WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives voted 217 to 213 on Thursday to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, reducing—but not completely eliminating—funding for the abortion and contraception giant Planned Parenthood for one year in the process.
The American Health Care Act (AHCA) will strip Planned Parenthood of $390 million of the more than $450 million it receives in federal funding each year. Speaker Paul Ryan said in January that the funding would be redirected to community health centers, which do not perform abortions.
“[W]e think it’s better to send these dollars to those clinics that do a very good job of giving women the services they need—the preventative services—without all the controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood,” he said.
The remaining $60 million will continue to be provided through the National Family Planning Program under Title X, reports state.
Planned Parenthood claimed on Thursday following the House vote that the move will make it more difficult for mothers to have healthy pregnancies and raise families.
“This is the worst bill for women’s health in a generation,” President Cecile Richards said in a statement. “It makes it harder to prevent unintended pregnancy, harder to have a healthy pregnancy, and harder to raise a family. … Women and men across the country will fight to protect access to Planned Parenthood and to defeat this bill.”
While AHCA does not mention Planned Parenthood by name, it defines “prohibited entities” as those who perform abortions other than in the cases of rape, incest and the life of the mother, and who receive more than $350,000,000 from Medicaid.
Pro-life and religious liberty organizations cheered the news, stating that taxpayer funds should not be provided to controversial organizations that kill unborn children and are the subject of numerous legal probes.
“As a nation, we are without excuse in paying for abortion on demand in Obamacare and subsidizing Planned Parenthood’s gruesome trafficking of baby body parts and its inhumane treatment of mothers and their unborn children,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Washington-based Family Research Council.
“Congress’s well-founded concern that Planned Parenthood and its affiliates are engaged in a pattern of deceptive practices designed to maximize their bottom-line revenue should be enough reason to end the public largesse on their behalf, even apart from the fact that they destroy a third of a million human lives every year and have been involved in numerous other scandals,” also remarked Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot.
The bill now moves to the Senate, where it needs 51 votes to pass.
According to the organization’s latest annual report, Planned Parenthood performed 323,999 abortions nationwide during the 2014-2015 fiscal year. The figure accounts for at least one-third of all abortions nationwide, when compared to statistics released in November by the Centers for Disease Control.
Planned Parenthood’s largest focus in 2014-2015 was sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s), as it tested and/or treated over four million people for sexual ailments, with over 3.5 million tests and 32 thousand men and women being treated for ailments contracted through sexual activity.
Over 2.9 million people were provided with contraceptives or other forms of birth control in 2014—from temporary to permanent, including over 900 thousand emergency contraception kits. The figure is down from 3.5 million the year before, and 3.7 million in 2012.
Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms as it is not licensed to operate mammogram machines, and its annual report outlined that fewer than 700,000 women received services surrounding cervical cancer screenings (pap smears for women who have been sexually active), equating to just seven percent of its services.
Sex-related services, such as STD testing and contraceptives, accounted for 76 percent of its business, as opposed to women’s health or post and pre-natal services.