In a major women's rights defeat Friday morning, the House voted to freeze funding for Planned Parenthood for a full year. The vote came out at 241-187 in favor of freezing the funding for one year, and the vote will now go to the Republican-controlled Senate. The reason, according to the proposed legislation? To give Congress time to "investigate" the videos created by anti-abortion group the Center For Medical Progress, which experts have widely panned as being fraudulent and manipulated.
Of course, like many of the GOP's anti-abortion policies, this legislation is smoke and mirrors: By placing red tape around abortion services, women are less likely to have access to abortions — a roundabout way of circumventing Roe v. Wade. Not to mention, Planned Parenthood provides women with free contraception and STD testing — all handily cut off in favor of a 1950s approach to sex as part of this legislation.
Democrats have widely panned the bill as being deliberately based on faulty assumptions — the Center for Medical Progress merely giving the House an excuse to limit women's reproductive rights, in other words — and they are expected to passionately block the vote in the Senate.
The Center for Reproductive Rights' president, Nancy Northup, said in a statement:
It is unconscionable that politicians in Congress continue to play this game of keep-away with women’s basic health care services. Without access to critical health care offered at Planned Parenthood clinics across the U.S., the lives and health of countless women will be at grave risk.
We continue to stand with Planned Parenthood and high-quality reproductive health care providers against this underhanded smear campaign. All women deserve access to high-quality, affordable health care services and we call upon Congress to reject any measures which validate these unfounded attacks.
Planned Parenthood, for its part, has shown no indication of backing down in the face of the Center for Medical Progress' manipulations, citing the statistic that one in five women depend on Planned Parenthood — not merely for pregnancy services, but also for STD testing, contraception, and other family planning needs — in their lifetime.
The vote may avert a government shutdown, which would otherwise occur early next week, over whether federal funding will continue to go towards Planned Parenthood. Conservatives in the House and Senate have sworn to defund Planned Parenthood by any means possible.
Many people took to Twitter to broadcast their support for the organization under the hashtag #standwithPP.
Will the bill be ultimately blocked? Yes, thankfully. But abortion clinics are being shuttered by Republican red-tape legislation around the country, with some states only having a couple of clinics available to help every single women in that state. Additionally, many women have been forced to listen to an ultrasound heartbeat, wait days before being provided with a termination, and travel extensively and expensively for basic reproductive care. Meanwhile, Republican presidential candidates like Carly Fiorina have passionately pledged to curtail abortion rights and strike down Roe v. Wade if elected.
Make no mistake, this latest legislation is not the final destination for American women's battle for reproductive rights — it's just a symptom of the anti-abortion sentiment that the Republican Party clings to. And even though this legislation won't pass, there will be another bill, and another, and yet others — and women will be gradually starved of the reproductive rights that Roe v. Wade was intended to ensure decades ago.
You can donate to Planned Parenthood here.