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Lawmakers Voting On De-Funding Planned Parenthood

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) -- The Minnesota House is expected to vote Thursday night on a bill to de-fund Planned Parenthood and divert money to other health care clinics around the state.

The move set off a frenzy of protest at the Capitol. Critics say it will take away health care from thousands of Minnesota women. Planned Parenthood officials in Minnesota say it's the most aggressive attack on their organization in years.

And on Thursday, the Minnesota House passed a series of measures to restrict access to abortion facilities.

Planned Parenthood supporters lined the hallways, leading to the Minnesota House chamber to protest the action. Minnesota is one of 23 states to consider de-funding Planned Parenthood after a series of de-bunked undercover videos purported to show the sale of aborted body parts.

And a top Republican leader says de-funding will not affect women seeking contraception.

"Those dollars would be better deployed within federally qualified health centers that provide lots of care, comprehensive care for people. Not just reproductive care for the healthcare of particularly young women," Rep. Matt Dean said.

Planned Parenthood says few of the health clinics cited by Republicans could serve the 45,000 women who would lose access to contraception. And on the House floor, critics called it hypocritical.

"You as politicians are willing to say let's let government get into that bedroom and into that doctor's office and into that clinic and tell women what they can and cannot do," Tina Leibling said.

De-funding Planned Parenthood is only one issue. The House voted to license abortion clinics like surgery centers, and ban taxpayer-funded abortions for poor women.

Democratic Governor Mark Dayton denounced the efforts.

"De-funding Planned Parenthood is non-negotiable. I'm not going to compromise and de-fund half of Planned Parenthood," Dayton said.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Senate Thursday afternoon narrowly rejected two measures: The abortion licensing and taxpayer-funded abortions.

So, with just a few weeks left before the end of the session -- abortion is front and center.


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