Indiana State House

Indiana State House

By: Brian Sikma

Partisanship is sometimes inevitable, and when it comes it isn’t always a bad thing.  Often we are admonished by various pundits, and even some in government, that we should seek bipartisan solutions to the problems that we face.  If a bipartisan solution can be found without sacrificing key principles and tenets, then that is an example of good bipartisanship.  Too often, however, bipartisan is a term used by moderates and liberals when they want conservatives to sacrifice principle for the sake of finding a solution.  It’s not that conservatives don’t have a solution, it is that there is a wide chasm between a solution premised on conservative principles and a solution based on liberal concepts of what is right and what is wrong.  True bipartisanship should be based on a common principle, not a compromise of principle.

One case in which it appears that bipartisanship should be very possible is the recent news that Planned Parenthood of Indiana violated, on at least two occasions, Indiana state law requiring that suspected cases of statutory rape be reported to authorities for investigation.  In choosing to put an abortion agenda ahead of a law abiding agenda, Planned Parenthood’s clinics in Bloomington and Indianapolis failed to serve the woman who came to them for help.  The incidents, which occurred as part of an undercover investigative journalism project conducted by an organization named Live Action, certainly raise questions about Planned Parenthood’s dedication to helping women and their dedication to operating within the bounds of applicable laws.

Sensing that the revelations about the Bloomington and Indianapolis clinics may be indicators of a more widespread malfeasance throughout the Planned Parenthood of Indiana network of clinics, State Representative Jackie Walorski (R-Jimtown) called on the Attorney General and local prosecutors to investigate these two incidents.  Walorski also called on the Family and Social Services Administration, as well as any other state agency that transfers funds to Planned Parenthood, to suspend payments while the outcomes of the investigations are pending.

Rep. Walorski’s goal was to make sure that no organization that breaks state law and jeopardizes the safety of women is allowed to continue unchecked or receive taxpayer dollars unhindered.  One would think that there would perhaps be a common desire among the political parties in Indiana to achieve these relatively basic goals that focus on protecting taxpayers and, more importantly, protecting vulnerable Hoosier women.

This goal must not be bipartisan, unfortunately, because on Friday Dan Parker, the chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party, responded to Walorski’s efforts by calling for a House Ethics Committee investigation into her fundraising activities.  At the heart of Parker’s spurious allegations is a blog post written by Rep. Walorski in December asking supporters to contribute to her campaign fund so she can continue to lead the battle against Planned Parenthood’s wrong and inappropriate actions.  In the highly partisan view of Dan Parker, Walorski violated House Ethics Rules-something that she emphatically did not do.

Instead of fabricating and manufacturing charges that have no merit, and recklessly calling for investigations of public officials who are striving to uphold the law and act in accordance to the rules that govern their activities, Dan Parker and the Indiana Democratic Party should take this opportunity to exhibit bipartisanship by joining Rep. Walorski in urging for the suspension of funding to Planned Parenthood and calling for a full investigation of the organization’s activities.  The goals of protecting women and taxpayers flow from the principles that we should protect all citizens, and especially those most vulnerable, from crime and we should make sure that those who receive state funds are acting in a law-abiding manner.

The wrong focus is to use this opportunity for blind partisan gain, the right focus is to stand up for principles and values that make Indiana a better, more prosperous and more moral state.