By Karen Cross, National Right to Life Political Director
Editor’s note. This article appears in the new issue of National Right to Life News, which is now online. You can read all the stories in this 45-page edition at www.nrlc.org/uploads/NRLNews/NRLNewsJuly-Aug2015.pdf
Following the release of undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s trafficking of baby parts procured from their lucrative abortion business, pro-life Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) introduced S. 1881, a bill which would end all federal funding of the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, with the money being given instead to other women’s health service providers.
On August 3, 2015, U.S. Senators voted 53-46 to advance this bill. Sixty votes were needed for advancement. Two Democrats voted to advance the legislation, which was opposed by a single Republican. One pro-life senator was absent and another pro-life senator changed his vote to “no” at the last minute so that he could later ask for reconsideration.
One of the individuals pictured above is likely to be elected President in 2016. In light of President Obama’s threat to veto any bill that defunds Planned Parenthood, following is an overview of the 2016 presidential candidates’ positions on the issue in alphabetical order.
Where do the 2016 presidential candidates for the Republican nomination stand on defunding abortion providers?
FORMER GOVERNOR JEB BUSH
Jeb Bush served as governor of Florida from 1998 until 2007.
Bush said the next president should defund Planned Parenthood. Governor Bush, in his own words:
This is a shocking and horrific reminder that we must do so much more to foster a culture of life in America.
We should, and the next president should defund Planned Parenthood.
As governor, Bush used his line-item veto to end funding for Planned Parenthood affiliates in Florida, and according to sources, the money never returned.
Here’s my record: As governor of Florida I defunded Planned Parenthood. I created a culture of life.
DR. BEN CARSON
Dr. Ben Carson is a retired, world-renowned neurosurgeon.
Dr. Carson, in his own words:
I, like many of you, was sickened when I saw the video of Dr. Deborah Nucatola of Planned Parenthood secretly video-taped discussing selling aborted baby parts. I was more than sickened, I was enraged.
Planned Parenthood and their enablers must be stopped from these barbaric practices.
After hearing President Obama’s remarks last year, in which Obama defended Planned Parenthood, even saying “Thank you Planned Parenthood. God bless you,” Carson said:
You wonder if he actually knows the history of Planned Parenthood and Margaret Sanger, who was trying to eliminate black people.
…If we cannot defund Planned Parenthood after this, we are lost.
GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE
Chris Christie was first elected as governor of New Jersey in 2009.
Governor Christie, in his own words:
I am proud to be a pro-life Republican. I believe that every life is an individual gift from God, and that no life is disposable.
I defunded Planned Parenthood in New Jersey six years ago. We’ve defunded it every year for the last six years.
Now, with the most recent revelation, there’s even more reason not to fund Planned Parenthood.
SENATOR TED CRUZ
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) has a 100% pro-life voting record since joining the U.S. Senate in 2013. Cruz voted to advance S. 1881.
Senator Cruz, in his own words:
Today’s news regarding allegations that Planned Parenthood is possibly selling the body parts of the babies it has aborted is sickening. There is no place for taxpayer funding of organizations that profit from taking away innocent life, much less profiting off the bodies of the lives they have stolen. Congress should immediately begin an investigation of Planned Parenthood’s activities regarding the sale and transfer of aborted body parts, including who is obtaining them and what they are used for. And it should renew efforts to fully defund Planned Parenthood to ensure that its morally bankrupt business receives not one penny of taxpayer money. I proudly stand on the side of life and remain committed to fighting for all innocent life to be valued and protected under the laws of this nation.
Carly Fiorina, formerly the C.E.O. of Hewlett Packard, ran a pro-life campaign for U.S. Senate from the state of California in 2010.
Fiorina, in her own words:
I am proudly pro-life. I believe that every human life has potential and that every human life is precious.
This latest news is tragic and outrageous. This isn’t about ’choice.’ It’s about profiting on the death of the unborn while telling women it’s about empowerment.
It doesn’t matter whether you think you’re pro-choice or pro-life. Every woman, every man has to look at these videos and think, what has gone wrong in our nation?
It is made even more terrible by the absolute deafening silence of the Democratic Party. Democrats have always fought for a policy that says it is not a life until it leaves the hospital. Hillary Clinton has fought to preserve that policy.
I would vote to defund Planned Parenthood.
If we are not prepared to stand up and fight over this, what are we prepared to stand up and fight over?
These Planned Parenthood videos have horrified Americans across the country–regardless of party affiliation or whether you are pro-life or pro-choice–and the pressure on Congress will be enormous. This is about the moral foundation of this nation. We have to ask every Democrat how can you continue to support taxpayer funding for an organization that decides how to kill a baby to best harvest its organs?
FORMER GOVERNOR JIM GILMORE
Jim Gilmore, former governor of Virginia (1998-2002), said:
As governor, I won’t ask taxpayers to pay for abortions. I won’t support late-term abortion.
