05.10.2024 0

Missouri AG Andrew Bailey Keeps Rolling Over For Planned Parenthood

By Rick Manning

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey has a Planned Parenthood problem—he keeps rolling over in court, rescuing them from legal defeat or embarrassment and greasing the skids for fee awards that will fuel future pro-abortion litigation.

Bailey’s penchant might seem like a problem best left to the people of Missouri, after all he is in a heated primary already with one of President Trump’s attorneys from the Jack Smith case.  But Bailey’s Planned Parenthood flops are an example of a wider problem: too many of our public officials talk tough on abortion but then fail to adequately take on Planned Parenthood after they leave the press conference podium.  This is a wider issue that we in the pro-life movement need to take seriously and reflect on as we move firmly into the post-Dobbs era.

Bailey has only been in office for about a year—he was appointed by the Governor to the office vacated by now-Senator Eric Schmitt—but he has already found surprisingly different ways to drop the ball against Planned Parenthood in court.  He has let Planned Parenthood keep their gender transition surgery secrets hidden for months or maybe even years by inexplicably waiving his right to see Planned Parenthood gender transition documents while a lengthy appeal is resolved.  He has also had his efforts to overturn Planned Parenthood wins dismissed because he filed them in the wrong court.  And then there is his penchant for blowing court deadlines against Planned Parenthood.  In just one case involving over $100,000 in potential attorney’s fees for Planned Parenthood, Bailey managed to miss not only the deadline to appeal Planned Parenthood’s initial fee win, but also the deadline to file his main brief on appeal.

Let’s reminder ourselves that being a state Attorney General is all about being in Court; that is quite literally the measure of the job.  Yet when it comes to the courtroom, Attorney General Bailey’s efforts against Planned Parenthood have more flops than an NBA game.

It might be tempting to explain this away by claiming Bailey is just a pro-choice Republican.  But that misses the mark.  Bailey is a self-described pro-life official who has made strong pro-life statements and touted his lawsuits against Planned Parenthood.  Moreover, Bailey has every motivation to stand strong in these cases, now more than ever, as he is in a dogfight of a primary. Indeed, when explaining how he missed the Planned Parenthood appeal deadlines, Bailey didn’t cite ideology or a policy position or any other substantive defense, he instead focused on the “unavailability” of certain of his staff.

But herein lies the bigger problem in all of this for the broader pro-life movement. 

It is cold comfort to the pro-life community when our elected officials hand wins to Planned Parenthood through error and incompetence as opposed to pro-choice sentiment or ideological alignment with the other side. 

It’s one thing when we have a fight on our hands against the pro-choice crowd within our own party; we know how to fight that fight.  It’s almost worse when our side talks tough, convinces us that they are our ideological kindred spirits, but then are so lacking in skill or commitment that they cannot close the deal when it matters.

This is a bigger problem, because it requires more of us. 

We have to start looking deeper at the officials we put into key offices.  We have to start looking beyond the words they say in order to see someone’s track record of actual success and evidence of actual competence on the job. 

Because talking tough isn’t enough, as the situation in Missouri shows us so clearly.  In order to actually advance the pro-life movement, we need wins, wins in the day-in-and-day-out fights over money and other front-line things that actually determine the practical realities of this fight.  At a bare minimum, we need officials who will stand and fight instead of handing Planned Parenthood wins on a silver platter.

And that is why we as a movement must look closely at how to fix situations like what we see in Missouri, at how to avoid ending up with officials that talk tough and then fall down or roll over on the job.  Because that problem isn’t confined to Missouri; it happens all across the country.  And if we cannot solve this problem, we are going to face ever greater problems down the road. 

To win, we need winners; we need fighters who know that the battle is won in the courtroom and the legislature and on the metaphorical front lines of this campaign, not at the podium or in a television interview.  Until we use that as our North Star, we are going to be in trouble.

Rick Manning is the President of Americans for Limited Government.

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