So after Mr. Hoekstra poised for the unity photo with the former opponents, he stepped off the stage into the glaring lens of a TV camera with this question: "What's your position on federal funding of Planned Parenthood?"
It was a loaded question. For one thing, moderate women demand the funding and Mr. Hoekstra needs some of them to beat incumbent Democrat Debbie Stabenow. But he also needs to hang onto his conservative GOP base which is loathed to back federal aid for anything, but especially Planned Parenthood.
So what was the poor, newly unified candidate to do?
Punt, of course.
"I mean we're not going to be getting into those specifics at this time," he dove for the high grass.
"We're talking about jobs," he moved from the grass to more comfortable ground.
But the Planned Parenthood issue was still on the table, unanswered, and he conceded the point but added, "We're not going to be caught in those things right now."
To me, it's frustrating when a prolife candidate punts on a question like this instead of providing a thoughtful answer. They're going to accuse you of wanting to defund Planned Parenthood anyway so why not have a good answer for them?
Here's how a prolife candidate could answer that question and educate the public at the same time.
Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in America. Their latest annual report indicates they perform more than 300,000 abortions a year. That's about a 1/4 of all abortions performed in America. While the number of abortion performed across the U.S. has been decreasing in recent years, the number of abortions provided by Planned Parenthood has risen dramatically over the last decade. Abortion brings in more than $100 million dollars in revenue for them per year. At the same time, they receive a huge amount of federal taxpayer dollars to help women prevent unplanned pregnancies. I see a huge conflict of interest there.
Shouldn't we think twice about sending millions of family planning taxpayer dollars to an organization whose revenue stream requires women to have unplanned pregnancies? Wouldn't it be preferable to send taxpayer dollars for family planning to organizations which don't have a financial incentive for women to have unplanned pregnancies?
Planned Parenthood is also the subject of a Congressional investigation and investigations on the state level, a former employee has brought a whistleblower lawsuit against them, alleging Medicaid fraud and a young woman died in July after receiving an abortion at Planned Parenthood in Chicago. Planned Parenthood employees in various states have also caught on undercover camera being willing to help people get sex-selection abortions, violate mandatory reporter laws and aid sex-traffickers. These are troubling issues that plague this organization and I'm uncomfortable with an organization plagued by so many problems receiving such a large percentage of our federal government's domestic family planning dollars.