No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Father Pavone released the following statement in advance of the May 4th vote on the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.”

“The pro-life movement has another opportunity this week to take a giant step forward to protect the unborn by urging support for House Resolution 3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. Americans do not – and have never wanted – to pay for the killing of children.

“To every legislator that votes against this bill, we will send women who have suffered from the abortions they had, and they will ask, Why would you want to fund my pain?

“Then we will urge the voters to elect public servants who can tell the difference between serving the public and killing the public.”

Election Season is Approaching

We are at the start of the Presidential election cycle. Various candidates have begun to declare their intentions to form exploratory committees, to assess whether they have the resources and support to run for President. Various organizations are evaluating which potential candidates their members support. Various events are being planned in which those who want to run can begin debating each other.

On Election Day, many people complain that they don’t like any of the choices. That’s why it is good that these races begin early. Now is the time to encourage the best possible candidates to get into the race, rather than to say it’s too early and then complain later. And the Church indicates that the candidate’s readiness to serve the human person above all else, is the first thing we should look at.

Fr. Pavone calls for “Steady and Calm Determination” on Abortion Defunding

Fr. Pavone called upon pro-life activists to continue to insist, in creative ways, that the government stop funding the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood. He issued the following statement:

“The defunding of Planned Parenthood was not included in the budget deal reached this weekend by Congress. At the same time, this is not a ‘one chance only’ proposition. Cutting off funds from Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry overall is an imperative that must be brought up again and again, and pursued through various legislative proposals not only on the federal level but also in the states. Moreover, activists should continue to target corporate funding of Planned Parenthood.”

“The separate vote in the Senate this week on this issue should be carefully scored and used as an election issue next year. Moreover, this debate gives all of us the opportunity to consider again how important the abortion issue is. If government can take away your life, it can take away your money, too – and everything else besides. All our rights depend on the right to life. Government should neither be funding nor permitting in any way the planned, advertised killing of innocent children.”

Gary Bauer and Dr. Alveda King: Why Our Government Must Stop Funding Planned Parenthood

FoxNews.Com – New York, NY
Thursday, March 31, 2011

President Obama has made the concept of shared economic sacrifice a constant theme of his presidency. “Shared sacrifice” should be the catch phrase, Mr. Obama told the National Governors Association in late February. “If all the pain is shared by one group…that’s not good for anyone.”

We agree, but there’s one group that isn’t making the economic sacrifices most other Americans are making. Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion business, receives $350 million annually from taxpayers in the form of government grants and contracts, even though it makes tens of millions of dollars in yearly profits.

A current proposal to defund Planned Parenthood might seem like just another skirmish in the culture war, but it ought to be seen as something more fundamental: the most basic measure of whether our government is serious about resolving its debt problem.

The continuing resolution (CR) passed in February by the House of Representatives to fund federal agencies through the end of FY 2011 included language to defund Planned Parenthood. Had the CR passed, Planned Parenthood’s 825 facilities would have been prohibited from receiving federal taxpayer dollars from any federal programs or departments, but the Senate refused to pass the CR, in part because Senate Democrats would not compromise on taxpayer funding of abortion. Two subsequent stop-gap CRs did not address defunding Planned Parenthood either.

Now, with the prospect of an April 8th government shutdown looming, abortion funding is back in the news as lawmakers this week are debating whether to include cuts to Planned Parenthood in a budget to fund the federal government through the rest of the 2011 fiscal year.

Because new House rules require a bill to be publicly unveiled three days before any consideration on the House floor, any such bill would have to be drafted by April 5th at the latest.

Abortion-rights advocates claim that ending taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood would eliminate funding for cancer screenings, birth control, adoption referrals and other services for which many poor women rely on Planned Parenthood.

Recently Alaska’s senators, Lisa Murkowski (R) and Mark Begich (D) wrote that “without the care Planned Parenthood provides…women will die.”

But Planned Parenthood does not have a monopoly on any of these services. There are thousands of other health care facilities across the country that receive federal funding and offer authentic health care to low-income women.

Also, though it stresses its less controversial work, Planned Parenthood’s raison d’etre is to perform abortions. According to the Chiaroscuro Foundation, abortions constitute roughly 37% of all Planned Parenthood’s revenues. (That’s a conservative estimate.)

A quarter of the nation’s abortions are performed at Planned Parenthood centers, and even as the number of abortions nationally has dropped in recent years, the share performed by Planned Parenthood has grown.

In 2008, the last year for which data is available, Planned Parenthood performed more than 324,000 abortions, up from 305,000 in 2007. To put this in perspective, one abortion takes places at a Planned Parenthood center roughly every minute and a half of every hour of every day.

By law, Planned Parenthood cannot allocate any federal funding for abortions, but its $350 million yearly taxpayer subsidy frees up other funds for abortions. With a $1.1 billion budget, and more than 700,000 donors, Planned Parenthood’s fiscal 2009 net profit was $21.7 million, according to its Internal Revenue Service Form 990 tax filing.

But lavish public subsidies aren’t the only reason to defund the abortion giant. In recent years, Planned Parenthood centers across the country have been exposed for committing a variety of offenses—including refusing to comply with statutory rape reporting laws and parental consent laws, performing illegal late-term abortions and overcharging clients on birth control.

To be sure, ending Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer subsidies won’t by itself close our budget deficit, but it will save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars a year. And it will signal to a skeptical public that the federal government has finally gotten serious about its profligate spending.

