The Senate Has Voted On Planned Parenthood Aid

In the weeks since it was posted, the Center For Medical Progress's sting video targeting Planned Parenthood has divided Washington over the women's health organization. While many Democrats have come to Planned Parenthood's defense, several Republicans have used the video to fuel their anti-abortion platforms. And one Republican has taken the video as an opportunity to take down Planned Parenthood. After introducing legislation to defund Planned Parenthood last week, the Senate voted on the amendment on Monday. Fortunately, Republicans failed to get enough votes to defund Planned Parenthood, which would have cut off affordable health care for millions of women.

Last Wednesday, Senator Rand Paul introduced an amendment to the tax code aiming to prohibit federal funding of Planned Parenthood or any of its affiliates. Prior to the Senate's decision on the amendment, Paul had already taken on a victorious tone, telling the Associated Press that simply having the vote was "a huge victory for conservatives," a victory that he credits to his "persistence" in calling for a vote. Indeed, the Kentucky senator has personally and vehemently lobbied for the vote, which he called for in a series of questionably worded tweets on Sunday. In one tweet, he writes, "I'm not taking 'no' for an answer. I'm going to pull out all the stops to force a vote on my amendment to #DefundPlannedParenthood."

Other conservative GOPers have also used the anti-abortion activists' video to forcefully speak out against Planned Parenthood and lend credence to the video's inaccurate allegations. For example, Ted Cruz tweeted this:

To call Planned Parenthood a "criminal enterprise" is not only libelous, but wildly preposterous.

Similarly, Jeb Bush jumped into the debate and made the following comments after a visit to a Crisis Pregnancy Center in South Carolina:

It just troubles me that you would sell body parts. It just makes no sense to me. That is not a compassionate situation. Congress has every right to investigate these abuses, because [Planned Parenthood] receives $500 million dollars from the federal government.

But something that none of these anti-choice Republicans take into account is the fact that abortions make up just three percent of Planned Parenthood's services. The vast majority of their efforts go towards services such as cancer screenings, HIV tests, and the prevention of unintended pregnancies. Therefore, defunding Planned Parenthood would mean denying women across the country access to these very important health services. This aside, none of the $500 million in federal funding for Planned Parenthood is used for abortions. But these Republicans have not addressed this.

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Furthermore, let's not forget how groundless the Center For Medical Progress's accusations are — that Planned Parenthood is facilitating some kind of fetal tissue and organ black market and profiting off of the sales. What the heavily-edited video does not show, however, is Planned Parenthood exec Deborah Nucatola specifically stating that the organization does not profit off of tissue donations, and that it only accepts money to reimburse costs associated with transporting the tissue.

But that detail has clearly been glossed over by those who are using the deceptive video to advance their own anti-abortion rhetoric.

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