Senators voted 47-52 yesterday to block a short-term spending bill, falling short of the 60 votes needed to defund Planned Parenthood beginning in October.
Eight Republican senators joined Senate Democrats to vote against moving forward on the spending bill that would have stripped federal funding for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not announced a plan to avoid shutting down the government come next Wednesday at midnight.
The bill, HR 61, is the latest in a series of anti-abortion measures introduced by Republican lawmakers to eliminate funding to the nation’s leading reproductive health care provider following the release of several fraudulent videos by the Center for Medical Progress. Despite no evidence that there is any truth to the videos’ claims that Planned Parenthood is illegally selling fetal tissue, Republicans insisted on eliminating funding that enables millions of women, especially low-income women, to access health care.
Given that Planned Parenthood provides quality, affordable reproductive health care to 2.7 million women, men and teens at approximately 700 health centers nationwide, the stakes could not be higher.
Furthermore, Planned Parenthood serves more clients of publicly funded family planning centers than any other provider in the country. 79 percent of Planned Parenthood health care patients have incomes at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level. Ending Planned Parenthood’s services would put women’s lives at risk, especially low-income women who would not be able to afford care elsewhere.
Media Resources: Senate Roll Call 9/24/15; Feminist Newswire 9/17/15; Planned Parenthood Fact Sheet; The Guardian 9/24/15;