June 13, 2017
"How to Lose the Majority in One Easy Step." That's the book Republicans could write if they listen to their pro-abortion fringe over the millions of voters who put them in charge. As usual, the GOP is trying to balance the wishes of 52 senators with very different priorities on health care. But there's one piece of the Obamacare repeal that has never been up for debate -- and that's the defunding of Planned Parenthood.
Americans handed the keys to the Republican Party in November with the understanding that they'd finish the job they started in 2015: ending the forced partnership between taxpayers and America's biggest abortion business. Now, with more than a dozen undercover videos of the group's activities (most of which aren't only callous, but lawless), there's never been more urgency to cancel the half-billion dollar check to the organization.
In the annual report just released by Cecile Richards's group, Americans found out that Planned Parenthood wasn't even living up to its own soundbites on services. Scandals aside (and there are plenty), cancer screenings are at a historic low at Planned Parenthood (down 16,974 cases in 2015-16 alone). They've seen 100,000 fewer patients, and clinics handed out 136,244 fewer of their go-to justification for funding: contraception. Add that to the dark world of organ harvesting and sales, the probable violations of the partial-birth abortion ban and Born-Alive Infant Protection Act, and the real question shouldn't be if we're going to fund Planned Parenthood -- but why we ever have!
But, despite the hours of tape and reams of evidence from the House's Select Investigative Panel, there are still two "Republican" senators willing to torpedo the entire health care overhaul in support of a group caught laughing about the decapitation of unborn babies. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) flew to Planned Parenthood's defense, telling reporters that defunding Richards's business (which is rolling in $77.5 million in profits) shouldn't "even be part of the discussion about health care." She's right. This should have never been part of the discussion. After all, abortion isn't health care, and that's the only thing Planned Parenthood seems to provide to women consistently. Three hundred twenty-eight thousand a year to be exact.
But in a disturbing new development, both Fox News and Politico are reporting that more Republicans may be willing to "give" on the pro-life provisions to pass the health care bill. I agree with my friend Todd Starnes: "That would be the end of the Republican Party. Period. Exclamation Point." The only reason the American Health Care Act squeaked out of the House was because a number of conservatives thought gutting Planned Parenthood's funding and ending taxpayer funding of abortion was important enough to override their other concerns. If that firewall is removed, the repeal will go down in flames. The strong support from pro-lifers in the House (and groups on the Hill) would vanish. Then what? The GOP would have failed once again to make good on their decade-old pledge to end Obamacare. And the American people wouldn't nearly be as forgiving this time, because they'll have had every tool at their disposal: control of Congress, the White House, and the backing of voters.
The GOP has promised for years to defund Planned Parenthood. It's in the Republican Platform. Then-candidate and now-President Donald Trump is on the record. The House of Representatives voiced its support last month when it passed the replacement bill. And now two senators want to turn tail and run? Let them. But follow at your peril. The GOP's second-in-command in the Senate, John Cornyn (R-Texas), tried to reassure voters that leadership isn't blinking. "We have a strong pro-life majority in the Senate, and so it's going to be in there."
Let's hope these "anonymous sources" are the usual suspects: RINOs who are hoping that conservatives might be willing to compromise and go along with them. I'm pretty confident, based on my personal conversations with Senate leaders, that they understand what's at stake. They have no desire to chart a path to the minority, which the failure to substantially repeal Obamacare would do. But at the end of the day, this isn't just about a political party, or even the agenda of millions of voters. This about saving lives. And no one -- including two senators in the wrong party -- should be allowed to stand in life's way.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.