A battle over Planned Parenthood funding has emerged as one of the major sticking points in the stalled federal budget talks, reports the Huffington Post. House Speaker John Boehner said late last night that the party would not approve a budget if any money went to Planned Parenthood through Title X, say the sources. Ironically, all of the principal negotiators in the talks over the issue are men. Planned Parenthood's president says the cut would hurt the two million women who "come through some kind of federal program either for an annual pap or for birth control or for a breast exam or even prenatal care."
That's one of a number of budget riders—provisions designed to restrict federal spending—that are hanging up talks. Others involve environmental issues like mountaintop mining. The fights are viewed as "culture war" battles between the two parties hidden under the guise of saving money. "The riders that have nothing to do with deficit reduction have sort of taken over Boehner and the Republican Party," charged New York Sen. Charles Schumer. "Unless they back off those riders, it's going to be impossible pretty much to avoid a shutdown." (Read more Pap smear stories.)