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. Pence, who has led the fight against reproductive rights for more than half a decade, voted with Republicans to move forward with the resolution.
Republicans were forced to hold the procedural vote open for more than an hour after GOP Senators Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, voted with Democrats against advancing the measure. The vote Thursday means states can now block the funding for other family planning services at clinics which also provide abortions.
Republicans reportedly argued the measure upholds states' rights, and is not an attack on Planned Parenthood. Obama administration officials said it was necessary because thirteen states had tried, since 2011, to limit federal grants to family planning organizations.
That left Mr. Pence to break the tie. They are things that every woman needs, and to not be able to go to the provider that you feel is your preferred provider is, or if you are in a community where the only provider may be a Planned Parenthood, that's very concerning because where else do you go?
Does Trump administration even realize the devastating affect their personal vendetta against Planned Parenthood would have on American women? This was not a piece of legislation Obama signed, but rather an administrative rule he pushed through in the final weeks of his administration. Plus, the Senate-currently split 52-48 with a Republican majority-voted against keeping birth control free earlier this year.
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Just last night, Pence, who has been a particularly ardent and vicious opponent of Planned Parenthood, spoke at a White House panel on empowering women to commemorate the close of women's history month. Planned Parenthood also is the nation's largest abortion network - performing over a third of all abortions in the U.S. It receives more than half a billion dollars in federal funding each year.
The vast majority of votes for the legislation were from men, who make up 80 percent of the 115th Congress.
The measure has already passed the House of Representatives.
During This Morning, CBS co-anchor Gayle King reported on the "bill allowing states to deny federal family planning money to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers".
"This legislation does not prevent Planned Parenthood or any other entity from receiving Title X funds", Ernst said immediately after the vote.