds that they raise on their abortion services, which make up the bulk of what they do as the largest abortion provider in the United States. In fact, just last year Planned Parenthood performed 323,999 abortions — which roughly translates to 900 babies per day. Yet the group was given over half-a-billion dollars by the federal government in 2014-2015; nearly 80 percent of funding comes through Medicaid and federal money accounted for 43 percent of Planned Parenthood’s overall revenue.

There is an unfounded accusation that defunding Planned Parenthood will result in women being unable to receive health care for services other than abortion; however, there are over 13,000 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) which serve all women’s health care needs, don’t perform abortions, and outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics 20 to 1. If this bill had been signed into law, the government would have redirected an additional $235 million that previously went to Planned Parenthood to FQHCs.

Funding these health centers is a far superior way to truly invest in women’s health. Although Planned Parenthood received a nearly five percent increase in taxpayer funding last year, the clinics’ non-abortion services actually dropped significantly since 2010 — services like cancer screening and prevention, STI/STD prevention and treatment and more. Unlike the more comprehensive health centers, Planned Parenthood fails to do mammograms and other basic women’s health examinations.

Besides, Planned Parenthood doesn’t need federal money to survive as a private entity. In their annual report, the group generated nearly $59 million in excess revenue last fiscal year and $1.4 billion in net assets. Furthermore, Planned Parenthood has the option to keep federal Medicaid funding if they only stop performing abortions. But they won’t, because Planned Parenthood is big abortion. Planned Parenthood mistakenly believes that abortion is health care, when in reality it often wrecks the health of women and tears apart their children. Furthermore, recent undercover videos show significant evidence that Planned Parenthood took those torn apart children and sold their body parts.

The most effective action was to pass this reconciliation bill, and Congress did just that. Reconciliation is a special bill which can only occur once every budget cycle and needs a simple majority to pass. The Senate usually poses a challenge since things need 60 votes to stop a filibuster. With the current political climate, a regular bill would not have been able to end a filibuster against it in the Senate. But reconciliation bills work differently and can’t be filibustered, so this bill passed in the Senate. (For more information on why that is, check out CWA’s quick explanation here.) Now, the bill has passed through the House and straight to the president’s desk only to be vetoed.

At this point, it may seem like we lost the battle, but the truth is that we did not lose the war. The passage of this bill is extremely monumental for the pro-life movement. In the past, defunding abortion groups would get caught up with the 60-vote requirement. H.R. 3762 set the precedent for future Senate procedure that abortion groups like Planned Parenthood could be cut from funding with less than 60 votes.

It may not have made it into law, but H.R. 3762 is a momentous, precedent-setting, pro-life measure that sends a strong message against the barbarism of Planned Parenthood. It also should remind us that without a God-fearing, pro-life president in office, “We the People” can only do so much. By vetoing the bill, the president has politicized and struck down a bill that the majority of Americans support. CWA is grateful to the members of Congress who worked tirelessly to pass this bill, especially House leadership, and we look forward to fighting harder than ever to protect life in 2016.