By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Wednesday, September 30, US Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) voted against a Continuing Resolution (CR) that would fund the government through mid-December, but which funds Planned Parenthood. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) also opposed the CR.
Senator Shelby said, “While I believe that it is critical for the government to stay open and running, I opposed this short-term funding measure because it does not put an end to taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood. Senate Democrats have continually blocked our efforts to ensure that taxpayer dollars are focused on women’s health care and protecting the innocent lives of the unborn. I will continue to support pro-life policies while also pushing for conservative priorities in our appropriations measures.”
In July Senator Shelby joined with Sen. Sessions and dozens of other Senators asking the US Department of Health and Human Services investigate Planned Parenthood. The letter read: “We are deeply disturbed by recent footage released by the Center for Medical Progress depicting senior Planned Parenthood Federation of America executives discussing in graphic detail the organization’s practice of harvesting the organs of unborn babies. The footage raises a number of questions about the practices of the organization, including whether they are in compliance with federal laws regulating both the use of fetal tissue and partial-birth abortions. In addition to questions about Planned Parenthood’s compliance with applicable federal law and medical ethics, we believe the footage prompts important policy questions surrounding the issue of abortions permitted so late in a pregnancy – sometimes even later than 5 months – that an unborn baby’s organs can be identified and harvested. Congress is undertaking efforts to address these questions, and we expect the Department of Health and Human Services to fully cooperate with ensuing investigations.”
To this point, neither the Justice Department or Health and Human Services have opened any investigation. In fact, the President of the United States, Barack H. Obama, has actually threatened Governors who cancel contracts with Planned Parenthood. Republicans contend that Planned Parenthood has used generous campaign contributions to buy protection from Democratic lawmakers.
Congressman Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) questioned Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s President, Cecile Richards, about the group’s extensive political activities. Rep. Palmer said, “Planned Parenthood claims to be dedicated to women’s health, but they are also a well-funded and powerful political operation. Planned Parenthood’s political arm spends a significant amount of his time and money helping to elect candidates who they know will keep sending taxpayers money to them. While supposedly nonpartisan, Planned Parenthood’s political action committee (PAC) is in fact almost totally partisan. Its most recent report indicates that Planned Parenthood’s pack gave 100 percent of the money to Democratic candidates in 2014, 99 percent in 2012 and 98 percent in the 2010 election cycle.”
Congressman Palmer continued, “For a long time, Planned Parenthood has spent billions of taxpayer dollars when in fact it could be argued that they do not need the money. According to their own reports, Planned Parenthood’s net revenue for last year was over $127 million. They also show $1.4 billion in net assets while also holding an endowment worth more than $100 million.”
Palmer said, “Over the years Planned Parenthood has engaged in excessive spending for travel, entertainment, fundraising and executive salaries. For instance, there are 28 Planned Parenthood executives whose salaries are over $200,000, which is more than the pay for every member the President’s cabinet. Eleven more Planned Parenthood executives make over $300,000 per year which is more than the Speaker of the House, every Supreme Court Justice, including the Chief Justice, and more than the Vice President of United States. Five other Planned Parenthood executives, including Ms. Richards who learns over $520,000 per-year, earn over $400,000 per-year, which is more than the president of the United States. Considering that Planned Parenthood has received billions of dollars from the federal government, there should be a much closer examination of their political activities, as well as a closer examination a Planned Parenthood’s exorbitant spending.”
Despite conservative opposition, GOP moderates led by Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) joined with Democrats to push the CR through the Republican controlled US Senate. GOP leadership in both houses have maintained that there will not be any government shutdown over abortion, Iran, immigration, or anything else. Conservatives led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) argue that it is impossible to accomplish anything if Republicans won’t stand for anything.
The CR passed the Senate 70 to 20.