This op-ed originally appeared online at FoxNews on February 12, 2011.
Effort to Choke Tax-Payer Funding to Planned Parenthood
By Kristan Hawkins & Marjorie Dannenfelser
The time has come. There is a growing movement on Capitol Hill pushing to end all taxpayer funding of abortion in America. On Thursday, a contingent of pro-life representatives and organization leaders kicked off a renewed effort to choke off funding for Planned Parenthood at a packed press conference. The event came on the heels of several new pieces of legislation that are expected to move quickly under the Republican-controlled House.
Each year, the abortion industry receives millions of our tax dollars to advance its destructive agenda. And, each year, more and more Americans demand that their hard-earned paychecks not fund the killing of preborn children, the wounding of their mothers, and the advancement of a culture of death in America. Last year alone Planned Parenthood Federation of America collected $363 million in taxpayer dollars.
And that’s not the only way the abortion lobby is funding its gruesome business.
In January, Students for Life of America released a new study showing that 44.3% of college-and university-sponsored health care plans cover elective abortions. And, in those schools, 38 or 44% of abortion health care plans are automatically placed on students’ tuition bills. For years, colleges and universities have been institutionally promoting abortion, forcing students to pay for it unawares.
Not only are pro-life students paying for their peers’ abortions, but taxpayers’ dollars have also been contributed to student abortions through federal education grants – in direct violation of the Hyde Amendment. The Hyde Amendment strictly prohibits all federal funding of abortions and is placed in the Appropriations Act which covers the Department of Labor, Health and Human Services and the Department of Education.
Each year, millions in federal education grants are directed to accredited colleges and universities from U.S. taxpayers through the Federal Student Aid Program. Student eligibility for these grants is determined by the difference in the student’s ability to pay and the total “cost of attendance” for the school. That amount equals the student’s eligibility for federal grants. As stated in many plans, the cost of their abortion health care plan is added to each student’s “cost of attendance,” increasing the student’s need for federal funds.
Because of this increase in need, additional federal funds are directed to the student to help cover the increase in cost. This process enables U.S. taxpayer money to pay for abortion procedures, directly violating the Hyde Amendment that President Obama and so-called “pro-life” Democrats insist is the prevailing law of the land.
We, as taxpayers, must stand up to the abortion industry and its special interest groups who are enabling this flow of money from taxpayer wallets into the pockets of the abortion industry. Now is the time to do it.
The GOP surge in November has produced 80 pro-life Members of Congress out of the 87 newly elected Republicans – many replacing self-described “pro-life” Democrats who betrayed their constituents by voting for the pro-abortion health care law. Better still, not only are we electing pro-life leaders, we’re also appointing them to some of the most influential committees in Congress. These are committees with jurisdiction over life-saving legislation and the ability to enforce measures, like the Hyde Amendment, which would end this taxpayer complicity in funding student abortions.
Election results and public polls are clearly showing, this isn’t a movement anymore. This is pro-life America.
A poll conducted last November found that 61% of Americans oppose paying for abortion with their hard-earned tax dollars. Women, particularly, have opposed it, with 70% rejecting the notion in a poll at this time last year. In fact, abortion has lost its hold with Americans as a whole: A poll taken just last month shows 50% of Americans describing themselves as pro-life versus 42% describing themselves as pro-choice. That’s an all-time high for pro-life identification in Fox News polling since they started tracking in 1997.
To that end, the Susan B. Anthony List is leading the charge, working closely with other national pro-life organizations and Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Dan Lipinski (D-IL) to end taxpayer funding abortion in America. They have created a ”Stop” petition, which has gathered more than 40,000 signatures, to support the Congressmen’s “No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act.”
Now is the time to end all taxpayer funded abortions.
Kristan Hawkins is Executive Director of Students for Life of America, the only national pro-life organization dedicated to training and equipping college and high school students. Marjorie Dannenfelser is President of the Susan B. Anthony List, a nationwide network of over 280,000 pro-life Americans dedicated to advancing, mobilizing and representing pro-life women in the political process.