Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 30, 2015

Posts in "Abortion"

August 17, 2015

Lawmakers Ask DOJ for Statistics on Sale of Fetal Tissue

Goodlatte, R-Va., says the president must take responsibility for the border crisis. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Goodlatte, R-Va., wants to know if the Justice Department is enforcing laws banning the sale of fetal tissues. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Following the controversial release of a string of undercover Planned Parenthood videos, House Republican leaders want to know if the Department of Justice is enforcing bans on the sale of fetal tissue.

House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte and Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice Chairman Trent Franks sent a letter Monday to Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking the DOJ to turn over every complaint made against an organization or individual for selling fetal tissue. Full story

July 25, 2015

For Planned Parenthood, Videos Take a Toll on Hill

Lankford, R-Okla., center, speaks with reporters as he and his fellow newly elected GOP Senators walk from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's office to Minority Whip John Cornyn's office in the Capitol on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Lankford is one of the Republicans expected to headline an anti-abortion rally at the Capitol Saturday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats have rallied to defend Planned Parenthood in the wake of the recent releases of two graphic undercover videos by an anti-abortion group, but the women’s health group is already feeling plenty of heat on Capitol Hill.

On Thursday, Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn, introduced the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015, which would place a moratorium on federal funding for Planned Parenthood while it is under investigation. More than 100 members have joined her as co-sponsors on the bill.

A day earlier, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., pulled a bill from the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee which would have provided for fertility treatments and counseling for women veterans after an amendment related to Planned Parenthood was attached by Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C. Full story

July 23, 2015

Pelosi: Investigate the Makers of the Planned Parenthood Videos (Video)

Pelosi, D-Calif., holds up a copy of the Iran nuclear deal as she speaks during her weekly on camera media availability on Thursday, July 16, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Pelosi wants probe of anti-abortion activists behind the Planned Parenthood videos (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Following the release of a controversial hidden-camera video, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi doesn’t buy the need to look into Planned Parenthood and the alleged sale of fetal tissue. In fact, with revelations the video was somewhat misleadingly edited, Pelosi thinks it’s time there’s an investigation into the makers of the clip.

“Everybody’s calling for an investigation into Planned Parenthood,” the California Democrat said Thursday. “Let’s have an investigation of those people who were trying ensnare Planned Parenthood in a controversy that doesn’t exist.” Full story

July 22, 2015

Planned Parenthood Videos: Members Call for Dueling DOJ Probes

3: Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., speaks as House Democrats hold a news conference to call for presidential action on immigration on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Lofgren and other Democrats want an investigation of the undercover sting that targeted Planned Parenthood. Republicans have called for a probe of the abortion provider itself. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In the wake of the release this week of another undercover video of Planned Parenthood officials discussing fetal tissue, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are calling for a Department of Justice investigation — but that’s where any bipartisan agreement ends.

Republicans want Attorney General Loretta Lynch to probe whether the nation’s largest provider of abortions is illegally harvesting and selling fetal organs and tissue, while Democrats want the Justice Department to look at whether the anti-abortion activists behind the videos went too far with their secretive recordings.

Democrats on Tuesday called for an investigation into the Center for Medical Progress, the anti-abortion group that has released two videos (and has promised more) that show Planned Parenthood executives discussing costs and procedures involved in their fetal tissue donation programs.

Reps. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, Zoe Lofgren of California and Jerrold Nadler and Yvette D. Clarke from New York jointly sent a letter to Lynch and California Attorney General Kamala Harris asking for an investigation into whether the CMP broke any laws in going after Planned Parenthood.

“I know Planned Parenthood,” Lofgren told CQ Roll Call. “It’s one of those trusted organizations in my community. Unless I see proof to the contrary, I would be inclined to believe what Planned Parenthood is saying about this.” Lofgren serves on the House Judiciary Committee, which along with Energy and Commerce is looking into Planned Parenthood’s practices.

