Opinion

Senate Republican leadership has failed America’s children

This week, Senate Republican leadership pulled the plug.

And when they pulled it, they didn’t just pull life from a bill that would have defunded hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars from Planned Parenthood. They also pulled the plug on the children who would have been saved.

Planned Parenthood is America’s abortion giant. While at first glance, that might sound rhetorical or extreme, it’s anything but. Every day, 900 lives are lost at Planned Parenthood. And they’re not just lost; they’re taken — violently taken. One of the most common abortion procedures committed in America is the D&E, or dilation and evacuation, or dismemberment abortion. There have been more than 100 million views on the short video below, filmed with former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino.

That video is more than just a film: it’s changing hearts and minds. In fact, data shows that even one-third of women who identify as “pro-choice” prior to watching this video (and others like it) no longer support abortion afterwards. We can no longer toss around the word “abortion” as though no actual meaning accompanies it. It’s time to face what abortion actually is.

This is why pulling the plug on the Graham-Cassidy bill was, at its core, about so much more than dollar signs. Lives were at stake here, and the grave reality is that lives will now be lost. Those senators who pushed forward with a plan to defund Planned Parenthood (and there were several plans over the last few months) did the right thing. Unfortunately, too many stood in the way and ended up bargaining with the lives of children who cannot defend themselves.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who consistently refuses to ditch the filibuster rule, is not without fault. If that rule were done away with, the Senate could have a straight simple-majority vote on defunding Planned Parenthood —without attaching it to bigger bills with their own issues or handcuffing it in all the rules and restrictions of the once-a-year budget reconciliation bill  — and the bill could pass. Tradition cannot be more important to a governing body than the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent children. Too many times throughout history, tradition has caused the streets to run red. Sen. McConnell cannot deny his part in letting Planned Parenthood continue, unabated, for another year.

On the same day that a vote on the Graham-Cassidy bill (which would have defunded Planned Parenthood) was canceled, House Leadership announced that the Pain Capable Unborn Child Act will come to a floor vote on October 3. There will be a time and a place to discuss that bill on its own worthy merits, but as even the sponsor, Rep. Trent Franks, has stated, it is merely a “bare minimum. We can all agree a 20-week-old fetus who feels the torturous pain of being slashed, or cut in two, should not be killed.”

For today, however, it cannot be said clearly enough that a civilized people cannot be satisfied to end the “torturous pain” of some children while rejecting a bill that would have saved many more. The opportunity to stave off more violent deaths was in hand, and it was carelessly thrown away. Redirecting government funding from abortion giant, Planned Parenthood, would have caused at least some of Planned Parenthood’s doors to close. Nearly half of its dollars comes from taxpayers’ pockets, and that cannot be replaced by the private sector overnight. Just as we saw in Texas after the passage of HB2, when abortion facilities close their doors, they rarely re-open and almost no one steps in to take their place. And women find many other more accessible places to go that actually provide more and better health care services.

Passing a bill that defunded Planned Parenthood — whether it was Graham-Cassidy, an earlier version, or a straight-up defund without the filibuster option — would have gone a long way to standing for civil rights and basic human rights in our nation. Planned Parenthood is a violent organization, and it has been propped up by the government, courtesy of our tax dollars, for far too long.

Failing in this course of action is not acceptable, but still, Senate Republican leadership has failed. We can — and should — lay the blame at their feet. Let us rise our voices together and ensure they hear that this is not good enough. A nation who values its women, children, and families must demand better than funding Planned Parenthood and its agenda of abortion on demand. We cannot rest until our demands for the full equality of every child, at every stage of life, is achieved.

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