Pelosi: GOP ‘out to get’ Planned Parenthood

Pelosi: GOP ‘out to get’ Planned Parenthood
© Getty Images

The Republican attacks on Planned Parenthood are part of a much larger GOP fight against women's reproductive health and family planning, Rep. Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiTrump digs in amid uproar on zero tolerance policy Trump surprises with consumer agency pick On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Trump nominates budget official Kraninger for consumer chief | Senate votes to block Trump ZTE deal | Stocks fall on trade tensions | House panel moves to markup budget MORE (D-Calif.) charged on Wednesday.

“This is more than Planned Parenthood. It's about women, it's about reproductive freedom, it's about respect for women's judgment about the sizing and timing of their families,” Pelosi told a group of reporters gathered in her office in the Capitol.

ADVERTISEMENT
“How dare they be so disrespectful to women. How dare they be so disregarding of women's health issues.”

The House Democratic leader, a long-time champion of women's health issues, said the recent Republican push to defund Planned Parenthood as part of a government spending package is just the latest evidence of that broader assault.

“Since I have been here — it's 28 years — they have been out to get Planned Parenthood. … And the hardest thing, the hardest convincing, that I've ever had to do … is to convince people that what was going on here was anti-family planning,” she said. “It wasn't about abortion — grant everybody where they are on that subject — but they did not support family planning.

“If you don't like termination of a pregnancy … you must love family planning, right? Do we need to have a discussion of the birds and bees with them?” she quipped. “But they have always been against it.”

The controversy over Planned Parenthood has escalated this summer following the public release of several videos suggesting Planned Parenthood affiliates have profited illegally from the sale of fetal tissue for research purposes. The videos, filmed undercover by anti-abortion activists, have infuriated conservatives on Capitol Hill, dozens of whom have threatened to oppose any government spending bill that includes funding for Planned Parenthood.

The issue has created a dilemma for House GOP leaders, who will likely need Democratic votes to pass a short-term spending bill — known as a continuing resolution (CR) — to keep the government running. Without congressional action, large portions of the government will shut down on Oct. 1 — a scenario that both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) have vowed to prevent.

Those dynamics are not lost on Democratic leaders, who know they have power in the CR fight and are eyeing ways to use it.

“Let's be realistic,” Pelosi said. “We have a Democrat in the White House who has strong initiatives to grow the economy, create jobs, build the paycheck. … We have a Republican Congress here, but we have leverage in the Senate because of the 60-vote requirement, and leverage in the House that they are giving us because they have their ideology.”

Boehner on Wednesday said he's still weighing his options on how to proceed. 

“I have not made any decisions on when we would move the CR,” he said. 

Pelosi, for her part, declined to lay out the specific policy items the Democrats will be fighting for, but emphasized that the Democrats won't accept the spending cuts dictated by the sequester. The CR, she said, "has to put us on a path to that.”

“We really cannot go forward in a serious way about how we do the budget and appropriations unless we rid ourselves of sequestration, so that we can have a strong national defense as well as invest in our domestic initiatives,” she added.

Pelosi said she talks to Boehner regularly, but hasn't had a formal conversation with the Speaker about the specific strategy for moving the CR and a transportation bill. 

“We didn't have substantive conversations about it,” she said, “but we've had interaction to say, 'We've got to do this.’”