Bid to Defund Planned Parenthood Fails in Senate


     WASHINGTON (CN) – A Republican effort to defund Planned Parenthood Monday fell short of the 60 votes need to bring the bill to the floor for full Senate consideration.
     The 53-46 vote went largely along party lines, though Republican Sens. Mark Kirk of Illinois and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, voted against the motion for cloture. McConnell’s no vote was necessary under Senate rules for him to bring the bill up for a second vote.
     Two Democrats, Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia voted to bring the bill to the floor as well, breaking from their party.
     The move comes after an anti-abortion group released four undercover videos showing high-ranking officials of Planned Parenthood negotiating over the price of tissue of aborted fetuses.
     Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, sponsored the bill along with 44 other Republicans, including presidential hopefuls Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
     “It’s about time we had a debate about this and it’s time that we say enough’s enough,” Paul said on the floor before the vote.
     Critics of the bill have called the measure an attack on women’s health while supporters have focused on the unsavory details of the sting videos in defending the move to defund the organization.
     “This is a continuation of the Republican war on women, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, said in a passionate speech on the floor before the vote.
     Planned Parenthood provides a number of health services, like cancer screenings and education, in addition to abortions. The organization is already prohibited from putting federal funds towards abortion.
     “I gave birth to two premature kids and I just don’t like lectures from men about what it’s like,” Boxer said on the floor.
     Under Ernst’s bill the funds removed from Planned Parenthood would be distributed to other groups that offer women’s health services like community health centers. Several Republicans on the floor mentioned that these health centers are far more prevalent than Planned Parenthood clinics.
     This led Republicans on the floor to emphasize the bill did not remove any federal funds from women’s health care efforts.
     But Democrats disagreed, saying it was more of the same from Republicans.
     “I’m tempted to say there they go again,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, said on the floor before the vote. “We have seen this attack on women’s health again and again and again.”
     McConnell entered a motion to reconsider the vote, raising the possibility of another vote on the bill in the future.
     However, Republicans would need to convince at least five Democrats to join the cause in order for the bill to come to the floor.

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