This is the not the first time Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has called for a government shutdown or even the first time he has called for a government shutdown over funding for Planned Parenthood, but this is more than just a quote or a soundbite.
Cruz wrote a fantastical Op-Ed for USA Today in which he calls on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to refuse to pass any bill that would keep the government running at current spending levels.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should not schedule or facilitate the consideration of any legislation that gives federal money to Planned Parenthood. Instead, the Department of Justice needs to investigate and prosecute Planned Parenthood for any potential criminal actions of commercial trafficking of fetal organs.
With a series of ridiculous claims and thoroughly debunked horror stories, Cruz lays out a case against Planned Parenthood and abortion, but he also acknowledges that taxpayer funding is not used to pay for abortion. Doing so is illegal under current federal law.
That may be the law, but according to Cruz it's just an accounting trick that, evidently, gets in the way of the right wing's quest to defund women's healthcare.
What I propose is simple acknowledgement of the fact that funding abortion providers in any way ultimately amounts to taxpayer support for abortion itself, regardless of accounting rules put in place to obscure the facts.
This is similar to saying that baking a cake for a gay couple means you've participated in their unholy desecration of the bible.
Many Republicans have called on defunding Planned Parenthood and diverting the money to other organizations that serve women, as if that will insulate them from claims that they're waging a "war on women," but what Ted Cruz says would narrow the field of organizations down to fraudulent crisis pregnancy centers and Christian homeopathy lounges.
To say that funding abortion providers in "any way" ultimately "amounts to taxpayer support" of abortion is an absolutist stance that would include a significant portion of the entire medical industry from hospitals to pharmacies.
If the government funds Medicaid, and if a pharmacy that dispenses abortion drugs see customers who are on Medicaid, does that mean Congress (and taxpayers) supported abortion by funding Medicaid? Where does it end?
Congress will have just 10 days of legislative sessions to fund the government when it returns from recess next month. Everyone expects Congress will pass a continuing resolution to fund the government at current levels for an extended period of time, but the current level would include funding for Planned Parenthood.