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), has a long pro-life voting record in Congress (U.S. House of Representatives 1995-2003, U.S. Senate 2003 to date). He cosponsored S. 1881.
Graham, in his own words:
I wholly support the defunding of Planned Parenthood today and in the future. As president, I pledge I would never send a budget to Capitol Hill that contains a penny of funding for Planned Parenthood. … We can kill their funding while maintaining a robust commitment to providing access to important preventive medicine and prenatal services.
Organizations that harvest body parts from unborn children is neither planned parenthood nor right and should not receive any support from the federal government. I’m running for president to create a culture of respect for human life and look forward to not only eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood, but also ending abortions at 20 weeks when a child can feel pain. The United States is one of seven nations that allows such a practice and as president, I would make sure we are no longer part of that club.
Planned Parenthood is harvesting body parts from aborted babies. We must pass my Pain-Capable bill to stop these late term abortions.
FORMER GOVERNOR MIKE HUCKABEE
Mike Huckabee, governor of Arkansas (1996-2007), tweeted:
Enough is enough. Stand with me as we fight to defund Planned Parenthood.
I will stand for the sanctity of all human life from the moment of conception until the grave. Taking this unequivocal stand includes fighting to defund Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood has proven to be a repulsive, revolting, stomach-churning enterprise that should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Destroying innocent human life and harvesting human organs is beyond barbaric – it is unimaginable immoral, grotesque, and evil. What makes America unique is our respect and sanctity of the value of every single human being. Planned Parenthood does not represent these values and deprives millions of children of their God-given right to life and liberty.
GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL
Bobby Jindal was first elected governor of Louisiana in 2007. Prior to that, he served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2005 until 2008. While in the House, Jindal maintained a 100% pro-life voting record.
After seeing the videos, Governor Jindal opened a state investigation into Planned Parenthood and announced the state’s termination of the medical provider agreement with Planned Parenthood, citing Planned Parenthood’s “fundamental disrespect for human life.”
Jindal also said:
The video of a senior Planned Parenthood official at lunch, discussing a scheme to harvest and traffic human body parts between bites of her salad, sickened me. Even the most hardened liberal must feel some pang of conscience watching the callousness with which she discusses the dismemberment of defenseless babies.
How could anybody, regardless of political party, refuse to condemn such barbarism? I hope those who oppose efforts to encourage a culture of life watch this video. I hope it disrupts their ideology. And I hope it will compel them to protect the sanctity of life going forward.
Jindal also challenged the Democratic presidential candidates to return donations received from Planned Parenthood.
GOVERNOR JOHN KASICH
John Kasich served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1983-2001 and had a strong pro-life voting record. He was elected as governor of Ohio in 2010.
Governor Kasich has signed many pro-life laws, including a law banning abortions after the point of viability in Ohio. According to NARAL Pro-Choice America, as governor, Kasich “has enacted 16 anti-abortion measures.” He “stripped Planned Parenthood” funding by $1.4 million, and “during Kasich’s time in office, the number of abortion providers in the state has dropped from 16 to eight.”
FORMER GOVERNOR GEORGE PATAKI
George Pataki served as governor of New York from 1995 until 2007. Pataki also served in the New York Assembly from 1985 until 1992, and in the New York state Senate from 1993 until 1995.
Pataki’s record on life is mixed. As a member of the state Assembly, he voted against state funding of abortions. In 1990, he changed his position to “pro-choice” while running for the state Senate. As governor, Pataki supported government funding for abortions, yet recently said he would ban Planned Parenthood funding.
Pataki, in his own words:
…Roe v. Wade, it’s been the law of the land for 42 years and I don’t think we should continue to try to change it. But what we can do is defund Planned Parenthood.
SENATOR RAND PAUL
U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has maintained a 100% pro-life voting record since his term began in 2011. Sen. Paul voted to advance S. 1881.
He pledged to:
…do whatever I can to stop them and will introduce an amendment to pending Senate legislation to immediately strip every dollar of Planned Parenthood funding.
Senator Paul, tweeted:
Where are the hard-hitting questions for pro-abortion Democrats on their support for this kind of madness?
Where is the media storm over the selling of babies’ body parts? It’s time to defund Planned Parenthood.
FORMER GOVERNOR RICK PERRY
Rick Perry served as governor of Texas (2000-2015).
Perry, in his own words:
The video showing a Planned Parenthood employee selling the body parts of aborted children is a disturbing reminder of the organization’s penchant for profiting off the tragedy of a destroyed human life. It is because of stories like this that I signed legislation defunding Planned Parenthood in the state of Texas – to protect life and the health and safety of Texans.
SENATOR MARCO RUBIO
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) has maintained a 100% pro-life voting record since his term began in 2011. Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate, Rubio served in the Florida House from 2000 until 2008, where he rose to the office of Speaker. Rubio voted to advance S. 1881.
I am sickened by the complete disregard for innocent unborn life evident at Planned Parenthood.
I’m proud that one of my first actions in the Senate was voting to defund this organization.
