After Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, many conservatives were understandably skeptical of what a Trump presidency would bring. The past two years have been a mixed bag of demeanor, rhetoric, and public policy, but, oddly enough, the president has been remarkably strong in his commitment to pro-life issues. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the GOP-controlled Congress.
Since Trump’s inauguration, congressional Republicans have passed spending bills including funding for Planned Parenthood three times. Their latest anti-life transgression occurred two weeks ago when Senate Republicans blocked Sen. Rand Paul’s (R‑Ky.) amendment to the Senate appropriations package for Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, which would have completely blocked all federal funding to any entity that provides abortions. Rather than staying true to their pro-life campaign promises, Senate Republicans torpedoed Paul’s amendment calling it a “poison pill” that would lead Senate Democrats to filibuster the entire budget proposal. Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine along with supposedly pro-life Democrats Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia voted against the amendment, ultimately leading to it not being included in the final bill.
But this cowardly attitude is nothing new for a Republican Party that seems better suited as an opposition party rather than one in power. With the 2018 midterms looming, Republican candidates across the country proudly tout pro-life messages, while at the same time voting to fund an organization that ends a life through abortion once every 98 seconds in the United States.
Planned Parenthood receives 40 percent of its annual budget, or $543 million a year from federal funds. And although Planned Parenthood and its supporters proudly claim that no federal funding goes directly towards abortions, anyone with a shred of common sense understands that subsidization of the abortion giant allows for far more abortions to occur than would otherwise be possible without taxpayer money.
Aside from the systematic extermination of the unborn, Planned Parenthood is also an active political donor. Last year alone, they spent $75.6 million on “movement building” along with another $128.3 million on an assortment of political activities. This alone should worry people on all sides of the aisle, but alas, those that shout the loudest about money in politics are silent when it comes to organizations and causes with which they agree.
It’s sad, but the cowardice of Republicans is not surprising. For years, they have campaigned on the necessity of voting them into office to protect the unborn, but now that they’re in, their sense of urgency seems to have been lost somewhere between the collection of their taxpayer funded salaries and life-long pensions.
Dedicated conservatives have spent the past decade campaigning, donating, and voting for these politicians who claimed to share the goals of the pro-life movement. These elected officials claimed to care about the innocent, but under their watch 881 of the most vulnerable among us die every day because of their selfishness and cowardice. If an elected official cannot muster the courage to stop directly funding an organization as vile as Planned Parenthood, they have no business torpedoing the pro-life movement by considering themselves within our ranks.
Erik Halverson is a senior studying economics.