When the Republican-controlled House came into power in January 2011, the GOP -- spurred on by the newly elected Tea Party members of Congress -- began crafting legislation that former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi labeled an assault on women's health. Three key pieces attempted to further restrict abortion and access to abortion. One was specifically targeted to deny family planning funding under Title X to health care providers that offer abortion services -- an apparent attack against Planned Parenthood. When the federal budget battle came to a head in April 2011, the issue became a major bone of contention.
Former Speaker of the House and current House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke out in February 2011 against three pieces of legislation proposed by GOP representatives intended to curtail women's reproductive rights. One, the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act sponsored by Rep. Mike Pence, was an attempt to eliminate family planning funding for Planned Parenthood, and would later prove to be a controversial and divisive issue in the 2011 federal budget battle in April.
When the House voted to defund Planned Parenthood by blocking their access to Title X funding, GOP members cited a video made by a group called Live Action which allegedly showed Planned Parenthood employees pressuring women and girls to choose abortion. But as the Huffington Post noted, the video was heavily edited, taking many employee comments out of context. The deliberate falsification of the video's content led many to question the intentional undermining of Planned Parenthood.
Despite the presence of several thousand women and men at the "Stand Up For Women's Health" rally, and promises by attendees Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) that women's health would not be sacrificed, there was scant mainstream media coverage of the event. Instead, all eyes were on Congress where federal budget negotiations took priority, as partisan bickering over the defunding of Planned Parenthood continued.