Shuler votes in favor of amendment defunding Planned Parenthood

Rep. Heath Shuler joined most Republicans and 10 other Democrats today to vote in favor of legislation, which he co-sponsored, stripping federal funds from Planned Parenthood and ending a federal family-planning program. The amendment passed the House of Representatives 240-185.

The legislation — added to the House’s funding bill — removes family planning funding from any organization that provides access to abortions. The legislation also ends the federal Title X program, a 41-year-old federal program that provides family planning services, particularly to low-income families. Seven Republicans voted against the bill. For such a bill to become law, it still must pass the Senate and overcome a potential Presidential veto, both of which appear unlikely.

Federal rules already prohibit Planned Parenthood from using government funds for abortions. When asked by Xpress earlier about his co-sponsorship of anti-abortion legislation, and whether he believed the current rules were sufficient, Shuler said “This is the law, and it codifies the existing law that we have.”

Shuler’s office has not yet responded to requests for a statement.

— David Forbes, senior news reporter


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

42 thoughts on “Shuler votes in favor of amendment defunding Planned Parenthood

  1. Bjorn

    All the politicians who voted today to defund Planned Parenthood should wake up tomorrow with: wombs, breasts, vaginas, & suddenly find themselves in minimum wage jobs or unemployed, while constantly menstruating & struggling with a child…until they reverse this war on Women & the poor! -b

  2. mona lisa

    Timely and a ray of hope. Abortion is the holocast of our time, and it is not a party political issue. It is an issue of human lives. This is a moment of dignity and triumph for the human spirit. Babies in the womb are human beings. Abortion kills babies. The constitution states that each person (including babies) has the RIGHT to life, liberty and the persuit of happiness. America is finally seeking to defend the most vulnerable within our society.

  3. Grant Millin

    Along with pulling funding for women, Shuler and Pence (and DeLay, Ashcroft, etc.) are part of the Center for Christian Statesmanship: .

    Simultaneously being a Christian and a statesman are not so much a problem as being a common, incoherent, counterproductive, and self-aggrandizing right-wing activist pol.

    The Shuler Stratagem has failed.

    Twitter: #Tackle_Heath

  4. shadmarsh

    I’m curious as to how the Dems will spin this next time they ask me to vote for this knob.

  5. LamontCranston

    Representative Shuler:

    What’ wrong with family planning, sexual education, and counseling for those who need and want it?? What’s wrong for counseling services for those who have to make that unfortunate decision which nobody wants to have to make in their lives, but does happen to women?

    What’s your alternative plan(s) and sources for such services, Heath???

    What do not understand about just what the “The Hyde Amendment” is for???… Do your homework Heath, and learn what this legislation allows, and doesn’t allow, as it’s obvious you are clueless about what laws are on the books in this country. Don’t think for a minute that many voters in the 11th District are that ignorant of the facts, and are not paying attention to just what type of representation you provide (or not) for us as a Democrat!

    It appears once again that Representative Shuler doesn’t get it: Makes one wonder just how much more he doesn’t understand, or know about our laws in this country “on the books” as they say….


  6. bill smith

    @mona lisa [i]America is finally seeking to defend the most vulnerable within our society. [/i]

    Well, we tried with the health care bill, if that’s what you mean. Taking care of our most vulnerably citizens and all.

  7. bill smith

    I look forward to the day when NC can abort Heath Shuler and elect a real Democrat, not a RepubliCrat.

  8. shadmarsh

    The constitution states that each person (including babies) has the RIGHT to life, liberty and the persuit of happiness.

    Uh no, that’s the Declaration of Independence.

    America is finally seeking to defend the most vulnerable within our society.

    By cutting access to healthcare?

  9. LamontCranston

    Ms. “mona lisa”:

    Please inform us all as to just how much Planned Parenthood is involved with abortion as a percentage of all of its’ activities and services it offers on a daily basis to many citizens????

    Please explain just what “The Hyde Amendment” is and just what it protects us all from, and how this applies to Planned Parenthood

    Do you consider cuts to the Federal Budget child nutrition programs a “holocost” (it’s spelled Holocaust) to the children that are alive, and starving in this country on par with your opinion of just what constitutes a horrible action??

    Please, enlighten us all.

  10. Disgruntled

    I sucked it up and voted for this turkey the last time around, though I knew it was simply the lesser of two evils. I voted against him in the primary, though I knew that was a futile effort. No more. If the Democratic Party cannot provide us with an actual Democrat instead of this turncoat they have lost my vote. If we’re gonna have a Republican we may as well have one that has the guts to actually call himself one, unlike Shuler who hides behind that D so he can get elected.

