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House Overwhelmingly Votes to Scrap Planned Parenthood Funding

by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 2/18/11 3:13 PM

National

The House of Representatives today voted overwhelmingly to scrap funding for the Planned Parenthood abortion business and ensure it can’t receive any federal funds through any departments or programs.

House members approved the Pence amendment on a 240-185 vote with 10 Democrats joining most Republicans to support de-funding the abortion business. Another 7 Republicans sided with almost all of the pro-abortion Democrats in the lower chamber in voting for the pro-abortion organization to receive taxpayer funds. (See below.)

Congressman Mike Pence of Indiana was the main sponsor of the amendment, which prevents federal funding of Planned Parenthood’s national organization and 102 named affiliates.

“This afternoon’s vote is a victory for taxpayers and a victory for life. By banning federal funding to Planned Parenthood, Congress has taken a stand for millions of Americans who believe their tax dollars should not be used to subsidize the largest abortion provider in America,” he said after the vote. “I commend my colleagues in both parties for taking a stand for taxpayers and a stand for life. I encourage my colleagues in the Senate to support this legislation and end federal funding of Planned Parenthood once and for all.”

The Pence Amendment does not affect the funding level for any federal program.  Instead, it disqualifies PPFA and its named affiliates from receiving any type of federal funds. Though some Democrats claimed the amendment is unconstitutional, in a 2010 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected a claim that a similar law, cutting off federal funds for the organization ACORN and its affiliates, violated the Constitution’s Bill of Attainder Clause

The fight to stop Planned Parenthood funding is not over as the amendment is part of a continuing resolution bill needed to fund the federal government and the funding apparatus still faces Senate action and likely conference committee action — which could ultimately leave the amendment out of the final draft of the bill that goes to pro-abortion President Barack Obama.

Matt Smith, the president of Catholic Advocate, applauded the vote in comments to LifeNews.com.

“We need to get government spending under control to get our economy back on track,” he said. :If there is one industry in this country that should never receive a tax-payer subsidy, it is Planned Parenthood. Thank you to Congressman Pence and the House of Representatives for listening to the voice of the American people who do not want their tax dollars supporting the abortion business.”

The vote followed a terse debate which had pro-life lawmakers pointing out abuses at Planned Parenthood and abortion advocates accusing pro-life lawmakers of hurting women.

Pence  led the way in fighting for the amendment to ensure that none of the federal funds in any program or department would go to the abortion business, which does more than 324,000 abortions annually and receives more than $363 million in federal, state and local taxpayer funds.

“I believe that ending an innocent human life is morally wrong,” Pence told his colleagues. “I also believe it is morally wrong to take the taxpayer dollars of millions of pro-life Americans and use them to fund organizations that provide and promote abortion-like Planned Parenthood of America.”

Abortion advocates said if Planned Parenthood loses its place at the government trough that women would be hurt.

“Planned Parenthood has provided health services to one in five American women,”; Rep. Nita Lowey of New York said.

Rep. Barbara Lee of California called the amendment a “war on women” and Rep. Jan Schakowsky said Planned Parenthood “saves money and saves lives” by the non-abortion health care it offers and “now is not the time to restrict women’s access to health care.”

And Rep. Gwen Moore of Wisconsin went as far as implying that it is better to have an abortion than make a child be forced to live “eating Ramen noodles” and “mayonnaise sandwiches.”

But Pence talked about the myriad of ways in which Planned Parenthood has been proven to exploit women.

“The headlines and years of investigations speak for themselves," he said. “In 2002, Planned Parenthood was found civilly liable in Arizona for failure to report statutory rape. In 2008 it violated reporting laws in Indiana and California. In 2009 it instructed a girl in Tennessee to lie about her age so she could get an abortion without her parents’ knowledge. Recently in California, Washington, New Jersey, and New York, Planned Parenthood clinics have been accused of fraudulent accounting or overbilling practices. And last week, undercover videos showed Planned Parenthood employees apparently willing to aid human sex traffickers by coaching them on how to falsify documents and secure secret abortions for their underage prostitutes."

“As the father of two teenage daughters, there are not words strong enough to portray my contempt of this pattern of apparent fraud and abuse by Planned Parenthood,” he said.

Rep. Jean Schmidt of Ohio said the idea of sexual abuse and Planned Parenthood centers covering up cases is not a potential, and mentioned a case in her state.

“Should we be providing America’s largest abortion provider taxpayer funding so it can keep its lights on so it can provide family planning on one side and abortions on the other?” Schmidt asked.

Rep. Michele Bachmann, a pro-life Republican from Minnesota, defended the Pence amendment and talked about how Planned Parenthood uses govt money to build fancy abortion centers. She noted how it does more abortions than anyone else and complained that Planned Parenthood centers "focus on political activity" at its federal-funded centers.

She also said Planned Parenthood should lose its nonprofit tax status because it is a $1 billion corporation that no longer operates as a nonprofit organization.

Congressman Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania also spoke in favor of the amendment and brought up the horror of the Kermit Gosnell abortion business as an example of what happens in the abortion industry.

The American Center for Law and Justice is one of the many pro-life groups that heavily lobbied members of Congress before the vote to support the amendment.

“There’s no better place to begin the budget cutting process, than putting a stop to funding Planned Parenthood,” said Jay Sekulow, the group’s chief counsel, in comment to LifeNews.com. “;It’s stunning that Planned Parenthood receives more than $360 million dollars a year in federal taxpayer funds.”

“By receiving this windfall of federal funds, Planned Parenthood is able to free-up other resources enabling them to continue to promote and expand their pro-abortion agenda.  The approval of the Pence Amendment in the House is long overdue and sends a strong message – American taxpayers are no longer willing to subsidize the nation’s largest abortion provider,” he said.

Catholic Vote added, “Taxpayers provide Planned Parenthood $363 million a year. That means one-third of Planned Parenthood’s annual budget comes from the hard working Americans – including you and me! If our tax money is paying for salaries, or rent or other expenses, that frees up their other money to be spent on abortion.”

“And abortion is what Planned Parenthood does. They are responsible for nearly one-quarter, or over 324,000, abortions in the United States every year. It’s an outrage that taxpayers have to support Planned Parenthood,” the group told LifeNews.com.

Voting Yes, or pro-life, on the amendment: 230 Republicans and 10 Democrats (Boren of OK, Costello of IL, Donnelly of IN, Lipinski of IL, McIntyre of NC, Peterson of MN, Rahall of WV, Reyes of TX, Ross of AR, and Shuler of NC)

Voting NO, or pro-abortion, on the amendment: 178 Democrats and 7 Republicans (Bass of NH, Biggert of IL, Bono Mack of CA, Dent of PA, Dold of IL, Frelinghuysen of NJ and Hanna of NY)

Voting Present: 1 Republican (Amash of MI)