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Planned Parenthood Moves to Head Off Abortion Bills

Facing a wave of activity by anti-abortion House Republicans, Planned Parenthood this week is launching a national grass-roots effort to try to derail a trio of abortion bills.

“The House leadership is clearly out of touch with the American people, as they are continuing to focus on legislation that takes away health care women currently have instead of focusing on jobs and the economy,” Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement announcing the new campaign. “The objective of these bills is to undermine women’s access to health care.”

Planned Parenthood is ramping up against the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” a bill sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.). The House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties is holding a hearing on the bill Tuesday.

Another target of Planned Parenthood’s lobbying effort is a bill sponsored by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) called the “Protect Life Act.” The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing Wednesday on that measure.

Next week, a bill sponsored by Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) is expected to come up for a vote. His measure, according to the proposed legislation, would amend the Public Health Service Act to prohibit Health and Human Services from providing “any federal family planning assistance to an entity unless the entity certifies that, during the period of such assistance, the entity will not perform, and will not provide any funds to any other entity that performs, an abortion.”

Anti-abortion-rights groups also are mobilizing their advocacy networks.

David Christensen, senior director of Congressional affairs for the Family Research Council, said his organization strongly supports the three measures in the House and is looking for champions in the Senate.

“We are working on a petition and grass-roots campaign,” he said. “We have been connecting with Members of Congress and are focused on the hearings today and tomorrow.”

At Tuesday’s hearing, Family Research Council’s Cathy Ruse is testifying in favor of the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” Christensen said.

As part of Planned Parenthood’s campaign, the group is encouraging its network of supporters nationwide to call or e-mail their Members of Congress. The group also is organizing its local affiliates to set up in-district meetings with Members or staff.

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