House of Representatives votes to strip Planned Parenthood of funding

The House of Representatives voted Friday to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood, with republicans arguing that the amendment was necessary to prevent taxpayer money from funding abortions-even though, under Title X, the organization is already prohibited from using federal funds for such purposes.

The amendment, which was introduced by republican representative Mike Pence of Indiana, passed 240 to 185, mostly along party lines. It still faces a vote in the Senate.

"Nobody is saying Planned Parenthood can't be the leading advocate of abortion on demand, but why do I have to pay for it?" Pence said the day before the vote. He added that he hopes Roe v. Wade is eventually overturned.

But federal funding for Planned Parenthood falls under Title X, which specifically bars the use of its funds to provide abortions. The vote would strip Planned Parenthood and similar organizations of about $327 million through the end of September, eliminating funding for counseling, education, contraceptives, STD and HIV screening, cancer screenings, and other medical and preventive-health services.

Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards told Mother Jones magazine that she believes they can win enough votes in the Senate to restore Title X funding. "We've taken this vote before," Richards said.

During debate on Thursday, democratic representative Jackie Speier of California followed comments against abortion funding by sharing her own experience with having undergone a medically necessary abortion, after the baby she was carrying moved from the uterus through the cervix at 17 weeks gestation.

"And that procedure that you just talked about was a procedure that I endured. I lost a baby," she told a stunned house of representatives late Thursday night. (You can watch video of her statement, above.)

"To think that we are here tonight debating this issue when the American people, if they are listening, are scratching their heads and wondering what does this have to do with me getting a job? What does this have to do with reducing the deficit? And the answer is nothing at all," Speier said.

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