Supporters of planned parenthood describe it as a vital supplier of health care services, including contraception, family planning, HIV prevention and cancer screenings for millions of women in the United States. It also provides about one-third of the estimated one million abortions performed each year in the country. Public funding represented some 40% of Planned Parenthood's $1.3 billion budget last year. The US Senate Democrats blocked a deeply controversial measure aimed at halting all federal funding to the largest abortion provider in the nation.
The bill received a majority 53-46 vote largely along party lines, but it failed to reach the 60 votes necessary to advance in the chamber. The legislation was inspired by a secretly-recorded video released in July 2015 by anti-abortion activists, which depicted a Planned Parenthood official discussing the scientific research community's demand for fetal tissue, and the best abortion techniques for preserving certain organs. The video footage was blasted by critics as vile organ 'harvesting' and highlighted the controversial nature of fetal tissue sourcing, with some conservatives going so far as to accuse Planned Parenthood of illegally engaging in the trade of fully-formed fetuses.
AdvertisementShortly before the vote, number two Senate Republican John Cornyn said, "An organization that so callously reduces our most vulnerable to spare parts for sale has no business receiving any money from the federal taxpayers."
Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front runner in the 2016 presidential race, called the revelations in the secret video as disturbing. But later she came to Planned Parenthood's defense, and assailed Republicans including White House rivals Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, essentially calling them out for a continued war on women's health rights. Clinton said, "If this feels like a full-on assault on women's health, that's because it is. They're talking about cutting people off from the health care provider they know and trust."