Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) announced legislation to defund Planned Parenthood on Friday as thousands of people gathered in Washington, D.C., for the March for Life — the first time the annual event has been held since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
“I’ve introduced my first bill of the 118th Congress. It would defund Planned Parenthood. We need to protect the sanctity of life in this country. To all those marching at the March For Life, let’s rally behind this bill and get it done!” Boebert said in a tweet.
More than $633 million in taxpayers’ dollars went to Planned Parenthood affiliates for the year ending June 30, 2021, the group said in its most recent annual report covering 2020-2021. The group, which offers a range of health care services to women, also acknowledged 383,460 abortion procedures, which marked an increase from 354,871 in the previous report.
The Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the group’s advocacy arm, has a page on its website claiming that when politicians talk about “defunding” Planned Parenthood, “they really mean blocking patients who depend on public health care funds from getting their care at Planned Parenthood health centers.”
Under Boebert’s legislation, which boasts 29 co-sponsors, federal tax dollars are prohibited for one year from going to Planned Parenthood and its affiliates unless these entities certify they will not provide any funds or services geared toward abortions. There are exceptions outlined for the moratorium, including for abortions in a pregnancy that are the result of an act of rape or incest, as well as in cases when the mother’s life is placed in danger.
The “Defund Planned Parenthood Act” orders secretaries of the Health and Human Services Department and Agriculture Department to seek repayment of any federal assistance received by Planned Parenthood or its affiliates who are found in violation of their certifications. Boebert’s bill also aims to appropriate $235,000 to community health center programs under Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act.
“The nation’s largest abortion provider has no business receiving taxpayer dollars. Planned Parenthood claims these funds go to healthcare for women, but last year, Planned Parenthood performed a record number of abortions while also reducing the number of well-woman exams and breast cancer screenings it performed,” Boebert said in a statement. “Instead of funding Planned Parenthood, my bill will redirect this funding to community health centers that actually meet the health needs of women across the country.”
As with many Republican bills aimed at defunding Planned Parenthood over the years, this one faces long odds. The GOP has a slim majority in the House, but Democrats who control the Senate and White House likely would oppose any such measure.
Still, Republicans remain undeterred. On the Senate side, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) announced Friday she will reintroduce the Protect Funding for Women’s Health Care Act, which a statement said “prohibits federal funding to Planned Parenthood or any of its affiliate organizations and redirects funds for other health services for women, such as cancer screenings, prenatal and postnatal care, immunizations, and other eligible services.”