The United States House of Representatives passed legislation on Thursday that would repeal Obamacare and block federal Medicaid funds from going to the nation's largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood.
By a vote of 217 to 213, the House narrowly passed the highly debated American Health Care Act, with 20 Republicans voting against the legislation and no Democrats voting for it.
According to The Washington Post, if the health care bill is passed, Planned Parenthood would lose about 30 percent of its total revenue because it would be blocked from receiving Medicaid reimbursement funds for a year unless its hundreds of clinics stop offering abortion.
The abortion chain currently receives over $500 million in federal funds annually for the provision of its other health services. Funds that would be stripped from Planned Parenthood would be redirected to comprehensive Federally Qualified Health Centers.
Additionally, the bill also prevents taxpayer funding for health care plans that cover abortion on-demand. According to the National Right to Life Committee, over 1,000 federally subsidized plans across the United States were covering elective abortion in 2014.
"This vote was a huge step toward ending taxpayer support for an abortion chain that takes the lives of over 320,000 preborn children every year," Lila Rose, founder of the pro-life advocacy group Live Action, said in a statement. "We've seen millions of Americans who are opposed to taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood speak out at town halls, march in cities across the nation, and call and write their members of Congress."
"Planned Parenthood was given the opportunity to end its abortion business in order to keep receiving taxpayer funding, but they chose abortion over helping women in need of health care," Rose added. "There is no reason for the Senate to hesitate in redirecting this money to the thousands of health clinics across America that actually provide authentic health care and are accessible to millions more women."
It still remains to be seen whether or not the AHCA has enough support to pass in the Senate, even though Senate Republicans are using a process called budget reconciliation so that only a majority vote is required to send the bill to President Donald Trump's desk.
Although Senate Democrats face a 52-48 minority, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York claimed that "this bill is going nowhere fast" in the Senate.
"Rather than trying to pass a different version of the same TrumpCare bill that would mean higher costs and less care, Senate Republicans should refuse to follow their House colleagues over a cliff, reject repeal, and work with Democrats to improve our healthcare system in a bipartisan way," Schumer said, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Prominent social conservative and pro-life groups, like the Family Research Council, were concerned by the initial version of the AHCA that was scheduled to be voted on in March. They were worried that it "could allow funds from the refundable credits to pay for abortions in health savings accounts." However, FRC and the House Freedom Caucus issued their support for the revised version of the bill last week.
"In what may soon be their single greatest accomplishment since wrestling control away from Democrats, Republicans in the House finally paid back voters who sent them to Washington with one goal in mind: replacing Obamacare," FRC president Tony Perkins said in a statement.
"Today's win was a long time coming for pro-lifers, who watched with revulsion every David Daleiden video detailing the horrors of Cecile Richards' group. For once, the moral injustice done to taxpayers has a voice: Congress's," Perkins added. "There was the usual phony panic from Planned Parenthood, which insisted that if Congress didn't send them their usual half-billion taxpayer dollars, women's health care would cease to exist."
Perkins wrote that Planned Parenthood likes to conveniently overlook the fact that the funds stripped from them will be going to more comprehensive health clinics.
"It is an unfounded and absurd accusation that, without federal Medicaid reimbursement, Planned Parenthood will shut down or women will somehow not have access to care. One does not need to look far for a better alternative to Planned Parenthood," Concerned Women for America President Penny Nance said in a statement. "FQHCs outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics almost 20-1 and provide care for the whole woman without pushing a 'profit no matter what' agenda."
"From 2009-2013, cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood declined by nearly 50 percent, contraceptive services are down 20 percent since 2010, and total services are down 14 percent since 2010," she added. "Contrary to statements made by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards, zero Planned Parenthood clinics are authorized to perform mammograms. Planned Parenthood does not serve as a primary source for prenatal care, and many of their clinics do not even offer such services. Women are going elsewhere, and federal funding should follow."
Last week, Live Action outlined statistics that show that the number of cancer screenings, pap tests, UTI treatments, adoption referrals and family practice services Planned Parenthood provides has decreased over a 10-year span while its federal funding and abortion numbers have increased.