Despite the surge in “fiscal conservatism,” there may be hope for social issues yet. In recent years, centrist Republicans and independents have been pushing the Party to abandon or de-emphasize social issues in favor of supposed broader voter appeal. Thankfully, some brave Republicans have been ignoring these voices and are taking strong steps against abortion across the country.
In the last several months, conservatives have focused their attacks on Planned Parenthood – the largest provider of abortions in the United States. Planned Parenthood provides roughly one quarter of the 1,200,000 abortions per year in the U.S. For years, Planned Parenthood has thrived on the back of the American taxpayer. In its 2006-2007 fiscal year, it received $336.7 million from government grants and contracts – roughly one third of its income.
It’s a wonder that tax dollars ever went to Planned Parenthood in the first place. Think about it: Abortion has been one of the most divisive political issues in the U.S. since it was first legalized in 1973. Yet the money of millions of taxpayers is taken by the government and given to the largest abortion provider in the nation. How did we ever get in this position in the first place?
Now all of that is changing. Eight states have recently blocked or reduced funding to Planned Parenthood. North Carolina, Indiana, Kansas, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Tennessee, Texas, and now Wisconsin have moved forcefully against the organization. In some cases, Republican-controlled legislatures pushed through budget changes that cut all or some of Planned Parenthood’s state funding. In other cases, Republicans were able to find alternative means for de-funding the group, including altering budget priority breakdowns or, in the unique case of New Hampshire, using the state’s Executive Council to decline Planned Parenthood’s request for state contract renewal.
These efforts are just beginning, and it is greatly encouraging to see politicians who claim to be pro-life actually acting on their convictions. Of course, Democrats are pushing back. The Obama Administration has made strong statements that states cannot exclude Medicaid providers because of services they offer, and the Administration has threatened to strip all Medicaid funding from states that would block Planned Parenthood. In response to the fight, U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt blocked the Indiana law in a preliminary injunction on Friday.