February 16, 2017
Liberals say they believe in "choice" -- they just don't want states to have one! President Obama made that abundantly clear in December when he decided to give Cecile Richards's group one heck of a parting gift. With one foot out the door, the abortion industry's best pal used his last few moments in power to ban states from defunding groups like Planned Parenthood. The rule, which became official two days before the inauguration, was a final slap in the face to leaders across the country, who have always had the ability to decide where and how their tax dollars are spent.
That overreach stops now, Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) told Congress. Last month, she introduced a resolution of disapproval that would stop the rule in its tracks. "It's not the role of politicians in Washington to usurp the states' 10th Amendment rights and [swap] our judgment for that of state and local leaders," she said at the hearing Tuesday. "We must return to a point where states are empowered to make their own healthcare decisions -- based on the unique needs of their constituency -- without fear of reprisal from the federal government."
Like most conservatives, she's outraged that President Obama would substitute his own judgment for local officials'. "As members of this committee may know... states have always had the freedom and flexibility to dole out those grants to providers of their choice... Now, under this eleventh-hour Obama administration rule -- finalized after President Trump was elected and made enforceable just two days before he took office -- Tennessee has lost that right." Members of the House Rules Committee sympathized and moved to restore those rights by passing the resolution to the floor by a 7-4 party-line vote.
Today, the House cleared the first big hurdle, sending Black's bill to the Senate 230-188 (with Democrats Dan Lipinski, Ill., and Collin Peterson, Minn. siding with Republicans). As an added bonus, The Hill points out, the resolution can't be filibustered in the upper chamber because it's "being moved through a law that allows Congress to rescind recently finalized rules." Naturally, liberals like Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) are hyperventilating at the thought of states (the majority of which are under Republican control) directing their dollars to community health centers whose idea of "comprehensive care" doesn't include abortion. At one point, Slaughter even tried to inject gender equality into the mix, arguing, "For more than 40 years, men in blue suits have been trying to determine what women can and should do when it comes to their own health."
That's interesting, since the House resolution is sponsored by a woman. Also, it might interest the New Yorker to know that in the latest national poll, a whopping 83 percent of women support banning the funding of abortion internationally. Nationwide, 77 percent of them want to limit abortion to the first trimester -- that is, as RealClearPolitics points out, slightly higher than the national average! Another 59 percent say abortion is "morally wrong."
Obviously, Slaughter's party -- and the extremists at Planned Parenthood -- don't speak for women! Nor do they speak the truth, as pictures from last weekend's protests showed. In them, young girls were holding signs that said things like, "Don't take away my breast cancer screenings!" Well, first of all, Congress can't take away something Planned Parenthood never offered. That the organization offers mammograms is a myth, as even Richards was forced to admit. The only "breast exams" they do are the basic tests a woman can do herself. Other cancer screenings are on a serious decline, as FRC points out in our Planned Parenthood Fact Sheet. "Despite the 63 percent decrease in screening services, Planned Parenthood continues to tout its screening efforts as a major part of their public advertising."
Community health centers, on the other hand, where a majority of state dollars are flowing, provided almost a half-million mammograms last year! And unlike Planned Parenthood, they weren't being referred for criminal prosecution by Congress or performing abortions at the same time! "We should invest in women's health, not abortion. Abortion is not healthcare," Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) said in this week's hearing. "The federal government should not incentivize the practice by undermining the authority of states." He's right. It's time for Washington to respect states that respect life.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.