In Planned Parenthood Attack, GOP Chooses Religious Right Over Its Own Voters

Paul Ryan (Flickr/Gage Skidmore)
Paul Ryan (Flickr/Gage Skidmore)

House Speaker Paul Ryan announced today that congressional Republicans will attempt to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood—which mostly goes to non-abortion health services for low-income women—as part of its move to repeal the Affordable Care Act. President-elect Donald Trump promised anti-choice leaders in writing in September that he would sign a bill defunding the health care provider.

Cutting off Planned Parenthood’s federal funding, most of which comes through Medicaid reimbursements for the provider’s treatment for low-income patients, has long been a goal of the anti-choice movement and the Religious Right as a whole. But it wasn’t exactly a burning priority for the voters who delivered the White House to Trump. One poll before the election found that 58 percent of voters wanted to continue federal funding for Planned Parenthood—including a slim majority of Trump voters.

Slate’s Michelle Goldberg reported on a series focus group that Planned Parenthood convened of Trump voters, many of whom had no idea that Trump had promised the anti-choice movement that he would help them defund the women’s health provider:

In several focus groups, the moderator asked if people expected Trump to veto a defunding bill, and most hands went up. The new mother in Harrisburg pointed out that Trump avoided social issues in the campaign: “That was never Donald Trump’s platform.” Said a Phoenix man in his 30s: “I think this is coming from the bible-thumper mentality. I don’t see Trump having that mentality, but [Mike] Pence, Paul Ryan, those guys, it’s like they call up God from their cellphone. They’re so out of touch with reality.”

Needless to say, anti-choice activists are thrilled with the news. In an email to supporters today, Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser—who helped to rally anti-choice support for Trump after he made a series of promises to the movement—said that Ryan’s Planned Parenthood move was just the first goal on her group’s agenda. She added that she would be pushing for the confirmation of Jeff Sessions as attorney general, hoping that he would use the Justice Department to go after “Big Abortion,” and to fight for the confirmation of a “pro-life” Supreme Court justice, another promise that Trump made to the Religious Right:

Stripping the abortion giant of over $500 MILLION of our tax dollars each year is our first order of business, but by no means our last. Also on the agenda for what is shaping up to be a very busy start to the year is ensuring that pro-life Jeff Sessions is confirmed as Attorney General. This will ensure that pro-life laws are enforced, and that Big Abortion is finally held accountable.

President-elect Trump has committed to nominating a pro-life justice to the Supreme Court, so our next task will be fighting to ensure his pick takes his seat on the Supreme Court.

Now that we have an incoming president who has made four strong pro-life commitments, and pro-life majorities in the House and Senate, we are finally positioned to take incredible strides forward to defend innocent lives from the abortion industry.