Health Care

Senate rejects government-wide ban on abortion funding

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The Senate rejected a bill on Thursday that would have permanently banned the use of federal funding for abortions.

The bill would have enshrined in law a long-standing provision that is tacked on to appropriations bills every year, forbidding the use of federal funds for abortions in programs like Medicaid.

It also would have banned ObamaCare subsidies for insurance plans that cover abortion. 

{mosads}Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) teed up the largely symbolic vote for Thursday, one day ahead of the March for Life, the annual march against abortion that takes place in Washington.

The bill wasn’t expected to pass, but Republicans typically schedule symbolic votes on abortion close to the dates for the March for Life and the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. 

A vote to open debate on the bill failed 48-47, with 60 votes needed to begin debate. 

Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) broke with their party to vote against the measure while Democratic Sens. Bob Casey (Pa.) and Joe Manchin (W.V.) voted with Republicans.

Democrats criticized McConnell for holding a vote on the bill instead of voting on House-passed measures to end the government shutdown. 

“We know that a bill opening the government would pass the Senate, yet we’re voting on a bill attacking women’s health,” tweeted Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.).

The vote illustrated how divided the new Congress is on the issue of abortion. 

Leaders of the House Pro-Choice Caucus vowed this week to end the Hyde Amendment for good. 

Tags Bob Casey Joe Manchin Lisa Murkowski Mitch McConnell Patty Murray Susan Collins

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