On Monday, the U.S. Senate test vote on the measure preventing Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funding failed with 53 votes to 46.
Planned Parenthood, hailed by many as a life-saving program has seen its reputation tarnished with the recent videos showing personnel discussing the selling of fetal tissue for research purposes, a practice which is illegal under the federal law.
The measure that was voted against envisaged redirecting the 500 million dollars in federal funding from Planned Parenthood to other community health centers that would adequately use the funds for women’s healthcare.
In the wake of the videos, Planned Parenthood denied these actions take place, insisting that all procedures within the program are fully complying with federal law.
The measure, proposed by representatives of the Republican party, was explained by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as:
“Instead of subsidizing a political group, this bill would protect federal funding for health services for women”.
However, following the lead of Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, many Democrats pointed that the measure would be an attack on any progress made with offering women appropriate healthcare.
Particularly Senator Elizabeth Warren’s intervention was notable:
“Do you have any idea what year this is? Did you fall down, hit your head and think you woke up in the 1950s or 1890s? The Republican scheme to defund Planned Parenthood is not some sort of surprised response to a highly edited video. The Republican vote to defund Planned Parenthood is just one more piece of a deliberate, methodical, orchestrated right-wing attack on women’s rights”.
However, the Republicans are not alone. Democrats have also criticized the videos and some voices raised the issue of criminal action investigations.
The Senate vote on Monday was just a test vote however, aimed at testing the water. Only two Democrats voted in favor of the Republican measure, drafted by Senator Rand Paul and Senator Joni Ernst. The Democrats were Senator Joe Manchin and Senator Joe Donnelly.
Although the final vote saw 53 counts against and 46 for delisting Planned Parenthood from federal funding, the issue is certain to linger on the political agenda for a while.
Perhaps in August, as the lawmakers are entering recess, the finer details will be tuned. Next month, as the government funding bill is next on the table, the issue could be linked to the debates.
If this is the case, a governmental shut-down is looming as the Democrat filibuster and the presidential veto are certain.
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