It isn’t often that politicians have the chance to right a wrong shortly after it has been committed. Congress has that chance now, and it has a moral imperative to act to remedy an injustice of its making. In September, Republican leadership in the House and Senate allowed legislation to advance and pass in both chambers to continue funding Planned Parenthood as part of a larger bill funding the federal government. That bill was signed into law by President Obama. It expires December 11. In the spending bill that will replace the expiring one, Congress must act to deny any further funding to Planned Parenthood, which kills nearly 330,000 babies a year.
The Republican Party has had as one of its central tenets respect for the unborn and for life. That tenet has been non-negotiable for years. It had been thought that the Republican Party would never yield on its opposition to abortion, and would certainly not proactively fund an organization that performs abortion on a massive scale. But it did on September 30 when House and Senate leadership guided legislation to passage in both chambers that funded Planned Parenthood and the federal government.
Federal funding of Planned Parenthood allows this pernicious organization to continue its evil work of destroying life in the womb. Planned Parenthood receives approximately $500 million a year from Congress. That taxpayer funding helps to keep Planned Parenthood in operation and permits it to use other funds to abort babies. As the gruesome and well-publicized Planned Parenthood videos by the Center for Medical Progress make crystal clear, Planned Parenthood kills babies, rips their bodies apart, and sells their body parts.
They are merchants of death.
Congress has become their enablers.
The recent announcement by Planned Parenthood that the baby parts they had sold they will now donate does nothing to mitigate the heinous nature of their acts. They are taking the most vulnerable among us, our brothers and sisters in the womb, and annihilating hundreds of thousands of them each year. When faced with such a clear example of injustice, Congress equivocated.
History asks questions of each generation. In this generation, history has asked Congress: In light of abundant evidence that Planned Parenthood is killing babies and selling baby parts, and given that our nation is committed to life and that we have innate rights as humans, will you keep funding this organization?
Congress didn’t like that question, because halting funding for Planned Parenthood would be politically difficult and inconvenient.
Instead, Congress tried to answer these questions: Should Congress ban late-term abortions? Should there be criminal penalties for doctors who do not give the care required to a baby born during an abortion?
The excellent bills that respond to these questions — H.R.36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and H.R. 3504, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act — should become law. The House passed H.R. 36, but the Senate could not get the votes needed to move to debate on the legislation. H.R. 3504 passed the House, but the Senate did not consider it. House and Senate leadership were concerned with mollifying the pro-life movement without risking a showdown with President Obama.
Republicans in Congress were so desperate to come up with something legislative to address abortion, but ignored the question of whether or not the government of the United States should support Planned Parenthood’s actions by funding it. The result was that Congress sent President Obama a bill that funded Planned Parenthood and kept the government open. Caesar was appeased and compassion for the unborn became a casualty.
Between passage of this legislation and its expiration on December 11, it is estimated that 70,000 abortions will be performed by Planned Parenthood. Congress can take away its imprimatur of Planned Parenthood and money the organization needs by refusing to fund it past December 11. Congress will have to get a new spending bill to President Obama by then. The House should pass legislation refusing to fund Planned Parenthood.
If the Senate cannot pass it, then President Obama doesn’t get a bill that funds his allies at Planned Parenthood. President Obama would have to shut down the government on behalf of Planned Parenthood. He could reopen it if he decided that the operation of the federal government was more important than the operations performed by Planned Parenthood to kill infants in the womb. This is the course of action Congress — and the House specifically — must take in order to rise to the challenge history has placed before it.
The day after the bill that funds Planned Parenthood expires, December 12, is the Catholic feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In 1531, Mary appeared in Mexico with a message of love and a desire to draw all to God. She is the patroness of the Americas. Reflecting on this, Pope Francis said, “Mary’s embrace showed what America – North and South – is called to be: a land where different peoples come together; a land prepared to accept human life at every stage, from the mother’s womb to old age.”
Congress has the chance to right its earlier wrong of funding Planned Parenthood in the September funding bill and not fund Planned Parenthood. It would require them walking back the budget deal arrived at with the White House. That should not be a stumbling block to doing the right thing. The House can pass a bill that manifests love for life in the womb, and in the process speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. Congressional Republican leaders should stand up for the unborn and no longer rely on a political calculation that promotes the easy path of compromise on a matter that involves hundreds of thousands of innocent lives.