  11. Bob

    Goodbye Heath.

    Too many democrats were somewhat okay with your positions, but this vote just made sure that there is no reason to have you represent anyone with any sense of what it is to be human.

  12. Ken Hanke

    I’m curious as to how the Dems will spin this next time they ask me to vote for this knob.

    The same way they have every other time — by pointing out that the alternative is even worse.

  13. Kim

    Please, help me to understand how those most vehement about saving the life of unwanted pregnancies want Planned Parenthood, welfare/food stamps, etc to be defunded. While not a huge supporter for a welfare state, most of those on welfare choose to bring their pregnancies to term and by those standards should be applauded and supported for choosing LIFE.

    If you really want to stop the termination of unwanted pregnancies, you give sexually active and pre-active teens access to correct information and health care. Just like the care
    PP gives.
    For those that really care about the fate of the unborn, find young women and families to sponsor. Most women do not choose this route lightly. Having a baby is a life changing event that cripples the ill prepared. Most have no physical(from family or community) or financial support. So instead of inflicting your morals on everyone, put your time and money to good use and affect the future positively by taking a young mom in and showing her how amazing and rewarding life is.

    It is time for our communites to step up where we want the government to retreat.

    And yes I am presently housing a young mother, and I do supply clothes and need items to many young families.

  14. I suppose we’re far enough away from the appearence of the birth control pill to become available for folks to not remember how it used to be for women. It took from around 50 years to develop a fairly reliable contraceptive. Margaret Sanger was the force behind the development of birth control pills. Though she is much maligned by the right to life crowd….she was really a champion of downtrodden women, who faced a dreary life of birth after birth of unwanted children. The aleviation of hardship of both the Mothers and those unwanted children was her primary goal to give women control over how many children they had.

    Young women have no idea how bad it can get for them.

  15. Jim Donato

    It’s heartening to recall that a complete unknown with nary a dollar came within spitting distance of capturing the nomination last election during the primaries.

  16. Ashevegasjoe

    Hey, mona lisa, abortions are legal, if you don’t like it try to change the law. As long as it is the law of the land, and paid for with private funds, I don’t see where you have any real validity in the arguement that it’s “murder”.

  17. Grant Millin

    Instead of me posting tomes I will use links more often now:

    Via Twitter: CitizensforNC11

    Dealing with Shuler’s ‘representation’ (… until we tackle him in 2012):

    #Tackle_Shuler #NC11

  18. bill smith

    Why do Republicans think a fetus is sacred, but don’t give two craps about it’s well-being once it’s born?

  19. Anne Craig

    I worked for Shuler through MoveOn four years ago simply to get Taylor out. I knew he was anti-woman, but friends said, he’d be better on the environmental issues. In 2010, I did not vote for House representative at all, as I saw Shuler for what he is a regressive, war mongering, woman hating ‘environmentalist.’ It’s one web: we will finally have environmental integrity when we stop making war on our earth, each other and esp. on women. It seems and exercise in futility to vote for a congressperson in our district. A real progressive ‘can’t win’, I am told. Yes because people are too lazy or ignorant to pay attention to the real issues. Thus, Heath Shuler. I shudder for us all.

  20. Why do Republicans think a fetus is sacred, but don’t give two craps about it’s well-being once it’s born?

    White babies they can adopt out.

  21. Grant Millin

    Abortion (a medical subject, e.g. Jackie Speier), the enumerated and implicit moral human rights of women and infants, public support for infant care (… or lack of sufficient levels), RACE!… I don’t think this a well-managed enough forum to provide these subjects and constituencies the justice and dignity they deserve.

    Culture Warriors like Shuler have an agenda that’s meant to flip people out and start discussions… but drive such discussions in entirely the wrong direction. Shuler and his buddies want you to curse (i.e. “screw you” in above comment) and viciously defame our fellow Americans.

    Define them. Question the sense-making and the value of their ideas. Certainly respond when they hurt people needlessly. But let’s try to be specific and not just react venomously.

    Ask Shuler what he’s doing to keep people like Kermit Gosnell and his employees out of medicine. Ask Shuler why Gosnell and his employees were able to destroy people (including infants) without any kind of public protection. If Shuler does not believe these are important matters—or defers to Pennsylvania government (state’s rights)—I think he would be failing to understand the implications of his votes.

    I don’t think Shuler has any kind of positive record when it comes to helping Americans access decent healthcare. The question is: Should he have a better healthcare record and, amazingly, be responsive to the needs of those below his tax bracket? And if he just wants to use human lives as a political football to kick around, is that what we want in Congress?

