Pence Summoned To Break Tie On Planned Parenthood Funding

Pence Summoned To Break Tie On Planned Parenthood Funding

The Senate voted on Thursday to overturn an Obama-administration rule that prohibited states from diverting their Title X funds away from groups that perform abortions, in effect forcing states to fund Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. "Continuing on their extreme anti-woman agenda, Senate Republicans are rushing now to roll back a rule that protects family planning providers from being discriminated against and denied federal funding". Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Republicans did not have enough votes with their slim 52-seat majority to advance the bill.

"States should be free to decide which organizations receive federal funding for family planning services".

This tie-breaking vote will allow the Senate to cast a vote later in the day that would actually repeal Obama's rule protecting Planned Parenthood, potentially allowing for states to restrict funding to Planned Parenthood.

Democrat Senator Patty Murray calls this cruel, saying "it would have [the] greatest impact on women and families who need it the most".

Other people disagree. Women's marches have been held across the country to protest cuts to reproductive health care.

Under Senate rules, the vice president can cast tie breaking votes.

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"[First], it's very important that we undo President Obama's last-minute regulation - his parting gift to Planned Parenthood", she says, "[because] regardless of how pro-life they may be and regardless of the will of the people who wanted to prioritize taxpayer funding, it forced states to fund Planned Parenthood".

Divisions over Planned Parenthood could also be a major sticking point in upcoming negotiations to fund the government, which is set to run out of money at the end of April.

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) criticized the vice-president's vote on Thursday morning.

"This regulation is an unnecessary restriction on states that know their residents' own needs best", the Republican leader said. The bill will now head to President Donald Trump's desk.

The Title X federal grant program, enacted by President Richard Nixon in 1970, subsidizes preventive health care and family planning services for 4 million low-income Americans, roughly half of whom are uninsured. The House passed the resolution in February. It's already illegal to use federal money to directly provide abortions, so these soon-to-be-slashed funds were going to non-abortion services like breast exams, vaccinations and pap tests.

The bill shields Planned Parenthood with $2 million from the State's Medicaid budget, and another $700,000 from the general fund should Republicans in Congress succeed in cutting off federal funds.

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