- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 18, 2017

Abortion provider Planned Parenthood has 250,000 reasons to be thankful for “Mom.” The CBS sitcom, that is.

Variety reported Thursday that the Chuck Lorre-produced program is redirecting the quarter-million dollars it otherwise would have spent on promoting itself in the run-up to the Emmy Awards nomination deadline to the organization, which also provides free or low-cost contraceptives and contraceptive counseling.

“Mom” co-star Allison Janney “has long been an active supporter of Planned Parenthood,” Variety said, while Mr. Lorre “has a record of supporting public health organizations including the Venice Family Clinic, where he established the Robert Levine Family Health Center in his father’s name.”

The “Mom” contribution comes amid calls by conservative activists to seize on Republicans’ control of Congress and the presidency to end federal funding of Planned Parenthood clinics.

Hollywood, long a bastion of socially liberal celebrities who are not shy to promote their politics, has amped up its opposition, seizing on social media outlets with hashtag campaigns like #StandWithPP.

But despite the at times alarmist rhetoric from the left, some conservative Hill watchers are pessimistic about the potential for real policy change.

While defunding the organization is one key provision within the House Republican health-care reform bill, the lay of the land is less than certain in the Senate, where Republicans hold a slim majority of 52 seats, including a fair number of are moderates, some from states Democrat Hillary Clinton handily won in 2016.

Indeed, an earlier vote on Planned Parenthood funding suggests Republicans have no votes left to spare on future fights on the matter.

In one Senate vote in March on overturning an Obama administration regulation that forbade states from withholding Medicaid dollars from Planned Parenthood, the measure narrowly passed after Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote.

Republican moderates Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska had joined the chamber’s Democratic caucus in voting against the measure. One additional Republican defection would have doomed the measure.

President Trump signed that legislation in mid-April, but did so sans fanfare or media outlets observing, signing the measure privately rather than in a celebratory public ceremony.

The stopgap government-funding measure passed by Congress and signed by Mr. Trump in late April retains federal funding of Planned Parenthood, a sticking point for conservatives who considered the must-pass legislation the perfect opportunity to set the precedent for ending the flow of federal tax dollars to the organization.

It remains unclear if Republican congressional leaders will seek to include Planned Parenthood’s defunding as a provision of future appropriations bills or if the strategy is simply to pin that policy goal on passage of health-care reform.

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