The House voted on Friday in favor of a proposal to ban all federal funding for Planned Parenthood and to eliminate a program known as Title X, which provides aid for family planning and reproductive health.
The amendment, which was put forth by Indiana Republican Mike Pence, passed with a vote of 240 to 185, with eleven Democrats voting for the amendment and seven Republicans voting against it. One Congress member voted "present." The amendment will now proceed to Senate as a part of the Continuing Resolution to fund the federal government through September.
Abortion rights activists immediately condemned the amendment as an "extreme and dangerous piece of legislation" and an "assault" on millions of Americans.
"The outcome of this vote is not a surprise, but it is radically out of step with mainstream American values and it is out of line with the issues voters want Congress to focus on," said Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, in an e-mailed statement.
"In attacking Planned Parenthood, the House Republican leadership has launched an outrageous assault on the millions of Americans who rely on Planned Parenthood for primary and preventive health care, including lifesaving breast and cervical cancer screenings, annual exams, family planning visits, birth control, HIV testing, and more."
Anti-abortion rights activists, however, have lauded the proposal's passage on Friday as an "historic vote."
"We are very grateful to the House of Representatives and its leadership for listening to the American people," said Penney Nance, CEO of the anti-abortion group Concerned Women for America. "Now it's time for the U.S. Senate to follow suit and finally cut off all federal funding to an organization that thumbs is willing to aid and abet sex traffickers."
In a Thursday night debate preceding the vote, conversation quickly moved to the topic of abortion rights and women's rights, as well as the relative merits of Planned Parenthood and Title X - a program that provides low-income families with aid toward family planning and reproductive health.
New York Democrat Louise Slaughter called the proposed cuts to family planning "the opening salvo in an all-out war on women's health."
And in a moment that commanded solemn attention on the House floor, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) discussed her own experience with abortion.