Thanks for the vote are due the tea-party movement. Elections have consequences. And Lila Rose, no doubt, played a role — more than a few Republican members used her work at Live Action during the debate over the Pence amendment last night (I tweeted a bit as they talked). Rose reacts to the vote:
We applaud those in Congress who championed the safety of women, young girls and children today, and refused to funnel hundreds of millions of tax dollars into an organization that furthers the trafficking of minors and enables sexual abusers. We now turn our attention to the Senate. Now they must examine the facts and move to pull the plug on subsidizing Planned Parenthood’s exploitation of the most vulnerable among us. The case to cease funding is crystal clear. But for any Senator who remains unsure, imagine explaining to your constituents that you voted to keep sending $350 million of their tax dollars to an “non-profit” that puts young girls in harm’s way and made $63 million in profits by performing over 300,000 abortions last year. It’s time once and for all to stop financing these activities.
Update: The National Right to Life Committee, in an about-to-be-released statement, seconds my emotion about Live Action:
WASHINGTON (February 18, 2011) — The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the nationwide federation of state right-to-life organizations, expressed strong approval that the U.S. House of Representatives today adopted, 240-185, an amendment offered by Congressman Mike Pence (R-In.) to cut off federal funds to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and 102 named PPFA affiliates.
“This landmark vote demonstrates that most House members now recognize Planned Parenthood is a hyper-political, under-regulated, out-of-control mega-marketer of abortion as a method of birth control,” said NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson.
In a letter to House members, NRLC said, “PPFA is the nation’s largest abortion provider, reporting 324,008 abortions in 2008. . . . According to press reports, PPFA has recently mandated that all of its regional affiliates must provide abortions by the end of 2013. Recent media reports regarding abuses associated with PPFA-affiliated clinics in multiple states provide additional justifications for the amendment.”
The allegations regarding abuses, uncovered by independent journalists posing as sex traffickers, have received substantial coverage in mainstream news media in recent weeks, including this story in the New York Times.
The Pence Amendment does not affect the funding level for any federal program. Instead, it disqualifies PPFA and its named affiliates from receiving any type of federal funds. (In a 2010 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected a claim that a similar law, cutting off federal funds for the organization ACORN and its affiliates, violated the Constitution’s Bill of Attainder Clause.) PPFA affiliates receive about one-third of their aggregate clinic-level income from selling abortions. PPFA has a total annual budget of about $1.1 billion, of which about one-third comes from various levels of government, including at least $88.7 million in a year (2008) from the federal government.
The Pence Amendment was added to H.R. 1, a measure to fund all federal agencies through September 30, 2011. The bill contains a number of other pro-life provisions supported by NRLC, including a provision to restore a policy (overturned by President Obama) denying U.S. foreign aid funds to certain organizations that promote abortion as a method of birth control, and a provision restoring a previous ban on the use of congressionally appropriated funds for abortion on demand in the Federal district (Washington, D.C.), where abortion is currently allowed without any limitation.
The abortion-related provisions will next be considered in the U.S. Senate — where 33 seats, 23 of them currently held by Democrats or independents who caucus with the Democrats, will be on next year’s general election ballot.
“Now senators, too, will go on record on whether to push the snout of this bloated abortion mega-marketer, Planned Parenthood, out of the U.S. Treasury feeding trough,” said NRLC’s Johnson.
Any differences that emerge between the House and Senate versions of the funding bill will become subjects for negotiations between the two houses, and with the White House.
Recommended further reading regarding PPFA’s accelerating efforts to increase its abortion “market share”: “Planned Parenthood: Building an Abortion Empire,” by Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D., here; and “Planned Parenthood’s Unseemly Empire: The Billion-Dollar ‘Nonprofit’,” by Charlotte Allen, here.
Douglas Johnson, of course, has been doing yeomen’s work for years on victories like this one.