Friday, we posted important information about one of the most significant gubernatorial pro-life budget amendments in years. We are urging the General Assembly, especially five key senators, to approve the amendment. Please read the post to see how you can help. While we are happy that Governor McDonnell has proposed this significant amendment, he unfortunately chose not to introduce budget amendments this year that would defund Planned Parenthood (Washington Post) or embryonic stem cell research. So, did we win or did we lose?
I was asked that question last week by a reporter regarding the governor's decision not to amend the state budget to forbid funding of Planned Parenthood. Such an amendment has been, and continues to be, one of The Family Foundation's highest priorities.
Wins and losses: A good start on some issues, work continues on others.
Interestingly, in the several years since The Family Foundation first exposed the issue of taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood (see our position paper), the amount of money flowing to that radical group has decreased. It is our understanding that there is only one unfunded contract in place, and that it soon will expire.
If correct, this means that when we do our annual research regarding funds directed to Planned Parenthood and its subsidiaries — for any reason — it should read $0.00. However, without budget language, funding can begin at any time (through contracts awarded to it by state agencies). Consequently, Governor McDonnell will have to ensure that his administration continues to fulfill his campaign promise and make sure that no taxpayer dollars go to Planned Parenthood each year of his term. While he chose not to do a budget amendment at this time as we would prefer, there is more than one way to skin a cat. Ultimately, the goal has always been to protect the taxpayer.
We still believe the best safeguard for taxpayers is to have a budget amendment specifically defunding Planned Parenthood, rather than asking taxpayers to rely on a campaign promise. We will continue to hold Governor McDonnell (contact) accountable by checking each year to make sure that no state funds flow to Planned Parenthood.
However, we do thank the governor for amending the Planned Parenthood license plate bill to ensure that no money from the license plates will ever be used to fund an abortion (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot). Given the Senate's unwillingness to remove Planned Parenthood as the recipient of the plate funds, the governor's amendment was the second best option. But, now that it appears Virginians will be able to fund Planned Parenthood by "choice" through the purchase of a Planned Parenthood license plate, there is even more reason to ensure that they do not get budget money.
Finally, we must continue to fight for a total ban in the budget on state funding for embryonic stem cell research (see our position paper here). Although The Family Foundation has had 100 percent success ensuring that no new bio-tech funds or research tax credits are created without a ban, without a budget amendment universities still have license to destroy embryos in the name of research. Universities have refused to acknowledge that they are doing this controversial research and thus the governor determined an amendment may be premature. Expressing our disappointment with the administration, we have been assured that Governor McDonnell shares our concern on this issue, will investigate what is currently being funded and take appropriate action.