After a series of recently released undercover videos from the Center for Medical Progress showed Planned Parenthood doctors openly discussing the sale of fetal tissue and pushing baby body parts around in a dish, the Senate is set to vote on defunding the abortion giant today. Planned Parenthood receives more than $500 million in taxpayer funding each year and 60 votes are needed to strip the funding, which is unfortunately a far reach.
Writing in TIME today, Senators Joni Ernst, Rand Paul and James Lankford laid out their case.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s single largest provider of abortion services. Through a series of videos that have been recently released about Planned Parenthood’s callous harvesting operation, the realities of abortion have become public. Polite company does not want to discuss what really happens to children in an abortion clinic. For those brave enough to watch the videos, they have been horrified by the utter lack of compassion shown for these women and their babies. Even Hillary Clinton rightly acknowledged last week that the images are “disturbing.”
Tiny arms, legs and organs are placed in dishes and picked apart with tweezers. Unborn babies are seen as valuable – not as a new life, but as the source of parts eligible for sale. One employee haggles over prices and another discusses the benefit of selling individual organs rather than whole children because, “Per item works better so we can see how much we can get out of it.”
The videos also depict sterile discussions with Planned Parenthood employees raising questions about whether they may be altering the method of an abortion to increase the chances of keeping baby organs intact to make them more appealing to buyers. Intact, because human organs have value.
As one Planned Parenthood employee said, “You try to intentionally go above and below the thorax, so that, you know, we’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m going to basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”
If they are human organs outside of the womb, they had to be human inside the womb. It is disingenuous for Planned Parenthood to say in one moment that it is just fetal tissue, but in another moment acknowledge that it is human baby organs to be harvested and sold for medical research. Children in the womb are still children.
The Senate will soon vote on a bill to redirect federal taxpayer money from Planned Parenthood to women’s health care at places like community health centers and hospitals, which have almost fifteen times more facilities nationwide and provide more comprehensive health services. Our focus remains on ensuring that taxpayer dollars are utilized to protect federal funding for health services for women, which may include diagnostic laboratory and radiology services, well-child care, contraceptives, prenatal and postnatal care, immunizations, cervical and breast cancer screenings and more.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did the same in a local Kentucky newspaper over the weekend.
As Kentucky’s senior senator, I am grateful to represent a state where so many people value and cherish the dignity of life in all its stages. I’ve heard from many of you who share my outrage over these videos. And many of you are even more outraged that Planned Parenthood actually receives taxpayer funds to do its bidding—more than $500 million annually.
So am I. I have opposed public funding of Planned Parenthood for years and continue to do so. I believe in the sanctity of life, and I don’t think Kentucky taxpayers should have to fund practices they find morally reprehensible.
That’s why, as Senate Majority Leader, I asked a group of Republican senators, including Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst and Kentucky’s own Rand Paul, to draft legislation to protect women’s health services by redirecting Planned Parenthood’s federal funds to other women’s health organizations that we know are focused exclusively on helping women.
It's important to point out that the legislation being voted on today reallocates $500 million Planned Parenthood receives annually to other community health centers, making the claim that Republicans are trying to limit women's access to healthcare completely false.
But will this actually work? Unfortunately, it's not likely. Not only does Majority Leader Mitch McConnell need Republicans to vote for the measure, but Democrats too, who are rarely skeptical of any kind of abortion regulation in the name of "women's health." As Leah pointed out last week, despite the gruesome revelations of Planned Parenthood baby organ practices, a number of Republicans still support the organization. Futher, even if it did pass President Obama has vowed to veto the legislation
It’s truly astonishing how anyone can watch the now four videos that have come out in recent weeks exposing Planned Parenthood’s illegal sale of fetal body parts—not to mention today’s game changer that they harvest the organs of babies born alive—and still put politics before doing what’s right: ending taxpayer funding of the abortion giant.
Unfortunately Republican Sen. Mark Kirk seems to be doing just that. On Wednesday he said he’d oppose a Republican-backed bill to strip taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood.
“In other states tissue donation programs should be investigated but in Illinois there is no similar program,” Kirk told The Hill in a statement. “I do not plan to cut access to basic health care and contraception for women, the majority of whom have no other resources.”
He’s not the only Republican who opposes such a measure, however. Sen. Susan Collins told reporters on Wednesday that she’s “still looking at the bill.”
The Center for Medical Progress has released four videos at this point exposing Planned Parenthood for selling baby parts at the best prices. The group reportedly has at least nine more videos set to release.