April 17, 2018 - Tuesday
Planned Parenthood's $30m Campaign: All That and Then Sum
There are plenty of Americans who'd hoped Planned Parenthood would be saying goodbye to a lot more than Cecile Richards this spring. As far as they're concerned, the only thing better would be to see the group wave farewell to their $540 million in taxpayer dollars. Unfortunately, Congress didn't give pro-lifers that satisfaction on the latest omnibus bill. But the group's new midterm campaign is giving leaders plenty of incentive to try again!
Hours before Tax Day, Richards's group made the mistake of reminding everyone where their dollars are going. While most Americans hurry to file their paperwork, Planned Parenthood is already deciding how to spend their share. After sinking hundreds of thousands of dollars into a losing effort in Illinois, the nation's largest abortion business is hoping to make a big splash in three other states. And thanks to your tax dollars, they have plenty of wiggle room to try.
Obviously, it's illegal for Richards to use even a cent of federal funds on the group's political activities. And while her accountants use every possible trick to keep the monies separate, there's something fundamentally wrong with our system. No "nonprofit" organization should be allowed to rake in hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars -- and then turn around with a related PAC and indirectly use those dollars to impact the political process. "You can't divide it up," attorney Casey Mattox has said. "Planned Parenthood stands alone as a major recipient of taxpayer funding that is also a major participant in elections."
Already, Planned Parenthood Votes is stocking its war chest for at least three fall targets: Michigan, Florida, and Nevada, where it thinks it can pick off pro-life Republicans. With other groups in a supporting role, Planned Parenthood plans to drop another $30 million on direct mail, phone banks, and other canvassing operations across the country to target "infrequent voters." The goal? Populating Congress and governors' mansions with abortion allies who would help protect its multi-million dollar federal funding stream.
Of course, you can't blame the organization for being anxious. Donald Trump has blown through his to-do list on abortion -- making it easier for states to defund Planned Parenthood, stripping its global funding, appointing pro-life agency leaders and judges, helping to protect the Hyde Amendment, and now, contemplating ways to pull an $80 million rug out from the group's family planning dollars.
But the president isn't the only person making life tough for Richards. States are tripping over each other to cut ties with the group, starting with Nebraska, Tennessee, Utah, Kentucky, Iowa, and Michigan (with seven more in line to join). In the first four months of this year, 308 new abortion restrictions have been introduced, after a historic 2017 for pro-life laws: 63. Then, there's the shift in public opinion. Planned Parenthood is having a tougher time than ever selling abortion to a nation that has the technology to look inside the womb. More young people are pro-life than ever before. More Americans on both sides of the issue want to limit abortion. And, maybe most importantly, more voters think it's time to stop taxpayer funding of abortion groups.
"We want to win elections," said the head of Planned Parenthood Votes, "but we only want to win elections because we want to win things for people." Starting, no doubt, with themselves. With hundreds of millions of dollars on the line, it's no wonder the group is going on the offensive. But no amount of campaign investment can compete with pro-lifers' most important weapon in the midterm election: you! Make sure you know where your candidates stand on these issues. And then, help us fight back!
It's critical that we match Planned Parenthood's energy and get Values Voters to the polls in November. FRC Action is already working to mobilize them on Election Day, but we need your help. Would you contribute toward the effort as we work to get the needed voters to the polls in key districts and battleground states across the country?
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.