Pro-life leaders hold strategy session to ‘seize the opportunity’ to Defund Planned Parenthood
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 2, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Sensing that their movement has political momentum, pro-life leaders from across the country spoke to nearly 3,000 constituents in a strategy session on defunding Planned Parenthood.
After a successful March for Life, which even mainstream media outlets reported positively, 2,895 people participated in the nationwide live webcast Monday night dubbed "Defund Planned Parenthood."
Calling this a "moment of opportunity" and relaying a sense of "urgency," host David Bereit, who led 40 Days for Life for 10 years, introduced a roundtable of commentators.
Among those who participated were Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List, David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), Ryan Bomberger of the Radiance Foundation, former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson, Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life of America, Carol Tobias of the National Right to Life Committee, Steve Aden of Alliance Defending Freedom, Jim Sedlak of the American Life League, Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, Shawn Carney of 40 Days for Life, Eric Scheidler of the Pro-Life Action League, and Tom McClusky of the March for Life.
Bereit unashamedly began the live strategy session with prayer. He then introduced the topic by noting that the abortion giant killed 324,000 innocent children and harmed "countless women" last year alone while "raking in $553,700,000 annually in taxpayer dollars."
Throughout the webcast, leaders emphasized five key messages that all agreed were the most effective at persuading the public to defund Planned Parenthood:
1) Planned Parenthood is about abortions, not healthcare;
2) Planned Parenthood is a corrupt organization under criminal investigation;
3) Planned Parenthood is a racist organization;
4) Planned Parenthood is a partisan political organization;
5) Redirecting tax funds from Planned Parenthood to community health centers (which provide a higher standard of comprehensive preventive and primary care) is a victory for women's health and supported by a majority of Americans.
Tobias noted that Planned Parenthood has closed some facilities in recent years, but their numbers are actually up because they are building huge, mega-abortuaries. She emphasized that defunding Planned Parenthood would not stop them from doing abortions, so defunding the abortion conglomerate is no threat to the "right" to abortion.
Johnson, who spoke at the March for Life, explained that tax dollars might not pay directly for abortions, but taxes do pay for Planned Parenthood's new buildings, utilities, salaries, and all else it takes to keep the abortion business going.
Live Action president Lila Rose shared that Planned Parenthood has been able to keep its tax funding and its political clout by claiming that its services are essential healthcare. This claim, however, is not true. The abortion business does no mammograms, does less than 1 percent of the nation's pap smears and less than 2 percent of breast exams, and does ultrasounds only to determine gestation in preparation for aborting the baby.
Clearly, Rose concluded, Planned Parenthood is not about women's healthcare.
Daleiden reminded listeners of CMP's undercover videos that exposed Planned Parenthood's human trafficking for profit. He related how the abortion business lied to law enforcement and to Congress in their quest to cover up their illegal doings.
Bomberger recalled how Planned Parenthood's pitch claimed that abortion will eliminate poverty, which proved a false hope.
“They cast abortion as a civil right,” he said, tweeting their "support" for "Black Lives Matter" while actually killing more black babies every day than the number of blacks killed in an entire year in inner-city violence.
Kristi Hamrick of Americans United for Life charged that Planned Parenthood uses its bully pulpit, readily granted them by the mainstream media, to force its agenda on the American people. She gave an example in the ObamaCare forced abortion coverage mandate, which — despite presidential promises to the contrary — required the tax to fund abortion, sterilization, and abortifacient "contraceptive" insurance. She also gave the example of forcing pharmacists to dispense abortifacients.
"These are bullies, these are power hungry people, and they intend to force compliance," Hamrick stated. "It's not about choice anymore; it's about coercion."
Aden pointed out that Planned Parenthood is "bad for women's health."
"The first thing they did was separate women from their primary doctor," he said, noting that "real" women's clinics outnumber Planned Parenthoods 20 to 1. "They actually drive down the standard for women's healthcare."
Aden portrayed defunding Planned Parenthood as a move to "restore" good healthcare for women.
"It's a victory all around," he said.
Sedlak said 43 percent of Planned Parenthood's income comes from taxes.
"We've identified thirty government programs which funnel money to Planned Parenthood," he said. "And by far the largest of those is Medicaid. ... Four hundred million dollars comes from Medicaid. That's the program we really want Congress to go after."
Sedlak stated that the Obama administration argued in court that state governments literally had to fund Planned Parenthood through Medicaid. "That's all gonna change, and can change, under the Trump administration," he predicted.
"All we have to do is apply pressure," Sedlak advised. "We've got to let (politicians) know that Medicaid funding of Planned Parenthood is not acceptable. That's where Planned Parenthood is most vulnerable. If we can stop their Medicaid funds, we can cut out most of their government money."
Fr. Pavone exhorted everyone to pray, and pray fervently.
"The victory is imminent," he said, "but the closer we get to victory, the more the enemy fights back."
The priest said we are in a spiritual battle.
"Abortion is demonic, and a lot of what goes on in Planned Parenthoods is demonic,” he said. “We know God wants this organization not only defunded, but out of existence."
He said prayers must be specific and multifaceted.
"First of all, we pray that Planned Parenthood is defunded,” Fr. Pavone said. “Secondly, we pray for the lawmakers — those that are on our side that they persevere, and those against us that they be converted. We pray for the president and his whole team — they will be under severe attack. We pray for our fellow citizens, that they wake up to this.
"Furthermore, we pray for ourselves, for patience in this process. There may be setbacks. The results of this may not look as wonderful as we imagined at first. We've got to be realistic. We've got to pray for patience because whatever setbacks there are, we'll overcome those in round two, whatever that looks like."
Fr. Pavone encouraged the faithful to connect their message with President Trump, because "he is a media magnet" and we will get our message out to all the more people that way.
Scheidler urged pro-lifers to lead Protest Planned Parenthood demonstrations across the nation on Saturday, February 11.
Carney noted that to defund Planned Parenthood will be "one more giant step in ending abortion in this nation that we all love so dearly."