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Public Statements

Continuing Resolution

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. VITTER. Mr. President, I rise today to explain why I am voting no on the budget deal later this afternoon.

First and foremost, I am voting no because I do not think this is a meaningful, substantial start to getting our hands around what is the biggest threat and potential crisis we face as a nation--out-of-control spending and debt. I suppose $38 billion is more of a cut than we have ever done. But if we put it in any other context, it is very modest indeed.

Take a look at the 8 days leading up to the announcement of this deal and those 8 days alone--barely more than a week. We as a nation racked up $54 billion of brandnew debt, way more than the $38 billion of cuts in just 8 days. That gives some perspective on exactly how modest and how limited in meaning this is.

When you dig a little deeper to look at the details of the cuts, I am afraid the picture gets even worse. A lot of these cuts are paper cuts only--only cuts on paper that do not have a meaningful impact in the real world. There has been significant reporting about this. The Justice Department fund and other examples--that probably accounts for $12 billion or $13 billion of the cuts.

In addition, yesterday the CBO issued a report that said only 1 percent of those cuts--$350 million or so--would have an impact this fiscal year. All the rest is pushed off well into the future. Because of that, I am voting no. I think we need a much stronger start to getting our fiscal house in order.

In addition, I am very concerned about what this budget deal continues to fund in terms of policy, in terms of impact on Americans' lives. The clearest example of that for me is the continuing funding of Planned Parenthood. I believe it is morally wrong to end an innocent human life. I also believe it is morally reprehensible to take tax dollars of millions of pro-life Americans in order to fund organizations that do just that. Americans should not be forced to subsidize abortions, much less fund our Nation's largest abortion provider. That is what Planned Parenthood is, pure and simple.

Opponents of defunding Planned Parenthood have argued in the news and even on the Senate floor that the organization provides many other health care services other than abortions, such as mammograms. We have seen recently that is a big fiction. Planned Parenthood's CEO repeated this assertion recently on news shows. She claimed:

If this bill ever becomes law--

Meaning the defunding of Planned Parenthood--

millions of women in this country are going to lose their healthcare access--not to abortion services--to basic family planning, you know, mammograms.

As I said, in recent days, this has been shown to be a huge fiction. Live Action, which is a pro-life group, recorded calls in the last several days to 30 Planned Parenthood clinics in 27 States. In each conversation, a woman calls in and asks if she can schedule an appointment for a mammogram. And in each conversation, without exception, the Planned Parenthood representative tells her they do not provide mammograms. Period. One staffer admits:

We do not provide those services whatsoever.

Another explains:

We actually don't have a mammogram machine at our clinics.

The staffer at Planned Parenthood in DC was perhaps clearest. She said:

We do not provide mammograms ..... we don't deal with the health side of it so much. We're mostly a surgical facility.

By the way, surgery means one thing: abortion.

This Planned Parenthood staffer is exactly right: 98 percent of their services to pregnant women constitute abortions--98 percent.

This chart lays this out very clearly. This pie chart represents 2009 Planned Parenthood services to pregnant women. The universe of services to pregnant women, abortions is in dark red, 98 percent. Adoption referrals is in blue. I apologize if you cannot see that. The sliver is that tiny. You have to be up close. And all other prenatal care is in green. That is the reality of Planned Parenthood.

We have also seen a recent onslaught of ads that claim Planned Parenthood is simply a leading provider of women health services, but abortion accounts for roughly one-third of the $1 billion generated by its clinics. In fact, Planned Parenthood's annual report acknowledges it provides primary care to 19,700 of its 3 million clients. Number of clients: 3 million; those to whom it provided primary health care: 19,700.

The provision to cut title X funding for health services, such as breast cancer screenings, HIV testing, counseling, and other valuable family planning services, would not block funding for those services at nonabortion providers. It would simply block funds from subsidizing America's largest abortion provider, and abortion is almost everything Planned Parenthood does.

Furthermore, Medicaid spends $1.4 billion on family planning each year. Not $1 of those funds would be affected by this resolution and this proposal. The question we face today is not if family planning and women's health services will be provided but, instead, if we are going to use that as an excuse to fund the biggest abortion provider in the country which does little else.

Although I personally believe abortion is not a right guaranteed by the Constitution, I recognize the sad reality that abortion on demand is legal in this country. Again, this debate is not about that. It is not about whether Planned Parenthood has the right to perform abortions, and it is not about funding true health care services. The question before us is whether millions of pro-life taxpayers have to fund this entity.

Every year since 2000, the government has increased its funding of Planned Parenthood on average $22.2 million per year. As a direct reflection of that, the number of abortions they perform has dramatically increased, even though the overall abortion rate, thank God, in the United States has declined until 2008.

This chart lays out the situation clearly. What is in green represents government grants and contracts to Planned Parenthood. It has consistently gone up and up, a significant increase virtually every year. What is in red represents abortions by Planned Parenthood. Very interesting. There is virtually the same slope of an increase, while at the same time for this entire period until 2008 abortions nationwide were actually going down.

I do not understand how anyone can look at this and say there is not a connection, say we are not using taxpayer dollars to promote and fund abortion. This notion that it is not used directly for abortion services is a convenient fiction because it is a shell game, because it, in fact, funds Planned Parenthood, and 98 percent of what they do is about abortion.

According to their latest annual report, Planned Parenthood boasted more than $363 million in taxpayer funding, the same year it performed an unprecedented 324,000 abortions.

Planned Parenthood's abortion rate massively outpaces its adoption referrals in particular. In 2008, a woman entering a Planned Parenthood clinic was 134 times more likely to have an abortion than to be referred for an adoption.

In fact, this final chart shows that as Planned Parenthood's abortion rate steadily increased to that staggering number of 332,000 in 2009, its adoption referrals actually decreased to 977 that same year. So again, abortions are in deep red, adoption referrals are in blue, and all other prenatal care is in green. What is the reality, what is the history, what are the facts? Abortions go up dramatically in Planned Parenthood, prenatal services go down, and adoption services go down as abortions go up.

Planned Parenthood has made a profit every year since 1987, including a $63.4 million return in 2009. There is no justification for subsidizing Planned Parenthood's profitable venture with taxpayer dollars, particularly when roughly half or more of those taxpayers deeply disagree with abortion. The sanctity of human life is a principle Congress should proclaim at every opportunity, and the time has come to respect the wishes of so many millions of Americans who have adamantly opposed using taxpayer dollars for abortions by denying all Federal funding to this abortion machine.

This is a social issue, of course. It is also a fiscal issue. Our Federal budget is out of control. We are facing unsustainable debt. So given that, in particular, isn't it time to stop funding an organization that millions of Americans have fundamental problems with? If our Federal Government has any hope of regaining fiscal restraint, we have to make significant cuts--more significant than are being proposed in the deal before us today.

I refuse to believe that Planned Parenthood is the one sacred cow that should stand untouched and be untouchable. The time has come to change this situation and to respect the wishes of the huge majority of Americans who, whether they are pro-life or prochoice, think taxpayer dollars should not subsidize abortion. And that is clearly what is going on with Planned Parenthood.

Mr. President, I yield the floor, and I suggest the absence of a quorum.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT


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