Planned Parenthood Divides Pence, Gregg in Indiana Gov Race

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 25, 2011   |   5:46PM   |   Indianapolis, IN

The 2012 campaign for governor of Indiana is many months away from beginning in earnest but, when it does begin, and if Mike Pence and John Gregg become the nominees, Planned Parenthood funding could divide them.

Pence has been leading the fight in Congress to revoke taxpayer funding for the nation’s biggest abortion business. He was successful in getting his amendment attached to a House Republican spending bill that would have yanked tens of millions of dollars from the organization that does more than one-fourth of the 1.2 million abortions done annually in the United States. However, Senate Democrats balked and defeated the amendment when they had the chance to adopt it.

Pence has not said he will run for governor, be he is widely expected to do so given his decision not to seek the Republican nomination for president.

Meanwhile, former Indiana House Speaker John Gregg, who is looking more likely to become his Democratic opponent should both men decided to mount campaigns to replace Gov. Mitch Daniels, is no fan of protecting taxpayers from funding the abortion business because he supports Planned Parenthood’s efforts to promote contraception and birth control.

“The problem in America isn’t Planned Parenthood. It’s unplanned parenthood,” Gregg said at the Washington Township Democratic Club in Indianapolis last week, according to Howey Politics Indiana.

“Frankly, I’m insulted they want to take away preventive health care from people. That’s just not right. We don’t do that. These are for people who can’t afford to go anywhere else,” he claimed, despite the presence of plenty of other options ranging from pregnancy centers to federally-funded health centers that serve millions nationwide.

Pence has no apologies for pursuing his amendment de-funding Planned Parenthood.

“Why would I fight for it?” Pence said earlier this month. “Let me explain. I’m pro-life. I don’t apologize for it. I also think it’s morally wrong to take the tax dollars of millions of pro-life Americans and use [them] to fund abortion providers.”

“In February of this year, the Pence Amendment passed on a bipartisan basis by 240 votes; it denied federal funding to Planned Parenthood of America. I’ve never advocated reducing funding to Title X. They tried to make this about women’s health. It wasn’t about that,” Pence continued. “Let me share with you this fact: Planned Parenthood’s clinics focus mainly on abortion. In 2009, Planned Parenthood performed 977 adoptions, 7,000 pre-natal, 332,000 abortions.”

He continued: “Despite efforts to suggest otherwise, the Pence Amendment does not reduce funding for cancer screenings or eliminate one dime of funding for other important health services to women; the money that does not go to Planned Parenthood as a result of the Pence Amendment will go to other organizations that provide these services. If the Pence Amendment becomes law, thousands of women’s health centers, clinics, and hospitals will still provide assistance to low-income families and women. The Pence Amendment would simply deny any and all federal funding to Planned Parenthood.”

“Advocates for the abortion industry have sought to portray efforts to defund Planned Parenthood as a “War on Women,” but the issue is big business, and that business is abortion. This legislative battle is about Big Abortion vs. American taxpayers. As Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood director, recently said, “Planned Parenthood’s mission, on paper, is to give women quality and affordable health care and to protect women’s rights. In reality, their mission is to increase their abortion numbers and in turn increase their revenue.”

Last election cycle, the state’s main pro-life group, Indiana Right to Life, said it would not endorse any Democrats because of their efforts to block pro-life legislation. If he wants the backing of any pro-life groups, Gregg will have to commit himself to de-funding Planned Parenthood.