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WETZSTEIN: Abortion is crux of funding fight
Planned Parenthood Federation of America is in its 95th year of existence, and like other well-seasoned entities, it seems to be in a fight for its life, at least as far as federal funding goes.
As always, I will refrain from expressing an opinion on abortion.
But as a public service, I would like to recap some highlights of the House of Representatives' debate on an amendment to eliminate "any and all" federal funding to Planned Parenthood and its 102 affiliates.
The amendment passed Friday, with a bipartisan vote of 240-185, as part of the House Appropriations Committee's bill to fund the government for the rest of fiscal 2011.
Arguments for passage:
• "Nobody is saying that Planned Parenthood can't continue to be the largest abortion provider in America. But why do tens of millions of pro-life Americans have to pay for it?" — Rep. Mike Pence, Indiana Republican and sponsor of the amendment.
• "I want to reiterate that Planned Parenthood has received $363.2 million in taxpayer funding as of its 2009 annual report, one-third of their $1 billion income. During that same time period, Planned Parenthood-supported clinics performed over 324,000 abortions, and this is by their own accounting. Federal taxpayers should not be asked to subsidize these actions." — Rep. Larry Bucshon, Indiana Republican.
• "Planned Parenthood has recently made plain the centrality of abortion to its mission, mandating that every affiliate have at least one clinic performing abortions within the next two years." — Rep. Martha Roby, Alabama Republican.
• "Planned Parenthood isn't about health. It's about profit." — Rep. Vicky Hartzler, Missouri Republican.
• "For the sake of abortion, Planned Parenthood holds itself above the law, ignoring mandatory reporting requirements, skirting parental consent, and aiding and abetting child sex trafficking." — Rep. Jean Schmidt, Ohio Republican.
• "Plenty of family planning services outside of Planned Parenthood exist to help families seeking direction, care and counsel. These ethically sound places and services deserve a portion of funds to continue their much-needed and well-respected services." — Rep. Todd Rokita, Indiana Republican.
• "I must admit I am certainly disappointed that our Supreme Court claims that there is a right to abortion. We do know there is no right to the public treasury; there is no right to the taxpayer dollar; there is no right to demand that Americans front this organization with their taxpayer money." — Rep. Tim Huelskamp, Kansas Republican.
Arguments for defeat:
• "This amendment has nothing to do with the deficit. It is an attack by one congressman on one organization." — Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Connecticut Democrat.
• "This amendment is not merely anti-choice. It is also anti-health, anti-woman and anti-poor and is a thinly veiled attack on birth control." — Rep. Carolyn Maloney, New York Democrat.
• "Let's be clear, this is not about abortion. Existing restrictions prevent federal funding for abortion. This is about a direct attack on an organization that provides critical health services aimed largely at women in underserved communities throughout the country." — Rep. Barbara Lee, California Democrat.
• "If you're against abortion, be against abortion. But don't take it out on Planned Parenthood because they serve abortion clients in a separate operation." — Rep. Henry A. Waxman, California Democrat.
• "These [3 million] Americans [who use Planned Parenthood] cannot just go somewhere else, somewhere that my colleague on the other side of the aisle would find more palatable. Sixty percent of those who use Planned Parenthood services consider it to be their main source of health care, their medical home." — Rep. Lois Capps, California Democrat.
• "I am a pro-life Democrat … If you prevent Planned Parenthood from providing advice and services on contraception, we know for a certainty, especially in the communities that they provide services to, we are going to have an increase in the number of abortions in this country. That is the natural consequence of what is on the table here in this amendment." — Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, Massachusetts Democrat.
• Cheryl Wetzstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Cheryl Wetzstein covers family and social issues as a national reporter for The Washington Times. She has been a reporter for three decades, working in New York City and Washington, D.C. Since joining The Washington Times in 1985, she has been a features writer, environmental and consumer affairs reporter, and assistant business editor.
Beginning in 1994, Mrs. Wetzstein worked exclusively ...
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