In Washington, abortion de-funding intentions are good, but…

visitthecapitol.gov photo
visitthecapitol.gov photo

My inbox blossomed with emails the other day, each trying to outdo the other with screaming subject lines, along the lines of “House Votes to Defund Planned Parenthood!!!” (The number of exclamation points varied.) What’s Congress up to? Turns out there was indeed a vote recently on a so-called reconciliation bill that, if accepted by the U.S. Senate and the President, would stop or restrict funding to Planned Parenthood for one – count ’em, one – year, diverting the funding to community health centers that do not provide abortions. The U.S. House adopted the bill on a 240-189 vote. New Hampshire’s Members of Congress split, predictably: First District’s Frank Guinta voted Aye, while Annie Kuster of the Second District voted Nay.

Two cheers, says I. Nah, make it one. Better yet, a simple nod – with a raised eyebrow.

Reports on the vote from a pro-life perspective are numerous. The Susan B. Anthony List and LifeNews.com provide good examples.

The bill at least nods in the direction of privatizing the abortion industry. So why am I not more excited?

  • The Senate may or may not take up the bill; some pro-life Senators want to block it because it doesn’t stop enough Obamacare funding.
  • “Prohibited entity” under the terms of the bill – the agencies that would lose funding – include agencies that provide abortions, “other than an abortion…if the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest.”
  • The funding restriction is for one year, reportedly to give Members of Congress time to review Planned Parenthood’s business practices including the body-parts business documented by the Center for Medical Progress. (PP now says it won’t try to make a profit on the Frankenstein-lab stuff, although how that can be verified is a mystery.) But it’s not videotaped gruesomeness that’s fundamentally objectionable – it’s the abortions themselves.

The President would veto any such bill, of course, but that’s no reason not to send it to his desk. Let him own any veto. Let him explain why he doesn’t want all that money going to women’s health via community health centers.

It’ll be interesting to follow this bill, although its course seems predictable (see above). Any attempt to let taxpayers divest from the abortion industry is a noble effort. It would be a mistake to make that divestiture a temporary thing, based on whether or not a sufficient number of Members of Congress are nauseated by the CMP videos.