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GOP senator defends funding Planned Parenthood

Republican Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsWhite House reiterates opposition to raising gas tax amid infrastructure debate Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle Lawmakers rally around cyber legislation following string of attacks MORE (Maine) continued to break with some of her party's priorities on Sunday, speaking out against defunding Planned Parenthood as part of the Senate's recently unveiled healthcare legislation.

“It makes absolutely no sense to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood,” Collins told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “This Week.”

The moderate Republican’s comments come just days after Senate Republicans revealed proposed legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare, which would defund the nonprofit, which provides women’s health services and abortions.  

The bill moves to defund Planned Parenthood for a year by blocking Medicaid reimbursements.

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“There are already longstanding restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortion, so this is not what this debate is about. And Planned Parenthood is an important provider of healthcare services, including family planning and cancer screenings for millions of Americans, particularly women,” she continued.

“I am optimistic we'll prevail on that issue,” Collins said, referring to amending the legislation.

Planned Parenthood distributed the clip of the GOP lawmaker praising the organization on Sunday.

Collins is not the only Republican who has criticized various parts of the bill.

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiTrump endorses Murkowski challenger Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle Senate confirms Radhika Fox to lead EPA's water office MORE (R-Alaska) said this month she was “committed” to funding Planned Parenthood.

In 2015, the two senators joined forces with then-Sen. Mark KirkMark Steven KirkDuckworth announces reelection bid Brave new world: Why we need a Senate Human Rights Commission  Senate majority battle snags Biden Cabinet hopefuls MORE (R-Ill.) to attempt to do away with a provision that would defund the nonprofit in the Senate repeal bill.

Murkowski and Collins now find themselves in a group of GOP senators expressing concerns about the legislation. Five senators have bucked leadership, saying they would not vote for the bill in its present form. 

The Senate's healthcare legislation currently does not have enough support to pass, according to The Hill's Whip List. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGraham quips key to working with Trump: We both 'like him' The Hill's Morning Report - ObamaCare here to stay Democrats scramble to unify before election bill brawl MORE (R-Ky.) has little margin for error, as he can afford just two defections from his conference with all Democrats expected to oppose the bill. Vice President Pence could then be called in to break the tie.