Entries in Federal Spending (2)


Planned Parenthood Fights Defunding Laws

PlannedParenthood [dot] org(WASHINGTON) -- After federal attempts to defund Planned Parenthood as part of Congress' Continuing Resolution spending bill failed in April, pro-life activists took to state legislatures to continue the battle.

Four states have passed laws this year that cut funds to the group and a host of others have passed legislation that places restrictions on abortions, spurring legal backlash from Planned Parenthood.  Many of the new state laws go into effect on Friday.

"There is a huge tidal wave of support sweeping across the country right now to defund Planned Parenthood," said Ciara Matthews, a spokesperson for the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life activist group.  "What the states are doing is what the federal government has failed to do, and that is to strip tax dollars from America's abortion giant."

In response to the defunding efforts, Planned Parenthood has filed lawsuits in three states -- Indiana, Kansas and Montana -- with possibly two more to come in North Carolina and Wisconsin.

"It's unprecedented that so many states have enacted legislation to bar public funding for Planned Parenthood," said Tait Sye, a national spokesperson for Planned Parenthood.

Sye said the group has never been involved in this many legal battles simultaneously.

Planned Parented won one such battle Thursday when a South Dakota judge granted the group's injunction, blocking a state abortion law from going into effect Friday.  The state law would have required women seeking abortions to wait three days and receive counseling at a crisis pregnancy center that discourages abortions.

"This law represents a blatant intrusion by politicians into difficult decisions women and families sometimes need to make," said Sarah Stoesz, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota.  "We trust women and families in South Dakota to know and do what is best for them, without being coerced by the government.  And we stand with them in our efforts to overturn this outrageous law."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Osama Bin Laden Is Dead, But Costly War on Terror Goes On

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Gary A. Witte, 300th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment(WASHINGTON) -- Osama bin Laden's death puts an end to a chapter that has cost the United States thousands of lives, billions of dollars and countless resources.  But it's unlikely to end the U.S. war against terrorism or reduce the resources spent on such missions, though how they are allocated will likely change.

U.S. Navy SEALs killed -- in the words of former President Bill Clinton -- "public enemy number one" in a top-secret, risky operation in Abbotabad, Pakistan Sunday night.

The mission itself was unlikely to have cost the U.S. military a substantial amount, experts say.  It was conducted by 40 SEALs in the dead of night with four helicopters and lasted about 40 minutes.  Any costs associated with the mission would come from the Department of Defense's overall operations and maintenance budget.

It's the hunt leading up to the raid that experts believe was more costly, and likely included aerial predators, unmanned surveillance aircraft, satellite imagery and other high-tech means to pin down bin Laden's location.

The costs of pursuing bin Laden over the years are virtually impossible to calculate.  His pursuit has cost the United States trillions of dollars, two wars and thousands of lives.

Domestically, the defense budget has ballooned at an average rate of nine percent per year since 2000.  Overseas, Congress has appropriated more than $1 trillion for military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere since the 9/11 attacks, according to the Congressional Research Service.

The United States spends about $100 billion per year for military aid in Afghanistan, and provides another $6 billion in economic assistance.

The United States has also upped its assistance to Pakistan despite increasingly tense relations with the country.  Since 2001, Congress has approved about $20 billion for Pakistan in direct aid and military reimbursements, an amount that lawmakers now say will require more accountability.  Bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan and the military there did not assist in the operation to kill him, U.S. officials say.

Bin Laden's death, though huge for the United States, is unlikely to ease the financial burden, observers say.

"The only way you're going to ease the burden -- you're going to make a real impact financially -- is if troops are brought back out of Afghanistan," said Kenneth Katzman, a specialist in Middle East affairs at the Congressional Research Service.  "That's where the money is....Everything else will be small potatoes."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio