The U.S. Senate will hold a vote on a measure to de-fund the Planned Parenthood abortion business in a matter of days. The vote will come before the Senate takes its August recess.
In the wake of three shocking videos showing top Planned Parenthood doctors arranging the sale of body parts form aborted babies, there have been competing measures to de-fund Planned Parenthood. Senator Rand Paul is behind one effort to strip the abortion business of its taxpayer funding while Senator James Lankford, an Oklahoma Republican, introduced a bill to end taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood for a year while they are investigated for possible illegal practices.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell started a fast-track process Friday on legislation to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding. The Republican leader began “Rule 14,” which will let the legislation skip the committee process and be placed on the Senate calendar so it can be brought up for a floor vote.
UPDATE: 7/28 at 3:39 PM ET: The vote will take place next week and pro-life Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell has asked three lawmakers to hash out a final bill:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has tasked a trio of GOP senators to come up with a plan to defund Planned Parenthood before the August recess, although the measure is almost certain to be defeated amid Democratic resistance.
Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) are trying to hash out a deal about how exactly to move forward on a proposal.
The Senate will vote next week on a GOP bill that could eliminate the $540 million in government funding the group receives, according to Republican aides. Also under consideration is a narrower provision that would put in place a moratorium on funding for the group until a congressional investigation is completed into alleged sales of fetal tissue from abortions.
Now, McConnell and Paul are confirming today that the vote will take place soon. As AP reports:
The Senate will vote before its August recess on an effort to block federal aid to Planned Parenthood, presidential hopeful Sen. Rand Paul said Tuesday.
Paul, R-Ky., said that win or lose, simply having the vote will be “a huge victory for conservatives” opposed to abortion.
Winning will be an uphill climb because Paul and his supporters will need 60 of the Senate’s 100 votes to prevail. There are 54 Republicans and just a small handful of anti-abortion Democrats.
Asked about Paul’s statement, Donald Stewart, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said McConnell “is working with a group of his members to address this horrific issue with the goal of taking a vote before Congress adjourns for the August recess.”
According to Paul s presidential campaign, he has secured from McConnell a “commitment from Senate leadership for a vote on his legislation to defund Planned Parenthood prior to the August recess.”
There has been an intense debate over whether an amendment to an unrelated highway bill would be allowed to de-fund Planned Parenthood but McConnell appeared to prefer an up or down vote on a de-funding bill itself rather than push the Planned Parenthood funding issue into an unrelated bill, potentially angering moderate lawmakers who might vote for the measure otherwise.
Leading pro-life groups like the Susan B. Anthony List are calling for a vote.
“A third horrific Planned Parenthood video was released just this morning and news reports also indicate that the U.S. Senate could vote to defund Planned Parenthood as early as this week,” SBA List president Marjorie Dannenfelser told SBA List members in an email. She urged calls and votes immediately to support a de-funding vote.
“Today’s graphic video shows “fetal procurement specialists” inside Planned Parenthood harvesting the organs of a baby just killed by abortion,” she said. “Previous videos show Planned Parenthood’s top doctors haggling over the price of body parts from these children while calmly sipping wine and eating lunch. One of the officials even jokes about wanting a Lamborghini while bargaining for a higher price. Your action over the past two weeks is making a difference. Members of Congress have called nvestigations. There could also be a Senate vote THIS WEEK to defund Planned Parenthood. We need to fill their inboxes with messages right away so this vote takes place before they go home for the August recess.
Yesterday, Senator Paul gave an interview in which he thought a vote would come up soon.
“There’s a nationwide movement that we’ve been leading,” Paul said in an interview with the Washington Post. “We will probably send a million emails out on this subject. I think by motivating the grassroots, there’s a very good chance we’ll get a vote on this.”
Paul said he didn’t think his amendment would happen on the highway bill, but that he’d submitted a discharge petition that is a separate request for a new bill. “I think there’s a very good chance that’s going to happen,” he said.
“I think it should be investigated,” he said. “The problem here really is not just whether it’s illegal to buy and sell the organs, but whether the taxpayer dollars should be going to a group that is sort of manipulating and turning the baby around to get access to organs. I think most people were horrified by them.”
“I think that there should not be any financial incentives to get an abortion,” said Paul. “Now, they would argue that it just covers the cost, but any time money changes hands – even if it’s to a nonprofit group – that is a real question. Really, we probably shouldn’t be doing research on these babies, because you would hate to think there is any kind of incentive for that to occur.
