US House votes to defund Planned Parenthood
5 May 2017
A bill that would strip abortion giant Planned Parenthood of the majority of its federal funding has passed the first legislative stage.
The US House voted yesterday for a bill which would strip 80% of Planned Parenthood's federal funding for the next year.
The House voted 217 to 213 to pass the American Healthcare Act (AHCA), which prevents taxpayer funding of health care plans that cover abortion on-demand, and redirects money from Planned Parenthood to community healthcare centres.
The pro-life bill would eliminate more than $390 million (over 86%) of over $450 million in annual federal funding to Planned Parenthood, from all mandatory spending programs. The measure also redirects funding to community health centres which outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities 20 to 1 and offer a wider array of health care services, but not abortion. AHCA also repeals Obamacare abortion subsidies, adds reforms to give states more flexibility and lower costs, and provides families more options.
The legislation now moves to the Senate for consideration. According to LifeSiteNews, it passing at the next stage is not an impossibility.
The AHCA is a type of bill that only needs 51, rather than 60, Senate votes to pass. This type of bill, passed through a process called budget "reconciliation," must be primarily budget-related. Pro-life groups have expressed confidence that the language in the AHCA will hold up under the budget-related scrutiny it will face in the Senate.
Planned Parenthood has called the AHCA the "worst bill for women’s health in a generation" and is rallying supporters to defeat it.
Pence: "hope shining through"
Vice President Mike Pence announced the vote in his speech at Susan B. Anthony List’s annual gala the night before and noted the bill’s pro-life provisions saying:
"Thanks to President Trump’s leadership, Congress is going to vote to repeal and replace Obamacare. And when they vote to repeal and replace Obamacare, we will finally defund Planned Parenthood…The day Obamacare passed — it was a day of disappointment for the sanctity of life. But hope is finally shining through. The bill before the Congress actually eliminates Obamacare’s abortion expansion and it defunds Planned Parenthood, and keeps the President’s promise to devote those resources to healthcare providers that help women without promoting abortion."
News in brief: