September 18, 2015

NM House members split on defunding Planned Parenthood

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to bar Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funding, the latest in a line of efforts to aimed at the women’s healthcare provider over abortion.

Planned ParenthoodThe vote was 241-187 on near party lines. Three Republicans voted against the measure while two Democrats voted for the measure.

In New Mexico, the members of Congress were split on partisan lines.

Rep. Steve Pearce, the lone Republican in the New Mexico delegation to Washington, voted for the legislation. Pearce signed onto a letter earlier this year saying if Planned Parenthood is not defunded, he will not support any wider government funding proposals.

Reps. Ben Ray Luján and Michelle Lujan Grisham, both Democrats, voted against the legislation.

Federal funding that would go towards abortions has been barred since 1976 and the Hyde Amendment.

Planned Parenthood has been under attack over the summer after a series of undercover videos by a conservative group showed what the group says is illegal activity. Supporters of Planned Parenthood have said the full videos showed nothing illegal happened and the heavily edited versions were misleading.

At issue in the videos is fetal tissue donations; groups can legally recoup costs for preserving and transporting the fetal tissue for research purposes. Anti-abortion activists have said the videos show Planned Parenthood selling parts of aborted fetuses.

The controversy received another shot of attention when Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina said during this week’s CNN debate that the videos showed “a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.”

This did not happen in the videos.

President Barack Obama has said he would veto the legislation if it reached his desk. Efforts in the Senate to bar Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funds have already failed.

Planned Parenthood Votes New Mexico blasted the legislation ahead of the vote.

“These attacks on Planned Parenthood are part of a clear political agenda: to ban abortion and roll back access to reproductive health care,” Cathy Alderman, Vice President of Public Affairs of Planned Parenthood Votes New Mexico, said in a statement. “That’s not something Americans — or New Mexicans want — that’s why millions across the country support Planned Parenthood.”