WASHINGTON (BP) — The U.S. House of Representatives failed Feb. 2 to override President Obama’s veto of a bill that would have largely defunded Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), but pro-life advocates remained hopeful about future success.
The House voted 241–186 for the override, falling 45 votes short of the two-thirds majority required. The failure was not a surprise, considering the margin by which the proposal originally passed. Supporters of the legislation actually lost ground from the House’s original passage vote, which was 240–181.
Only two days after the House vote in early January, the president vetoed the budget-related bill, which would have cut nearly 90 percent of federal money in the next year for PPFA and its affiliates. The legislation also would have essentially gutted the controversial 2010 health care law opposed by nearly all pro-life organizations.
Southern Baptist public policy specialist Barrett Duke said the surprise was that both chambers “were able to pass this bill in the first place,” since the measure “was working against two entrenched, impassioned interests Congress is very divided about — health care and abortion.”
“Defunding Planned Parenthood and sending those taxpayer dollars to health providers that do not perform abortions is especially high on our list of things to do,” said Duke, vice president for public policy of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC). “The initial passage of this bill tells us we are very close to achieving this goal.”
Pro-life leaders expressed their hope the election of a pro-life president this year could result in PPFA’s defunding.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, pro-life leader and president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said, “His veto was a call to action to the pro-life grassroots. This year we must elect a president who respects life and will protect the conscience rights of taxpayers. With a pro-life president in the White House, there will be no need for an override vote.”
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