Tell me if you’ve heard this conversation before:
“If we want to win on pro-life, all we have to do is elect Republicans.”
“No, the GOP doesn’t care about abortion, they’re just saying that to get votes.”
What if they were both half-right?
But when the Republican-led Senate failed yesterday to cut off federal funding for abortion giant Planned Parenthood, my friend remarked in frustration: “If Republicans can’t defund Planned Parenthood, I’m just not voting anymore.”
Believe me, I understand the sentiment.
In fact, there are many pro-lifers who are exasperated, scandalized, even despondent that abortion remains so legally entrenched 42 years after the fateful Roe v. Wade decision.
I saw a few pro-life activists circulate an article by Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry (a great writer, by the way):
The GOP is just a vehicle for winning elections. It has no value in and of itself. Why should pro-lifers support a political entity that does not fight for the policies we care about most?
Early this year, the GOP failed at what should have been a simple task: Pass an enormously popular late-term abortion ban. Passing a bill that polls well, and is symbolically very important to your biggest constituency, ought to be the no-brainer to end all no-brainers. But Republican politicians couldn’t even do that.
Gobry’s article was written on July 31, and he references the disappointment when the House GOP initially planned on voting on the 20-week abortion ban on January 22 (Roe anniversary), but then got scared over a debate on rape and pulled the bill.
But Gobry failed to note that the House went back and passed a 20-week abortion ban a few months later, on May 13. And a few weeks after that, on June 19, Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell vowed to hold a Senate vote on the 20-week abortion ban. That vote hasn’t happened yet, but the Republican-led Senate switched focus to defunding Planned Parenthood precisely because of the undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress.
Look, I’m not saying “be patient.” We are talking about the death and destruction of innocent babies. We should fight hard to pressure our politicians to move on this important legislation. The undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress cry out for justice. I’ll confess as tough-skinned as I am, it’s been tough for me to watch. After all, my baby girl is only 12 days old.
But, honest question, did we think that defunding Planned Parenthood would be an easy task?
There is much more turnover in the House, than in the Senate where people are elected to six-year terms. And many Americans are sadly willing to keep voting for someone they like, even if they support abortion. Case in point: Tom Harkin. The voters in Iowa first sent him to the Senate in 1984, and returned him in 1990, 1996, 2002, and 2008. What a relief, then, that he decided to not run for reelection in 2014.
That open Senate seat was a great opportunity. And pro-lifers didn’t waste it. CatholicVote joined other groups in rallying support for Joni Ernst (pictured above). She won, and now she’s leading the fight in the Senate to defund Planned Parenthood.
But let’s remember, Planned Parenthood is an organization which received over $500 million in federal tax payer dollars this year alone. And this floodgate of cash has been pouring into their coffers every year for decades now. I don’t have to tell you how hard it is to stop a government program, and how hard people fight to keep their gravy train. Planned Parenthood has a hornet’s nest of lobbyists in Washington, and their political fund doles out money to Senators and Representatives who vote for their subsidies.
Yes, pro-lifers know the truth about this organization, and with these videos we can now show others what we’ve always known. But we have to be honest with the facts: Planned Parenthood (sadly) retains considerable good will with millions and millions of Americans.
Look at this poll released yesterday by the Wall Street Journal and NBC:
Right at the top of the list. Ugh.
The videos which showcase atrocities by Planned Parenthood only confirm our worst suspicions over this nefarious organization. But for millions of Americans it is eye-opening. They can’t believe that this is going on. In fact, they want to believe that it isn’t true. It’s easier for someone to whisper in our ear it’s a fake, the videos are ‘highly-edited,’ it’s all a smear campaign, just go back to your every day lives — you don’t need to worry about all this, just move along….
And to protect its profits, Planned Parenthood has enlisted the PR firm SKDKnickerbocker to convince major media outlets to stop writing about the story altogether.
Back in 2011, we got only 42 votes, well short of the 60 votes needed to end Senate debate and move to a vote. Now we have 55 votes, just five votes away. Back in 2011, there wasn’t a single Democrat who voted with us on this bill. Yesterday, we got two. And back in 2011 then there were 5 Republicans who refused to allow a vote on defunding. Yesterday, only one Republican refused. We are making progress. And as new videos are released, and more Americans understand the horrors happening at Planned Parenthood, we will be able to direct tax payer money away from the abortion giant and to community health centers instead.
But this will be a steep climb. And to fight for these children and their mothers, we need to be persistent. Keep praying, keeping calling Congress, keep telling your friends and family about what’s going on. And don’t give up until we achieve victory.