Planned Parenthood Vice President Eric Ferrero said in a statement the videos are part of a decade-long campaign to restrict abortion rights by “deceiving the public, making false charges and terrorizing women and their doctors.”

The first video, which surfaced last week, prompted the Republican chairs of both Judiciary and Energy and Commerce to call for hearings, and House GOP leaders have already cited the heavily-edited CMP clip as justification to push forward legislation that would restrict abortions and pull federal funding from Planned Parenthood.

Several states have also launched their own investigations into state chapters of the women’s health organization.

But Democratic House members, along with abortion-rights advocates across the country, are pushing back hard.

Wednesday’s letter sent to the attorneys general questioned the CMP’s credibility and the legality of its undercover operation under California laws regarding consent for audio-video recordings. Democrats also contend the group’s executive director, David Daleiden, has a checkered history, including involvement with the anti-abortion group Live Action and connections to controversial anti-abortion activist Troy Newman.

Daleiden put out a statement Wednesday, saying Planned Parenthood was using “political cronies” to persecute him and to “avoid accountability to the law and the American people.”

Schakowsky said Democrats were prepared to stand up for Planned Parenthood if Republicans try to cut federal funding.

“Republicans are so out of touch with where women are at right now,” she said, insisting that private decisions about women’s health care should not be in the hands of politicians. “This battle is a battle that these Republicans will lose because women are not going to go back.”

Democrats also raised concerns about the possible coordination between CMP and Republican congressmen, based on a story first reported by Roll Call last week.

Rhode Island Rep. Jim Langevin is one of the few Democratic members of the House Pro-life Caucus. Although he opposes abortion, he respects Planned Parenthood’s other services for women’s health so he hasn’t decided if he would vote to pull federal funding from the organization. “I’d want to know all the facts first but at this point I’m taking a wait-and-see attitude,” he said.

Planned Parenthood has said the CMP videos, in which anti-abortion activists posing as buyers for a phony bio-medical research firm chat with officials about procuring fetal organs and tissues left over after abortions, are deceptively edited and that the CMP attempted to induce staff into possible criminal behavior.

On Wednesday, Wisconsin Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner introduced a bill to prohibit any sale of fetal tissue acquired from abortions, which is currently legal as long as there is no monetary profit from the sale.

On the other side of the Capitol, a bipartisan group of 50 senators sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, urging cooperation with investigations and asking for an internal review of Planned Parenthood’s compliance with federal regulations. Just a day earlier, Sen. Ted Cruz’s office told a publication he would add an amendment to the highway bill to defund Planned Parenthood. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky, promised last week he would take similar steps.

Lynch briefly addressed the Planned Parenthood videos Wednesday at a press conference, telling reporters, “At this point, we’re going to review all the information and determine what steps, if any, to take at the appropriate time.”



See photos, follies, HOH Hits and Misses and more at Roll Call’s new video site.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

July 16, 2015

Lawmakers Knew About Planned Parenthood Video Weeks Ago (Video)

UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 17:  Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., attends Speaker John Boehner's, R-Ohio, weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center.  (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Murphy said he saw the Planned Parenthood video weeks ago. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When an undercover video of a Planned Parenthood executive casually discussing the harvesting of fetal tissue and organs went viral Tuesday, House Republicans took notice, with party leaders calling for investigations just one day later. Speaker John A. Boehner and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy issued terse statements, the Judiciary and Energy and Commerce committees announced hearings and Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., called for a Justice Department probe into whether the nation’s largest abortion provider broke the law in supplying the tissue to medical research firms.

All in all, it was a furious, news-cycle dominating flurry of Capitol Hill reaction — to a video that at least two top Republicans said they first saw weeks ago. Full story

July 14, 2015

Breast Cancer Bill Pulled Amid Abortion-Funding Concerns (Updated)

Maloney, D-N.Y., attends a news conference, May 20, 2014, at the House Triangle to support the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, and the Human Trafficking Fraud Enforcement Act. The legislation would give greater reach to the IRS to go after human traffickers and help support victims. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans abandoned Maloney’s bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated July 15, 2:34 p.m. | Republican leaders pulled yet another bill from the House floor Tuesday after conservatives expressed concern that a seemingly harmless piece of legislation supporting breast cancer research might actually fund Planned Parenthood.

