It's still two months until a new president takes the oath of office, but battle lines are already being drawn over Planned Parenthood.
During his campaign, President-elect Donald Trump stood firm on defunding Planned Parenthood, but said he would only support stripping the funds if the nation's largest abortion-provider refuses to stop doing abortions. A fight over the funding is expected in Congress – but American Life League is hopeful that with Mike Pence as his vice president, Trump might be convinced to defund regardless.
"[Pence] was the guy who single-handedly in 2007 wrote the first amendment to a bill in Congress that specifically named Planned Parenthood and tried to take all the money away from them," explains ALL spokesman Jim Sedlak. "So Mike Pence is an absolute opponent of Planned Parenthood – and we're hoping that he will have an influence on Mr. Trump."
Pence told a reporter in 2007:
"If Planned Parenthood wants to be involved in providing counseling services and HIV testing, they ought not be in the business of providing abortions. As long as they aspire to do that, I’ll be after them."
He reiterated his strong pro-life stance in the weeks leading up to the election, telling students at Liberty University in Virginia:
"Donald Trump and I believe that the largest abortion-provider in America should not be the largest recipient of federal funding under Title X. A Trump-Pence administration will defund Planned Parenthood and redirect those dollars to women's healthcare that doesn't provide abortion services."
Even some in the Democratic Party agree Planned Parenthood should be defunded, at least in part.
The day after the Trump-Pence ticket won the presidential election, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards sounded off, vowing their "doors will stay open" despite the uncertainty ahead under a Trump administration.
"But we know they've been closing their doors for the last 20 years –and we hope that this will accelerate it," says Sedlak. "They've gone from 938 clinics down to 630; and if we can accelerate it with this victory, they'll reach zero sooner than later."
Planned Parenthood has received increased federal tax subsidies, including over a half-billion tax dollars in the most recent fiscal year, while increasing the number of abortions but providing fewer and fewer medical services.