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January 18, 2011

Column #1,534

Will Abortion Funding Be Halted?

By Mike McManus

Last year Planned Parenthood affiliates were responsible for 324,000 abortions, more than a quarter of America’s 1.2 million abortions.

And we, the taxpayers, subsidized those abortions with $363 million in government grants. That’s more than $1,000 per abortion!  Curiously, however, the funds do not pay directly for abortions, but for family planning services and overhead.

Wow. That’s a lot of overhead!

However, the bipartisan No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act, was introduced this week to permanently prohibit taxpayer subsidies.  It will be introduced as H.R. 3, which underscores the high priority new House Republican leaders are giving to the bill.

Yet Rep. Dan Lipinski, a Democrat from Illinois, is the leading co-sponsor of the bill with Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey.  More than 150 Members of Congress will join them.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops quickly backed the first statutory ban on the use of federal funding for elective abortions.

There are two reasons for this legislation.

Most important, the $1 trillion Obamacare legislation had numerous known and surreptitious ways to funnel federal taxpayer funds to abortions.  The President said he would sign an Executive Order to continue the Hyde Amendment’s historic ban on such funding. But it would be much better to enact such a ban as law.

Second, “When you have a policy against abortion funding that has to be implemented through over a dozen different riders on different appropriations bills, something (funding abortions) always gets through,” said Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the USCCB’s Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities.

Lipinski adds, “To guarantee that taxpayers are never forced to pay for abortions and the innocent unborn are protected, we must make this longstanding ban on federal funding for abortion permanent and government-wide.”

A related bill was introduced by Rep. Mike Pence with 122 co-sponsors.  “It is morally wrong to end an unborn human life by abortion,” he said, “It is also morally wrong to take the taxpayer dollars of millions of pro-life Americans and use them to promote abortion at home or abroad.  The largest abortion provider in America should not also be the largest recipient of federal funding.”

What are the odds the bills will become law?

“We stand a very good chance.  People are fed up with the outrageous overspending.  Planned Parenthood falls into that category,” asserted Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America.

As evidence, the House voted 245-189 to repeal Obamacare. “Today’s vote to repeal the pro-abortion health care law is the first step in rescinding the greatest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade,” asserted the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life group.

However, Doerflinger predicted passage in the Senate “will be tougher.”  Last year there were 45 pro-life votes in the Senate and five or six additional pro-life Senators were elected.  He commented, “That gets us within shouting distance of a majority, but not the 60 votes needed for a filibuster.”

On the other hand, Catholic bishops have an ace in their hand to play.  If Obama were to agree to statutory language prohibiting abortion, he would pick up Catholic support for his health care bill.  Interestingly, the Smith-Lipinski bill would allow federal funding of abortions in cases of rape, incest or if the life of the mother were in question.

Another bill likely to win support would improve the conscience protection for health care workers, so that no one could lose a job for refusing to participate in an abortion.

Wendy Wright made a surprising charge about Planned Parenthood on a PBS show with Gloria Feldt, former president of the group: “Planned Parenthood is aggressively requiring their affiliates to do a minimum number of abortions.”

Feldt angrily denied the accusation.

“You haven’t worked for Planned Parenthood in five years,” Ms. Wright responded. She noted that Abby Johnson, who directed a Planned Parenthood affiliate in Texas in 2009, made the charge in her new book, “Unplanned.”  Mrs. Johnson’s boss told her, “You have to find a way to get your abortion numbers up,” to increase revenues. 

                After having two abortions herself, and eight years with Planned Parenthood, she quit and began working for the Coalition for Life. If asked what is her most persuasive argument why an unwed woman should have the baby, she responds: “What do you think would most disappoint your parents: to find out that you had gotten pregnant, or to learn you had taken the life of their grandchild?”

                This is a new day for pro-life activists!

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