By Kathy Ostrowski, Legislative Director, Kansans for Life
Yesterday, the U.S. Senate fell seven votes shy of the 60 votes needed to defund the nation’s largest abortion business–Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and its affiliates.
The good news is that 55 Senators support S. 1881– one pro-life Senator was absent and another changed his vote to opposition only so that he would be eligible to enter a motion to reconsider. This greatly surpasses the 42 Senate votes garnered to defund PPFA in April 2011. And in that consideration, it shows the importance of defeating pro-abortion politicians.
The incentive for the introduction of S. 1881 were four undercover videos released in July by the Center for Medical Progress that shined a bright light on abortionists’ discussions about dismemberment of living unborn children and trafficking in baby body parts. A fifth video was released today [www.youtube.com/watch?v=egGUEvY7CEg].
S. 1881 would strip taxpayer support of PPFA and makes the funds available to other eligible entities to provide women’s health care services, notably Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC). This is a similar mechanism to how Kansas provides true health care using federal funding.
Passed first in 2007 as an amendment to the state budget, Kansas Title X funds were prioritized to go first to full service hospitals and clinics, and secondarily to private full-service facilities. There was no reference to abortion or Planned Parenthood, just the state’s intention to best serve state health interests.
Planned Parenthood did not qualify for the 1/3 million dollars at stake and so the provision was deleted annually by pro-abortion Govs. Kathleen Sebelius and Mark Parkinson.
Planned Parenthood filed a legal challenge after the proviso was signed into law in 2011 by pro-life governor Sam Brownback. After extended litigation, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the provision in 2014.
There are several instructive takeaways from Monday’s vote on defunding PPFA.
- Contrary to opponents misstatements, S. 1881 did not “end healthcare” for women, but indeed would have “ended corporate welfare” to PPFA in the form of $528 million annual government funds.
- Compared with the number of PPFA affiliates, there are 13 times as many full-service public health facilities across the nation that are well-deserving of taxpayer support.
- There is no equivalence between PPFA, where 94% of pregnant clients are sold abortions, and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) that provide all kinds of healthcare to all ages–without any abortions.
- PPFA likes to tout its cancer screenings. But for breast cancer, they only provide a manual palpation and referrals to other facilities for mammograms, as they don’t have those machines or technicians.
In the discussions leading up to the Senate vote on S. 1881, many misleading statements were bandied by opponents, including the threat that the loss of Planned Parenthood as a contraceptive provider would overly burden the FQHC network and lead to a rise in abortions. But this has not occurred in Kansas.
After losing eligibility for Title X money, Planned Parenthood of Kansas Mid-Missouri kept two Kansas sites open and closed one location in Hays, which had been financially in the red for years. A request to the state Health department verifies that Kansas has 15 FQHCs and 3 satellite clinics, with more opening soon.
And the threat of increased abortions? Not in Kansas, with the annual abortion total continuing to decrease.
It is encouraging that more citizens are beginning to see, like Kansans, that the government has no business subsidizing the killing industry of Planned Parenthood.