House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy has scheduled a vote for the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015 for Friday, September 18, despite opposition from the Senate’s GOP leadership.
The bill, H.R. 3134, which was authored by Rep. Diane Black, is summarized as follows:
This bill prohibits, for a one-year period, the availability of federal funds for any purpose to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc., or any of its affiliates or clinics, unless they certify that the affiliates and clinics will not perform, and will not provide any funds to any other entity that performs, an abortion during such period. The restriction will not apply in cases of rape or incest or where a physical condition endangers a woman’s life unless an abortion is performed. The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture must seek repayment of federal assistance received by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc., or any affiliate or clinic, if it violates the terms of the certification required by this Act.
The vote is scheduled as Planned Parenthood is under investigation by several congressional committees in the wake of a series of videos that exposed its gruesome practices of harvesting the body parts of aborted babies for sale on the open market.
In a press statement, Black said:
Nearly two months ago, a veil was lifted giving Americans a window into the true heart and soul of Planned Parenthood and implicating the organization in the alleged trafficking of aborted babies’ tissue and organs. This callous disrespect for innocent life is heartbreaking and it demands a response from Congress. Investigations are underway now, but there are more than enough lingering questions to stop the money flow to this abortion giant while Congress conducts a full review of its activities. I am unapologetically pro-life, but Americans of all political persuasions deserve to know that our laws are being followed and that their tax dollars are spent with integrity. This legislation will ensure that is the case.
Black states her bill would not reduce public health spending, but would, instead, allow federal taxpayer dollars to be redirected to other facilities that qualify for providing women’s health care without offering abortions.
“I am grateful that the House is poised to act on this issue that is so deeply personal and close to my heart, but we know the fight is just beginning,” Black said. “This is among the most pressing human rights matters of our time and I am committed to seeing this effort through to the very end.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the current Congress is powerless to defund Planned Parenthood because President Obama is a supporter of the abortion giant and would not sign a bill that redirects its taxpayer funding. “The Senate Democrats have a big enough number to prevent us from doing things,” McConnell said.
However, Rep. Justin Amash, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, tweeted:
We don't just need a new president. We need new leadership in Congress. https://t.co/tVrEBYLkAk
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) September 11, 2015
“Given the appalling revelations surrounding Planned Parenthood, we cannot in good moral conscience vote to send taxpayer money to this organization while still fulfilling our duty to represent our constituents,” the Freedom Caucus members said in a statement. “We must therefore oppose any spending measure that contains funding for Planned Parenthood.”