Call it Obamacare-lite, RINOCare, Repeal in Name Only, Ryancare, or Trumpcare … the new health care plan looks like a stinker right out of the gate. Nonetheless, it stands to gain at least a modicum of public support for one of its most precarious proposals.
While language defunding America’s largest abortion provider and infamous peddler of baby body parts is one of the few redeeming portions of the new “replacement” bill, it’s little more than a shiny object and fig leaf for the GOP leadership’s latest legislative dumpster fire.
At the sight of the language, the abortion lobby’s water carriers went to work almost immediately panning the provision.
— Michael Deibert (@michaelcdeibert) March 7, 2017
Statements from Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray on threats to defund Planned Parenthood: pic.twitter.com/U8OtiH1jWl
— NYC Mayor’s Office (@NYCMayorsOffice) March 7, 2017
On the eve of Int’l Women’s Day, Trump’s GOP proposed a “health care” bill that would defund basic services for women’s health. Unacceptable
— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) March 7, 2017
BREAKING: The House just introduced the “defund” bill, 2 cut millions of people off from care at Planned Parenthood https://t.co/4RIHh9D6Az
— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) March 7, 2017
Due to the naturally Manichean nature of the politics of killing the unborn, responses like these are sure to illicit at least the desire to celebrate Obamacare-lite from the “not forcing people to subsidize baby murder” front. Pro-lifers, however, should be careful not to get played like they were the last time Republican leadership promised a defund provision … or the time before that.
First off, it’s highly unlikely that the defund provision will make it past the parliamentarian on the Byrd Rule (which keeps regulations out of funding measures). So unless leadership is willing to swap out parliamentarians (it won’t be), it won’t clear the first hurdle.
Over phone, @Jim_Jordan worries Planned Parenthood defund is a shiny object, says “there’s a good chance” it doesn’t pass parliamentarian.
— Philip Wegmann (@PhilipWegmann) March 7, 2017
Even in the unlikely event that the defunding provision makes it to the Senate, it probably won’t survive scrutiny in the upper chamber, which will be far more hostile to the measure.
Saying that this bill “at least” defunds Planned Parenthood is like saying that there’s “at least” no gun control; that ought to be a baseline. There’s no reason that abortion providers should continue to receive public funds when Republicans were handed both houses of Congress and the Oval Office running on an overwhelmingly conservative platform.
Defunding Planned Parenthood was a major GOP promise during the 2016 campaign, and one they should follow through on (come hell or high water).
What it shouldn’t be, however, is political cover for abject FAILURE to follow through on another vital campaign promise, by foisting Obamacare-lite on the American people.