For the first time in American history, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to completely withdraw federal funding from Planned Parenthood - because it is an abortion provider.
The amendment to H.R. 1, the continuing resolution to fund the federal government through the rest of the fiscal year, was agreed to on a vote of 240-185 with 10 Democrats voting with all but 7 Republicans.
The amendment’s sponsor is Mike Pence of Indiana. He has attempted to defund Planned Parenthood for several years now. As he told POLITICO in an interview on Tuesday, “If Planned Parenthood wants to be involved in providing counseling services and HIV testing, they ought not be in the business of providing abortions. As long as they aspire to do that, I’ll be after them.”
And today he was able to see his effort pass the U.S. House of Representatives.
A large percentage of the American people have a favorable view of Planned Parenthood, especially because of their services for poor women, such as in the area of cancer screening, testing for sexually transmitted disease, and more. For these Members of Congress, their vote to strip millions from Planned Parenthood is a remarkable step given that many Americans are just now starting to become aware of the organization’s darker side. While they have performed abortions for years, that hasn’t been enough to really sour the public’s view of them.
Now, thanks to videos from Live Action, the American public can see their willingness to aid and abet sex traffickers. Add to that stories from Abby Johnson, the former Planned Parenthood center director in Bryan-College Station, Texas, about how Planned Parenthood now promotes abortion to fatten their bottom line, a not-so-flattering picture is now starting to emerge.
But it hasn’t sunk into the American consciousness yet. This vote is an example of our elected representatives leading the way.
And just what was Planned Parenthood’s response to the House vote? To blame our elected leaders for endangering women’s lives. Minutes after the vote, Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, sent a shrill emergency email to her supporters in which she writes, “By far, this is the most dangerous legislative assault on women’s health in our history, and it cannot go unanswered. We need you to stand united with us now. We need you to stand with Planned Parenthood and with the three million women, men, and teens we serve, who are now at risk of losing access to basic care.”
What she doesn’t say is what they aren’t willing to do to maintain their funding levels. The simplest way for Planned Parenthood to get back in the good graces of Congress would simply be to stop providing and referring for abortions. Instead, they’re actually willing to give up millions and millions of dollars in annual taxpayer support so they can keep taking the lives of unborn children. That’s because it is an integral component of their core mission that they cannot do without. Otherwise, they would be willing to negotiate with the American people.