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Too High a Price for Republican Leaders

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

If you believed that a group was routinely violating a fundamental individual human right and doing so in the most violent way -- by killing massive numbers of people -- would you get out your checkbook and write them a generous donation?

You may not. But now, the Republican "leadership" in Congress is doing it for you -- whether you like it or not.

They have been doing it year after year in direct violation of their stated principles and unambiguous promises.

They will force you to pay taxes to the federal government and then turn around and hand some of that tax money -- as well as some money they will borrow from your grandkids -- to a group they have rightly accused of evil acts.

Why will they do this? Because they are moral cowards.

In 1984, the Republican Party adopted a platform that endorsed the right to life in unambiguous terms and vowed to defund any organization that gave "support" to abortion.

"The unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed," said that Reagan platform.

"(W)e endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment protections apply to unborn children," it said.

"We oppose the use of public revenues for abortion and will eliminate funding for organizations which advocate or support abortion," it said.

Every Republican platform since 1984 has included essentially these same words -- and, in 2016, the platform went so far as to name one specific pro-abortion rights organization Republicans would not fund.

"We oppose the use of public funds to perform or promote abortion or to fund organizations, like Planned Parenthood, so long as they provide or refer for elective abortions or sell fetal body parts rather than provide healthcare," it said.

Running on this platform, Republicans won the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Yet, the federal government is still funding Planned Parenthood.

And it is safe bet that as of Friday -- when the Republican-controlled Congress needs to pass a new federal funding bill because the current one is expiring -- House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will pass a bill that permits continued funding of Planned Parenthood.

What are the chances Trump would veto it for that reason?

In September 2016, then-candidate Trump wrote a letter to pro-life leaders. "I am committed," he said, to defunding "Planned Parenthood as long as they continue to perform abortions."

This month, the Government Accountability Office presented Congress with a report that said Planned Parenthood affiliates spent $288,880,000 in federal funds in 2013, 2014 and 2015 and received $1,212,780,000 in Medicaid reimbursements. Planned Parenthood affiliates also received $2,420,000 in reimbursements from Medicare and $390,000 from the Children's Health Insurance Program.

That is a total of $1,504,470,000.

During that same three-year span, according to its annual reports, Planned Parenthood did 980,000 abortions.

In the 2010 elections, Americans gave control of the House back to Republicans. On Feb. 17, 2011, as the House was debating the first spending bill the new Republican majority needed to pass, then-Rep. Mike Pence rose to defend an amendment he had offered.

He sounded like the Republican platform.

"I believe that ending an innocent human life is morally wrong," Pence said. "But I rise tonight because I also believe it's morally wrong to take the taxpayer dollars of millions of pro-life Americans and use it to fund organizations that provide and promote abortion -- like Planned Parenthood of America."

"Let's end the taxpayer support of Planned Parenthood," said the future vice president. "The Pence amendment's purpose is to do simply that and, in so doing, to stand with the American people, to stand with the American taxpayer, and to stand without apology for the sanctity of human life."

The Pence Amendment passed the House 240-185, winning 10 Democratic votes. But it was not included in the final version of the bill that became law.

Mike Pence was right. It is "morally wrong to take the taxpayer dollars of millions of pro-life Americans" to fund Planned Parenthood.

But that does not mean the Republicans will do what is right.

After all, if they did, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer would shut down the government -- perhaps for several days -- and MSNBC, CNN, The Washington Post would be outraged.

That, apparently, is too high a price for Republican leaders to pay to defend innocent life.

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