The American public scored a historic victory late last night in Washington, DC. For the first time in history the United States Senate passed a bill that takes the overwhelming majority of taxpayer funds away from Planned Parenthood, by name.
To understand the significance of this event, we need to recall that Planned Parenthood has been losing in the court of public opinion over the last two decades. It once had an ever-expanding empire of clinics across the country. In 1993, with 922 clinics, it brazenly announced a plan to have 2,000 clinics by the year 2000. It clearly overestimated the demand for its business and underestimated its opposition. Just two years later, it reached its peak of 938 clinics and then began closing down clinics at an unheard of pace. It currently has 668 clinics, with more closing monthly.
As Planned Parenthood saw its income-generating operations shrinking, it began to rely more and more on taxpayer funding to cover its high executive salaries and annual millions of dollars in profits. In recent years, taxpayer funds accounted for as much as 45 percent of its $1 billion plus annual income.
With opposition to PP rising, the U.S. House of Representatives voted several times to end taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood. But, it was never possible to get a defunding bill through the Senate—until yesterday.
In the past, defunding bills bogged down in the Senate, so American Life League joined a coalition of other groups asking the Senate to defund Planned Parenthood using a “reconciliation process.” Reconciliation is a special process, reserved for spending bills, that prohibits a filibuster and, in essence, means that a bill can pass with a simple majority (51 votes or more) rather than the super majority (60 votes or more) required of other bills. The Senate did use this process, after approval from the Senate parliamentarian, and passed the bill by a vote of 52-47!
The bill now goes to the House, where passage is expected to happen quickly, and then to President Obama, where it is expected he will veto it. Regardless of what Obama does, the precedent has been established. In future years, the Reconciliation Process can be used and bills defunding PP can more easily pass the Senate. With last night’s victory, it is very possible that taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood could be ended by 2017. Praise God!