My former social science teacher once told me it’s important to write to your representatives. After the 1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill enacted on March 22nd, 2018, I decided to take his advice and write to all three of my representatives about my concerns over their “yea” vote on the bill. I thought it was the only way to make my voice heard — besides ranting on Twitter.
In my letter, I made it clear despite my many objections to the spending bill, my main concern was the continual funding of Planned Parenthood. After patiently waiting for two months, I finally received a personal letter from one of my representatives.
He makes a reasonable argument with the Hyde Amendment, created in 1973 (then recreated in 1993). Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) was even quoted saying it “specifically prohibits federal dollars from being used to pay for abortions except if the pregnancy was the result of rape, incest or the life of the mother was in danger.” However, with all due respect to my representative, his argument is weak because it fails to justify the constant flow of taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood for the past 38 years.
In the 2017 spending bill, the Hyde Amendment says, “This bill makes permanent the prohibition on the use of federal funds, including funds in the budget of the District of Columbia, for abortion or health coverage that includes abortion.” In a legal document, wordage means everything; the most minute alteration may change its entire meaning. In this case, it determines where and how the funding is allocated.
While the amendment is clear that funding cannot directly go towards abortion or any healthcare that approves abortion, Planned Parenthood still receives funding through Medicaid and Title X, a grant program dedicated to “ensure access to a broad range of family planning and preventive health services.”
While our elected officials brush off these critical details, an article released by Planned Parenthood affirms this reality by stating, “most of Planned Parenthood’s federal funding is from Medicaid reimbursements for preventive care, and some is from Title X.” They are exactly correct. Although the federal government may not directly fund abortions, the organization that provides 27.5% of America’s abortions is still propped up with our taxpayer money. The half a billion of our hard-earned money received each year helps pay for electricity, staff salaries, and much more!
There are other ways to ensure that tax-payer money is not going to fund an organization deemed immoral. Since an amendment to the federal budget has already been created, why not reinforce it to combat indirect funding? Perhaps a new law should be created to limit Medicaid from going to organizations that have any ties to abortion.
All of these are great solutions to fix the major loophole; however, the problem is not a lack of laws, it is the lack of law enforcement. I’m not talking about expanding the police force, but rather more government oversight. For decades, bills have been passed through congress without an analysis of what they will do in detail and this is unacceptable. We must be the generation that changes this by holding our representatives accountable and writing, calling, and visiting them!