How Mitch Daniels Can Be The Most Pro-Life, and Fiscally Conservative Too

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 21, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

How Mitch Daniels Can Be The Most Pro-Life, and Fiscally Conservative Too

by Tom McClusky
June 21, 2010 Note: Tom McClusky is the Senior Vice President of Family Research Council and FRC Action.

I was happy to see Indiana governor Mitch Daniels (R) somewhat retreat from his earlier statement that he “would not reinstate the Mexico City Policy.” The Mexico City Policy halts U.S. family planning funds from going to foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that perform abortions or “actively promote” abortion as a method of family planning in other countries.

This clarification does not fully explain the Governor’s “truce” comments. The best response I have seen to the ridiculousness of a “truce” was written by prominent conservative activist (and FRC Action board member) Phil Burress, president of Citizens for Community Values:

Unless he knows something we don’t, using the word “truce” when family values are under increasing attack can only mean surrender. Does he have knowledge that the other side is going to stop performing abortions during this “truce”? Are homosexual activists going to stop promoting same-sex marriage during this “truce”? Is what Governor Daniels really wants is for the pro-family movement to stop talking about his record so he can run for President?

I’d like to offer up to Governor Daniels a way to be more pro-life while also being more fiscally responsible then any of his predecessors, should he actually win the office he has been speculating about, the Presidency of the U.S.

This week the Government Accounting Office (GAO) publicly released their report “Federal Funds: Fiscal Years 2002-2009 Obligations, Disbursements, and Expenditures for Selected Organizations Involved in Health-Related Activities,” which reveals that six organizations connected to the abortion agenda received over a billion dollars in federal funds from 2002 to 2009. The report was requested by freshmen Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas) (actually fulfilling a campaign promise he had made.)

While many Republicans, all of them strongly and unquestionably pro-life, are talking about this report and highlighting how wrong it is that these six pro-abortion groups are getting taxpayer funds there has been little to no mention that in at least seven of those years there was a Republican in the White House and five of the years covered the Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress (with a brief Jim Jeffords-created hiccup of Senate control.)

So for the majority of those years, even with the Mexico City Policy in place, about a billion of tax dollars flowed to organizations whose main purpose is to promote abortion. During most of those years, Members of Congress, usually led by Representatives like Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Mike Pence (R-Ind.) introduced different amendments and pieces of legislation that would de-fund these groups.

And the current Republican leadership always supported those efforts – however even with Republican control these attempts failed. Meanwhile down Pennsylvania Avenue at the White House President Bush said little and did even less in stopping the agencies under his control from continuing to send money to these six organizations.

In places the GAO report brings up more questions then answers. As the Washington Times reports “Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s (PPFA) audits show the organization spent just $657.1 million between 2002 and 2008 from federal government grants and programs, but the abortion behemoth’s own annual reports show that it took in $2.3 billion from government grants and programs during the same time period.”

Planned Parenthood does get a lot of taxpayer money from state and city treasuries as well as the federal government, however the GAO report realizes that the full amount of funds being given to abortion organizations could be hard to determine because of the different money streams. Planned Parenthood affiliates across the U.S. have gotten in trouble for overcharging U.S. taxpayers on reimbursements, no surprise from an organization that has also been complicit in statutory rape and refused to comply with state parental notification laws.

A President Daniels could use the GAO report to insist that those agencies stop receiving federal funds immediately. The groups affected, especially Planned Parenthood, argue they use these funds for “family planning” and not for abortions. However any fiscal conservative or economist worth a penny will point out the fungibilty of funds is common in these organizations. If our tax dollars help pay to keep the lights on at Planned Parenthood, that frees up other monies for the organization to perform abortions (and to lobby Congress for even more money!)

This fungibilty argument is important when you consider what US tax dollars help subsidize by giving money to these six groups. According to the report, in fiscal year 2008 the federal government gave these six groups at least $142.9 million in taxpayer dollars. THAT BREAKS DOWN TO $391,506 A DAY. If you rely on estimates from the National Abortion Federation a low average estimated cost of an abortion is $500. That means that U.S. taxpayers are subsidizing, on average, 783 abortions a day.

Beyond fungibilty the GAO report pokes a huge hole in the organizations involved argument that they can not separate performing abortions from “family planning.” International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPFF) was another organization covered in the audit. The report points out that during the years the Mexico City Policy was in effect “the London-based IPFF publicly refused to accept conditions of the policy, and no USAID funds were obligated to IPFF/London during this period.” However during that same time IPFF affiliates around the globe simply stopped doing abortions so that they could accept the U.S. funds. Highlighting the fact that policies like the Mexico City Policy do not affect U.S. support of family planning, organizations like IPFF/London’s fealty to abortion over helping others is what ends up hurting countries that need our assistance.

If a President Daniels were to cut funding to these organizations as long as they performed and promoted abortions he could save taxpayers millions of dollars, while also possibly saving hundreds of thousands of lives every year. If he is serious about a “truce” on social issues he needs to make sure that he doesn’t continue taxpayer funding of one side during this so called “truce.” That is something nearly a decade of Republican rule in DC failed to do and would make him a hero of social and fiscal conservatives alike.


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