Harry Reid: Democrats Won’t Budge on Funding Planned Parenthood

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 8, 2011   |   11:50AM   |   Washington, DC

Senate Democratic Leader Harry gave a speech on the floor of the Senate this morning confirming Senate Democrats will not budge on requiring Americans to fund the Planned Parenthood abortion business in the federal budget.

“I’m not going to be part of that. I won’t do it,” he said about efforts to cut Planned Parenthood funding on the part of House Republicans.

Reid is objecting to a short-term continuing resolution that doesn’t de-fund Planned Parenthood but includes language that would put the ban back in place that prohibits taxpayer funding of abortions in the District of Columbia.

Reid said Planned Parenthood funding is the “one issue” that may shut down the government and condemned those who are trying to cut funding, saying the “Tea Party is trying to move its extreme social agenda” by “throwing women under the bus.” He implied Republicans want to shut down government because they think there is nothing more important than inhibiting women’s rights.

Reacting to the speech, pro-life Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina accused Democrats of “choreographing” a government shutdown to divert attention from President Barack Obama’s lack of leadership on the budget and refusal to sign a budget bill that stops taxpayer funding of abortions or de-funds Planned Parenthood.

“The president needs a distraction, and this is a choreographed distraction to try to shift the blame from a president who has been AWOL from leadership and has very little political courage,” DeMint said. “They are coached to call us extreme and blame it on the Tea Party. Americans are smarter than that.”

Senator Jon Kyl, a pro-life Arizona Republican,  said Reid is engaging in a red herring to say government should be shut down because Planned Parenthood is not de-funded under the one-week short-term bill the House pasesed, only the long-term bill it approved weeks ago. He said Planned Parenthood is not a health care provider and people don’t go to Planned Parenthood to get the cholesterol checked — “you go to Planned Parenthood for an abortion.”

He said it would be “absolutely irresponsible” for Reid to shut down governtment to protect Planned Parenthood.

“Planned Parenthood isn’t the only place that provides medical care in this country,” he said.

During his speech, Reid also made the claim that cutting off Planned Parenthood funding is not about abortions and that cancer screenings are the real issue.

Yet, Live Action released videotaped footage of calls to 30 Planned Parenthood centers nationwide in 27 different states where abortion facility staff were asked whether or not mammograms could be performed on site. Every one of the Planned Parenthood centers admitted they could not do mammograms. Every Planned Parenthood, without exception, tells the women calling that they will have to go elsewhere for a mammogram, and many clinics admit that no Planned Parenthood clinics provide this breast cancer screening procedure.

“We don’t provide those services whatsoever,” admits a staffer at Planned Parenthood of Arizona while a staffer at Planned Parenthood’s Comprehensive Health Center clinic in Overland Park, Kansas tells a caller, “We actually don’t have a, um, mammogram machine, at our clinics.”

The DC abortion funding ban the short-term budget bill contains would restore the Dornan amendment to ensure that no congressionally appropriated funds (whether locally or federally generated) may pay for abortion in the District of Columbia.  The good news for pro-life advocates is that the inclusion of the Dornan Amendment in the one-week continuing resolution ensures it remains in place to prohibit abortion funding in the nation’s capital for the rest of the year.

Even though former President Clinton signed this policy into law six times and President Barack Obama signed the policy into law for FY09 and voted to continue the policy twice while serving in the U.S. Senate, Obama now opposes a short-term continuing resolution with the language and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said this morning that Democrats will not agree to the legislation.

Pro-life advocates like Thomas Peters of Catholic Vote are equally frustrated, who says “taxpayer funding of abortion is a sacred cow for the liberal left.”

“Today, with a government shutdown looming, Harry Reid -the leader of the Senate- once again confirms his fundamental commitment to this liberal ideology, even if it runs up against the best interests of the American people (and the unborn),” he said. “Reid is right: it’s about ideology. And his ideology says that abortions in DC absolutely ought to be paid for by Americans like you and me. Why? Because the pro-abortion organizations have most Democrats in their pocket, and Democrats are scared to allow any sort of pro-life advances to be made, up to and including defunding the corrupt organization Planned Parenthood.”

“Remember – abortion funding streams in Obamacare was the final hurdle the Democrats had to overcome to pass their bad bill. Now Democrats are making the retention of abortion funding the final hurdle for Republicans to overcome in actually getting a bill to President Obama’s desk and thereby avoiding a government shutdown for a couple weeks,” Peters said.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA List, also reacted with comments to LifeNews:

“The President has singled out Planned Parenthood, a significant financial and political supporter for special attention and protection,” she said. “It is extraordinary that the President sees federal funding for the nation’s number one abortion provider as more important than paychecks for federal workers and funding for our military.  When is the question going to be asked of President Obama and Senator Harry Reid, ‘Why is it reasonable to shut down the government in order to protect Planned Parenthood?’”