The Twitter storm (see below for a more comprehensive list) was unleashed as Republicans forced a vote in the U.S. Senate on Monday evening to cancel the approximately $500 million that Planned Parenthood receives annually from the federal government to provide reproductive health services to low-income women. The legislation, sponsored by GOP Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, would have shifted the taxpayer funds given to Planned Parenthood to other community health centers.
The vote of 53 to 46 fell short of the necessary 60-vote majority needed to kill Planned Parenthood's funding, but was considered an opening volley in what will be a increasingly heated battle that could disrupt congressional spending legislation this fall and dominate the debate among 2016 presidential candidates.
All of this comes after the release of video footage recorded secretly by anti-abortion activists from the Center for Medical Progress. In the undercover videos, Planned Parenthood officials are shown casually discussing how medical practitioners can best preserve fetal organs and tissue from abortions so they can be used for medical research – and how to set prices for such research material.
After the release of a particularly graphic portion of the video – which showed clinicians picking over fetal specimens with tweezers – presidential candidate Hillary Clinton made a rare comment critical of her allies at Planned Parenthood, saying of the videos, "I have seen pictures from them and obviously find them disturbing."
That did not stop her from leading the charge in the group's defense, voicing her support in a series of Tweets and releasing a video of her own on Monday, in which she called the vote a "full-on assault on women's health."
She was joined by the likes of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Democratic presidential rival Bernie Sanders, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who Tweeted, "Shame on the GOP for playing games with women's health." All the while, conservatives rallied against the nonprofit, including presidential candidates Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, who also released a video on Twitter:
Planned Parenthood should never receive another dime from American taxpayers. Click here if you agree! https://t.co/KYeqVWmdeS— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 3, 2015
Voting to defund Planned Parenthood now, please chip in to help me continue fighting the Washington Machine. https://t.co/du5nmyJN3K— Dr. Rand Paul (@RandPaul) August 3, 2015
Nearly all of Hollywood, however, seems to be throwing their support behind Planned Parenthood. Below is a round-up of what stars such as Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore and Laverne Cox are saying on social media.
The Senate votes on a bill to defund Planned Parenthood at 5:30pm! Get on the phone NOW & tell your senators to #StandWithPP: 202-224-3121.— America Ferrera (@AmericaFerrera) August 3, 2015
1 out of every 5 women has been to Planned Parenthood. Threatening their care gets politicians nowhere FAST with me. I proudly #StandWithPP— Maggie Gyllenhaal (@mgyllenhaal) July 17, 2015
The list doesn't end there – a seemingly endless parade of celebs have taken to social media to back the group, including Selenis Leyva, Jenny Slate, Aisha Tyler, Gaby Hoffman, Felicity Huffman, Kathleen Turner, Mae Whitman, Ilana Glazer, Alan Cumming, Ashley Judd, Zoe Kazan, Rachel Antonoff, Judy Blume, John Legend, Rose McGowan, Kathy Najimy, Lucas Neff, Sarah Paulson, Elizabeth Perkins, Martha Plimpton, Gillian Robespierre, Samantha Ronson, Holland Taylor, Jenny Trout, Mara Wilson and more.