Republicans vow to defund Planned Parenthood — again

There was never really a question as to whether or not Republicans in Congress would try to defund Planned Parenthood again — just when. Only two days after the 115th Congress was sworn in, House Speaker Paul Ryan confirmed that Congress will try to defund Planned Parenthood in its efforts to eliminate Obamacare. Welp, that didn’t take long.

During a news conference Thursday, Ryan was asked how and when the House will attempt to defund the health organization, and he replied, “Planned Parenthood legislation would be in our reconciliation bill.” To pass the reconciliation bill, only a simple majority is needed, and with the GOP in control of the House, that probably won’t be too difficult to obtain.

Conservative efforts to defund Planned Parenthood contributed to a government shutdown in 2013, when Democrats refused to pass a federal funding bill that included a provision stripping the organization of funding. To be clear, though, Planned Parenthood isn’t just given money from the federal government — the funding everyone talks about comes in the form of reimbursements for care provided to Medicaid recipients. All types of health clinics get these reimbursements, but Republicans want to bar Planned Parenthood because some of its clinics perform abortions (and they believe the clinics sell aborted baby parts, but that’s a more complicated rabbit hole of lies).

Defunding Planned Parenthood because it offers abortions is just redundant. The Hyde Amendment already prohibits federal money from paying for abortions, meaning women on Medicaid must pay for abortions themselves (or get help from abortion funds if available to them). So, this is purely a political move and has absolutely nothing to do with protecting women or babies, just as it didn’t in 2013, 2014, 2015, or 2016.

Democrats have already vowed to fight for Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood. “We are not going back; we will stand our ground,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said during a rally in the Capitol Thursday. “And you know what? The American people are with us. We just have to get out the word.” Pelosi was joined by reproductive rights activists, including NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue, who said, “You have no mandate to take away our healthcare. You say that you want to help the American people economically, [but] taking away women’s contraception is going to cost women collectively over $1 billion a year.”

Hogue added: “The party that puts abortion services out of reach of most American women now wants to take away contraception, prenatal care and maternal healthcare. That is hypocrisy.”