Senate votes to defund Planned Parenthood

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The Senate on Thursday rejected an amendment to the ObamaCare repeal bill that would have allowed federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

The measure sponsored by three Senate Republicans would have stripped language from the bill blocking federal funds for Planned Parenthood. It fell short by 3 votes, 48-52.

{mosads}Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who are both up for reelection next year, sponsored the amendment along with centrist Republican Sen. Susan Collins (Maine). They were the only three Republicans to back it along with all but one Democrat.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) broke ranks to side with Senate Republicans.

The proposal would have struck the section of the bill that blocks federal funding for Planned Parenthood for one year while redirecting it other community health centers.

The Senate previously tabled an amendment from Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) that sought to continue funding for Planned Parenthood. Their bill also would have created a fund to support the safety of women’s health clinics for staff and patients in the wake of last week’s deadly shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood facility. 

The Senate will vote later on Thursday for final passage on ObamaCare repeal. If the bill is approved, it faces a certain veto from President Obama and will not become law.

The three GOP senators have remained tightlipped about whether or not they will support the ObamaCare repeal package if the provision defunding Planned Parenthood remains intact. 

Kirk previously voted against a stand-alone bill to strip money from the organization. 

Collins defended her amendment ahead of the vote, suggesting that without it hundreds of health clinics across the country could close. 

“I want to make clear that our amendment does not include any new spending. it does increase taxes, and it retains the current Hyde amendment language which prohibits the use of federal funds for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is at risk,” she said.  

The centrist senators have repeatedly voiced concerns about tying the larger repeal legislation to the separate battle over Planned Parenthood, which has drawn scrutiny after a series of video suggested it mishandled fetal tissue. 

But Republican leadership remained confident that they will have the 51 votes needed to get the reconciliation proposal through the upper chamber on Thursday.

Predicting that the legislation would be successful, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said that leadership has been working to unify their members.

“We’ve been working very closely to try to come up with a consensus piece of legislation,” he told reporters earlier this week.  

 This story was updated at 3:01 p.m.


Tags Joe Manchin John Cornyn Lisa Murkowski Mark Kirk Patty Murray Ron Wyden Susan Collins

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