Vice President Mike Pence had the distinct pleasure of casting a tie-breaking procedural Senate vote on Thursday. This wasn’t any old vote, however, but one to dismantle an Obama-era rule that prevented states from defunding family planning clinics who also provide abortions. In other words, this vote was aimed squarely at Planned Parenthood, which not only provides services including and related to the procedure but also vital healthcare services (i.e., cancer screenings along with HIV and STD testing and treatment) to low-income women and their families. So, the GOP may have failed on Trumpcare last Friday, but they’re still managing to take away healthcare from many disadvantaged Americans.
By casting the 51st vote, Pence undoes another in a long list of Obama regulations that have been dismantled during this young administration. The VP’s own notorious pro-life stance has resulted in a mass trolling of Planned Parenthood donations made in his name, so his vote is not unexpected. However, this is also a nod to Donald Trump’s recent threat to strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood even though, for the past 40 years, the Hyde Amendment has barred the use of federal funds for abortions. The New York Times has more on the procedural steps for today’s bill:
Taking money away from Planned Parenthood has been a longstanding goal of congressional Republicans, but each effort has been blocked by Democrats and President Barack Obama. Even full control of Washington by Republicans has not made the process easy.
The vote set up the measure for a final vote later on Thursday. The measure would return the power to the states to single out abortion providers from receiving Title X money set aside for family planning and related preventive health services for women. Democrats all voted against the bill, as did two Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
Pence’s political history swerves further into anti-female territory and shifts into “park” with this vote. Incidentally, this news arrives alongside a new Washington Post profile on Second Lady Karen Pence, which resurrects a 2002 Hill interview in which Mike insisted that he “never eats alone with a woman other than his wife and that he won’t attend events featuring alcohol without her by his side.” If you’ve been on Twitter today, you’ve seen the jokes, especially the ones that hint that Pence may adore his wife, but he’s not big on respect for other women.
(Via New York Times)