Republicans want to shut down Planned Parenthood because it provides abortions. Planned Parenthood also provides a large number of women’s health care services, but extreme positions against women’s rights and abortions have blinded Republican legislators to this fact. This week there will likely be a Senate roll call with the intent of defunding Planned Parenthood. It is meant to be a “show vote,” for the GOP. Senator Ted Cruz is leading the attack on Planned Parenthood, and has said Republicans should eliminate federal funding for the organization, even if it means shutting the government down this fall.
Ted Cruz has support. Eighteen House Republicans have told their leadership they,
“Cannot and will not support any funding resolution that contains any funding for Planned Parenthood.”
At the same time, GOP conservatives like Senator James Lankford (R-Ok) and Jeff Sessions (R-Al) stated they would consider attaching a spending rider to critical legislation as a way to cut Planned Parenthood’s funding this fall.
While Senator Cruz may not be popular in the Senate’s GOP conference, after calling Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a liar, Republican efforts to close down Planned Parenthood will move forward. Democrats have vowed to block the measure, and Majority Leader McConnell (R-Ky.) will not be able to find the 60 votes he needs to push the bill forward. At that point, extremist conservatives wanting a confrontation on the issue of abortion will begin pressuring Republican leadership for a government shutdown.
In an interview last Wednesday, Senator Cruz said the Republican Party should go as hard as it can to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, including the same unsuccessful strategy used in their failed attempt to defund Obamacare in 2013. To force the issue by blocking funding bills, or by attaching it to a vital government spending bill, such as the federal budget. Congress only has until September 30th to provide funding for the government, or else the government will shut down on October 1st.
Oddly enough, extremist Republican legislators completely ignore the fact a government shutdown would not shut down Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood would continue to receive the bulk of its federal funding, including its Medicaid payments. They also ignore that most of Planned Parenthood’s funding comes, not from the government, but from private donors. Planned Parenthood can survive a government shutdown much more easily than the Federal Government. A Republican-based Federal Government shutdown, and the billions of dollars wasted in the process, would be purely for show, and the only people benefiting would be extremist Republicans gaining support from a small, but very loud, extremist base.
More cautious, more politically “experienced” Republican leaders are hoping to hold a series of stand-alone votes (calling a meeting for no other reason then to vote on one issue) attacking Planned Parenthood. It is hoped these Republican displays of voting for, or against, different specific bills, and losing to the Democrats, will redirect the anger of the the anti-abortionists in their base. While the stand-alones are simply for show, they are a much less expensive than a government shut down.
In a repeat of their unsuccessful 2013 efforts to defund Obamacare, extremist Republicans are preparing for battle with President Obama and congressional Democrats. All of the 2016 GOP hopefuls have expressed their near-desperate opposition to the popular women’s health care organization, Planned Parenthood. For some people, abortion is an extremely emotionally charged issue, capable of blocking out any form of rational thought. But they are only a very small percentage of the population.
We live in a democracy. Manipulating another government shutdown thwarts democratic rule, and holds the government, and general public, hostage. It would seem Republicans have become completely out of touch with the meaning of democracy.