The House passed a bill on Thursday which would bar most federal funding for Planned Parenthood for the period of one year. The bill would also restrict federal subsidies for health insurance plans that include abortion coverage.
The pro-life provisions were included as a part of the American Health Care Act of 2017 (H.R. 1628), the GOP’s bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. “Obamacare”).
“Yesterday’s vote in the House brings us one step closer to defunding an organization that callously claims more unborn lives through abortion than any other,” says Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher.
The bill narrowly passed the House, with 217 lawmakers voting in favor, and 213 against. H.R. 1628 faces a considerable uphill battle in the Senate where Republican lawmakers have a slimmer majority. Because H.R. 1628 is a budget reconciliation bill, however, special rules apply that allow the bill to pass with only 51 votes in the Senate.
“My guess is we’re going to spend at least a month looking at the issue, making sure that it passes the test of time,” Senator Bob Corker told MSNBC.
The American Health Care Act, if passed in the Senate, would block over 80% of federal funds expended by the nation’s largest abortion provider. The bill would prohibit the federal funding of Planned Parenthood through funds directly disbursed from the Government as well as through federally subsidized managed care networks.
The bill appears to block Planned Parenthood from receiving federal subsidies through Medicaid, CHIP, and block grants for social services and maternal and child health programs.
The measure, however, does not appear to prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving funding through Title X family planning grants managed by the Office of Population Affairs. Title X is a significant source of funding for many Planned Parenthood affiliates. The bill also does not block funding from various government departments and agencies that Planned Parenthood affiliates have received funding through in the past including the Department of Justice and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The American Health Care Act would also prevent federal subsidies for qualified health care plans and small employer health insurance credits from being used for plans that include abortion coverage.
“The bill isn’t perfect, but it stops the vast majority of federal funding,” Mosher says, “American taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize the nation’s leading abortion provider to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars every year. We won’t stop until every organization that terminates the lives of the unborn are completely and fully defunded.”
During the course of Planned Parenthood’s 2014-2015 fiscal year (FY), the organization committed 323,999 abortions. Since the 2005-2006 FY, the number of abortions committed by Planned Parenthood has increased by 22%. At the same time, cancer screening and prevention services have declined by over 66%.
Over the past two years, several Congressional committees have investigated Planned Parenthood for their alleged involvement in numerous illegal activities including procuring fetal tissue and body parts for profit, altering abortion procedures for the procurement of fetal parts, and violating HIPAA patient privacy rights.
Last December, Planned Parenthood was referred by the Congressional Select Panel on Infant Lives for several criminal investigations and regulatory referrals. Senator Chuck Grassley also separately referred the abortion provider to the FBI for criminal investigation.