As the Senate has been working through August recess, a top priority has been crafting a spending package. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) saw this as a perfect opportunity to defend the lives of the unborn. Last Thursday, he introduced an amendment that would specifically defund Planned Parenthood which received over $500 million of taxpayer money in 2017 alone from the federal government. The amendment would have streamlined that funding toward women’s health centers that do not offer abortion services.
At first, Sen. Paul slammed Senate Leadership for blocking a vote on the amendment by pushing it aside because of other votes. Because of his pressure, the amendment was offered on the floor later that day. With a 60-vote threshold, the amendment failed by a 45-48 vote. This was predictable, but the American voters needed to know where their Senators stood on life. The most vulnerable Democrats running in red states put their re-elections on the line by voting against the amendment. Seven Democrats who are up for re-election in red states decided to ignore the values of their constituents and vote against the amendment. Among those Senators were Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Joe Manchin (D-WV) who have claimed to be pro-life and even voted this year for the 20-week abortion ban.
Sen. Manchin defended his vote by claiming that no taxpayer money goes toward abortions due to the Hyde Amendment. While this narrative used by pro-choice Democrats and Republicans is true, he leaves out the bigger picture. Because all other services from Planned Parenthood are subsidized by the federal government, they are allowed to use more of their donated money for abortions. In reality, the government is subsidizing abortions. In addition to the funding streams, Planned Parenthood has harvested baby body parts for money and refused to report instances of trafficking and abuse. This is an organization that has harmed women for decades.
Thankfully, the House version of this bill includes a defunding of Planned Parenthood. Even though both the House and Senate have made great strides in passing the spending bills needed before the September 30th deadline, the question has been whether or not they will decide to pass a continuing resolution to avoid controversy before the November elections.
Eagle Forum is disappointed in the Senate’s failure to defund Planned Parenthood and will continue advocating for legislative measures to protect life.
D.C. Executive Director, Eagle Forum