Pence breaks Senate tie on killing family-planning grants rule

Andrew Burton  Getty Images News  Getty Images
Andrew Burton Getty Images News Getty Images
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03 April, 2017

Republicans have said the Obama rule should be overturned to allow states the right to steer funds away from abortion providers, if they choose.

With all senators in the Democratic caucus also voting against the measure, the chamber was split 50-50, which triggered the vice president's tie-breaking powers. Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted against allowing the legislation to move forward and then against the bill itself. For three sessions in a row, as the Governor of in, he introduced legislation to deny any funds to any Title X grantee if they also provide abortion services.

"The Congress is sending a resolution to President (Donald) Trump ensuring that states are not forced to fund America's abortion giant, Planned Parenthood", said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of a prominent anti-abortion group.

Republicans reportedly argued the measure upholds states' rights, and is not an attack on Planned Parenthood.

After a line of Democrats came to the Senate floor to oppose the measure, Murray pointed out that most Republicans who voted for the measure opted not to defend it on the Senate floor. These are people who are low-income, they are uninsured, and they rely on the Title X program to get basic reproductive health care, and when I say basic reproductive health care I mean an annual wellness exam, a pap test, a breast exam, birth control, these are all preventive care. "It's important to recognize that there is already a bar against using federal funds for abortion and that bar stays in effect".

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Editor's Note: The headline of this piece has been updated since initial publication to accurately reflect that the bill passed allows states to withhold funding from Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood offers hormone therapy for transgender clients and STD screenings.

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.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer warned Republicans against repealing the rule, thereby limiting women's access to care in some areas.

The organization issued a statement which read, in part, "Four million people depend on the Title X family planning program, and this move by DC politicians would endanger their health care". And guess who helped pass that bill? According to Planned Parenthood, four million people on Title X for essential healthcare services, including cancer screenings, affordable birth control, and STI testing and treatment, and affordable birth control provided through Title X prevents one million unintended pregnancies a year.

"We just want to make sure our $25,000 or more women get to continue to have the Planned Parenthood services in the state of Maryland", said Senator Nancy King (D-Montgomery County). "If that happens, that's like 40 percent of Planned Parenthood's budget, they are just going to be closing down clinics dozens of them".


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