- The Washington Times - Friday, July 8, 2016

A pro-life group is planning a massive outreach campaign in Cleveland when the Republican National Convention comes to town, in an effort to include defunding Planned Parenthood in the GOP platform.

To ensure the policy prescription is taken up by the party, Created Equal will hold several rallies around the city leading up to the convention and fly an airplane tow banner with the words “Rescue Unborn Children” around the city all throughout the week.

Mark Harrington, national director of Created Equal, said uncertainty about where presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump stands has given some in the pro-life movement cause for concern about the direction of the party.

“We have not heard from the presumptive nominee whether he’s going to defund Planned Parenthood officially,” Mr. Harrington said. “He’s spoken about Planned Parenthood doing some good things, so he’s been a little all over the map on it, so we’ve got to keep the pressure on them.”

Mr. Harrington said including the provision in the platform is essential in determining the future course of the party.

“This is directly asking the party to defund Planned Parenthood and redirect that half a billion dollars to federally accredited health centers, so the money is actually going to centers that don’t do abortions,” he said.

Created Equal will hold rallies at the various locations throughout the city, such as the Public Square, Quicken Loans Arena and Cleveland City Hall, from July 13-15. The tow banner will fly around the city from July 13-21.

The campaign comes after the Center for Medical Progress video series released last year, in which top Planned Parenthood officials were allegedly caught on tape discussing illicit fetal tissue trafficking.

Those videos spurred a congressional investigation, which found several Planned Parenthood clinics had broken federal privacy law in the alleged fetal trafficking operation, and calls from Republican leadership to defund the abortion chain.

Although several states have divested resources in the wake of the videos, Planned Parenthood still received federal funding in last year’s budget.

“The Republican Party is still funding Planned Parenthood,” Mr. Harrington said. “They were supposedly unwilling to shut down the government. So they did fund it. And the point of the matter is, until we get this thing done, we’ve got to keep the pressure on them.”

• Bradford Richardson can be reached at brichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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