For most of the country, March is the harbinger of spring finally coming, and with it, new life in green and flowering abundance. Where I live (the deserts of Arizona), spring came warm and early this year, and the last days of February brought glad tidings of new hope for those who hold new life – indeed, all life – as the sacred gift of a loving God.
First came word that the governors of two influential states were signing legislation restricting public funding for the nation’s largest and most aggressive purveyor of abortion-for-profit, Planned Parenthood.
In Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker signed into law SB 237 (directing public funding away from Planned Parenthood and its allies and toward providers of more comprehensive health services for women and families) and SB 238 (blocking abortion businesses from robbing taxpayers by overbilling Medicaid for prescription drugs profits).
“Planned Parenthood shouldn’t be profiting off of women and taxpayers,” says Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Casey Mattox, who (along with ADF client and former Planned Parenthood employee Sue Thayer) testified before the Wisconsin Assembly’s Committee on Health last September on the legality and constitutionality of the bills. “Yet, this scandal-plagued organization has accepted more than $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies over the past decade while reporting more than $765 million in ‘excess revenues.’
“Wisconsin taxpayers shouldn’t be forced into this immoral partnership with Planned Parenthood, especially when better, low-cost community health care providers serve women and families far more comprehensively and outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities in Wisconsin 7 to 1. The taxpayers deserve better than an organization with a long track record of abusive and potentially fraudulent billing practices, that have been caught in authenticated undercover videos negotiating prices for baby body parts, and that have repeatedly failed to report the sexual abuse of girls.”
Wisconsin was the ninth state to take action in recent months to defund Planned Parenthood; a few days later, Ohio became the tenth. Governor John Kasich signed HB 294, a measure that significantly restricts public funding for Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses.
Ohio’s new law frees up money for more widely available and more comprehensive low-cost healthcare options for women and families in the state, says Mattox, who testified before the Ohio Senate’s Government Oversight and Reform Committee last October, providing expert legal opinion on the legality and constitutionality of an earlier Senate version of the bill.
“Ohio is right to end its relationship with organizations undeserving of taxpayer money and unworthy of the taxpayers’ trust,” he says. “Not one more penny should go to Planned Parenthood.”
Mattox also applauded a U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruling that affirmed a lower court’s decision to reject another Ohio law – one that would have blocked a pro-life group, Susan B. Anthony List, from speaking out about an elected official’s position on Obamacare.
“The First Amendment forbids government from acting as a ‘truth commission’ on matters of public debate,” Mattox says. “The 6th Circuit understood that this type of government intrusion has no place under the Constitution. The court was right to affirm, as the district court did, the freedom of Susan B. Anthony List and all the people of Ohio to speak in accordance with their views.”
Another key ruling came last week in Florida, the state’s appellate court ordered enforcement of a law that requires a 24-hour waiting period for women requesting an abortion – a very “common-sense measure,” says ADF Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden.
“This simply gives women and teen girls one day to think about having a procedure that is potentially life-changing and fraught with risks,” he says. “Basic health standards should not allow for ‘drop-in abortions.’ The court has done the right thing in allowing this good law to go into effect.”
All over the U.S., pro-life allies are uniting to press for the defunding of Planned Parenthood and other businesses profiting from abortion at taxpayer expense, to provide the greatest possible protections for the health of women and the babies in their womb, and to ensure the right of all Americans to speak up in defense of life. The results are heartening – and give hope for our nation moving toward a renewed respect for the sanctity of human life.
It’s been a long winter of the soul for America, in the aftermath of the Roe v. Wade decision. It’s good to rejoice in the first signs of a coming spring. (#DefundPP)
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