House votes to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding

The bill must make its way through the Senate before taking effect.
Planned Parenthood on Providence Road provides reproductive health services to residents of Columbia and around mid-Missouri. The House passed a bill last week withdrawing funds to Planned Parenthood clinics nationwide.

The United States House of Representatives voted 240-185 on Friday to strip Planned Parenthood of its $75 million of annual federal funding, a measure Republicans have called a victory for taxpayers and anti-abortion advocates.

The bill, if passed by the Senate, will cut all government funding to Title X programs. Title X was enacted as a provision of the Public Health Service Act in 1970, which provides funding for family planning clinics, Planned Parenthood being the most well known.

By law, Title X funds are forbidden to be used for abortion, but instead are used for providing health services such as STI screenings, pregnancy diagnosis and counseling, breast and cervical cancer screening, and contraceptive services for low-income families and women.

Michelle Trupiano, a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood Affiliates in Missouri, said she is worried Missourians will think Planned Parenthood has shut down and it will therefore lose business.

“It’s important for people to know that the bill hasn’t been passed yet so we haven’t lost any funding at this time,” Trupiano said. “We are still open for business.”

The bill was passed to prevent government funding from going to abortions, but Trupiano said it is important to recognize the other services Planned Parenthood provides. She said this bill would especially hurt low-income women and cause an increase in unwanted pregnancies.

“Planned Parenthood doesn’t just provide abortion services,” Trupiano said. “This bill will hurt the over 80,000 patients, both women and men, in Missouri that we provide with important and vital services for.”

According to spokesman Paul Sloca, Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., voted for the bill because he does not support the abortion services provided by Planned Parenthood.

“Blaine does not believe that taxpayers should be funding abortion,” Sloca said.

In a recent statement, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said she believes our nation’s deficit needs to be taken care of and believes many sacrifices need to be made, but said she thinks cutting funding to Planned Parenthood is ineffective.

McCaskill supports the Hyde Amendment, which denies government funding for abortions unless in the case of rape or incest, and said she thinks abortion should be safe, legal and rare.

“We all have to work at making cuts in the federal budget, but as a Senator who believes contraception services must be available to all women, these cuts make no sense,” she said. “These cuts will cause more abortions, not prevent them.”

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