California Democrat Henry Waxman (the former subcommittee chair) complained that “Planned Parenthood is being singled out as part of a Republican vendetta against an organization that provides family planning and other medical services to low-income women and men.”
In a letter also signed by Colorado Democrat Diana DeGette, Waxman reminded Stearns that the Health and Human Services Inspector General’s office, and state Medicaid programs, regularly audit Planned Parenthood: “These audits have not identified any pattern of misuse of federal funds, illegal activity, or other abuse that would justify a broad and invasive Congressional investigation.”
Don’t look for Stearns to walk this one back. In February Sterns wrote, on Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com site: “Defunding Planned Parenthood should be a fiscal and moral priority for Congress, and for the American people.”
Stearns is also following the lead of Americans United for Life, an advocacy group working to restrict reproductive rights for women. At the same time Stearns attacked Planned Parenthood on Breitbart’s site, AUL was pressing him to begin an investigation. The AUL website highlights the report it delivered to Stearns in February: “AUL Special Report: The Case for Investigating Planned Parenthood.”
Multiple Choice Mitt—Rick Perry lost his way in a thicket of independent clauses when, in the second Florida debate last month, he tried to characterize Mitt Romney as inconsistent.
Perry’s next attack, on Romney’s “pro-life” credibility, should come trippingly off the tongue of the Texas governor. Or perhaps off the tongue of the more articulate former governor of Massachusetts, who defended his “pro-choice” position when he ran against Senator Ted Kennedy.
Look for Perry to run a clip of Romney’s 1994 Senate-campaign debate, when Ted Kennedy described Romney as “multiple-choice” rather than “pro-choice.” Romney fired back: “Many, many years ago, I had a dear, close family relative that was very close to me who passed away from an illegal abortion. It is since that time that my mother and my family have been committed to the belief that we can believe as we want, but we will not force our beliefs on others on that matter. And you will not see me wavering on that.”
Romney, of course, has wavered.
Zero-Sum Family Planning—Perry’s position on reproductive rights is rock solid. And 300,000 women know it. As a consequence of religious-right legislation that Perry supported in 2005 and 2011, 300,000 women in Texas, most of them economically disadvantaged, have lost access to family-planning and other services, such as screenings for cervical and breast cancer.
Under Perry’s leadership, women’s health-care funding in Texas is being shifted from health-care providers to a network of Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPC) that focus on anti-abortion counseling. The faith-based CPCs are funded through a 2005 Alternatives to Abortion provision in the state budget. Since the new funding provision became law, Alternatives to Abortion funding has increased by 232 percent, while family-planning funds were cut by 66 percent.
This year the Legislature reduced funding for women’s-health clinics from $111 million to $38 million. The $38 million is allocated through a three-tiered funding system that places Planned Parenthood — the state’s largest provider of comprehensive care to poor and uninsured women — last in line for money. The new policy has also cost Texas $162 million in federal matching funds.
Nothing equivocating in the reproductive rights policies of Perry and the Republican supermajority in the Texas Legislature.