WASHINGTON (BP) — The legislative effort to defund Planned Parenthood failed Monday (Aug. 3) in the U.S. Senate, but pro-life advocates said they will not give up.
The Senate voted 53-46 to bring to the floor a bill to eliminate federal funds for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and its affiliates. In its latest financial report (2013-14), PPFA said it received more than $528 million in federal grants, contracts and reimbursements. It performed 327,653 abortions in 2013.
While a majority of senators favored consideration of the proposal to defund PPFA, the attempt to invoke cloture, as it is known, fell short of the 60 votes needed to begin debate on the legislation and establish a path to its passage. However, with 53 senators who supported the bill, this attempt to defund Planned Parenthood gained more support than a previous attempt to do so in 2011, when only 42 senators voted to defund the abortion giant.
Moreover, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is a pro-lifer who supported the bill, but he voted against it as a matter of procedure so that he can bring up the measure to defund Planned Parenthood again in the future.
From Missouri, Republican Senator Roy Blunt voted for the bill and Democrat Senator Clair McCaskill voted against the bill.
The failure to move the bill, S. 1881, to the floor came in spite of the release during previous weeks of videos revealing Planned Parenthood’s trade in baby body parts. The four undercover videos show PPFA officials discussing the sale of organs from aborted children for research. A fifth video was released Aug. 5.
One of Missouri’s two Planned Parenthood clinics, located in St. Louis, was implicated in the trafficking of aborted baby body parts in one of these videos. Additionally, a Planned Parenthood clinic in Overland Park, Kansas, that draws many Missouri women seeking abortions was exposed for trafficking in aborted baby body parts 15 years ago.
If the bill to defund Planned Parenthood had become law, federal tax dollars would have been redirected to other Federally Qualified Health Centers around the nation that don’t perform abortions. According to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, these health centers outnumber Planned Parenthood by 13 times.
Pro-life leaders have expressed their dismay, as well as their devotion to continuing the defunding campaign.
Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), said he is disappointed the Senate “did not show the moral leadership to stop funding this violence. Now Senators are on record as for or against, and the debate goes on.”
“We will not rest until the fundamental protections of right to life and liberty apply to all, regardless of age, income, or stage of development,” said Moore, who endorsed the Senate bill in a July 30 letter to leaders of both houses. (This article was based on a Baptist Press article by Tom Strode, but contains additional reporting by Benjamin Hawkins.)