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How the Republican Party Should Fight Planned Parenthood

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

Do the atrocities against unborn children at the hands of Planned Parenthood recently captured on videotape by the pro-life movement, and circulated for all to see, move men and women of goodwill in all walks of life and positions of responsibility to redouble their efforts to end Planned Parenthood’s murder enabled by federal funding? Of course. Nevertheless Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood in the upcoming federal budget are at an impasse.


False expectations and even misleading statements are giving the impression that it is Republican obstructionism that is impeding the successful defunding of Planned Parenthood. This is not true.

The truth is, the GOP cannot secure sufficient votes to defund Planned Parenthood. The staunch conservatives in the House of Representatives and the Senate know this. Those who state this fact are simply telling the truth.

Their conclusion results not from a fear of fighting on this issue as some falsely accuse them. Ad hominem attacks do not change the fact that the votes in the Senate are not there. It is factual as well, that even if those Senate votes did exist, the votes to override a veto by President Obama also do not exist. This may be unpalatable, and hard-to-hear but this is reality.

We must understand what it really means when the pro-lifers demand that legislators never vote for a federal budget which funds Planned Parenthood. If every legislator were to adopt this stance, seemingly required these days to be considered pro-life, then no legislator would be allowed to vote for funding until we get a new President and enough votes in the Senate. The call from zealous pro-lifers to not pass a federal budget with any Planned Parenthood funding is in effect asking for a 17-month shutdown of the federal government. The advocates of such strategy should be transparent and say precisely that: that they expect the Republican Party never again to pass a budget with funding to Planned Parenthood and that they are prepared to go the distance, namely a 17-month shutdown.

To pursue this a bit further, this also means that, if the Republicans fail to win the upcoming presidential election, they are prepared to stay steady in a four-year shutdown.

Responsible parties in the NGO community can oppose funding if they wish, because they have no responsibility to fund the government of the United States. In fact, some legislators can do the same, but the entire Republican Party cannot. At some point, the leadership of the Republican Party will have to fund our government. There are issues of justice that also need to be observed and respected and the Republican Party has to eventually meet those by passing a federal budget.


I submit the bottom line is this:

No Republican legislator, regardless of his zeal for good causes, can deliver on a pledge to defund Planned Parenthood at the present time. It is unfair to politicize the issue of life to seek short term political ends.

Even the most vehement advocates of not signing a budget that has funding for Planned Parenthood, were they to be in leadership in the Republican Party, could not deliver the vote to defund Planned Parenthood. Public anger should be directed only to Obama and his pro-abortion minions in the Democratic Party. Seeking to use this issue to increase the chances of further changes in leadership or to create political traps for others in the Republican Party over the issue of life is unacceptable.

A third fact needs to be clarified. Making an effort to reallocate funds away from Planned Parenthood and then losing a vote to the pro-abortion party of America, the Democrats, is not an immoral action. Having to then vote for a federal budget that does not defund Planned Parenthood is also not immoral. There is a law forbidding Planned Parenthood from using federal funds directly for abortions already on the books. Planned Parenthood may be disregarding that law too, and therefore the lawlessness of Planned Parenthood has indeed to be investigated to its fullest extent.

The situation of the Republican Party is analogous to the one in which many pro-life Americans who oppose any funding to abortions find themselves. This is precisely the situation we are in when part of our taxes are being directed against our will to fund the abortion industry. We, each one of us, provides a part of the funds that Planned Parenthood still receives from the federal government.

This is “cooperation,” but not the kind that makes you morally culpable of funding the abortion industry. Pro-lifers paying taxes, one can safely assume, are not trying to fund abortions. Neither are pro-life Republicans in the Congress when they are fulfilling their duty to fund the United States government. The Republican Senate has taken several votes to defund Planned Parenthood this year, all failed and if we cannot find the Democrats willing to defend life it is hard to see the use in continuing to march down this path. After the Republicans fail to win the vote, we have no legal process in our system to override the wicked desires of the Democratic Party.


Material versus Formal Cooperation

To put a finer point on the matter, it is important to understand the ethical difference between material cooperation and formal cooperation.

Signing a federal budget that includes Planned Parenthood funding is material cooperation but it is morally licit and does not entail moral culpability. This is especially true when they have tried to defund Planned Parenthood. Furthermore a law exists in place forbidding federal dollars from being used for abortions. It is also the case that much of the funds Planned Parenthood receives, will continue to flow, regardless of a shutdown, as they are part of mandatory funding.

Formal cooperation, that is, action which intends to lead specifically to abortion (abortionist, and all who participate in the abortion, legislators passing laws to promote abortion, etc.) is morally illicit. Those who participate in these activities are guilty of formal cooperation. But this is not the case for those pro-life Republicans who vote for the funding of the federal budget.

For legislators at the federal level, there is no sin, no moral fault, no lack of resolve in signing a federal budget for the most powerful nation in the world, when no matter how many times they may vote, there exists no legal procedure to impede the coercive political force of the pro-abortion Democrats in Congress from forcing America to subsidize Planned Parenthood, yet again. This is not something new.

If some are absolutely committed to no funding-“not one more penny to Planned Parenthood regardless of any consequences”-then they should put their actions behind their elevated rhetoric. Their mantra should be “Stop Paying Taxes-Defund Planned Parenthood Now.”

Make the Democrats the Issue

Legislators at the federal level who support the sanctity of human life can bring the fight against federal funding for abortion to the forefront of American political life by speaking plainly and often about the Party of Abortion: The Democrats. It is the Democrats

who are taking reallocated funds away from local clinics and doctors who make little money serving the community, and instead giving the money to abortionists who are flush with cash. The Democrats know that in giving the abortion industry money, they will get a kickback in political contributions for their own campaigns. It is a travesty to call an abortionist a “doctor;” they ceased to be so when they chose to use their skill to kill innocent human beings in the womb and outside the womb for cash. It is an absurd claim to say that abortion facilities are “clinics for women’s health.” A barbershop has more regulations in some states than abortion clinics. It is absurd to think that women in America have as their primary physician an abortionist, or that these doctors provide “follow-up” care.


America needs to call these Democrats and demand answers: Why are they not allowing the funds to be reallocated to more worthy and meritorious health clinics and facilities in their own communities? Planned Parenthood is about one thing and one thing alone: abortions for cash. And as we see today, allegedly also selling baby parts and harvesting organs from these victims.

The staunchest of pro-lifers, even if they were in charge of the Republican Party today, could not deliver a victory in defunding Planned Parenthood. For what is in operation here is not the moral will of the Republican Party, but the inhumanity of the pro-abortion Democratic Party. The inhumanity of the Democratic Party is on full display. America needs to rid its politics and culture of these legislators. May not a single person of goodwill, let alone Christians, stay home this upcoming election! We must elect a president who makes this a priority and has the intellectual understanding to see this evil. The next President must also have the courage and zeal to exorcise the demon of Planned Parenthood from America.

Before the blind pro-life zeal of some accuses me of being weak on this issue, I reluctantly state that I have been arrested and jailed for the peaceful defense of human life at abortion clinics. I have stood weekly at the lethal chambers of abortion doctors. I have rallied, preached, written, taught, marched, counseled women, raised money for pro-life causes, fought in referendums, and all the things that the pro-life community has so faithfully and for so many years being doing as well, to stop this holocaust. I am writing this not out of fear, weakness, or political calculation. Some may disagree all they want with the Republican Party. But it is a fact that Planned Parenthood cannot be defunded at present because the votes needed are not there.

Don’t agree? Call the staunch pro-life senators and congressmen and ask them if we have the votes. But do not stop there; ask them for the names of the Democrats that will vote with us in order to win the vote in the Senate and the names of those who will join our side to override the Presidential veto. Pro-lifers should flood their phone lines and post their answers. If any congressman or senator tells you we have the votes and can defund Planned Parenthood now, but fails to give you the names, you will know what they know: They do not have the votes.


