March 4, 2011


The Pence Amendment

According to Planned Parenthood’s website, “Abortion is a safe and legal way to end pregnancy.” How safe is it for the baby being killed?

The website also tells us, “Abortions are very common. In fact, more than one out of three women in the U.S. have an abortion by the time they are 45 years old.”

Look around you. Do you think that every third woman you see has had an abortion? Abortion is, unfortunately, too common, but perhaps not that common.

We admit that we don’t often check Planned Parenthood’s website, but we were interested in seeing the organization’s reaction to the amendment, sponsored by Indiana U.S. Congressman Mike Pence, that eliminated federal funding for Planned Parenthood in the budget being debated in Congress.

The House of Representatives approved the amendment on Feb. 18 by a vote of 240-185.

Planned Parenthood officials, naturally, felt outraged—both nationally and in Indiana. We are not outraged.

The Pence Amendment says simply: “None of the funds made available under this Act shall be available to Planned Parenthood for any purpose under Title X of the Public Health Services Act.”

When he spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives before the amendment was passed, Pence said, in part: “The largest abortion provider in America should not be the largest recipient of federal funds under Title X. Additionally, Planned Parenthood continues to face allegations of fraud and failing to report abuse, and should not be receiving millions of taxpayer dollars every year.”

We agree with Congressman Pence that taxpayers who oppose abortion—the killing of a human being—should not be forced to have some of their money going to an organization that profits from abortion.

Last year, Planned Parenthood performed 305,310 abortions. It is the country’s largest abortion provider. It has been estimated that it received $114 million from patients for performing abortions. It received $350 million from government grants and contracts.

As Pence said, “Any organization with such a clear prejudice against our unborn should not be receiving 34 percent of their annual budget from the American taxpayer.”

The American Life League believes it is more than 34 percent. On its website recently, it said, “When Medicaid reimbursements are added to its other government grants and contracts, the majority of Planned Parenthood’s income is from the American taxpayer. That’s right, over 50 percent of Planned Parenthood’s income is from us.”

Planned Parenthood insists that none of this money is going directly to finance abortions, but rather to other services, such as contraception, HIV testing, counseling and pregnancy tests. However, there is no question that the federal funds received offset operational and overhead costs.

Readers know from reports in the secular media that Planned Parenthood of Indiana has vigorously fought this amendment. Its president and CEO, Betty Cockrum, has said that her organization would lose $3 million in federal money.

There is also a legislative attempt to defund Planned Parenthood in the Indiana General Assembly.

There is no doubt that pro-life activists in central and southern Indiana would like to see the organization defunded as long as it continues to provide abortions.

Is this attempt to keep taxpayer funds away from Planned Parenthood going to be successful? Congress is still debating the budget for the remainder of this fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30. There is a clear possibility that the government will be shut down because both houses of Congress and the president can’t come to an agreement. Whatever happens regarding that possibility, there is still the 2012 budget that President Barack Obama submitted.

It seems doubtful that the Senate will accept the House’s budget with the Pence Amendment as part of it, and President Obama would surely veto it if it did. The president recently praised Planned Parenthood.

It is impossible at this point to know what will happen eventually.

Nevertheless, the controversy has made it possible to let more people know that our taxpayer dollars are funding an organization that promotes abortion.

Planned Parenthood supporters like to remind us that abortion is legal in the United States.

Yes, unfortunately it is. But that doesn’t mean that we must support organizations that provide them.

—John F. Fink

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