Does the President really want to stand by an organization that jokes about cutting up innocent babies for profit? America is about to find out. Thanks to some maneuvering by House Republicans, the issue of Planned Parenthood’s organ harvesting scheme is about to land squarely in the White House’s lap. Using a process called reconciliation, the GOP just took its first step to force President Obama’s hand on the practice by passing a measure out of the House Budget Committee 21-11 earlier this afternoon.
Although it’s sporadically used, reconciliation allows the majority party to fast-track a funding bill through Congress — clearing the path of Senate filibusters and the 60-vote threshold usually required by the upper chamber. In this case, it would almost guarantee that a bill redirecting Medicaid money away from Planned Parenthood to non-abortion community health centers would finally make it to the President’s desk. From there, the burden would be on him to decide if America should continue to fund an organization that is trafficking in baby body parts.
Not only is it the right strategy morally, but, as the Congressional Budget Office pointed out last week, it’s the right decision financially. Ending the cash flow to Planned Parenthood and redirecting that money to community health centers would actually save the government about $235 million a year. Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), who’s also offered a standalone bill to redirect money away from Richards’s group, pleaded with Democrats to reconsider their opposition.
“Now, I know that some of my colleagues across the aisle have so far refused to watch the undercover videos implicating Planned Parenthood in the trafficking of fetal tissue. And perhaps they haven’t seen this independent forensic report confirming their authenticity. But I have and I believe that, by not offering a response, we in Congress would be shirking our duties to the people we represent.”
A registered nurse, Black is unapologetically pro-life. But, she — like so many members — recognizes that this is about protecting taxpayers too. “We have real and legitimate questions about potential illegal activities at Planned Parenthood. Until those questions are answered, it is fully appropriate to call a time-out on taxpayer funding and send that money to federally-qualified providers that offer a better standard of care to women who need it most. That is exactly what these provisions in the reconciliation package will accomplish.” Let’s hope the rest of Congress agrees.
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