How to Fight for Our Objective

It takes courage to fight for the truth but it also takes courage to tell the troops the bad news: to temper their zeal with reason. It sometimes takes more courage to calm a rightly frustrated crowd than to just say what the crowd wants to hear.

This analysis does not amount to a call for surrender. Important momentum has been created by the horrific videos provided by the Center for Medical Progress and this momentum can be used to fight. We must attain some tangible results now, and seek to finish this job by winning the 2016 election. Our objective is to ensure that the Republican Party issues the strongest possible statement against Planned Parenthood, and, given the circumstances, takes the strongest possible actions against Planned Parenthood and the Democrats’ abortion machine, as we fight to win the presidency next year.

The Steps

  1. We need action from Congress that seeks to reallocate (better language than “defund”) funds away from Planned Parenthood.

Reallocation language prevents the accusation that we are taking money away from health care for women. It will also make it hard for Obama and his minions to explain why they are taking money away from local clinics and hospitals and giving it to Planned Parenthood. Several votes have been taken in this regard.

2. The Republican Party must promise America it is finished with Planned Parenthood.

We need a statement, like a “Contract With America,” from the GOP leadership of the House and Senate, on behalf of the Republicans, promising the American people that they will not willingly give Planned Parenthood money if that decision is within their power. It is not a proper object of choice if the result depends on the will of other people. The refusal of the pro-abortion Democrats cannot be construed as the direct and intended object of choice of the pro-life Republicans.

Tell the truth, Republicans may be defeated in that effort in 2015. But they will overcome if we take the presidency in 2016.

Set the precedent in writing, possibly with signatures, to be used for public consumption and marketing purposes.

3. We must deliver a clarion call to the Republican Governor’s Association to produce the same promise and statement.


Call on the Republican Governor’s Association to defund Planned Parenthood from state funds-that is a lot of money as well. We can concentrate on this for one year.

4. Get a statement from the Republican National Committee (RNC) saying the same thing. Seek to ensure that the RNC puts the Republican promise to not fund Planned Parenthood in the Republican platform.

5. The RNC should produce a pledge that all presidential candidates would sign to do all that is possible to defund Planned Parenthood if we win the election. If we have a Republican Congress they promise to do so immediately after becoming President of the United States. This will help prevent having a Republican president, House and Senate that still fails to defund Planned Parenthood. We must endeavor to get some guarantees upfront.

6. GOP should promise to pursue serious criminal investigations as far as they can and seek to prosecute Planned Parenthood.

The Republican candidates should promise to intensify this effort if they win the presidency. Indeed the current Justice department may block even that.

7. A common press conference to announce this to America:Diane Black, Trent Franks, Trey Gowdy, Jim Jordan, Reince Priebus, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell-or any combination thereof-in unison declaring war on Planned Parenthood. What America most needs is a complete show of force of the Republican Party stating and promising to do everything within its control to liberate America from funding Planned Parenthood. This would be enormous progress for America. The goal here is to establish that 50 percent of the political culture, one of two major political parties, is dead-set against and ceases to support hereafter Planned Parenthood permanently and completely. Let the Democrats get stuck with defending Planned Parenthood and let the Republicans happily fight that PR war. We must muster a united front on this one.

The issue of life should be beyond other political ends. We must show a united Republican front for once, on this issue.

All of this the GOP and we ourselves can do or help to do now. So tell the truth: defunding is not possible in 2015. And then get cracking. The American people will understand. Blame lawless and pro-abortion Obama and the Democrats for coercing the American public, but plant the flag and promise to come back and finish them.


8. Call on America to get involved, send money, not stay home, and work to help us win this upcoming election. It will hopefully create furor to activate the base to work.

If Republicans would do this we would have an enormous cultural victory. They would plant the flag and make perfectly clear that we are coming to finish the job of exorcising the demons of the abortion lobby from our nation once and for all.

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