Politics Reproductive Rights

Senate Democrats Protect Funding for Planned Parenthood

Yesterday, Senate Democrats blocked legislation introduced by Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) that would have stripped all federal funding from Planned Parenthood.

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Senate Bill 1881 would have slashed $528 million in federal funds from Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides sexual and reproductive health care to millions of women and men each year. To advance, the bill required 60 votes in its favor. The final vote was 53-46.

Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) voted with Senate Republicans to defund, while a single Republican, Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), opposed the bill. Senator Lindsay Graham did not vote. The bill was introduced after an anti-reproductive rights group calling itself the Center for Medical Progress released heavily-edited, misleading videos falsely suggesting that Planned Parenthood profits from fetal tissue donation.

“We won the battle, but the war isn’t over,” tweeted Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood. “Anti-abortion politicians vowed to do everything in their power to cut patients off from care.”

Already some Republicans, including Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), are threatening a government shutdown if Planned Parenthood is not defunded. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) said he was “absolutely confident that if Republicans try to defund Planned Parenthood in a government spending bill at the end of September, Democrats will unite against it.” White House press secretary Josh Earnest has confirmed that President Obama would veto any bill to defund Planned Parenthood.

79 percent of Planned Parenthood health care patients have incomes at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level, and Planned Parenthood serves more clients of publicly funded family planning centers than any other provider in the country. 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: Washington Post 8/4/15; RH Reality Check 7/31/15; Planned Parenthood; United States Senate; CNN 8/4/15, 8/4/15

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