Well, the budget debate is finally over. Truly a mixed blessing. Funding for Planned Parenthood stayed, funding for abortions in D.C. were nixed, and the government didn’t shut down. For Republicans, this was all that they could have hoped for, given that they control “one-half of one-third of the government,” as Boehner put it. As much as I want to be happy that (a) the government didn’t shut down, (b) there are much-needed spending cuts, and (c) the Republicans successfully ended federal abortion funding for D.C., the reality is that the $360,000,000 going to the nation’s largest abortion provider (this year alone) is horrifying. I wish that more was being done to stop this, and I wish that more politicians authentically cared about the issue.*
This Democratic Senate and White House are clearly willing to disappoint their base on many issues. They’ve agreed to spending cuts and tax cuts for the wealthy, scrapped a public option, and continued warrantless wiretaps, indefinite detention of terrorism suspects and unnecessary wars on Arab dictators. But in last week’s budget debate we glimpsed the party’s unshakable core: dedication to the abortion lobby.
The deal breaker for Democrats had been the rider cutting off federal funds for Planned Parenthood. As a “senior Democratic source” told the Huffington Post on Friday, “The cuts will be hard for us to swallow, but we won’t bend on Title X” — that is, federal funding of Planned Parenthood. “Reid doesn’t even have to go back to the caucus to ask on that one.”
Reid said so himself Friday: “We are not — we are not! — bending on women’s health.” When you consider the flexibility of Reid on other issues, this shows extraordinary devotion.
He then demolishes the facile argument that funding Planned Parenthood is different than funding abortion:
Liberals argue that Planned Parenthood’s federal funding — a bit more than a third of its billion-dollar budget — does not fund its abortions, but only pays for other worthy services. But that’s like the notorious gambler who asks you for money to feed his family. If you decline on the grounds that he’ll just gamble the money away, he retorts, “No, man, I’ve already got my gambling money — it’s the food money I need.”
So yeah, the only two conclusions are that (a) Planned Parenthood cares more about abortions than, say, the cancer screenings they’ve been harping about so much, or (b) the federal government is now bankrolling abortions and a demographic implosion , its claims to the contrary notwithstanding.
* I should note, as something of a post-script, that Republicans may take a very pragmatic political point away from this fight. They now know that abortion is the Democratic Party’s sacred cow, and the one issue on which they won’t budge. In other words, had it not been for the proposed cuts to Planned Parenthood and D.C. abortion funding, the Democrats never would have agreed to $38.5 billion in spending cuts, after they had denounced $32 billion as “draconian.” If that $38.5 billion had been the Republican’s starting offer, it would have been whittled down. By forcing the Democrats to choose between allegiance to abortion and to Keynesian economics, the Republicans successfully got billions out of the Democrats here. If fiscal Republicans are smart (even pro-abortion ones), they’ll include proposals like this in every spending bill that goes forward. Democrats won’t compromise on funding abortion, which increases the pressure to compromise elsewhere (spending on everything else). As pro-lifers, we should probably buckle up, because we’re about to be used a lot more in the upcoming months. It’s going to be an unpleasant ride.