Democrats in the Senate have blocked a Republican bill that would stop taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood. The bill would have provided short-term funding for the federal government up to December 11. Republican leaders hoped that the bill would avoid a government shutdown on October 1. The only Democrat to vote for the bill was Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia while some Republicans did break ranks because they criticized the bill only provided short-term funding. Political conflict in Congress has also led Speaker of the House John Boehner to resign.
The argument many Democrats make against removing $540 million in funding for Planned Parenthood is that the organization provides important services for women who need medical assistance that cannot receive it elsewhere, but their argument is highly exaggerated. Take Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's statement as an example. He said Planned Parenthood "is the health care backbone for American women during their lives. In fact, it's the only health care that a significant number of women get. About 30 percent of women, that's their health care."
A report from PolitiFact ruled his statement as "Pants on Fire" because the real data for medical service are drastically low. Only 2.7 million women went to Planned Parenthood in 2013, but Reid believed that the number of patients was 39 million. That's simply way too high. Those women who receive care from Planned Parenthood could easily go to other organizations that provide identical service. Kelsey Harkness of The Daily Signal looked into the numbers and found that there were 13,540 clinics that provide comprehensive healthcare for women across the United States. There are only 665 Planned Parenthood locations, so defunding Planned Parenthood does not create a disastrous situation for women.
Since there are plenty of other clinics for women to be treated, continuing to send taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood is unnecessary. There's also the fiscal argument against funding Planned Parenthood. The U.S. federal deficit returned to a pre-recession level last year, but it was still $483.35 billion. The government cannot continue to borrow money it does not have or else the American credit rating will continue to be damaged. An overhaul of every federal program is needed. Even though Planned Parenthood funding is pennies compared to the deficit, that doesn't justify the continuation of funding. The government has to reduce spending across-the-board to balance the budget. When large surpluses become the norm, taxes can be cut so women have more money that they can spend on healthcare. This is the route our country will need as we move into a dangerous fiscal future.