Vulnerable GOP senator opposes defunding Planned Parenthood

Sen. Mark KirkMark KirkSenate panel approves 0M for international climate fund Senator calls for pause in accepting Syrian refugees after Istanbul attack Overnight Healthcare: Blame game over Zika funding MORE (R-Ill.) on Wednesday indicated he’ll oppose a bill backed by Republican leadership to defund Planned Parenthood. 

Kirk is up for reelection next year and is a top Democratic target.

“In other states tissue donation programs should be investigated but in Illinois there is no similar program,” Kirk said in a statement to The Hill. “I do not plan to cut access to basic health care and contraception for women, the majority of whom have no other resources.” 

Kirk is the second Republican senator to indicate opposition to the bill. 

“I'm still looking at the bill, but if it is an immediate defunding of Planned Parenthood before we have more facts in, then I would likely oppose the amendment,” Sen. Susan CollinsSusan CollinsThe Trail 2016: Meet and greet and grief Senators press Obama education chief on reforms GOP senator: Trump endorsement could depend on VP MORE (R-Maine) told reporters Wednesday. 

Many Senate Republicans, though, have been touting the bill and pressuring Democrats to support it. 

Three controversial undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood officials candidly discussing the price of fetal tissue for medical research have sparked outrage. 

Backers are pointing out that the money would be redistributed to other organizations, so there would be no overall cut in funding for women’s health services. 

“We introduced legislation last night that would ensure taxpayer dollars for women’s health are spent on women’s health, not a scandal-plagued political lobbying giant,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Wednesday. 

“It’s a simple choice,” he added. “Senators can either vote to protect women’s health, or they can vote to protect subsidies for a political group mired in scandal.”