Democrats are calling the move a "backdoor attempt to restrict access" to abortion.
House Republicans took the first step Thursday to strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, starting what will become a broader battle over funding for the women’s health-services agency. The House voted 230-188 to rescind a regulation that bans states from denying certain funds to health-care providers that perform abortions, in essence freeing states to refuse to give the funds to Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. and similar organizations. (Andrews and Hackman, 2/16)
Congress appropriated about $286 million in fiscal 2016 for what’s known as Title X funding, which is supposed to be spent on family planning and reproductive health. The Obama administration finalized its rule in December after 13 states passed laws to redistribute the funding away from reproductive health providers, such as Planned Parenthood, and spend it at more general community health centers. (Siddons, 2/16)
Democrats argued the GOP's effort was aimed at defunding Planned Parenthood, even though the organization is legally prohibited from using federal funds for abortions. "It's no surprise that, once again, congressional Republicans are trying to undermine access to healthcare and basic family services," Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said on the floor Thursday. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) called the resolution a "backdoor attempt to restrict access" to abortion. (Hellmann, 2/16)
House Republicans argued that the measure upholds states' rights and is not an attack on Planned Parenthood. “We are not voting to defund Planned Parenthood or reduced funding for Title X programs,” sponsor Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) said on the floor ahead of the vote. “We are voting to affirm the rights of states to fund health care providers that best suit their needs.” (Ehley, 2/16)
Anti-abortion groups in Missouri helped boost many Republican candidates to victory in November, and they’re now eagerly waiting to see how those lawmakers advance their cause. Missouri legislators have filed dozens of restrictive abortion bills, including two that would outlaw abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy rather than the current 21-weeks and six days. Supporters say late-term abortion bans protect the unborn, but opponents say they create undue hardships for women. One such opponent is a Missouri woman who had to leave the state to end her fraught pregnancy. (Smith, 2/16)
Thank You KHN.