Message in a Battle

In my new book No Fear, I tell the story of Lila Rose, who, as an 18-year-old UCLA student, walked into a Planned Parenthood clinic in Southern California with a mission to expose the illegal activity of the nation’s largest abortion provider.

Her courage to stand up for life has played a key role in bringing our nation to where we are today: 10 installments into the Center for Medical Progress’ undercover videos of Planned Parenthood. We are without excuse when it comes to what our laws and tax dollars are facilitating — the trafficking of aborted baby body parts. The question now is whether Republican leaders have the courage to walk into the Capitol and challenge President Obama over his commitment to keep the federal dollars to Planned Parenthood flowing.

This morning, another undercover video, CMP’s tenth, competed for the headlines with Senate leaders who insist they won’t even contemplate a government shutdown — even when that same government is making these atrocities possible. While the world watched another Planned Parenthood staffer talk about what a money-maker baby butchery can be, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was at a microphone calling the strategy to defund the group “an exercise in futility.”

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), one of the three dozen who refuses to sign his name to any budget bill that doesn’t strip Planned Parenthood’s funding, can only shake his head. “If you’re telegraphing to the other side that you’re unwilling to have that battle, you’ve already capitulated. What you say is you’re going to use all the tools available.” Pro-lifers, and especially those in leadership, “can’t be afraid of having a battle,” he said.

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With an explosive Iran deal on the table and a handful of days to keep the government’s lights on, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and company have their work cut out for them. But as our good friend Chuck Donovan pointed out, this “is a tall mountain worth climbing.” Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), one of the more outspoken members of the House Freedom Caucus thinks, “Leadership is going to have to choose: Do they want it to be a talking point, or do they want to actually do something about it?”

For now, the Senate is pushing for the former — with plans to move on two standalone bills: first, a year-long moratorium on Planned Parenthood funding; and the second, stiffer penalties for people caught violating the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act (which Richards’s group has alluded to ignoring for richer organ harvests). Obviously, FRC supports both — a fact FRC’s David Christensen made quite clear in an interview with the Washington Examiner. But we also think, and David articulated, that “Strategically, just having a stand-alone vote does nothing to push the issue forward.” For his part, Speaker Boehner says he hasn’t “made up [his] mind” on how he’ll move forward.

FRC Action’s Super PAC, the Faith Family Freedom Fund, will try to help him do exactly that with a new Planned Parenthood ad campaign ratcheting up the pressure on members who lack the courage and conviction to stand for the fundamental right to life. “A shutdown,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) claimed, “doesn’t help us maintain our majority so we can have some influence.”

But what good is congressional control if you don’t use it for something? It’s time for the GOP to stop caring about their own majority and start caring about the majority of victims, whose deaths and dismemberment are being rewarded with a half-billion tax dollars a year. Republican leaders say they want the GOP to “govern.” But now is the time to lead.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Tony Perkins
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law. (Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)

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