Commentary: Congress should defund Planned Parenthood

In this 25, 2015 file photo, Brandi Jensen (center) shares her opinions with an anti-abortion protester as the Planned Parenthood Action Council holds a community rally at the state Capitol in Salt Lake City.

No American should be forced to fund the abortion industry. Yet, that's exactly what's happening and it must end. It's time for Congress to defund Planned Parenthood.

First, let's dispense with the absurd notion that Planned Parenthood is somehow not in the abortion business. Fact checkers have hammered this fallacious claim for what it is - a ludicrous lie.

As a lawyer I deal in evidence, so let's look at the facts. Planned Parenthood provides more than 323,000 abortions each year - making it the largest abortion provider in America.

In fact, it accounts for an astonishing 30 to 40 percent of all abortions performed in the United States each year. Reputable estimates tell is that abortion procedures provide up to 55 percent of Planned Parenthood's annual clinic income.

The bottom line is Planned Parenthood is not only in the abortion business, it is the major player.

So why is the largest abortion business in America raking in more than $553 million a year in taxpayer funding?

In fact, nearly half of Planned Parenthood's nearly $1 billion budget comes from federal, state, and local taxpayer funds.

Why should the American taxpayers - many of whom belong to religions that find abortion spiritually objectionable - be forced to subsidize nearly half of this nonprofit abortion organization's budget?

Abortion advocates will tell you that this taxpayer money goes to fund other services and doesn't pay for abortions. Again more spin. Money, after all, is fungible.

You and I are forced to keep the lights on at Planned Parenthood, funding a myriad of non-abortion services, so that Planned Parenthood can make huge profits from its very profitable abortion business.

In fact, Planned Parenthood even found a way to sell the body parts of aborted babies to further pad its bottom line.

When this grotesquely repulsive behavior was first uncovered by a group of investigative journalists, the American people reeled in horror. Yet Planned Parenthood didn't deny the allegations, it defended the legally and morally dubious practice.

Now, after months of investigations, both the House and Senate panels tasked with looking into this organization that takes in enough federal tax dollars to be a small federal agency have referred Planned Parenthood for criminal prosecution.

So Planned Parenthood, the number one abortion provider in America performing more than 300,000 abortions a year, has been caught selling aborted babies' body parts, and has now been referred for criminal prosecution.

This is not the kind of institution that the American people should be forced to fund.

There are numerous other organizations - that don't focus a single moment of their time on ending the lives of unborn babies - that provide critical health care for women.

These community health clinics could do far more good with this same money than Planned Parenthood ever has - without the tarnished reputation and morally repugnant stain of abortion.

It is time to stop forcing the American people to fund Big Abortion, and at the American Center for Law and Justice has been aggressively working in the courts and in Congress to do just that.

Now for the first time in years, we have a pro-life House, a pro-life Senate, and a pro-life president. Already there is legislation moving in both chambers of Congress and President Trump has promised to in fact defund Planned Parenthood.

The time is now.

Regardless of your view on abortion, there is absolutely no reason to force those who believe that abortion is murder to fund the abortion industry. It is an anathema to a pluralistic society. It is a blot on the conscience of America.

It is time for Congress to defund Planned Parenthood, and instead, ensure that community health centers that are doing the critical work of actually providing needed health care for women are fully funded.

Jay Sekulow is chief counsel of the Washington-based American Center for Law and Justice (http://aclj.org).