The Push To Defund Planned Parenthood Rolls On

Photographed by Jessica Nash.
The U.S. government is one step closer to shutting down over federal funding for Planned Parenthood. The House of Representatives voted Friday on two bills that would strip the reproductive healthcare provider of all its funding, which could leave millions of women without access to vital tests and services.

The fight over whether to cut funding off for one year is part of the fallout from a series of heavily edited and misleading sting videos released by anti-abortion activists calling themselves the Center for Medical Progress. The activists claimed that the videos proved that Planned Parenthood sells fetal tissue collected after abortion procedures, although there is no evidence that such action has ever taken place.

The 241-187 vote wasn't even close, and two Democrats joined House Republicans to vote to cut off funding while Congress investigates the organization. Now the Senate must deal with the proposal, and though Democrats are certain to block any defunding bill, GOP senators such as Ted Cruz have threatened to shut down the government if money for Planned Parenthood is included in any bill.

Not only have Americans said that they do not want the government to shut down again, they also have shown overwhelming support for Planned Parenthood. A recent poll found that more than 70% of Americans think it's more important to fund the government than it is to take money from the group.

"It's no wonder that solid majorities of the public disapprove of the job Congress is doing and overwhelmingly support Planned Parenthood. These bills are a callous attempt to insert politics into women's health, and we're grateful that the Senate and the president will stop them from becoming law," Eric Ferrero, vice president of communications for Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said in a statement. "Millions of Americans rely on Planned Parenthood for birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, and other critical preventive care, and nothing that politicians in Congress did today will change the fact that our doors remain open to everyone, in every part of this country, who needs high-quality, compassionate reproductive health care."

Only a tiny percentage of Planned Parenthood health centers participate in fetal-tissue donation programs, and they are all located in California and Washington state. Fetal tissue has been crucial to research that has helped develop vaccines and treatments for diabetes, among many other things. Planned Parenthood is reimbursed for costs connected to collecting the tissue, but it does not profit from it.
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