Democratic senators blocked a measure aimed at defunding Planned Parenthood despite a growing controversy over how the nation’s largest abortion provider harvests the body parts of unborn children for medical research.
The procedural vote this evening fell short of the 60 votes need to move the bill forward. The final tally was 53-46.
But the battle likely isn’t over.
Some GOP lawmakers in the House and Senate have indicated they might attempt to block any spending bill that includes money for Planned Parenthood this fall. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., has said he expects several dozen GOP lawmakers to object to spending bills with funding for the group. Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rand Paul, R-Ky., have raised similar possibilities during their presidential campaigns.
For now, some pro-lifers saw a sliver of good news in Monday’s vote. Mallory Quigley of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List (SBA) noted that when the Senate voted on a measure to defund Planned Parenthood in 2011, 42 senators favored the bill. This time, 53 supported the measure, an increase Quigley finds encouraging.
Moving forward, Quigley said SBA would support “all aggressive efforts to get taxpayers out of the Planned Parenthood business.” She said the organization would also continue pushing other pro-life measures and noted, “The profiteering off organs is really just collateral damage to what Planned Parenthood is doing—this massive destruction of life.”
Planned Parenthood’s massive destruction of life includes 330,000 abortions a year. The organization’s $1 billion operating budget includes some $500 million of federal funding each year.
The renewed debate over federal funding erupted as the pro-life group Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released three undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood workers discussing fees for providing aborted fetal tissue to go-between companies that supply biotech researchers.
CMP says those actions violate federal law. Planned Parenthood denies the charges.
The deeply disturbing videos also show Planned Parenthood staffers discussing “less crunchy” methods of aborting unborn children to produce better specimens for research. One abortionist casually spoke of how the brains of unborn infants usually come out and described the remains of an aborted baby in a glass dish as “war-torn.”
Despite such graphic realities, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., defended Planned Parenthood during the Senate debate and spoke of “the obligation to protect our wives, our sisters, our daughters, our granddaughters” from the GOP’s “absurd policies.”
Reid added, “The Republican Party has lost its moral compass.”
Other Democrats claimed defunding Planned Parenthood would keep women from healthcare services like cancer screenings and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases.
But Republicans said the bill would have diverted funding from Planned Parenthood to other healthcare centers offering services to low-income patients.
Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana, a physician, said many states have more community healthcare clinics serving low-income families than Planned Parenthood centers largely focused on reproductive care. Cassidy said Louisiana has 160 community health centers, but just two Planned Parenthood affiliates.
The Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of SBA, reports a large number of options around the country for low-income patients at clinics that provide a wide array of healthcare services. The group says there are 13 times more federally qualified health centers (9,170) that do not provide abortions than Planned Parenthood centers (700).
Back on the Senate floor, Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, who sponsored the bill to defund Planned Parenthood, said the recent videos reveal practices Americans shouldn’t have to support: “The American taxpayer should not be asked to fund an organization like Planned Parenthood that has shown a sheer disdain for human dignity and complete disregard for women and their babies.”
Courtesy: WORLD News Service
Publication date: August 10, 2015