There wasn’t much of a chance that the rider in the House Republican budget crossing out Planned Parenthood funding would have much of a chance of passing anyway, but now, 41 Senate Democrats, enough to block any legislation, have signed a letter opposing all riders to that effect in the budget. This makes it impossible to pass them as part of any deal. I’ve added the full letter below, but here’s an excerpt:

We know the Title X family planning program serves nearly five million low-income women and men at more than 4,500 health centers each year. Many of these people rely on Title X funded health care providers as their primary source of health care. Yet, the House-passed Continuing Resolution would eliminate all funding for Title X and leave millions of Americans at risk.

We also oppose the provision in the House-passed Continuing Resolution that cuts Planned Parenthood health centers off from federal funds used to provide cancer screenings, birth control and other preventive health care services to three million Americans every year.

Senators Akaka (D-HI), Baucus (D-MT), Begich (D-AK), Bennet (D-CO), Bingaman (D-NM), Blumenthal (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Boxer (D-CA), Cantwell (D-WA), Cardin (D-MD), Coons (D-DE), Feinstein (D-CA), Franken (D-MN), Gillibrand (D-NY), Hagan (D-NC), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Kerry (D-MA), Klobuchar (D-MN), Kohl (D-WI), Landrieu (D-LA), Lautenberg (D-NJ), Leahy (D-VT), Levin (D-MI), Lieberman (I-CT), McCaskill (D-MO), Menendez (D-NJ), Merkley (D-OR), Mikulski (D-MD), Murray (D-WA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Reed (D-RI), Sanders (I-VT), Shaheen (D-NH), Stabenow (D-MI), Tester (D-MT), Mark Udall (D-CO), Tom Udall (D-NM), Warner (D-VA), Webb (D-VA), Whitehouse (D-RI) and Wyden (D-OR) signed the letter.

Over 800,000 Americans have signed a petition rejecting the Planned Parenthood cuts in the House GOP budget.

Some House Republicans have said that they wouldn’t vote for a continuing resolution without the cuts to Planned Parenthood funding, so this makes an impasse more likely.

Ultimately, it’s quite a small needle that Democratic and Republican will have to thread if they want to keep the government funded beyond April 8. And that’s the easy budget conundrum: in the next budget, Republicans want to privatize Medicare and block grant Medicaid.

The full letter:

Dear Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell:

During this economic downturn, many women and families are struggling to make ends meet, and are relying on women’s health and family planning centers for access to essential health care services such as breast exams, other cancer and disease screenings, contraception and more.

We write to you today to affirm our strong support for making women’s health and family planning services affordable and available, and ask that you stand with us against extreme proposals by some Members of the House to eliminate support for women’s health and family planning programs and providers that serve millions of women and families.

We know the Title X family planning program serves nearly five million low-income women and men at more than 4,500 health centers each year. Many of these people rely on Title X funded health care providers as their primary source of health care. Yet, the House-passed Continuing Resolution would eliminate all funding for Title X and leave millions of Americans at risk.

We also oppose the provision in the House-passed Continuing Resolution that cuts Planned Parenthood health centers off from federal funds used to provide cancer screenings, birth control and other preventive health care services to three million Americans every year.

Without access to these services, many of these women will be unable to get preventive screenings, be at far greater risk for diseases such as cancer and will face more unintended pregnancies.

Protecting women’s health is a goal we can all agree on. We urge you to stand with us against extreme proposals by some Members of the House that would harm women and their families.