Pelosi: GOP using Planned Parenthood as 'whipping boy' in health debate

A GOP proposal to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood will threaten women's health and increase the frequency of abortion in America, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi warned Friday.

The California Democrat accused Republicans of using Planned Parenthood "as a whipping boy to disguise their opposition to family planning" services in general.
 
"This is a very dangerous situation for the health – the reproductive health – of women across our country," Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol. "It's degrading to women; it's disrespectful; it doesn't make any sense; and if you want to reduce the number of abortions in our country, you must commit to supporting contraception and family planning.

"Perhaps we have to have a lesson in the birds and the bees around here for [Republicans] to understand that," she quipped. 

Sponsored by Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), the proposal would prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving any Title X family planning grants. Current law already prohibits the federal funding of abortion. But Planned Parenthood critics argue that, because money is fungible, there's no practical way for the group to isolate the private funds it receives for abortion services from the federal funds it receives for contraception and family planning programs.


"It's morally wrong to take the taxpayer dollars of millions of pro-life Americans and use it to fund organizations that provide and promote abortion," Pence said on the floor Thursday.

The House passed the amendment Friday by a vote of 240 to 185.

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) stunned the chamber Thursday night by disclosing her personal experience with abortion, which resulted from a complication during the 17th week of her pregnancy. 

“I lost the baby," Speier said, glaring at the Republicans across the aisle. "And for you to stand on this floor and suggest that somehow this is a procedure that is either welcomed or done cavalierly or done without any thought, is preposterous.”

A mother of five, Pelosi said the hours-long debate on the amendment Thursday night was "surreal." She also challenged the qualifications of the mostly male Republican critics of federal funding for Planned Parenthood. 

"I feel I have some credentials in this arena," Pelosi said. "What standing do they have?"