House vote would defund Planned Parenthood for one year
The House passed legislation to defund Planned Parenthood for a year while strengthening reporting requirements regarding abortions that result in live births.
Although most House conservatives voted for the measures, they are unhappy with the legislation, saying it doesn't go far enough in defunding Planned Parenthood.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already indicated he won't even try to bring the measures to the Senate floor, and President Obama has threatened a veto anyway.
The bills were the latest in the House’s response to a series of videos that opponents of Planned Parenthood say show that the organization is making money off the trafficking of human fetal tissue and organs. Planned Parenthood denies such claims and says the videos were highly edited.
But the videos have enflamed the already contentious debate over abortion and Planned Parenthood and are threatening to hold up a bill to fund the government before it runs out of money on Oct. 1. Friday's votes, however, are unlikely to satisfy conservative lawmakers who are pushing Republican leaders to cut off Planned Parenthood's federal support in must-pass legislation funding the government.
The bill to defund Planned Parenthood was approved 241-187 with the support of two Democrats. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) voted present because he said the bill's language wasn't strong enough. The bill adding criminal penalties for not treating a baby born alive in the course of an attempted abortion passed 248-177 with the support of five Democrats. One Democrat voted present. Neither bill is expected to pass the Senate if Majority Leader Mitch McConnell were to bring them up for a vote. President Barack Obama said he would veto them.
Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), who sponsored H.R. 3504, the bill that would add criminal penalties, says his legislation would ensure that health care providers care for a baby that is born during an attempted abortion. Any health provider who is aware of anyone who violates that law would be subject to criminal penalties if they don’t report it. But opponents say that the language is not only repetitive — any baby born alive is already treated as a person with rights to medical care — but goes further than existing law and “would likely have a chilling effect, reducing access to care,” the White House said in its veto threat.
The battle lines have clearly been drawn between conservatives who want to push the defunding measure even though it has no chance of becoming law and Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans, who fear that the GOP will be blamed if there is a government shut down. Senate Democrats are united on the issue, making it impossible for the legislation to reach the floor of the Senate for a vote.
There has been a lot of pushback by Planned Parenthood on the videos, as their allies in Congress try to convince people that what is shown in the videos really isn't happening. They even have a friendly federal judge engaging in lawfare to delegitimize the organization that filmed them.
And the press still won't cover the issue.
This is the pro-life community's Alamo. And their supporters in Congress will push the GOP leadership to the wall to get what they want.