Republicans across US take aim at Planned Parenthood

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 17 September 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h4999
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. 1Montreal

The growing furor over undercover videos that purported to show employees of Planned Parenthood clinics in the United States trading in fetal tissue from abortions is threatening a shutdown of the federal government. The government may be unable to pay some workers this fall if conservative Republican legislators in Washington, DC, carry out their threat to reject any federal spending bill that continues funding the organization.

Meanwhile, legislators and governors in Republican dominated states have launched a slew of investigations and bills targeting the women’s health organization.

President Barack Obama has promised to veto any spending bill that removes Planned Parenthood’s $500m (£325m; €445m) in federal funding. The Republican leadership in Congress has declared its intention to defund the organization but is seeking to avoid a politically damaging showdown over the upcoming budget.

“The goal here is not to shut down the government. The goal is to stop these horrific practices of organizations selling baby parts,” said House speaker John Boehner. But the speaker faces a potential revolt within his own party, as 40 conservative Republicans signed a letter refusing to pass any spending bill that funds Planned Parenthood.

Eight heavily edited …

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