This vote was on an amendment by Mike Pence, R-Ind., that would prohibit funds in the bill from going toward Planned Parenthood. The amendment was offered to the bill that funds the Labor, Health and Education departments in fiscal 2008.
Pence said that Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of abortions in the country and that even though money in the bill would not go directly to funding abortions, those who dislike the practice should not have their tax money go to support such a group.
"Millions of pro-life Americans should not be asked to fund the leading abortion provider in the United States. Now, let me stipulate, I know that title X funds may not be used for abortion. And my amendment does not cut or reduce the budget for family planning in this appropriation bill; it simply prevents appropriated funds from reaching an organization that profits from the abortion trade," Pence said.
David Obey, D-Wis., said he has worked to broker a deal among both parties not to try to push through any abortion-related legislation that would upset either side, and that Pence's amendment would do just that.
"[Pence] doesn’t like Planned Parenthood. I don’t care whether Planned Parenthood gets money or not. What I do care about is that the women who are served by Planned Parenthood get the services to which they are entitled under the Constitution. And so I would ask the gentleman, in the interest of the bipartisan neutrality that we have tried to build over the past 2 months, to consider withdrawing the amendment, and I thank the gentleman for the time," Obey said.
The amendment was rejected by a vote of 189-231. Of Republicans present, 173 voted for the amendment and 21 voted against it. Of Democrats present, 16 voted for the amendment and 210 voted against it. The end result is that the measure went forward without any prohibitions against sending federal funding to Planned Parenthood for services not directly related to performing abortions.