House Approves Taxpayer Funding of Planned Parenthood

By Doug Carlson
Jul 28, 2009

Amid the flurry of media coverage on a deeply flawed plan for health care reform, Congress recently took time to vote down a good proposal on another significant issue. Regrettably, a majority of lawmakers cast their support for sending taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood, one of the nation’s most controversial organizations and its largest abortion provider.

By a 183-247 vote, the House of Representatives defeated an amendment last week to cut off Planned Parenthood from the Department of Health and Human Services’ family planning funding, known as Title X. That means millions of Americans who object to the killing of unborn human lives will continue to be forced to fund an organization that performed 305,000 abortions in 2007. The abortion giant’s coffers took in more than $349 million from the government last year.

An unfortunate loophole in the law makes this possible. While the government is forbidden from directly funding abortion, abortion providers—in this case Planned Parenthood—can simply use Title X funds to cover operational costs, freeing up more money to perform their specialized work, the ending of unborn human lives. The end result is the same: more money means more abortions.

To support funneling “even a single dollar of taxpayer money” to the organization is “unconscionable,” as ERLC President Dr. Richard Land expressed in a letter of support (136 KB PDF) for Rep. Mike Pence’s (R-IN) amendment to zero out Planned Parenthood funding. The amendment sponsor summed it up well: “You can’t reduce abortions by funding abortion providers with taxpayer dollars.”

Reducing the number of abortions is precisely what President Obama and the congressionally-controlled Democratic Party have committed to do. But so far this year, the American people have only witnessed approval of policies that will increase the number of abortions. Just a week before voting to continue a large funding stream to Planned Parenthood, the House decided taxpayers should fund abortions in the District of Columbia. Next in line is a mandate in the health care reform proposals to include abortion coverage. Both the White House and congressional Democratic leadership support this.

As demonstrated, rhetoric and reality are two very different things for many elected officials in Washington. Just 20 Democrats voted for Rep. Pence’s amendment to deny federal funding of Planned Parenthood, while nine Republicans opposed it. Democrats not listed below, as well as Republicans who are listed, voted to continue the funding.

Democrats Voting Yes on Pence Amendment (All others voted no)*

Madeleine Bordallo (GU)
Dan Boren (OK)
Bobby Bright (AL)
Travis Childers (MS)
Jerry Costello (IL)
Lincoln Davis (TN)
Joe Donnelly (IN)
Brad Ellsworth (IN)
Parker Griffith (AL)
Daniel Lipinski (IL)
Jim Marshall (GA)
Mike McIntyre (NC)
Charlie Melancon (LA)
Alan Mollohan (WV)
Collin Peterson (MN)
Nick Rahall (WV)
Heath Shuler (NC)
Ike Skelton (MO)
Gene Taylor (MS)
Charlie Wilson (OH)

Republicans Voting No on Pence Amendment (All others voted yes)*

Judy Biggert (IL)
Michael Castle (DE)
Charles Dent (PA)
Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ)
Lynn Jenkins (KS)
Mark Kirk (IL)
Leonard Lance (NJ)
Fred Upton (MI)
Greg Walden (OR)

A complete listing of how each representative voted can be viewed here. As public servants of the people, members of Congress should be held accountable to those who put them in office. According to how your representative voted, you may wish to express your appreciation or grievance to his or her office.

*The following representatives did not vote: Gresham Barrett (R-GA), Rob Bishop (R-UT), John Boehner (R-OH), Shelley Capito (R-WV), Kathy Dahlkemper (D-PA), Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), John McHugh (R-NY), Ron Paul (R-TX), and Charles Rangel (D-NY).

The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission works to protect the sanctity of human life. If you would like to learn more about this issue, additional resources are available here. Our free, downloadable Impact resource on the sanctity of human life is now available at Additional resources are available for purchase on our online bookstore and

Further Learning

Learn more about: Life, Abortion, Citizenship, Legislation,

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