Thanks to a tie-breaking vote cast by pro-life Vice President Mike Pence late yesterday afternoon, the Senate was able to undo an Obama-era regulation that prevented states from defunding abortion providers.
The Hill is reporting on the vote which took place in the Senate where lawmakers were split in a 50-50 tie over nixing a rule that would prevent states from defunding Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics. The rule, put in place by former President Barack Obama in the waning days of his presidency, required state and local governments to distribute Title X funding regardless of whether a provider also performs abortion. The regulation was put in place to serve as an additional hurdle over which Republicans would have to climb in order to defund Planned Parenthood.
Two Republican Senators – Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Susan Collins (ME) – decided to vote against repealing the rule which left the upper chamber in a 50-50 tie.
Vice President Mike Pence was then called onto the Senate floor where he cast the 51st tie-breaking vote, marking the third time he has had to break a tie since becoming vice president.
Prior to the vote, Democrats blasted Republicans, insisting that the measure would negatively impact women’s access to healthcare.
“I want Senate Republicans who are about to take this vote, and Vice President Pence, to be very clear on what they are about to do,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the No. 3 Senate Democrat. “As a direct result of their choices today, extreme politicians in states across the country will have greater power to take away women’s choices.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) balked at the typical talking point, saying that the regulation hurt local governments because it imposed “an unnecessary restriction on states that know their residents a lot better than the federal government.”
Pro-life leaders were pleased with the outcome, which represents the first big pro-life win for the new president and the 115th Congress.
“I applaud the Congress and President Trump for working together to restore a culture of life in America. Every state should be free to decide how it spends its dollars — especially if they’re choosing positive alternatives to the ‘abortion-as-health-care’ model,” said Family Research Council president Tony Perkins. “Obama’s HHS rule on Title X is an executive overreach and a handout to the abortion industry that has no basis in law.”
The bill now goes to the desk of President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it.
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