Senators Put Forth Bill to Defund Planned Parenthood
WASHINGTON -- The push to stop using taxpayer money for Planned Parenthood is gaining momentum on Capitol Hill. The Senate is scheduled to vote Monday to permanently defund the abortion provider.
It's a move that could cost the organization more than $500 million a year.
The push follows the release of a third undercover video showing Planned Parenthood doctors arranging the sale of fetal body parts from aborted babies.
The footage is hard to watch: It shows Planned Parenthood doctors discussing how much aborted baby body parts would sell for on the fetal tissue market.
"There were three or four samples we could have taken out of the 11.6," an actor posing as a buyer says in the video. "If we were doing like 50 to 75 per specimen. That'd be like 200 to 300 and we'd be comfortable with that."
While Planned Parenthood claims it does not sell fetal tissue for profit, Republican lawmakers have seen enough and are calling for the federal funding of the group to stop, immediately.
Sens. James Lankford, R-Okla., Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Rand Paul, R-Ky., put forth the bill.
"Our legislation ensures that federal funding taken from Planned Parenthood will be made available to other entities that provide health services for women," Sen. Ernst said.
"The calloused harvesting of body parts by Planned Parenthood shows a complete disregard for human dignity," Sen. Lankford said. "It is self-evident that we should honor life and stand against the harvest of human organs."
Sen. Paul is one of the leaders in this fight and for him, this issue goes back a long time.
"Probably my very first public speech I spoke out against abortion," Rand told CBN News. "I gave a speech in my church when I was 17 years old."
"My hands were shaking," he recalled. "It was the first time I ever spoke in public really because I felt strongly that we should make a statement on this."
"All the rest of our rights, everything else that I argue for all stems from the right to life and if you don't defend the right to life how can you be for any other sort of lesser right or secondary rights?" he asked.
While Republicans like Paul are taking action, Democrats refuse to rush to judgment.
Although presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called the videos "disturbing," she's still defending the controversial organization.
"For more than a century, Planned Parenthood has provided essential services for women," she said. "I think it is unfortunate that Planned Parenthood had been the object of such a concerted attack for so many years."
Sen. Paul, who's also running for president, says Clinton is on the wrong side of this debate.
"She's also taking money from Planned Parenthood," Paul noted. "She's taken at least $10,000 that we can find in contributions from Planned Parenthood officials and I've called for her to return that."
"I think she should send the money back," he continued. "I think the money is tainted. I think the money comes from - indirectly at least - from people who are selling babies' organs."
Presidential politics aside, this is now a numbers game. Senate Republicans need 60 votes to push this bill through, which means some Democrats will have to join them an uphill battle for sure.
Meanwhile, the lack of attention to the videos from the mainstream media coverage hasn't helped.
A new Media Research Center report shows the big three networks spent just 11 minutes on this story in the last two weeks. Compare that to the 14 minutes spent in just one day by the networks on Cecil, the famous African lion shot to death by an American dentist.