According to ABC News, the House of Representatives has passed a measure that would eliminate all federal funding for Planned Parenthood. The Pence Amendment passed in the Republican-dominated House in a 240-185 vote on February 18th, according to AOL News.
The Pence Amendment, sponsored by Rep. Mike Pence (R-Indiana), was added as an amendment to the FY 2011 Continuing Resolution, which would also eliminate all Title X family planning funding. If approved by the Senate, this measure would eliminate federal funds for cancer screenings, contraception, STD testing, and other forms of medical care provided by Planned Parenthood, warned Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards in a February 18th statement. The Pence Amendment follows in the wake of controversial videos taken at a Planned Parenthood clinic by anti-abortion group LiveAction.
Many right-wing voices, including the Family Research Council, Priests for Life, Susan B. Anthony List, the National Right to Life Committee, and the Traditional Values Coalition, rejoiced at this news, as Right Wing Watch has documented. The anti-abortion news site LifeSite News posted enthusiastic quotes from Lila Rose of LiveAction and Krista Hawkins from Students for Life.
Other Religious Right and right-wing voices have expressed antipathy for Planned Parenthood recently:
- Writing for the Bound4Life blog, Susan Tyrrell expressed delight at this recent development and antipathy toward abortion (see bound4life[dot]com/blog/2011/02/18/house-votes-240-185-to-remove-funding-for-planned-parenthood)
- In a statement by CEO Penny Nance, Concerned Women for America urged the government to immediately cease all federal funding for Planned Parenthood. (See www[dot]cwfa[dot]org/content.asp?id=19917).
- Liberty Counsel expressed support for a end to taxpayer funding for organizations that provide abortion, claiming that citizens should not "be forced to fund abortion" and condemning federal funding used to "propagate genocide." (See www[dot]lc[dot]org/index.cfm?PID=14102&AlertID=1241)
- At the Heritage Foundation blog, Sarah Torre wrote that Planned Parenthood has "ridden the waves" of taxpayer funding and allegedly accrued large surpluses while American families face hard economic times and a large national deficit looms. (See blog[dot]heritage[dot]org/2011/02/18/planned-parenthood-feels-the-heat-in-government-spending-bill/)
Fortunately, progressive voices are defending Planned Parenthood and condemning threats to reproductive health care funding. At NARAL Pro-Choice America, NARAL president Nancy Keenan called the Pence Amendment a "war on contraception" and vowed to hold lawmakers accountable for their "extreme anti-choice agenda." Michael Keegan, president of People for the American Way, lamented this recent "attack on American women," criticizing conservative lawmakers for focusing on culture wars instead of important economic issues. Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, accused Republicans who supported the Pence Amendment of disregarding women's health care, vowing to stop passage of the Pence Amendment in the final Continuing Resolution.
If Title X funding and funding for Planned Parenthood are eliminated, it would have devastating consequences for reproductive rights and public health. Whether or not the Senate will approve this measure remains to be seen.
For additional commentary, visit the following links.
Pam's House Blend: GOP-led House votes to kill funding for Planned Parenthood
The Root: Planned Parenthood Speaks Out on GOP Attack
Politico: House Votes to Defund Planned Parenthood
The Loathsome Joy: Planned Parenthood by the Numbers
The Blog that Ate Manhattan: We Must Keep Title X and Planned Parenthood Funding