A wave of emotion swept over the nation yesterday when the U.S. Senate failed to gain cloture to move a bill that would defund Planned Parenthood onto the floor for debate. The vote was only six yeas short of the sixty needed, closing in at fifty-four yeas total. There was elation over two Democrats breaking with the party’s platform to vote against Planned Parenthood, and outrage over one self-proclaimed Pro-Life senator who couldn’t be bothered to detour from his presidential campaign trail long enough to show up for the vote. At the end of the day the vote was close, but the Senate’s failure to bring the bill to the floor bespeaks inexcusable apathy toward human Life within the federal government.
Hope is not lost, however. Although women and preborn Americans have been consistently failed by their federal leaders, states continue to make inroads toward the victory of Life. This state-level momentum cannot be underestimated, and Texas is responsible for spearheading the way to an abortion-free America and giving many other states the blueprint and example to follow suit. We take the responsibility to defend Life seriously – both because of the vulnerability of our own Texans, and also because we know that the rest of the nation is following our lead.
To that end, since 2011, Texas has led the charge against Planned Parenthood. We have been working to defund the abortion giant in our state since long before the complacent federal government was stirred into action. And we’ve been wildly successful. In 2011 we dealt Planned Parenthood a heavy blow in redirecting over $60M in fungible taxpayer money into women’s health centers that do not commit the atrocity of abortion. Women and children deserved this reallocation, and so did Texas taxpayers. Yesterday’s U.S. Senate bill would have followed Texas’ lead by almost eliminating Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer dollars to directly reinforce the funding of real women’s health centers across the nation. Many states were encouraged by the success of Texas’ pioneering endeavor to defund Planned Parenthood, and have followed suit in their own legislatures.
In subsequent Legislative Sessions, Texas has continued the fight to redirect the remaining state allocations to Planned Parenthood. This year, budget amendments ensured that the abortion behemoth was excluded from receiving taxpayer funding for sex education in Texas public schools. Planned Parenthood was also blocked from continued participation in the Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening program– a blow that cost the abortion business millions which has been reallocated into the cancer screening offerings at facilities that do not commit abortions.
And we are not done. Planned Parenthood is still reaping the benefits of Texas taxpayer funding from three additional sources. As John Seago outlined at the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services hearing last week, there is a comprehensive solution to permanently severing Planned Parenthood from the wallets of Texas taxpayers, and that is in a budget overlay that will exclude all abortion providers from any form of state-controlled taxpayer funding, period.
Texas has a vested interest in promoting Life. This interest is not political. Our fight for Life is predicated on an understanding that Texas’ population is arguably the most vulnerable to anti-Life abortion tactics in the nation. Our state tragically boasts the largest abortion mill in the Western hemisphere. Pregnant mothers are filtered in on Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast’s assembly line, subjected to the unspeakable barbarism of elective abortion, and sent home with empty wallets and empty wombs. Many of those pregnant mothers in Texas are poor, Hispanic, and minority women who deserve better than Planned Parenthood. At the end of the day, Planned Parenthood has nothing to offer Texas women. Planned Parenthood can only take from Texas women – their money, their children, and their wellbeing.
Yesterday’s failure by the U.S. Senate to gain cloture was disappointing. However, as we have long recognized at Texas Right to Life, relying on the same federal government that passed Roe v. Wade to work against or overturn Roe v. Wade is not the best political strategy for ensuring that Life has the final word. This is especially true as America weathers our last months under the most anti-Life president in U.S. history, who has already promised to veto any measure to defund Planned Parenthood that would theoretically reach his desk.
Instead, we fall back on our individual states, and the stalwart commitment to Life shown by so many state governors – especially Governors Perry and Abbott here in Texas. Texas will continue to be a beacon shining in the dark shadow of corrupt D.C. politics. We have been at this fight for a long time, and we have no intention of loosening our resolve until Planned Parenthood’s abortion agenda is eradicated from Texas, and then from the rest of the nation.