At the 44th annual March for Life this past January, Vice President Pence told thousands of eager, dedicated marchers that “life is winning again in America.” However, the Republican Congress’ capitulation on Planned Parenthood funding in the latest round of budget talks tells quite a different tale.
Following a national election cycle in which the pro-life cause became a conspicuous and consequential issue in the wake of the Republican Party’s trifold victory in the House of Representatives, Senate, and Oval Office, the GOP is already squandering the momentum of that victory by passing a budget resolution that … wait for it … still funds Planned Parenthood.
Under the gun to avoid the closet-dwelling bogeyman of a government shutdown, congressional leadership has reached a last-minute deal that still funds Obamacare subsidies, doesn’t allocated border wall funds, and keeps the pipeline of federal dollars flowing to the abortion industry’s flagship operation completely untouched, according to POLITICO.
There were and are a host of reasons to stand firm – if not for the simple necessity of keeping one’s most salient promises, for the various reminders such as a new video about Planned Parenthood’s dealings in baby parts or a haunting mountain of colorful baby socks dumped on Capitol Hill. Still, we get: nothing.
This debate over the flow of tax dollars to America’s largest abortion provider is, of course, a debate that goes back farther than the 2016 election, as then-Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana led the House to cut the flow in 2011.
Furthermore, in addition to the cornucopia of campaign promises and the pro-life political drama during the campaign of fret and worry about whether the presumptive nominee would stand up for the cause of the unborn – despite all the apprehensions to the contrary – abortion became a clear watermark issue during the debates, in which the relatively recent convert to the cause squared off against the tired, second-wave feminist extremism found in Hillary Clinton’s rhetoric.
As recently as a week ago, the Democratic Party itself, in contrast, had the beginnings of a decisive moment it its own history. Tom Perez’s statements that pro-lifers do not have a home in the party of Jefferson merely serve as a reminder of how extreme the group’s leadership has allowed it to become. Yet, they’ve won this hill for now, extremism or no extremism.
What this moment shows is that pro-lifers are more and more finding themselves in the midst of a tragic dichotomy, between a party too hostile to their views to entertain them and one that takes their support for granted – even if they don’t realize it. But alas, dead babies don’t vote, they don’t run Fortune 500 companies with the clout to stymie years-long campaign talking points (See: Obamacare repeal), and they definitely don’t write checks. All the promises, all the posturing, all the work of the pro-life movement — gone.
As this goes forward, pro-lifers who placed their hopes on a Republican Congress – all of whom ran on the most pro-life platform in party history – will be told that there will be some next great hurdle they must cross in order to finally do what they’ve been promising for so long.
For now, it seems that the Republican Congress has adapted that old Democrat fig leaf in order to pass a budget. They are, after all, “personally pro-life,” but don’t seem to have the gumption, pluck, or will to do anything about that conviction.