House GOP freshman to defend Planned Parenthood at presser

Freshman Rep. Robert Dold (R-Ill.) is coming to the defense of Planned Parenthood amid his party’s sustained assault on the organization.

Dold plans to introduce a bill Wednesday that would ensure Planned Parenthood’s access to federal funding. House Republicans have pushed to defund Planned Parenthood, and conservative governors have picked up where the federal effort failed.

“In response to the growing number of efforts to discriminate against and exclude organizations like Planned Parenthood from participating in health care programs, Dold’s legislation would protect the inclusion of any hospital or health care entity that seeks to participate in the Title X family planning program,” his office said in a release.

Planned Parenthood is scheduled to join Dold at a press conference Wednesday morning.

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Critics say Planned Parenthood should not be eligible for federal funds because it provides abortions in addition to a wide range of other healthcare services, and House Republicans have aggressively pursued the organization. Dold was one of just seven Republicans to break with the party last year on a vote to cut off Planned Parenthood’s federal funding.

The group is also under investigation by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), who chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Oversight panel.

The Susan G. Komen breast-cancer foundation cited that investigation in its controversial — and short-lived — decision to pull its grant funding from Planned Parenthood. Komen relented amid a firestorm of opposition from women’s health groups, including some of its own affiliates. The attacks, and the Komen controversy in particular, have been a boon to Planned Parenthood’s fundraising.