By Kathleen Gilbert and Peter J. Smith
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 24, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - After unexpectedly passing the House Rules committee late yesterday, an amendment introduced by Congressman Mike Pence to strip Planned Parenthood of its taxpayer funding under Health and Human Services "family planning" (or Title X) funds, has failed.
Today the House of Representatives rejected the Pence Amendment to defund Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider, by a vote of 183 to 247. Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) had submitted the amendment to an HHS appropriations bill that stated, "None of the funds made available under this Act shall be available to Planned Parenthood for any purpose under Title X of the Public Health Services Act."
The Labor/Health and Human Services appropriations bill contains $317.5 million for the HHS Title X Family Planning program, which includes an additional $10 million, representing a three percent increase over 2008 levels. The Title X program provides a major source of funding for Planned Parenthood and affiliates, which receive approximately twenty-three percent of Title X Family Planning funds.
Pence stated that he wanted to see Title X funding go to other organizations other than Planned Parenthood that provide "family planning" services, but do not perform abortions.
On the floor of the House today, Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) echoed support for his colleague's amendment, pointing out that Planned Parenthood has resisted modest laws passed by Congress and state legislatures that help reduce abortions, such as women's right-to-know laws, waiting periods, and parental involvement statutes.
Smith stated that abortion rates had dropped by 19 - 31 percent among teen girls through parental involvement laws, and added that Planned Parenthood's own research indicated abortion rates decrease overall by 20-35 percent when abortion providers are denied federal subsidies for their operations.
"Millions of children live today because public funds weren't available to effectuate their death. Yet Planned Parenthood aggressively seeks to compel taxpayer funds for abortion," he said.
In 2007, Planned Parenthood provided nearly 290,000 abortions, accounting for approximately one in five abortions performed nationwide. The organization has recently come under fire for failing to report cases of statutory rape and for encouraging teen girls to lie to clinic workers in order to evade parental notification and consent laws.
"Representative Mike Pence offered an amendment to respect the will of the majority of pro-life Americans, the citizens who do not want their hard-earned tax dollars supporting abortion providers," said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser.
"Our U.S. Government should promote real assistance for mothers that upholds the dignity of women and families, and doesn't rely upon subsidizing abortions at every turn."
Legally a non-profit organization, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) depends upon $349.6 million in US tax dollars to free up other resources that sustain the financial operation of its abortion facilities. According to PPFA's financial report for 2007-2008, the abortion provider brought in total revenue of $1.038 billion and posted an $85 million profit.
Dannenfelser vowed to "use every available tool to educate pro-life Americans across the country about the result of this vote."
"Americans will know whether or not their representative voted on the side of the pro-life taxpayer," she said.
A roll call of how House Representatives voted can be found here.
See previous coverage by LifeSiteNews.com:
Congressman Makes Bid to Strip Planned Parenthood of Title X Funds