As the Senate works to pass a House-approved short-term bill funding the federal government and debate begins on a long-term measure, a group of Senate Democrats have promised to not support anything de-funding Planned Parenthood.
Yesterday, the House approved the latest short-term continuing resolution on a 271-158 vote margin that does not de-fund Planned Parenthood. The Senate is expected to approve the bill and the battle over Planned Parenthood funding remains.
Some 54 Republicans voted against the measure because they wanted to see the Pence Amendment de-funding Planned Parenthood and the pro-life riders that stop abortion funding in various instances included in the measure. However, Senate Democrats have balked at those pro-life provisions and Republicans hoped to avoid being blamed for a government shutdown by insisting they be included in the short-term bill.
Going beyond voting against the first long-term bill House Republicans sent them with the Pence Amendment 19 Senate Democrats today sent a letter to Vice-President Joe Biden vowing to vote against any federal funding bill that contains the Pence Amendment.
“We wanted to offer our support in rejecting the ideological, divisive riders passed by the House of Representatives, which serve only a purely political agenda,” the write in the new letter, according to a report in The Hill.
The stalwart pro-abortion Democrats say the Pence Amendment would “effectively shut down health centers that serve three million women each year and provide nearly one million lifesaving screenings for cervical cancer, more than 830,000 breast exams and nearly four million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.”
Senators signing the letter include Daniel Akaka (Hawaii), Max Baucus (Montana), Mark Begich (Alaska), Richard Blumenthal (Connecticut), Barbara Boxer (California), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Dianne Feinstein (California), Kirsten Gillibrand (New York), and Frank Lautenberg (New Jersey). Others signing the letter include Patrick Leahy (Vermont), Carl Levin (Michigan), Robert Menendez (New Jersey), Jeff Merkley (Oregon), Barbara Mikulski (Maryland), Bernie Sanders (Vermont), Charles Schumer (New York), Jeanne Shaheen (New Hampshire), Debbie Stabenow (Michigan) and Ron Wyden (Oregon).
However, the letter ignores the fact that a new report the Planned Parenthood national abortion business recently released shows the embattled agency did more abortions in 2009 than it has done in any prior year. The report also shows it providing fewer pregnant women with non-abortion services.
This document, dated February 2011, shows Planned Parenthood affiliates nationwide did 332,278 surgical abortions or abortions using the dangerous RU 486 abortion during in 2009. That’s 2.5 percent more abortions than the September 2010 report the abortion business released covering 2008. With approximately 1.2 million abortions done annually in the United States via surgical abortions or the mifepristone abortion drug, Planned Parenthood has increased its share of the abortion industry to 27.6 percent of all abortions done annually.
The new document the abortion organization posted shows Planned Parenthood provided prenatal services to merely 7,021 women and referred only 977 women for adoption services. These numbers were a 25 percent drop in prenatal care clients and a whopping 59 percent decline in adoption referrals from the 2,405 adoption referrals in 2008. The abortion business helped only 9,433 prenatal clients in 2008, down substantially from the 11,000 women it provided prenatal care to in 2007 — showing health care given to pregnant woman has fallen substantially over the years.
As a result, 97.6 percent of pregnant women going to Planned Parenthood are sold abortions while less than 2.4 percent of pregnant women received non-abortion services including adoption and prenatal care. That’s up from 96.5 percent of pregnant women going to Planned Parenthood getting abortions in 2008.
Planned Parenthood has been on the receiving end of significant negative publicity related to undercover videos showing its officials helping investigators posing as sex traffickers obtain abortions and STD testing for underage girls who are victims of the sex trade. The abortion business has defended itself in part by attempting to show that abortions constitute a small percentage of its overall services.
The long-term bill the House passed, HR 1, had also reinstated the Mexico City Policy, stops abortion funding in the District of Columbia and de-funds the pro-abortion UNFPA, which works hand-in-hand with Chinese population control officials who use forced abortions to enforce the one-child policy.
The latest short-term bill would fund the federal government mostly at current levels through April 8 and the idea is for House Republicans and Senate Democrats to come up with a long-term bill that both sides can agree to — or they may be forced to approve a third short-term continuing resolution to fund the government until they can reach an accord. During the coming weeks, pro-life groups — some of whom opposed the short-term bill because of the lack of the pro-life provisions — will call on members of Congress to include them in a long-term bill.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said GOP leaders are focused on passing another long-term bill, that pro-life groups hope will have the same amendments attached.