This afternoon, the House of Representatives is debating a measure that would defund Planned Parenthood, which provides valuable medical services and treatment to millions of women — especially those who are low-income — across the nation.
At one point during the floor debate over the measure, Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-MS) made a series of preposterous and hysterical claims about the work of Planned Parenthood and the GOP’s measure. First, Nunnelee falsely claimed the measure wouldn’t deny funding for womens’ health. He then said that Planned Parenthood has protected child predators and people who have “raped our granddaughters”:
NUNNELEE: In this resolution not one dime or womens’ health or family planning health funding is reduced. It simply says those dollars cannot go to Planned Parenthood. This is an organization that has protected those who prey on our children and has protected those who have raped our granddaughters.
Despite Nunnelee’s claims, cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood would indeed cut funding for womens’ health care. The organization has conducted hundreds of thousands of breast exams, pap tests, and other services important to women. These services account for well over 90 percent of the organization’s operations, while abortions accounts for just 3 percent.
Moreover, it’s ironic for Nunnelee of all people to be making the hyperbolic and inaccurate claim that Planned Parenthood is defending rapists. After all, back in January, he was an original co-sponsor of H.R. 3, which while supposedly based around denying taxpayer funding for abortion, actually was originally written to do something much more sinister. As the Daily Beast’s Michelle Goldberg explained, the bill would redefine rape with regards to abortion:
Under H.R. 3, the only victims of “forcible rape” would qualify for federally funded abortions. Victims of statutory rape—say, a 13-year-old girl impregnated by a 30-year-old man—would be on their own. So would victims of incest if they’re over 18. And while “forcible rape” isn’t defined in the criminal code, the addition of the adjective seems certain to exclude acts of rape that don’t involve overt violence—say, cases where a woman is drugged or has a limited mental capacity. “It’s basically putting more restrictions on what was defined historically as rape,” says Keenan.
Unfortunately, the clients of Planned Parenthood aren’t the only people Nunnelee is putting in his sights. He also put out a statement today praising Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget, which would effectively privatize Medicare and shred the social safety net — forcing future seniors to pay the majority of their income for health care.
This afternoon in the Senate, Democrats and five Republicans voted 58-42 to reject a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. In a statement, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards called the vote a “major victory for women’s health,” noting that even some anti-choice senators voted against the bill because it “would have denied women family planning.”