Former Colorado Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave hosted an internet conference with anti-abortion rights activists and lawmakers Tuesday focused on efforts to strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood. Musgrave was joined by Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, who explained that earlier in the day she voted to shut the government down because the compromise budget resolution that will keep the government running includes funding for Planned Parenthood and “Obamacare.” Bachmann, a controversial figure and a Fox News favorite, was one of only 91 members of the House to vote “no” on the resolution. All seven members of the Colorado Congressional delegation, including Colorado Springs conservative Doug Lamborn and Fourth District freshman Republican Cory Gardner voted in favor of the resolution.
Bachmann explained that she in effect voted for the government shutdown because she believes abortion is the “watershed issue of our time” and that she’s prepared to fight “eyeball-to-eyeball” to defund Planned Parenthood in the next continuing resolution in two weeks.
The “Defunding Planned Parenthood: Urgent Nationwide Webcast,” was hosted by the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, which Musgrave joined after Colorado Fourth District voters backed Democrat Betsy Markey in a 2008 landslide.
“We shouldn’t have one red cent go for Planned Parenthood,” Bachmann said, describing the opportunity to shut down the government as a rare opportunity for abortion rights opponents.
She said that GOP leadership thought cutting all funds to the group was too controversial to include in the continuing resolution, which passed in a 335-91 vote in the House Tuesday and was approved by the Senate Wednesday by a 91-9 margin.
“For me personally, there were a few of us who voted ‘no’ on the continuing resolution… because it did not defund implementing ‘Obamacare’ because, as you know, ‘Obamacare’ will allow for taxpayer-funded abortions for the first time in history of the nation.”
The Affordable Care Act — or, as Bachmann puts it, “Obamacare” — will not allow taxpayer funding for abortion services. Numerous nonpartisan fact-checkers have called that assertion false, including FactCheck.org and Politifact.
The Hyde Amendment currently forbids federal money from paying for abortion and Planned Parenthood does not receive any federal funds for its abortion services. Planned Parenthood uses federal money to pay for cervical cancer screenings, mammographies and testing for sexually transmitted diseases, in addition to other services. The organization is one of the nation’s largest reproductive health care providers. It serves millions of American men and women. Roughly one in five American women visit Planned Parenthood at some point in their lives.
Republicans looking to strip funds from the organization say that providing any kind of taxpayer funding– to pay for cancer screenings or for utility bills and administrative costs, for example– frees up Planned Parenthood to spend its own money on abortion services and that’s unacceptable.
“The next time we vote on the continuing resolution,” said Bachmann, “we have to insist on defunding ‘Obamacare’ and defunding Planned Parenthood. My opinion is there is a point where you draw the line in the sand and you have a hill where you die on. I think this is our issue.”
“We control the spending, and we are going to have to have an eyeball-to-eyeball fight,” she promised. “At some point you have to have a knock down, drag down fight. This is it.”
She concluded, “It’s just morally reprehensible on its face to force people, for whom this is a violation of our moral conscience, to force people to pay for other people’s abortions.”
Additional reporting and witing by John Tomasic.