Defund Planned Parenthood Bill Passes House

A sign is pictured at the entrance to a Planned Parenthood building in New York, August 31, 2015.
A sign is pictured at the entrance to a Planned Parenthood building in New York, August 31, 2015. | (Photo: Reuters/Lucas Jackson)

A bill stripping Planned Parenthood Federation of America of federal taxpayer dollars for a period of at least one year passed the U.S. House of Representatives.

Lawmakers in the House voted largely on party lines on Friday to pass HR 3134, 241 to 187, which would place a one-year moratorium on federal funding of Planned Parenthood.

"For the one-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, subject to subsection (b), no funds authorized or appropriated by Federal law may be made available for any purpose to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc., or any affiliate or clinic of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc., unless such entities certify that Planned Parenthood Federation of America affiliates and clinics will not perform, and will not provide any funds to any other entity that performs, an abortion during such period," reads HR 3134.

Subsection b of the proposed legislation provided exemptions on the basis of rape, incest, or health of the mother.

Over the summer, a pro-life group based in California named the Center for Medical Progress released a series of undercover videos purporting to show that Planned Parenthood, along with its affiliates and partners, engaged in illegal practices.

Credit : (Screengrab: Center For Medical Progress)
(Screengrab: Center For Medical Progress)

Supporters of the videos argue that they prove that the nation's largest abortion provider has been involved in illegal and unethical practices while critics have argued that the videos were in some way fabricated.

CMP's videos, which continue to be released into September, have reignited calls by many to defund Planned Parenthood of both state and federal funding.

On August 22, protests were held across the United States at hundreds of Planned Parenthood clinics demanding that the abortion provider be stripped of government funding.

Pro-Life Action League Executive Director Eric J. Scheidler, whose group helped organize the national protests, told The Christian Post last month that the goal was to draw more attention to what Planned Parenthood is doing.

"Our primary message is the shocking revelation that Planned Parenthood sells baby parts. While this story has dominated the pro-life and Christian press over the past month, many regular Americans have still never heard about it," said Scheidler.

"They deserve to know the truth about Planned Parenthood, an organization that receives over half a billion dollars every year from taxpayers. It is time for this corrupt organization to be deprived of all taxpayer funding and investigated by the U.S. Justice Department."

During the Friday morning debate, House members like Representative Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., argued in favor of the bill, saying most would consider it "common sense."

"If there is reason to investigate, then there is reason to withhold taxpayer dollars during that period of time," said Rep. Blackburn.

"Those dollars would be given to other facilities that provide women's health services. The American taxpayer has been very clear for a long time that they do not want taxpayer money spent on abortions."

Representative Kathy Castor, D-Fla., denounced the defunding bill, dubbing it in her opening remarks the "Deny Women Healthcare Act."

"Congressional approval ratings are at an all-time low and here's another example of why. Republicans in Congress have failed to fulfill their responsibility to our great nation again," said Rep. Castor.

"The bill … is an attempt by Republican leaders to distract the American public from their failure to do their job."

HR 3134 was one of two bills debated in the House on Friday that centered on the abortion debate. The other bill was HR 3504, titled the "Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act", which if enacted would add legal protections to babies who are born alive during an abortion.

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