Democrats don’t hold a majority in the U.S. Senate, but the GOP doesn’t have a supermajority of 60 votes, which explains why the granting of $500 million in taxpayer money to the abortionists at Planned Parenthood slipped into the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill.
But what if there were ways to nibble away at that total, maybe even significantly?
The Family Research Council has outlined a strategy for President Trump to defund Planned Parenthood.
FRC explained the massive spending bill includes many things conservatives don’t like because of the Senate rule that requires 60 votes to end debate on such legislation and move to an up-or-down vote.
“The refrains on social media are all the same: Republicans control the Hill and the White House. Why aren’t they defunding Planned Parenthood? By now, the entire country has seen the ghoulish videos; they’ve heard the criminal evidence; they know these centers are destroying an innocent life every 98 seconds. They’re right to be upset,” FRC said.
“But we also need to remember the limits of the process. If pro-lifers want to do what a 51-member majority in the Senate can’t, it’s time to start thinking creatively.”
FRC explained the abortionists take tax money from two pools, the discretionary Title X family planning and the mandatory Medicare/Medicaid system.
“It breaks down this way: Planned Parenthood gets about $80 million of the $286 million in Title X, but more than $400 million in reimbursements from mandatory programs like Medicaid,” the report said.
However, in both, there “are areas that conservatives can attack – with or without Congress.”
Obviously, Congress could pass a spending bill to defund Planned Parenthood, as the House did last year, only to watch it fall short of the 60 votes it needed in the Senate.
“Or they could tackle the funding for Planned Parenthood in mandatory programs through budget reconciliation, which only requires 51 votes. The Republican majority succeeded in defunding Planned Parenthood on its 2015 health care repeal, but President Obama vetoed it. Last August, they tried again – only to fall short in the Senate,” FRC said.
Then there are the regulations.
“That’s where HHS comes in. If you want to know how powerful the agency is in directing government funds, think back to Obama. With a simple HHS regulation, he stopped all 50 states from defunding abortion providers under Title X. Fortunately, Congress overturned that rule last year, and more states are moving to cut ties with Richards’s group than ever,” FRC explained.
An “enterprising” presidential candidate also could have a big impact.
“Back in 1988, Ronald Reagan’s HHS announced an expanded interpretation of abortion funding prohibition regarding Title X funds, determining that no organization which encouraged or promoted abortion would receive federal funds. The left denounced this approach as a ‘gag rule’ and a potential First Amendment violation. This led to the case, several years later, of Rust v. Sullivan before the Supreme Court – which ultimately vindicated Reagan’s rule,” FRC said.
The policy was thrown out by Clinton.
However, at the moment, no organization “is allowed to use the government’s family planning dollars for abortion.”
“Planned Parenthood gets around that law … by drawing an ‘artificial line’ between its abortion clinics and its other family planning services – ‘even when those are located in the same facility, and essentially funded jointly,’” the group said.
“If President Trump reinstated Reagan’s ‘co-location’ rule, Planned Parenthood could still get Title X funds, but they wouldn’t be able to offer those services in the same clinics where they perform abortions. They’d have to split up their offices – probably at great expense. Ultimately, Planned Parenthood would be forced to choose between dropping their abortion services from any location that gets Title X dollars or moving those abortion operations offsite. Either way, it puts a major dent in the group’s bottom line.”
Since the Supreme Court already has approved that maneuver, a president “could lawfully adopt the same approach to determining how these funds are distributed – and in one act dramatically undercut Planned Parenthood,” FRC said.