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Dan Gilmore / August 4, 2015

Bill to Defund Planned Parenthood Dies in Senate

The vote seemed to be more about political optics than doing the right thing.

The Senate’s vote to defund Planned Parenthood seemed to be more about political optics than actually casting votes for the right thing. A bill that would have halted $500 million in annual federal funds from going to Planned Parenthood died when a procedural vote that required 60 votes fell short by seven. This raises questions: How serious are the Senate Republicans in protecting the lives of the unborn? Some GOP senators see this vote as testing the waters, possibly for a political cage fight come fall if the GOP gets enough backbone to attach a PP defunding measure to a spending bill and risk another government shutdown. Commentators like Leon H. Wolf see this vote as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cowing to the slightest political pressure. By allowing the bill cosponsored by 45 Republicans to die on a procedure vote, McConnell allowed the status quo to remain and a handful of lawmakers were able to vote in a way that would please their constituencies. Meanwhile, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal canceled the contract between Planned Parenthood and Louisiana. Yes, changing the nation’s policy takes time — and the Center for Medical Progress has many more videos to prompt debate — but when the time comes for political courage, will McConnell’s Senate rise to the occasion?

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