In her first measure of the new Congress, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) revived a long-standing GOP legislative agenda by introducing the “Defund Planned Parenthood Act” this week.
Boebert unveiled the legislation on Friday, the same day that thousands of pro-life demonstrators flocked to Washington, D.C., to participate in the March for Life demonstrations. The legislation builds on other initiatives that have been repeatedly filed in Congress over the last few years to ban federal cash from flowing to Planned Parenthood.
“Receiving funding from the government is improper for the biggest abortion provider in the country. Despite Planned Parenthood’s claims that these monies are used for women’s healthcare, the organization performed a record number of abortions last year while also cutting back on well-woman checks and breast cancer screenings, according to a statement from Boebert. “My bill will shift this cash to community health clinics that truly meet the health needs of women around the country rather than financing Planned Parenthood.”
The proposed legislation would forbid Planned Parenthood from getting federal funding and reroute it to community health centers that treat women. Representatives Dan Bishop (NC), Andrew Clyde (GA), Matt Gaetz (FL), and Paul Gosar (AZ) were among the 29 Republicans who backed Boebert’s legislation.
Government money for Planned Parenthood comes in two forms: federal grants under Title X and payments for services rendered to Medicaid recipients. According to the Congressional Research Service, the government actually provides the majority of the organization’s funding.
However, the Hyde Amendment, passed in 1977, states that federal cash granted to Planned Parenthood cannot be used for abortions. The amendment forbids the use of public funding for abortions outside of situations involving rape, incest, or a threat to the mother’s life.
According to Planned Parenthood’s most recent annual report from 2020–21, the organization’s services are mostly focused on offering STI testing and treatment as well as contraceptives. Abortion-related services accounted for just 4% of its total usage.
According to a Heritage Foundation analysis, Planned Parenthood clinics carried out 383,460 abortions during that time, up from 354,871 the year prior. Conservatives expressed outrage when services for breast screenings, adoption referrals, and other checks were reduced at the same time.
In her bill, Boebert referred to these figures and bemoaned the fact that “Planned Parenthood’s business model is to prioritize abortions above all else.” The Colorado Republican is therefore proposing to divert all government funding currently going to Planned Parenthood to other health groups across the nation.
According to Boebert’s report, the government provided Planned Parenthood $633 million from 2020 to 2021, or more than $1.7 million every day. “Congresswoman Boebert’s measure diverts $235 million from funding Planned Parenthood to funding community health centers around the nation that offer healthcare for women.”
Despite having the support of the majority of House Republicans, the legislation is most likely to be rejected by the Senate, where Democrats now hold a 51-49 majority.
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