You may have heard about the new survey out from Public Policy Polling showing that people give a higher favorability rating to things like root canals and head lice over Congress. What’s one way to make sure those stats don't change in the new session of Congress? How about reintroducing the same unpopular legislation from previous terms.
The Hardball Sideshow has been tracking some of these bills as they resurface. Michele Bachmann is trying to repeal Obamacare. Iowa’s Steve King is cracking down on immigrants' “anchor babies.” King is yet again trying to “clarify” the portion of the 14th Amendment that protects birthright citizenship.
What’s missing in the lineup? Planned Parenthood. In 2011, then-Congressman Mike Pence of Indiana introduced a bill to strip funding from Planned Parenthood because the organization offers abortion services. Pence was comfortable saying that he would hold up the passage of a budget in order to make sure that Planned Parenthood lost federal funding.
Pence has left Congress and Planned Parenthood still receives federal funding. All the same, not one, but two members of Congress have reintroduced the bill to defund Planned Parenthood. On the “Mike Huckabee Show” earlier this week, Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn defended her decision to bring back the bill, saying “Planned Parenthood is basically big abortion business.”
The reality is, abortion services only account for about 3% of the activities of Planned Parenthood. Cancer screening and prevention, testing for sexually-transmitted diseases, contraception services, and other women’s health services each constitute a far greater portion of the organization’s activities.
Rep. Blackburn is joined by her colleague, Rep. Diane Black, who reintroduced the same bill.
"They apparently learned nothing from the results of the last election, when Americans said overwhelmingly that they do not want politicians dictating women's access to health care," said Planned Parenthoold President Cecile Richards.
By reviving these already-rejected pieces of legislation, Republicans seem to be ensuring that they continue to lose the support of young people, Latinos, and women.
Take a look at the Hardball Sideshow to hear more about the resurgence of the debate over Planned Parenthood.