Sorry to crush your hopes and dreams, my fellow pro-lifers…but Congress ain’t going to defund Planned Parenthood.
I know you’re all shocked — the GOP is is overpromising and underdelivering on something important to its base, the country, and human rights? — but, alas, it is true. And not just for the normal reasons related to prioritizing political survival over actual survival.
The link above leads to my full analysis of the issue at The Federalist (which will be live this afternoon or early tomorrow), including an assessment of the politics behind recent statements and actions by Boehner and McConnell, but I wanted to highlight a couple of points that haven’t gotten much, if any, press, related to Planned Parenthood’s federal funding.
To be sure, the standard politicking plays a role in Planned Parenthood’s continued use of your tax dollars to kill kids. There’s the rabidly pro-abortion Democratic Party versus the wishy-washy GOP, and there’s McConnell undercutting Rand Paul’s tactical use of the transportation funding bill to defund, Boehner who wants “facts first,” and Boehner’s chief subordinate who wants to jump right into a vote.
But it’s not just politics that’s going to keep the American taxpayer on the hook for Planned Parenthood’s rendering of children limb from limb and its poisoning of women. It’s also how the temporary defunding bills introduced in the House and the Senate don’t actually eradicate Planned Parenthood’s federal teat, and the unethically complex maze of how funding makes it to PP affiliates and clinics.
First, the so-called “defunding” bills that aren’t actually trying to defund America’s abortion giant. As I wrote at The Federalist:
However, the truth is less optimistic. From a spokesperson for Senator James Lankford, R-OK, who introduced the Senate’s bill:
Our bill focuses on federal funding, and would ask PPFA to certify to HHS that they and their affiliates aren’t providing abortions [if they want federal funding]. They can still refer to non-PPFA locations for abortions and would not violate the law.
In other words: If PP employees are on the clock, and tell women to go to non-PP clinics for abortions, that’s not counted as PP providing funding that assists with abortions.
The bills also include the standard exceptions for abortions related to rape of the mother, an incestuous relationship, or life of the mother — which would allow PP to destroy babies on the taxpayers’ dime in those cases.
Second, the gold standard of government watchdogs, the Government Accountability Office, has no idea how to differentiate between state and federal funding for combined programs, such as Medicaid and CHIP:
However, this data is extremely limited, in terms of defunding Planned Parenthood, because nobody knows who is spending what. From my article in March:
[…]GAO’s Director of Health Care, Dr. Marcia G. Crosse, told LifeSiteNews that “we are not able to differentiate what portion of that funding is federal, and what portion is state funds. And the contributions to those programs vary by state.”
While experts at the Family Research Council (FRC) used the GAO report to calculate that more than $96 million came to PP exclusively from the feds, in the form of Title X funding, that is only a fraction of the amount of federal funding received by PP affiliates and clinics.
Arina Grossu, Director of the FRC’s Center for Human Dignity, asked the right question in an e-mail to me:
“It shouldn’t be this difficult to find out how our taxpayer money is being used to fund Planned Parenthood. Where is the transparency?”
Finally, there’s the money that just isn’t included in the equation. From 2010 to 2012, GAO found $24 million in reimbursements that just simply weren’t included in its analysis of the total reimbursements from the feds to Planned Parenthood:
Page 40 of the report has the details, with emphasis added:
Some PPFA affiliates expended federal grant funding but were not required to report it to OMB because the amounts expended did not meet the required threshold. According to data provided to us by PPFA, these affiliates expended approximately $23 million in grant funding. In addition, some PPFA affiliates received an additional $24 million in reimbursements for services provided under the federal programs listed in table 25.
It is not known whether the House and Senate defunding bills would address this smaller pot of money. Neither of the lead sponsoring Member offices in the House and Senate got back to me about this question.
The fact is, it’s going to take actual guts for the GOP to defund Planned Parenthood, probably via “must-pass” legislation that the GOP almost always shrinks from. It’s really pitiful that saving millions of babies from horrific deaths, and their mothers from horrific physical and psychological damage — plus the harm to their souls — isn’t enough for Democrats and Republicans to work together.
Then again, we’re the ones electing these people. And it’s exactly why Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards told George Stephanopoulos she wasn’t worried about the other videos expected to come out for the next couple of months. A little bit of bad press now is nothing compared to continuing to receive nearly half of your organization’s revenues from the hapless taxpayers.
Dustin Siggins is the Public Relations Officer and D.C. Correspondent for LifeSiteNews, the world’s largest pro-life, pro-family daily news website. He is also the author of the forthcoming book, “America’s Bankrupt Legacy: The Future of the Debt-Paying Generation.”
Update: Second paragraph reworded.