An appellate court judge in Texas has ruled that the state can halt funds to Planned Parenthood, after the state attorney general argued that sending the abortion business money was analogous to supporting a terror organization.
The resulting brouhaha has left the AG’s office explaining that it was an analogy, not a direct comparison, while others are suggesting that the state official was more right than wrong.
“Texas did not state, and does not believe, that Planned Parenthood is a terrorist organization or comparable to one. Period,” said a statement from the office of Attorney General Greg Abbott after the controversy erupted.
“When parties to lawsuits are wrong on the facts and wrong on the law, they resort to the same outrageous rhetoric Planned Parenthood is using today to distract from the real issues.”
But at Catholic Online, an unsigned editorial raised the question, “What do you call an organization that systematically murders children by the thousands, if not terrorist?”
The issue arose in a battle over a state law that would eliminate Planned Parenthood as a recipient of funds from the state’s Women’s Health Program.
A federal district judge ordered the law suspended, only to be overturned several hours later by federal appeals Judge Jerry E. Smith. The entire argument still will have to be sorted out at trial or hearing.
Abbott had argued that the idea of giving money to Planned Parenthood for use in “other” services wasn’t really an assurance that the program money was not being used for abortions.
“Planned Parenthood does not provide any assurance that the tax subsidies it receives from the Women’s Health Program have not been used directly or indirectly to subsidize its advocacy of elective abortion,” Abbott argued. “Nor is it possible for Planned Parenthood to provide this assurance.”
His argument continued, “Money is fungible, and taxpayer subsidies, even if ‘earmarked’ for nonabortion activities, free up other resources for Planned Parenthood to spend on its mission to promote election abortions.”
He then said, “First Amendment does not prohibit application of federal material-support statute to individuals who give money to ‘humanitarian’ activities performed by terrorist organizations.”
The federal law being referenced apparently outlaws providing “material support or resources” to terror groups. Such support could be anything from money to housing to advice to supplies, even if the contributions are designated for non-terror purposes.
Planned Parenthood, in a statement to Huffington Post, said, “In a state that leads the nation in the number of uninsured – where one in four Texas women lack health insurance, and women face the third highest rate of cervical cancer – I think it is appalling to make such a comparison when Planned Parenthood works every day to keep women healthy.”
The statement was attributed to Melaney Linton of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast.
The Catholic Online commentary, which reflects the church belief that abortion is wrong, explained that Abbott simply was anticipating Planned Parenthood’s argument that it doesn’t use tax money for abortions.
“Abbott mentioned the Federal Material Support Statute, which mandates criminal penalties for anyone who gives money to a terrorist organization. He explained that even if the money was used for humanitarian purposes, the contribution would still be a crime.”
The commentary continued, “Planned Parenthood’s response was indignant doublespeak. They never responded to the substance of Abbott’s contention.”
The commentary cited Linton’s statement.
“If course, the statement is Orwellian precisely because there’s nothing healthy about murder. Every procured abortion is the taking of an innocent human life in the womb.”
“Either he truly believes Planned Parenthood and its supporters are terrorists and terrorist-sympathizers, in which case they could face prosecution under the material support statute, or Abbott is purely playing politics.”
She accused Abbott of creating danger for the “nearly 130,000 low-income women who rely on Planned Parenthood for cancer screens and family planning services.”
At the Huffington Post, Laura Bassett wrote that Abbott “made the argument that the state of Texas would prefer to shut down the entire Women’s Health Program rather than allow it to fund Planned Parenthood.”
But the state’s lawmakers specifically made it clear when they renewed the Women’s Health Program last year they did not want any state funding to go to businesses affiliated with abortion providers.
Planned Parenthood then claimed that was a violation of its own freedom of speech and association.
The American Center for Law and Justice reported that Texas Gov. Rick Perry is on board with protecting the lives of the unborn.
“This is a major victory that could reverberate to every state,” the organization announced. “Planned Parenthood is already fighting back, but so are we. We’re preparing a critical amicus brief, supporting the state of Texas and its right not to give taxpayer money to abortion businesses.”