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Vulnerable GOP senator opposes defunding Planned Parenthood

Vulnerable GOP senator opposes defunding Planned Parenthood

Sen. Mark KirkMark Steven KirkSenate majority battle snags Biden Cabinet hopefuls The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Senate makes SCOTUS nominee Barrett a proxy for divisive 2020 Senate Republicans scramble to put Trump at arm's length 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.” 

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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 CollinsOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Interior reverses Trump policy that it says restricted science | Collins to back Haaland's Interior nomination | Republicans press Biden environment nominee on Obama-era policy Republicans, please save your party Susan Collins to back Haaland's Interior nomination 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.”