Less than a week after gunman, Robert Lewis Dear, opened fire on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, wounding nine and killing three, Congress voted to pass bill H.R. 3762. This bill removes funding for significant parts of Obamacare and defunds Planned Parenthood for a year. It also entails ending tax credits that subsidize the cost of health insurance and stopping the expansion of Medicaid.
It seems like a meaningless vote and it’s obvious that the White House will veto the measure; something that they’ve already promised to do, but some are a little worried that if the GOP has its way they’ll destroy Planned Parenthood all together, especially if we do not have a pro-choice president in office. Currently, Republicans are the majority in both houses of Congress, however, they don’t have the two-thirds majority needed to override a Presidential veto.
WHY EVEN TRY TO PASS SUCH A BILL?
The GOP was already well aware that this bill was dead from the moment it was proposed. The Senate vote to defund Planned Parenthood was assurance for the GOP to have tangible proof for the finger pointing at Obama that will surely follow to rile up conservatives. The same conservatives that the GOP hope will go on to elect a conservative president that could possibly push through bills like H.R. 3762.
HOW THE BILL AFFECTS PLANNED PARENTHOOD
The bill would block federal funding to Planned Parenthood for a year. The money that would have gone to Planned Parenthood would be redirect to other community health centers–health centers that the GOP get to choose based on if they approve of them or not.
However, Texas serves as a cautionary tale. After legislators began excluding Planned Parenthood and other clinics that reportedly provided abortions, and banning them from the the state’s Medicaid Women’s Health Program for low-income women, the remaining approved clinics served far fewer women after Planned Parenthood health centers were cut.
Texas’ experience doesn’t necessarily sum up what might happen on a federal level mostly because the bill targets Planned Parenthood and not other clinics.
HOW THE DEFUNDING OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD WOULD HURT WOMEN
The women most affected by the defunding of Planned Parenthood would be low-income women who would be prevented from accessing basic preventive health care. With more than 700 health centers around the country, Planned Parenthood serves roughly 2.6 million women and provides affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well sex education.
“It seems implausible that less than a week after a tragic shooting at the Planned Parenthood health center in Colorado Springs some in Washington chose politics over compassion,” Planned Parenthood’s Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens said in a statement. “What millions of people across this country needed in the wake of two unspeakable acts of violence this week, in Colorado and in California, was reassurance that lawmakers care about the lives, health and safety of the people they represent. What they got instead was the cold shoulder of indifference.”
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
H.R. 3762 will hit Obama’s desk and he’ll veto it. The Affordable Care Act is synonymous with President Obama’s legacy legislation, and it’s implausible to even think he’d allow it to be torn apart. After it’s veto’d, Republicans will be unable to override his decision.
Even if this bill had a chance at passing, and despite the stream of attacks on Planned Parenthood, the organization has no plans of stopping now. “In spite of these political attacks, we’re focused on providing high-quality, compassionate health care to people all across this country,” assured Laguens. “We won’t be deterred by violence, smear campaigns, or cynical political attacks like this.”