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The Washington Post's False Report on Vitter's Planned Parenthood Amendment

8:21 AM, Mar 5, 2009 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) has introduced an amendment to the omnibus spending bill that reads, in its entirety: "None of the funds appropriated under this Act shall be made available to Planned Parenthood for any purpose under title X of the Public Health Service Act." (Title X is the federal law that provides for contraceptive funding.)

The Washington Post's Mary Ann Akers writes that Vitter's amendment would "drastically cut funding for family planning programs." This is untrue. Vitter's amendment wouldn't cut contraceptive funding provided under Title X by one cent. It would merely keep money from going to Planned Parenthood, an organization that performs more than 250,000 abortions annually. Vitter simply doesn't want taxpayer dollars lining the pockets of abortionists who also prescribe birth control. If, say, some liberal senator wanted to prohibit funding for Blackwater, it wouldn't be correct to say he was "slashing" the defense budget if those funds could be spent on the same services provided by a different company. Yet, the Post, as well as Think Progress and TPM's Josh Marshall, inaccurately report that Vitter is attempting to decrease family planning funds.

In 2007, when Rep. Mike Pence introduced an identical amendment to Vitter's, he praised the "great things happening at federally funded clinics nationwide" and said:

The truth is that my amendment does not cut or reduce the budget for family planning in this appropriations bill. It simply prevents the appropriated funds from reaching an organization which profits from the abortion trade.

While conservatives cut Title X funding under Ronald Reagan, the program grew under both Clinton and Bush. It says something about the state of American politics, as well as the strategy of abortion opponents, when a staunch fiscal and social conservative like Pence accepts the basic premise that it's a "great" thing that the federal government is paying for birth control and condoms. Apparently the Post's reporter was more interested in pointing out Vitter's alleged "family values" hypocrisy than noting this and getting the facts straight.