This was a vote on the amendment offered by Rep. Pence (R-IN) to H.R.3293, the bill that provided 2010 fiscal year funding for the Department of Health and Human Services. The amendment would have prohibited any family planning and preventive health services funds in the bill from going to the Planned Parenthood organization. The web site of the House Republican Conference, which informed Republican Members about proposed amendments to pending legislation, claimed that Planned Parenthood is the largest recipient of federal family planning money, having received “nearly $350 million of American taxpayer money” in 2007 and 2008. It also said that Planned Parenthood was “the largest abortion provider in America.” The site claimed that “one in every five (U.S). abortions occurs at a Planned Parenthood facility.”
Pence began his remarks by saying he believes “it's morally wrong to use the taxpayer dollars of millions of pro-life Americans to fund abortion providers.” He acknowledged “that current laws and regulations prevent (family planning) funds from flowing directly to funding abortions,” but said that Planned Parenthood is “able to use the resources they receive from taxpayers to . . . free up resources to engage in the abortion trade . . . . “
In support of the amendment, Rep. Schmidt (R-OH) said: “Recent polls indicate that a majority of Americans are opposed to paying for abortions through their tax dollars. This amendment . . . simply brings the federal family planning funds in line with the sentiment of the majority of Americans.”
Rep. Obey, who chairs the Appropriations Committee, which developed H.R. 3293, opposed the amendment. He noted that there is already a prohibition on using family planning funds for abortions, and that the amendment would “not reduce overall funds for family planning services.” He then argued that Planned Parenthood clinics funded by the bill “provide important health care access to low-income uninsured patients, 5 million women in 4,500 clinics nationwide. The breast cancer screenings and the well-mother exams they receive may be the only health care they get all year. If Planned Parenthood clinics are forced to close, these women may have to forgo critical care because they will lack a single provider providing family planning funding, and this amendment would only make matters worse.”
Rep. Holt (D-NJ), who also opposed the amendment, said the discussion “should not be an anti-choice or pro-choice debate . . . This debate should be about prevention. It should be about continuing to provide women with the necessary tools for prevention, including contraception and education. It should be about protecting women's health by providing women with access to reproductive health care. We all should be able to agree that we would like to see fewer abortions performed in this country, and comprehensive family planning services that Planned Parenthood provides are a proven means to accomplish that. “
The amendment was defeated by a vote of 183-247. One hundred and sixty-three Republicans and twenty Democrats voted “aye”. Two hundred and thirty-eight Democrats and nine Republicans voted “nay”. As a result, no language was added to the bill providing fiscal year 2010 funding for the Department of Health and Human Services that would have prohibited federal family planning funds from going to Planned Parenthood.