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Counting the cost

Republicans turn their backs on promises to defund Planned Parenthood

Counting the cost

Trump speaks about the $1.3 trillion spending bill. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

A few hours after President Donald Trump signed a $1.3 trillion spending bill to keep the federal government funded through September, satirical news website The Babylon Bee ran a stinging headline: “Republicans Clarify That By ‘Defund Planned Parenthood’ They Meant ‘Give Them $500 Million Every Year.’”

The fake-news-for-laughs carried an unfunny truth: After months of lofty promises from Republicans and Trump to defund the nation’s largest abortion business, the GOP-controlled Congress passed a bill that keeps the funds flowing. And President Trump signed it.

Planned Parenthood performed 321,384 abortions last year.

In December, the Department of Justice began laying the groundwork for a possible investigation into Planned Parenthood over the sale of aborted baby parts—an illegal practice brought to light by a series of undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress in 2015. (Planned Parenthood has denied wrongdoing.)

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was among 23 Senate Republicans who refused to vote for the spending bill in March: “It continues to fund Planned Parenthood, a corrupt organization whose horrifying abortion practices should preclude it from receiving taxpayer dollars.”

The abortion giant insists it doesn’t use federal funds to conduct abortions, but as pro-lifers have pointed out for years, money is fungible, and having more funds for non-abortion services frees up money for offering abortions.

When it comes to those non-abortion services, Planned Parenthood points to its cancer screenings and—ironically—a smattering of prenatal care, but it also touts cross-hormone therapy for men and women identifying as transgender.

At least 90 House Republicans also opposed the March spending bill, with many lamenting the spending increases in areas they thought should be cut back, not expanded.

President Trump said he wasn’t happy with the bill either and had tweeted that he might veto the legislation because it didn’t fully fund the border wall or address issues regarding DACA recipients. Trump said he decided to sign the bill “as a matter of national security” because it increased funding for the military.

Brennan Linsley

A pro-life rally in Denver. (Brennan Linsley )

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., told The Atlantic the Republican leadership agreed to a trade with Democrats in order to get the bill passed: more domestic spending for more defense spending. Democrats expressed delight. “We don’t have the House. We don’t have the Senate. We don’t have the presidency,” Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said. “But we produced a darn good bill for the priorities we believe in.”

A tweet from the Heritage Foundation called the bill’s bloated spending and the failure to defund Planned Parenthood an “embarrassing rundown of broken promises.”

The president signed the bill the day before tens of thousands of protesters flooded Washington, D.C., to demand tighter gun control laws in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting that killed 17 people in February.

Legislators continue to debate what steps could prevent similar shootings in the future, and it’s a gut-wrenching issue for families and students grappling with the sudden loss of loved ones cut down by violence. But it’s also a deeply complex issue, since no one knows when a madman will strike, what kind of weapon he’ll use, or what could stop him.

With abortionists, it’s much clearer. They post office hours. Thousands of unborn children will die this week, and many conservatives hope Republicans will someday keep the promise to stop giving taxpayer money to the groups that facilitate those deaths.

Governing is complicated. Spending bills are complex. Politics grow thorny. But sometimes, moral clarity is simple—even if it’s costly.

We see it in Leah Sharibu, a 15-year-old Nigerian girl who refused to renounce her Christian faith in exchange for her freedom. Boko Haram militants kidnapped Leah and 110 other girls from a school in February.

By late March, Leah was the only girl still in captivity after terrorists released the other students. “She was about to board the vehicle to bring them back,” her mother told reporters. “Her friends said they tried to convince her, but she will not convert to Islam. Boko Haram said since she will not convert to Islam she should remain behind. That was how they left her.”

During the same week, a French police officer faced his own moment of truth. When a Moroccan-born gunman claiming allegiance to the Islamic State took hostages at a supermarket in Trèbes, France, on March 23, Lt. Col. Arnaud Beltrame made a simple calculation: He had everything to lose, and he risked it all to save someone else.

Beltrame volunteered to take the place of a female hostage. Hours later, Beltrame lay dead, reportedly with his throat slit.

The officer was a practicing Catholic, and chaplain Dominique Arz said that Beltrame “radiated” his faith: “To believe is not only to adhere to a doctrine. It is first to love God and his neighbor, and to testify of his faith concretely in everyday life.”

Jamie Dean

Jamie Dean

Jamie lives and works in North Carolina, where she covers the political beat and other topics as national editor for WORLD Magazine. Follow Jamie on Twitter @deanworldmag.

Comments

  • Christian_Prof
    Posted: Mon, 04/02/2018 10:50 pm

    This makes me so angry. I'm seriously contemplating leaving the GOP for 3rd party. It's stated over and over again that Evangelicals strongly oppose abortion. They vote for candidates that say they will defund PP, and then the candidates just quietly let PP thrive another year. And Evangelicals still go back to them. 

    Gross.

  • MamaC
    Posted: Wed, 04/04/2018 10:17 am

    I agree! I hope and pray that more evangelicals wake up and realize that being a Christian doesn't mean blindly supporting one particular political party.

  • My Two Cents
    Posted: Tue, 04/24/2018 01:15 pm

    I have officially "left" the GOP. Technically, they left me for the reasons you stated. I'm trying to get off their mailing lists. I did not vote in the primaries in March. In my state, that's how you get labeled with party affiliation. Unfortunately, in my state (Texas) ballot access for third parties is ridiculously rigorous. They have to pay a large sum of money and gather an absurd number of signatures of people who have not voted in the last primary. So. That means that for a candidate I support for say, president, I cannot petitition to get on the ballot because I voted in the primaries for an office where my third party doesn't field any candidates. 

    And, in the case of funding PP, this is a relatively simple act which the GOP has been unable to perform in the last 40 years. It's simple. Make a bill stating that PP will not receive any federal funds. They are a 501-C3  non-profit organization and they can raise their own funding like any other 501-C3. Do not attach that bill to any other. Submit, vote, pass. Easy peasy. 

    I'm enjoying looking at life through my rose-colored glasses. And, there are many third parties. I wish some of them with similar platforms could join forces. However, I'm looking strongly at the Constitution Party. Please consider them. I'm not 100% FOR any party, but if I can support with my vote or a small contribution toward a true pro-life, pro-Constitution party, then that is my tiny voice in a sea of bi-partisan idiocy. The CP lines up the closest with my belief of limited government (something else the GOP says they support, before they passed a multi trillion dollar monstrosity budget.)