News Maternity and Birthing

Nebraska Governor Vetoes Bill to Provide Prenatal Care, Uses Planned Parenthood Scare to Try to Maintain Veto

Robin Marty

Once again we will get to see which anti-choice Republicans hate more, Planned Parenthood or abortions.

When “pro-life” Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman admitted that healthy babies aren’t nearly as important to him as ensuring that undocumented women don’t get any sort of doctor’s care on the taxpayer’s dime, much of the unicameral legislature decided to join together to overrule him. The legislature, led by anti-choice Republican Mike Flood, voted this session to return funding for prenatal care to the budget — dollars that go even to pregnant illegal immigrants.

Heineman threatened a veto, but the unicameral knew it had enough votes to override, making the bill unstoppable.

But now, Heineman may have come up with the one way to peel off override votes — threaten them with the specter of Planned Parenthood.

Via The Omaha World Herald:

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[T]he pro-life governor’s veto message included a new and potentially explosive new charge: that some of the prenatal funds could find their way to a leading pro-choice organization, Planned Parenthood.

“I oppose providing taxpayer benefits to illegal immigrants,” Heineman said in a press release. “I oppose providing taxpayer funding to vendors that perform or promote abortions.”

There’s only one little problem with Heineman’s strategy. Planned Parenthood doesn’t provide prenatal care in any of its Nebraska clinics. But we’ll see if just the invoking the scary “Planned Parenthood” demon is enough to sway state legislators sway, regardless of how meaningless the threat is.

News Abortion

Another GOP Governor Wants to End Planned Parenthood Funding

Zoe Greenberg

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said he would cut off Medicaid funding for the state’s Planned Parenthood. The move would deprive the organization of about $61,000.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) said this week that he would cut off Medicaid funding for the state’s Planned Parenthood, joining a host of GOP governors who have attempted to defund the health care organization.

“We have become the shining city on the hill and the champions for life,” Brownback said Tuesday in his State of the State address. “Today, I am directing Secretary Susan Mosier to ensure that not a single dollar of taxpayer money goes to Planned Parenthood through our Medicaid program.”

He added that he would welcome legislation enshrining the directive into state law.

The move would deprive Planned Parenthood of about $61,000 in Medicaid reimbursements, which fund health exams, cancer screenings, and birth control for low-income people, said Elise Higgins, a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. Planned Parenthood provides abortion care in Overland Park, Kansas, and non-abortion services at a clinic in Wichita.

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“I am disappointed on behalf of the women who rely on us for health care that the governor has chosen to make them his political scapegoat,” Higgins told The New York Times.

Several states have made similar moves to cut off Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood. Courts have blocked those attempts in Utah, Louisiana, and Alabama.

Brownback has passed a series of anti-choice laws in his five years as governor, including the first law in the nation banning dilation and evacuation, a common medical procedure used after miscarriages and in second trimester abortions. That law is under review by the state Court of Appeals.

Brownback launched an investigation last year into whether the state’s Planned Parenthood was selling donated fetal tissue, after an anti-choice front group called the Center for Medical Progress released a series of highly edited videos making that allegation. Kansas facilities don’t have any tissue collection programs, according to the President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri.

Higgins was firm in response to Brownback’s latest attempt to deprive Planned Parenthood of reimbursements. “We intend to fight this.”

News Abortion

Bill to Nix Obamacare, Defund Planned Parenthood Heads to Obama’s Desk

Ally Boguhn

President Obama is expected to veto the legislation, but the move nonetheless details the priorities of the House as it enters the new year and marks the first time such a measure has reached his desk.

The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday to repeal most of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and defund Planned Parenthood for one year, making good on a promise to focus on these tasks in the upcoming year. The bill will now head to President Obama’s desk.

The Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015, or HR 3762, passed 240 to181 with one Democrat voting in favor. The bill, which was approved by the Senate in early December, utilized the budget reconciliation process to bypass a filibuster by Senate Democrats that has halted similar measures to repeal the ACA in part or in full, voted through by House Republicans more than 50 times.

President Obama is expected to veto the legislation. The move nonetheless details the priorities of the House as it enters the new year, and marks the first time such a measure has reached his desk. Republicans intend to schedule a vote to override the president’s veto for January 22, but lack the two-thirds “supermajority” needed to force the bill through.

House Republicans will immediately set a tone that represents a better path for our country by sending the President a bill that repeals Obamacare and defunds Planned Parenthood,” House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said in a press release on the bill.

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“Obamacare is a failure and taxpayer funding of abortion providers is wrong,” McCarthy added, referring to parts of the measure that would defund Planned Parenthood. “With this bill, we will force President Obama to show the American people where he stands.”

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan similarly defended sending the largely symbolic bill to the president while appearing on Fox News’ Hannity Tuesday night.

“I mean, how many times have we been saying we want to put bills on his desk that say who we are and what we believe versus what he believes,” Ryan saidaccording to the Washington Post. “We have to go on offense in 2016, and we have to offer a bold agenda to the country.”

The House bill would eliminate both the individual and employer mandates from the health-care law, which has allowed millions of Americans to secure health insurance.

It would also eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood for one year and attempt to divert those funds in part toward community health centers, despite numerous studies conducted by scholars and health organizations finding that community clinics would not be able to fill the gap in care that defunding Planned Parenthood would create.

Republicans have prioritized the elimination of funding for Planned Parenthood in the wake of a series of deceptively edited videos released by an anti-choice front group called the Center for Medical Progress. The videos accuse the organization of illegally profiting from the sale of fetal tissue donations. Although numerous state and congressional investigations have turned up no evidence of wrongdoing, GOP lawmakers continue to champion the cause.