McConnell Bill Defunds Planned Parenthood for One Year

Defund Planned Parenthood stop sign MIKE BLAKE REUTERS
MIKE BLAKE/REUTERS

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s healthcare bill proposes to defund abortion giant Planned Parenthood for one year.

Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and Democrats condemned the bill, which was released Thursday morning, that contains the provision to defund America’s largest abortion provider.

Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards said in a statement:

If this is the Senate’s idea of a bill with heart, then the women of America should have fear struck in theirs, Slashing Medicaid and blocking millions of women from getting preventive care at Planned Parenthood is beyond heartless. One in five women in this country rely on Planned Parenthood for care. They will not stay silent as politicians vote to take away their care and their rights.

Abortion political advocacy organization NARAL tweeted its own message:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said on the floor of the senate Wednesday on the eve of the McConnell bill’s release:

I am sick of coming down to the Senate floor to explain to Republicans what Planned Parenthood does. I am sick of explaining it provides millions of women with birth control, cancer screenings, and STI tests every year. I am sick of pointing out again and again that federal dollars do not fund abortion services at Planned Parenthood or anywhere else.”

Lila Rose, president of pro-life organization Live Action, says McConnell’s bill has “potential,” but must fulfill two criteria in its final draft:

While today’s draft Senate bill has the potential to go a long way toward eliminating taxpayer-funded support for abortion, there are two critical components that must remain in the final version. The final bill must stop taxpayer funding to America’s largest abortion chain, and it must prohibit the use of taxpayer subsidies to pay for insurance policies that pay for abortions.

The Hill reported the language in the healthcare bill that pertains to abortion could be removed before a final vote in order to entice liberal Republicans, such as Sens. Susan Collins (ME) and Lisa Murkowski (AK), to vote for it.

Recently, Murkowski has said she is “committed” to key features of Obamacare – such as Medicaid expansion and coverage for pre-existing conditions – as well as funding for Planned Parenthood.

She told Politico that she supports funding the abortion vendor “because what that does is it provides greater access for more women, more men and in my state, anything that you do to reduce access is a bad thing.”

Republican plans to defund Planned Parenthood, however, have redirected that funding to other federally qualified health centers and community healthcare facilities that offer more expansive care than Planned Parenthood.

In its own annual report released at the end of May, Planned Parenthood reported increases in abortions, profits, and taxpayer funding, while many of its non-abortion services – including contraception – have shown a marked decrease.

“Planned Parenthood has claimed year after year that it needs taxpayer funding to deliver ‘vital reproductive health care,’ yet over the last 10 years, Planned Parenthood’s own numbers show that prenatal services – which were negligible to begin with – are down 29 percent, breast exams are down 62 percent, and Pap tests are down 74 percent, yet abortions are up 24 percent,” says Rose.

She adds:

Taxpayers aren’t funding a women’s health care organization; they’re subsidizing an abortion chain that commits over 320,000 abortions a year – over 900 abortions every day. Women will be better served and children’s lives will be saved only when the nearly half billion dollars that Planned Parenthood syphons away from the Medicaid system is redirected to the thousands of federally qualified health centers across America that don’t commit abortions and actually provide authentic health care and greater access to more women.

A Marist national survey released in January found 83 percent of American adults oppose spending U.S. tax dollars to facilitate abortions overseas, and 61 percent – including 61 percent of women – oppose spending tax dollars helping to finance abortions in the U.S.

Additionally, the poll found that nearly three in four Americans – including a majority of residents who say they are “pro-choice,” want significant restrictions on abortion.

President Donald Trump has promised to defund Planned Parenthood and redirect its taxpayer funding to other community healthcare centers if the group continues to perform abortions.

However, conservative senators say McConnell’s bill does not really repeal Obamacare, a situation that could draw more votes away from a final approval, regardless of the provision to defund Planned Parenthood.

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