Pro-life activists are celebrating all over the nation as the Republican-dominated U.S. House of Representatives voted to sanction the end of Planned Parenthood —whom they describe as “the country’s No.1 abortion provider,” by de-funding it.
In essence, the amendment to the Title X of the Abortion Provider Prohibition Act (HR217) prohibits the government “from providing any federal family planning assistance to an entity (…) that performs an abortion.” It excepts ending pregnancy as the result of rape, incest or danger of death to the woman.
The amendment would specifically prohibit Planned Parenthood from receiving any federal funds —including Medicaid— to provide cancer screenings, birth control, HIV testing, and testing and treatment for other sexually transmitted infections.
The Saturday, February 19, 2011 vote went much along party lines —235 against 189— with 10 Democrats voting in favor and 7 Republicans joining the opposition. Central California Republican Congressmen Jeff Denham (CA-19) and Dan Lungren (CA-3) voted for it, Democratic Dennis Cardoza (CA-18) and Jerry McNerney (CA-11) voted against it.
“That’s the way representative government is supposed to work,” said Richard Land, president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), the public policy entity of the Southern Baptist Convention in the U.S. “We commend (Indiana Congressman and HR217 sponsor) Mike Pence,” said Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Christian think-tank Family Research Council, adding that “Planned Parenthood, a scandal-plagued abortion organization, must be held accountable for abusing innocent young victims while receiving hundreds of millions in federal dollars each year.”
Pro-choice groups and organizations were, understandably, appalled.
Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, called the legislation “an extreme and dangerous piece of legislation” that will prevent her organization to even provide “basic primary and lifesaving preventive health care to women and families.” Furthermore, Richards warned that “to prohibit Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funding does nothing to reduce the deficit and it does nothing to improve the economy. In fact, health professionals will actually lose their jobs as a result, and, most egregiously, it takes health care away from American women who cannot afford to pay for it on their own.”
“Rep. Pence’s attack on Planned Parenthood’s funding is not an attack on abortion,” said Jessica Arons, director of the Women’s Health and Rights Program at the Center for American Progress — progressive public policy research and advocacy national organization— “but on the multiple other services that Planned Parenthood provides – and on a trusted community service provider that cares for people who often have nowhere else to go to obtain quality health care.”
Next the bill goes to the Senate, where the slight Democratic majority may assure its demise. California Senator Barbara Boxer already stated that HR217 “is an extreme attack on women’s health that threatens the health and lives of millions of women. It would mean less family planning and more unplanned pregnancies and abortions. It would mean fewer cancer screenings and more devastating outcomes for women and their families. We will continue to fight in the Senate against any effort to deprive women of access to life-saving health care.”
Planned Parenthood operates 110 centers in California, serving more than 730,000 clients, mostly low-income women and families. In California, Planned Parenthood provided more than 1.4 million tests for sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS, 129,000 pap smears and 128,000 breast cancer screenings last year.
- House Votes to Stop Funding Planned Parenthood: What This Means for You (self.com)
- Debbie Hines: Republicans Cut Contraceptives for Women but Allow for Horses (huffingtonpost.com)
- Can Pro-Choice Senators Save Planned Parenthood? (news.change.org)
- The House has voted to bar Planned Parenthood. Don’t let them get away with it. (underthelobsterscope.wordpress.com)
- “House Votes to Cut Federal Funding to Planned Parenthood” and related posts (inhabitots.com)
- Planned Parenthood Speaks Out on GOP Attack (theroot.com)