The United States Senate voted Thursday to pass a bill that would defund Planned Parenthood, though the White House has said President Obama will veto the legislation. The defunding of the abortion provider is part of a proposed bill that would partially dismantle President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care legislation. The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to send the bill to Obama, but backers of the bill do not have the votes to override a veto. A nearly party-line vote from the Democratic Party Dec. 3 failed to restore funding by a vote of 54-46. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) had proposed restored funding and $1 billion in safety at women’s clinics, the Associated Press reports. Knowing that Obama will veto the bill, one of its supporters, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) maintained that its “value is to let him know — the president — and others that there's a big division in this country, and a lot of us don't like it, and the American people don't like it,” according to NPR. On Aug. 3, the Senate had failed to bring to the floor a similar bill that would have blocked federal funding of Planned Parenthood, and the House had passed a bill Oct. 23 which would defund Planned Parenthood and gut key portions of the Affordable Care Act. Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the U.S. and has great political influence. Although direct federal funding for abortion is heavily restricted by U.S. law, the organization receives about $500 million each year in public funds. Most of this funding comes through Medicaid payments and funds from Title X, a federal health program for low-income Americans. Some pro-life advocates have said such funding should instead go to community and rural health centers which do not fund abortions. Planned Parenthood has become the center of controversy after the release of a series of undercover investigative video reports by the citizen journalist group Center for Medical Progress. The videos showed Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the offering of fetal body parts of aborted babies to harvesters for compensation. The video series’ producers have charged that such transactions were illegal under laws that only allow “reasonable” compensation for operational expenses. Planned Parenthood has denied that it broke any laws and accepted illegal compensation. The organization has announced that it would no longer accept any compensation for fetal tissue.
Catholic News Agency was founded in 2004, in response to Pope St. John Paul II’s call for a “New Evangelization." It is an apostolate of EWTN News.