Last-Ditch House Bill Would Defund Planned Parenthood
By Rachel M. Cohen | Jan 06, 2016
In a last-ditch effort, House Republicans are set to vote Wednesday on a bill that would include a provision to defund Planned Parenthood. The vote comes just weeks after Congress passed its $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill that included no cuts to Planned Parenthood, despite months of conservative pledges to defund the abortion provider.
House Republicans expect that President Barack Obama would veto any bill they pass. But they also hope that such a veto—which would come just days before Obama’s final State of the Union address—would elevate abortion issues on the campaign trail and galvanize Republican primary voters more broadly. As Carol Tobias, the president of the National Right to Life Committee, explained in The New York Times, this bill would be a way to show voters that there is “a pathway” to defunding Planned Parenthood, so long as a pro-life leader is elected to the White House.
In statement issued on Monday, Dawn Laguens, the vice president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said it is “appalling” that Republicans are looking to roll back women’s access to preventative health care in their first week back in session. She notes this will be the 114th Congress’s 20th vote to cut women’s access to reproductive care.
“Last year, Congress voted 19 times to attack reproductive health care including seven previous votes to cut Planned Parenthood funding and five Congressional committees spending taxpayer money to investigate Planned Parenthood,” said Laguens.
According to conservative activists, today’s House vote against Planned Parenthood will likely be the last one we see until the presidential election is over. There will still be Congressional hearings about fetal tissue donation throughout 2016, and the Supreme Court will be ruling on the most high-stakes abortion-rights case in a generation, so Planned Parenthood will no doubt continue to make headlines this year.
But Republicans attacks on Planned Parenthood could backfire on the GOP. No fewer than 14 recent national polls demonstrate strong, majority support for Planned Parenthood and reproductive rights. In swing states, too, pollsters found that the majority of voters strongly support Planned Parenthood. By a two-to-one margin, voters in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire said they were less likely to vote to re-elect their senators if they voted to defund the organization.