House Takes First Step in Allowing States to Defund Planned Parenthood
House Republicans are moving forward with efforts to keep taxpayer dollars from going to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.
The House voted 230-188 Thursday to repeal a regulation that prohibits states from defunding organizations that perform abortions, including Planned Parenthood, by far the largest American abortion provider. Planned Parenthood performs one out of every three abortions in the U.S., according to the Heritage Foundation.
The abortion ban was put in place by Congress Jan. 18, just two days before President Obama left office. The Obama administration pushed through a rule that targeted family planning funding under Title X of the Public Health Service Act, requiring that states treat all health providers equally, whether they perform abortions or not.
“Why is it necessary for those services to be funded at the nation’s largest provider of abortions?” Republican Alabama Rep. Martha Roby said. “It isn’t, of course, but the abortion industry and its supporters want us to think it is.”
Republican Texas Rep. Michael Burgess, who heads the health subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy, said the vote was a positive step towards returning power to the states.
“In the final hours of the Obama administration, a rule was pushed through that dramatically reduced states’ authority to allocate Title X funding as they see fit,” Burgess said in a statement. “We believe that states have the right to choose the health care providers that best serve the needs of their local communities and the Obama administration’s rule undermines that critical authority.”
Democrats in the House criticized the vote as specifically targeting the abortion giant.
“Let’s be real clear: this is not about Planned Parenthood and abortion because we already know that Planned Parenthood gets no funding for abortions in this country,” Democratic California Rep. Jackie Speier said on the House floor Thursday. “What my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are willing to say is ‘we just want to make sure Planned Parenthood doesn’t get a dime.’”
After the House vote, the repeal of the ban will go to the Senate, where it will require a simple majority vote to be passed.
Most federal family-planning funding goes through Medicaid. Just 10 percent of federal family-planning spending comes from the Title X program addressed in Thursday’s vote. Medicaid reimbursements make up 75 percent of federal spending on the services, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The GOP has said it plans to halt federal funding for Planned Parenthood entirely through its repeal of Obamacare, which will address Medicaid funding.
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