On a 240-185 vote, the House of Representatives approved an amendment put forward by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) to defund Planned Parenthood. (Note: There are 241 Republicans and 193 Democrats in the House.)
Pence, of Indiana, touched off a vicious back-and-forth Thursday night in which Republicans insisted the organization is too aggressive about performing abortions and several Democrats charged that the GOP was waging a "war on women."
What most news reports are failing to note is this: no federal money is used to pay for any abortion performed by Planned Parenthood. That's why Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-) is calling the amendment unconstitutional because it is "a legislative enacted penalty, in this case no funding, directed at an identifiable person or organization to punish them for something."
The federal government allocates only about $75 million a year to Planned Parenthood affiliates, money used to support family planning for low-income women. Planned Parenthood affiliates operate more than 820 health centers in 50 states plus the District of Columbia and serve about 5 million women. That's about $91,000 per health center or $15 per woman. In 2008, Planned Parenthood provided a breakdown of services:
- Number one: contraception - 35%
- STI/STD testing and treatment - 34%
- Cancer testing and screening - 17%
- Other women's health procedures, including pregnancy, prenatal, midlife, and infertility - 10%.
- Abortions - less than 2% of visits
Oh, and is the case with most preventative action:
For every dollar spent on contraception for low-income women, the government saves four dollars in medical costs within the next year by averting unwanted pregnancies, said Ms. Cohen of the Guttmacher Institute. (NYT)
I really planned to speak about something else. But the gentleman from New Jersey just put my stomach in knots. Because I'm one of those women he spoke about just now. [...]
[F]or you to stand on this floor and to suggest, as you have, that somehow this is a procedure that is either welcomed or done cavalierly or done without any thought is preposterous. To think that we are here tonight debating this issue when the American people, if they are listening, are scratching their heads and wondering what does this have to do with me getting a job? What does this have to do with reducing the deficit?