House Democrats are stopping up a major government funding bill because Republicans won’t include Zika funds for two small Planned Parenthood clinics in Puerto Rico.
The murky provision does not mention Planned Parenthood, but it would prevent any of the extra funds from going to the non-profit’s affiliate Profamilias clinics in San Juan, which do not offer Zika testing, reports The New York Times. The extent of their work to combat Zika consists in handing out contraceptives, and they dealt with just 7,000 people in 2015 in a city of nearly 400,000.
Nevertheless, both Democrats and Republicans have signaled they’ll fight hard over the provision, although The NYT reports that “few from either party seem to clearly understand” what it would actually do. Democrats already blocked one attempt to pass a Zika funding measure over the provision, and have consistently demonstrated extreme resistance to any measure that could diminish the hundreds of millions in federal funds the non-profit receives each year.
The provision is one more iteration of the renewed fight over Planned Parenthood funding following a series of videos exposing the non-profit’s dealings in aborted fetuses last summer. If Republicans refuse to remove the measure or add something else to the larger spending bill regarding Planned Parenthood, Democrats may go so far as to shut down the government to stop it.
President Barack Obama had to veto a bill to defund Planned Parenthood in January, after the House and Senate passed the bill with the overwhelming support of Republicans and some Democrats. The GOP-led Congress was unable to override his veto, however, so the bill was dead in February.
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