Photo: The National Review
The new administration has led to turmoil with women’s rights activities. New legislation to defund Planned Parenthood has been proposed in Congress. This legislation would only defund the program if it continued to provide abortions at clinics across the nation; however, officials at Planned Parenthood still reject this plan.
Dawn Laguens, the Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood, replied to the legislation: “Let’s be clear: Federal funds already do not pay for abortions. Offering money to Planned Parenthood to abandon our patients and our values is not a deal that we will ever accept. Providing critical health care services for millions of American women is nonnegotiable.”
President Trump later released a statement, saying, “As I said throughout the campaign, I am pro-life and I am deeply committed to the investing in women’s health and plan to significantly increase federal funding in support of non-abortion services such as cancer screenings. Polling shows the majority of Americans oppose public funding for abortion, even those who identify as pro-choice. There is an opportunity for organizations to continue the important work they do in support of women’s health, while not providing abortion services.”
Congressional Republicans have said that they will soon introduce legislation stripping all federal funds from Planned Parenthood. A House bill to replace the ACA included a provision which would do this as well.
Eric Scheidler, Executive Director of the Pro-Life Action League, says about this issue: “Whether this funding goes directly for abortion or indirectly allows them to have access to a large population of potential abortion clients, and to keep the lights on and man their call centers and do all their political activity, they should not be receiving taxpayer dollars.” The Pro-Life Action League is one of the biggest groups pushing to cut federal funds to Planned Parenthood.
On March 30th, Senate Republicans voted to undo an Obama administration rule that prevented states from blocking funding for planning clinics that provide abortions. Vice President Pence casted the tie-breaking vote, and this prevention was removed.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion group, released a statement saying, “Today, Congress is sending a resolution to President Trump ensuring that states are not forced to fund America’s abortion giant, Planned Parenthood, with Title X tax dollars,” This bill fell under a rarely used congressional review act that allows a new congress to undo actions of an old congress during the first few months of the year.
Democrats said this resolution was an attack on women’s health. This will make it harder for low-income and rural women to obtain screenings for cancer and other diseases as well as contraception. Senator Patty Murray, Senior Democrat on the Health Committee, said, "Republicans didn't listen to us; they didn't listen to women across the country who made it clear that restricting women's access to the full range of reproductive care is unacceptable."
Another face-off over Planned Parenthood could occur when Congress moves to pass a measure to finance the government for the rest of the year.