By a 241-187 vote, the House of Representatives has approved a bill that would cut off federal money for Planned Parenthood. The bill isn't expected to pass in the Senate — and President Obama has said he would veto any bill that defunds the group.
Last year, Planned Parenthood received around $528 million in government funds that came to it through two federal programs that are aimed at lower-income Americans: Medicaid and Title X. (Our It's All Politics blog recently gave a detailed rundown of the group's funding.)
In today's debate on the defunding bill, a co-sponsor, Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., said:
"Taxpayers should not be forced to financially support organizations whose behavior is at best unethical and possibly illegal. When it comes to defunding Planned Parenthood, the issue should not be partisan. This is about protecting the rights of taxpayers — but more importantly, protecting the basic right of human life. I will continue to give a voice to our most fragile Americans who cannot speak for themselves."
Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., responded by saying:
"In fact, there were over 4 million visits to Planned Parenthood clinics last year, and over 90 percent of this was basic women's health care, and not abortions. So why are we talking about this today? Why are we talking about this legislation? Planned Parenthood does these services, and no federal funds are spent on abortion services that Planned Parenthood does provide. But yet the majority will take the radical step of denying women of the basic health care they need. This radical agenda is wrong — it's wrong for American women, and it's wrong for us, when the federal budget expires in just 13 days."