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House Votes to Block Planned Parenthood Funding for One Year 

The funds would be divided among thousands of government-backed health centers.

(WASHINGTON) —Alan Fram and Andrew Taylor report: A divided House voted Friday to block Planned Parenthood’s federal funds for a year, as Republican leaders labored to keep GOP outrage over abortion from spiraling into an impasse with President Barack Obama that could shut down the government.

“In the face of these videos, with all the alternatives women have for health, why would you want to force your constituents to pay for something so evil?”

— House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy

The House used a nearly party-line 241-187 vote to clear the legislation, which stands little chance of enactment. Senate Democrats have enough votes to block it, and for good measure the White House has promised a veto.

“Some of their members are willing to risk women’s lives just to score political points. Enough is enough.”

—  Debbie Wasserman Schultz,

Yet Republicans are forging ahead, sparked by secretly recorded videos showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing how they obtain tissue from aborted fetuses for medical research.

Those videos have helped mushroom the longtime political fight over abortion into a prominent issue for next year’s elections. They’ve also refueled Congress’ always-emotional clashes on the subject, with Friday’s debate featuring a poster-sized photo of a scarred, aborted fetus and accusations from each side that the other was simply trying to drum up campaign donations.

House-Congress-DC

“In the face of these videos, with all the alternatives women have for health, why would you want to force your constituents to pay for something so evil?” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

The bill by Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., would shift Planned Parenthood’s federal payments to the thousands of government-backed community health centers, which Republicans said would treat the group’s displaced patients.

Democrats said those clinics are already overburdened and often distant from women who need them. They said the true GOP goal was to whip up conservative voters with bills that would result in diminished health care for women.

“Some of their members are willing to risk women’s lives just to score political points,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla. “Enough is enough.”

Planned Parenthood gets around $450 million yearly in federal payments, mostly Medicaid reimbursements for handling low-income patients.

That’s around one-third of the $1.3 billion yearly budget of the organization, which has nearly 700 clinics and provides sexual disease testing, contraceptives and abortions. Virtually none of the federal money can be used for abortions.

Abortion opponents say the tapes show Planned Parenthood illegally profited from tissue sales….(read more)

Source: TIME

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