Two months before his upset victory over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump made an unambiguous commitment that helped rally pro-life Americans to his cause.
He promised to defund Planned Parenthood.
Now, almost a year into his presidency — during which time the Republican Party has controlled both houses of Congress — he has not delivered on that promise.
"I am committed to: Defunding Planned Parenthood as long as they continue to perform abortions, and re-allocating their funding to community health centers that provide comprehensive health care for women," Trump wrote in a September 2016 letter to pro-life leaders.
Planned Parenthood has now released its 2016-2017 annual report. It says its affiliates performed 321,384 abortions in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2016.
It also says Planned Parenthood received $543.7 million in government money in the year that ended on June 30, 2017 — which included the first five months of the Trump administration.
Planned Parenthood takes money from federal taxpayers primarily through Medicaid and the Title X Family Planning Program. In 2012, according to a Government Accountability Office analysis cited by the Congressional Research Service in a May 2017 report, Planned Parenthood affiliates received "$400.56 million in Medicaid reimbursements (including both federal and state dollars)" and "$64.35 million in Title X funding."
Three days after he took the oath of office, Trump took an action that caused the International Planned Parenthood Federation to deny itself aid from the U.S. government: He re-instated President Reagan's Mexico City Policy.
That policy, as summarized by CRS, "required foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) receiving U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) family planning assistance to certify that they would not perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning, even if such activities were undertaken with non-U.S. funds."
The day Trump reinstated the policy, International Planned Parenthood announced it would not comply.
"It means IPPF will lose $100 million USD," the organization said in a press release.
But the Mexico City Policy does not stop federal Medicaid and Title X money from going to domestic Planned Parenthood affiliates — the affiliates that aborted 321,384 babies in the United States in fiscal 2016.
In May, when Trump sent his budget proposal to Congress, it called for completely defunding Planned Parenthood. The White House put out a fact sheet reminding Americans this was a "campaign promise" the president had made.
"The budget also follows through on a campaign promise and prohibits any funding in the Labor-HHS appropriations bill for certain entities that provide abortions, including Planned Parenthood," said the fact sheet. "This prohibition applies to all funds in the bill, including Medicaid."
The Obamacare repeal bill that passed the House, but not the Senate, included language that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would have denied Medicaid money to Planned Parenthood for "a one-year period following enactment."
The 1,658-page combined appropriations bill the House passed in September — but the Senate never voted on — included language that would have completely defunded Title X of the Public Health Service Act and thus denied Title X money to Planned Parenthood. It said: "None of the funds appropriated in this Act may be used to carry out Title X of the PHS Act."
But the spending bills this Republican Congress has actually passed — and Trump has signed into law — have not defunded Planned Parenthood.
In fact, Trump and this Republican Congress have cooperating in enacting five sequential laws to keep the federal government funded. Trump signed the first on April 28 and the most recent on Dec. 22. It will expire on Jan. 19.
All five of these spending laws have permitted federal funding of Planned Parenthood to continue.
If Planned Parenthood has been aborting babies during Trump's first year in office at the same pace as it did in fiscal 2016 (878 per day), it will have aborted 233,548 babies in the 266 days that will pass between the day Trump first signed a federal spending bill that permitted funding of Planned Parenthood and the expiration of the current one.
Trump needs to tell the Republican Congress: He will not sign another spending bill that permits funding of Planned Parenthood.
Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSnews.com. To find out more about him, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.