Washington Examiner: Pence: Obamacare repeal a ‘defining victory for life’

Vice President Mike Pence called a House vote set for Thursday to repeal and replace portions of Obamacare as “one of the defining victories for life.”

“When we vote to repeal and replace Obamacare we will finally vote to defund Planned Parenthood,” Pence said to a standing ovation.

Pence was speaking at the 10th anniversary “Campaign for Life” gala in Washington, held by Susan B. Anthony List, an organization that lobbies in favor of abortion restrictions. Roughly 650 guest gathered for the event.

The bill the House is voting on Thursday to repeal and replace parts of Obamacare, the American Health Care Act, defunds Planned Parenthood for a year by cutting off family planning funds to organizations that also provide abortions.

Citing Trump’s various anti-abortion policies and administration appointments, Pence declared “life is winning in America.” He called the passage of Obamacare a “disappointment for the sanctity of life,” saying that it allowed taxpayer money to be used for insurance that also pays for abortion.

“President Trump is fighting every single day to restore the sanctity of life to the center of American law,” Pence said.

Pence, who previously spoke at the gala as congressman from Indiana in 2011, has long supported defunding Planned Parenthood.

Under a provision called the Hyde Amendment, federal funds are prohibited from going toward most abortions, though states have varying laws. In California, for instance, all plans must cover the procedure.

Conservatives have also opposed a birth control mandate in Obamacare because it includes emergency contraception and long-acting contraception like IUDs, which they argue function as abortifacients.

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to Trump, also gave remarks at the beginning of the dinner, saying that the organization had a cause that was “near and dear” to her.

She raised the impact that the Trump-Pence administration had on “protecting the sanctity of life.”

“I assure you we are just getting started,” she said.

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., served as the master of ceremonies for the event and noted that Trump had waged victories for the anti-abortion cause, including by nominating Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, who was confirmed along party lines as Republicans have a majority in the Senate.

“We must keep fighting for the lives of the unborn until we see the end of abortion,” he said.

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., told the Washington Examiner ahead of the dinner that he believed SBA List was “on the cutting edge of returning constitutional protections to the unborn.”

Asked how he thought Trump was doing on the issue, Franks replied that he thought the president had the “potential to become the Abraham Lincoln of the unborn.”

“He’s doing magnificently so far,” he said of Trump’s anti-abortion policies. “It really encourages me. I wasn’t always sure that would be the case, but he has made a believer out of me.”

Asked what he thought about the abortion provisions in the bill to repeal Obamacare, Franks replied, “I think that the sands of time should boil over the Capitol dome before we give one more dime to an organization like Planned Parenthood that murders children as a matter of course. I am very encouraged by that and I hope it prevails through the process.”

The gala for Emily’s List, which supports female candidates who defend abortion rights, also occurred in Washington simultaneously.