“To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” ~ Thomas Jefferson
The drama that is currently being played out between the state of Indiana and the federal government over its decision to defund Planned Parenthood is rich in subtext.
The issues of state sovereignty and the federal government's violation of the Tenth Amendment alone make this a compelling story, but there is another, darker revelation as well, one which should trouble all Americans of good conscience.
Most of us would agree with Thomas Jefferson's declaration above, and each of us would have our own list of federal projects, policies or actions to which we personally object. His statement, however, goes deeper than opposing earmarks or raising the debt ceiling. He is speaking to moral issues that transcend mere policy and speak to who we are as a people.
The issue of abortion has divided this country for nearly four decades, but recent polls, to include a Gallup poll on abortion done one month ago, suggest that a significant majority of Americans, 61 percent, now believe practically all abortions should be illegal, and a majority of Americans believe it is morally wrong.
By Jefferson's standard, it should be clear, even to those who are confused about the unalienable right to life, or who disavow the existence of such a right altogether, that it is "sinful and tyrannical" to use our money, confiscated from us through the force of government authority, to subsidize a practice most Americans find morally abhorrent.
Yet it has been going on for years, with Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest provider of abortions, receiving millions of taxpayer dollars annually.
In the interest of casting light onto darkness, let me make a couple of points to illuminate the discussion.
Don't let the lies about where the money goes deceive you. Saying that the money is used only to fund services or operations outside of abortion is a shell game. Those who manage the funds oversee all of the organization's operations, and subsidies for one function frees them to use other money elsewhere. Those taxpayer millions protect the millions they spend on their abortuaries.
Don't let them downplay the significance of abortion services to their bottom line. They like to claim that only 3% of the services they provide are abortions. Every single family planning procedure, however, is counted as a service, while abortion-related visits are bundled together as one. It creates a false narrative, which is precisely their intent. What they aren't saying is that about a fifth of their annual revenue comes from abortions alone.
The last point of illumination is the canard that women will be denied valuable family planning services should Planned Parenthood be defunded. Although they are difficult to count because they are usually independent operations, there are, at a minimum, an estimated 2,300 pregnancy care centers across the nation, compared to 820 Planned Parenthood clinics. These pregnancy care centers offer the same family planning services at little or no cost, and do not perform abortions.
Given Planned Parenthood's professed concern for women, you would think they'd welcome these pregnancy care clinics as partners in advancing women's health.
Instead, they fight them tooth and claw because they aren't really as invested in women's health as they are in abortion, and any woman who goes to a pregnancy care center is one less to offer their unborn child to the abortuaries and the killers who operate them.
In fact, their barely disguised hostility toward pregnancy care centers, and the actions they take to try and shut them down, is all the evidence you need of who they really are. That same unit of measure - "By their fruits you shall know them" - can be used to determine where the federal government stands on the issue of taxpayer funding of abortions.
When the federal government approached its first budget deadline earlier this year, and a continuing resolution proposal was put forward to the White House which included the defunding of Planned Parenthood, the administration rejected it out of hand. President Obama was more than willing to shut down the government, and deny pay to our men and women in the armed forces, to preserve federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
The federal government's response to the Indiana law was equally revealing. Obama's Department of Health and Human Services essentially threatened to cut off all federal funds to the state's Medicaid program unless they rescinded the law and restored Planned Parenthood's funding.
Medicaid is the federal government's health insurance program for low-income people and families, and it is funded jointly by the states and the federal government. By linking their share of the funds to the funding for Planned Parenthood, the federal government is essentially threatening to throw health care for the poor under the bus in favor of Planned Parenthood.
If that is their stated policy, they will then have to take the same stand against Kansas and North Carolina, whose legislature overrode the governor's veto to implement their state budget, which included defunding Planned Parenthood. The state of Texas is considering a similar measure.
As proud as I am to see the states reassert their rightful place in the design of our republic, I'm equally disturbed at the stridence of the federal government on abortion, which is more sacrosanct to them than the daily operations of government, the armed forces, or medical care for the poor. It is written, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." They are hell-bent on spending our treasure on the blood sacrifice of children yet to be born, and I shudder to think how hardened their hearts must be.