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Americans United for Life raises money ahead of budget votes ‘to battle Planned Parenthood head to head’

In a recent email newsletter, Americans United for Life President Charmaine Yoest urged the group’s supporters to contribute money before the final votes are cast this week in the U.S. Senate and House on the 2011 federal budget in one last attempt to convince legislators to reject any proposal that does not defund Planned Parenthood.

“[T]his prolonged battle is leaving us struggling to pull together the funds to battle Planned Parenthood head to head,” Yoest writes. “Help us de-fund Planned Parenthood with an urgently needed contribution of whatever you can afford to put a stop to this madness.”

In another email newsletter soliciting contributions, Yoest said AUL plans to track every Senate vote and will position the decision to fund Planned Parenthood — or vote for a proposal that does not defund the organization — as a vote for “taxpayer-funded abortion.” (The vote to strip Planned Parenthood of its funding will be labeled as a vote “for life.”)

When asked about its efforts by The American Independent, AUL spokesperson Kristi Hamrick gave the fungibility argument, saying Planned Parenthood is profitable enough to where it does not need taxpayer subsidies to pay for other health care services, noting that “pregnancy is not a disease for which abortion is the cure.” She referred TAI to “some great math” in the Washington Examiner questioning the statistics Planned Parenthood provides on its own services — though the Examiner piece focuses heavily on monetary income of abortion versus services at Planned Parenthood.

Hamrick would not give TAI specific details on how the urgent contributions will be used to influence the budget debate but said, to her knowledge, the organization is not calling senators directly but instead encouraging their supporters to make the calls.

“The on-going work of education, discussion and grassroots organizing is AUL’s work and the work of many non-profits, including our current President’s former and more recent organizations,” Hamrick told TAI in a follow-up email. “AUL’s work of making friends and working with people to achieve a positive outcome is what Washington, D.C. is about.”

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