Scott Brown May Not Support De-Funding Planned Parenthood

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 22, 2011   |   12:46PM   |   Washington, DC

In a move that may undercut some of the pro-life support he has in Massachusetts, Sen. Scott Brown released a statement today apparently saying he does not support efforts by Republican to cut taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood.

House Republicans and Senate Democrats are currently negotiating a long-term continuing resolution funding the federal government after the passage of a short-term bill that gives them three weeks to come up with a long-term plan. Senate Democrats already rejected the first long-term bill Republicans introduced that contained the Pence Amendment revoking taxpayer funding for the abortion business and pro-life riders that stop direct abortion funding and funding pro-abortion groups — though Brown voting against them and supported the legislation pro-life groups favored.

As the negotiations move forward, Brown released a statement today on Planned Parenthood and family planning funding on his Senate web site.

“I support family planning and health services for women. Given our severe budget problems, I don’t believe any area of the budget is completely immune from cuts,” he said. “However, the proposal to eliminate all funding for family planning goes too far. As we continue with our budget negotiations, I hope we can find a compromise that is reasonable and appropriate.”

The House bill cut all funding for Planned Parenthood as well as all funding for the Title X family planning program. Brown’s statement could be interpreted as only opposing the cutting of family planning money and not opposing a potential compromise that has learned could be in the works: adding language to the section funding family planning saying funding remains but cutting it off for any organization or agency that performs abortions, such as Planned Parenthood.

But, if Brown is saying he is opposed to cutting off Planned Parenthood funding specifically (his statement was headlined as coming “on the budget negotiations relating to Planned Parenthood” — that would present pro-life advocates another hurdle in potentially getting a continuing resolution with the Pence Amendment passed in the Senate. contacted Brown spokesman Colin Reed for clarification and is awaiting a response.

Abortion advocates seized on the statement and gave Brown their support.

“Today’s report that Senator Scott Brown has said he will oppose efforts to defund Planned Parenthood and other family-planning centers is a positive first step, and we look forward to seeing his name appear in the ‘no’ column when this vote comes to the Senate floor,” said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL. “We also call on Senator Brown to stand up for the Commonwealth’s women and oppose other far-reaching and intrusive anti-choice policies as they move from the House to the Senate.”

Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have already indicated they oppose cutting Planned Parenthood funding. Like Brown, both support legalized abortion — though Brown has voted pro-life each time requested while Murkowski has a mixed voting record and Collins’ voting record is strongly pro-abortion.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid indicated he would reject any House Republican funding bill that yanks Planned Parenthood funding — saying not only no, but “hell no.” President Barack Obama has also said he opposes de-funding Planned Parenthood in the budget bills.

This week, several leading pro-life organizations are calling on Congress to keep pressing forward with efforts to de-fund the $1 billion-dollar Planned Parenthood abortion business, which receives $363 million from federal, state and local government. With statistics showing Planned Parenthood is the biggest abortion business in the nation and that it provides only abortion to almost every pregnant woman who walks in its door, and with videos showing it looking the other way as helpless sexually-trafficked young girls are subjected to abortions after being victimized, pro-life groups say there is little reason to fund the organization.

The buzz on Capitol Hill is that pro-life lawmakers are growing tired of short-term Continuing Resolution bills and are ready to dig in and fight hard for a long-term Continuing Resolution bill that completely defunds Planned Parenthood – which means the next three weeks could determine the direction the debate goes from here.

Leading pro-life groups have also been buttressed by support from more than two dozen fiscally conservative and libertarian groups that normally don’t weigh in on abortion debates but are urging Congress to de-fund Planned Parenthood. They released a letter to members of Congress yesterday asking for just that.