We narrowly averted a government shutdown Friday over what basically boiled down to funding for Planned Parenthood. What’s clear from the guests on the Sunday talk shows this morning is that this issue will rise once again when we get to debate the debt ceiling in the coming months.
The notion this is remotely a fiscal issue is beyond comical. The total Title X outlay for Planned Parenthood is about $80 million per year, which is not even noise in the scope of the federal budget.
To their credit, the GOP has been reasonably direct about this being an attempt to restrict abortion. Yet abortion only amounts to about 3% of the services provided by Planned Parenthood, and the Hyde Amendment already makes it illegal for any federal funds to be used for any abortion related activity.
To that end, opponents have been arguing that defunding Planned Parenthood to keep federal monies from being used for abortion is redundant. The Republican response has been that the funds are fungible. That is, once Planned Parenthood gets the money, they can’t assure how it will be used. And while Planned Parenthood could certainly be held accountable after the fact for misusing funds, they need to make 100% sure up front that there is no illegal use.
The right’s desire to prevent loss of life at all costs rather than prosecute it after the fact is laudable. So it can only be assumed they would also support banning guns. After all, much like the Planned Parenthood funds, guns have legitimate and beneficial purposes. However, it’s possible to use them illegally as well. Once guns are out there, their use is fungible. In order to be 100% sure no one does anything illegal with a gun, clearly they must be banned.
After all, a good argument is a good argument. If this is the game they want to play, let’s go all in.