Iowa Senator Joni Ernst’s bill to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood failed on procedural grounds Monday evening. Fifty-three senators voted to bring the bill up for consideration, but that was seven votes short of what was needed to overcome a filibuster by Democrats. Ernst said the undercover videos that sparked the effort are not going away.
“We are standing up and shining a light on what is really happening,” Ernst said during a speech on the Senate floor. “This is human life and Planned Parenthood, nation’s single largest provider of abortion services, is harvesting baby body parts.”
Republicans are now discussing the idea of trying again this fall and they may attach the Planned Parenthood “defunding” issue to a must-pass government spending bill.
“The American taxpayer should not be asked to fund an organization like Planned Parenthood that has shown a sheer disdain for human dignity and complete disregard for women and their babies,” Ernst said during remarks on the Senate floor.
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid vows to block the effort
“Senate Democrats will fight vigorously this and any other attempt from Republicans to deprive American women of health care,” Reid said.
Republicans in congress unsuccessfully tried four years ago to end federal funding for the reproductive health exams and birth control Planned Parenthood provides to low-income women. This summer the organization has been exposed to new scrutiny after an anti-abortion group released a series of undercover videos and accused Planned Parenthood of profiting from the sale of fetal tissue.
Planned Parenthood denies the charge. Planned Parenthood’s president said the American people have “zero appetite” for a GOP proposal that would “deny health care, including birth control,” to millions of women.