Planned Parenthood unscathed in spending bill

Planned Parenthood is praising Democrats in Congress after the spending bill released early Wednesday morning spared the organization from cuts. 

As expected, the spending bill does not defund Planned Parenthood, a clear deal-breaker for Democrats, but the absence of spending cuts is still noteworthy given the intensity of the push to defund the group earlier this year. 

Planned Parenthood Vice President Dana Singiser praised congressional Democrats on Wednesday for “holding the line against these harmful policy riders and cuts to key women’s health programs.”

“Extreme members of Congress spent an entire year targeting access to reproductive health care at every opportunity — even threatening to shut down the government,” she added. “Today’s budget bill maintains access to critical preventive health services and lacks these harmful attacks on women’s health care — at home and abroad.”

After pushing for complete defunding of Planned Parenthood ahead of the Oct. 1 funding deadline, the conservative House Freedom Caucus scaled back its demands to a call for compromise language that would give states the ability to choose to defund the group.

The compromise was not included in the final spending bill.

The Freedom Caucus and Pro-Life Caucus also pushed for the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act to be included. That would have strengthened protections for organizations that do not want to cover abortions and doctors who do not want to provide them, as well as allowing people to sue if they think the protections are violated. 

It also was not included in the final spending bill.

Republicans did win language requiring a 7 percent cut in funding for the United Nations Population Fund, an entity that the Pro-Life Caucus said supports China’s “coercive birth limitation policy.”

Planned Parenthood denounced that cut, while acknowledging that it is “small.”

Planned Parenthood is also pushing for more family planning funding. Still, Democrats touted that the bill includes $286 million for Title X family planning, a program that would have been completely eliminated in House Republicans’ proposal earlier this year. 

A Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado was the site of a mass shooting on Nov. 27 in which three people were killed and nine people were wounded. Pro-abortion-rights groups blamed rhetoric in Washington for influencing the shooter, and the violence appeared to undercut efforts to reduce funding for the group.