Rand Paul: Fund Community Health Centers, Not Planned Parenthood

By Susan Jones | August 3, 2015 | 8:26 AM EDT

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) (AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - "We have 9,000 community health centers that do everything that Planned Parenthood does, but they don't get into abortions," Sen. Rand Paul told CNN's "State of the Union" with Jake Tapper on Sunday. "So it would be much less emotional for everyone if we just funded community health centers and didn't fund Planned Parenthood."

Paul is pressing a vote, scheduled for Monday, to defund Planned Parenthood and give the annual $500-million taxpayer contribution to other health care providers.

He called it "morally repugnant" for Planned Parenthood to perform abortions in a way that salvages the baby's body parts for future sale, as was discussed in recently released undercover videos shot and edited by a pro-life group.

"But I think a lot of people, even a lot of pro-choice people, are upset by these videos," Paul said. "They, you know, manipulating the baby, turning the baby around to get the body parts and then selling the liver and the doctors cavalierly saying, oh, well, yes, liver is popular right now for sale -- I think most Americans don't want their tax dollars going to this.

"So, I think when something is so morally repugnant to so many people, why should tax dollars go to this?"

Host Jake Tapper asked Paul if he supports continued funding for community health centers, even though the Affordable Care Act doubled and even tripled that funding.

Paul, an ophthalmologist, opposes Obamacare. However, "I do support a role for government in community health centers," he said. "And there are people who do need help. But, really, Planned Parenthood is sort of a front for doing abortions. They say they don't use federal money, but how can you take money for the group and say none of it is somewhere benefiting the production and the -- the execution of -- of abortions?

"So, really, I think that, if you look honestly and objectively, we have government funds going to -- a lot of government funds, $5 billion going to community health centers. I think, if you look at it objectively, people would say, why do we have to get involved with a group that's, you know, selling baby organs, you know?

"So I think people -- even pro-choice people are upset by these videos. So, I mean, I think the country ought to wake up and we ought to get rid of this funding."

Tapper noted that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has said he'd being willing to shut down the government if that's what it takes to defund Planned Parenthood. "Do you support that?" he asked Christie.

"I support any legislation that will defund Planned Parenthood," Paul replied. "But I don't think you start out with your objective to shut down government. I mean, if President Obama wants to shut down government because he doesn't get funds for Planned Parenthood, that would be President Obama's determination to shut down government.

"But, you know, it's always a pointing-fingers battle, and it is the obligation of Congress, the power of the purse. That's an obligation of Congress, to determine how money is spent.

"And so I've told people, I want thousands and thousands of instructions on thousands of items on how they should spend them. That's what Congress is supposed to do."

Appearing on the same program Sunday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said, "We should just defund Planned Parenthood."

But Christie said it's wrong to link defunding to a possible government shutdown: "We shouldn't be throwing around threats like that. You know, it doesn't help. And we didn't do too well when we shut down the government the last time. So, I think everybody should take a deep breath, but we should be very firm as a party that this type of conduct by an organization, the harvesting and selling of fetal body parts, is just deplorable."

Christie also rejected the argument that the taxpayer money given to Planned Parenthood doesn't go towards abortion.

"Of course it does," he said. "Money comes into Planned Parenthood, and it is fungible. They can spend it on what they wish."

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