On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted 240-181 in favor of a measure to defund Planned Parenthood for one year and repeal key provisions in the Affordable Care Act. The bill will most certainly meet a presidential veto.
Wednesday’s vote is the 11th time anti women’s health politicians have tried to defund Planned Plarenthood during this Congress. It is also the furthest an anti-Affordable Care Act (ACA) bill has progressed since the law’s 2010 implementation. To date, Republicans have attempted to repeal or undermine the ACA 62 times.
House Pro-Choice Caucus co-chairs, Congresswomen Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Diana DeGette (D-CO) decried the vote. “Over the last several years, the Republican-led House has wasted far too much of the American people’s time trying to undermine and undo access to the health care they rely on,” said Reps. Slaughter and DeGette. “This is especially true for women, who have seen their constitutional right to make their own reproductive health choices attacked again and again.” They continued, “We should be spending 2016 trying to improve health care options instead of tearing down the constitutional rights Americans have worked so hard to secure.”
In December, lawmakers were able to push the anti-ACA, anti women’s health bill through the Senate by using a legislative strategy called reconciliation, which allowed the bill to pass with a simple 52-vote majority. The House vote on Wednesday means that the bill will reach Obama’s desk this week.
The bill is the latest in a series of attempts by anti-abortion lawmakers to strip federal funding of Planned Parenthood. In September, following last year’s release of several deceptive videos by the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress (CMP) falsely claiming to depict the illegal sale of fetal tissue by Planned Parenthood, House Republicans called Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee regarding the organization’s conduct and practices. Though the committee found no fault in Planned Parenthood’s activities, just one month later, House Republicans assembled a select committee – this time under the jurisdiction of the Energy and Commerce Committee – to continue investigating the organization as well as other “big abortion providers.” To date, federal and state-level investigations have turned up zero evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Planned Parenthood and the fraudulent videos have been debunked repeatedly.
The Feminist Majority Foundation launched a campaign calling on the House Select Investigative Panel to either stop investigating abortion providers and start investigating violence, intimidation, and threats directed at women’s health clinics, or to disband. “How can House members investigate abortion providers and ignore the activities of key CMP official and Operation Rescue President Troy Newman, or the routine harassment and intimidation of abortion providers?” asked Smeal.
Targeted threats and intimidation of abortion providers has nearly doubled over four years, and the percentage of clinics impacted by targeted threats and intimidation has increased from 26.6% of clinics in 2010 to 51.9% in 2014.
Media Resources: The Hill, 1/06/16; Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, Press Release, 1/06/16; Feminist Newswire 9/1/15; Media Matters, 8/24/15; Feminist Majority Foundation