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September 21, 2015

House Votes to Defund Planned Parenthood; Senate OK Unlikely

The House of Representatives voted largely along party lines Friday to block federal grants to Planned Parenthood for a year, but Senate Democrats have enough votes to block the measure in the upper chamber, the Associated Press reports. President Obama has also pledged to veto any bill to ax Planned Parenthood's funding amid a conservative furor over anti-abortion activists' undercover videos aimed at the women's health nonprofit.

A bloc of congressional Republicans has vowed to impede any spending bills that include money for Planned Parenthood, setting up a possible government shutdown next month. The House bill passed Friday by a 241-187 vote would defund the group for a year while congressional committees investigate allegations, widely taken up by the right, that Planned Parenthood profits from the sale of fetal tissue for medical research. The organization denies the claim, saying it donates the tissue, and contends the videos raising the issue were deceptively edited.

Planned Parenthood receives about $450 million a year from the federal government, mostly as Medicaid reimbursements for providing health services for low-income women, including contraception, cancer screenings, and tests for sexually transmitted diseases. Federal law blocks the use of government money to pay for abortions.