Two Republican senators have come forward to say they will oppose the heavy push by their colleagues to immediately defund Planned Parenthood following the release of several graphic sting videos.
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) have stated their opposition to a bill introduced Wednesdsay that would stop all taxpayer dollars from going to Planned Parenthood after an anti-abortion group released secretly recorded footage that appeared to show doctors and executive officials casually discussing the sale of aborted fetal body parts.
“In other states tissue donation programs should be investigated but in Illinois there is no similar program,” Kirk, who faces re-election next year, told the Hill. “I do not plan to cut access to basic health care and contraception for women, the majority of whom have no other resources.”
Collins, who isn't up for re-election until 2020, told reporters she is still looking at the bill but added she would likely oppose it if it allows for immediate defunding.
Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) introduced legislation to cut off funding Wednesday and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell addressed the bill in a statement on Thursday morning.
“It’s a simple choice,” McConnell said. “Senators can either vote to protect women’s health, or they can vote to protect subsidies for a political group mired in scandal.”
Paul, who is running for the 2016 GOP nomination for president, suggested Tuesday that the bill would come up for a vote before Congress leaves Washington, D.C., for its August recess. Paul told the Associated Press that the vote would be “a huge victory for conservatives," even if it ultimately doesn't pass.
The bill would require a 60-vote majority to advance in the Senate, but Republicans only hold 54 seats and Democrats are generally opposed because they say it would cut off basic women's health services. But, as the Hill noted, supporters of the bill say these basic services would be maintained since money would be redistributed among other organizations besides Planned Parenthood.
The bill was introduced just one week after the release of the first undercover video that purported to show Planned Parenthood executives discussing the sale of fetal body parts.
(H/T: The Hill)
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