Conservative Leaders to Boehner: Defunding Planned Parenthood is Non-Negotiable

February 24, 2011 - 11:40 PM

boehner-Vouchers

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

(CNSNews.com) - A coalition of prominent pro-life conservative leaders sent House Speaker John Boehner (R.-Ohio) a letter on Thursday stating their position that an amendment sponsored by Rep. Mike Pence (R.-Ind.) that prohibits federal funding of Planned Parenthood must be a “non-negotiable” element in any continuing resolution that House Republicans agree to enact next week to keep the government funded past March 4.

“Defunding Planned Parenthood must be a non-negotiable in the Continuing Resolution and we urge you to accept nothing less than this outcome,” the conservatives told Boehner.

In its most recent annual report, Planned Parenthood said it took in $349.6 million in government funds in fiscal 2008. That same year, Planned Parenthood says it performed 324,008 abortions.

The pro-life conservatives who called on Speaker Boehner not to agree to any CR that permits federal funding of Planned Parenthood included, among others, Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, Eagle Forum President Phyllis Schlafly, Let Freedom Ring President Colin Hanna, Concerned Women for America CEO Penny Nance, Hispanic Leadership Fund President Mario Lopez, American Values President Gary Bauer, American Principles Project President Frank Cannon, and RedState.com Editor Erick Erickson.

The continuing resolution enacted at the end of last year by the lameduck Congress expires on March 4. To keep the government funded after that date, Congress must pass, and President Barack Obama must sign, a new continuing resolution.   

Planned Parenthood cannot receive federal funding after March 4, when the current continuing resolution expires, unless the Republican majority in the House agrees to permit Planned Parenthood funding in the new continuing resolution that is needed to fund the government after that date. If House Republicans prohibit continued funding of Planned Parenthood after March 4, the Obama administration may not disburse any additional funds to Planned Parenthood after that date.

Article 1, Section 9, Clause 7 of the Constitution states: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.”

The version of the continuing resolution that the House passed last week—but the Senate did not take up--included an amendment sponsored by Rep. Mike Pence that expressly prohibited any federal funding of Planned Parenthood or its local affiliates.

“None of the funds made available by this Act may be made available for any purpose to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. or any of the … affiliates of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc.,” said Pence’s amendment.

The House voted to approve this amendment 240 to 185, with seven Republicans voted against it and 10 Democrats for it.

“I believe that ending an innocent human life is morally wrong,” Pence said on the House floor on Feb. 17 in defense of his amendment.

“But I rise tonight because I also believe it's morally wrong to take the taxpayer dollars of millions of pro-life Americans and use it to fund organizations that provide and promote abortion--like Planned Parenthood of America,” said Pence.

Planned Parenthood “must be defunded of federal tax dollars and now is the time to do it,” the conservative leaders said in their letter to Speaker Boehner.

“The House vote in support of Rep. Mike Pence’s Amendment 11 to prevent government funding for the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, is an excellent start,” the conservatives told the speaker. “However, the House vote on the Pence Amendment is nothing more than symbolic unless it remains intact through the legislative process. Defunding Planned Parenthood must be a non-negotiable in the Continuing Resolution and we urge you to accept nothing less than this outcome.”

Rep. Nita Lowey (D.-N.Y.), speaking on the House floor in opposition to the Pence amendment, accused Republicans of supporting federally funded family planning for horses but not for women.

“[A] Member of the majority--in fact, another gentleman from Indiana--proposed providing birth control to horses,” Lowey said during floor debate on the Pence amendment. “And now we are considering an amendment attacking Planned Parenthood, which has provided health services to one in five American women. So it seems to me that Republicans believe that horses should have family planning, but women should not.”