“The current attempt to discredit Planned Parenthood is part of a long-term smear campaign by people who want to deny women in this country the right to control their own bodies," Sanders said in a statement.
Republicans unveiled legislation to defund Planned Parenthood on Tuesday, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) fast-tracked the legislation the same day. If the Senate votes on a procedural motion to advance the bill, it could get a final vote before lawmakers leave for August recess.
The move was prompted by heavily edited undercover footage posted earlier this month by the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress, which purports to show Planned Parenthood doctors discussing the illegal sale of fetal body parts after abortions.
A poll released Tuesday by the liberal Hart Research Associates showed Americans still support Planned Parenthood after the video leaks.
Sanders isn't the only Democratic presidential hopeful to speak on the Planned Parenthood videos. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she still supports Planned Parenthood, but told the New Hampshire Union Leader she found the undercover videos "disturbing."
Read Sanders' full statement on funding for Planned Parenthood below:
“The attempt by Senate Republicans to cut off support for Planned Parenthood is an attack on women’s health. Stripping funding for Planned Parenthood would punish the 2.7 million Americans, especially low-income women, who rely on its clinics for affordable, quality health care services including cancer prevention, STI and HIV testing and general primary health care services.
“The current attempt to discredit Planned Parenthood is part of a long-term smear campaign by people who want to deny women in this country the right to control their own bodies.
“Let’s be clear: Federal funding for Planned Parenthood does not pay for abortions. The vast majority of government funding that Planned Parenthood receives is through Medicaid reimbursements. Cutting that funding will be devastating to the health needs of millions of women who desperately need the quality services Planned Parenthood provides."
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