March 30, 2017
Mike Pence is used to voting in Congress, but who knew he'd cast so many important ones as vice president? Donald Trump's second-in-command has a second title in the Senate: tie-breaker. And that job could not have been more significant than today when the former Indiana governor handed Americans a major victory on Planned Parenthood -- the first piece of pro-life legislation to land on President Trump's desk.
As some of you might remember, President Obama gave his friends plenty of parting gifts on his way out of Washington. Using his power at Health and Human Services, he issued a rule that did two things: it locked down federal grants for Cecile Richards's group through the Title X "family planning" program and blocked states from defunding Planned Parenthood. Obviously, the point was to strong-arm states into giving taxpayer dollars to abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood.
That's not only a violation of states' rights but of taxpayers' trust. Just yesterday, Americans watched in horror as a doctor for Planned Parenthood joked about working out so that she'd be strong enough to dismember unborn babies. It was the 13th undercover video released by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) -- each more horrifying than the last. As part of the footage, the doctor also implied that the group often saw babies born alive and it would depend on "who [was] in the room" as to whether they'd follow the law on giving the child medical help.
For Planned Parenthood, who so routinely violates the law that the U.S. House referred them for criminal prosecution, it's just one in a mile-high pile of reasons that states are racing to defund the group. Robbing them of the authority to do so, as Obama tried, is the worst form of political terrorism. "State legislatures around the country have spoken out about their preference for prioritizing more comprehensive primary and preventative care providers for the receipt of Title X funding," Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) wrote in a joint op-ed for the Washington Examiner, "and their voice should be respected by bureaucrats in the federal government."
Fortunately, the majority of senators (minus RINOs Lisa Murkowski, Alaska and Susan Collins, Maine) agreed. Although the bill to disapprove of the measure was deadlocked at 50-50, Vice President Mike Pence pushed the bill passed the procedural hurdle and paved the way for President Trump to dismantle another ridiculous rule of the Obama era. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) argued with Democrats who said the vote would "harm women." "[The rule] substituted Washington's judgment for the needs of real people," McConnell reminded them. "This regulation is an unnecessary restriction on states that know their residents a lot better than the federal government."
As for CMP, whose work is motivating more states to cut ties with Planned Parenthood, the legal fight goes on. And so, does the Left's hypocrisy. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) filed 15 charges against David Daleiden for "illegally" recording a conversation. There's just one problem: state law exempts people who are exposing criminal activity (which violating the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act is). Of course, it shouldn't surprise anyone that Becerra has enjoyed plenty of financial support from Planned Parenthood. Meanwhile, where is the mainstream media? The same press that's so quick to defend investigative journalism when the subject is an inhumane slaughterhouse, for instance, is nowhere to be found. If David had gone undercover to expose a puppy mill, he'd be hailed a hero. But because he unmasked the darker side of the nation's largest abortion group, people want to put him in jail! The double standard is maddening. For more on Daleiden's case, listen to my interview with FRC's Travis Weber on yesterday's "Washington Watch."
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.