The recent failure of the GOP to achieve the federal defunding of Planned Parenthood should not deter further efforts to remove taxpayer funds from the largest abortion provider in the U.S. In fact, the issue should remain front and center at every level in the 2012 political campaign.
Make no mistake about it, as Jordan Sekulow noted just prior to the latest federal budget deal, Planned Parenthood owns the Democrats. Therefore, for the Democrats, shutting down the federal government was worth it as long as it ensured continued taxpayer funding for the organization.
In the middle of March of this year, when asked about amendments that would defund Planned Parenthood, Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid was quoted as saying "not only no, but hell no."
Just hours prior to the budget agreement, Reid declared that the only issue holding up a budget deal was funding for Planned Parenthood. He declared, "Republicans want to shut down our nation's government because they want to make it harder for women to get the health services they need."
It's amazing that a U.S. senator can use the phrase "health services" in describing an organization that is dedicated to ending human life. However, this is how the liberal mind of the leader of the Senate works.
Joining the chorus of Planned Parenthood supporters was the No. 3 ranking Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer. "The dangerous, ideological cuts to Planned Parenthood that passed the House are never, never, never going to pass the Senate," said Schumer.
Giving his best Winston Churchill impersonation, Schumer added, "Let me repeat that, so all those who want to stomp on women's health and women's rights can hear us loud and clear. The dangerous, ideological cuts to Planned Parenthood that passed the House are never, never, never going to pass the Senate."
He may be right about this Senate, but the next one will almost certainly be a different story. In the 2012 election, the GOP has to defend only 10 U.S. Senate seats, while the Democrats have to defend 23. Of the 10 seats the GOP defends, six of them are from GOP strongholds: Arizona, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. Of the other four seats, two have been in GOP hands for at least three election cycles (18 years). The other two seats belong to Scott Brown of Massachusetts and John Ensign of Nevada.
Of the 23 Democratic seats (two are actually independents who caucus with the Democrats), three are from GOP strongholds (Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota), eight are from states that elected GOP governors in 210 or 2009 (Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin) and six are from states that elected a GOP senator in 2010 (Florida, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin).
Thus, with the Republicans needing to flip only four seats for control, it is highly likely that the GOP will take charge of the U.S. senate after the 2012 elections. (Notice that Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin elected GOP governors and senators in 2010.) If this happens, Republicans should act quickly and make Schumer eat his "never, never, never" declaration.
In light of the current economic climate, there has never been a better political climate for cutting off the over $360 million in federal funds that Planned Parenthood receives. Besides, our federal government has no business being in business with an abortion provider.
"But no taxpayer funds are used for abortions; federal law already prohibits that," Planned Parenthood supporters say. This is an asinine and absurd argument. With around one-third of its budget coming from taxpayer funds, it is clear that federal money enables Planned Parenthood to function and do what it does "best:" provide abortions.
Of course, with President Barack Obama on record supporting what many consider infanticide, even if Congress passes a bill defunding Planned Parenthood, he would almost certainly veto it. According to The Susan B. Anthony List, almost all current GOP candidates for president support defunding the organization. This is an issue that pro-lifers need to keep a significant part of the 2012 campaign.
In more ways than one, the U.S. federal government cannot afford its relationship with Planned Parenthood.
Trevor Thomas is a Hall County resident and frequent columnist.