September 18, 2015
All of the fabricated anti–Planned Parenthood propaganda pushed forth by the Center for Medical Progress has finally delivered the first chapter of abortion opponents' dream and our collective nightmare: Today House Republicans voted to block all federal funding for the women’s health organization. The move came in the wake of ultra-conservative lawmakers’ threats of a government shutdown over the false accusation that Planned Parenthood is profiting from the illegal sale of fetal tissue. The Planned Parenthood bill passed 241–187, right along party lines (along with two Democrats), with the House voting to freeze funding for a year while Congress investigates the claims of “wrongdoing.” It was a banner day for anti-abortion lawmakers: Another bill passed that tightens restrictions on abortion doctors.
Perhaps Florida’s Democratic Rep Kathy Castor put it best: “This bill to inflame the passions that is based on false videos, distorted clips, that was part of a coordinated smear campaign all across the country, is being used as a foundation to close the government,” she said. “I hope it doesn’t happen, but it appears that dysfunction in the Republican Congress is going to lead us down that path at the expense of women’s health care.”
Opposition from Senate Democrats and President Obama is poised to keep the bill becoming law. Yesterday Obama said he “strongly opposes” both bills and would veto the attempt to defund the organization. Will the GOP move backfire? While Republicans continue to zealously damn Planned Parenthood, national polls show that most Americans are actually in favor of continuing the organization’s funding. Let’s hope this vote acts like a shot in the foot for the lawmakers who have Planned Parenthood in their crosshairs, while their real target is reproductive rights.