(CNSNews.com) – Six Democratic senators, all women, are blasting Thursday’s scheduled vote on a stand-alone bill to ban federal funding of Planned Parenthood.
Even though that bill has no chance of passing, the six senators seized on it to do some gender-based Republican-bashing.
“Even though the Republicans want to take women back to the dark ages, we will not go,” Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) said at a Capitol Hill news conference on Wednesday. “They want to, once again, take away our preventive health benefits -- taking away our mammograms, taking away our pap smears, taking away opportunity for men to get health care screening as well.”
Mikulski said the “brunt” of the Republicans’ budget cuts would hurt women and children and that both Obamacare and Planned Parenthood provide the preventive health care services they need.
“It is outrageous,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) “Women did not create the economic crisis we are in nor did we create the debt.” Murray said the Republican’s “real agenda here is becoming more and more clear to me as a woman -- and that is to take away basic health care services for women.”
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said pro-life Republicans who want to defund Planned Parenthood – as well as those Republicans who want to defund Obamacare -- are “standing against women and their families.”
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) called Wednesday’s press conference the “opening salvo” of a battle that will continue as Congress undertakes funding for the 2012 budget later this spring. “I just want to say to the Tea Party Republicans -- better pick your fights carefully, because there is no sense in starting a battle with women and children in this country that you will not win,” Landrieu added.
“We need to stop blaming women and families for the situation this country is in and stop using them as the whipping woman to deal with our deficit,” said Sen. Jean Shaheen (D-N.H.).
Last Friday, as part of a budget deal to avoid a government shutdown, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and President Barack Obama agreed to a compromise bill that will fund government operations for the remaining six months of 2011.
That bill bans taxpayer funding of abortion in the District of Columbia but it continues taxpayer subsidies to Planned Parenthood. A rider that would have ended those federal subsidies for Planned Parenthood was removed from the funding bill, but as a “concession” to pro-life lawmakers, a stand-alone bill to defund Planned Parenthood will be allowed to come to a vote. But with Demcrats controlling both the Senate and White House, that bill will die.
Planned Parenthood performed 332,278 abortions at its clinics in 2009 and received $326.8 million in federal funds for family planning that same year. Although federal law prohibits those funds to directly pay for abortions, advocates for defunding the nation’s largest abortion provider say the funds are fungible.
“Every once in awhile in politics you get to look inside the heart of people,” Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said on Wednesday. The battle over funding Planned Parenthood has “opened up our eyes to the heart and soul of our opponents,” she said.
Conservatives have used a similar “heart and soul” argument against liberals, complaining that Democrats would risk a government shutdown to continue federal funding for an organization that kills unborn babies.
"We need to understand that the Democrats are the abortion party," Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said in an April 13 op-ed posted on the group's Web site.
“Federal funding for Planned Parenthood is not a side issue or even a small part of the budget crisis. True, the organization's annual take of $363 million from taxpayers seems small in a budget of $3,800 billion. But Planned Parenthood's impact is huge,” Perkins wrote.
He noted that Planned Parenthood -- “to keep killing and to keep politicians in office who will let them keep killing” -- spent $700,000 in 2010 lobbying legislatures for more money.
According to Perkins, pro-lifers will never give up their fight to stop Planned Parenthood from killing “future taxpayers.” “Those unborn children are the future thinkers, doers, entrepreneurs, and innovators who alone can rescue the future,” Perkins said.