The battle over federal funding for Planned Parenthood is once again starting to heat up, with House Speaker Paul Ryan pledging on Thursday to strip the controversial health care organization of federal monies.
It was a proclamation that came as Republicans seek to overturn the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, with Ryan making it clear that cuts to Planned Parenthood funds will be a part of that effort, the Associated Press reported.
“The Planned Parenthood legislation would be in our bill,” Ryan said of repeal efforts.
This certainly isn’t the first time attempts have been made to strip Planned Parenthood of funding, though a Republican Congress and an incoming Trump Administration could make such efforts more realistic. Still, it’s not necessarily a slam dunk, as president-elect Donald Trump has sent mixed messages about the organization, and there’s no telling if the House and Senate will definitively be on the same page on the funding measure.
To clarify, the majority of federal funding that goes to Planned Parenthood comes in the form of Medicaid funds — $400 million worth, to be exact. Other monies come in the form of reimbursements for contraceptive services, the AP noted.
Democrats, who have been stalwart defenders of the organization, are naturally reacting to Ryan’s comments in a big way. And Planned Parenthood staffers, too, are also speaking out, with Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards calling the defund plan “dangerous to people’s health,” according to the AP.
“They cannot afford to have basic reproductive health care attacked,” she said. “Planned Parenthood has been here for 100 years and we’re going to be here for 100 more.”
The organization has published it’s own analysis of its federal funding arrangement in an attempt to dispel purported confusion and myths, and the 2016 Democratic Platform also passionately defended the organization against it’s Republican critics, pledging to work to keep government funding in tact.
“We will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood health centers, which provide critical health services to millions of people,” the document read. “We will continue to oppose — and seek to overturn — federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman’s access to abortion.”
Others, though, like Ashley McGuire, senior fellow of The Catholic Association, said in a statement issued to Faithwire that she believes most Americans don’t want to pay for abortions and that federal funding should be halted.
“Polling has made that clear time and time again, and a poll released just today found that in key battleground states for the 2018 Senate races, a strong majority of Americans want to defund Planned Parenthood,” she said. “Planned Parenthood has been using taxpayers dollars to run a half a billion dollar racket by turning those dollars back around to lobby against sensible laws that protect women and children and to campaign against candidates that would cut off funding for abortion.”
Planned Parenthood also had some additional struggles this week, including a recommendation from the House Select Investigative Panel on Infants Lives that funding be stripped; the Republican-led congressional cohort has been investigating claims that the health care organization illegally profited from fetal tissue, the Washington Post reported.
The end result was a recently released 471-page report that essentially slams Planned Parenthood’s practices.
And on a separate note, conservative groups also recently released a new report that claims Planned Parenthood and other clinics that receive federal money have over-billed taxpayers by at least $130 million, according to the Christian Post.
A total of 51 audits allegedly revealed a variety of issues, with a Planned Parenthood affiliate in Nebraska being accused of using federal funds to pay for abortion services — a purported violation of state and federal laws, among other claims. You can read more about the over-billing issue here.
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