Photo: A Planned Parenthood rally in Washington. Courtesy Planned Parenthood
September 20, 2015 (San Diego)—The House of Representatives voted Friday to defund Planned Parenthood. The measure is not expected to pass the Senate and President Barack Obama has said he will veto it. The vote was 241 to 187, with Republicans Duncan Hunter and Darrell Issa voting to end funding, while Democrats Susan Davis, Scott Peters and Juan Vargas voting to protect it. Now Republicans are threatening to shut down the government on September 30th if any Planned Parenthood funding for women’s health is included in the federal budget.
The vote was prompted by videos shot undercover by an anti-abortion group. The videos show Planned Parenthood discussing obtaining fetal tissue from aborted fetuses for medical research seeking cures for diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The group claims Planned Parenthood was selling fetal parts, but no charges have been filed. Planned Parenthood says the videos were heavily edited and that it has not broken the law, which allows use of fetal tissue for research as long as no profit is made.
Federal law already prohibits any federal funds from being used for abortion, except in rare cases such as when a mother’s life is endangered. Cutting all funding to Planned Parenthood would mean the money would be eliminated for other women’s services such as breast cancer screenings, PAP tests, and birth control.
Democratic Congressman Scott Peters issued a statement blasting Republicans for standing in the way of getting a budget passed to fund other vital services.
He states, “Roads are crumbling, bridges are falling down, and the United States is again faced with a government shutdown; instead of tackling these critical problems, Republicans in Congress would rather waste our time resurrecting a battle that was settled by the Supreme Court 40 years ago.”
Republican Duncan Hunter makes clear on his website that his concern is not merely with the video or Planned Parenthood; his goal is to defund and ultimately outlaw all abortions.
His website states, “To prevent federal funding for abortions or abortion providers, I am a cosponsor of H.R. 217, the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, offered by Rep. Diane Black (R-TN). This bill would prohibit federal funding under Title X, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, for any entity that performs an abortion.” Moreover, Hunter’s statement on family values continues, “I am an original cosponsor of the Life at Conception Act to prohibit abortions by declaring that life begins at conception. This measure is a legislative approach to effectively overturn Roe v. Wade by establishing personhood under the 5th and 14th Amendments.”