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Pence and Planned Parenthood: Where It Goes From Here

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
The third time was the charm for Indiana Rep. Mike Pence’s legislation to defund Planned Parenthood, which passed the House this February and now goes to the Senate as part of a complicated continuing resolution discussion.

“We’ve had staff level contact with a number of members of the United States Senate,” said Pence when asked about any discussions he’s had with the other elected chamber on whether his amendment will remain in the Senate or conference version of the final legislation.

Pence said he knew when introducing that first piece of legislation to defund Planned Parenthood that it was going to be a long-term battle. Planned Parenthood has a campaign against the legislation, of course, and the group’s website labels it “the most dangerous legislative assault in our history,” which should be encouraging to the pro-life bloc. Pence said he’s also seen the organization’s full page ads in major newspapers.

But when it comes to battling the Ivan Drago of the abortion world – it is the largest abortion provider in America – Pence welcomes the organization’s responses, believing the debate is a good thing for Americans because it gives exposure to the issue. In fact, he said that apart from trying to get the legislation through in the Senate, the crucial step is educating voters.

“I think the more debate there is about whether the largest abortion provider in America should also be the largest recipient of federal funding under Title X, the better,” Pence said. “I’m always struck by how few Americans know that Planned Parenthood receives hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.”

Pence also had to publish an article back in Indiana to dispel two misconceptions about his particular legislation: that it eliminated all funding for women’s health services under Title X, and that there would be no place for women to have these needs addressed if Planned Parenthood closes its doors.

First, Pence clarified that the bill does not cut any funding for women’s health services – it only prevents them from going to Planned Parenthood. He then lists over ten other organizations in Indiana and nationwide that provide clinics that attend to women’s needs.

And though he’s as pro-life as his maker, Pence pointed out that this particular discussion is more about who pays for the abortion rather than the procedure itself.

“I’ll continue to stand for the sanctity of life, and I’ll continue to stand for the principle that it’s morally wrong to take the taxpayer dollars of millions of pro-life Americans and use it to support organizations that promote and provide abortion,” Pence said. “Thomas Jefferson reflected that the most important objective of government is to protect human life.”

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