Jacqueline Sit, News 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill last week that among other things would cut more than $300 million of federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
Dozens of pro-choice supporters marched across the U.S., including in Oklahoma City, against the cuts Saturday. They say the move would not only take away the right to safe and legal abortions, but also eliminate breast and cervical cancer screenings, annual exams, birth control and HIV testing.
"It's about choice and every woman is different. Every woman has different feelings going into a planned pregnancy or unplanned pregnancy, medical issues. It needs to be a choice. There's no black and white here," said pro-choice supporter Erica Bruhwiler.
Congressional Bill H.R. 3: No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act would eliminate tax breaks for abortions and permanently bans federal funding for abortions.
"I'm shocked at the level of hostility that reproductive rights is facing right now," said Bruhwiler.
The $330 million that could be cut help keep about 500 Planned Parenthood clinics open.
"Everybody needs to have a right to this medical procedure and that's what it is, a medical procedure and it would take that right away from us," said Jenny Spivey, Walk for Choice 2011 rally organizer. "This is a very conservative part of the country and I think a lot of people are suppressing themselves because of this environment so I want to reach all the people who want to say something."
Rally organizers said the proposal could take away the right to safe and legal abortion. But pro-life supporters say this bill is the right things to do.
"It's a victory for life. We feel like the American taxpayers in a budget tight. Even though I believe it's morally wrong for abortion, I believe as an economic movement it's the best for American taxpayers," said Mike Jestes, spokesman for the Oklahoma Pro-Life Media Coalition. "Planned Parenthood is our largest provider of abortions in America. I think taxpayers paid $362 million dollars for abortions out of that money Title 10 gives to Planned Parenthood."
The bill is not expected to become law. It will have a hard time winning the approval of Democrats who control the Senate and faces a likely veto from the president.