Pro-life conservatives have been frustrated with the ongoing failure to defund Planned Parenthood, and for good reason. America’s largest abortion provider markets itself as a defender of “women’s health,” but performs zero mammograms, willfully covers up statutory rapes, and has had to pay multimillion dollar settlements for Medicaid billing fraud.
So when the latest omnibus spending bill passed with half a billion dollars of funding for Planned Parenthood intact, even with Republicans in control of the White House and both the House and the Senate, conservatives were enraged. And not just because omnibus bills happen because Congress is stupid.
Watching these freaking Republicans campaign as pro-life champions every freaking election cycle and then continue to send half a billion freaking dollars — that’s five hundred million dollars, $500,000,000.00 — every freaking year is freaking infuriating. (And y’all know I’m not exactly thinking the word “freaking” as I typed that sentence.)
Now, I don’t believe that Congressional Republicans are secretly pro-choice and actually want to continue providing funding to abortion clinics. What’s far more likely is they are wary of the backlash from Democrats and the media, who would complain that those mean ol’ Republicans are heartlessly cutting medical care to poor women.
Fine. Here’s an easy solution.
Don’t defund the budget for Planned Parenthood. Transfer the money.
Take all of the money we send to Planned Parenthood clinics, and instead, send the money to medical clinics that provide services to the poor.
Congress has proven they have little appetite for cutting spending, so fine, just take the money we are giving to these abortion clinics and instead, send it to other health clinics in the exact same towns. Dollar for dollar, take it from the abortion clinic and just send it down the street.
If, for example, we send $50,000 to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Orlando, let’s instead send that $50,000 to one of the Shepherd’s Hope Health Centers in town.
The community will still have the exact same amount of federal funds coming their way, but the money will go much further since it will be going to actual health clinics, and not Planned Parenthood, with its lavish budgets for its political activity, lobbying, contributions to candidates, executives’ salaries and benefits, travel, and events — not to mention all those flashy advertisements, graphics, and videos all over their social media.
And let’s be very clear: there is an abundance of choices for where these funds could be sent.
This infographic was created in 2015 by the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Charlotte Lozier Institute, and it shows the number of comprehensive care clinics in the United States (13,540) versus the number of Planned Parenthood clinics (665), a 20-to-1 ratio. And if you look at all the cities where there is a Planned Parenthood clinic (the orange dots), there are definitely other clinics (the white dots) in the same spots.
Drafting the bill should be an open and bipartisan discussion. Members of Congress should take into consideration the clinics in their own districts that are providing excellent care to the needy in their communities. If the Democrats truly care about women’s health, they should participate in the debate and offer amendments with their suggestions.
Some ideas for qualifying for the funds could include accepting Medicaid patients, providing a certain percentage of services pro bono or at reduced costs, being in operation for a certain number of years to prove stability, providing comprehensive prenatal and gynecological health care, and so on.
A similar program was adopted in Texas in 2013. The state cut funding to abortion providers and created the “Healthy Texas Women” program, providing low-income women with birth control, family planning services, and other health care. A Daily Signal report called the program a success, with the state’s pregnancy rate remaining relatively stable and abortions dropping.
There was also a massive drop in Medicaid and contraceptive claims, which liberals attempted to frame as a negative, but a federal civil suit was brought against Planned Parenthood for Medicaid billing fraud from 2003 to 2009 and eventually settled for $4.3 million dollars. Plus, the enactment of Obamacare during this period meant that women with those policies were entitled to free contraception. In other words, when another government program provided contraception coverage and the fraud spigot was cut off, that made the number of claims go down, not women forgoing necessary medical care.
“The data belies the claim that Planned Parenthood was necessary to women’s health care in Texas,” said Casey Mattox, a senior legal counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom.
The Democrats say they care about women’s health care. The Republicans say they don’t want to send money to an abortion provider. Fine. This solution lets both parties do what they say they want to do.
If we can’t get our Republican-controlled Congress to cut spending, let’s at least quit sending money to America’s largest abortion provider, and send it somewhere it can still help women.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker.
This post has been updated with additional information.