Pro-Life Victory: Defunding of Planned Parenthood a Trump Signature Away

Pence continued that legacy yesterday when he cast the tie-breaking vote on a bill that would overturn protections President Obama put in place just this past December, guaranteeing federal funds for Title X family planning services could not be denied to groups that also provide abortions.

In his final days in office, President Obama wanted to see to it that Republicans could not strip healthcare providers of these funds, regardless of whether they preformed abortions.

"On this vote the yeas are 50, the nays are 50", Pence said.

Republican leaders kept a procedural vote open for over an hour after two GOP senators, Alaska's Lisa Murkowski and Maine's Susan Collins, joined Democrats trying to block the measure. But federal family planning money can flow to clinics for other reproductive and health care services. They have focused their ire mostly on Planned Parenthood, despite the fact that federal law now prohibits taxpayer funds from going toward financing abortions.

Democrats criticized the measure as an attack on women's rights and abortion. While courts have not allowed states to withhold Medicaid money from Planned Parenthood, they've generally allowed states to redirect family planning dollars to other health providers.

Pence cast the tiebreaking vote on the motion to proceed to the bill that would reverse an Obama-era regulation preventing states from blocking the funding. Originally enacted in 1976, the law states that clinics can only use Title X grants for non-abortion health services.

"[First], it's very important that we undo President Obama's last-minute regulation - his parting gift to Planned Parenthood", she says, "[because] regardless of how pro-life they may be and regardless of the will of the people who wanted to prioritize taxpayer funding, it forced states to fund Planned Parenthood".

What this doesn't deal with, however, is the flow of federal funds to Planned Parenthood.

The Senate is now working on a measure that would dismiss that rule. Plus, the Senate-currently split 52-48 with a Republican majority-voted against keeping birth control free earlier this year.

Planned Parenthood representatives couldn't help but see the irony in Pence voting to defund their clinics just a day after he attended a "women's empowerment" panel alongside the president. The federal funding is used for other health care services - including affordable birth control options, STI/HIV screenings, pap smears and breast cancer exams. The House passed the resolution in February. In 2011, IN slashed funding for Planned Parenthood, shutting down many rural clinics.

  • Joey Payne