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Public Statements

Abortion

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

I'm pro-life. I don't apologize for it. I believe that the sanctity of life is a central axiom of Western civilization.

Let me say, as we gather this evening under the leadership of the chairman of the Pro-Life Caucus here in the House of Representatives, Mr. Speaker, we are not really gathered this evening to debate the sanctity of life. We're really gathered tonight to shed light on a fact about Federal funding that, I think, escapes most Americans, and that is this simple fact:

That the largest abortion provider in America is the largest recipient of Federal funding under title X.

You know, when I'm walking down the street in Anderson, Indiana or in Muncie, Indiana, people know about my work on this particular issue. With the legislation I authored last summer during the appropriations process that received 189 votes to defund Planned Parenthood, one person after another will grab me by the elbow and will say,

``Mike, I did not know. I did not know that we gave a penny to the largest abortion provider in America, let alone the fact that the largest abortion provider in America, namely Planned Parenthood, is the largest recipient of Federal funding under title X.''

I mean the truth is that there has been much debate since 1973 and the decision of Roe v. Wade about the sanctity of life and the fault lines of the law and life, but where there has been national consensus since the very early days of this debate when a Congressman from Illinois named Henry Hyde conceived of the Hyde Amendment, there has been a national consensus behind the notion that, whatever your view of abortion, it is simply morally wrong to take the taxpayer dollars of millions of Americans who believe abortion is morally wrong and use it to pay for or to subsidize the performance of or the promotion of abortion.

The Hyde Amendment gave birth to what has been the dominant philosophy in our foreign aid funding. It's called the Mexico City Policy. It essentially says that no U.S. foreign aid can go to any organization that performs or that promotes abortion as a means of birth control.

You know, Madam Speaker, I really think many Americans think that that's the law here at home, too, that because the overwhelming majority of Americans think that pro-life Americans should not be forced to pay for abortions or to subsidize organizations that promote abortion, they think it doesn't happen here, when, in fact, let me say again that the largest abortion provider in America is the largest recipient of Federal funding under title X.

Now, abortion-rights advocates and, most especially, Planned Parenthood would be the first to step forward to say that they don't use title X family planning money to perform abortions. In fact, there are very strict Federal regulations that are in place that require a separation between Planned Parenthood abortion service clinics and Planned Parenthood title X clinics for the poor. I suppose, while there have been instances of alleged misfeasance and of the commingling of funds, I'll leave that completely out of this conversation and will allow for the fact that there is this separation, but I've got to tell you, Madam Speaker, that anybody knows that the money that Planned Parenthood receives for its non abortion activities frees up resources to go into its abortion activities.

The American people also deserve to know that this nonprofit organization received over $336 million in government grants and contracts, I think, in 2006. It had an excess of revenue over expenses of $56 million in 2005, and it had $112 million in 2006, which has given rise to the building spree that was reported on page 1 of the Wall Street Journal. Well, now Planned Parenthood is planning to go suburban with all new up-scale abortion mills around the country. So I commend the gentleman from New Jersey for bringing this conversation to the floor.

I authored a bill last year in the Labor-HHS legislation that would have denied any Federal funding in title X from flowing to Planned Parenthood of America, and it received 189 votes, including 20 Members of the majority voting for it. If Congress ever got around to considering the Labor-HHS appropriations bill this year, I sincerely believe that that number would grow as public awareness has grown about the simple fact that the largest abortion provider in America, Planned Parenthood, is the largest recipient of Federal funding, and that ought not to be.

Whatever a person's view of abortion is, it is my hope--and frankly, it is my prayer--that this Congress will come together in a bipartisan way and will implement a domestic Mexico City Policy and will say to the millions of Americans, to the hundreds of millions of Americans, perhaps, who have moral objections to abortion, we will not take your tax dollars and use it to subsidize the largest abortion provider in the United States of America. That's all we're here to talk about today.

I urge my colleagues to reflect deeply on the fundamental fairness of this issue and to support the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act that would bring a change to the law. In the appropriations cycle, if we ever get around to it in this Congress, let's take decisive action to defund Planned Parenthood, not cut a dime out of title X and its family planning programs, but let's say no more Federal tax dollars to the largest abortion provider in America.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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