This week, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released it’s third video documenting Planned Parenthood’s participation in baby part harvesting. If you watch the video (you must watch the video,) be warned—it’s nauseating. I don’t give these kinds of warnings lightly.

When CMP first launched its campaign against Planned Parenthood, conservatives in the Senate came together to draft legislation defunding Planned Parenthood and its affiliates. The team, headed up by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), today introduced S.1881, which includes three main objectives:

  • Prohibiting federal funding for PPFA or any of its affiliate organizations
  • Protecting federal funding for health services for women (including diagnostic laboratory and radiology services, well-child care, prenatal and postnatal care, immunizations, cervical and breast cancer screenings and more)
  • Ensuring there is no reduction in overall federal funding available to support women’s health.

In a press conference announcing the bill, sponsor Joni Ernst spoke out against PPFA’s harvesting-for-profit scheme, saying, “As a mother and grandmother, I find this footage of Planned Parenthood’s role in the harvesting of the organs of unborn babies morally reprehensible and vile… The American people are horrified by these videos as well. Simply put, this legislation ensures that funding for women’s health is protected and that taxpayer dollars will not go to Planned Parenthood.”

You can watch that press conference here:

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed today that Ernst’s efforts will get a vote before August recess.

Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul (R-KY) was instrumental in the push to get this bill an early vote. From Real Clear Politics:

It means I must be doing something right when the socialists and left-wingers and the mayor of New York is going after me.

But, you know, I’m horrified by these videos, and everybody is. When I think of ultrasound, I think of the pictures of my kids before they were born and the happiness we had. To imagine that doctors are using ultrasound to manipulate the body around, turn the body around to take body parts from a baby, it just — it sickens me.

And so I’ve been fighting to defund Planned Parenthood, I don’t think they should get any taxpayer dollars. And we got good news today, we are going to get a vote on this. The Senate will vote on defunding Planned Parenthood before we leave in August.

Paul also makes the point that, although many senators (especially in the Democratic caucus) are pro-choice, the scope and tragedy of what has been displayed in these undercover videos could cause some Democrats to cross the aisle and vote for defunding.

I think he’s right. This specific issue has nothing to do whatsoever with a woman’s right to choose. These are barbarous acts completely separate from the barbarous act of abortion; efforts to equate the defunding of a private organization that may very well be in violation of federal law with the destruction of a court-created right to terminate a pregnancy will serve as a distraction, but in this case, I don’t think that those efforts will be able to derail the messaging behind this bill.

Co-sponsors of Senate bill 1881 include:

  • John Barrasso (WY)
  • Roy Blunt (MO)
  • John Boozman (AR)
  • Richard Burr (NC)
  • Dan Coats (IN)
  • Tom Cotton (AR)
  • John Cornyn (TX)
  • Ted Cruz (TX)
  • Steve Daines (MT)
  • Mike Enzi (WY)
  • Deb Fischer (NE)
  • James Inhofe (OK)
  • Johnny Isakson (GA)
  • Ron Johnson (WI)
  • James Lankford (OK)
  • John McCain (AZ)
  • Mitch McConnell (KY)
  • Jerry Moran (KS)
  • Rand Paul (KY)
  • David Perdue (GA)
  • Pat Roberts (KS)
  • Ben Sasse (NE)
  • Tim Scott (SC)
  • John Thune (SD)

When asked his thoughts about conservative efforts to defund PPFA, Minority Leader Harry Reid had this to say:

“Good luck,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said of the uphill Republican drive to garner the 60 of 100 Senate votes they will need to cut off Planned Parenthood’s money. “We’re dealing with the health of American women, and they’re dealing with some right-wing crazy.”

Unfortunately for Reid, this could be the slice of “right wing crazy” that finally ends PPFA’s assault on the right to life.

We’ll keep you updated on the bill’s progress.