Vulnerable GOP senator opposes defunding Planned Parenthood

Vulnerable GOP senator opposes defunding Planned Parenthood

Sen. Mark KirkMark KirkHigh stakes as Trump heads to Hill Five things to watch for at Trump-Senate GOP meeting Giffords, Scalise highlight party differences on guns 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 Margaret CollinsDemocrats search for 51st net neutrality vote Overnight Tech: States sue FCC over net neutrality repeal | Senate Dems reach 50 votes on measure to override repeal | Dems press Apple on phone slowdowns, kids' health | New Android malware found Overnight Regulation: Dems claim 50 votes in Senate to block net neutrality repeal | Consumer bureau takes first step to revising payday lending rule | Trump wants to loosen rules on bank loans | Pentagon, FDA to speed up military drug approvals 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.”