The U.S. House of Representatives voted 240-185 today to include a key pro-life amendment in the continuing resolution that will fund the government through September. The resolution was expected to pass this evening.
Amendment No. 11, submitted by Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., would defund Planned Parenthood. The text states: “None of the funds made available by this Act may be made available for any purpose to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. or any of the following affiliates of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc.”
The amendment defunds Planned Parenthood through September, whereas other pending legislation, H.R. 217: The Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, would permanently prohibit family planning funds from being awarded to any entity that performs abortions or provides any funds to any entity that performs abortions.
“Nobody is saying that Planned Parenthood cannot continue to be the largest abortion provider in America, but why do millions of pro-life taxpayers have to pay for it?” Pence asked in a floor speech Thursday.
A second pro-life amendment, which would have protected existing conscience protection regulations, was rendered moot today when the Obama administration issued its own set of rules.
President George W. Bush had created a regulation, putting teeth into existing federal conscience protection laws by allowing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to take action when someone’s rights of conscience were violated.
The new rule — issued by the Obama administration’s HHS in a 41-page report — eliminates some categories under which health care providers may file a discrimination complaint if forced to, for example, dispense the morning-after pill, which may cause an early abortion.
The report reads: “The Department partially rescinds the 2008 Final Rule based on concerns expressed that it had the potential to negatively impact patient access to contraception and certain other medical services.”