With its federal funding already threatened and congressional budget negotiations still under way, Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides health care and abortions at reduced prices, faces an uncertain future.
The organization came under fire last month with a House budget proposal that would have withdrawn its federal funding. Although the Senate defeated the resolution on March 9, Congress may press forward with the issue in the next version of the budget.
"We've gained a lot of momentum. We expect that in whatever budget measure comes up next, defunding Planned Parenthood will be in it," said Wendy Wright, CEO of Concerned Women for America, a socially conservative organization that has been lobbying for federal defunding of Planned Parenthood.
Wright has at least one reason to be optimistic. Michael Schwartz, the former head of government relations at Concerned Women now serves as the chief of staff to Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. Although he hasn't yet taken sides in the current budget battle, Coburn is a staunch conservative who serves as one of the "Gang of Six," a group of Democratic and Republican senators who are involved in long-term budget negotiations. Coburn is also an influential Republican and member of the Senate Finance Committee who many Washington observers say has significant sway within his party leadership.