The Senate will vote on Monday evening on a Republican-led motion to defund the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Following the emergence of a controversial video that allegedly showed Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood’s Senior Director of Medical Services, talking about the sale of fetal organs and body parts, the organization has come under fire for its abortion services and fetal tissue research. With 2016 GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry calling for an end to all federal funding for Planned Parenthood and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren rising to the organization's defense, the debate — even though it's likely that the proposed legislation will fail — promises to be an important moment. Feminists everywhere should watch the Senate's Planned Parenthood vote if they have the opportunity.
The vote itself will take place at 5:30 p.m. Eastern time, and you can tune into a livestream of the Senate floor debate on the Senate's website at any time before that. This is not the first time Planned Parenthood has been threatened with defunding. In 2011, House Republicans passed a spending bill that stripped money for Planned Parenthood, and subsequent debates hovered precariously on the edge of a government shutdown. But this time around, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, who did not view the aforementioned video, told CNN that a proposal to defund Planned Parenthood is unlikely to succeed:
What the President has said is that Planned Parenthood provides valuable services, health care services for men and women across the country. He would veto any legislation that tried to advance wholesale defunding for Planned Parenthood.
If you stand with Planned Parenthood, or are even remotely curious about reproductive justice, you should consider watching the Senate vote. The debate will start with introductions from Senator James Lankford and GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul, who will summarize the legislation. Then, we'll hear from others who support the defunding proposal, after which the session will proceed to statements from different senators who will speak on the proposed legislation — either in opposition to or in defense of Planned Parenthood. Arguments will likely focus on abortion services and the content of the controversial videos, as well as on a woman's right to choose.