GOP Senators Support Bill to Defund Planned Parenthood: 'Not a Political Issue'

By Abigail Wilkinson | July 30, 2015 | 11:19am EDT
Pro-life activists demonstrate near a Planned Parenthood clinic Tuesday, July 28, 2015, in Philadelphia. The protestors are calling for an end to government funding for the nonprofit reproductive services organization. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

( -- “This is not a political issue. This is not a partisan issue. It’s not even whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice. This is an issue about our humanity,” Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said Wednesday at a news conference where he and other  Republican senators called for a permanent ban on federal funding of Planned Parenthood.   

Sens. Joni Ernst (Iowa), Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Deb Fischer (Neb.), Scott,  Rand Paul (Ky.), John Cornyn (Texas), Jim Thune (S.D.), and Johnny Isakson (Ga.) all spoke in support of  Ernst’s legislation, introduced Tuesday, to prohibit all taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood.

“This bill would ensure that taxpayer dollars for women’s health are spent on women’s health . . . it would ensure we’re funding that and not subsidizing some scandal-plagued organization,” said McConnell.  

Sasha Bruce, senior vice president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, spoke against the bill: “Instead of protecting women’s access to the reproductive health care that they need, anti-choice senators are attempting to misappropriate vital funds. Let’s be clear: this legislation will hurt women and greatly limit our ability to access high quality affordable health care.”

Ernst said that under her bill, 100 percent of the funds denied to Planned Parenthood would go to other women’s health care providers. “I want to make clear that there will be no reduction in overall federal funding available to support women’s health,” she said.

“It’s important to note that there are 9,000 community health center across the country which do everything that Planned Parenthood does, except for abortion,” said Sen. Rand Paul. “There’s absolutely no need for any public funding of Planned Parenthood. There’s no excuse for it, and we should end all funding for Planned Parenthood.”

S.1881 says that “state and county health departments, community health centers, hospitals, physicians’ offices, and other entities currently provide, and will continue to provide, health services to women. Such health services include relevant diagnostic laboratory and radiology services, well-child care, prenatal and postpartum care, immunization, family planning services including contraception, sexually transmitted disease testing, cervical and breast cancer screenings and referrals.”

“Many such entities provide services to all persons, regardless of the person’s ability to pay, and provide services in medically underserved areas and to medically underserved populations,” the bill states.

The efforts to defund Planned Parenthood come after the pro-life Center for Medical Progress released videos that appear to show Planned Parenthood officials negotiating the transfer of tissue and organs from aborted babies.

Cosponsors of the bill include Senators Marco Rubio (Fla.), Tom Cotton (Ark.), Ted Cruz (Texas), Mike Lee (Utah), and John McCain (Ariz.).

The Senate is expected to vote on the legislation before they go on recess in the next few days. Republicans will need 60 votes to cut off the taxpayer money.

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