The Breast Cancer Awareness Commemorative Coin Act would have directed the Treasury to sell commemorative coins and give the proceeds to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization. Full story

May 13, 2015

‘Pain-Capable’ Abortion Bill Passes House (Video)

Cathy McMorris Rodgers

McMorris Rodgers helped rally GOP support for the revised 20-week abortion ban bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After months of delays, House Republicans passed a bill Wednesday that would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy — except in cases of rape, incest or threat to the mother’s life.

The bill, which passed 242-184 along mostly party lines, was pulled in late January after a number of Republican women protested a rape-reporting requirement, calling it insensitive to rape survivors who did not immediately report a sexual assault. Originally, the bill required that a rape be reported to law enforcement officials for women to be exempt from the 20-week limit. That provision was removed but, as a compromise, the bill now requires rape victims to receive counseling and face a 48-hour waiting period before getting an abortion after 20 weeks. Full story

May 10, 2015

House to Consider 20-Week Abortion Ban This Week

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 9: Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., leaves the House Republican Conference meeting at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A new version of Rep. Trent Franks’ abortion bill returns this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans are aiming to reconsider this week the so-called “pain capable” abortion bill, which would prohibit abortions, in most cases, after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The bill was pulled in late January after a number of Republican women pushed back against the legislation, particularly the provisions requiring women to have reported rape to law enforcement to be eligible for an abortion after 20 weeks. Leaders haven’t released the final language of the bill, but they seemingly have worked out the issues — though it wouldn’t exactly be the first time they’ve miscalculated where the conference is on the issue.

Full story

January 22, 2015

What the House GOP’s Abortion Bill About-Face Really Means

Ellmers, R-N.C., questions HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius during her testimony before a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing in Rayburn Building on the failures of Affordable Care Act's enrollment website. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Ellmers and other Republican women had concerns about the way the 20-week abortion ban was written. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A significant contingent of women and moderate members of the House Republican Conference prevailed Wednesday, convincing GOP leadership that the political blowback for voting to ban abortions after 20 weeks could far outweigh any favor curried with the anti-abortion base of the party.

It wasn’t clear Thursday whether the decision to swap out the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” for less controversial legislation to prohibit taxpayer funding for abortion services signaled a permanent shift back toward the middle for House Republicans. Full story

January 14, 2015

Abortion Bill Co-Sponsoring Debacle ‘Vexing’ for Democrat

Smith, D-Wash., speaks during the Democratic members of the House Select Committee on Benghazi news conference on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Adam Smith. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Co-sponsoring a bill in Congress doesn’t really mean all that much. But — maybe — it ought to at least mean a member has agreed to sign on, and will actually sign.

At least, that’s the argument Washington Democrat Adam Smith made on the House floor Wednesday. Full story

December 9, 2014

Lawmakers Release Massive ‘Cromnibus’ 2 Days Ahead of Shutdown

With roughly 51 hours left before the government runs out of cash, lawmakers released the text Tuesday night of a massive 289,861-word, $1.013 trillion bill to keep federal agencies running past Dec. 11.

The spending package, a carefully negotiated piece of legislation between the Republican House and Democratic Senate, would fund the vast majority of government operations through September with the notable exception of the Department of Homeland Security.

Republicans, frustrated by President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration, want to tighten the purse strings on the DHS, which the bill funds only to Feb. 27. DHS is the agency charged with carrying out much of the president’s immigration orders. Full story

May 7, 2014

Congresswoman Wants Dobson to Apologize for Calling Obama ‘Abortion President’

Hahn (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hahn (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Dr. James Dobson should apologize for referring to President Barack Obama as “the abortion president” at last week’s National Day of Prayer, says Rep. Janice Hahn, who walked out of the event in protest.

