by WorldTribune Staff, March 31, 2017
Senate Republicans needed Vice President Mike Pence to cast the tie-breaking vote on a bill that will allow states to withhold federal funds from Planned Parenthood.
The legislation, which President Donald Trump has said he will sign, overturns an Obama administration rule that banned states from denying federal funds to organizations that perform abortions.
Pence’s vote was needed to break a 50-50 tie. Republicans Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska broke with their party, voting against the measure.
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said the measure reverses a rule that “attempted to empower federal bureaucrats in Washington and silence our states.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the bill “another example of the Republican war on women.”
“It would let states treat women as second-class citizens who don’t deserve the same access to health care as men,” he said.
The House in February voted 230-188, largely along party lines, to reject the Obama rule under the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to overturn recently enacted regulations.
The rule took effect Jan. 18, two days before President Barack Obama left office.
While serving in Congress, Pence was a leader in efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. He co-sponsored “personhood” legislation calling for constitutional rights at the moment of fertilization. As governor of Indiana, he signed several pro-life bills, including one that banned abortions solely because of genetic abnormalities – legislation that was suspended by a federal judge.
In January, Pence became the highest-ranking official to appear in person at the annual March for Life demonstration. He told attendees then that the Trump administration would work with Congress to permanently bar taxpayer funding of abortion and abortion providers.
“Life is winning in America,” he said at the march. “And today is a celebration of the progress that we have made in the cause.”