In a tie-breaking defund-family-planning-article-1.3013900" target="_blank">vote in the Senate on Thursday, Pence set the wheels in motion to allow states to deny abortion providers Title X federal funding for family planning services.
Using the Congressional Review Act, which allows lawmakers to repeal recently minted regulations, senators killed a rule meant to keep federal grants flowing to clinics that provide contraception and other services in states that want to block the funding.
"Republicans didn't listen to us", said Senator Patty Murray of Washington, the senior Democrat on the health committee.
After two Republicans, Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME) sided against the measure with Democrats, Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote. For three sessions in a row, as the Governor of in, he introduced legislation to deny any funds to any Title X grantee if they also provide abortion services.
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But several states with anti-abortion-rights legislatures, including Arkansas, have tried to block funds for Planned Parenthood. Then Senator Johnny Isakson, a Georgia Republican who underwent back surgery recently and has been absent from the capitol, appeared on the Senate floor and created the tie.
Editor's Note: The headline of this piece has been updated since initial publication to accurately reflect that the bill passed allows states to withhold funding from Planned Parenthood.
A sign is pictured at the entrance to a Planned Parenthood building in NY.
Before the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said it was necessary to preserve local rule. The legislation had already cleared the House and will require President Donald Trump's signature to be turned into law, according to The Atlantic.
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The Senate held a vote on March 30 to decide whether states should be allowed to refuse to give Planned Parenthood any of their family planning funding.
After the House vote, Ernst said in a statement she was "committed to restoring our states' ability to make their own decisions about the best eligible Title X providers for folks".
Now, this bill wouldn't exactly "defund" Planned Parenthood, but it will have a devastating effect on millions of low-income men and women.
"Mike Pence went from yesterday's forum on empowering women to today leading a group of male politicians in a vote to take away access to birth control and cancer screenings", Laguens said in a statement. Title X facilities provide family planning and preventative care, from contraception and STD testing to breast cancer screenings. In 2011, IN slashed funding for Planned Parenthood, shutting down many rural clinics.
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