U.S. President Barack Obama would veto legislation to continue funding the government if it strips federal money for Planned Parenthood, the White House said in a statement on Thursday.
The threat came as Congress considers a bill to fund federal agencies past Sept. 30 and avoid a shutdown even as some lawmakers balk at taxpayer support for the healthcare group, which drawn protests over its use of fetal tissue from abortions.
U.S. senators plan to vote later on Thursday on a Republican bill to fund the government through Dec. 11 while stripping Planned Parenthood’s funds. But Democrats are expected to block the move and force Republicans to bring up a so-called “clean” funding that does not target the group.
The White House said Obama would not sign any bill that included the Senate amendment eliminating the group’s funding.
“By eliminating federal funding for a major provider of health care, the Senate amendment … would limit access to health care for women, men, and families across the nation, and disproportionately impact low-income individuals,” the White House statement said.
Planned Parenthood has come under fire in recent weeks over allegations that it improperly sells fetal tissue from abortions following a string of secretly filmed videos posted online by an anti-abortion group.
The group says it has done nothing wrong and that the videos are unfair and deceptive.
Some Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have said they cannot vote for a spending bill that provides money to Planned Parenthood. Meanwhile, some first-term House Republicans on Wednesday urged against taking any steps that would lead to a shutdown.
If lawmakers fail to pass a spending bill by the end of this month, parts of the federal government would shut down Oct. 1.
(Reporting by Washington newsroom; Editing by Doina Chiacu)