    Don’t play the politics game on their field by their rules. Do you feel Shuler and his ‘strategy’ team control your emotions and thoughts? Well, then use accurate language and reply with as professionally crafted evidence and argumentation as you can put together.

    Politics is still an important route to humane policy. It’s easy to lose the value of one’s message by cursing and such. There are already enough forces successfully nullifying the voices of average citizens.

    Absolutely, please don’t let the wrong people have all the control.

    …and don’t work alone. Organize!

    Via Twitter from CitizensforNC11:

    Dealing with Shuler’s ‘representation’ (… until we tackle him in 2012): #Tackle_Shuler #NC11

  22. Bert

    Shuler thinks you shouldn’t have sex before you are married. In the interests of fairness, would he be willing to kick any Tennessee football player off the team who engages in pre marital sex? Let’s see how well men do if the same rigid standard is applied to them!

  23. Bill Fallstaff

    Thank heavens Heath remains true to the majority of his constituency. The Asheville “progressives” think they have more power than they actually do. Outside the city, local people still have old fashioned family values in alignment with their religious beliefs. We do not like abortion anymore than we like any other form of killing, and we are happy Rep Shuler still agrees with us!

  24. bill smith

    @Anne Craig–Shuler is an empty vessel. He runs to the (Social Conservative) Right because that’s what he perceives as the vocal minority at the moment. If more on the ‘left’ got out and made their position known as one supported by a significant portion of the voting public, a shill like Shuler will scurry to the votes.

    I like to think as these ‘moderates’ like Shuler as a good stop-gap between the left and people like Taylor. I’d rather support him while pushing him to be much more accountable to his REAL base.

    And it’s fun to call him names like milquetoast.

  25. runningtad

    I called one adoption agency this week and learned they had 40 African American newborn babies ready for adoption in 1-5 months. There are only 5 families (out of 40) open to adopting them due to race issues. If you are really pro-life, then consider adoption or fostering. I agree with Orbit DVD adn Bill Smith, no one seems to care about these children once their mothers choose to give birth to them.

  26. Dionysis

    Those who are so vocal about wanting to eliminate women’s reproductive rights rarely, if ever, stand up and offer to adopt unwanted children; they prefer to try and force their personal view on everyone else. Planned Parenthood does a lot more than provide abortion counseling services. And in the scope of things, the entire planet had best start practicing serious population control and damned soon too:

    “The United Nations has predicted the global population will reach seven billion this year, and climb to nine billion by 2050, “with almost all of the growth occurring in poor countries, particularly Africa and South Asia,” said John Bongaarts of the non-profit Population Council.

    To feed all those mouths, “we will need to produce as much food in the next 40 years as we have in the last 8,000,” said Jason Clay of the World Wildlife Fund at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

    “By 2050 we will not have a planet left that is recognizable” if current trends continue, Clay said

  27. The lack of concern for the child after it’s born is gross hypocrisy on the folks who insist on interfeaing in a private matter.

  28. Betty Cloer Wallace

    The new wave of conservatism in America is nothing new, and women’s rights are being eroded by retrogressive politics and religion.

    The combination of politics and religion has always, for centuries, been geared toward the aggrandizement of men and the subjugation of women, and so it is happening once again with moralistic fervor.

    The human rights gains made during the last century by half our population—the female half—are being eroded with alarming speed, and we stand around swatting at gnats while vultures circle overhead.

    Heath Shuler’s brand of anti-women politics and religion is dangerous and scary—and everyone with mothers, sisters, and daughters needs to wake up. We have really not come that far from the centuries-old political and religious reformations inherited from Europe that have consistently disenfranchised women and continue to suppress the rights of women, even to this day.

    The personal life and body of each and every woman are her own—and hers alone—and no one has the right to tell her what to do with them—not fathers, preachers, lovers, husbands, doctors, politicians—not anybody.

    Conservative politicians and religionists bemoan the decline of marriage, but what they bemoan is the decline of traditional patriarchal marriage in which the woman is a second-class citizen.

    No woman in her right mind chooses to be subject to such a marriage—and complacent young women nowadays will have a rude awakening when they discover that the laws of this country have stripped away their basic human rights, dignity, and economic wherewithal, and set them back a century.

  29. cwaster

    Shame on you Heath Shuler! if there was any chance I’d vote for you left, it is long gone now.

    B Falstaff wrote:
    “Outside the city, local people still have old fashioned family values in alignment with their religious beliefs. We do not like abortion anymore than we like any other form of killing, and we are happy Rep Shuler still agrees with us! ”

    Funny thing, the funds you mention aren’t used for abortion. I love the political spin on this one. Too bad the facts aren’t made more clear by the conservative right.

