Sunday, June 12, 2011

Defunding Planned Parenthood - A Litmus Test?

SBA List - Advancing, Mobilizing and Representing Pro-Life Women
Dear Deacon John,

I hope you are enjoying your weekend. Please take a few moments to read the latest updates in the fight to defund Planned Parenthood.

1. Obama Administration Continues to Fight Pro-life Indiana Law

As you know, Indiana’s recently passed law to defund Planned Parenthood of state-controlled tax dollars is under fierce attack from President Obama and Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

The administration is trying to strong-arm Indiana officials into changing the law, even threatening to pull the state's $4.3 billion in Medicaid funding. This not only puts the health care of low-income women at risk, but ignores Indiana’s right to decide how to spend Hoosier tax dollars.

 John, this law was passed thanks to the hard work of our friends at Indiana Right to Life, the legislators who led the charge, and the SBA List activists who encouraged Governor Daniels to sign the bill. Now we must continue to keep the pressure on high by working tirelessly to support Indiana officials and encourage them to stand strong and fight the Obama Administration.

The results of this fight in Indiana could affect other states including Wisconsin, Texas, North Carolina, as well as Kansas and New Jersey where funding cuts to Planned Parenthood are also being considered.

Pro-life Indiana lawmakers need your support! Even if you’ve done it once before, please take a minute to send a message to President Obama and Secretary Sebelius.

2. Soldiering on in the Fight to Defund Planned Parenthood Everywhere: Faith & Freedom Coalition Conference

Last week, SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser joined other state and national pro-life leaders at the annual Faith & Freedom Coalition Conference. Pro-life rockstars Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and former Indiana State Rep. Jackie Walorski joined Marjorie in a panel discussion about the role of pro-life women in politics. Later that day, Marjorie joined our friends from Catholic Advocate, National Organization for Marriage, and the New Jersey Faith & Freedom Coalition to talk about Catholic citizens in action. Video footage of both panel discussions are available on the SBA List website. Please take the time to watch these great conversations.

Pro-life Women in Politics Panel:

Catholic Citizen Action Panel:

3. The Search for a Pro-life President Continues:

This week, members of the SBA List team, including myself, Marjorie, and former Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave, will be in New Orleans for the Republican Leadership Conference. This conference is an important stop for candidates on the road to the 2012 election.

Be sure to stop by the SBA List booth at the Exhibitors hall, but if you can’t make it, make sure you are following the SBA List twitter feed (@SBAList) for all the latest news from the conference.

As you know, John, it is critical that we elect a pro-life president in 2012 in order to stop the assault on Life, including taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood. Thanks to your activism for Life, the campaign to defund Planned Parenthood of taxpayer dollars is shaping up to be a critical debate during the Presidential election. In case you missed it, take a few moments to read the recent article in Politico entitled “Planned Parenthood: A 2012 Litmus Test,” which features great quotes from Marjorie about the importance of the pro-life issue in the search for a candidate to take on President Obama. The article is copied below.

Thank you for your continued support, John. The SBA List and I look forward to keeping you updated on the fight to defund Planned Parenthood and save unborn lives.

For Life,

Emily Buchanan
Executive Director
Susan B. Anthony List

P.S. Please read this recent article from Politico featuring great quotes from SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser:

Planned Parenthood: A 2012 litmus test?
By SARAH KLIFF | 6/8/11 5:47 PM

Defunding Planned Parenthood is shaping up as the key reproductive health issue in 2012 elections, with groups on both sides of abortion politics already mobilizing for a fierce battle.

Abortion rights opponents describe Planned Parenthood’s public funding as a new “litmus test” for Republican candidates — and an easy way to draw a distinction with President Barack Obama — while abortion rights supporters are eagerly eyeing the debate as an attack on contraceptives that could mobilize the Democratic base.

“We will bring it to the forefront in every way that we can,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion group that has largely driven the push to defund Planned Parenthood. “This is our number one policy focus … and we’re treating it as a litmus test. If any Republican nominee can’t summon the courage to call for Planned Parenthood to be defunded, that’s a serious problem.”

The idea of Planned Parenthood’s funding as a Republican litmus test does not sit well with all of the party’s strategists, some of whom worry it will drive away the exact constituencies that the party needs to win in 2012.

“It would send a terrible message to independent voters the GOP needs in order to win,” said Republican strategist Mark McKinnon, a former adviser to John McCain, now at Public Strategies.

And while the country has remained evenly split between identifying as “pro-life” and “pro-choice”—trending slightly toward “pro-life” in recent years — the vast majority of Americans support increased access to many of the contraceptives that Planned Parenthood provides.

“Federal policy already restricts use of Planned Parenthood funds for abortion, so if GOP candidates push this issue it would be perceived as tone deaf and intolerant to important electoral constituencies,” McKinnon said.

Planned Parenthood’s funding for family planning services, however, has become a polarizing political issue, with both sides playing hardball in their attempts to take away or defend the group’s public funding.

Planned Parenthood’s federal funding emerged as a national issue this year, when a Republican proposal to strip the group of public dollars — and Democrats’ refusal to negotiate on the provision — pushed congressional budget negotiations to the eleventh hour.

The issue hasn’t gone away. Most recently, CMS Administrator Don Berwick has threatened to strip Indiana of all Medicaid funding, which comes in at around $4.3 billion, if it moves forward with its proposal to bar contracts with abortion providers.
With the political lines starkly drawn, anti-abortion groups want to see Planned Parenthood’s public funding become a central issue in 2012, similar to the way that they positioned around the health reform law in 2010.

Susan B. Anthony List had a strong impact last year, running aggressive campaigns against anti-abortion Democrats who supported the health reform law. Both Reps. Kathy Dahlkemper (D-Pa.) and Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio) lost reelection bids in the face of sweeping SBA List campaigns.

Read the rest here.