House votes to block all funding to Planned Parenthood

Posted on: February 18th, 2011 by Sofia Resnick 8 Comments

Image by Matt MahurinThe House voted Friday to block federal funding to Planned Parenthood, passing 240 to 185.

The amendment, sponsored by Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), has been added to the Continuing Resolution (H.R. 1) to fund the federal government through September.

If the resolution goes into law, the 95-year-old health care provider will lose funding from the federal government, all of which goes to family planning and reproductive services under Title X, and none of which goes to funding abortions.

It will also eliminate the entire Title X program, which was founded in 1970 and is the only federal grant program dedicated solely to providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and preventive health services, particularly to low-income families, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of Population Affairs. Preventative health services include breast and cervical cancer screenings, HIV prevention education, pregnancy diagnosis and counseling.

In fiscal year 2010, Congress appropriated approximately $317 million for family planning activities supported under Title X, 90 percent of which was used for clinical family planning services, according to the OPA. In 2008, 4,500 community-based clinics (including health departments, university health centers, faith-based organizations, public and private nonprofit agencies, and tribal organizations) received grants from Title X that went to approximately 5 million people, the OPA said. In roughly 75 percent of U.S. counties, at least one clinic receives Title X funds.

On its website all week, Planned Parenthood posted a message urging supporters to call their representatives to vote against attempts to end Title X funding.

A statement from the organization:

Anti-choice leaders in Congress are forcing a vote on the most dangerous legislative assault on women’s health and Planned Parenthood in our 95-year history. This bill would eliminate all federal funding for Planned Parenthood health centers — including funding for birth control, cancer screenings, HIV testing, and more.

The consequences of this bill are clear — and they would be devastating. More women would have unintended pregnancies. Cancer would develop, undiagnosed, in countless women. There is no doubt: cutting off millions of women from care they have no other way to afford places them at risk of sickness and death.

There are 85 local Planned Parenthood affiliates nationwide, which operate more than 820 health centers, according to its website, which also indicates that more than 1.2 million youths and adults participate in Planned Parenthood educational programs every year.

As Pence told Politico earlier this week: “If Planned Parenthood wants to be involved in providing counseling services and HIV testing, they ought not be in the business of providing abortions. As long as they aspire to do that, I’ll be after them.”

Today, the fourth day, the house has been debating the 359-page spending bill. About 600 amendments have been filed on the spending bill.

Once the resolution is passed it will be sent to the Senate for consideration during the week of Feb. 28 and has been given a March 4 deadline.

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