Forty-one senators, composed of thirty-nine Democrats and two Independents led by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), announced that they will filibuster any spending bill blocking funding to Planned Parenthood. Following the Senate vote to approve another short-term spending measure in mid-March, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced that an amendment to defund Planned Parenthood will not be included in the Continuing Resolution (CR) budget deal for 2011.
In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the forty-one senators requested that the Senate leaders “stand with us against extreme proposals by some members of the House to eliminate support for women’s health and family planning programs and providers that service millions of women and families.” The senators stated that “Without access to these services, many of these women will be unable to get preventive screenings, be at far greater risk for diseases such as cancer and will face more unintended pregnancies.”
In February, House Republicans, led by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), voted for a Continuing Resolution that prohibited any federal funds from going to Planned Parenthood, even in reimbursement for services rendered. In spite of Republican claims that the Pence amendment would prohibit taxpayer funding of abortions, such spending is already prohibited. The Continuing Resolution would also eliminate all of Title X funding, the only federal family planning program dedicated solely to reproductive health. Title X provides reproductive health services to millions of women yearly. Title X funds some 4,500 clinics, including community health centers, public health clinics and about 900 Planned Parenthood clinics.
Planned Parenthood health centers across the country conduct over one million cervical cancer screenings and 830,000 breast exams yearly. Its clinics also provide contraception, basic health care, including family planning, cancer screenings, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, to approximately 2.5 million women per year.