Planned Parenthood Funding a Litmus Test for 2012 Elections

Politics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 9, 2011   |   11:08AM   |   Washington, DC

Taxpayer funding of the Planned Parenthood abortion business is quickly becoming a litmus test for Republican candidates seeking the GOP presidential nomination in 2012. Funding has taken center stage as one of the top pro-life issues.

With the House of Representatives passing a bill to yank taxpayer funding from the abortion group, states like Indiana following suit, and a renewed focus on the abuses at Planned Parenthood — where undercover investigations have shown covering up of sexual abuse and aiding sex traffickers in getting abortions for their victims — cutting Planned Parenthood funding is something one pro-life leader told Politico is a must-have in any candidate’s resume.

“We will bring it to the forefront in every way that we can,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, told Politico. “This is our number one policy focus … and we’re treating it as a litmus test. If any Republican nominee can’t summon the courage to call for Planned Parenthood to be de-funded, that’s a serious problem.”

Candidates wanting the nomination for president or those who voted against de-funding Planned Parenthood in Congress — like “pro-life” Democrats Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Joe Manchin of West Virginia — should beware. The SBA List, combined with the efforts of groups like the National Right to Life Committee and Americans United for Life — were successful in defeating several lawmakers who voted for the Obamacare bill that contained loopholes allowing abortion funding. The three Democrats, and others, will face strong opposition in 2012 from pro-life groups as they seek re-election.

“Obama has made it a presidential level issue by being willing to shut down the federal government” over Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding, Dannenfelser said. “Now, he’s willing to revoke all Medicaid funds to Indiana. He has made this a top drawer issue.”

“It’s an effective grass-roots motivator that has incredible intensity,” she told Politico, referring to a poll SBA conducted in April showing a majority of Americans don’t want their taxpayer dollars going to groups that do abortions. “If you’re a member who voted the wrong way on this, you’re pretty nervous.”

Some of the Republican presidential candidates have gotten the message.

In a radio interview this week, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty said, if elected, he would sign the bill to ban Planned Parenthood funding.

“I don’t think taxpayer money should be used to fund organizations that are involved in performing abortions. I think most Americans would agree with that and I strongly would agree with that and would lead those efforts,” Pawlenty said about the bill. “Washington has a massive spending problem, and we need to set priorities. Recent undercover videos show that employees of America’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, aided alleged human traffickers wishing to exploit young girls. Yet, they continue to receive significant taxpayer funding. That should come to an end.”

Rep. Michele Bachmann, last weekend, railed against Planned Parenthood in a speech at the Faith and Freedom Conference.

“This organization has by their own records performed 324,008 abortions in 2008 and 2009 and that’s in addition to the trafficking of under-age girls that has gone on under Planned Parenthood’s nose,” she said. “Do you think we could start here by defunding this organization?”

Businessman Herman Cain has also taken on Planned Parenthood repeatedly.

“I absolutely would defund Planned Parenthood — not because I don’t believe in planning parenthood, [but because] Planned Parenthood as an organization is an absolute farce on the American people,” he said.

Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich have also supported ending taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood but they will need to become more outspoken if they want to appeal to the pro-life voters in states like Iowa and South Carolina that are so crucial to deciding the Republican nominee.