Harry Reid Rips Republicans For Their Move Against Planned Parenthood

Republicans used a veterans' fertility bill to attack the reproductive health organization.

WASHINGTON -- Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) ripped into Senate Republicans on Thursday for using a veterans' health bill to attack Planned Parenthood.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) had introduced a bill that would end a ban on fertility treatments and counseling for female veterans receiving care at Veterans Administration hospitals. But Murray decided on Wednesday to pull the bill from the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee after Republicans attached amendments targeting Planned Parenthood. Reid said on the Senate floor Thursday morning that Murray's bill had been "hijacked by a few Republicans looking to get their names on Fox television." 

"This episode says a lot about today's Republican Party," Reid said. "This is an attack on families. It's an attack on the health of women. And it's an attack on our veterans."

"We aren't called upon to make the ultimate sacrifices they are, but we have to recognize they need our help," Reid went on. "What this means is we do everything that we can, anything that we can, to give them the care they deserve. That means we always put their well-being above partisan politics. Republicans in this ploy yesterday put Fox News ahead of the welfare of the veterans community."  

Republicans have been on a mission to investigate and defund Planned Parenthood after an anti-abortion organization released two heavily edited videos last week that purported to show the family planning provider selling fetal parts after abortions. Planned Parenthood says the videos are misleading and that they actually show doctors discussing the legal, not-for-profit donation of fetal tissue for medical research. 

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) tried to attach an amendment to Murray's bill on Wednesday that would bar the VA from working with organizations that "take aborted babies' organs and sell them." He said he didn't think it should be a priority anyway to help female veterans get access to in vitro fertilization. 

"I'm concerned that we have a problem with priorities," Tillis said on the Senate floor Wednesday. "I'm concerned that maybe the focus isn't where it needs to be to make sure that we take care of the most pressing problems for our veterans."