Will Senate Wish Planned Parenthood a Fund Farewell?
The summer weather is no match for the heat on Planned Parenthood. Two weeks and four incriminating videos later, the stress on Cecile Richards's group is starting to show. With some of the most shocking footage tied up in court, Planned Parenthood and its baby part buyers are desperately trying to keep the lid on the latest bombshell — that the abortion giant sometimes ships out *fully intact infants* to its clients. Just when Americans thought the most stomach-turning details were already released, the Center for Medical Progress's David Daleiden told CNN that there's a reason Planned Parenthood and company are working so frantically to keep the fifth video under wraps. "In a meeting with their top leadership," Daleiden explained, "they admitted that they sometimes get fully intact fetuses shipped to their laboratory from their abortion clinics they work with, and that could be prima facie evidence of born-alive infants." For now, the grisly confession, taped over lunch with high-ranking StemExpress officials, is in the hands of federal judges who will decide when and if the footage is released.
The summer weather is no match for the heat on Planned Parenthood. Two weeks and four incriminating videos later, the stress on Cecile Richards’s group is starting to show. With some of the most shocking footage tied up in court, Planned Parenthood and its baby part buyers are desperately trying to keep the lid on the latest bombshell — that the abortion giant sometimes ships out fully intact infants to its clients.
Just when Americans thought the most stomach-turning details were already released, the Center for Medical Progress’s David Daleiden told CNN that there’s a reason Planned Parenthood and company are working so frantically to keep the fifth video under wraps. “In a meeting with their top leadership,” Daleiden explained, “they admitted that they sometimes get fully intact fetuses shipped to their laboratory from their abortion clinics they work with, and that could be prima facie evidence of born-alive infants.” For now, the grisly confession, taped over lunch with high-ranking StemExpress officials, is in the hands of federal judges who will decide when and if the footage is released.
In the meantime, Congress isn’t exactly hurting for evidence. While the House has already broken for August recess, the Senate is teeing up the first of many responses to the controversy. As members from three committees get their investigations underway, the Senate’s GOP leadership scheduled a vote to end the decades-long practice of forcing taxpayers into financial partnership with the nation’s largest abortion provider. After hours behind the curtain of Planned Parenthood’s grisly organ harvesting ring, any senator who can justify sending $528 million to this group should do so at their own political peril. A vote for Planned Parenthood is a vote for inhumanity.
You don’t have to be pro-life to recognize that sending a half-billion dollars to a group that treats babies like pieces of meat is a mistake. Or maybe you do. According to most liberals, the President’s party isn’t even whipping the bill to defund Planned Parenthood. “This is not an especially hard vote,” said one Democratic aide. He’s right — it isn’t. But compare the indifference of the President’s party to baby harvesting with their quick and passionate response to Cecil the Lion. Democratic Senators, led by Robert Menendez of New Jersey, wasted no time introducing the Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large Animal Trophies Act or the CECIL Act.
Yet two weeks after these horrific admissions from Planned Parenthood’s own mouth, and the vast majority of Senate Democrats and President Obama are still stubbornly backing an organization being investigated by a fifth of the country. Florida’s Governor Rick Scott ® was the latest to open a criminal probe against Richards’s group, the tenth such inquiry since July 14. “The videos coming out about Planned Parenthood are deeply troubling to say the least. It is against the law for any organization to sell body parts. I asked AHCA Secretary Liz Dudek to begin immediately dispatching staff from their licensure office to evaluate the Planned Parenthood offices in Florida that perform abortion procedures to ensure they are in full compliance with the law.”
In preparation for [last night’s] vote, Planned Parenthood tried to go on the offensive — using some of its record profits to launch ads in a series of senators’ states. In one, a cancer survivor insists that she is “alive because of Planned Parenthood” — a claim 327,653 children couldn’t make in 2014.
In the end, this isn’t about being pro-life or pro-choice. It’s about being pro-dignity. And there should easily be 100 votes in the Senate for that. As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) pointed out, the issue here isn’t whether the government will fund women’s health programs. The question is whether Planned Parenthood is the best choice to administer them. “This legislation would ensure taxpayer dollars for women’s health are actually spent on women’s health — not a scandal-plagued political lobbying giant.”
There are 9,000 health centers that don’t perform abortions — without all of the excess baggage that Planned Parenthood brings. “I think most people do want to defund this…” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told reporters. “It would be much less emotional for everyone if we just funded community health centers.” Who could possibly oppose redirecting that money to legitimate clinics not under investigation for trafficking in baby body parts? I guess we’ll find out.
Pastors Press Suit in Houston Clash
Houston Mayor Annise Parker spent the better part of 2014 dragging innocent pastors into court. Now, it’s her turn. Months after the city’s local LBGT ordinance made national headlines, the church leaders who Parker targeted are fighting back with a lawsuit of their own. After the Mayor made the mistake of subpoenaing pastors’ personal emails, documents, photos, and even sermons, the “Houston Five” think it’s time their persecutor was held accountable.
Not only did Parker refuse to let the citizens of Houston decide the issue, she sabotaged the drive to put a repeal measure on the ballot — disqualifying tens of thousands of voters’ petitions in the process. Late last month, the Texas Supreme Court had plenty to say about the Mayor’s decision to unilaterally silence Houstonians. In a huge blow to Parker and her accomplices on the city council, the court ruled, “The legislative power reserved to the people of Houston is not being honored.” By August 24, the justices ordered, Houston must either repeal the ordinance allowing men in girls’ locker rooms, showers, and bathrooms or put the issue on the November ballot. Period.
Jared Woodfill, a former county chief of the Republican Party said what many of us had been pointing out since last year: “This is all about the mayor and her personal agenda. The actions she took were unlawful, and now the court has said the people are going to have an opportunity to vote. That’s all we’ve asked for from day one.”
Now, as if that news weren’t damaging enough, Parker will have to answer for her actions in another court. In a press conference [Monday] morning, the plaintiffs of this new suit (which includes four of the Houston Five and the Houston Pastors’ Council) are demanding justice for the Mayor’s decision to drive her radical agenda at the literal expense of these church leaders. In her reckless campaign to squash the opposition, these pastors were forced to spend more than a half million dollars defending themselves. “The purpose of this lawsuit is not to retaliate for her wrongful behavior,” the group’s attorney told the press, “but instead is to create a deterrence to all future Mayor Parkers to let them know once and for all, if you’re going to violate rights, there will be reckoning and accountability in a court of law.”
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.