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Can Congress Defund Planned Parenthood?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 @ 8:31 AM
Can Congress Defund Planned Parenthood? Walker Wildmon Assistant to the President MORE

The American Family Association (AFA) is aware that there are multiple ways to defund Planned Parenthood using the legislative process. The House passed a bill (HR 1628) containing language to defund Planned Parenthood. AFA supported that bill, but the Senate has already publicly rejected it in its entirety. 

This is why AFA is also calling for a stand-alone bill to remove government funding to Planned Parenthood. Doing so will provide greater assurance that one of these will make it to President Trump's desk.

The Republican Party platform states the following on page fourteen: “We oppose the use of public funds to perform or promote abortion or to fund organizations, like Planned Parenthood, so long as they provide or refer for elective abortions or sell fetal body parts rather than provide healthcare. We urge all states and Congress to make it a crime to acquire, transfer, or sell fetal tissues from elective abortions for research, and we call on Congress to enact a ban on any sale of fetal body parts. In the meantime, we call on Congress to ban the practice of misleading women on so-called fetal harvesting consent forms, a fact revealed by a 2015 investigation. We will not fund or subsidize healthcare that includes abortion coverage.” 

For years Republican leaders in Congress have promised to withhold taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion provider. Planned Parenthood receives nearly $500 million in taxpayer dollars each year. Roughly 86 percent of these funds are provided through Medicaid reimbursements. The remaining 14 percent is provided through Title X family planning grants. All of this money is authorized by Congress. To no surprise Republicans in Congress have failed to follow through on their promise to withhold federal funds from Planned Parenthood. 

It is hard for Republican voters to convince Washington politicians to change their ways when we don’t understand their ways. 

Congress should pass a stand-alone bill that defunds Planned Parenthood. In September of 2015 the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015 (H.R. 3134) by a margin of 241 – 187. This was a four page bill that ensures “no funds authorized or appropriated by Federal law may be made available for any purpose to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc.” for a one year period. This same bill was reintroduced as the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2017 on January 6, 2017. This bill is sitting in the Subcommittee on Health collecting dust. If legislation similar to this were passed by both chambers of Congress and signed by the president then Planned Parenthood funding would be completely stripped for a one year period. 

Some might say that even if this passes the House that it could not survive the 60 vote threshold in the Senate. What most don’t know is that Senate Republicans can “go nuclear” and change the Senate rules to allow budget bills to be passed with only 51 votes or a simple majority.  

Republicans control the House, Senate, and White House. There can be no more excuses.

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