Republicans have made Planned Parenthood into a top target in their ongoing War on Women, repeatedly attempting to strip funding from the national women’s health organization because some of its affiliates provide abortion services. Despite the fact that the Hyde Amendment already prevents taxpayer dollars from funding abortion — which means that Planned Parenthood’s federal and state funding simply goes toward providing preventative health care for women who often aren’t able to access those services elsewhere — GOP lawmakers still aren’t convinced. They’re still eager to find a reason to defund Planned Parenthood, and they’re willing to waste time and money to search for one.
Nearly 70 Republicans have signed onto a letter asking the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to take a closer look at the way Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers use taxpayer dollars. Even though there’s already a federal law that stipulates exactly how those funds may be used, they still claim the study is “critically needed to shine a bright light on how taxpayer funds are allocated” — but the GOP proponents of the effort admit their real goal is to justify stripping funding from Planned Parenthood:
Those spearheading this effort — Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas) and Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) — are hoping the study confirms their suspicions that these groups are focusing more on abortion and less on other healthcare services. Black said this finding could be used to justify a reduction in federal funds to abortion providers. [...]
Black added that Planned Parenthood showed in its latest report that they are providing more abortions, and fewer other health services, all while federal funding has increased. “An independent study of the federal funding for abortion providers is necessary to further expose the truth of how these precious taxpayer dollars are truly being used,” Black said.
House Republicans are already tripping over themselves to attempt to defund Planned Parenthood, introducing two identical bills at the beginning of the legislative session that both target the nonprofit organization. They’re unconcerned about their doubled efforts because, as Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) explained to the Huffington Post, “The fact that there are multiple members interested in this issue proves that Planned Parenthood is not going to be let off the hook.”
But that message may not be particularly well-received by the American people. Post-election polling confirmed that women’s issues, including lawmakers’ stance on whether Planned Parenthood should remain fully funded, were decisive factors in the presidential election: 64 percent of all voters said they heard something about Mitt Romney’s intent to defund Planned Parenthood, and 62 percent disagreed with that position.
That’s apparently not enough to dissuade Republicans in Congress, who have a long track record of focusing on the same pointless issues — the 112th Congress unsuccessfully attempted to repeal Obamacare over 30 times, for example — rather than tackling their long to-do list on important polices like disaster relief, job stimulation, deficit deals, and resources for sexual assault victims.