As the Senate convened on Monday to vote on a bill seeking to defund Planned Parenthood, Sen. Elizabeth Warren took the floor to issue a fierce defense of the health organization.
“Do you have any idea what year it is?” Warren asked. “Did you fall down, hit your head, and think you woke up in the 1950’s or the 1890’s? Should we call for a doctor? Because I simply cannot believe that in the year 2015, the United States Senate would be spending its time trying to defund women’s health care centers. You know, on second thought, maybe I shouldn’t be that surprised. The Republicans have had a plan for years to strip away women’s rights to make choices over our own bodies. Just look at the recent facts.”
The Massachusetts senator continued her impassioned speech and listed examples of Republican-lead efforts to gut health care services to women over the years, including the recent budget proposal that includes a measure to remove federal funding for family planning providers.
The most recent call to gut federal spending on Planned Parenthood was sparked by several videos secretly recorded by a sting mission that appeared to capture top officials from the organization discussing the sale of fetal tissues. Following the public release of the videos, Planned Parenthood was hit by two cyber-attacks—one aimed at its website and another claiming to have hacked into the organization’s databases and employee information.
The group, which now receives $528 million in federal funding (or 41 percent of its annual budget), also provides contraception to almost 40 percent of women who rely on public programs for family planning.
The videos have already moved Congress to launch two probes into the organization’s activities. Eight Republican governors—including several who are running for president—have opened parallel investigations. Many Republican senators—including several who are running for president—have vowed to strip Planned Parenthood of its hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding.
While its opponents tried to brand Planned Parenthood as an abortion mill, the group has stressed that abortions make up only 3 percent of its services, and STI screenings, Pap tests, and pregnancy prevention comprise the vast majority of its activities.