WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - Senator Bob Casey, who styles himself a pro-life Catholic, tweeted January 6: "I stand with the 2.5 million people who visit @PPFA each year. @SpeakerRyan reverse course on defunding @PPFA #IStandWithPP."
In response, the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation tweeted: "Why won't @senbobcasey stand w/ the over 320k children @PPFA kills every year by abortion? You can't be #prolife and pro @PPFA!!! #tcot."
Casey, who once said, "I'm a pro-life Democrat, always have been, always will be," is the senior U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, and son of Pennsylvania governor Robert Casey, a faithful Catholic who led the pro-life wing of the Democratic Party. His son, in spite of past pro-life rhetoric, has been a disappointment to the pro-life community, seen as failing to carry out the legacy of his father.
Governor Casey was one of the parties in the 1992 landmark Supreme Court ruling Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which centered on Pennsylvania's Abortion Control Act, a law signed by Gov. Casey. The High Court ruling upheld all the law's provisions but one (spousal notification), in spite of reaffirming Roe v. Wade.
His son Sen. Casey initially ran on a pro-life platform when he was elected to the Senate in 2007, and has publicly stated his desire that Roe v. Wade be overturned. Going against his Democrat peers, he voted in favor of appointing Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court — two pro-life Catholics.
In spite of this, Casey diverges from Church teaching on contraception, saying, "I'll go with the scientists on what contraception is, rather than a religious viewpoint of what science is."
This has led to his open support of Obamacare's HHS Mandate, which has forced Catholic groups to cover contraception in violation of their religious beliefs. In 2014, Casey voted for a bill to overturn the Supreme Court's decision Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, which protected the conscience rights of Christians opposed to contraception.
Casey's January 6 tweet doesn't reveal much new; Casey has been clear on his opposition to defunding Planned Parenthood since 2015, claiming the abortion giant provides "all kinds of primary health care."
"Planned Parenthood facilities also provide many other basic health services, like cervical and breast cancer screening, as well as primary care and family planning," he wrote in an op-ed in The Scranton Times-Tribune. "It is those services that would be curtailed by cutting off federal funding to Planned Parenthood."
In spite of Casey's claims, the GOP has made clear the money being taken from Planned Parenthood would instead go to women's health centers that offer the same services but do not perform abortions.
Casey justifies his support of the abortion giant by arguing that the Hyde Amendment prevents federal money from going to fund abortions. Planned Parenthood currently receives more than half a billion in taxpayer dollars each year.
A recent congressional report issued by the U.S. House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives concluded that Planned Parenthood is guilty of breaking federal law by profiting off the sale of aborted babies' body parts, and recommended that the Department of Justice pursue a criminal investigation.
A separate 500-page report by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which conducted its own investigation, came to the same conclusion, chiding the Obama administration for failing to prosecute the abortion giant. The report notes:
[C]ompanies have charged thousands of dollars for specimens removed from a single aborted fetus; they have claimed the fees they charged only recovered acceptable costs when they had not, in fact, conducted any analysis of their costs when setting the fees; and their post hoc accounting rationalizations invoked a bevy of indirect and tenuously related costs in an attempt to justify their fees.
It stresses that the DOJ "has failed to indict any of the parties involved," stating, "There has been substantial evidence that the executive branch agencies involved have failed to monitor the industry and failed to actively investigate potential criminal violations."
On January 5, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan promised the GOP would defund Planned Parenthood in 2017. "Planned Parenthood legislation would be in our reconciliation bill," said Ryan Thursday on the bill that would also repeal Obamacare. The GOP last year passed a similar reconciliation bill that repealed portions of Obamacare and defunded Planned Parenthood, but President Obama vetoed it. They are trying again in this legislative session, with the expectation it will pass both houses and be signed into law by soon-to-be President Donald Trump.