- The Washington Times - Friday, September 18, 2015

Citing undercover videos taken of abortion officials involved in fetal-tissue procurement operations, members of the House of Representatives Friday passed two bills aimed at correcting potential abuses.

A bill to end federal funding to Planned Parenthood for a year, while redirecting its $235 million to some 13,000 federally qualified health centers, passed 241-187.

A second bill, which would penalize abortion health care workers and doctors if they failed to give medical treatment and hospitalize born-alive infants, also passed, 248-177.

The votes were largely along party lines: Two Democrats voted to defund Planned Parenthood, while three Republicans voted against it and one Republican voted present.

On the second bill, five Democrats joined Republicans to criminalize failure to help born-alive infants. One Democrat voted present.

Republicans said the medical-care bill, H.R. 3504, was needed to make sure abortion doctors and medical staff protected the lives of born children. Several cited abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s habit of “snipping” the spines to kill born-alive children, despite a federal law that prohibits such an action.

Democrats noted that Gosnell is serving a life sentence for murder, and doctors and others know that a baby born alive is due medical care.

Republicans also said it was prudent and proper to block taxpayer dollars from going to Planned Parenthood while it is under investigation for violating federal and state laws regarding the harvesting and distribution of fetal tissue for research.

“We are right in restricting these funds to Planned Parenthood while we conduct this investigation,” said Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee Republican, said of H.R. 3134.

Democrats, led by Rep. Kathy Castor of Florida, said the bills were “dumb” distractions to mask the failure of the Republican majority to pass spending bills and leave the government in danger of shutting down.

Ms. Castor and others repeatedly denounced the undercover videos by the Center for Medical Progress as “false” and a “smear campaign” against Planned Parenthood, and said defunding the organization would punish women and others who need health care.

The bills now go to the Senate, where Sen. Ben Sasse, Nebraska Republican, is expected to introduce a companion bill to H.R. 3504, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act on Monday.

The Senate is also expected to take up a different abortion bill on Tuesday.

That House-passed bill, H.R. 36, would ban most abortions after 20 weeks due to a belief that by that gestational age, fetuses would experience the excruciating pain of being poisoned and dismembered.

Democrats oppose H.R. 36, saying federal law permits abortions of nonviable fetuses and such a bill illegally interferes with women’s right to obtain an abortion.

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