Pence Casts Tiebreaking Vote on Reversing Obama Rule on Women's Healthcare

Senate Republicans needed Vice President Mike Pence to cast the tie-breaking vote on a bill that will allow states to withhold federal funds from Planned Parenthood.

The bill will allow states to withhold federal funds from health care providers that perform abortions, including Planned Parenthood.

Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of ME - joined Democrats in opposing the legislation, sending chamber Republicans into a scurry to find a pair of replacement votes to get it approved.

The debate over abortion and women's health entered a new phase Thursday as Congressional Republicans delivered what's arguably their first real blow in years to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. Obama administration officials said it was necessary because thirteen states had tried, since 2011, to limit federal grants to family planning organizations. Murray, among a stream of Democratic women senators who spoke, called the Senate measure "shameful" and "dangerous".

The measure barely passed with tie-breaking vote from Vice-President Mike Pence.

In the background section, the proposed rule did note that with this interpretation of Title X, abortion is not expected to be part of the mandated taxpayer funding.

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Do they even realize the devastating affect their personal vendetta against Planned Parenthood would have on lower and middle-income people, especially women?

Almost 88,000 individuals in Washington receive services from Planned Parenthood under Medicaid funding, according to the group.

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. Title X facilities provide family planning and preventative care, from contraception and STD testing to breast cancer screenings. In a rare tiebreaker situation, Vice President Pence cast the final vote to support the bill and send the legislation to President Donald Trump's desk.

The vast majority of votes for the legislation were from men, who make up 80 percent of the 115th Congress. Besides erasing much of Obama's 2010 health-care law, the failed House bill would have blocked federal funds for Planned Parenthood for a year.

"President Trump and our administration, I promise you, are gonna work tirelessly to empower women to be able to climb the ladder of opportunity", he said at the time.

Noting the recent collapse of the Republican healthcare bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said Thursday's votes were close because "people are sick and exhausted of politicians making it even harder for them to access healthcare". "If that happens, that's like 40 percent of Planned Parenthood's budget, they are just going to be closing down clinics dozens of them".

  • Megan Austin