For a third time, Senate Democrats are blocking the approval of a bill that would provide $1.1 billion to help in the fight against the Zika virus.
A procedural vote of 52-46 fell shy of the 60 votes required to move the bill forward.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer blamed Republicans for the failure of the measure, claiming they sabotaged it purposely to block Puerto Rico’s Planned Parenthood affiliate Profamilias from receiving funds.
“They passed it for their base and so they could say they passed a Zika bill,” he said, reports the Washington Examiner. “They passed a Zika bill they knew wouldn’t pass.”
Democrats want to ensure the legislation earmarks funding for Profamilias, even though the Zika bill passed by the House does include funding for other women’s health facilities that can provide condoms to help stop the spread of the virus.
“What’s important to note is that everywhere Profamilias lists a clinic — Arecibo, Caguas, Carolina, Isabela, Moca, Ponce and San Juan — has another type of facility that would have been eligible for additional funding to combat the spread of Zika,” observes PolitiFact.
Meanwhile, abortion business Planned Parenthood has seen the Zika scare as an opportunity to drum up business for itself at a time when it’s popularity has slumped due to a recent undercover video series exposing the organization’s alleged practices of selling the body parts of aborted babies for profit and even altering the position of babies during abortion in order to maximize chances for the harvesting of intact organs. The larger agenda is to promote abortion among women who fear their unborn babies may be born with microcephaly, a birth defect that has been prevalent in some areas that have experienced Zika outbreaks.
— Planned Parenthood (@PPFA) May 2, 2016
“In a display of raw political cronyism, Senate Democrats have for the third time blocked the $1.1 billion in supplemental funding to fight Zika because they are demanding more tax dollars for Planned Parenthood,” says Maureen Ferguson, senior policy advisor with The Catholic Association, in a statement. “Planned Parenthood already receives half a billion dollars annually, and is eligible to apply for more through the Zika prevention bill, but yet Democrats are demanding even more.”
“Instead of standing with the 2,722 people in the United States already suffering from the virus, and those living in fear of infection, Senate Democrats are standing with their political allies,” she added.
The pro-life Susan B. Anthony List also notes that, in Puerto Rico, 20 community health centers served more than 300,000 people last year, while Profamilias served 8,000 people.
“By their own admission, Planned Parenthood’s Puerto Rico affiliates have no specific plan to combat Zika other than to offer contraception – a non-issue in the proposed spending bill,” the organization states. “Nationwide, there are 20 times more community health centers than there are Planned Parenthood centers. These comprehensive health care clinics already serve nearly eight times the number of people Planned Parenthood does and do not offer or push abortion on-demand.”
“Senate Democrats are putting more women and children at risk for Zika by blocking aid funding in order to secure a bigger handout for Planned Parenthood,” SBA List president Marjorie Dannenfelser says. “They are the nation’s largest abortion business and already the recipient of more than half a billion in taxpayer funds each year.”
“Planned Parenthood and their allies are inciting panic and using this moment to promote abortion rather than promoting what’s best for women and children,” she continues. “They are ill-equipped to respond to the threats facing pregnant women and babies infected with the virus, yet Senate Democrats are holding up funding for comprehensive health care providers. Why? Because Planned Parenthood and the abortion lobby bankroll their campaigns.”
But Democrats are also pushing for a new stream of funding in the bill while Republicans want to draw funding for the measure from other sources in the government.
In an op-ed at USA Today in August, House Speaker Paul Ryan explained the Democrats’ insistence on stalling the bill:
Back in February, we urged the Obama administration to jumpstart this effort with existing resources. Eventually, officials came back to us and agreed to utilize $589 million, much of it already in the pipeline for Ebola response that could be easily re-directed. Yet to this day, hundreds of millions of dollars remain unspent. This is allocated money that the administration fully controls — money it seemingly refuses to spend.
Despite the availability of the unspent money from the Ebola scare, the Obama administration pushed for a $1.9 billion anti-Zika measure.