Planned Parenthood Relying on Obama to Save Taxpayer Funding

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 31, 2011   |   10:46AM   |   Washington, DC

Planned Parenthood is buttering up President Barack Obama, because he has the last word on whether the abortion business will continue to receive tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds via the federal budget.

The House approved a long-term bill weeks ago with the Pence Amendment to yank funding for the abortion business, but Senate Democrats rejected it. As negotiations move forward on a continuing resolution to fund the federal government for most of the rest of the year, Planned Parenthood officials are concerned the House and Senate will agree to a measure that revokes its funding.

If that happens, Obama could issue a veto that would force lawmakers back to the drawing board with a bill that could restore Planned Parenthood’s place at the funding trough.

Obama has already said he would veto the House-approved long-term spending bill because it funds Planned Parenthood, saying House Republicans’ cuts are unacceptable.”

“Let’s not try to sneak political agendas into a budget debate,” Obama said. “If Republicans are interested in social issues that they want to promote, they should put a bill on the floor of the House and promote it, have an up-or-down vote, send it over to the Senate. But don’t try to use the budget as a way to promote a political or ideological agenda.”

Not content to take any risks with its federal funding, Planned Parenthood has cozied up to Obama — starting with Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards snagging time with First Lady Michelle Obama at an event for women earlier this month.

Today, Politico reports, “Members of the Obama administration have also had low-profile meetings with abortion rights advocates. And groups like Planned Parenthood that have been targeted by conservatives largely feel reassured by the positive signals the White House has thus far shown on protecting their funding.”

Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of public policy and advocacy for Planned Parenthood, told the news web site, “We have a positive relationship with the Obama administration, and we applaud its strong commitment to reproductive health, family planning and preventive health care. President Obama has reinforced this commitment by calling for an increased investment in an essential women’s health care program” in his latest budget.”

Rep. Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat who is the leader of the pro-abortion forces in the House, told Poltico Planned Parenthood has consulted with White House officials on a “regular basis” and she said she is confident Obama will veto any bill that removes its funding.

“The White House has been steadfast in its position,” she said.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List, responded to Politico’s report by saying Obama is “without question” the most important ally Planned Parenthood has in the funding debate.

Despite Obama’s veto threat, House Speaker John Boehner appears to be holding fast and insisting that House Republicans will not back down on keeping a provision to revoke taxpayer funding for the Planned Parenthood abortion business in the budget bill. If both sides don’t come to an agreement, some top lawmakers told Politico a shutdown of non-essential government services and programs could be in order, with Republican Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho saying there is a 50-50 chance.

While Republicans and Democrats spar about the budget, pro-life groups are continuing to push every pro-life voter to call or email their lawmakers and tell them to support de-funding Planned Parenthood.

“Planned Parenthood receives $11 from taxpayers every second. They have already received over $82 million from us this year,” Deal Hudson of Catholic Advocate complained. “Every 96 seconds, Planned Parenthood performs an abortion with that money; we have lost over 79,000 babies already this year. This is hard news for me to report to you, but I am compelled to share the truth so you can help us educate those in Washington.”

On Monday, pro-life advocates played the latest piece on the game board in the race to de-fund Planned Parenthood. A coalition of pro-life groups announced the launch of a $100,000 radio ad campaign in Washington and a $90,000 television ad campaign to go along with it that features Abby Johnson, the former director of a Texas clinic run by Planned Parenthood.