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Reps. Pence, Jordan: House must insist on provision to defund Planned Parenthood

Pence_thumb_446.jpg
Pence_thumb_446.jpg

There could be a standoff between the U.S. House and Senate during the next vote on the government’s funding plan for the remainder of fiscal year 2011 when it comes to defunding what anti-abortion rights lawmakers and groups have come to deem a “corrupt organization”: Planned Parenthood. The Continuing Resolution’s next expiration date is March 18, but it is scheduled to receive a vote in the Senate today, Reps. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said during an anti-abortion rights teleconference Monday night.

The representatives said they have urged House lawmakers to refuse to support a bill if it does not include the “Pence Amendment,” a provision that would effectively strip federal funding from all family-planning providers that offer abortion services and eliminate Title X funding. Pence said his amendment in House Resolution 1 will not affect all family planning providers -– he called that “an avalanche of misinformation.”

“This isn’t about denying funding for women’s health services,” Pence told the anti-abortion rights advocates on the call. “It’s about defunding Planned Parenthood. The largest abortion provider in America should not be the largest recipient of taxpayer money.”

Guest speaker and Planned Parenthood ex-pat/critic Abby Johnson told anti-abortion rights advocates on the call that the world will not end if Planned Parenthood loses its federal funding.

“The bottom line is that we don’t want the $363 million back,” Johnson said, referring to the amount of money Planned Parenthood receives annually from Title X funding. “I want women to get good comprehensive health care at federally qualified health care centers.”

Johnson asserted that Planned Parenthood clinics do not provide good comprehensive care for women and said during her eight years as a director of a clinic in Bryan, Texas, she witnessed abuse, in particular the organization failing to report cases of statutory rape. She also accused the organization of frequently scrubbing records before annual audits.

Johnson said that Planned Parenthood is not the only health care provider that receives Title X money. And she’s right.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in 2008, Title X grants went to 4,500 community-based clinics including state and local health departments, tribal organizations, hospitals, university health centers, independent clinics, community health centers, faith-based organizations and public and private nonprofits. In about 75 percent of U.S. counties, at least one clinic receives Title X funding, says HHS.

HR 1 reads:

From Section 1809:

(a) Notwithstanding section 1101, the level for ‘‘Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Health Resources and Services’’ shall be $5,313,171,000, of which (1) not more than $100,000,000 shall be available until expended for carrying out the provisions of Public Law 104–73 and for expenses incurred by the Department of Health and Human Services pertaining to administrative claims made under such law; (2) no funds shall be for the program under title X of the Public Health Service Act (referred to in this title as the ‘‘PHS Act’’), to provide for voluntary family planning projects; and (3) $352,835,000 shall be available for health professions programs under titles VII and VIII and section G of the PHS Act.

From Section 2122:

(2) None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this division for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs for population planning activities or other population assistance may be made available to any foreign nongovernmental organization that promotes or performs abortion, except in cases of rape or incest or when the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term.

Pence, who introduced similar legislation back in 2007, said he was encouraged that HR 1 passed the House on Feb. 18 with “overwhelming” support. And it was overwhelming: 240-185, with 10 Democrats jumping party lines.

“This was a victory for taxpayers and a victory for life,” Pence said.

He and the other speakers on the conference call — which was organized by Students for Life of America Executive Director Kristan Hawkins and included Live Action’s Lila Rose, Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins and Concerned Women for America’s Wendy Wright — continually referred to the move to defund as a “battle.”

“We must seize this moment in history,” Pence said. “We have never been closer to defunding Planned Parenthood since 1973.

“We’ve got your back,” Hawkins told Pence.

Jordan, who chairs the Republican Study Committee’s Budget & Spending Task Force, echoed Pence’s battle analogy and said the House would “insist this language be in the continuing resolution that ultimately gets signed. There may be a fight next week.”

“We need to stop this crazy spending, stop Obamacare,” Jordan continued. “Taxpayers should not be used to take the life of unborn children. There is an opportunity to get to the end zone on this particular issue.”

*Correction: This article originally stated that nowhere in the resolution is “Planned Parenthood” mentioned. In fact, Planned Parenthood is mentioned in Sec. 4013 of H.R.1. “None of the funds made available by this Act may be made available for any purpose to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. or any of the following affiliates of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc…..” *

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