The White House staunchly defends Planned Parenthood funding but is not commenting on legislation that could potentially be a vehicle for a compromise to prevent a government shutdown.
Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) proposed the Prohibiting the Life-Ending Industry of Fetal Organ Exchange Act, or Pro-LIFE Act, shortly after the undercover videos that seemed to show Planned Parenthood executives talking about the selling of aborted body parts.
Selling body parts for profit is already illegal, but Planned Parenthood has asserted the exchange of money was to cover the cost of producing and transporting the body parts of aborted unborn babies. The Pro-LIFE Act would close such loopholes around the law by prohibiting the monetary payment that is involved with producing body parts.
Asked if this could be a potential compromise, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said, “I’m reluctant to to weigh in on it one way or the other.”
But he went on to defend the funding of Planned Parenthood more broadly.
“The policy being advanced by Republicans does nothing more than take away health care access for millions of families all across the country," Earnest said. "That’s why the president is vehemently opposed to it. This is not the first time the president has opposed a Republican effort to take health care away from people. I’m not really sure what the Republican fascination is with taking health care away from millions of American families.”
But pressed again on whether President Barack Obama would veto a bill that closes loopholes on payments for body parts, Earnest said, “What I’m saying is I just don’t know if the administration has considered that proposal.”
Yoder proposed the bill in July, well ahead of the showdown over Planned Parenthood funding that could prompt another temporary government shutdown until Obama and the Republican Congress can agree to a budget.
“It’s time to close the loophole that lets abortion providers like Planned Parenthood charge money for these organs under the guise of paying for transportation costs,” Yoder said in a statement when he announced the proposal. “No organization should enrich itself commodifying unborn human life.”
He added, “We need to ban this practice altogether to prevent other organizations from ever doing this again.”