Senate GOP needs Pence to break tie on family planning funds
03 April 2017, 03:23 | Isaac Mcdaniel
Their votes were needed because two Republicans - Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski, who are each supporters of Planned Parenthood - voted against it. Republicans have a 52-48 majority and all Democrats voted no. And even though not all Planned Parenthood centers are equipped to perform abortions, the Republicans still want no federal funds going anywhere near this invaluable organization.
But, of course, yesterday's vote is instead being cast by progressives and the media as an attack on women's health, calling it "blocking Planned Parenthood funding", "stripping Planned Parenthood of Title X funding", and "a vote that cuts millions in Planned Parenthood funding", among other choice examples. But Democrats and other defenders of Planned Parenthood have always gotten around that by allocating funds for other so-called family planning services, and allowing beneficiaries of the funding to choose Planned Parenthood as the provider of the service. Patty Murray said Republicans "didn't listen to women across the country who made it clear that restricting women's access to the full range of reproductive care is unacceptable". Title X money can not be used to pay for abortions, but Republicans still oppose giving grants to organizations that offer abortion services.
Naturally, Planned Parenthood ridiculed the bill, saying it could encourage states to discriminate against family planning healthcare providers that also offer abortions.
Many pro-life advocates are hoping this vote is the first step in defunding Planned Parenthood from Medicaid.
The rule was enacted in the final full month of the Obama administration, giving lawmakers the opening to nullify it under the Congressional Review Act.
Calling in the vice president, a longtime opponent of abortion, was a remarkable moment for Republicans, who have a 52-seat majority in the Senate. The House of Representatives already voted to overturn the regulation 230-188 in February, and President Donald Trump is expect to sign it if it passes the Senate. The vote had been held open for a full hour so Isakson, who had just landed at Reagan National Airport after a flight from Atlanta, could make it.
She added, "There's a reason they could barely get enough votes to get this bill through a procedural step: People are sick and exhausted of politicians making it even harder for them to access health care, and they will not stand for it". It's possible it could end up just like the proposed health care bill.
Before the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said it was necessary to preserve local rule.
"This legislation does not prevent Planned Parenthood or any other entity from receiving Title X funds", Ernst said immediately after the vote.
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