Alabama’s Republican governor may have run his election campaign on being a “fiscal conservative” but he just lost his state tens of thousands of dollars in his ill-conceived quest to take down Planned Parenthood.
After watching his bold plan to defund Planned Parenthood by canceling the organization’s Medicaid contracts blow up in court, Gov. Robert Bentley is left with absolutely nothing besides the daunting task of having to explain to his state’s voters why they now have to pay $51,000 in legal fees back to Planned Parenthood. Making matters worse for the hapless governor, the combined savings he would have netted if his ploy was successful was a whopping… $2,200!
How did things go so wrong? Bentley, a staunch pro-lifer, made the mistake of getting overly excited about fraudulent videos created by an anti-abortion activist group that claimed to depict Planned Parenthood clinics “selling” fetal tissue for profit. Sensing an opportunity to further deprive his state’s women of their constitutionally-protected right to have access to abortions, he quickly moved to cancel his state’s Medicaid contracts with Planned Parenthood. He didn’t notice, or didn’t care, that in the mean time the videos have been so thoroughly debunked as to be considered libelous. He also failed to notice that his state’s Planned Parenthood clinics didn’t offer fetal tissue donations.
U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson did notice, however. He immediately struck down Bentley’s absurd move to defund the organization.
Having just given himself a massive black eye, cost his state tens of thousands of dollars and ultimately accomplished nothing, Bentley declared himself victorious. In a hilarious statement, Alabama’s own General Custer claimed his suicidal stand against Planned Parenthood was a roaring success.
“It was a win,” the governor said. “Headlines may not show it was a win, but it was a win. When you can get an organization like Planned Parenthood that was doing such despicable things as selling body parts – regardless of how you feel about abortion, and whether you think abortion should be legal or not, selling body parts and doing an abortion to harvest body parts is a despicable act.”
Note that Planned Parenthood was not, in fact, “selling body parts” or “doing an abortion to harvest body parts.” Those are lies. Dangerous ones, that echo the comments made by a right-wing terrorist who recently walked into a Colorado Planned Parenthood and opened fire, later telling police he hoped there would be “no more baby parts.” He therefore accomplished nothing, apart from harassing an innocent organization and attempting to make it harder for women to receive healthcare in Alabama – a state with some of the worst rates of poverty in the country.
The worst irony in all of this was the fact that Medicaid, which Bentley hoped by cutting would stop abortions, is by law only used for birth control and cancer and STD screenings. These would be the only programs affected by Bentley’s defund efforts. Alabama has the third highest rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea in the country. It also has the 15th highest rate of teen pregnancies.
The competition is pretty stiff, but it’s efforts like these that make Bentley a true contender for worst governor in the country.
Feature image via Governor Robert Bentley/Flickr