The California congresswoman sent a letter to Dobson, a talk show host and author, taking issue with the May 1 remarks at the event.

Hahn, who served as a co-chairwoman of the National Prayer Breakfast in February and oversees, with Texas Republican Louie Gohmert, a congressional prayer breakfast for colleagues each week, took issue with Dobson’s political commentary and walked out in the middle of his speech.

Full story

May 1, 2014

Janice Hahn Walks Out of Prayer Gathering to Protest Dobson’s ‘Abortion President’ Remarks

Hahn (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hahn (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Janice Hahn just wanted to hear evangelist Billy Graham’s daughter speak at Thursday’s National Day of Prayer gathering on Capitol Hill, but she ended up storming out of the room before that portion of the program could get underway.

The California Democrat said she was appalled by the remarks of Dr. James Dobson, saying she felt he went against the event’s stated nonpartisan and apolitical intent by bashing Barack Obama and calling him the “abortion president.”

“We have this annual, national day of prayer, which is supposed to bring the whole country together to pray for our nation, and typically you put politics aside and you come together,” Hahn told CQ Roll Call. “James Dobson just absolutely violated that, and I really think he did damage to what we try to do up here in Washington, D.C.”

Full story

By Emma Dumain Posted at 5:10 p.m.

January 22, 2014

House to Vote Next Week on Abortion Ban Bill

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:45 p.m. | The House will vote next week on legislation to bar federal funding for abortions, Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced on Wednesday.

The Virginia Republican said he had scheduled the bill for floor consideration during his address to the assembled crowd at the annual March for Life, which coincided with the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion in the United States.

“We will do everything in our power to make sure that our values on the sanctity of life will be reflected,” Cantor said to a thunder of applause.

The bill also would bar the District of Columbia from spending its local funds on abortion services for low-income women.

Given the House schedule next week, the vote on the bill will have to take place on either Jan. 27 or Jan. 28. President Barack Obama is set to deliver his State of the Union address the night of Jan. 28, and on the morning of Jan. 29, the House recesses to allow for the Republican Conference retreat in Cambridge, Md.

Republican leadership is moving quickly on the legislation, which just last week passed on a party-line vote out of the House Judiciary Committee. Democrats and abortion-rights groups protested the panel markup, flooding the halls of the Rayburn House Office Building outside the hearing room.

In order to ensure passage of the bill by a simple majority, the Rules Committee intends to meet on Monday, Jan. 27, to provide for floor consideration of the legislation on Tuesday, Jan. 28. Had the measure been placed on the suspension calendar for expedited consideration, the outcome would have been less certain: With nearly all Democrats expected to vote “no,” the necessary two-thirds majority vote threshold might not have been achievable.

January 15, 2014

Democratic Women Clog Rayburn Hallway to Protest Anti-Abortion Bill

Close to 100 people, some waving orange index cards asking, “Where are the women?” crowded the hallway outside the House Judiciary Committee room in the Rayburn Office Building on Wednesday morning.

Among those waving the tiny signs were Democratic committee members Judy Chu of California and Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas. They stood alongside female colleagues and abortion rights protesters for a makeshift protest of the markup of a bill to restrict funding for the procedure.

“It’s increasingly evident that the only women’s agenda that the Republicans have put forward is to take away your health care rights and then tell you to get lost,” said Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, D-N.Y., who criticized the fact that there are no female members of the committee’s GOP majority. She vowed to take the issue up with House leadership.

From left, Rep. Judy Chu, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, and Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, D-N.Y., participate in a news conference outside of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday to protest the House Judiciary Committee markup of legislation to restrict abortion funding. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

From left, Chu, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton and Slaughter participate in a news conference outside of the House Judiciary Committee to protest the markup of legislation to restrict abortion funding. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Full story

Sign In

Forgot password?



Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...