    What this is- an assault on women’s rights per the conservative agenda, yet again. How awful.

  30. missemmalee

    This isn’t about abortion! This is about healthcare reform.

    Pay attention and think a little bit. The new healthcare reform would make it so federally funded Planned Parenthood would not be necessary, because everyone could afford healthcare.

    AND, NO government money EVER went to abortions by Planned Parenthood. That is not how Planned Parenthood is set up. They don’t give out free abortions, they are not food stamps, there is a fee.

    Breathe, people..and do some reading with your eyes open. Pathetic

  31. Dionysis

    Actually, it IS about abortion, at least in part. If the Republicans have their way in pushing their proposal to end all tax credits for any private health insurance plan that covers abortions, the ability to enjoy tax savings via pre-tax premium payments made under IRS Section 125 would go away. And that would mean increased out-of-pocket costs for the insured while diminishing coverage.

    As for affordability, no meaningful savings can be expected without a single-payer plan:

    “High administrative costs and excessive – and even ridiculous – prices under the current system are themselves symptoms of the increasing commercialization of health care and the growing dominance of private firms in health care delivery and financing. Cutting administrative costs and mandating reasonable pricing would result in very large one-time savings and allow an affordable transition to comprehensive coverage of the un- and under-insured, but without other cost control mechanisms these savings would soon be eaten up by continued health care inflation.

    Over the longer term, the keys to savings lie in improved health planning implemented through control of capital spending, as well as limitations on market incentives and limitations on for-profit involvement in health care delivery.

    – Health planning to assure that investments in expensive new technology meet needs, but do not exceed them, is the only proven means to limit the excessive and dangerous interventions that drive up costs and lower quality. It is the salutary alternative to the current strategies of case-by-case review by HMOs, or the potentially disastrous incentives offered under capitation arrangements.

    – Limits on for-profit ownership and excessive compensation of health care executives are needed to dull the incentives for institutional gain at the expense of system-wide performance. For-profit hospitals and dialysis facilities paid by Medicare have higher costs and lower quality than non-profits. Eliminating them is key to “bending the cost curve.”

  32. missemmalee, first off – I commend you on your cut and paste.

    However, nothing you state above has anything to do to what is on the table. You’re talking about the privatization of health care.

    The attitude that the GOP has taken with the subject is horrid, indeed. Pence is riding this one for all it’s worth, and it’s deplorable.

    To get things straight, no where in Title X does it mention the word abortion, and has since the beginning. I’m surprised it’s gone as long as it has.

    Abortion is not illegal. It’s just really expensive. The big problem, really big, is the education and prevention of HIV, STDs, male AND female health exams have been yanked away from those who can’t afford it. And that fact is being overshadowed by abortion and both sides are not realizing that.

    Both sides are in a blind rage. So..and pardon my sardonic pun, the baby has been tossed out with the bath water..

  33. Dionysis

    “, first off – I commend you on your cut and paste.”

    Gee thanks, but it’s actually ‘copy-and-paste’, and you’re to be commended for your effort at pithy observation.

    If you don’t think Shuler, DINO that he has proven himself to be, is somehow NOT in lock-step with Republican efforts to gut reproductive services (including referrals), then you might want to open your eyes a bit wider yourself.

    I’m pretty sure most people are aware that abortions are both legal and costly, but if you are suggesting that cost is driving these efforts, you should consider another think.

    You seem to believe that simply because abortion, being the emotion-laden issue that it is (and consequently the spearhead of the broader issue), obscures the larger issue (which you did touch upon) from the voters, then you do them a disservice. As noted earlier, it is primarily about abortion, your certitude notwithstanding.

  34. WomanLovingWoman

    I think it’s interesting that anyone who comes out as pro-life is deemed “woman hating” by those who support abortion. Are women who support life also women-hating? As a pro-life woman, do I hate myself or other women? Of course not. In fact, I think that pro-abortionists actually show more of a contempt for and lack of faith in women than pro-lifers do. If you think of the way that this issue has been battered about by pro-abortionists and the way that they have short-changed and underestimated the emotional costs and burdens of such policies, as well as the capacity of women to manage complex moral and health decisions, it’s rather incredible to me that pro-abortionists take the moral high road when claiming sovereignty over “women’s rights” in the name of … killing one in three babies to be conceived here. Is that a service to women? It’s like offering amputations for war wounds instead of ending the war that would prevent the wounds.

    Calling abortion “women’s rights” is like calling a bomb squad a “peace keeping coalition” … doesn’t make sense.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.