Planned Parenthood Taketh, Planned Parenthood Giveth Away
If you’re wondering why the candidates won’t shut up about their abortion extremism, there are about 192,000 reasons why. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, that’s how many dollars the 2020 Democrats have raked in from Planned Parenthood over the last 29 years. Now, with the White House up for grabs, Leana Wen’s group is about to get a lot more generous — leaving a lot of taxpayers to wonder: just where do federal funds end and campaign checks begin?
For groups like Planned Parenthood, it’s always been a delicate dance. As everyone knows, it’s illegal for Wen to spend even a penny of federal funds on the group’s political activities — but a full bank account certainly gives them flexibility to. And that’s what at least 12 Democrats are banking on, including the PAC’s biggest beneficiaries: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), $53,058; Senator Amy Klocuchar (D-Minn.), $43,400; Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), $22,572; Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), $16,700; and others.
But even with Planned Parenthood’s deep pockets, the abortion industry can’t do all of the heavy lifting. That’s where their corporate lackeys come in. Over the past several months, we’ve seen just how many CEOs have sold their souls to the Left, taking to social media, the op-ed pages, Capitol Hill, and even advertising to shame the overwhelming majority of Americans who want to protect life. And Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), for one, is tired of it.
“I know there are decent people on both sides of this sensitive issue,” he writes. “…What should never happen, though, is billion-dollar corporations trying to dictate these moral questions to us. Politically correct CEOs shouldn’t be in the business of threatening normal Americans. But that’s exactly what we’ve seen lately. The loudest objections to these pro-life laws haven’t come from the ‘bottom up’ — from normal citizens who happen to disagree with one another — but from the ‘top down:’ from cultural elites, and increasingly from giant corporations who wield their economic power as a weapon to punish the American people for daring to challenge their pro-abortion extremism.”
He calls out giant media companies like Disney, Netflix, and Warner for threatening “to cripple Georgia’s film industry if its residents don’t bend the knee and betray their pro-life convictions.” Then, he explains, there was the full-page ad in the New York times from the CEOs of 100 companies who insisted that protecting unborn babies is “bad for business.” “How disgusting is that?” he exclaims. “Caring for a little baby is ‘bad for business.’”
While Senator Cotton filled the editorial page, Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebr.) took his debate to the chamber’s floor. A day after Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) ripped into Democrats for their out-of-step positions, Sasse directed his fire at the “candidate forum” Planned Parenthood is hosting for Democrats this weekend. “Let’s be clear: These candidates are wildly and spectacularly out of the mainstream in American life.” Not only do they support the killing of perfectly healthy newborn babies, but they want abortion “anytime, anywhere — for free.”
Even a “a majority of self-identifying pro-choice voters in America is opposed to abortion in the third trimester,” Sasse points out. “Sadly though, the most radical Left-wing voices are winning in their party’s echo-chamber, and Democratic candidates have now decided that they must prostrate themselves before the flushed-with-cash abortion industry.”
“That has consequences beyond policy. As Democrats’ abortion positions have become more extreme, they have not sought to even persuade fellow citizens with whom they disagree. Rather, they have become openly hostile to Americans who disagree on this great moral challenge.” He pointed to Senator Gillibrand, who this month compared pro-lifers to “racists.” “Perhaps in the senator’s next interview, my colleague will suggest that pro-life Americans belong in a basket of deplorables,” he jabbed.
“In their leftward lurch to become the Planned Parenthood candidate, it’s not just that Democrats seeking this office are losing touch with where Americans actually are on the question of abortion, or with our fundamental American convictions. It’s that, as my colleague from New York shows, they’re losing touch even with how to do politics like Americans…”
Recent history is littered with candidates who took the path of incivility and failed. That may be a way to win Planned Parenthood’s support — but it’s no way to win an election.
Originally published here.
A Cultural Xchange for Abortion
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals used to be the closest thing Democrats had to a sure thing. Chock-full of activists, the West Coast bench has been so wildly out of step with the law that it used to hold the distinction as the “most reversed” appeals court in the country. Now, after three years of record-shattering judicial confirmations, Donald Trump is on the verge of balancing the “Nutty Ninth” — and most Americans couldn’t be happier.
It’s a feat no GOP president has managed: taking the “liberal” out of “liberal Ninth Circuit.” Thanks to the White House’s laser-like focus on courts, the possibility grows stronger every day. With the help of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), President Trump has all but leveled the field — placing six judges on the bench and bringing the number of Republican appointees to 11. If Daniel Aaron Bress is confirmed (after his hearing last month), the Senate will have brought that total to an “even dozen” of the court’s 29.
In some cases, the shift is already being felt. Thursday, three judges from the Ninth Circuit handed the president a significant victory, voting 3-0 to let his “family planning” rule take effect while the legal challenges play out. “Absent a stay,” the trio wrote, “HHS will be forced to allow taxpayer dollars to be spent in a manner that it has concluded violates the law, as well as the government’s important policy interest in ensuring that taxpayer dollars do not go to fund or subsidize abortions.”
Under the administration’s policy, family planning programs wouldn’t just be financially separated from abortion — but physically separated too. After years of sending Title X dollars to the same location as some abortion centers, President Trump announced an important change. Restoring the policy of Ronald Reagan, he decided that groups like Planned Parenthood could only keep their family planning money if they moved their abortion activities offsite.
It was a significant move — one that could cost Leana Wen’s group as much as $60 million, the single largest drop in Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding in almost 50 years. The abortion industry sued. As far as they’re concerned, abortion is family planning — and they refuse to stand by and allow the White House to sever any strand of their taxpayer-funded ties.
At least for now, the Ninth Circuit is giving the administration the benefit of the doubt, letting HHS draw a bright line between abortion and family planning programs — just as courts have upheld. That’s just one reason Justice Department spokesperson Kelly Laco is “confident we will ultimately prevail.” “The [DOJ’s] position is supported by long-standing Supreme Court precedent… We are pleased that the Ninth Circuit has cleared the way for this important executive branch action to take effect while our appeals are pending.”
And even more pleased, no doubt, that the president’s policies are starting to get a fair shake in the court where lawlessness almost always prevailed.
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.