Republicans postpone House vote on breast cancer bill

AP News
|
Posted: Jul 14, 2015 6:12 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican leaders delayed a House vote Tuesday on a bill raising money for breast cancer research over anger that some of the funds would go to a group that has worked with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, which supports abortion rights.

Under the legislation, the government would raise up to $8 million by minting and selling thousands of pink-tinted gold coins. The government's profits would be divided evenly between the Susan G. Komen breast cancer foundation and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, a private group that raises research funds.

About 16 chapters of the Komen foundation finance breast cancer services at local Planned Parenthood clinics, said Komen spokeswoman Andrea Rader.

The bill had 307 co-sponsors, including 142 Republicans. Its chief sponsors were Reps. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and Pete Sessions, R-Texas. The research foundation is in New York while Komen is based in Dallas, Texas.

But the legislation devolved into another largely partisan battle over abortion.

GOP support for the bill eroded after an anti-abortion group, the Center for Medical Progress, released a video it said showed a Planned Parenthood official discussing the sale of organs from aborted fetuses. In addition, the conservative group Heritage Action for America pressured lawmakers to oppose the bill because of the connection to Planned Parenthood.

In a written statement, Planned Parenthood spokesman Eric Ferrero criticized what he called a "heavily edited, secretly recorded videotape that falsely portrays Planned Parenthood's participation in tissue donation programs that support lifesaving scientific research." He said Planned Parenthood helps patients who want to donate organs for scientific research, as do other health care providers.

Republicans said they planned to revive the bill after they find another group, instead of Komen, to which they can assign some of the breast cancer research funds.