Congressional Republican leaders will take their first hopeful steps this week toward avoiding a government shutdown over federal funding for Planned Parenthood, bringing up freestanding bills aimed at cracking down on abortion.
Yet with conservatives insisting that the issue be addressed in a spending bill, and some hinting at harsh repercussions for Speaker John Boehner if he backs down, it remains unclear how Republicans will keep the issue from coming to a head at the end of the month. After honoring Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and hosting the Pope’s first-ever address, Congress will have little time to agree on a short-term funding fix by the end of the month.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced Friday that the House will vote on two bills targeting Planned Parenthood. One would place a one-year moratorium on federal funding to affiliates of the group that conduct abortions. The other would impose criminal penalties on medical providers who do not provide care for a baby who survives an abortion.
The legislation comes in response to several videos that claim to depict Planned Parenthood representatives selling tissue harvested from aborted fetuses. The organization claims the videos misrepresent what is a legal practice of donating fetal tissue for research.