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Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

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Pro-life leaders blast U.S. Congress for failing to defund Planned Parenthood

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 7, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Pro-life leaders wrote a letter to members of Congress on Tuesday, rebuking them for not keeping their campaign promises and imploring them to defund Planned Parenthood once and for all.

Six leading women and four influential men among the nation’s top pro-life activists reminded legislators that America gave them their positions in part because they promised to defund the nation’s largest and most lucrative abortion conglomerate.

“This Republican Pro-life Congress made a promise to American voters to stop taxpayer funding for the largest abortion chain in the nation, Planned Parenthood,” the pro-lifers stated. “It is now well past time to deliver on that promise.”

“Rhetoric must be translated into law,” they leaders wrote, and the Republican-controlled House and Senate “must” stop giving half a billion tax dollars to the abortion behemoth. “Doing anything less brings into question whether this Congress can truly be called the pro-life Congress.”

The letter was signed by Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List, Penny Young Nance of Concerned Women for America LAC, Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life, Jeanne Mancini of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, Lila Rose of Live Action, presidential adviser Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Catherine Glenn Foster of Americans United for Life, Paul Weber of Family Policy Alliance, Gary L. Bauer of American Values, and Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention.

They pointed out that Congress “has failed” to “redirect … Planned Parenthood funding to alternative providers.” They emphasize that their goal is not to take away tax dollars from women’s healthcare but to subsidize genuine healthcare by non-aborting clinics, which outnumber abortion businesses 20-to-1.

Infighting within the Republican Party over how to replace Obamacare halted every effort to cut Planned Parenthood tax subsidies since Trump ascended to the presidency.

Defunding Planned Parenthood was part of a budget measure earlier this year that failed to clear the Senate. In another attempt to rescind Obamacare and its forced abortion coverage mandate, U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, cast the deciding vote. He was joined by Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine.  

The sanctity of life defenders urged Congress to rework that bill. “Giving up is not why the voters sent (you) to Congress,” they wrote.

Similar legislation passed both houses of Republican-controlled Congress in 2016 but was vetoed by President Obama. Referencing this success but not fulfillment, the pro-life leaders noted, “Excited by this clear proof that a defunding bill could reach the Oval Office, the American people responded by (electing) President Trump.”

A Democrat-created “reconciliation” procedural rule was passed in January. It may be used for budgetary items to avoid a filibuster — in this case from Democrats, whose party platform officially champions abortion and supports Planned Parenthood.  

“It only takes a simple majority to stop taxpayer subsidies to Planned Parenthood through a Budget Reconciliation bill,” the leaders reminded the legislators.

“Reconciliation” bills need only 51 votes to pass, as opposed to the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster.

But time is running out. The “reconciliation” rule, which pro-life leaders believe is the only chance to defund Planned Parenthood, expires at the end of this month. It would take an entirely new resolution to forge another reconciliation process.

“Should robust efforts on the 2017 reconciliation bill run out of time, then the fight to defund Planned Parenthood must move immediately to the 2018 reconciliation bill,” the  pro-life leaders wrote.

The letter noted that Planned Parenthood, despite their half a billion dollars in tax subsidies annually, does 35 percent of the nation’s abortions yet only one percent of HIV tests and Pap smears.

“Planned Parenthood self-reports taking the innocent lives of 328,348 unborn children last year,” the abortion foes reported. “That is 900 lives snuffed out before their first breath every single day by a single taxpayer-funded abortion chain.”

“This tragedy is compounded every day that passes with (your) inaction,” they went on. “The time for results is now. Lives depend on your leadership and action.”

Pro-life organizations gave $11.7 million to pro-life candidates during the 2016 election, directly helping pro-life Republicans take control of both branches of Congress and the presidency. The Susan B. Anthony List was the heftiest contributor with $1.4 million and an additional $1.8 million outside pro-life spending in 2016.

View the entire letter here.

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