Soon, Congress will vote on a continuing resolution to fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year. It must include the elimination of all taxpayer subsidies for Planned Parenthood. After all, if our federal government won’t say “no” to a scandal-ridden business that’s already raking in tens of millions of dollars a year in profits, who will it say “no” to?

Gary Bauer is President of American Values and Chairman of Campaign for Working Families. Dr. Alveda King is Founder of King for America and Pastoral Associate at Priests for Life.

No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act Is Real Common Ground

Staten Island, NY – Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director for Priests for Life, issued the following statement today on the introduction in Congress of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.

“When polls show that 60 to more than 70 percent of the American public agree that the government should not pay for abortions, I think that qualifies as ‘common ground.’ The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act expresses the will of the people. It will save money, but more importantly, it will save lives.”

Fr. Pavone added, “Priests for Life will activate all its communications outlets and hundreds of thousands of supporters to lobby strongly for this legislation, and to challenge abortion advocates to explain why what they consider a matter of choice should be funded by force.”

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

Father Pavone Encouraged by Views of RNC Candidates

Staten Island, NY – Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, issued the following statement today following the debate among candidates for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee.

“It’s encouraging to hear all the candidates for the RNC leadership say they are proud to be pro-life and would be ready to work in coalition with pro-life activists across the country. All the candidates agreed that Planned Parenthood should be defunded, and that was also welcome news.”

Father Pavone continued, “The candidates recognize that a majority of Americans favor at least some restrictions on abortion and that it is vital to ensure that every pro-life American is registered to vote, and energized to take part in the political process.

“Despite suggestions from some top GOP lawmakers to put social issues like abortion aside while concentrating on the economy, there can be no truce on abortion and it’s more important than ever for the RNC chairman to promote that message.”

Fr. Pavone on 2010 Elections: Time to Get to Work

Staten Island, NY – Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, issued the following statement today on Tuesday’s elections:

“Last night was a great night for the pro-life movement. New pro-life Governors, Representatives, Senators, and state legislators across the nation have won victories.

“I am grateful to the Vote Pro-life Coalition and to all who worked so hard to inform their fellow citizens and get them to the polls.

“Now let’s communicate with and encourage our newly-elected officials, and work with them on the specific initiatives that will need our help. And let the work begin to make even greater progress in 2012. Sign up at PoliticalResponsibility.com.”

Reach for the Low-Hanging Fruit

Each of us has but one vote. Yet we can all influence thousands of votes. And we should start with the people who need the least amount of urging. If you have friends who already agree with you on the key issues of the day, and who would probably support the candidates you support, please make sure that they do in fact intend to vote for that candidate. Some information from you, a friendly nudge, or perhaps a promise of assistance to get them to the polls can go a long way.

We should reach for the “low-hanging fruit.” If the same amount of energy by which we persuade one who disagrees with us can mobilize ten people who agree with us already, get the ten first; then come back for the rest.

A Moral Obligation to Vote

While voting is always a moral obligation, sometimes that obligation is stronger than at other times. This is especially true when pro-life people have an opportunity to elect, in a close race, someone who is committed to protect the unborn, and remove from office someone else who isn’t. The closer a race is, the more each person’s vote matters. And among candidates who have a strong enough base to win, we have a moral obligation to vote in such a way that will do the most to advance the culture of life.

We each have one vote, but we can also influence thousands of other votes. We can directly help candidates by volunteering for their campaigns, and we can help other voters understand their duty and get to the polls.

The Party Matters

When deciding on the candidate for whom you cast your vote in an election, a number of moral principles have to be considered. As I have often written in the past, the position of the candidate him/herself on the most important issues is of key importance, because by putting that person in a position to vote on legislation, you help to move public policy either closer or farther away from the moral law.

But that very consideration also means that the positions of the party to which the candidate belongs also matter. By putting that candidate in office, you also help to put his/her party into power. This has to be taken into consideration, too. Voters need to ask how much the election of a particular candidate will shift the balance of power between the parties, and what will happen when a particular party takes control. Voters should know the platform of the party and the official positions of party leadership on the same moral issues on which the individual candidate is evaluated.

At times, in all parties, the individual candidate will take a different position than his/her party on fundamental moral issues. Yet if the election of that candidate would shift control to his/her party, which holds the opposite position on those issues, a vote for that candidate, in effect, works against the position the voter may be trying to advance.

In short, the party matters.

To illustrate why the party matters, let’s look at what happens in the United States Senate.

The Majority party in the Senate chooses the Majority Leader. The Majority Leader has control of the Senate schedule and agenda. This includes the ability to select the timing for floor proceedings, that is, debates, consideration of amendments, and voting, both for legislation and nominations.

The Majority Party has a majority on all committees (except the Ethics Committee), usually in close proportion to its share of the body as a whole. The Majority Party on every committee also controls a majority of the staff on the committee.

The Majority in each committee recommends to their caucus a Committee Chairman. Typically, their selection is rubberstamped by the Majority Party in the Senate. The chairmen, in turn, set the agenda of their respective committees. This is an extremely powerful post. For example, chairmen sometimes refuse to schedule hearings on nominees and legislation, and this effectively kills them. In other words, the best candidate in either party could introduce the best legislation imaginable, and it would never come out of committee. The party matters.

Considerations about what party would be in power as a result of the outcome of a particular election become especially relevant when the opposing candidates take the same position on issues of key importance.

Reflections like these are not an endorsement of a party; rather, they are an aspect of the duty that we as clergy have to articulate the moral dimensions of voting. If they benefit one party over another, that’s not by our choice, but by the choice of the party to take the positions it takes.