FORMER SENATOR RICK SANTORUM
Rick Santorum represented Pennsylvania in the U.S. Senate from 1995 until 2007. Prior to that, Santorum served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1991 until 1995. He had a strong pro-life voting record in both the House and Senate.
Santorum, in his own words:
…always have been and always will be in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood and their destruction and now exploitation of human life.
I would have had a vote on the floor of the Senate, if I was the Senate leader, to defund Planned Parenthood and have a debate on it. As well as have hearings to see if there’s any criminal activity or criminal investigation that should be pursued.
Donald Trump is a businessman, investor, author, and television personality.
Trump has given contradictory statements about defunding Planned Parenthood.
On July 14, 2015, Donald Trump told Dana Loesch, host of The Blaze TV, that he would “absolutely” defund Planned Parenthood:
It’s disgusting and absolutely they should be defunded. I thought, you know, it’s so cavalier and so horrible. I just thought it was incredible.
So anyway, the answer is, in my opinion, they should absolutely be defunded. In the case of Planned Parenthood you know – anybody that watched these various videos…I mean, it’s very sad to watch it. It’s very sad, and it wasn’t even that – it was so bad and yet, you know, there was such a cavalier attitude that this woman, I guess she was a doctor or something…so cavalier. I thought it was a disgrace.
On August 11, 2015, Donald appeared on CNN’s New Day. He told Chris Cuomo:
Well, the biggest problem I have with Planned Parenthood is the abortion situation. I mean, it’s like an abortion factory, frankly. You can’t have it and you just shouldn’t be funding it. And that should not be funded by the government. And I feel strongly about that and that’s my biggest problem with Planned Parenthood, because, really, if you look at it and the work they do, it really has become heavily centered on abortion and you can’t have that.
When asked about what Cuomo suggested was the non-abortion component of Planned Parenthood, Trump said
Here’s what I would do if the time came: I would look at the individual things that they do and maybe some of the things are good and I know a lot of things are bad. The abortion aspect of it should not be funded by government. Absolutely.
Later he added,
“I would look at the good aspects of it and I would also look as I’m sure they do some things properly and good and good for women and I would look at that. I would look at other aspects, also.”
GOVERNOR SCOTT WALKER
Scott Walker became governor of Wisconsin in 2011. Previously, he was a state assemblyman.
This is absolutely horrifying and disgusting. Planned Parenthood and the Democrats who vote to fund this organization owe the American people an explanation for these heinous, and possibly illegal, actions.
Practices like this cannot be tolerated, which is why as governor, I defunded Planned Parenthood.
Where do the 2016 presidential candidates for the Democratic nomination stand on defunding abortion providers?
FORMER GOVERNOR LINCOLN CHAFEE
Lincoln Chafee served as governor of Rhode Island from 2010 until January, 2015, as an independent. Previously, he represented the state in the U.S. Senate from 1999 until 2007, as a Republican.
After the release of the undercover videos, Chafee tweeted:
I support Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood has a long record of helping women .
Hillary Clinton, first lady to President Bill Clinton, later served as a U.S. senator from New York from 2001 until 2009, when she was named secretary of state by President Obama. As a U.S. senator, Hillary Clinton maintained a 0% pro-life record, voting against the pro-life position on every vote.
In 2014, Clinton was awarded Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Sanger Award.
Clinton, following the revelation of the undercover videos, reiterated her support for Planned Parenthood. She remarked:
I think it is regrettable that Republicans are once again trying to undermine, even end those services that so many women have needed and taken advantage of. I think that it’s another effort by the Republicans to try to limit the health care options of women and we should not let them succeed once again.
FORMER GOVERNOR MARTIN O’MALLEY
Martin O’Malley served as governor of Maryland from 2007 until January, 2015. He calls himself “pro-choice.” In April 2014, O’Malley received Planned Parenthood of Maryland’s Betty Tyler Award “for advancing reproductive rights in Maryland.”
In July, while admitting he had not seen the videos, O’Malley dismissed them, saying:
… I don’t generally make a habit of responding to right-wing videos.
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has maintained a solid pro-abortion voting record, voting against the pro-life position more than 100 times in his federal legislative career (U.S. House of Representatives 1991-2007, U.S. Senate 2007 to date).
Sanders voted against S. 1881, the bill to ban federal funding of Planned Parenthood. His vote would allow federal funding of the abortion giant to continue.
Sanders admitted he had not seen the video, but had read accounts of it in the news. Referring to Planned Parenthood’s president, he said:
Obviously, I think Cecile Richards apologized for the tone of that video. I think her apology was exactly right. I think that the staffer, the tone was terribly wrong.
FORMER SENATOR JIM WEBB
Jim Webb served as a U.S. senator from Virginia from 2007 to 2013. During that six-year term, he had a 0% record, voting 19 of 19 times against the pro-life position.
Senator Webb supports the current policy of abortion on demand, which allows abortion for any reason.
Look for updates in future National Right to Life News and National Right to Life News Today.