Republican legislation to cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood failed to gather enough support in the U.S. Senate on Monday…Senate Democrats succeeded in stopping the bill on a procedural vote. Sixty votes were needed to advance it in the 100-person chamber. It received 53 votes, with 46 senators opposing it. (Source: Reuters)
Only one Republican voted against the measure, and only two Democrats voted for it.
The good news is that a clear majority voted to de-fund Planned Parenthood.
It’s also good news that there is clarity on the issue of abortion. The Republican party is protective of the unborn; the Democrat party is not.
Give this clarity, how can any Christian be voting for a Democrat these days? I know conservative Republicans are upset with RINO’s (“Republicans in name only”), but when you look at votes like this, you can only conclude that a RINO is better than a Democrat – at least insofar as enacting legislation which serves the cause of Christ and of righteousness.
As Joe Carter puts it:
How many babies could be saved if every Christian, no matter their political party, refused to vote for a candidate that supported abortion?
— Joe Carter (@joecarter) July 30, 2015
There is an organization called “Democrats for Life of America” (and one of its charts is referenced in this article (“The Largest Women’s Health Care Provider In America Is NOT Planned Parenthood” by Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist), but they don’t seem to have been able to influence very many Democrats on this issue – as evidenced by the vote count mentioned above.
On political issues like this, it’s important for Christians to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Specifically, I think we overreached to go for defunding at this point. I think it would have been wiser, politically speaking, to vote instead for an investigation (whether by Congress, the Department of Justice, or both) of Planned Parenthood (PP) based on the prima facie case in the videos that PP is breaking the law regarding the sale of fetal tissue. (US law says “It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly acquire, receive, or otherwise transfer any human fetal tissue for valuable consideration.”)
I’m told that the law allows for costs to be reimbursed but not profit to be paid. That’s not clear to me from the wording, but let’s use that view for discussion’s sake since it is the view most favorable to PP. PP’s rebuttal to the tapes is that it is only seeking to be reimbursed for items eligible for reimbursement. I’m not sure that’s true, but let’s, again for discussion’s sake, assume that’s true because it’s the view PP itself is taking. All that granted, the videos still provide a prima facie case for law breaking because there is negotiating, haggling, bargaining – pick whatever word you want – about the price. If PP were truly only seeking to be reimbursed for cost, they would state their cost and that would be the end of the discussion. A “buyer” would either accept that price or not; there would be nothing to discuss. A buyer cannot tell you what your costs are; you, and only you, know that. Thus the very fact that there’s a protracted discussion about price indicates that something more than cost reimbursement is being sought by PP.
If there were hearings on this issue, more Americans would see the videos. PP’s focus right now is to discourage everyone from looking at the videos – the same way they discourage pregnant women from viewing an ultrasound picture of their children. Distraction is their main hope. And when they tell people that the unedited two-hour video tells a different story, how many people are going to watch two hours of video to check their veracity? People just get weary and move on to whatever’s next in the news cycle (“Any animals been mistreated lately?”)
Regarding abortion, adults fall across a spectrum into three categories. On one end, there’s Christians: we are against abortion. On the other end, there’s PP and others who think there’s nothing with abortion. In the middle, there are those American’s who have not or will not make up their minds. Politically speaking, it’s the people in the middle we ought to be trying to win over right now. We can go after the die-hard abortion supporters (ugly pun unintended) after we’ve won the middle. But the middle is all we need to de-fund PP.
We cannot win the middle, however, if we go for complete, immediate conversion to our side of the issue. That’s not the way people usually change their position. They usually make such transitions gradually.
Spiritually, we should never compromise. But politically, half a loaf is always better than none.
We cannot expect people in the middle to vote according to our convictions. We must get them to our convictions…one step at a time. Right now, PP is all about burying the videos. We must be about keeping them in public view. Public hearings are the best way to do that.
I watched the fifth video today. Each video has been more disturbing than the video before it. As I have said, if you think abortion is wrong, I discourage you from watching the video. It will upset you unnecessarily. However, if you think abortion is okay, I urge you to watch all five videos. Each video is about 10-12 minutes long. PP has criticized the videos for being edited but that’s what makes them accessible to so many more people. Once you see one of the videos, you’ll know that a longer version could only improve PP’s case at the margins. There’s no way to overturn the main aspects of the shorter versions.
If it’s an argument between pro-choice leaders and pro-life leaders, the public in the middle will continue to stick its head in the sand. But if the middle can be made to watch and listen the videos, that could lead to genuine changes of heart.
All the videos provide is a prima facie case. PP deserves its day in court. We should be doing everything we can to be sure that they get it.
(3-minute read; 779 words)