Efforts to defund Planned Parenthood steamrolled Wednesday as Sen. Rand Paul introduced an amendment to cut off federal support, citing concerns raised in two undercover videos about the organization’s handling of fetal-tissue donations from abortion.
The Kentucky Republican, a contender for the GOP presidential nomination and an eye doctor, introduced an amendment to H.R. 22, the vehicle for the highway bill, that would end Planned Parenthood’s roughly $500 million in federal funding.
That represents nearly half of Planned Parenthood’s annual revenues, which were $1.2 billion in 2012-13, according to the organization’s annual report.
“The continued disregard and disrespect for human life at Planned Parenthood, a partially taxpayer-funded organization, is shocking and appalling,” Mr. Paul said.
“Recent video revelations, involving potentially criminal activity, make it more obvious than ever that this organization has absolutely zero respect for the sanctity of human life and is an affront to the most basic human dignity enshrined in our founding documents. Not one more taxpayer dollar should go to Planned Parenthood and I intend to make that goal a reality,” he said.
His proposal follows a bill submitted Tuesday by Rep. Diane Black, Tennessee Republican, for a one-year moratorium on Planned Parenthood funding while Congress conducts a “full investigation into the organization’s activities.”
Her bill already has 80 original cosponsors.
“The fact that Planned Parenthood performs upwards of 327,000 abortions a year is heartbreaking and barbaric enough on its own,” Ms. Black said in a statement. “The news that its employees engaged in the harvesting of aborted babies’ body parts is almost too much to bear and is incredibly revealing as to the true nature of the big abortion industry.”
A Government Accountability Office study released in March found that Planned Parenthood received an additional $1.2 billion over a three-year period in Medicaid funding, according to LifeNews.
Planned Parenthood officials have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, saying that their clinics comply with federal law in that they are only reimbursed for costs arising from donations of fetal tissue and organs to medical research facilities.
The two videos showing undercover interviews with two Planned Parenthood doctors were released by the pro-life Center for Medical Progress as part of a three-year investigation.