In a move that shocked and disappointed fellow Republicans last month, Wrentham native and Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown voted against a budget amendment that would have prohibited the use of federal money to fund Planned Parenthood.
Brown was one of five Senate Republicans to vote against the proposed amendment, drawing criticism from both parties.
All of the Senate Democrats, including our own John Kerry, voted against the resolution, which would have cut Title X Funding from Planned Parenthood’s budget.
The organization receives about one-third of its budget annually from Title X, which is a federal fund intended to provide “family-planning” and reproductive health services to low-income or uninsured women. Planned Parenthood also almost famously provides abortions at a “low cost”, which doesn’t sit well with most Conservatives. Technically, however, it is unlawful for any federal money to be spent directly on abortions.
What we end up with here, like so many “hot button issues”, are extremists on either side of the argument who make such outrageous claims that attention is deferred from what should be the focus: making a decision that reflects the attitudes of the general public.
On the one hand we have extreme “Pro-Lifers” arguing that all Planned Parenthood wants to do is “murder unborn babies”. Obviously, this is not the case. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the extreme Liberals, accusing bill supporters of “hating women”. Again, this is a blatant untruth.
Republicans have both a moral and a financial opposition to funding Planned Parenthood, but there is also a more practical debate here. With our National Debt climbing way past an alarming point, and at a time when insurance and healthcare costs seem to be rising for virtually everyone, the idea of saving the average taxpayer some money by slashing the budget does sound good. Although cutting this type of funding would be “teaspoons in the ocean” of our National Debt, you have to start somewhere.
The question is, why are we starting here? Last year, Planned Parenthood received about $360 million in taxpayer money, a small amount when you consider our National Deficit of about 14 trillion….
Planned Parenthood proponents argue that abortions make up only 3 percent of the services the clinic provides, adding that they also perform cancer screenings, breast exams, and screenings and treatments for sexually transmitted disease. Dianne Luby, president of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, adds that cutting funding “is not smart public health or fiscal policy”.
Republican Scott Brown, apparently, agrees with her. He said in a statement that he believes “this particular cut goes too far”. Although many Conservatives are angry with Brown for going against his party’s core beliefs, Brown is bravely following his beliefs, and doing what he thinks is right for families across the country.
With the Planned Parenthood funding ban defeated in the Senate, several states are trying to cut funding individually.
Although it is hard to imagine this kind of budget slashing happening here in Massachusetts, it could happen as nearby as New Hampshire. In the Granite State, the House is considering cutting $700,000 in public funding to Planned Parenthood, as well as banning all state funding to any clinic that provides abortions.
Similar bills are on the table in Kansas, Indiana, Texas, and North Carolina. Indiana’s Republican Governor Mitch Daniels, a likely candidate for president in 2012, said Friday that he will sign a bill to cut all government funding to Planned Parenthood.