The Senate passed a measure today that will allow states to block federal grants for family planning centers, like Planned Parenthood, with Mike Pence casting the tiebreaker vote. The vice president rushed to the Senate to push the bill through after two female Republicans, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski and Maine's Susan Collins, defected and voted against it.
The bill overrides an Obama-era protection that stopped states from defunding family planning centers for purely political reasons. Under the new measure, states will be able to cut funding from facilities that perform abortions—funding that pays for birth control, pregnancy care, cancer screenings, and fertility services.
Democrats were furious, with many taking to Twitter to criticize the vote and Pence's part in it.
Title X is a bipartisan program to provide birth control, cancer screenings & HIV tests, & @VP Pence cast the tiebreaking vote attacking itMarch 30, 2017
.@VP is on his way to break a tie on #TitleX funding. Just in case we didn't already have enough men making decisions on women's healthMarch 30, 2017
Planned Parenthood has already responded: "Mike Pence went from yesterday's forum on empowering women to today leading a group of male politicians in a vote to take away access to birth control and cancer screenings. People are sick and tired of politicians making it even harder for them to access health care," said the center's vice president, Dawn Laguens, according to the New York Daily News.
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