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House Republicans Vote To Strip Federal Funding From Planned Parenthood

House Republicans voted Friday to strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood, cutting money for contraceptives, HIV tests, cancer screenings and reproductive health services.

The vote was 240-185 with 11 Democrats voting for the amendment, and seven Republicans voting against. One member voted present. A group of Republicans on the floor applauded when the vote hit 218.

The move is an attempt to weaken the abortion provider although Planned Parenthood doesn’t spend federal money on abortion services although it’s unlikely that the measure will pass the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), made an impassioned speech on the house floor just before the vote, revealing she had an abortion, and criticized Republicans for vilifying Planned Parenthood and abortion-rights supporters.

“There is a vendetta against Planned Parenthood, and it was played out in this room tonight,” she said.  “Planned Parenthood has a right to operate. Planned Parenthood has a right to provide family planning services. Planned parenthood has a right to perform abortions. Last time you checked, abortions were legal in this country.”

Republicans argue the amendment is necessary to prevent taxpayer money from funding abortions at Planned Parenthood. But the organization is already prohibited from using the money it receives under Title X, which funds reproductive health services, to perform abortions.

Planned Parenthood was a major recipient of Title X funding last year, when the organization estimated it received a quarter of the $317 million appropriated for Title X. The the organization also performs one-quarter of reported abortions in the United States last year, some of which Pence claims were funded through non-Title X funding.

“Nobody is saying Planned Parenthood can’t be the leading advocate of abortion on demand, but why do I have to pay for it?” Pence said on Thursday, adding that he hopes Roe v. Wade is eventually overturned.

As the Huffington Post reports, National Organization for Women President Terry O’Neill, says the amendment is an attack on women. “One in three women will have an abortion in their lifetime. So, in fact, abortion is an essential, ordinary part of women’s reproductive health care needs,” she said. “The fact is, you know, birth control is not perfect. Women do have jarring health conditions. Think about a woman who has breast cancer, or she has a heart condition, and she becomes pregnant unintentionally and she needs to terminate that pregnancy. It’s just a normal part of health care. But most of the time, what we hear about abortion, and I’m sorry to say this is true, even our dearest friends, who are elected officials, the way they often talk about abortion is as if it is always, always some kind of dreadful tragedy. It’s health care, and sometimes health care is tragic and sometimes health care is relieving. Sometimes it’s a cure. Sometimes it’s just the best you can do in a bad situation. Sometimes it’s liberating. Sometimes it’s sad, and a loss. You don’t know, because every individual woman has her health care issues individually.”

Planned Parenthood calls the amendment “radically out of step with mainstream American values” and called on the Senate to restore their subsidies. “Ensuring that millions of women can obtain health care from their trusted provider is what mainstream Americans want and expect from the United States Senate,” the organization’s statement said.

I’ve previously written about my thoughts on abortion here.

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