Quite simply, Planned Parenthood has no business receiving taxpayer dollars, and it receives a lot of them. Between 2008 and 2009 Planned Parenthood received $363 million — one third of its $1 billion revenue — in grants and contracts from federal and state governments. The Government Accountability Office found that Planned Parenthood received a total of $342 million in Title X family planning funds from 2002 to 2009, and $657 million federal dollars overall. Taxpayers should not be burdened with providing this funding.
No one should have been surprised then when Democrats rushed to Planned Parenthood’s defense. We have known for years that one of their few lines in the sand is the maintenance of abortion on demand. When President, Bill Clinton came to the middle on some issues, but he refused to cross the pro-abortion lobby and vetoed bans on the partial-birth abortion procedure. Then-candidate Obama made it clear that he stands with President Clinton on this point, saying in a speech before Planned Parenthood that “[o]n this fundamental issue, I will not yield and Planned Parenthood will not yield.” He then went on to pledge that the “first thing” he would do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act, guaranteeing a right to abortion on demand in federal law.
President Obama had Planned Parenthood pegged. For them, the fundamental issue is abortion on demand. And on this issue, Democrats virtually never compromise. The pro-abortion lobby is the one group that even moderate Democrats are loathe to cross. So it came as little surprise to us that in the Senate not one Democrat voted to defund Planned Parenthood.
Democrats protected Planned Parenthood by suggesting that Republicans wanted to defund programs that provide non-abortion health services for women. Of course, this is untrue. Defunding Planned Parenthood would not have eliminated a single dollar of the $300 million for Title X or over $1 billion in family planning under Medicaid.
With the assistance of all the Democrats in the Senate, Planned Parenthood survived to fight another day. It was a close call for them, and ultimately they only succeeded by misrepresenting the motives of the opposition and the impact of the vote on women’s health.
Conservative pro-life and pro-family voters should be proud that they forced this debate. The fact that Planned Parenthood had to resort to obfuscation to win this fight does not bode well for them in future debates.
And we can assure them, there will be future debates on Planned Parenthood. This issue is not going away. There is no division between fiscal conservatives and social conservatives on this issue. Conservatives of all stripes are united in removing federal funding for this organization.
Ultimately, we will prevail.
Ken Blackwell, a contributing editor at Townhall.com, is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and the American Civil Rights Union and is on the board of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.