Tennessee Congresswoman Introduces Bill to Defund Planned Parenthood

WASHINGTON — A Congresswoman in Tennessee has introduced a bill to federally defund the abortion and contraceptive giant Planned Parenthood.

Rep. Diane Black announced the ‘‘Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2017″ on Friday, a bill that she also presented in 2015. It would reallocate funds to more than 13,500 women’s health community centers that do not perform abortions.

“[N]o funds authorized or appropriated by federal law may be made available for any purpose to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc., or any affiliate or clinic of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc., unless such entities certify that Planned Parenthood Federation of America affiliates and clinics will not perform, and will not provide any funds to any other entity that performs, an abortion during such period,” it reads in part.

The bill makes exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.

“For too long, this organization has cashed in on our tax dollars– to the tune of more than $550 million a year—all while performing more than 320,000 abortions during the same length of time,” Black said in a statement. “Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards should consider the introduction of this bill as her notice: the days of her organization receiving a free ride from taxpayers and a blind eye from Washington are coming to an end.”

Last week, in a fundraising email to supporters, Richards expressed concern about the future of the organization as the 115th Congress was officially sworn into office.

“A new Congress is being sworn in today—which means we are entering the most dangerous moment in Planned Parenthood’s history. That’s saying a lot, given the immense challenges Planned Parenthood has faced over the last 100 years,” she wrote. “Extremist lawmakers and their allies are dead set on blocking 2.5 million people a year from accessing care at Planned Parenthood health centers.”

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“Without the promise of a presidential veto, there’s only one thing that can stop this destructive agenda: Us. You, me, and millions of Planned Parenthood supporters locked arm in arm,” Richard stated.

While Black opined that Planned Parenthood does indeed have reason to be nervous, she said it is not in regard to the future of women’s health care.

“I know the scare tactics that Planned Parenthood will use when speaking about this bill, so let me be very clear: My legislation does not cut a single dime from public health funding. In fact, this bill provides an additional $235 million for our nation’s community health centers,” she stated.

“For Planned Parenthood or others to claim that our legislation blocks access to preventive care is an outright lie,” Black said. “This is about promoting true women’s healthcare over elective abortion and honoring the conscience rights of American taxpayers who don’t want their tax dollars used to fund a scandal-ridden abortion enterprise.”

As previously reported, the Select Panel on Infant Lives issued its 471-page final report on Wednesday, recommending that Planned Parenthood be stripped of federal funding following its year-long investigation into the abortion industry’s practices.

“Planned Parenthood affiliates and clinics have repeatedly neglected their fiduciary duty requiring good stewardship of federal taxpayer dollars through the following: careless management and failed compliance with Medicaid billing procedures; violating federal laws and regulations pertaining to patient consent and the privacy rights of their patients; changing the method of abortion to increase procurement of fetal tissue for which they received a per tissue payment; and a general disinterest in clinical integrity,” the report read.

It proposed that the grants be instead “awarded to healthcare providers that provide comprehensive preventive healthcare for their patients, and that do not perform abortions.”

Planned Parenthood outlined in its annual report last year that it performed 323,999 abortions nationwide during its 2014-2015 fiscal period.

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