WASHINGTON With so much attention on GOP efforts to repeal Obamacare this month, there’s a detail to their plan that may slip under the radar: Their bill will strip all federal funding for Planned Parenthood, too.
“Planned Parenthood legislation would be in our reconciliation bill,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said during a Thursday press conference, referring to the process Republicans are using to pass an Obamacare repeal bill with a simple majority of votes instead of a supermajority, which means Democrats can’t filibuster it in the Senate.
The bill still has to pass the House and Senate, and because the reconciliation process allows for unlimited amendments, Democrats can try to tie it up.
Republicans have routinely voted to defund Planned Parenthood over the years, but with President Barack Obama in the White House, their bills never had a chance of becoming law. That could change under President-elect Donald Trump.
Some Republicans argue the women’s health care provider shouldn’t get any federal money because it provides abortion services. But it’s a misleading claim: The federal Hyde Amendment already bans federal dollars for abortions, except in very restricted cases. The overwhelming majority of Planned Parenthood’s services involve testing for and treating sexually transmitted diseases, providing birth control, screening for breast cancer and offering other women’s health care.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she’s not surprised the GOP is going after women’s reproductive rights as part of its Obamacare repeal.
“This is a priority for the Republicans,” Pelosi said in a Thursday news conference. “So I just would like to speak individually to women across America: This is about respect for you, for your judgment about your personal decisions in terms of your reproductive needs, the size and timing of your family, and the rest, not to be determined by the insurance company or by the Republican, ideological, right-wing caucus in the House of Representatives.
“This is a very important occasion where we’re pointing out very specifically what repeal of [the Affordable Care Act] would mean to woman,” Pelosi added.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) was more blunt, saying Ryan’s plan is a “disgraceful assault on women’s health.”
Planned Parenthood gets most of its federal funding through Medicaid, which helps low-income women. That’s what Republicans would be cutting. The health care provider does get some Medicaid money in states, though, and could keep doing so regardless of what Congress does.