Will GOP Congress Mark March for Life by Funding Planned Parenthood?

Terence P. Jeffrey | January 19, 2018 | 12:07pm EST
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House Speaker Paul Ryan (Screen Capture)

The continuing resolution that the House of Representatives passed last night and sent to the Senate extends government funding—set to expire today—until February 16, while also extending the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for six years.

But it does nothing to follow-up on President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to defund Planned Parenthood so long as Planned Parenthood performs abortions.

“It makes no changes to that program,” a spokesperson for the House Appropriations Committee told when asked if the bill would defund Planned Parenthood in any way.

This CR passed the House by a 230-197 vote, with 6 Democrats voting for it and 11 Republicans voting against it.

If it were to pass the Senate and be signed by the president, becoming law today, it would be the fourth sequential fiscal 2018 spending law enacted by this Republican-controlled Congress and signed by President Trump that permits federal funding of Planned Parenthood.

Today--the day that the existing law funding the government expires--is also the day of the March for Life, which marks the anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, which declared aborting an unborn child a "right." If the Republican Senate passes the spending bill today that the House passed yesterday, they will be marking the day of the March for Life by funding Planned Parenthood.

For the entirety of fiscal 2018--which began on Oct. 1, 2017 and will end on Sept. 30 2018—Republicans will control both Houses of Congress and the White House.

No federal spending law can be enacted in this fiscal year unless it passes the Republican-controlled House and the Republican-controlled Senate and is signed by the Republican president.

The three continuing resolutions that the Republican Congress and president have enacted so far for fiscal 2018 (one that became law on Sept. 9, another that become law on Dec. 8, and yet another that became law on Dec. 22 and expires today) all permitted federal tax dollars to flow to Planned Parenthood.

In its recently released 2016-2017 annual report, Planned Parenthood said that its affiliates did 321,384 abortions in the year that ended on Sept. 30, 2016 and got $543.7 million in government money in the year that ended on June 30, 2017.

The Congressional Research Service reports that in 2012, Planned Parenthood affiliates took in $64.35 million in Title X family planning funding from the federal government and $400.56 million in federal and state Medicaid money.

In September 2016, Trump promised to defund Planned Parenthood. He wrote: “I am committed to: … Defunding Planned Parenthood as long as they continue to perform abortions, and re-allocating their funding to community health centers that provide comprehensive health care for women.”

The budget proposal Trump sent to Congress last year did call for defunding Planned Parenthood by effectively prohibiting it from receiving federal money through either Title X or Medicaid.

A White House fact sheet on Trump’s budget proposal said: "The budget also follows through on a campaign promise and prohibits any funding in the Labor-HHS appropriations bill for certain entities that provide abortions, including Planned Parenthood. This prohibition applies to all funds in the bill, including Medicaid."

Yet the federal funding bill the Republican-controlled House passed yesterday and sent to the Senate permits funding of Planned Parenthood.



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