Once more taking a stand for life, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) attempted to pass an amendment to the massive government spending bill that would take away taxpayer funding from Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide abortions.
He asked a simple question: What’s more important, saving lives or spending money? For 48 senators – including two Republicans – the answer was spending money, and so Planned Parenthood will carry on with its unspeakable horrors on the tax payer’s dime.
The amendment was simple: No clinics that provide abortions – other than in cases of rape, incest, or when it is deemed medically necessary to save the mother’s life – would receive any government funding. Any such affected entities would be eligible to have their funding restored should they stop terminating pregnancies.
Senator Paul released a statement Friday, August 17, in which he called the amendment “our chance to turn words into action, stand up for the sanctity of life, and speak out for the most innocent among us that have no voice.” This, he said, should be one of the top priorities of any Republican who professed pro-life values on the campaign trail.
Paul’s amendment needed 60 votes to be included in the spending bill, but only brought in 45. “The dirty little secret is the Republican leadership is blocking my amendment,” Paul said, addressing his fellow senators. To defuse the situation, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the other R from KY, allowed a vote on the amendment.
Some in the GOP camp feared that including such an amendment would be akin to feeding the $856.9 billion funding package a poison pill. Since three Democrats were absent, the push to defund Planned Parenthood had a rare unobstructed path. But those fears were assuaged Thursday evening, Aug 23, when Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska sided with the Democrats and voted no on the amendment.
The massive spending bill went on to pass shortly after – the fastest any spending bill has passed the Senate since 1994.
Once again, politics and greed have proven more important than human life in the Senate. Yet in the House, things went a little differently. In July, the House Appropriations Committee passed their FY 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education funding bill that includes the same language as Sen. Paul’s amendment.
Its chances with the Senate, however, seem slim. While the GOP has a slight majority in the upper house – 51 to 47 Democrats and two Independents – the pro-lifers are in the minority. Since the independents and both GOP Sens. Collins and Murkowski are pro-abortion to some degree, we can expect a minimum of 51 votes against any legislation that seriously hinders abortionists whenever all members are present. But all that could change soon.
All 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 33 in the Senate are up for grabs in November. Should a blue wave somehow manifest, it could spell disaster for the GOP in the House. However, in the senate, the Democrats have 23 seats to defend compared to the GOP’s eight. Of the eight states defended by the GOP, only Nevada backed Hillary for president. Ten of the 23 states with sitting Democrats voted Trump in 2016.
Is that Senate shakeup wishful thinking? Probably. Then again, November might just bring some much-needed support for Senator Rand Paul’s quest to defund Planned Parenthood.