Anti-abortion groups are urging Republican lawmakers to use tax reform as a vehicle to cut off federal funding from Planned Parenthood, after Republicans failed to pass a healthcare bill this week that included the measure.
The bill would have prohibited federal funding that pays for birth control, cancer screenings, and testing for sexually-transmitted diseases from going to medical facilities that also perform abortions. Politicians often refer to the proposal as "defunding Planned Parenthood."
The organization receives roughly $500 million in federal family planning funds a year. Under the Hyde Amendment, federal funds are already prohibited from being spend on most abortions.
"The failure to pass this reconciliation bill means abortion giant Planned Parenthood remains funded by the taxpayers under a Republican Congress and president," Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List, said in a statement. "This is completely unacceptable. We call on Congress and the president to include the urgent priority of re-directing Planned Parenthood's taxpayer funding to comprehensive health care providers in the FY18 reconciliation bill."
Some members of the Senate have said they would consider re-exploring an Obamacare overhaul bill for next year and other are seeking ways to attach some of their ideas to tax reform.
Planned Parenthood representatives warned in a phone call with reporters Wednesday that including the provision to cut off federal funding from their organization would stand in the way of the successful package of a tax bill. At least two Republicans and 48 Democrats oppose cutting of family planning funding from Planned Parenthood, they said.
They also said cutting off the funding would not result in fewer abortions.
"The thought that denying family planning to women would do anything but raise rates of unintended pregnancy is absurd," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation for America.