A leading pro-life group believes that Thursday's Senate vote on former President Obama's executive order on Planned Parenthood funding offers a hint of hope for eventually defunding the nation's largest abortion-provider.
In light of undercover videos of Planned Parenthood and other abortion-providers showing the harvesting and sale of aborted babies' body parts, more than a dozen states took action to strip the abortion giant of tax dollars. That prompted then-President Obama, shortly before he left office, to take action to ensure the states couldn't do that.
But on Thursday, the U.S. Senate corrected that action on a 51-50 vote. Vice President Mike Pence had to cast the tie-breaking vote – but only after Republican Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia was brought into chambers in a wheelchair and then a walker to cast his vote against Obama's edict. Isakson had been absent since late February due to two back surgeries and rehabilitation.
Two Republican senators – Alaska's Lisa Murkowski and Maine's Susan Collins – joined Democrats in opposing the measure.
Mallory Quigley with the Susan B. Anthony List says the Senate vote on H.J. Res. 43 was critical for two reasons.
"[First], it's very important that we undo President Obama's last-minute regulation – his parting gift to Planned Parenthood," she says, "[because] regardless of how pro-life they may be and regardless of the will of the people who wanted to prioritize taxpayer funding, it forced states to fund Planned Parenthood."
Secondly, says the pro-life spokesperson, the vote "proved that the votes exist in the U.S. Senate to send a reconciliation bill that further defunds Planned Parenthood by redirecting their Medicaid funding to community health centers."
House Republicans recently could not muster enough votes to pass the American Health Care Act, which would have stripped Planned Parenthood of most federal funds. That bill was pulled before being allowed to come to a vote on the House floor.
Now, however, the bill negating Obama's "last-minute gift" goes to President Trump's desk, where he is expected to sign it.