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Monday, October 24, 2016

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Democrats in the U.S. Senate, joined by some Republicans, on Thursday blocked an effort denying federal funds for the women’s healthcare group Planned Parenthood in a move that could help avoid a government shutdown on Oct. 1.

Most Senate Republicans had supported the plan to attach the Planned Parenthood defunding to a bill keeping government operating with the start of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1.

But 42 Democrats, two independents and eight Republicans banded together to stop the anti-abortion effort on a procedural vote, 11 more than the 41 needed to block the legislation.

At least one of the Republicans, Tom Cotton of Arkanas, said he cast his vote against the bill to protest inadequate military funding.

Just before the vote, the White House warned that President Barack Obama would veto legislation to continue funding the government if it strips away federal money for Planned Parenthood, setting up the showdown with anti-abortion advocates.

“By eliminating federal funding for a major provider of health care, the Senate amendment… would limit access to health care for women, men, and families across the nation, and disproportionately impact low-income individuals,” the White House statement said.

For weeks, many Republicans have vowed to punish Planned Parenthood following the release of secretly taped videos in which its officials discussed harvesting tissue from aborted fetuses.

Planned Parenthood, which receives over $500 million in government funds annually, denies any wrongdoing.

With the Oct. 1 deadline for passing a funding bill looming and Republican leaders in the Senate and House of Representatives trying to avoid a government shutdown, the Senate will next advance a bill funding the government until Dec. 11, but without the abortion rider.

Its fate in the House is unclear. House Republican leaders were huddling in the Capitol following the Senate vote.

Some House Republicans have said they cannot vote for a bill that provides money to Planned Parenthood. But on Wednesday some first-term House Republicans sent an open letter urging party colleagues not to take any steps that would lead to a shutdown.

Republican Representative Martha McSally Of Arizona, one of the lawmakers who signed the letter, told Reuters there should be “thoughtful investigations” of allegations against Planned Parenthood.

In supporting passage of a government-wide spending bill free of the Planned Parenthood rider, McSally said, “We don’t need low-income women who are trying to get access to birth control and preventative health to be collateral damage to the whole thing.”

(Reporting by Richard Cowan, Susan Cornwell and Susan Heavey; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Jonathan Oatis)

Photo: Boston police officers stand in front of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Boston, Massachusetts, June 28, 2014. REUTERS/Dominick Reuter

  • Lynda Groom

    It’s way past time to move from this faux issue. Job one facing the Congress is funding the government, keeping services up and running and working for the general welfare of the people. Of course this is not the end of obstruction and obfuscation from the party of NO!

  • Where’s Rupert Murdock when you need him? Oh I heard the flush but I thought it was backwash. Guess the Rupert’s holy voice turned into a Donald Duck clone. Bye Bye Rupie.

  • rednekokie

    At lease some of the republican senators have either regained or come to their senses.
    Planned Parenthood, along with Social Security and Medicare, are the bedrocks of help for people who cannot affort the high dollar services which are available to those with the cash to buy them.
    Why the republicans continue to try to withdraw help from those in need is a wonderment!

    • Carolyn1520

      It’s all part of their war on women which they claim is imaginary.

    • Bill

      The GOP says they want less Government yet they want to intrude into your life every chance they get, its time to get rid of these people before they take us someplace we can’t get back from.

      • Sand_Cat

        James Carville said it best: “The Republicans want less government for the same reason criminals want fewer cops: it’s easier to get away with murder.”

  • Carolyn1520

    I hope every intelligent woman and man who is eligible to vote remembers this come election time. We can bury these freaks if we stop being petty and unite in one common goal.

  • Otto Greif

    Liberals should fund Planned Parenthood out of their own pockets.

    • ralphkr

      Actually, Otto, Planned Parenthood is funded by Liberals out of their own pockets. Less than half of PP budget comes from Federal Funding and most of that comes from providing medical testing & treatment for those on Medicaid. 100% of funding for abortions comes from private funds.

      Now, Otto, how about promoting conservatives funding unwanted births out of THEIR own pocket. I propose a fair method would be any time a woman states that she has an unwanted pregnancy that Conservatives should immediately deposit $328,000 in a fund to support said baby through age 18. In addition, the woman should be paid at least $720 a week while pregnant and while recuperating after giving birth. In addition, a sum should be paid to the woman to alleviate pain, suffering, & loss of prestige for being pregnant (perhaps lump sum of $50,000 would be fair) and also compensation to men (in most cases, her husband) in her life for loss of consortium. All sums to be adjusted by inflation. Yep, how about conservatives putting their money where their mouth is. I betcha there would suddenly be NO more bellyaching about contraception, birth control, or abortions ever again.

      • Otto Greif

        Liberals should fund the other half.