In a 241-187 vote on Friday, members of the United States House of Representatives voted to freeze funding for Planned Parenthood for one year, following months of political debate surrounding information revealed in a series of undercover videos on the abortion provider.
“This is about ensuring that laws are followed, that Americans know how their money is being spent, and that the conscience rights of taxpayers are respected,” Rep. Diane Black (R. – Tenn.), sponsor of the bill, said Sept. 18 on the House floor before the vote.
Black added that the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015 (H.R. 3134) will redistribute more than $235,000 saved from funding the organization to more than 13,500 health care clinics around the country.
The vote was largely along party lines, though three Republicans (Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), Robert Dold (R-Ill.) and Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.)) voted against the bill, and two Democrats voted in its favor: Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.).
Meanwhile the House of Representatives will continue an investigation into allegations that the abortion provider has broken federal laws banning the profit off of human body parts harvested during abortions, changes in abortion procedures in order to harvest body parts, the use of illegal “partial birth abortion” techniques to harvest body parts, and the refusal of medical care to infants who survive abortion attempts.
The vote and the investigation follow a string of undercover videos by the Center for Medical Progress showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing modification of abortion procedures, suggesting that some victims of abortion are born alive at Planned Parenthood clinics, and a former technician recounting an incident where organs were harvested from an intact deliver that still had a beating heart.
The House also passed 248-177 H.R. 3504, which would add the criminal penalty of first-degree murder to the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, a law which ensures that babies who survive failed abortion attempts recieve adequate healthcare care and protection.
One representative, Steve King (R-Iowa), voted as “present” for both H.R. 3134 and H.R. 3504, objectingthat the bills allow abortions in cases of rape, incest, and risks to the mother’s life.
The Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life organization, commented that the lack of Democratic support for both bills “are evidence of just how wedded to the idea of abortion on-demand, at any time, for any reason, that the Democratic Party has become.”
“Only five Democrats – five out of 188 – could bring themselves to vote to protect a baby who survived a failed abortion,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser in a statement. “Where is the compassion and concern for ‘the little guy,’ the abortion survivor, whose heart is beating and alive?”
While both bills passed the House, neither is expected to pass the Senate or to be signed into law by president Barack Obama. The Senate failed to bring a similar bill to the floor in early August.
“Tragically, President Obama – the Abortion President – has vowed to veto this pro-child, human rights legislation, a position that is extreme, anti-child, inhumane and indefensible,” wrote Rep. Chris Smith (R.- N.J.) of H.R. 3504 in a statement.
In August Alabama, New Hampshire, and Louisiana each voted to strip Planned Parenthood of funding from their state budgets.
By Adelaide Mena