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Senators Introduce Legislation to Defund Planned Parenthood, Safeguard Women’s Health Funding

Washington, D.C. – Following Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) announcement of a working group, today U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) along with Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), James Lankford (R-OK) and 21 cosponsors introduced legislation to protect women’s health and defund Planned Parenthood, S.1881.  This legislation follows gruesome footage showcasing Planned Parenthood’s role in the harvesting of the organs of unborn babies.

Cosponsors of the bill include Senators John Barrasso (WY), Roy Blunt (MO), John Boozman (AR), Richard Burr (NC) Dan Coats (IN), Tom Cotton (AR) John Cornyn (TX), Ted Cruz (TX), Steve Daines (MT), Mike Enzi (WY), Deb Fischer (NE), James Inhofe (OK), Johnny Isakson (GA), Ron Johnson (WI), James Lankford (OK), John McCain (AZ) Mitch McConnell (KY), Jerry Moran (KS), Rand Paul (KY), David Perdue (GA), Pat Roberts (KS), Ben Sasse (NE), Tim Scott (SC), and John Thune (SD). Leader McConnell stated that the Senate will vote on this legislation before departing for an extended state work period next month.

In addition to defunding Planned Parenthood, this legislation ensures the preservation of Federal funding for women’s health services including relevant diagnostic laboratory and radiology services, well-child care, prenatal and postpartum care, immunization, family planning services including contraception, sexually transmitted disease testing, cervical and breast cancer screenings, and referrals.

Funds no longer available to Planned Parenthood will continue to be offered to other eligible entities to provide such women’s health care services.

“As a mother and grandmother, I find this footage of Planned Parenthood’s role in the harvesting of the organs of unborn babies morally reprehensible and vile,” said Senator Ernst. “The American people are horrified by these videos as well. Simply put, this legislation ensures that funding for women’s health is protected and that taxpayer dollars will not go to Planned Parenthood.”

“The calloused harvesting of body parts shows a complete disregard for human dignity. We cannot care more about animal cruelty than the inhumane treatment of children in the womb,” said Senator Lankford. “It is self evident that we should honor life and stand against the harvest of human organs.  If Planned Parenthood sold unique human organs to research labs, by definition they had to be unique human lives in the womb when they were aborted. It is time for federal taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood to end and let community health centers use that funding to provide health care services for those in greatest need.” 

“The horrendous videos of senior executives from Planned Parenthood discussing in callous tones and shocking detail their role in a national scandal requires a congressional response,” said Leader McConnell. “Our constituents demand it; the unborn deserve it. This legislation would ensure taxpayer dollars for women’s health are actually spent on women’s health—not a scandal-plagued political lobbying giant.”

“The video footage of Planned Parenthood executives continues to raise deeply troubling questions, and, like most Americans, I am appalled by the disturbing actions these videos describe,” said Senator Blunt.  “It is clear that Planned Parenthood is not the right place for any federal dollars.  We will ensure every dollar taken away from Planned Parenthood will go toward women’s health care through our community health centers and other providers.”

“We need to let Planned Parenthood know that the American people do not support these inhumane practices,” said Senator Coats. “I urge all Senators to support this bill and affirm that life is a sacred and precious gift that must be protected.”

"Words are limiting to try to express the moral shock we feel when confronted by behavior so abhorrent as selling dead baby body parts for profit,” said Senator Cotton. “But where words fall short I’m hopeful that we can be united in action: we must put an end to the federal funding of Planned Parenthood.  Arkansans’ and Americans tax dollars should not be supporting an organization that condones such activity. To truly honor the God-given rights to life and liberty enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and guaranteed by our Constitution, we should strive to guarantee those rights to the ones least able to defend themselves—the unborn."

“Every member of the Senate and every member of the House should stand together and say: under no circumstances should federal taxpayer dollars, your money and my money, be sent to Planned Parenthood,” said Senator Cruz.  “I commend my colleagues for introducing this bill and am honored to stand with them in this important fight.  I hope we remain vigilant in preventing any group from engaging in this kind of horrifying practice.”

"The alarming footage in the Planned Parenthood videos depicts inexcusable, unconscionable behavior," said Senator Daines. "These videos depict a disturbing practice as voiced by calloused Planned Parenthood executives, where the goal is protecting tissue over life and the harvesting of organs is the path to a new car. The federal government should not fund an organization with these appalling practices."

“I am disgusted by these revelations and proud to join Senator Ernst in offering legislation to defund Planned Parenthood and put an immediate end to these horrific practices,” said Senator Fischer. “I am shocked at the lack of compassion for these women and their unborn babies.”

“The government should not be in the practice of funding Planned Parenthood or any abortions in the first place,” said Senator Isakson. “These videos that have come to light are incredibly disturbing, and we should launch an immediate investigation into this organization’s abhorrent activities. I will continue to fight to ensure Planned Parenthood does not receive another dime from hardworking taxpayers.”

“These gut-wrenching videos underscore the serious nature of the situation,” said Senator Purdue. “As a parent, and now grandparent, these actions are unthinkable. Planned Parenthood should not receive any federal funding, period. I will continue defending life and I join many Georgians and Americans in calling for an immediate investigation.”

“All life is precious, and to see it treated so callously by Planned Parenthood should make every American’s heart ache,” said Senator Scott. “Taxpayer dollars should not be funding anything remotely related to such activities, and I am proud to join Senator Ernst and my other colleagues as we take this necessary step towards defunding Planned Parenthood.”

“Recent reports have uncovered practices at Planned Parenthood that are both appalling and inhuman,” said Senator Thune. “We cannot stand idly by and allow federal funding to continue to flow to this organization.  This legislation will continue to give Americans access to needed health services without condoning this repugnant behavior.”

About the Legislation:

  • Prohibits federal funding of Planned Parenthood Federation of America or any of its affiliate organizations.
  • Protects federal funding for health services for women, including diagnostic laboratory and radiology services, well-child care, prenatal and postnatal care, immunizations, cervical and breast cancer screenings and more.
  • Ensures there is no reduction in overall federal funding available to support women’s health. 

Click here to read the text of the S.1881.

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