- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 17, 2015

A bill to divert Planned Parenthood federal funding to community health centers for a year, and another measure that would penalize doctors if they fail to give medical care to infants born alive during an abortion are scheduled to be voted on Friday in the House.

The White House has already said it will veto both bills if they reach President Obama’s desk, and Planned Parenthood issued a memo urging lawmakers to vote against the measures.

Separately, the Senate is poised to take up another abortion bill Tuesday.

The abortion issue flared up this summer with the release of undercover videos by the pro-life Center for Medical Progress. The 10 videos capture brutally candid conversations and actions about Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the harvesting and distribution of body parts from aborted fetuses.

Pro-life groups say the videos show potentially illegal behavior in several areas — failing to get proper consent from women, manipulating abortions and possibly using partial-birth techniques to preserve valuable fetal tissue, and harvesting organs from still-living fetuses.

Planned Parenthood officials reject all these accusations, saying they have broken no laws regarding legal fetal-tissue donations. They say the videos were taken under potentially illegal circumstances, and were intentionally and deceptively edited to misrepresent abortion people and operations.

Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has called some of the videos “disturbing,” but stands with Planned Parenthood.

Republican presidential candidates — especially Carly Fiorina in Wednesday night’s debate — have called for defunding of Planned Parenthood due to the gruesome videos.

“This is about the character of our nation. And if we will not stand up and force President Obama to veto this [defunding] bill, shame on us​,​”​ Ms. Fiorina said Wednesday.

During a Thursday House debate, Republicans called for passage of H.R. 3134, introduced by ​Rep. Diane Black, Tennessee Republican​. That bill would immediate​ly place a one-year moratorium on federal funding to Planned Parenthood and its affiliates​, and send the estimated $235 million to federally funded community health centers.

The second bill is H.R. 3504, introduced by Rep. Trent Franks, Arizona Republican. It would make it a federal crime for medical professionals to not give immediate care and hospitalization to an infant born alive from an abortion procedure. Violators of this measure could be fined and/or imprisoned; they may also be sued by the mothers of the children.

Republicans, like Rep. Bradley Byrne of Alabama, said Planned Parenthood must be stripped of taxpayer funding. The videos show “egregious” actions by Planned Parenthood, he said, and the federal government shouldn’t be “spending a single penny” on it at this time.

The nation’s 13,000 federally funded health care centers greatly outnumber Planned Parenthood’s 665 centers, and can accommodate their patients, said Rep. Virginia Foxx, North Carolina Republican.​

House Democrats said the abortion bills are a “rehash” of old complaints, and are not based on any credible evidence.

The bills would create an immediate crisis in health-care access for millions of women, said Rep. Jim McGovern, Massachusetts Democrat. He also chided Republicans for trying to add the abortion bills to must-pass spending legislation — which would attract a presidential veto and likely shut down the federal government.

“What are you thinking?” Mr. McGovern asked the majority members.

Rep. Christopher Smith, New Jersey Republican, expressed disbelief that Democrats and the White House would block a bill that ensures that infants who survive abortion are given medical care.

​”​Even abortion survivors are not safe from this ​p​resident and Planned Parenthood​,” Mr. Smith said.

Next week, the bill to be considered in the Senate is H.R. 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The bill, which has already passed the House, would block most abortions after 20 weeks of development, due to a belief that fetuses can experience pain at that age.

Also on Thursday, the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health heard from two pro-life experts and an attorney who supports Planned Parenthood as part of its investigation into fetal-tissue operations and the Center for Medical Progress videos.

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