Like many Kentuckians, I am horrified by the videos revealing Planned Parenthood's apparent role in the harvesting and sale of the organs of unborn babies.
The callousness and lack of compassion for women and their babies in these videos absolutely shocks the conscience.
As Kentucky's senior senator, I am grateful to represent a state where so many people value and cherish the dignity of life in all its stages. I've heard from many of you who share my outrage over these videos. And many of you are even more outraged that Planned Parenthood actually receives taxpayer funds to do its bidding — more than $500 million annually.
So am I. I have opposed public funding of Planned Parenthood for years and continue to do so. I believe in the sanctity of life and I don't think Kentucky taxpayers should have to fund practices they find morally reprehensible.
That's why, as Senate majority leader, I asked a group of Republican senators, including Sens. Joni Ernst of Iowa and Kentucky's own Rand Paul, to draft legislation to protect women's health services by redirecting Planned Parenthood's federal funds to other women's health organizations that we know are focused exclusively on helping women.
This bill will not decrease the amount of funding that goes toward women's health services. It simply redirects what would have gone to Planned Parenthood to other, responsible facilities, like community health centers.
Kentucky, for example, has 134 community health center delivery sites but only two Planned Parenthood locations. That means our bill will send more funds to clinics with a wider reach.
This legislation will ensure the preservation of federal funding for health services like diagnostic laboratory and radiology services, well-child care, prenatal and postnatal care, immunizations, and cervical and breast cancer screenings.
In short, our bill guarantees that taxpayer dollars meant for women's health are actually spent on women's health and not on a scandal-plagued political organization like Planned Parenthood. Women keep their access to needed health services, and Kentuckians don't have to pay for Planned Parenthood's repugnant behavior.
Democrats and Republicans can agree that something must be done. Several Senate Democrats and even Hillary Clinton called the Planned Parenthood videos "disturbing."
The harvesting and sale of parts of unborn babies is indefensible, and I hope senators from both parties can come together to support this pressing legislation.
Thanks to remarkable advances in medical imaging and prenatal surgery, an increasing number of Americans have been waking up to the humanity of the unborn. It's been a joy for me to see this growing respect for the sanctity of human life.
As the father of three daughters, I believe innocent life should be protected. I applaud groups like Kentucky Right to Life that have led the charge in this fight, and I am proud to have worked with them throughout my career in the U.S. Senate.
The Senate must act soon. These horrendous videos of Planned Parenthood's top leaders discussing in callous tones and shocking detail their role in a national scandal require a congressional response. Kentuckians demand it, and the unborn deserve it.