Published On: Mon, Jun 27th, 2016

President Obama battles Congress over Zika relief due to ban on Planned Parenthood funding

President Obama has vowed to veto a bill providing more than $1 billion in relief for victims of the Zika virus, in part because it would deny federal funds to Planned Parenthood. Paul Ryan and House Republicans voted to grant the relief funds to Zika-stricken areas, but included a restriction, stating that none of its funds may be used by Planned Parenthood or other international family planning organizations.

The nation’s leading abortion provider and congressional Democrats, have argued that Zika victims need contraception and abortion-on-demand to avoid giving birth to children infected with the virus.

“House Republicans’ constant claim that they’re out to ‘protect the unborn’ falls flat when this bill undercuts the very protections women need to bear healthy children,” agreed NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue after the vote.

Planned Parenthood supporters at protest 2011 photo/S. MiRK via wikimedia commons

Planned Parenthood supporters at protest 2011 photo/S. MiRK via wikimedia commons

In February the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein of Jordan, said that nations that do not allow the full range of “sexual and reproductive health services” are contributing to the spread of the deadly condition, an apparent reference to the many Latin American nations that legally protect the lives of the unborn.

That drew a swift rebuke from dozens of Republican congressmen, including many who voted for the Zika bill on Thursday.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Erick Schultz called the bill “woefully inadequate” and “a political exercise.” If it passes the Senate “and the president was presented with the bill, he would veto it,” he said.

Democrats also objected that the House version of the bill offsets $750 million of the billion-plus price tag, reallocating funds originally earmarked to combat Ebola and another $543 million in unspent funding for Obamacare.

“Communities need to have all the tools necessary to fight the Zika virus, and this common-sense bill removes costly and unnecessary EPA red tape so these new Zika funds can be spent most effectively killing mosquitoes and finding a vaccine for this deadly virus,” said House Majority Whip Steve Scalise from Louisiana.





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