As the fight for life over death continues, the battlefield has shifted to the states, where legislatures realigned politically as a result of the November 2010 mid-term elections are doing yeoman’s work in the defense of innocents. This work consists in defunding the mammoth tax-payer funded abortion provider, Planned Parenthood.
Three states prominently highlighted in this cause are Kansas, North Carolina, and Indiana—all of which have taken serious steps toward curbing the flow of funds into Planned Parenthood’s coffers.
On May 12, 2011, the Kansas Legislature "passed a budget...that [stripped] state funding for Planned Parenthood.” An amendment attached to the budget – the “so-called Huelskamp Amendment,” named after former state Senator, and now U.S. Congressman, Tim Huelskamp – could have kept up to $250,000 in state funds from going to Planned Parenthood, had the budget not been vetoed weeks later by Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson.
Similarly, in North Carolina, a bill to defund Planned Parenthood made its way through the legislature only to be vetoed by Gov. Beverly Perdue. Fortunately, lawmakers in North Carolina had numbers sufficient to override the governor’s veto. And with the veto overridden, Planned Parenthood stands to lose approximately $434,000 in annual funding from the Tar Heel State. Not surprisingly, throughout the often contentious debates that have taken place in Kansas and North Carolina, representatives from Planned Parenthood have fed the media a plethora of examples of what women will lose if funding to the abortion provider is cut off.
In Kansas, Peter Brownlie, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas City and Mid-Missouri, talked about how “outrageous” it was that “thousands of Kansans [were] at risk of losing access to basic, preventive health care." And Paige Johnson, vice president of Public Policy with Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina, decried “the continued misleading attacks on Planned Parenthood [which] expose a cynical and coldhearted willingness to further a divisive political agenda [denying]…women access to lifesaving preventive healthcare.”
Isn’t that classic leftist propagandizing? Abortion providers lose funding and their apologists point to the way the poor and disadvantaged will allegedly be deprived of preventative healthcare. (What kind of world must we live in where taking the life of a preborn child in cold blood is equated with preventative healthcare?) This is in spite of the fact that in most places, a plethora of alternatives, public and charitable, provide basic health care to women and their preborn babies.
The third state, Indiana, differs from the other two in that the legislation defunding Planned Parenthood not only survived the legislature, but the governor as well. The bill which Gov. Mitch Daniels signed, Indiana House Bill 1210, is one of the first – but likely not the last - to prohibit the use of Medicaid at Planned Parenthood clinics.
Subsequently, Planned Parenthood of Indiana filed a lawsuit seeking a temporary injunction and lost. Now Betty Cockrum, president of PPIN, is “deeply disappointed…that 9,300 Medicaid patients at…28 [PPIN] locations have lost services from their preferred provider.”
While seeing these things happen in Kansas, North Carolina, and Indiana is encouraging, even better is the fact that these appear to be but the tip of the iceberg. Wisconsin’s legislature is already headed down the same path, and lawmakers in states like Texas, Tennessee, and Minnesota are considering similar legislation. And New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie “cut $7.5 million from the state budget for 58 clinics specializing in women’s reproductive health, effectively eliminating any public funding for family planning services.”
Throughout American history, states have led the fight when the people are engaged and ready for real, substantive change: the current efforts by the legislatures of these various states remind us that this is so. It is a bottom-up fight—a grassroots effort—where citizens have grown weary of their tax dollars being funneled into the coffers of Planned Parenthood and other abortion mills that turn those tax dollars into blood money.
Steven H. Aden is senior counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, a legal alliance employing a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family. Aden heads ADF’s work to defend the sanctity of life in court from its Washington, D.C., regional service center.