For nearly three months now, Congress has been unable to pass a bill funding the fight against the Zika epidemic. This is not because no such bill exists; the House passed one in June which would provide $1.1 billion in funding to combat the virus’ spread. Senate Democrats have blocked the bill, however, for the simple reason that none of the funds would go to Profamilias, the Puerto Rican wing of Planned Parenthood.
That’s all. The bill does not remove any funding from the group. In fact, it doesn’t do anything to impact their bottom line at all, which seems to be the reason that Senate Democrats have blocked its passage twice. Apparently, the fact that Planned Parenthood doesn’t get a cut of the money is enough to stall the emergency funding for the entire summer.
Even more bizarre is the fact that funding Profamilias wouldn’t strengthen the fight against the disease in the slightest. PolitiFact noted in June that the bill already includes funding for clinics in every area where Profamilias lists a facility. (Loyal partisans that they are, PolitiFact somehow still managed to rate the Democrats’ contradictory claim as “half true.”) The New York Times, of all places, notes in addition that the group “provides medical services almost entirely out of its two clinics in San Juan,” where it “served about 7,000 patients in 2015 […] not a particularly large number, given that about 390,000 people” live there. According to a program director at Profamilias, the clinics don’t even offer Zika testing. Continue Reading