Blackburn, Vitter: C’mon, you know you’re paying for abortions, right?

posted at 4:31 pm on January 25, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Wait — you mean the Hyde Amendment isn’t working?  We have been told for years that even though we give millions to Planned Parenthood every year — last year, it was $542 million — for “family planning,” none of that money actually funds the abortions at, er, the largest abortion-provider chain in the nation.  Two Republicans in Congress explain the math behind this shell game, and propose a solution to it:

Perhaps the single most egregious example of this disconnect is the forced taxpayer funding of abortion that is now the law of the land. That’s right: Taxpayer funds are used every day to promote and enable abortions in this country. Washington’s insistence that it’s prohibited is a big lie. What’s worse is that Americans’ hard-earned money not only helps sell abortions, it also helps big abortion businesses make big profits.

Planned Parenthood performed a record 333,964 abortions last year, almost 1 million in the past three years. Last year, federal taxpayers gave Planned Parenthood a record $542 million, which is an 11 percent increase over the past two years. Planned Parenthood receives 45 percent of its revenue from Uncle Sam. Abortion mills are dependent on the federal taxpayer to pay for their overhead and countless items necessary for them to take innocent human lives.

To put the numbers in perspective, consider that every 94 seconds, Planned Parenthood performs an abortion. In that same amount of time, the federal government gives Planned Parenthood more than $1,600.

The first question should be why PP needs to get 45% of its revenue from the federal government at all.  Abortion isn’t illegal, and neither is contraception or other forms of family planning — which, by the way, are available at many places that don’t also do over 333,000 abortions a year.  If these services are that popular, let PP’s business model sink or swim without the government funding it.

The calculation in the last part of the excerpt makes the current business model obvious.  If PP gets $1600 from taxpayers in correlation with every abortion it performs, it becomes very difficult to believe that the first doesn’t fund the second.  Money is fungible, after all, and even though PP claims it applies that funding to other purposes, we are still supplying cash that subsidizes their core business.

Vitter and Blackburn are introducing legislation to end the spigot of taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood:

That’s why we’ve introduced legislation, the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, in the U.S. House and Senate that would help end this de facto taxpayer funding of abortion. Our legislation would stop the Department of Health and Human Services from providing Title X grant money to abortion providers like Planned Parenthood until they certify they won’t provide and refer for elective abortions.

Instead, we should use taxpayer funds to promote important options that unite all Americans, most notably adoption.

For those unfamiliar with the term, Title X refers to the Medicaid program that funds family-planning programs, including contraception.  That funding goes back decades, and is one of the reasons that a lack of access to contraception didn’t even make it as a mention in the CDC’s 20-year study on unwanted pregnancies, let alone as a cause of any significance. Barack Obama and his campaign successfully demagogued about a “war on women” based on opposition to mandates on employers and schools to give away contraception and sterilization services for free, but no Republican has seriously proposed even a reduction in Title X funding.

Nor are Vitter and Blackburn, although I’m sure the media will report it that way.  The bill would make Planned Parenthood and any other entity that performs or refers for abortions ineligible, but the benefit can be used at clinics where that’s not an issue, or other retailers who sell the products.  Combined with Bobby Jindal’s proposal to make birth-control pills available over the counter, it would effectively bypass PP and starve them of federal funding to subsidize abortions, and also the argument for it as necessary for “family planning.”

Of course, Congress tried doing something similar during the ObamaCare debate.  The Stupak amendment would have put the Hyde amendment into statutory law rather than budgetary language, but in the end the declared pro-life Democrats settled for a meaningless executive order.  It’s time to put real teeth and permanent status to the bar on funding abortions through federal tax dollars.

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