Senate to Vote Thursday on De-Funding Planned Parenthood

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 11, 2011   |   7:00PM   |   Washington, DC

The next step in the battle to de-fund the Planned Parenthood abortion business came when pro-life House Speaker John Boehner forced pro-abortion Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid to do something he swore he wouldn’t do: allow a vote. The Senate will vote on Thursday.

House Republicans have already approved the Pence Amendment to yank tens of millions of dollars from the abortion business that it receives under Title X. Now, it’s the Senate’s turn and pro-life groups like Americans United for Life are urging senators to vote for de-funding.

“This is the vote that Washington, DC insiders said we’d never get, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid swore he would never allow,” AUL said.

Brian Burch, President of CatholicVote, told his group would hold any senators political accountable for voting against the amendment.

“Any Senator who votes to continue taxpayer support for scandal-ridden Planned Parenthood will be a prime target of our election efforts in 2012. These votes will have consequences. If Senators want our support, they must earn it. And if they fail us, we will do everything possible to defeat them,” he said.

Kristan Hawkins, the president of Students for Life of America, added: “Just two months ago, experts were telling me that getting a vote in the Senate would be impossible, and I shouldn’t even hope for it, and said that Planned Parenthood funding cause the budget impasse between Democrats and Republicans was a victory.

“Think about this,” she said. “Our efforts were so effective that the disagreements over Planned Parenthood funding between the pro-life House and pro-abortion Senate leadership almost caused a government shutdown.”

The last time senators voted on Planned Parenthood funding, they rejected the Vitter amendment on a 52-41 vote in October 2007. That came on an amendment pro-life Sen. David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, offered to the fiscal year 2008 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill. The Vitter amendment focused on what pro-life advocates call fungible funds — money meant for non-abortion purposes that allows abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood to more easily pay for abortions.

During the debate on his amendment, Vitter said it is a “very reasonable mainstream policy to say” that the government is not going to “support groups that perform abortions.”

Vitter added that federal funds subsidize abortion by supporting organizations that provide them, even if the groups do not use federal funding to perform abortions. “The way it works now, we send federal dollars to abortion providers … and it supports their overhead and it supports their organizations,” he said.

Pro-abortion Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, led the fight against the Vitter amendment and claimed it would have done “nothing to reduce abortions.”

Only Republicans supported the amendment and even pro-life Democrats Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania voted against it. They will face significantly more pressure this time around to support the amendment. In that 2007 vote, Republican Sens. Kit Bond, Sue Collins, Dick Lugar, Lisa Murkowski, Olympia Snowe, Arlen Specter, and Ted Stevens joined Democrats in voting against the Vitter amendment.

Contact your two U.S. senators and ask them to vote to de-fund Planned Parenthood.