#PABudget: Planned Parenthood PA Funding on the Budget Chopping Block?

Last week,  Republican leadership tried to veto override 20 line items from the budget that Governor Wolf completely vetoed on June 30th.  If this action were to pass, there would have been constitutional questions raised because the governor vetoed the budget outright while the House GOP claimed that it was a series of line item vetoes that gave them the right to override the Governor’s budget veto.  All 20 of the motions failed to get the required 2/3’s majority to override a veto.

At the beginning of this attempt, House Republicans dropped the rape card early and often on House Democrats by trying to force them to help get rape crisis centers the funding they needed to operate during this fiscal year. In the weeks leading up to this override vote, two regular members and leaders within the party are actually threatening and trying to defund Planned Parenthood PA, an essential service for women’s health.

The reason?

The chopped up videos that made it appear that different Planned Parenthood branches from around the country are profiting off of the sales of fetal tissue that is used for medical research.  Right after the initial video was released, House Speaker Mike Turzai and Senate Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati penned a letter to the Attorney General’s office demanding an investigation into the alleged actions.

The Department of Health did not find any wrongdoing into the faux scandal, but that did not stop Joe Scarnati from questioning anybody with intelligence and common sense because the investigation was “inadequate” and the answers they received were also “inadequate.”  On top of that Scarnati, states that there might be a Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania, defunding fight brewing within the Republican base.

And there is.

Two members within the House have taken different paths at defunding the program.  Paul Schemel is currently circulating a co-sponsorship memo that aims to defund the organization because we’re living in post Affordable Care Act America where everyone has access to primary care providers and the necessary health care treatment, but Sari Stevens from Planned Parenthood shoots down this myth by stating:

Nearly 50% of Planned Parenthood health centers in Pennsylvania are in medically under-served areas of the state – from Somerset to Gettysburg to Coatesville.

According to Schemel, this legislation only has the support of ten legislators.  This bill will probably act as red meat and a fundraising opportunity from his base.

The other attack on Planned Parenthood PA is coming from Representative Tim Kreiger and he is planning on using two amendments, A03211 & A03212, in House Bill 1460, the budget bill that will make it to Governor Wolf’s desk when a deal between GOP leadership and the Governor is reached.

While Representative Krieger admits that he does not know which line items he and the pro-life caucus is going to amend, he believes the “amendments would substantially reduce funding from the lines believed to be used to fund Planned Parenthood activities.”  The first amendment that he has proposed would cut one hundred million dollars in state appropriations and a half billion dollars in federal appropriations to preventative services for medical eligible assistance recipients, and the second amendment would cut a billion dollars in state and federal appropriations for outpatient services and inpatient hospital services for those enrolled in capitation plans.

If there is one attack that has a chance of making an impact, it would be Krieger’s amendments because they will be voted upon by the House during the budget negotiations.  The amendments could make it into the budget bill during a committee vote or a vote on the House floor.  If that is the case, hopefully Governor Wolf does the right thing and vetoes the Krieger amendments.



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About Sean Kitchen 681 Articles
Contributor and Assistant Editor for the Raging Chicken Press. Stationed in Harrisburg covering politics in the capitol. You can send tips to sean@rcpress.org or reach me on twitter at @RCPress_Sean!
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