Healthy women and healthy babies – except maybe the ones thrown in the dumpster.

Governor Tony Evers is ramping up his first health initiative which intends to open up new funding streams for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s most prolific abortion provider. Evers’ health initiative shouldn’t be too surprising. Planned Parenthood is one of the largest financial tributaries to the Democratic Party. His budgetary salute to the tune of $28 million in new funding to “create innovative programs to ensure quality health care for women and health beginnings for our children” puts into perspective the influence of the organization.      

But you have to admire the way Democrats can flip the script and spin the narrative. They are using Planned Parenthood to promote, of all things, an initiative of “health beginnings” for families. This, while Planned Parenthood aborts nearly 330,000 preborn babies per year. That’s nearly one-third of all abortions in the United States.   

While Evers has not been very vocal on abortion in his relatively short political career, he has inartfully compared abortions to their morally equivalent cousins – the tonsillectomy. Yes, abortions and tonsillectomies apparently belong to the same conceptual family of mundane tissue-removing procedures coverable by Medicaid.

As recent news from Virginia can attest, Republicans aren’t the only ones that get themselves into trouble talking about abortion. In a committee hearing, Virginia Delegate Kathy Tran (D) botched her testimony in favor of an abortion bill that would have removed more restrictions for third trimester abortions.  When asked by a Republican colleague whether a mother could get an abortion while still in labor, Tran conceded that her bill would allow it.

Things only escalated when Democratic Governor Ralph Northam (yes, the blackface guy) explained in a radio interview what happens when deformed or potentially non-viable babies are born. He explained that doctors who deliver such babies would keep them comfortable while a discussion is held with the parents about whether they should start resuscitation. What made Northam’s remarks particularly poignant is that he’s a pediatric neurologist.  

This underscores the need to push Democrats into having these sorts of conversations.

The issue of abortion is philosophically complicated, for sure. When does a human fetus become a human person? Is it at conception, at the first heartbeat, at the first sign of brain activity, or is it at viability? While society continues to debate this very question, liberal democrats are pretty consistent in its practical application – that personhood occurs sometime after birth.  

I say “sometime after” birth in light of recent development in Congress over the bill Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) authored concerning newborns who happened to survive an abortion. The bill would have strengthened legal protections for newborn babies who – against the odds – survived an abortive procedure. Most Democrats voted against the bill and so the bill failed to get the 60 votes needed to advance to the floor.

What’s remarkable is that the bill wasn’t even a rollback of Roe v. Wade abortion rights. The bill sought tougher penalties for healthcare professionals that did not treat babies born alive with the “same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence” as any other child “born alive at the same gestational age.”  And Democrats voted it down.

Leana Wen, the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told Vox.com that Sasse’s legislation aimed at “shaming women and criminalizing doctors for a practice that doesn’t exist in medicine or in reality.” While a lot of shots were fired at Republicans for drafting the bill, there wasn’t a single good explanation why Democrats would reject a bill that prohibits “a practice that doesn’t exist in medicine or in reality.”

The truth of the matter is that we already know that babies survive abortion procedures. We have 17 cases of it happening in Florida alone from 2017-18. We have more than a hundred cases (that we know of) from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention from 2003 to 2014.

These aren’t hypotheticals. The instances may be rare, but the rarity of circumstance make them no less deserving of protection. They are unwanted babies born of chaotic circumstances that are entirely dependent upon healthcare professionals to do what they are called to do – to preserve life.  

This is part and parcel of why Planned Parenthood has no business receiving taxpayer dollars in Wisconsin or anywhere else. They profit off abortions at the taxpayer expense and then lobby legislators to oppose bills that protect newborn babies that happen to survive.   

Aaron Rodriguez is a writer in southeastern Wisconsin.