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U.S. Sen. Rand Paul

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 22, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – U.S. Sen. Rand Paul introduced an amendment to deny taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood and other organizations that commit abortions, the Kentucky Republican announced last Friday.

The amendment, attached to the Senate appropriations package to fund the Departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, forbids any funds going through those departments from directly or indirectly going to any entity that performs or finances most abortions. Exceptions are made for abortions sought for rape, incest, or physical threats to the mother.

“One of the top priorities for a Republican Congress that professes pro-life values on the campaign trail should be to stop taxpayer funding for abortion providers,” said Paul, who is also an ophthalmologist. “This is our chance to turn our words into action, stand up for the sanctity of life, and speak out for the most innocent among us that have no voice.”

The senator’s office noted that the amendment contained “the same language preventing such spending as the FY 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education funding bill that passed the U.S. House Appropriations Committee in July,” and stressed that it would continue to allow funding for any women’s health provider not involved in abortion.

Planned Parenthood received more than $543 million from the federal government in fiscal year 2016-2017. It is forbidden from spending that money directly on most abortions, but pro-lifers warn that subsidies earmarked for non-abortion purposes ultimately enable abortion groups to commit more abortions by freeing up money from their other revenue services. Duke University healthcare analyst Chris Conover estimates that taxpayers end up covering almost 25 percent of all abortion costs.

Defunding Planned Parenthood is a longstanding promise the GOP has thus far failed to deliver. The Republican-controlled House and Senate passed multiple budgets that continued the abortion giant’s funding under President Barack Obama. Several pro-life leaders called on the GOP to withhold the funding and dare Obama to justify a government shutdown for Planned Parenthood, and others encouraged waiting for a Republican president.

President Donald Trump campaigned on defunding the abortion giant and has pursued many pro-life policies in office. But Planned Parenthood’s funding has continued even with the GOP controlling both Congress and the White House, though Trump has taken steps to reduce some of its tax dollars, via family planning grants, foreign abortion funding, and letting states defund Planned Parenthood.

While Paul’s amendment comes as welcome news to most pro-lifers, few expect it to reach Trump’s desk. The Hill reported that Sen. Richard Shelby of Arizona, Republican chairman of the Appropriations Committee, complained Monday that the amendment was a “spoiler” that could prevent the appropriations bill from passing.

“What that means, in plain English, is that Senate leadership is unwilling to force the Democrats to choose between funding abortion providers with taxpayer dollars or shutting down the government,” Conservative Review’s Chris Pandolfo wrote. “Murdered babies aren’t worth the effort for most Republicans.”