20 senators support Biden's efforts on Planned Parenthood
March 16th, 2011
07:12 PM ET
12 years ago

20 senators support Biden's efforts on Planned Parenthood

Washington (CNN) – Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, along with 19 other Democratic senators, penned a letter Wednesday in support of Vice President Joe Biden's effort to maintain government subsidies for Planned Parenthood in the final budget negotiations for the 2011 funding bill.

The group said a Republican-led proposal to de-fund the organization would harm the economy.

"This ideological agenda cloaked in a budget document isn't even good fiscal policy....As a matter of creating jobs and bolstering the economy, this rider would have the opposite effect: not only will health centers be forced to close but many uninsured women and their families also may go without care, become more ill, and be kept away from their jobs," the senators wrote.

Top Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner and Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, have proposed stripping more than $75 million in federal funding from Planned Parenthood because it offers abortion procedures. Planned Parenthood offers health care assistance to women in need and currently has the ability to use government subsidies in all services they provide, aside from abortion procedures.

While the partially-publicly funded organization is not permitted to use federal funds for abortion, proponents for de-funding say applying government money to other procedures frees up funds the organization receives from non-government sources to go toward providing abortion services.

Among the list of those who co-signed the letter seeking to preserve funding were: Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Barbara Boxer of California, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Dianne Feinstein of California, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Carl Levin of Michigan, Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Charles Schumer of New York.

In the letter, the Democratic senators argued that prohibiting Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funding would neither help in tackling the deficit, nor in creating jobs.

"It would instead effectively shut down health centers that serve three million women each year and provide nearly one million lifesaving screenings for cervical cancer, more than 830,000 breast exams and nearly four million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV," they wrote.

In response to the de-funding move, Moveon.org has partnered with the political action committee EMILY's List in a new effort to mobilize voters to speak out against what they view as "Republicans pursuing a very conservative, anti-woman agenda."

The joint venture, "Stop the War on Women," with MoveOn.org, a progressively liberal political action committee with over 5 million members, gives EMILY's list an opportunity to reach out to more Americans across the country.

EMILY's president Stephanie Schriock said the effort will bring attention to what they view as "a radical Republican agenda with clear attack on women and women's health."

"They promised to focus on jobs," Schriock said. "Instead, Republican leaders pulled a bait and switch on the American people. And they passed a budget so backwards, so punishing, and so unacceptable to women and families that we're fighting back."

Echoing a similar stance, the senators' letter stated, "Without the care Planned Parenthood provides – without access to Pap smears, pelvic exams and breast exams – women will die. That is not just a fiscal matter. That is a matter of conscience, and a question of who we are as Americans."

-CNN's National Political Correspondent Jessica Yellin contributed to this report

soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Better step it up Dems ...

    Or you can kiss my contributions to the DCCC goodbye – I'll be giving it all to PP. Only 18 senators?? DISGUSTING.

    March 16, 2011 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  2. AK Sean

    I am disappointed that there aren't more senators willing to sign the letter.

    March 16, 2011 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  3. Debbie from Arizona

    I agree that this is a War on Women by the Republicans. Planned Parenthood provides so many needed services to women that are being cut from state budgets. Here in Arizona, our Republican Governor cut Well Women Check-ups for women on the state health care system (AHCCCS), which is totally backward thinking. It costs far more to treat a woman with cervical cancer (which they will cover), but not for a PAP test to detect it in it's early stages. The Republicans also want to cut support for WIC (Women, Infants and Children). This program provides monthly check-ups to infants and children up to 5 years old and provides vouchers for formula and baby food. They are so darn pro-life, but they don't care one bit once the baby is born. Do they even wonder what these cuts are doing to actual people in our country, or do they just not care?

    March 16, 2011 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  4. peace

    where in the hell is the gop women on this oh these stupid chicks dont have a voice in their party.

    March 16, 2011 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  5. ingrid

    Good for Dems!!! Good for Biden!

    March 16, 2011 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  6. ingrid

    Congressman Mike Pence is reprehensible and is doing this to appease his far right base and a distraction from the promise his party made to create jobs. The GOP has no plan and never had plans to create jobs; their tactic once they came into office has been to distract the general population with social issues. The argument that they are helping to reduce our deficit is also false as Planned Parenthood costs very little to operate and the social benefit of their services (birth control, counseling, prenatal care and other other health related services) are enormous.

    March 16, 2011 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  7. Proud member of "Global Zero"

    I hope at least one of my Senators also signed that letter. This is a travesty. As a young woman in college I chose planned parenthood for birth control. As a young married without insurance, this is where I continued my GYN visits until I was ready to have a family. By the way, I waited until I had insurance before becoming a parent.

