Congress deluged with conflicting calls on Planned Parenthood funding

More than 1 million anti-abortion activists are demanding that House Republicans stick to their plan to prohibit federal funding for Planned Parenthood in their stop-gap spending bill for the rest of the year.

The Expose Planned Parenthood Coalition said Friday that nearly 1.2 million mailed petitions and e-mails have been sent to lawmakers urging them to retain the ban in their seven-month continuing resolution (CR). The House last month overwhelmingly approved, 240-185, an amendment to the CR that would prohibit such funding, but Democrats have made it clear they object.

"More than one million Americans have stepped forward to send a clear message to our elected leaders: whether pro-life or pro-abortion we do not believe that tax dollars should be used to finance abortion services," Concerned Women of America CEO Penny Nance said in a statement. "The time to permanently end taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood is now."

Concerned Women for America alone generated 980,000 mailed petitions to the House, the coalition said. And Family Research Council Action, the Susan B. Anthony List and Catholic Advocate List generated 190,000 direct e-mails and petition signatures.

The campaign come as Planned Parenthood on Thursday released polling in key Senate districts showing broad opposition to the prohibition. The poll, conducted by the Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling, found that 57 percent of respondents opposed the prohibition while 36 percent approved.

Planned Parenthood says federal funding doesn't pay for abortions but rather pap smears, cervical cancer tests and other life-saving tests. The organization got $363 million in federal, state and local government grants in 2008-2009. 

Its opponents argue the organization carries out more than 320,000 abortions a year — a quarter of the national total — and federal funding helps support clinics where the abortions are performed.