The American Life League is among the pro-life organizations that are celebrating House passage of healthcare reform that includes a provision defunding Planned Parenthood.
For nearly a quarter of a century, ALL has been at the forefront of the battle to strip the nation's biggest abortion-provider of federal funding. ALL executive director Jim Sedlak notes Planned Parenthood does more than a third of the abortions done in the U.S., terminating an average of 888 babies a day.
"In addition to that, they push outrageous sex education programs on our teenagers that are designed for only one thing, and that is to create customers for Planned Parenthood's contraception and abortion business," he tells OneNewsNow.
The abortion business collects over 40 percent of its revenue from the American taxpayer – i.e., over $553 million a year from federal, state and local governments. The American Health Care Act of 2017 (H.R. 1628), if it passes the Senate, will eliminate more than $400 million. The measure passed narrowly in the House yesterday on a 217-213 vote.
Those who oppose the funding cut often cite the other health services Planned Parenthood offers to women that would be affected. But Sedlak points out far more local health clinics are providing those services – and they don't terminate the lives of preborn babies. He cites, for example, the Texas Panhandle where Planned Parenthood once operated 19 clinics.
"Right now there are no Planned Parenthood clinics in the Texas Panhandle – and the people of the rural area of the Panhandle are still getting all of their health services because there are other places and other agencies to pick it up."
The Senate? Easier said than done
Following yesterday's vote in the House, Republicans celebrated at the White House with President Trump. The AHCA, however, definitely faces an uphill battle in the Senate. Phil Kerpen of American Commitment says the Senate was always going to be the harder part, noting two GOP senators who would likely jump ship on the abortion funding provision.
"The fact that the bill defunds Planned Parenthood means you lose Senator Susan Collins [of Maine] right off the top, and you might also lose Lisa Murkowski [of Alaska] as well," Kerpen tells OneNewsNow. "If you lose those two, you have to get all ... of the other 50 [Republican] senators [for it to have a chance]."
And that, he outlines, means Senators Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) would need to be in agreement with Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and John McCain (R-Arizona).
"That's pretty hard to do," says Kerpen.
Senator Paul told Fox News on Thursday that it will take some work to get him to a "yes" vote.
"... This is going to be a challenge to get done, and it's going to be a real test of Mitch McConnell's leadership," says Kerpen. "And I just hope that to the extent they need to make significant changes to the bill, they make it stronger and they do repeal more of Obamacare and they do more to lower prices and lower premiums in particular, as opposed to drift left.
"There was some talk they might try to take out the Planned Parenthood provisions to get Susan Collins or someone like that, but I think that would be a disaster because then it would be dead if it came back to the House."
The Senate reportedly could start its own version from scratch and not use the House version of the repeal bill.