Ryan Suggests House Will Defund Planned Parenthood--Cites Bill That Would've Done It For 1 Year

Penny Starr | November 17, 2016 | 2:17pm EST
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House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) spoke to reporters at his weekly press conference at the Capitol on Nov. 17, 2016. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

(CNSNews.com) – When asked if the Republican House would pass legislation to prohibit any federal funds from going to Planned Parenthood as long as it performs abortions, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) did not directly answer the question, but said House Republicans had not changed their position on funding Planned Parenthood and cited a bill passed by the House earlier this session that would have repealed Obamacare and blocked funding for Planned Parenthood for one year.

CNSNews.com asked Ryan at his Thursday press conference: “President-elect Trump promised to defund ‘Planned Parenthood as long as they continue to perform abortions.’ Will the Republican House pass legislation that prohibits any federal funds from going to any Planned Parenthood affiliate until Planned Parenthood stops doing abortions?”

Ryan responded: “We’ve already shown what we believe with respect to funding Planned Parenthood. We put a bill on President Obama’s desk in reconciliation. Our position has not changed."

Ryan was referring to the “Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act, or H.R. 3762.

CNSNews.com contacted Ryan’s press office to give the speaker the opportunity to answer the yes-or-no question as to whether House Republicans would act to permanently defund Planned Parenthood as long as its affiliates continue to perform abortions. Press staff said his answer in the press conference would “stand” as given.

The House bill, which was vetoed by President Barack Obama, said in section 206:

“For one year, this bill restricts the availability of federal funding to a state for payments to an entity (e.g., Planned Parenthood Federation of America) that:

  • is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization;

  • is an essential community provider primarily engaged in family planning services and reproductive health;”

  • provides for abortions other than abortions in cases of rape or incest, or where a physical condition endangers a woman's life unless an abortion is performed; and

  • received a total of more than $350 million under Medicaid in FY2014, including payments to affiliates, subsidiaries, successors, or clinics.

The bill also would have increased funding for community health centers that do not perform abortions.

In 2011, Vice President Elect Mike Pence (R-Ind.), who was then a member of the House, proposed an amendment that was passed by the House 240-185 to prohibit any federal funding to Planned Parenthood and its affiliates.

“This afternoon’s vote is a victory for taxpayers and a victory for life,” Pence said after the vote. “By banning federal funding to Planned Parenthood, Congress has taken a stand for millions of Americans who believe their tax dollars should not be used to subsidize the largest abortion provider in America.”

The Senate later rejected, on a 44-56 vote, the House-approved long-term budget bill that contains the Pence Amendment de-funding Planned Parenthood.

According to its 2014-2015 annual report, Planned Parenthood affiliates performed 323,999 abortions (10/01/13 - 09/30/14) and received $553.7 million in government health services grants and reimbursements for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015.

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