    March 16, 2011 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  8. Blue Person Group

    "This ideological agenda cloaked in a budget document..." says it all, and the Democrats should simply accept that the ideological agenda is as much theirs as it is the Republicans'. One side is anti-abortion, and the other is not. Planned Parenthood is perceived as a pro-abortion organization, and is thus a target for abortion opponents. All the statements about the economy are a silly smokescreen, regardless of who makes them.

    I think it's ironic, though, that if abortion became unattainable in the United States, the Democrats would benefit the most when all those unwanted poor children reached voting age.

    March 16, 2011 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  9. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Republicans don't support equal pay for women but they sure have a lot to say about women and their bodies. I guess next they will have women in this country all wearing long dresses and head wear.

    March 16, 2011 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  10. usualone

    Republicans need to ask themselves if they really care about the living breathing human beings, especially women who bear the primary responsiblilities of raising children. They are using the "abortion" theme to toss around to stir up their base. Abortion is a minor function of Planned Parenthood. If women are educated about birth control among other things, there will be less abortions. We all do pay for the unwanted babies that are brought into the world whether these Republicans realize it or not.

    March 16, 2011 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  11. DAVE

    republicans need to sit down and shut up about the abortion issue! the have fooled chirstian voters out of their vote for years and are still beating that dead horse. when the republicans had control of the house the senate and the white house they made no move to outlaw abortions. republicans need to spend time on things they might change because they past their window to outlaw abortion! i am a pro life democrat and i would not waste my vote on a republican because of this issue because it comes along with support of greed and war on the middleclass.

    March 16, 2011 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |

    Disgusting!!!! Instead of cutting our debt, making jobs, and improving the economy, the Democrats want to go along with their friends at Planned Parenthood. They complain about not taxing the rich, but even if we did...we would still have 13.9 trillion dollars in debt!!!! Democrats=more taxes, more job loss, bad economy, love for PP---Republicans=less taxes, more jobs, great economy, love for ALL AMERICANS (not just the middle class). THE GOP HAS TRIED THEIR BEST!!!! GOP 2012!

    March 16, 2011 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  13. rusty155

    Republican don't care about the Poor. They only care about the Rich. You don't see the Republican doing anything to the Rich or Big Business In this budget cut do you. We need to get the Republican out of office be for they put America in the Poor house and take away all your right while they are doing It. They will keep hurting the poor and the middle class , until Min. wage Is 4.00 HR. and no one will have a nice wage.

    March 16, 2011 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  14. T'sah from Virginia

    OMG – I never heard of the government paying for abortions???? Where is this coming from? Planned Parenthood does NOT equal abortions!!! The RepubliCAN'Ts are going wild and anything that affects the middle class and more so the lower class is getting CRUSHED while the RICH continue to get tax breaks!!!

    ["They promised to focus on jobs" ]
    But instead they have turned into snobs
    Their goal is to wipe out Middle Class
    While the RICH get a tax increase pass

    ["...they passed a budget so backwards, so punishing..."]
    Their objection is very clear how they are demolishing
    Everyone who wants to rise above the crack
    That’s why the Dems have chose to "fight back".............About time!!!

    March 16, 2011 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  15. debbie

    all i have to say about this article is that biden and the rest of the dems...need to read the book "UNPLANNED" from a woman who is a former planned parenthood director!

    March 16, 2011 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  16. Marie MD

    Planned Parenthood is more than abortions. Unfortunately the closed mind ring wing nutsos don't want to understand the real purpose of the organization.
    Of course, these are the same people who would never dare adopt a baby or probably turn off the TV when another child is found dead due to an abusive home life.
    The rethugs are all about telling women what to do. They should first look in the mirror and, yes, what about those jobs? Wasn't that your first priority?

    March 16, 2011 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  17. once upon a horse

    these same Republicans want to strip some funding to Planned Parenthood, which also aids in teaching birth control not only abortions. Yet let these women start having babies, especially the lower income ones and minorities and guess where these kids are going to wind up more than likely...ON WELFARE!! Oh yeah and we know how the far right loves handouts and what they call freebies now don't we. I would NEVER advocate using abortion as a form of birth control but there are other ways to keep pregnancies from occuring besides total abstaining. PP helps with that and a pill or IUD or condom is far cheaper than a child not wanted being on goverment aide for the most part of his childhood.

    March 16, 2011 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |