Republican campaign against Planned Parenthood falters after clinic shooting

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 04 December 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h6609
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. 1Montreal

The attack on the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs last week has affected the US political climate. Owen Dyer reports

Efforts by US Republican politicians to investigate and defund the women’s health provider Planned Parenthood seem to have shifted from the serious to the symbolic in the wake of an armed attack on one of the group’s clinics last week.

Congressional Republicans, including 31 who signed a written oath, had vowed not to put forward any government spending bill for the coming fiscal year that did not strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood. President Barack Obama had promised to veto any such bill, which would have triggered a government shutdown, with agencies closed and federal workers furloughed to save money.

But the Democratic minority leader of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, said Thursday 3 December that the draft spending bill sent to her office this week by the Republican majority leader, Kevin McCarthy, contained no references to Planned Parenthood. “They had purposefully taken the Planned Parenthood language out,” she said. “My understanding is there’s some unease among their members . . . so I don’t know what they will do.” She added, “I think they know it was a loser.”

No more appetite

McCarthy acknowledged to reporters that there was no more appetite among Republican members for a shutdown over Planned Parenthood—just a month after conservative members forced the resignation of the speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, for resisting such a shutdown.

The language demanding defunding has been moved from the budget …

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