The office of Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, who claims to be a pro-life Democrat, has confirmed he will not vote for an amendment to de-fund the Planned Parenthood abortion business.
Speaker John Boehner forced pro-abortion Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid to allow a vote this week on an amendment that would strip Planned Parenthood of the Title X family planning funds it receives from the federal government. While pro-life organizations say such money should not be sent to a business that does abortions, Casey disagrees.
When Bob Casey defeated Rick Santorum for a Pennsylvania seat in the Senate, pro-life advocates hoped Casey would vote the same as his predecessor and his pro-life father, former Governor and stalwart pro-life Democrat Bob Casey, Sr. But, the younger Casey has consistently opposed pro-life efforts to divert federal tax money from the abortion business.
In September 2007, Casey voted for a pro-abortion amendment sponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer seeking to overturn the Mexico City Policy, which prevents international family planning funds from going to Planned Parenthood and other groups that perform and promote abortions overseas. Casey voted for the Boxer amendment and his spokesman, Larry Smar claimed Casey was taking a consistent position opposing abortion funding but funding abortion groups.
“He does not support public funding of abortion,” Smar said at the time. “The amendment he voted for would not allow public funding of abortion, which is illegal” under another provision.
Conservative writer David Freddoso responded, “The Boxer amendment does not put money directly into grants for providing abortions, but it funds groups that perform and refer them. Since money is fungible — that is, it can be used for anything — there is really no difference. That is why this amendment was so controversial, and why other pro-life senators … voted against it, and have voted against it in all of its many incarnations over the years.”
Douglas Johnson, the legislative director for National Right to Life, told LifeNews.com then: “Before the adoption of the Mexico City Policy, the U.S. government was the major funder of organizations that campaigned to legalize abortion in Latin America, Africa, and elsewhere,” he said. “If the Boxer Amendment, which Sen. Casey regrettably supported, was enacted, it would force the removal of family planning funds from private organizations that stick to non-abortive methods, in order to give those funds to organizations that are committed to the promotion of abortion.”
The last time senators voted on Planned Parenthood funding, they rejected the Vitter amendment on a 52-41 vote in October 2007. Casey voted against the amendment along with Democrats Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who also considered himself pro-life.
Jordan Sekulow, of the ACLJ, says the vote on Planned Parenthood funding in the Senate may show how pro-life Democrats are not really pro-life after all.
“Although the last-minute budget deal that lawmakers agreed to on Friday did not defund Planned Parenthood, it did guarantee that an up-or-down vote on whether to defund the abortion provider will be held in the near future. That’s a vote that three self-proclaimed “pro-life” Senate Democrats must be dreading,” he said. “Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE), and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) claim to be strongly pro-life. All three are up for reelection in 2012 and will have to take a very public stance on the defunding of Planned Parenthood. This single vote has the potential to seriously haunt their future campaigns.”
“A vote in favor of continued Planned Parenthood funding will be an effective campaign ad for these senators’ opponents,” he continued. “Of course, these wannabe pro-lifers have already lost credibility with the grassroots because of their varying degrees of support for Obamacare. All three had a chance to vote against funding the pro-abortion health care law, but none did. While it would be great to have these vulnerable Democrats vote yes on defunding the nation’s number one abortion provider, a no vote is a gift to their future Republican opponents. It is impossible to claim the pro-life mantle and simultaneously endorse the organization most responsible for promoting and executing the abortion industry’s agenda.”
Manchin, in particular, may face heat over his vote.
“Unlike Manchin’s pro-Obamacare vote, a vote not to defund Planned Parenthood cannot be explained away with some kind of “no other good options so I had to do this” talking point. The Senate’s soon-to-be scheduled vote is strictly about preventing Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funds, not eliminating all federally sponsored family planning programs,” Sekulow said.
“After the vote, we will know if there is any space left for real pro-life Democrats in Washington, D.C.,” he concluded.
ACTION: Make your views known about Senator Casey’s vote by going to http://casey.senate.gov/contact