Friday, December 4, 2015

Senate Votes to Defund Planned Parenthood

         On Thursday, the Senate passed a bill (52-47) that would repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act and defund Planned Parenthood for one year. Because of a procedure called budget reconciliation, the bill only needed 50, as opposed to the usual 60, votes to past. Although, as expected, the majority of votes came from Republicans, 2 Democrats voted for the bill and 2 Republican senators voted against the bill. Many moderate Republicans are upset with the outcome. The Senate has voted before on repealing parts/all of Obamacare, but this is the first time with the Planned Parenthood addition.

        Now, the bill goes to the House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass because a different version of this bill was passed in the House in October. The White House has said that President Obama will veto the bill, and since Republicans do not hold a two thirds majority, they cannot override his veto. This is very well known, but there is still purpose to passing this bill, even though it is futile. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) said that this bill was passed in order to display the “big division in this country, and a lot of us don’t like it, and the American people don’t like it,” making the passing of the bill into a statement of Congress’s opinions. Also, this vote clearly declares that if a Republican wins the 2016 presidential election, Obamacare will be repealed.
How do you feel about this? Should Obamacare be repealed? Should Planned Parenthood be defunded?
In light of the recent shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado, do you think this is insensitive? How do you think this violent event impacted the voting?
Sources: (warning: this post is extremely biased and has some insensitive language)


Daniel Jun said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daniel Jun said...

Note: I deleted my previous comment because reasons. That is all.

Defunding Planned Parenthood sounds incredibly scary (and for all I know, maybe it really deserves that fear), but getting rid of planned parenthood doesn't mean that all women are going to be unable to receive abortions or the kind of health-care that Planned Parenthood provides. There are many other organizations, groups, and privately-run businesses that deal with the exact same field as Planned Parenthood.

However, this shows a change in, at the very least, America's political psyche. This is a win for the Republicans, plain and simple (or maybe it's the conservatives). Yet at the same time, I wonder if Planned Parenthood is really necessary. As I stated above, many organizations and the like exist that can fill the gap, but that isn't the main concern of the talks about the pros and cons of defunding Planned Parenthood. The most important aspect of this is why this change to Obama Care is happening now, and how this will affect future Obama Care or healthcare related subjects.

Cami Nemschoff said...

I think that the motives of those who voted to defund Planned Parenthood are unjustified. In recent years, Planned Parenthood has become the symbol of the enemy of the pro-life movement. However, if you refer to this report put out by Planned Parenthood in 2014, only 3% of their funding goes towards abortions. ( Even if people of the pro-life movement want to eliminate abortions, it is unfair for Planned Parenthood to be defunded in its entirety. Much of what Planned Parenthood uses their funding for is STD testing'treatment, birth control, and other women's health services. By choosing to defund Planned Parenthood, people are not only decreasing funding for abortions, but they are decreasing funding for health services that make a huge impact on the health of women (and men!). I have also read statistics showing that if Planned Parenthood were to shut down, there would actually be a rise in abortions because Planned Parenthood would not be able to provide birth control to prevent unwanted pregnancies, Although it is unlikely that this will actually pass, it is a scary thought that someday one of the primary suppliers of sexual health education and screening could be left with no funding.

Caroline Mameesh said...

