Two Republican U.S. Congressmen voted against a Planned Parenthood defunding measure on Thursday, in opposition to the majority of their party.
The bill would overturn a rule pro-abortion President Barack Obama put in place preventing states from defunding the Planned Parenthood abortion business. The rule from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) prevented states from blocking Title X funding to abortion companies like Planned Parenthood.
U.S. Congressmen Charlie Dent, of Pennsylvania (pictured), and John J. Faso, of New York, are the only House Republicans who voted against the legislation on Thursday.
The House voted 230-188 to overturn Obama’s abortion funding rule, with Republicans voting 227-2 for it and Democrats voting 186-2 against it. The Democrats who supported the legislation were U.S. Reps. Collin Peterson, of Minnesota, and Dan Lipinski, of Illinois.
Dent, a moderate Republican from southeastern Pennsylvania, has a mixed voting record on pro-life issues, according to National Right to Life. According to its 2015-2016 legislative score card, Dent supported pro-life legislation 66 percent of the time.
In 2015, Dent was one of the Republican lawmakers accused of sabotaging a U.S. House vote on the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The bill would have banned abortions after 20 weeks when strong scientific evidence indicates unborn babies can feel pain.
Together, Dent and other “pro-life” lawmakers reportedly got enough lawmakers to cast doubts on the outcome of the bill that House Republican leaders were forced to pull the measure from a debate and vote on the floor. Dent reportedly objected to the vote on the grounds that the language in the bill did not do enough to allow women who have been victimized by rape to have abortions.
This is Faso’s first term in U.S. Congress. He previously served in the New York state legislature. An article published on his website describes him as “anti-abortion,” however it also notes that he has been discouraging fellow Republicans from enacting abortion restrictions as part of the plan to repeal Obamacare.
The Times Union reported more about Faso’s position in January:
In an interview, Faso said that his position on Planned Parenthood remains the same: As long as an organization is properly providing services in a licensed and legal fashion, it should not be targeted out of “political spite” — regardless of what party is doing the targeting. Based on that yardstick, he does not believe Planned Parenthood deserves to have its funding eliminated.
In an undercover recording of a closed meeting that was made public, Faso also was caught urging other Republican lawmakers to not defund Planned Parenthood as part of the repeal of Obamacare. He said, in part:
“But politically, we are arming our enemy in this debate,” Faso continued. “Health insurance is going to be tough enough for us to deal without having millions of people on social media come to Planned Parenthood’s defense and sending hundreds of thousands of new donors to the Democratic Senate and Democratic congressional campaign committees. So I would just urge us to rethink this. … We’re not going to have a tweet from the president, we should protect Planned Parenthood because this is a really, really sensitive issue. This idea we’re going to take the money and push it into other funders is bogus in my district. It may work elsewhere; it doesn’t work in my district. We are just walking into a gigantic political trap if we go down this path of sticking Planned Parenthood in the health insurance bill. If you want to do it somewhere else, I have no problem, but I think we are creating a political minefield for ourselves — House and Senate.”
The legislation that Faso and Dent rejected was one of the many favors that pro-abortion President Obama did for Planned Parenthood during his eight years in the White House.
In recent years, several states receiving Title X family planning grants opted to direct those funds to county health departments, community health centers, or other types of providers, in preference to organizations engaged in objectionable activities, such as Planned Parenthood, a mega-marketer of abortion. Obama’s rule, however, forced states to continue funding Planned Parenthood.
H.J. Res. 43, if passed by the Senate and signed by the president, would mean that states, if they chose, could continue to attempt to redirect Title X funds away from objectionable organizations like Planned Parenthood.
Here’s an example of how Obama’s rule has prevented states from revoking taxpayer funding for the abortion company Planned Parenthood.
Under current state law, the state of Tennessee doles out Title X funding provided by HHS to county health departments, who then determine appropriate sub-grantees. All 95 counties have identified community health centers and other providers aside from Planned Parenthood who meet all Title X eligibility criteria to receive this funding, effectively cutting off Planned Parenthood’s access to Title X funds in the state of Tennessee.
The rule from HHS cites other examples of states such as Florida and Texas enacting or attempting to enact similar measures. The rule undermines such state laws, explaining that it “precludes project recipients [states] from using criteria in their selection of subrecipients that are unrelated to the ability to deliver services to program beneficiaries in an effective manner.”