RICH JAMES: Pence should stop fighting Planned Parenthood

2013-06-02T00:00:00Z RICH JAMES: Pence should stop fighting Planned ParenthoodBy Rich James
June 02, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The U.S. Supreme Court has spoken.

Apparently, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence wasn’t listening.

The high court said Indiana and a dozen other states cannot strip Medicaid funds from Planned Parenthood because the agency provides abortions.

Pence was, perhaps, the leading opponent of Planned Parenthood when he was in Congress. Whether that was for political or personal reasons is in the eye of the beholder.

Now that the Supreme Court has spoken, one would expect Pence would accept the ruling since there is not a Super Supreme Court to which to appeal the high court’s decision.

But such an assumption would be presumptuous.

Pence said he will decide what to do after reviewing what he said are his legal options.

“We’re disappointed in the court’s decision. We obviously strongly supported the (Indiana) efforts of 2011,” Pence said.

It would be awfully nice if Pence accepted defeat and quit wasting taxpayers’ money fighting one of the most vital agencies in the state.

Pence’s actions are a charade. It is a veiled effort to make it more difficult for many women in this state to have an abortion. His actions would make it virtually impossible for many to have abortions.

While attempting to drive Planned Parenthood out of business isn’t a concern for Pence, it ought to be.

Planned Parenthood is the primary health care provider for many women – primarily those without health insurance, which largely encompasses poor and young, single women. And much of the health care it provides is prenatal care.

While Pence has every right to be opposed to abortion, his attack on Planned Parenthood is misdirected.

While Planned Parenthood provides abortion services, it doesn’t use any public money – such as Medicaid – to do so.

Pence and Republicans ought to change their approach to the issue of unplanned pregnancies. I shudder to think about the millions George W. Bush threw away preaching abstinence to those with raging hormones.

No, fighting Planned Parenthood shouldn’t be an avenue to ending abortion.

And fighting Planned Parenthood shouldn’t be an avenue toward winning elections, which is a path too many – particularly Republicans – follow.

Pence should work toward an effective approach to reducing the need for abortion.

Pence is one of those Republicans former GOP presidential candidate Bob Dole referred to last week when he said the party needs an overhaul.

“I think they ought to put a sign on the (Republican) National Committee doors that says ‘closed for repairs’ until New Year’s Day next year and spend that time going over ideas and positive agendas,” Dole said.

How about a positive agenda rather than your personal, political agenda, governor?

I think Dole would call that leadership.

Rich James has been writing about state and local government and politics for more than 30 years. Email him at The opinions are the writer’s.

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