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President’s Page: Time to Defund Planned Parenthood

For over three decades, Planned Parenthood has fattened at the federal trough. This year alone, over $300 million in Title X money is slated to go to the nation’s biggest abortion provider, a huge subsidy amounting to about one-third of its annual budget. The good news is that, for the first time, a major Planned Parenthood affiliate is in serious legal trouble. As a result, this funding may now be vulnerable.

Charges Filed

On October 17, charges were filed in Kansas’s Johnson County District Court, accusing Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri of 29 misdemeanor counts of performing “unlawful late-term abortions,” 29 misdemeanor counts of “unlawful failure to determine viability for late-term abortion,” 23 felony counts of “making false information” and 27 misdemeanor counts of “unlawful failure to maintain records.”

Of course, those of us in the pro- life movement have long known that abortuaries, besides being extremely lucrative—there is a lot of money in killing babies—are also virtually unregulated. Although about 40 states ban late-term abortions, the lack of regulatory supervision means that the kind of unlawful behavior reportedly happening in Kansas and Missouri is likely occurring in some other Planned Parenthood facilities, including the 860 Facilities run by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) itself.

The hero is this drama is former Kansas Attorney General Phil Kline. Kline, who is pro-life, served for eight years in the Kansas House of Representatives before narrowly winning election as state attorney general in 2002. In 2003, concerned about reports that Kansas abortion clinics were violating a state law imposing a 22-week gestational limit on abortions, he ordered them to hand over for his review the medical records of women and girls who had late-term abortions that year. Kline also attempted to prosecute nationally known late-term abortionist George Tiller, who operates out of Wichita. Rather than comply with this request, Planned Parenthood spent huge sums of money in legal fees. This legal maneuvering dragged out the process until 2006, when Kline lost the next election to a very well funded abortion-rights supporter by the name of Paul Morrison. Morrison immediately dropped the case.

One Man’s Quest for Justice

But this was not to be the end of the story. Until his election as attorney general, Morrison had been the District Attorney for Johnson County, Kansas. Now, to bring matters full circle, Phil Kline was appointed to fill the office that Morrison had just vacated. And from his new position as Johnson County’s D.A., he has renewed his quest to bring Planned Parenthood to justice.

Planned Parenthood characterizes the charges as “outrageous” and “baseless,” attacking Kline himself as “a hard-line crusader against reproductive rights.” Johnson County Judge James Vano apparently does not agree. He spent eight hours reviewing the indictment on Oct. 17 before deciding there was “probable cause” to proceed with the case. Kline will thus have an opportunity in court to prove what he has alleged, namely, that Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri has repeatedly violated multiple state laws.

Will the charges he sufficient to convince Congress to strip all funding to the abortion provider? They may well prove to be. Support for Planned Parenthood has been growing weaker in recent years, despite the Democratic Party’s control of Congress. Politicians, who shy away from scandal, will be especially unhappy that a publicly funded enterprise, in a high pro-file case, has been charged with breaking the law.

In fact, I believe that we may be on the cusp of an historic pro-life victory. Just three months ago Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) introduced an amendment to the Labor, Health and Human Services Bill to cut off Planned Parenthood’s Title X money. Despite the Democrats control of Congress, the measure failed by only 20 votes. A shift of only 11 votes from the nay to yea columns would have been sufficient to pass the Pence amendment.

PRI Hard at Work

In the meantime, PRI will be doing its part. We are investigating abortion outfits in California and elsewhere, and hope to bring forward witnesses who can testify to the targeting of Blacks and Hispanics for abortions. Charges of targeting minorities, if well-supported, could he enough to convince sonic Black and Hispanic congressmen that the abortion provider doesn’t deserve government money. The House Black Caucus has 42 members, while the Hispanic Caucus has 20. Of course, most are so committed to the abortion cause, or are so compromised by federal funding, that no evidence, however compelling, would lead them to reconsider their position. But we only need a few of their number, plus a few members of what is called the Blue Dog Caucus, to win the next vote. The House Pro-Life Caucus, while heavily Republican, does have a couple dozen Democrat members, and these sometimes vote pro-life.

The time to defund Planned Parenthood is now, before the November 2008 elections.

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