The US Senate is expected to vote on a resolution defunding Planned Parenthood before its August recess, Republican leaders announced on 28 July. The GOP's latest effort to block federal aid for the women's heath care organisation comes on the heels of a third undercover recorded video of Planned Parenthood officials.
According to The Associated Press, the video shows the officials discussing procedures for obtaining tissues from aborted foetuses for scientific research. The videos, which have been released by the Centre for Medical Progress, have caused Planned Parenthood and several Democrats to vow they will fight the Republican effort.
"Good luck," Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said of the uphill battle Republicans face. The AP reported that the GOP will have to collect 60 of the 100 Senate votes to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood. Reid added, "We're dealing with the health of American women, and they're dealing with some right-wing crazy."
Meanwhile, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters that a group of senators, led by Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, were working on a resolution to respond to "these horrendous videos". McConnell added that the Senate would vote on the measure the group agreed on before the August recess, which is set to begin after next week.
The AP noted there are 54 Republicans and only a few anti-abortion Democrats. The measure needs 60 votes to pass. One anti-abortion Democrat, Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey told the AP he would not support the measure because "they provide all kids of primary health care" for women and the ban on using federal funds on abortions, except for instances of rape, incest or where the mother's life is in danger.
Planned Parenthood contends that it has not committed a crime or has done anything improper. The organisation said it only takes foetal organs if the mother agrees and only after she has planned to have an abortion.
Dawn Laguens, the executive vice president of Planned Parenthood, told CNN that the organisation does not profit from foetal tissue. "I say that unequivocally," she said. "We do not make a profit on foetal tissue."
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell told the AP that she had advised the House Education and the Workforce Committee, "There are statutes that guide the use of foetal tissue that are in place and should be enforced."
Republicans in the House of Representatives said there are no plans to vote on that resolution before its recess.
Voter opposition to GOP plan?
A new poll commissioned by Planned Parenthood revealed that 63% of registered voters opposed the defunding scheme. The poll, released by Democratic firm Hart Research Associates, found that 53% of Republicans favour defunding and 34% oppose the measure.
The poll also found that by a margin of 52% to 25% that voters are more likely to believe Planned Parenthood than the organisation releasing the videos, The Hill reported. Planned Parenthood has hired public relations firm SKDKnickerbocker in light of the video accusations.