Dan McLaughlin flagged this speech on Monday, but I'm just now getting around to watching and blogging it. Powerful, thoughtful stuff from Utah's junior Senator -- well worth your time, even if it's a few days late:
To date, only four of the promised twelve undercover videos of Planned Parenthood officers and facilities have been released. And to be sure, Mr. President, in coming months there will be more revelations about Planned Parenthood’s profiteering violence and fraud. There will be congressional investigations, to cut through the obstructions and obfuscations already undertaken by Planned Parenthood’s lawyers, spokespeople, and friends in the media. There will be criminal investigations into whether physicians altered procedures – in violation of the law and medical ethics – to maximize the prices they could charge for the remains of their victims. And inquiries into Planned Parenthood’s army of clerks, lawyers, and bookkeepers who turned barbarism into commerce.
There may well be civil litigation brought against Planned Parenthood by former patients who did not realize their harrowing personal ordeals were being exploited for profit by people they thought they could trust. So it will be some time before all the facts come out about the full scope of Planned Parenthood’s moral and financial corruption. But the revelations exposed just in the first four videos - all by themselves – are more than enough to disqualify Planned Parenthood from continued taxpayer support. After all, nobody is entitled to taxpayer money. Recipients have to continually demonstrate their worthiness for public support. I think we can all agree that it’s not too much to ask that our women’s healthcare grants not finance a criminal conspiracy against American women and children. So of course we should pass Senator Ernst’s bill. It doesn’t cut any funding. It just transfers Planned Parenthood’s grants to other women’s and community health centers. This is a no-brainer.
Incidentally, the fifth video in the series confirmed Planned Parenthood's illegal abortion practices designed to produce "intact fetal cadavers." Seven more to come, potentially including 'racially-charged' material. Back to the speech. Lee's passage exposing the unholy alliance between violence and deceit was especially arresting:
For all the political spin, at the end of the day, Planned Parenthood makes its money doing things any child could tell you is indefensible. That’s why those things are almost never actually defended – including on this floor today. Defenders of Planned Parenthood offer instead gauzy rhetoric about “care,” and “access,” and “choice,” which are totally irrelevant to Senator Ernst’s thoughtful, focused compromise proposal. On the other hand, the shocking words at the heart of this scandal – abortion, organs, price, “crunch” – are carefully avoided. That’s what you do when forced to defend the indefensible: you distract, you confuse, you talk about anything else besides the facts at hand. For in this debate, Planned Parenthood’s defenders’ true adversary is not the Center for Medical Progress, or the pro-life movement, or the millions of even pro-choice Americans outraged by the scandal. Like all defenders of institutional violence, their real adversary is the Truth. The pro-life movement today may love different sinners and hate different sins than previous social reform movements. But they fight for the same Truth: that not only are all men created equal, but that all human beings are, in fact, human beings. Abortion-on-demand survives today – as other peculiar institutions once did – violating a universal moral principle by disguising a biological fact. Such is the nature of violence…
Mr. President, the day will come when – in an act not of reckoning but of love – America finally sets these things right in full. That day is not yet here. For now, even though Planned Parenthood apparently breaks some laws, its lucrative business remains protected by others. So even when we do pass the Ernst bill – and we will, one day soon - Planned Parenthood will nonetheless continue - at least for while – in its grisly work. But not in our name. And not with our money.
Senate Democrats and Illinois Republican Mark Kirk successfully filibustered Joni Ernst's legislation, preventing a debate and up-or-down vote on the measure. The bill in question wouldn't have cut one dime from women's health funding; it merely redirected existing funding to qualified providers -- and away from the late-term abortionists and human organ traffickers of Planned Parenthood. Two Democrats, Joe Donnelly and Joe Manchin, joined every Republican (except for Kirk) in voting to move the bill forward. Though they failed to reach the 60-vote threshold, there has been positive movement on this issue in Congress' upper chamber in recent years:
In 2011, cloture to defund PP got 42 votes. This time it got 53 (55 if you add Graham who skipped to campaign &McC) https://t.co/baKYQYb9jN— John McCormack (@McCormackJohn) August 3, 2015
All of this was very upsetting to outgoing Sen. Barbara Boxer, one of Congress' most radical abortion warriors. As if to prove Lee's point about deflection and deception, she went the cheap, 'don't mansplain pregnancy to me' route during the floor debate:
Boxer blithely ignores that the bill's primary sponsor was a woman and mother, that every female Republican member of the Senate voted to advance the legislation, and that American women are more opposed to late-term abortion than men. No matter. The goal is always to generate a fog of indignance, confusion and distraction to obfuscate the core issue, which they prefer not to discuss. Whereas Lee, Ernst and other pro-lifers offered sharp, thoughtful, and moving pro-life messaging in support of this bill, another prominent Republican stumbled badly yesterday:
"I'm not sure we need half a billion dollars for women's health issues," Jeb Bush says at Southern Baptist Convention. — Sabrina Siddiqui (@SabrinaSiddiqui) August 4, 2015
Jeb's record is actually quite good on the life issue, but that's one hell of a soundbyte to drop in the middle of a heated national debate. Abortion defenders are desperate to cast the issue as nasty Republicans trying to slash "women's health" funding, while Planned Parenthood's critics are trying to keep the spotlight fixed on the organization's ghastly practices. Jeb's quote -- which might as well have been scripted by Cecile Richards -- (a) yanks the party off-message, (b) adopts Planned Parenthood's euphemisms, (c) tosses the Left a lifeline by directly playing into their counter-narrative, (d) and undermines Republicans' meticulously-messaged assurances that Ernst's bill doesn't reduce funding. The Bush campaign eventually clarified his remarks, following a botched attempt to do so. That's all well and good; as I said, he's solid on the overall issue. But video of his offending soundbyte will live on -- an unforced error that raises more questions about Jeb's preparedness to run a smart, disciplined general election campaign. Part of his establishment cachet is that he's the safe, reliable, experienced, "electable" pick. This episode doesn't exactly buttress that narrative.
Editor's Note: A version of this item is cross-posted at HotAir.com