Senate Votes To Defund Planned Parenthood
Yesterday, the United States Senate passed a bill which defunds Planned Parenthood and guts the Affordable Care Act. Despite efforts from Democratic senators and a group of moderate Republicans, the 52 to 47 vote was split by party lines. According to details provided by the Hill, the bill specifically targets measures of the Affordable Care Act which make healthcare accessible to those with a lower income. It includes “repealing authority for the federal government to run healthcare exchanges and scrapping subsidies to help people afford plans bought through those exchanges.”
The vote to defund Planned Parenthood is also coming less than a week after a tragic shooting left three dead at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, a point brought to the floor by Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
“It seems implausible that less than a week after a tragic shooting at the Planned Parenthood health center in Colorado Springs, some in Washington chose politics over compassion,” Laguens said in a statement.“What millions of people across this country needed in the wake of two unspeakable acts of violence this week, in Colorado and in California, was reassurance that lawmakers care about the lives, health and safety of the people they represent. What they got instead was the cold shoulder of indifference.”
Ironically, while most of the jargon surrounding the defunding of Planned Parenthood has been the pro-choice vs. pro-life debate, the federal funds allocated to Planned Parenthood can only be used for abortions in extremely rare and specific circumstances. The vast majority of the $450 million the government gives–totaling about a third of Planned Parenthood’s budget–goes to services such STD testing, cancer screening and prevention, pregnancy tests, and sexual education.
The easy passage of this bill shows a terrifying opinion held by the majority of congressmen: people, specifically women and those without health insurance, don’t deserve to have health care provided for an affordable price. While the bill is expected to pass easily through the Republican held House of Representatives–especially as they passed a similar measure just a few months ago–the entire process of passing the bill is mostly symbolic. President Obama has already expressed that he’ll veto the bill and block it from becoming law.