As President Trump enters what will presumably be his final months in office, conservatives are clamoring for him to take action on his way out.
Whether it’s calling for figures like Julian Assange and Edward Snowden to be pardoned, or for documents related to “The Deep State” to be declassified, nearly everyone has an idea for what the President should do in his waning days.
Now, a growing number of pro-life conservatives are calling on the President to “Defund Planned Parenthood” once and for all.
Such exhortations seem reasonable, given the constant promises of Republican politicians — Trump included — to defund the abortion provider. Year after year, conservatives cruise into office on the backs of pro-life voters, and year after year, Planned Parenthood continues to rake in hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money.
It may be uncomfortable to acknowledge, but the truth is simple: the vast majority of Republican politicians don’t really want to defund Planned Parenthood.
Sure, it’s a great rallying cry and makes for a killer bumper sticker or campaign T-shirt, but when it comes down to it, they’re not truly committed to the cause. That’s not to say many don’t support the idea on a personal level, or find abortion to be an abhorrent, morally repugnant practice, but when it comes to taking tangible steps towards change, they’re just not interested.
Need proof? You don’t need to look that far in the past.
From 2017-2018, Republicans had a dominant hold on D.C., with President Trump in the White House and a firm majority in the House and Senate — a majority comprised of Republicans who’d been elected on the promise to defund Planned Parenthood.
Did they follow through? No. As a matter of fact, Planned Parenthood received more federal funding in the last four years under President Trump than during the last four years of President Obama’s administration.
The failure to defund Planned Parenthood is not due to the cunning of Nancy Pelosi or a lack of desire from pro-life voters. It’s a failure of motivation from Republican politicians themselves.
Don’t get me wrong, they’re very good at acting motivated. Each November, they tell earnest pro-life voters that this is the election where bold action will be taken to protect the unborn. Yes, the same promises may have been made last election, but things will finally change this time around, you just need to get me back in office.
Pro-life voters have answered that call. They’ve done their part, but the reality is they’re often nothing more than pawns. Their fervent desire to eradicate a deep stain on our country has been taken advantage of by opportunistic politicians who know two things to be true.
First, they know that voting for a pro-choice candidate is unconscionable for the vast majority of pro-life voters, for whom the issue of life is the most important of all. That knowledge gives Republican politicians an “I know you won’t vote for the pro-abortion candidate” attitude, leaving them unmotivated to drive real change.
Second, and more importantly, they know that the moment Planned Parenthood is defunded, they’ve lost a major piece of campaign leverage. A rational person might think “Yes, but they’ve won a major victory for the unborn,” but that’s not how these people think. They are politicians after all, meaning their chief priority is the preservation of power. And it’s much easier to preserve power when you can promise voters that the only way to save innocent lives is by voting for them. Once the job is complete, it’s harder to convince people to still turn out to vote.
In football, there’s a phenomenon known as the Super Bowl hangover. When a team finally puts together the right pieces to win a championship, the odds of them performing at the same level the next season are usually low. It’s understandable, given how coaches have emptied their bag of tricks, owners have stretched their financial resources, and players have come down from the emotional high and often lack motivation to start a new battle.
Republican politicians are worried about a Super Bowl hangover of their own. It’s easy for them to motivate voters with the idea of defunding Planned Parenthood, but once that happens, they’re terrified of losing the big shiny object they’ve been dangling in front of pro-life voters.
Until that changes, defunding Planned Parenthood will remain a rallying cry, not a policy proposal. America deserves better. Pro-life voters deserve better. Unborn children deserve better.
Cabot Phillips is Managing Editor of The Daily Wire’s Readers Pass. Follow him on Twitter at @cabot_phillips
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.