Washington (CNN) - Nine female Senate Democrats stood grimly together Friday afternoon in a move to ramp up pressure on House Republicans and force a compromise on the budget.
"We are heading to a shutdown not because of a debate over money, not because of a debate over cuts but because Republicans continue to push a radical agenda against women," said Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Maryland.
The nine women spoke one by one to decry what they called the chief sticking point in the budget negotiations: federal money for Title X, which funds family planning and health clinics.
"Where we will not go is eliminating the healthcare for women," Mikulski said. "Make no mistake that this entire debate has included throwing women and children under the bus."
House Republicans object that some of those funds go to Planned Parenthood, which performs abortions. While Planned Parenthood says it never uses federal dollars for abortion services because that is already illegal, Republicans don't buy it, arguing federal money essentially subsidizes Planned Parenthood which helps it provide abortions.
One GOP proposal would send the Title X money to the states and let the governors decide how to spend it.
The Democratic senators did not respond to a shouted question on that idea.
Instead, the women argued policy measures like Title X cuts should not be attached to the government spending bill.
"Women's health care shouldn't be a pawn in this debate," said Sen. Patty Murray D-Washington.
Republicans, however, continue to insist negotiations are held up on disagreements over spending.
And Democrats continued to insist that wasn't so.
"We have a deal on the numbers," said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California. "And guess what this was about? Numbers."