Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who is taking a lead role in a campaign to end taxpayer support for Planned Parenthood, will send Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a letter next week urging him not to schedule a vote on or help push legislation that gives federal money to the organization.
The letter, which is in draft form and circulating around the Senate for signatures, is Cruz's first official action against the organization in the new Senate session, which starts Tuesday. It comes as McConnell said this week that Congress won't be able to stop government money from going to Planned Parenthood.
"In light of recent and horrific revelations that Planned Parenthood is trafficking in fetal tissue and body parts from abortions, we urge you not to schedule or facilitate the consideration of any legislation that authorizes or appropriates federal dollars for Planned Parenthood," a draft of Cruz's letter reads.
Cruz said he would try to defund Planned Parenthood in July after the release of hidden-camera videos showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing the donation of fetal tissue in a seemingly cavalier fashion.
"The callous view that those in the abortion industry, like Planned Parenthood, take toward women and unborn children is an affront to natural rights and human decency," the draft reads.
"Whether or not one accepts the view of our President that abortions should be legal and widely available at any stage of pregnancy, we should all be able to unite around our President’s stated understanding of the “tradition in this town, historically, of not financing abortions as part of government-funded health care.”
Obama made the statement - after saying he is pro-choice - to CBS in 2009 when talking about health-care reform.
Cruz wrote that Planned Parenthood "receives billions of dollars" from government sources nonetheless.
"The American people should no longer be forced to fund the abortion industry; therefore we will oppose any government funding legislation that would authorize or provide federal funds for Planned Parenthood," the draft reads.
Planned Parenthood says abortion services have not been federally funded for decades because of the Hyde Amendment. Narrow exceptions include if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest or if the mother suffers from injury, illness or condition arising from the pregnancy that endangers her life.
The Texas Republican's role in the campaign to defund Planned Parenthood comes as he is looking to harness the support of social conservatives and evangelical Christians in his presidential campaign. Cruz is taking a lead role in a nationwide campaign to have pastors urge their congregants to call their elected officials and urge them to stop taxpayer money from going to Planned Parenthood.
Cruz has said that he would do his best to make sure the government wasn't funded if it included any money for planned parenthood - and efforts to blame him for a potential government shutdown would be "nonsense."
McConnell told WYMT-TV this week that the votes to stop government funding of Planned Parenthood are not there.
""I would remind all of your viewers, the way you make a law in this country, the Congress has to pass it, and the president has to sign it. The president's made it very clear he's not going to sign any bill that includes defunding of Planned Parenthood so that's another issue that awaits a new president hopefully with a different point of view," McConnell said.
The Kentucky Republican is leery of repeating the government shutdown of 2013. Then, Cruz championed controversial efforts to block President Obama's health-care law, a crusade that led to a 16-day government shutdown.
On a conference call that more than 100,000 pastors last month, Cruz said members of both parties want an "empty show vote" on funding the organization, one that "has no teeth" and is not tied to crucial legislation.
Cruz said there is a way to ensure the vote would count: tying it to a bill that funds the federal government.
"We can expect President Obama and many of the congressional Democrats to cry loudly that if Congress uses its authority, Congress will be quote 'shutting down the government.' That, of course, is nonsense," Cruz said.
An effort by Senate Republicans to end funding for the organization failed earlier this month. Cruz was a co-sponsor of the bill, which fell short of the 60 votes needed to proceed.