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Planned Parenthood’s federal lobbying bill more than tripled in the first three months of the new Congress, as Republicans targeted the group for funding cuts and transformed it into a political cause célébre.
For the first quarter of 2011, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America reported spending $400,000 on federal lobbying, up more than 256 percent from the same quarter just one year ago, when it spent $111,000.
The majority of Planned Parenthood’s lobbying budget went to in-house work, but it farmed out $60,000 worth of reportable lobbying to the Glover Park Group.
“Planned Parenthood lobbies Congress on a wide range of legislation regarding women’s health,” Planned Parenthood Spokesman Tait Sye wrote in an email. “The first 100 days of this Congress certainly saw an increase in anti-women’s health legislation that does nothing to address the economy or create jobs.”
Planned Parenthood’s lobbying disclosure filings, which were due to Congress by midnight Wednesday, reported that the abortion-rights group lobbied on such bills as the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, the Sanctity of Human Life Act, the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act and the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act of 2011, among others.
Planned Parenthood, which is the nation’s largest abortion provider, receives federal money, but is already barred from using those funds for abortion services. Instead, the federal funds can be used for women’s health care such as cancer screenings or tests and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.
Although the political battle in Washington over Planned Parenthood funding has put the group largely on defense on Capitol Hill, it has resulted in a surge of contributions to the group’s coffers. A Planned Parenthood spokesman told Roll Call last week that its online donations increased 500 percent in February and March.