A vote to divert Planned Parenthood funding to community health centers and hospitals that do not perform abortions failed when Senate Democrats filibustered the legislation, although two of their colleagues voted with Republicans. “There would be absolutely no reduction in overall federal funding available to support women’s health,” said Senator Joni Ernst (R., Iowa) during a floor debate on the bill.
Planned Parenthood does “a lot of wonderful things,” according to the whistleblower featured in a string of undercover videos detailing the abortion provider’s practices, “but they also do things like fetal trafficking.”
The whistleblower, Holly O’Donnell, a former procurement technician for the biotech company StemExpress, said she’s not sure Planned Parenthood should shut down. “I don’t think I have any authority to outright say, ‘Oh yeah, shut down Planned Parenthood.’ Because they do do good for women as well,” O’Donnell said in an interview Wednesday evening.
“But at the same time, how many other clinics, how many low-cost clinics in the USA do good for women as well?” O’Donnell’s comments neatly summarize the congressional debate over how to respond to the Center for Medical Progress videos, which feature her accusing her former employer and Planned Parenthood of violating a legal ban on the sale of human organs and of taking the brain out of an aborted baby that had a discernible heartbeat — an apparent violation of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act.
Republican lawmakers have called for an end to federal funding for Planned Parenthood, with Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) going so far as to argue that Congress should be willing to risk a government shutdown toward that end. “It should be a very easy decision that taxpayer funds will not go to fund an ongoing criminal enterprise,” Cruz said in July.