Fight over Planned Parenthood defunding grows and Cecile Richards is terrified
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 28, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Congress is gearing up to defund Planned Parenthood in an Obamacare repeal bill, making some pro-abortion Republican senators nervous and causing the abortion business to panic.
A draft of the House bill was leaked to Politico last week. It would defund Planned Parenthood, "which could be an obstacle if the bill gets to the Senate," Politico writer Paul Demko predicted.
Pro-life groups have called on Congress to redirect money from scandal-ridden Planned Parenthood to federally qualified community health centers that don't commit abortions. The Susan B. Anthony List is running an ad on FOX & Friends and MSNBC’s Morning Joe exposing Planned Parenthood's abortion-centric focus.
There are enough pro-life votes for such a bill to pass the House, but two Republican Senators have indicated they may not vote to defund Planned Parenthood. This could mean the Senate would be tied 50-50, requiring Vice President Pence to act as tiebreaker.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-AK, promised on Wednesday to "not vote to deny Alaskans access to the health services that Planned Parenthood provides."
Sen. Susan Collins, R-ME, also said she was "not happy" that the anti-Obamacare bill would axe Planned Parenthood funding.
But despite media speculation that fights over Planned Parenthood could cause the Obamacare replacement bill to unravel, the abortion company isn't optimistic.
"Docs and clinicians are terrified that this Senate is going" to defund Planned Parenthood, its CEO, Cecile Richards, told BuzzFeed News. Just a few months after the Supreme Court sided with the abortion lobby in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, BuzzFeed reports, "Richards’ organization stands not only to lose its funding but also the Affordable Care Act’s mandate requiring insurers provide birth control coverage."
"The truth is, no one really knows what will make a difference anymore," Richards told BuzzFeed. "But that’s why we have to do everything we can."
The extensive profile on Richards and her efforts to save the abortion organization noted, "Planned Parenthood is preparing for the worst-case scenario." The loss of federal funds "would most likely cause many Planned Parenthood clinics to close down."
Although federal funds don't directly pay for abortions at Planned Parenthood, pro-life advocates point out that money is fungible. The reimbursements from the government and the Title X money Planned Parenthood receives are used to help keep the organization, which commits more than 300,000 abortions annually, running.
Planned Parenthood has been desperately fundraising since President Trump was elected. It has enlisted the help of celebrities to promote Planned Parenthood everywhere from New York Fashion Week to the Oscars. But Richards said they won't be able to raise half a billion dollars, the amount they currently receive from taxpayers.
"The answer to that is no," she said of whether supporters' donations could replace Planned Parenthood's government funding.
In addition to redirecting Planned Parenthood's funds to federally qualified community health centers, a priority for pro-life groups is ensuring Obamacare's replacement includes protections for the Hyde Amendment. The Hyde Amendment prohibits taxpayer funding of abortion.
Obamacare passed thanks to pro-life Rep. Bart Stupak, D-MI. He voted for Obamacare after accepting assurances from Obama that it wouldn't fund abortion. However, it does. Pro-lifers want to avoid a similar expansion of abortion in Obamacare's replacement.
"Currently, any bill funding healthcare must carry restrictions on abortion funding or it will end up funding the brutal practice of abortion," a February 2 letter from more than 40 pro-life groups to Republicans says. "That is why the Republican platform rightly calls for a 'permanent ban on federal funding and subsidies for abortion and healthcare plans that include abortion.'"
"We are encouraged by this longstanding commitment by Republicans to ensure that no Republican healthcare proposal, including those that provide tax credits for health insurance, funds abortion or plans that cover abortion," the letter said. The pro-life leaders urged Republicans "to ensure this essential pro-life policy is included in any healthcare legislation considered to replace Obamacare."
Leaders of the March for Life, Susan B. Anthony List, Catholic Medical Association, National Right to Life, Concerned Women for America, Family Research Council, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops signed onto the letter.
Defunding Planned Parenthood would hardly be a victory for pro-life groups if Obamacare's replacement funded or could be interpreted to fund abortion.