The House approved a Republican proposal on Friday to strip federal aid from abortion provider Planned Parenthood.
The 240-185 vote was a victory for pro-life forces led by Indiana GOP Rep. Mike Pence. He says taxpayer money should not go to groups that provide or promote abortion.
The measure proposed by Rep. Pence, spurred a heated debate in the House with Democrats calling the bill a "war against women." On Thursday night, the issue was debated by lawmakers for more than three hours.
The American Center for Law and Justice said in less than one week it had heard from nearly 55,000 people who urged the House to defund Planned Parenthood by signing on to a petition demanding action.
"There's no better place to begin the budget cutting process, than putting a stop to funding Planned Parenthood," said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. "It's stunning that Planned Parenthood receives more than $360 million a year in federal taxpayer funds."
"The approval of the Pence Amendment in the House is long overdue and sends a strong message - American taxpayers are no longer willing to subsidize the nation's largest abortion provider," Sekulow continued.
Officials with organizations like Concerned Women for America hailed the House's bold move.
"This is a historic vote and we are very grateful to the House of Representatives and its leadership for listening to the American people," Penny Nance, chief executive officer for CWA, said in a statement.
"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."
The proposal is part of a measure that seeks to cut government spending this year. It now will go to the U.S. Senate.
--Originally published Feb. 18, 2011.