Role of Planned Par­ent­hood in race raises is­sues

The Washington Times Daily - - FROM PAGE ONE - BY BRAD­FORD RICHARD­SON

Planned Par­ent­hood may poor-mouth when its gov­ern­ment fund­ing is on the line, but that hasn’t stopped the abor­tion gi­ant from spend­ing lav­ishly on politi­cians who prom­ise to keep the tax­payer dol­lars com­ing.

Planned Par­ent­hood’s po­lit­i­cal arm, the Planned Par­ent­hood Ac­tion Fund, was the sec­ond-big­gest spen­der on the Demo­cratic side of the ledger in the spe­cial elec­tion for Ge­or­gia’s 6th Con­gres­sional District, putting more than $734,000 be­hind Jon Os­soff.

The only group that spent more was the Demo­cratic Con­gres­sional Cam­paign Com­mit­tee, which poured $4.9 mil­lion into the race.

Michael J. Nor­ton, pres­i­dent and gen­eral coun­sel of the Colorado Free­dom In­sti­tute, a re­li­gious-lib­erty le­gal firm, said Planned Par­ent­hood’s in­volve­ment in po­lit­i­cal races raises a “huge eth­i­cal is­sue.”

“Planned Par­ent­hood is try­ing to in­flu­ence the out­come of races so as to line its pock­ets with more tax­payer dol­lars for abor­tion and abor­tion-re­lated ser­vices,” he said. “It doesn’t square with Planned Par­ent­hood’s ar­gu­ment that cut­ting off fed­eral funds is go­ing to de­prive women of nec­es­sary health care.”

Planned Par­ent­hood, which re­ceives more than $500 mil­lion in an­nual tax­payer fund­ing, could not be reached for com­ment. The group’s Ac­tion Fund is funded by dona­tions, which are kept legally separate from the gen­eral rev­enue.

The abor­tion gi­ant said it spent $30 mil­lion last year in sup­port of for­mer Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, more than dou­ble what it spent in 2012.

Planned Par­ent­hood sim­i­larly failed to win a series of spe­cial elec­tions ear­lier this year.

In the race for the Mon­tana House seat va­cated by Rep. Ryan Zinke, Planned Par­ent­hood launched a six-fig­ure ad buy tout­ing Demo­crat Rob Quist as a cham­pion for women. Even af­ter Repub­li­can Greg Gian­forte was cited for mis­de­meanor as­sault against a re­porter, Mr. Quist lost by more than 5 points.

And de­spite heavy back­ing from the abor­tion in­dus­try, Mr. Os­soff failed to grab the seat va­cated by for­mer Rep. Tom Price. Mr. Trump car­ried Ge­or­gia’s 6th District by just 1.5 points, but pro-life Repub­li­can Karen Han­del won the seat by nearly 4 points.

Mar­jorie Dan­nen­felser, pres­i­dent of the pro-life Su­san B. An­thony List, said the race turned out to be a ref­er­en­dum on Planned Par­ent­hood.

“Although Amer­ica’s largest abor­tion busi­ness, Planned Par­ent­hood, spent six fig­ures in sup­port of her op­po­nent Jon Os­soff, Karen’s record of coura­geous lead­er­ship won the day,” Ms. Dan­nen­felser said in a state­ment.

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