Rep. Pence Frames Attack On Planned Parenthood As Populist Fight Against "Big Business"

March 30, 2011 1:21 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) is the most passionate advocate in Congress for defunding Planned Parenthood. Lately, though, Pence has been getting defensive about bipartisan concerns that his crusade would severely restrict women's health care options. For instance, Pence recently declared that he "never advocated reducing funding" for the Title X Family Planning program, even though he voted in February "to eliminate the entire Title X program."

In a speech on the House floor earlier today, Pence tried out a new strategy, framing his amendment to deny any public funding to Planned Parenthood as a struggle between "big business" and ordinary Americans — especially women: 

PENCE: Despite attempts by advocates for the abortion industry and ideologues on the left to portray efforts to defund Planned Parenthood as some kind of a war on women, the issue here is big business — and that business is abortion. This legislative battle over the Pence amendment is about Big Abortion versus American taxpayers and American women specifically.  ... There is no doubt that Planned Parenthood's focus is on making Big Abortion even bigger.

To back up his claim about the true motivations of "Big Abortion," Pence quoted Abby Johnson, a former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas. However, Pence failed to note that Johnson is now a strategist at Live Action, a right-wing group responsible for hoax videos attacking Planned Parenthood.

More to the point, for a noted culture warrior like Pence to pretend that his amendment is about anything other than curbing the availability of abortion services is obviously disingenuous. And this line of argument is particularly odd given that Pence is a proud and fierce defender of big business. Indeed, while he purports to be a champion of both fiscal responsibility and "life," Pence recently voted to continue giving taxpayer subsidies to oil companies that don't need them, despite the deadly consequences of Big Oil's negligence.

Watch the whole speech: