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Planned Parenthood plays a nasty and fundamentally dishonest brand of politics. First, it — like all leftist organizations — argues that healthcare is a right. Second, it presents abortion as an integral part of “women’s health.” Third, it presents itself as he great champion of “women’s health.” As such, if you attack its status as America’s Largest Abortion Provider, you’re invariably against not only women’s health, but women’s rights and women in general and are probably the sort of person who saw Mad Max’s Immortan Joe as a paragon of family values.
For years, this has worked well for them, sufficiently so that they were able to survive the reveal that they were happy to
negotiate sale price for accept reimbursement for the costs of disposing the remains of fetuses they’d killed. But Planned Parenthood didn’t escape totally unscathed and congressional Republicans rightly concluded that the Democrats’ continued reverence for — and capture by — the slimy, lying provider of some 300,0000 abortions a year is a political liability. That, in part, is likely what motivated Congress to use language in their Zika legislation that — quietly — excluded Planned Parenthood’s Puerto Rican affiliate from receiving funding to fight Zika:
The conference report (the bill that emerged from negotiations between top Senate and House Republicans) included two pots of money of particular importance for Puerto Rico. There was $80 million through the Social Services Block Grant program, and $40 million for community health centers. By and large, these dollars were targeted toward Puerto Rico, where the Zika virus has been transmitted widely by mosquitoes.
The words that limited how this money could be spent applied to the block grant program. Those dollars were “for health services provided by public health departments, hospitals, or reimbursed through public health plans.”
Helen Hare, spokeswoman for the Democrats on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, told us this language cut out Profamilias, the Puerto Rican branch of Planned Parenthood.
Mind you, Congress is not proposing that any existing funding to Profamilias be cut. They still qualify for Medicaid reimbursement for non-abortion services (this is primarily how Planned Parenthood receives government funding) and are welcome to serve their clients through all their normal means, and however they see fit. The only question is whether they — or anyone else who doesn’t meet Congress’s proposed block grant criteria — must be included for the legislation to go forward.
It’s worth remember that Profamilias’ ability to curb the spread of Zika is, shall we say, hardly essential to the cause. According to the Politifact piece cited above, Profamilias served 8,000 people in 2015 — less than a quarter of a percent of the island’s population — and, again, its ability to serve those people would be unaffected by this legislation. And what, you ask, could Profamilias do to help? Via the Washington Examiner not much:
[Profamilias program director Marjorie] Vazquez said that if provided with additional funding, Profamilias could expand its efforts to educate women about Zika, its effects on fetuses and how it can be transmitted. But she noted the group doesn’t screen for the virus or work to prevent its spread outside sexual transmission.
“We are giving them condoms and we are also telling people to think about their choice in terms of pregnancy prevention,” Vazquez said.
Those services are provided by other health providers who focus more on primary care, Vazquez noted. She said that if a patient visited a Profamilia clinic suspecting she had the virus, she would be referred to another health center to be screened.
To recap, the Democrats are holding-up Zika funding because it excludes their favorite pet from a new revenue stream that would help it distribute condoms, sell pills, and install IUDs (all to a trivially small number of people)… which it is already doing. Because apparently no one else can. Typical Planned Parenthood hostage-taking politics.
Now, one might say, doesn’t this mean that Republicans are also playing politics, holding up the same important money just to skewer their preferred villain who wouldn’t even be able to directly use the money for said villainy? The answer is that yes, they are, even if I think they have the better argument. When you factor in media bias, it’s not surprising that it’s not the political slam-dunk it might otherwise be.
Though there may be a way around it by exposing the abortionists’ dishonest rhetoric: Keep the restrictions, but double the block grants. If they refuse, have Donald Trump — who has credibility as a non-hater of Planned Parenthood — shame the Democrats and drag Hillary Clinton into it. Then, keep them voting. Make it an election issue exposing the Democrats’ favoritism to a favored lobby at the expense of American citizens. Show that it’s not about the substance of the matter — we want to double the funding! — but about how the Democrats are beholden to a special lobby.
It’d be a good fight.