Not satisfied that Republicans dropped their demand that the federal government end funding to Planned Parenthood to pay for cancer screenings and other basic healthcare services, U.S. Catholic bishops continued to rail against the organization Thursday.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Texas went so far as to appear to want the government to turn such services over to Catholic-affiliated health providers.
The White House and other Democrats last week refused to allow GOP lawmakers to force the federal government to drop its funding of Planned Parenthood for the array of non-abortion healthcare services it provides American women and men. On the Senate floor last week, Sen. Jon Kyl declared that “90 percent” of Planned Parenthood’s activities were abortion-related, although he quickly was forced to admit that that “remark was not intended to be a factual statement.”
The truth is that abortion actually amounts to a tiny fraction of that, and that no federal funds ever go to pay for abortion under longstanding law known as the Hyde Amendment.
MSNBC TV host Lawrence O’Donnell tearfully read an email on the air last week from a woman who relies on Planned Parenthood for her basic healthcare.
That didn’t seem to satisfy DiNardo, who wrote to lawmakers to urge them to continue pressing to defund Planned Parenthood. DiNardo’s letter is supported by the U.S. Conference of Bishops.
DiNardo cited a March 4 letter to Congress from Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, Calif., which expressed the hope that “funds now provided to organizations that perform abortions… will be redirected to meeting the basic needs of the poor.”
DiNardo says that the focus on the fact that Americans rely on federally funded Planned Parenthood services for cancer screenings other basic services only is a way “divert” attention from abortion.
He claims that Catholic and other religious health providers offer a wider spectrum of health services, in what appears to be a gambit to steer Planned Parenthood funding to such religious providers.
“To the extent that Planned Parenthood does provide any legitimate health services for women, however, those services can be provided by others, since H. Con. Res. 36 does not reduce funding for services by one cent,” DiNardo writes.
Senators, however, defeated a measure on Thursday which would have defunded Planned Parenthood. Some 58 senators voted against the bill, including several Republicans.
Scott Nance is the editor and publisher of the news site The Washington Current. He has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.