Planned Parenthood and Abortion in the States: Good News in the Battle for Life

 Rob Schwarzwalder is Senior Vice President at Family Research Council. This article appeared in Christian Headlines on September 14, 2015.

States are recognized in the Constitution as powerful entities.  “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people,” says the Tenth Amendment.  In other words, whatever the Constitution does not specifically authorize the federal government to do lies within the authority of the states.

This diffusion of power was deliberate.  The Founders feared a heavy-handed federal establishment, knowing a massive concentration of power would mean erosions and eventual repression of personal and public liberty.
They were wise.  And even though Washington has usurped so many functions that the states can and should be performing, states still have their own budgets and legislatures that pass them.
That’s good news in the wake of this summer’s nine (so far) videos showing Planned Parenthood’s brutal commodification of unborn children.  Five states (Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Utah, and New Hampshire) have thus far chosen to cut funding for America’s largest provider of abortion and Iowa’s governor has ordered a review of its state funding.  In many more, investigations of the organization either are underway or have been completed.  
Of particular note is New Hampshire, which gave its four electoral votes to President Obama in 2012.  The state’s pro-abortion governor, Maggie Hassan, has continued to stand by Planned Parenthood, but last month, by a vote of 3-2, the state’s Executive Council (which has authority to approve contracts of more than $10,000) “denied state funding by turning down a $639,000 contract with Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.”
Other states already have acted to eliminate funding for the abortion giant.  For example, in New Jersey, another state President Obama won, Gov. Chris Christie has vetoed funding for Planned Parenthood six times.  Most recently, in June of this year he vetoed $7.5 million in New Jersey taxpayer funding for the group. 
Christie is not alone.  In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker took similar action.  As reported by
Before adopting the 2011-’13 budget, the Legislature rejected Walker’s proposal to eliminate the $1.9 million in grants. Instead, it reduced the amount to $1.7 million. But it also changed state law so that any agency that provides abortion services could not receive the money. That meant Planned Parenthood lost its $1 million-per-year allocation. Over roughly the next three years, Planned Parenthood closed five of the nine clinics that had been receiving the state money.
And as of last month, “Arizona abortion clinics must report to state health officials what happens to the remains of aborted fetuses, under a new temporary rule ordered by Gov. Doug Ducey and approved by Attorney General Mark Brnovich … ‘What’s happening in these Planned Parenthood facilities — what we’ve seen on video — is horrific and we want to make sure we’re doing everything to ensure that’s not happening in Arizona and that’s what these rules are for’ (Ducey said).”
Investigations in Florida at Gov. Rick Scott’s request yielded the finding that three of its sixteen Planned Parenthood facilities were illegally performing second-trimester abortions and a fourth facility was not keeping proper records on disposing of fetal remains. Those three Planned Parenthood facilities have been allowed to resume first-trimester abortions but investigations are ongoing and Florida is not backing down.
There’s more good news.  As of July 2015, the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute has counted 282 pro-life measures enacted at the state level since 2010, with 51 new pro-life laws in 2015 alone. 
In Missouri, it’s been estimated that the state’s requirement that women requesting abortions wait 72 hours before having the procedure has saved 200 unborn children in St. Louis alone.  
In Texas, reports Nancy Flanders of Live Action News, “Since the passage of a … bill revoking taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, over 4,500 babies have been saved from abortion.  In 2011, then Governor Rick Perry defunded Planned Parenthood of $34 million or more by signing into law SB 7. That year, the state reported 72,470 induced abortions; in 2013, there were 63,849 reported abortions. The number is down more than 13,000 from 2010, and pro-lifers are attributing the drop to state pro-life laws and the defunding of the abortion giant.”
Planned Parenthood’s federal funding is a distinct but in no way unrelated matter.  The more than $500 million Planned Parenthood gets from Uncle Sam annually enables the organization to shift huge amounts of money to its abortion practice, which accounts for the killing of 330,000 unborn children each year.  
That’s why Family Research Council, with dozens of our allies, has sent a letter to the House Republican leadership saying, in part, “The House can and must act to send a defunding measure back to the Senate while the exposure of (Planned Parenthood’s) atrocities continue to shock the American conscience and build momentum to stop federal complicity in this organization's inhumane practices.”  Not a cent of federal money should go to Planned Parenthood ever again.  
Federal legislators should learn from their state counterparts, who are defending the unborn and their mothers from the predatory abortion industry.  And they are doing so, in significant degree, because of the Tenth Amendment.
Of course, federal courts and the Supreme Court regularly trample on the Tenth Amendment and the constitutional authority states possess to enact laws relevant to their own affairs.  The federal courts that overturned state marriage amendments and the Supreme Court’s action this summer finding a constitutional “right” to same-sex marriage are pristine examples of such.
Yet even with federal judicial overreach, states still have a lot of power to act for themselves.  The governors, legislators, and other officials who steadily are chipping away at the edifice of death that is the abortion industry are proving it, month by month, year by year.