In other abortion-related news, the House recently passed HR 54, a formal request from state lawmakers for the federal government to defund Planned Parenthood clinics around the country. Rep. Walt Leger III, who voted against the measure, noted that Planned Parenthood provides many women's health-care services other than abortion, and pointed out federal law already prohibits taxpayer monies from being used to terminate pregnancies.
Though the bill has no weight of law, it passed on a 72-20 vote, with 13 lawmakers absent — and the vote fell completely along party lines. Voting to defund Planned Parenthood were New Orleans-area Reps. Pat Connick, Cameron Henry, Walker Hines, John LaBruzzo, Tony Ligi, Joe Lopinto III, Kirk Talbot, Ricky Templet, House Speaker Jim Tucker and Tom Willmott — all Republicans. Voting against the defunding were Jeff Arnold, Wesley Bishop, Jared Brossett, Girod Jackson, Juan LaFonta, Helena Moreno and Charmaine Marchand Stiaes — all Democrats. Two other Democrats, Neil Abramson and Robert Billiot, were absent. — Allman