Republicans make first move targeting Planned Parenthood funding

Republicans make first move targeting Planned Parenthood funding
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Republicans are taking their first shot of 2017 at Planned Parenthood. 

The House is expected this week to vote on a resolution that would rescind an Obama-era regulation barring states from defunding the organization for political reasons.

Because the measure is being moved through a law that allows Congress to rescind recently finalized rules, the bill cannot be filibustered in the Senate, raising its odds for success.  

Republicans framed the move to rescind the regulation as a way to give back to the states the power to determine how federal funds should be spent on women's healthcare. 

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“It is not the role of politicians in Washington to usurp the states' 10th Amendment rights and subject our judgment for that of state and local leaders,” said Rep. Diane BlackDiane Lynn BlackBudget vote raises red flag for GOP on tax reform House adopts Senate budget, takes step toward tax reform This week: Trump, GOP lawmakers look to get on the same page MORE (R-Tenn.), sponsor of the resolution.

But Democrats call the move a thinly shrouded attack on abortion providers.

“It’s really about getting at Planned Parenthood, and this is the first salvo in doing so,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.)

The House Rules Committee passed the resolution Tuesday along a party-line vote, 7-4, and the full House will likely vote on it later this week.   

Now that Republicans have majorities in both chambers and a GOP president, they’re facing increased pressure from anti-abortion groups to move quickly on their promises to cut funds to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.

Republicans are also considering whether language defunding abortion providers will be included in a bill that repeals ObamaCare.

Anti-abortion protesters have gathered outside Planned Parenthood clinics across the country over the past week to call for an end to federal funding for the organization.

Obama’s rule specifically requires that state and local governments distribute federal Title X funding for services related to contraception, fertility, pregnancy care and breast and cervical cancer screeners to health providers, regardless of whether they also perform abortions.

It was issued by the Obama administration after a string of states tried to block funding for Planned Parenthood and its affiliated clinics. 

Supporters of Planned Parenthood argue that it provides essential services to low-income women, including birth control, STD tests and preventive care that could be at risk if defunded. 

Democrats at Tuesday's hearing also accused Republicans of trying to make women’s healthcare decisions for them.

“Politicians shouldn’t be making decisions about women’s health for them, and states shouldn’t be either,” said Rep. Louise Slaughter (N.Y.), ranking Democrat on the Rules Committee. 

“It’s high time we recognize that women can make decisions for themselves. For more than 40 years, men in blue suits have been trying to determine what women can and should do when it comes to their own health.” 

While Planned Parenthood doesn’t use federal funds for abortion, Republicans argue any money given to the organization still supports the procedure.

“We should invest in women’s health, not abortion. Abortion is not healthcare,” Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) said Tuesday during his testimony at the hearing.

“The federal government should not incentivize the practice by undermining the authority of states.”