Franks: If Senate Strips Planned Parenthood Defunding From Health Bill, It Will Blow It to 'Smithereens'

Michael W. Chapman | July 5, 2017 | 3:01pm EDT
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Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.)

(Photo: Washington Times) 

( -- On Twitter last Friday, House Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) warned that if the Senate takes the "pro-life components out of" the health care bill, it will blow the bill "to smithereens" in the House. Franks' remarks came several days after he signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that the defunding of Planned Parenthood in the bill was essentially non-negotiable.

"We've warned the Senate that there's nothing they could do that would blow the health care bill to Mars more than taking the pro-life components out of it," said Franks, as reported by McClatchy and partly on Twitter.  "I think they know if they do, they might as well not vote. It would blow it to smithereens over here." 

In the June 21 letter to McConnell, who is trying to pass a modified version of the American Health Care Act, Rep. Franks, along with at least 30 other House members, state there are certain aspects of the legislation "that are particularly crucial to its ability to continue to garner a passing majority in the House."

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) 

Among these items is the elimination of Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood for one year.

"Finally, living up to an important conservative commitment to promote life and protect the unborn, the bill would prevent federal funding for one year for large abortion providers, like Planned Parenthood, and the bill's refundable tax credits could not be used to federally fund abortions," reads the letter.

It continues, "As the Senate continues its deliberative process, we urge you to carefully evaluate the American Health Care Act and consider the important role these specific policies played in building consensus in the House." 

In adition to Franks, some of the other signers on the letter include Reps. Sam Johnson (R-Tex.), Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), Jody Hice (R-Ga.), Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.). 

Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) told McClatchy, "Pro-life protections are a no-brainer. For about 80 to 90 guys in the House, that's an immediate non-starter."

Republican Senators Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) want to amend the health care bill -- the Better Health Care Reconciliation Act --  to remove the language on defunding Planned Parenthood. 

In its 2015-16 annual report, Planned Parenthood declared that it performed 328,348 abortions in the year that ended on Sept. 30, 2015, and received $554.6 million in "government health services reimbursements and grants"--money that came from U.S. taxpayers--in the year that on June 30, 2016.  

In addition, in 2014-15, Planned Parenthood performed 323,999 abortions in the year that ended on Sept. 30, 2014 and received $553.7 million in government health services grants and reimbursements in the year that ended on June 30, 2015.


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