“Donating tissue when you die is an incredibly noble thing. I’ve worked with donated corneas to give people back vision. But this baby really didn’t have a choice. Some people are horrified by the idea of having factories where you’d grow babies for their body parts. Will technology allow that? Technology probably almost already does allow that. But should a civilized society allow that? I don’t think so,” he said.
The Lankford Senate bill, Defund Planned Parenthood Act, would set a one-year moratorium on Planned Parenthood funding from the government, unless the organization ceases performing abortions, his office informed LifeNews.com. This would allow more federal dollars to go toward organizations like community health centers, which serve low-income populations and provide direct health care to women across the country without also killing unborn children in abortions.
“The recent videos uncovering Planned Parenthood’s inhumane abortion practices have hit a nerve with many Americans,” said Lankford. “While the government investigates Planned Parenthood to determine if their practice of adapting their abortion procedures to harvest the organs of children violates federal law, they should not continue to receive taxpayer money. Planned Parenthood receives more than $500 million in taxpayer money every year.”
“This is a sensitive topic for many and I am aware our nation is divided on the issue of abortion, but it is common sense that we shouldn’t force taxpayers to assist the harvesting of human organs,” he said. “Although abortion services account for about 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s activities, serving about 10 percent of its clients, they perform over 300,000 abortions a year.”
Last Thursday, Lankford delivered a passionate speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate about Planned Parenthood. Lankford also wrote an op-ed calling for Congress to end taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood and take up the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (S.1553) to ban abortions after five months.
Meanwhile, more than 80 members of the House of Representatives have introduced a bill that would immediately de-fund Planned Parenthood. Representative Diane Black (R-TN) and 80 original cosponsors introduced H.R. 3134, the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015, which would immediately halt all sources of Federal funding to Planned Parenthood and its affiliates for a one year period.
Black, a Tennessee Republican and a nurse for more than 40 years, told LifeNews that the shocking video provides yet another reason to ensure the Planned Parenthood abortion company does not receive taxpayer dollars.
Since 2013, Congressman Black has sponsored H.R. 217, the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, which would combat one of Planned Parenthood’s major government revenue streams by withholding Title X grants from any health care provider that performs abortions or gives funds to organizations that do. However, a nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) study released earlier this year found that Planned Parenthood also received $1.2 billion from Medicaid over a three year window – making it clear that legislation is needed to combat any possible source of federal funding for the scandal-ridden abortion mill.
House Republicans previously approved bills to de-fund the Planned Parenthood abortion business but the Senatehas not recently voted for the bill because Democrats have prevented its passage.
In 2011, House members voted 241-185 for a resolution that would prohibit the Planned Parenthood abortion business from qualifying for family planning funds. The vote saw almost all Republicans supporting de-funding while Democrats generally opposed it. That was the second vote taken to de-fund the abortion giant. An earlier vote in 2011 saw the House de-funded Planned Parenthood on a 240-185 margin.
Last year, Planned Parenthood Federation of America released its 2013-2014 Annual Report.The report indicates Planned Parenthood did 327,653 abortions in 2013, an increase over the 327,166 abortions it did in 2012.
While it remains America’s biggest abortion corporation, the “nonprofit” continued to make money — bringing in $305.4 million last year and $305.3 million this year. Planned Parenthood continued to receive over a half-billion dollars in taxpayer money, as it took in $540 million in 2012 and $528 million in 2013.
Black told LifeNews in a statement: While Planned Parenthood and its counterparts like to repeat the company line that federal dollars do not directly fund abortions, commonsense tells us differently. According to Planned Parenthood’s own annual report, the organization performed 327, 653 abortions in 2013 alone – all the while receiving more than $528 million in funding from Uncle Sam. The sad truth is they are not alone. Similar organizations continue to threaten the lives of the unborn while cashing in on our tax dollars. My legislation will stop this shameful practice in its tracks.”
Some other takeaways from Planned Parenthood’s own figures:
- In 2013, abortions made up 94% of Planned Parenthood’s pregnancy services.
- For every adoption referral, Planned Parenthood performed 174 abortions.
- While abortions rose, Planned Parenthood adoption referrals dropped 14% in one year, and prenatal care services dropped 4%.
- Planned Parenthood’s cancer prevention services are down 17% over one year, and contraceptive services dropped by 4%.
- During fiscal year 2013-2014, Planned Parenthood received more than $528 million in taxpayer funding, or more than $1.4 million per day, in the form of government grants, contracts, and Medicaid reimbursements.
- Taxpayer funding accounts for 41% of Planned Parenthood’s overall revenue.
- Planned Parenthood reported more than $127 million in excess revenue, and more than $1.4 billion in net assets.