House cuts off funding for healthcare reform, Planned Parenthood

The House on Friday voted largely along party lines to prohibit funding for President Obama's healthcare reform law and eliminate funding for family planning.

In a quick succession of two-minute votes, the House adopted three amendments to their stopgap budget bill that eliminates healthcare reform funding through the end of the fiscal year. The House also approved, 240-185, an amendment barring federal Title X family planning grants that was aimed squarely at Planned Parenthood.

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The vote on the Planned Parenthood amendment from Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) was postponed Thursday night after three hours of bitter debate during which Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) revealed she once had to have an abortion. She made the revelation on the House floor after Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) described in graphic detail an abortion procedure.

"I really planned to speak about something else but the gentleman from New Jersey just put my stomach in knots because I'm one of those women he spoke about just now," Speier said. "I had a procedure at 17 weeks pregnant with a child who moved from the vagina into the cervix. And that procedure that you just described is a procedure that I endured."

Republicans say that, while Title X funding does not pay for abortions, the money is fungible and supports the nation's largest abortion provider. Democrats and abortion-rights advocates argue that the amendment hurts poor women.

"In attacking Planned Parenthood, the House Republican leadership has launched an outrageous assault on the millions of Americans who rely on Planned Parenthood for primary and preventive healthcare, including lifesaving breast and cervical cancer screenings, annual exams, family planning visits, birth control, HIV testing, and more," Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards said in a statement.

The other three amendments bar federal funding for the healthcare reform law: 

—an amendment from health appropriations subcommittee Chair Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) blocks 2011 funding for the health and labor departments to implement the healthcare reform law;

—an amendment from Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) blocks all federal funding for the law; and

—an amendment from Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) bars the Internal Revenue Service from using funds to enforce the law's individual mandate requiring Americans to have insurance by 2014. Two federal courts have ruled that the mandate is unconstitutional.

The continuing resolution faces high hurdles in the Democrat-controlled Senate. And President Obama announced he "strongly opposes" it before the new amendments even passed.

"If the president is presented with a bill that undermines critical priorities or national security through funding levels or restrictions, contains earmarks, or curtails the drivers of long-term economic growth and job creation while continuing to burden future generations with deficits, the president will veto the bill," the administration said this week.