Planned Parenthood fight hits Congress, wider impact unclear

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
New Video Released Involving Planned Parenthood


Women's health group Planned Parenthood, under attack by anti-abortionists posting hidden-camera videos online, will be the focus of a partisan showdown on Monday in the U.S. Senate, with any wider influence on voters from the charge still unclear.

Congressional Republicans are trying to cut off Planned Parenthood's federal funding. The effort followed the release of videos by the Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion group, that have reinvigorated America's abortion debate as the 2016 presidential campaign shifts into high gear.

The Senate plans to hold a procedural vote on Monday on a Republican proposal to cut off the funds. Democrats are expected to block it, extending the confrontation.

See photos of rallies opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood:

21 PHOTOS
Planned Parenthood Protests
See Gallery
Planned Parenthood fight hits Congress, wider impact unclear
In this Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015 photo, people participate in a rally at Utah Capitol Rotunda, in Salt Lake City, organized in support of Gov. Gary Herbert's recent decision to remove the state from federal funding of Planned Parenthood. Herbert says his move to block Utah from disbursing federal money to Planned Parenthood won't threaten women's health. Herbert last week ordered the Utah Department of Health to stop passing along about $223,000 in federal money to the Utah arm of the organization for programs like STD testing, sex education and screening for victims of sexual assault. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
This Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015 photo shows people looking on during a rally at Utah Capitol Rotunda in Salt Lake City, organized in support of Gov. Gary Herbert's recent decision to remove the state from federal funding of Planned Parenthood. Utah’s decision to stop disbursing federal money to Planned Parenthood won’t threaten women’s access to health care, Gov. Gary Herbert said Thursday. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY, UNITED STATES - 2015/08/22: Girl holds up hand-lettered sign in front of Planned Parenthood. A coalition of anti-abortion protesters protested on Mott Street in Manhattan in front of Planned Parenthood. (Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY, UNITED STATES - 2015/08/22: Assembly of some 150 anti-abortion protesters behind barricade in front of Planned Parenthood. A coalition of anti-abortion protesters protested on Mott Street in Manhattan in front of Planned Parenthood. (Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY, UNITED STATES - 2015/08/22: Protester with Baby Doe sign in front of Planned Parenthood. A coalition of anti-abortion protesters protested on Mott Street in Manhattan in front of Planned Parenthood. (Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY, UNITED STATES - 2015/08/22: Handmade sign held aloft with litany of accusations against Planned Parenthood. A coalition of anti-abortion protesters protested on Mott Street in Manhattan in front of Planned Parenthood. (Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Republican presidential candidate, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks during a Anti-abortion rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Planned Parenthood faces mounting criticism amid the release of videos by a pro-life group and demands to vote in the Senate to stop funding. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson speaks at a anti-abortion rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Planned Parenthood faces mounting criticism amid the release of videos by a pro-life group and demands to vote in the Senate to stop funding. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Republican presidential candidate, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks during a Anti-abortion rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Planned Parenthood faces mounting criticism amid the release of videos by a pro-life group and demands to vote in the Senate to stop funding. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson speaks at a anti-abortion rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Planned Parenthood faces mounting criticism amid the release of videos by a pro-life group and demands to vote in the Senate to stop funding. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Republican presidential candidate, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks during a Anti-abortion rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Planned Parenthood faces mounting criticism amid the release of videos by a pro-life group and demands to vote in the Senate to stop funding. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson attends a anti-abortion rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Planned Parenthood faces mounting criticism amid the release of videos by a pro-life group and demands to vote in the Senate to stop funding. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Anti-abortion activists hold a rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Republican presidential candidate, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks during a Anti-abortion rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Planned Parenthood faces mounting criticism amid the release of videos by a pro-life group and demands to vote in the Senate to stop funding. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Anti-abortion activists hold a rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol on July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) announced a Senate deal to vote on legislation to defund Planned Parenthood before the Senate goes into recess in August. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Anti-abortion activists hold a rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol on July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) announced a Senate deal to vote on legislation to defund Planned Parenthood before the Senate goes into recess in August. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Anti-abortion activists hold a rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol on July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) announced a Senate deal to vote on legislation to defund Planned Parenthood before the Senate goes into recess in August. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Anti-abortion activists hold a rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol on July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) announced a Senate deal to vote on legislation to defund Planned Parenthood before the Senate goes into recess in August. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Anti-abortion activists hold a rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol on July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) announced a Senate deal to vote on legislation to defund Planned Parenthood before the Senate goes into recess in August. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
FILE- In this July 28, 2015 file photo, Erica Canaut, center, cheers as she and other anti-abortion activists rally on the steps of the Texas Capitol in Austin, Texas to condemn the use in medical research of tissue samples obtained from aborted fetuses. Two state health researchers in Texas are under fire for a co-authoring a study suggesting what Republican leaders have long disputed - that cuts to Planned Parenthood are hurting access to womenâs health care. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Planned Parenthood has hundreds of family planning and reproductive health centers nationwide. It gets up to $500 million per year in Medicaid contributions, and up to $60 million in federal funds for family planning services. U.S. law tightly restricts applying federal funds to abortions.

Millions of women, many young and single, rely on Planned Parenthood for healthcare beyond abortions and family planning, including breast and cervical cancer screenings.

The group contributed nearly $1.6 million to candidates in the 2014 elections who backed abortion rights, said the Center for Responsive Politics, a campaign finance watchdog.

Young, single women are a key demographic for Hillary Clinton, front-runner for the Democratic nomination.

So far, Clinton has called the online videos "disturbing," while also saying it was "regrettable" that Republicans, allied with anti-abortionists, were trying to cut off funding.

FETAL TISSUE

In the videos, anti-abortion activists pose as researchers trying to obtain fetal tissue and, using hidden cameras, interview Planned Parenthood officials about potential costs.

Under U.S. law, donated human fetal tissue may be used for research, but profiting from the sale of it is prohibited.

One video shows white-coated lab technicians picking through what appear to be aborted fetuses looking for intact organs. Text at the end of the video asks viewers to "Hold Planned Parenthood accountable for their illegal sale of baby parts."

In response to the videos, Planned Parenthood has said allegations that it profits in any way from tissue donation are untrue and that it has done nothing wrong.

Karlyn Bowman, an analyst at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said it was unclear if the "grisly" videos would have any voter impact. "Certainly unmarried women are an important demographic" for Democrats, Bowman said.

In a handful of interviews on Friday with women passing through Union Station, a major railway hub in Washington, D.C., few were aware of the fight over Planned Parenthood.

Maria Vanalmen, 36, of Alexandria, Virginia, described herself as pro-choice, but politically "straight down the middle." She said the presidential candidates should state their views on fetal tissue research and the "disturbing" videos, but that it was too early to say much more than that.

Democratic Senator Jon Tester said the videos were "obviously doctored." He said, "We're talking about taking healthcare away from women ... this is politics at its worst."

If the Senate's vote on Monday goes as expected, the Republicans' defunding push will resume in September. Some congressional aides were predicting the dispute could get caught up in budget fights, possibly triggering a government shutdown.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Thursday said Democratic President Barack Obama will oppose moves by Republicans to defund Planned Parenthood.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners