Speaker Paul Ryan announces efforts to defund Planned Parenthood


Justin Knoepfel

Newly re-elected House Speaker Paul Ryan announced on Thursday that Republicans will move forward in their efforts to strip federal funding for Planned Parenthood, in conjunction with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare), saying that, “Planned Parenthood legislation would be in our reconciliation bill.” This announcement comes through congressional Republicans who for several years have tried to dismantle funding for the organization because of their abortion services. President of Planned Parenthood’s Action Fund, Cecile Richard, responded to Ryan with, “Defunding Planned Parenthood is dangerous to people’s health, it’s unpopular, and it would leave people across the country without care.”

Meanwhile, opposition towards Obamacare came from its inception, which helped trigger a16-day government shutdown in 2013.  Democrats and President Obama insisted any provision that targeted Planned Parenthood be removed from a bill to fund federal agencies. Democrats could have a large impact on the success of the Republican’s desire to repeal Obamacare with such in place. Supporters need the backing of 50 of 52 members. Two pro-choice senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, will not commit to approving the bill with the Planned Parenthood language included. ”I’m going to wait and see what happens,” says Senator Collins, “Obviously, I’m not happy to hear the speaker wants to include defunding of Planned Parenthood, an extremely controversial issue in the package.” However, at the same time, Collins, who is a Republican, still voted for an amendment that would have stripped Planned Parenthood funding from a bill that would largely repeal Obamacare. While the controversy and dialogue continues to stir surrounding Planned Parenthood, it appears to be a priority for the Republicans.