Building off of what Cami said above, I think there is more than just the issue of abortions at stake here. Planned Parenthood's mission is "to provide comprehensive reproductive and complementary health care services in settings which preserve and protect the essential privacy and rights of each provide educational programs which enhance understanding of individual and societal implications of human sexuality... [and] to promote research and the advancement of technology in reproductive health care and encourage understanding of their inherent bioethical, behavioral, and social implications" (, among other aims. In defunding Planned Parenthood, there are implications that reach far beyond abortion (using Cami's 3% statistic for proof); Planned Parenthood is essential for sex education. It seems bizarre to me to defund a program that educates young people on how to make responsible reproductive decisions, which can prevent unwanted pregnancies in the future. Unwanted pregnancies often lead to abortions; this seems like a vicious cycle to me.
The real fight here is over abortion, so it seems unnecessary to remove funding for Planned Parenthood as a whole. Why not start with removing funding for the abortion efforts of Planned Parenthood? That, I'm sure, could appease conservatives, but, at the same time, it does not stagnate sex ed and Planned Parenthood's other efforts.
Planned Parenthood uses 34% of its $1.3 billion in revenue for contraception; 42% is regarding STIs/STDs ( This is an overwhelming majority of that $1.3 billion, and it has nothing to do with abortion.
We just had that data collection assignment in class, and by using what we learned to quickly evaluate Planned Parenthood's spending habits based on some data collected, it is clear to see that defunding Planned Parenthood for the mere sake of stunting abortions is short-sided and based largely in the emotions of the abortion conflict.

Jessica Yeh said...

I agree with Cami- defunding Planned Parenthood will have a larger impact in decreasing the availability of crucial healthcare services for women and men. The potential of that happening is scary, although it is very unlikely that Congress would be able to overturn Obama's expected veto.
As for Daniel's comment, I agree that there are many other organizations that deal with the same field as Planned Parenthood, and some women would be able to go to those organizations if Planned Parenthood was defunded. Yet, analysts from the Congressional Office of Budget believe the most likely outcome would be around 390,000 women losing their source of medical care- these other clinics do not have the resources to take in everyone. In addition, Planned Parenthood caters to women with Medicaid or who are uninsured, and these women would likely be unable to find healthcare services if Planned Parenthood were defunded. The counterargument to this is that if federal funding was diverted into other community health centers, then this wouldn't be a problem. However, appropriating more funds would take time, and there does not appear to be any huge effort to push this funding alongside the defunding of Planned Parenthood.

Anonymous said...

Building on Jessica's idea, I think that if Congress were to defund Planned Parenthood, they would owe it to the women, (and the men as Cami mentioned) that rely on Planned Parenthood, to provide alternative health care options. Yes, one of goal of Congress is indeed to represent their constituents' ideas and beliefs (such as the stance on abortion that this vote provides); however, congressional members are also in charge of running a nation, which means that they should take into account the effects of a bill on the lives of their citizens. Thus, congressional members should vote on this bill taking into account both their constituents desires and needs, despite the fact that the bill will most likely die in the White House.
Additionally, as Emma mentioned in her question, the timing of this bill is quite inconvenient, not only because of the recent shooting in Colorado but also because of the soon to be Supreme Court case: Whole Women's Health v. Cole. This abortion case will be heard in June 2016 by the Supreme Court and will continue in the line of abortion cases, joining the ranks of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey as a landmark abortion case. In this case, the Court will be deciding whether the "undue burden" analysis should take into account the extent to which the obstacles posed by the Texas law should be ruled as actually promoting the state's interests ( Therefore, the results and outcomes of this case may affect the views of citizens and congressional members on the abortion debate and ultimately affect the politics surrounding it. Getting back to the article, all three of these events (the vote, the shooting and the case) demonstrate the prevalence of issue-based politics currently dividing much of the country, allowing the two-party system to survive in American politics.

Anonymous said...

Agreeing with many other commenters in this post I agree that defunding for planned parent hood could have a big impact on the availability for an important medical freedom for all citizen of the United States. However, I will say that I think the shooting could have had a bigger affect on congress's beliefs. Or it could have just given conservatives an opening to amend a policy in the US government that they throughly disagree with. That still doesn't mean that this could have scared a couple of congress into voting differently. This event very well could have created an idea where more extremists could "take action" and bring harm to even more people involved in planned parenthood. However, that still doesn't mean congress should vote more on their personal beliefs on a topic like this even though they are encouraged to do so. Agreeing with everyone else again congress still have to take into consideration what is best for the people.