UPDATE: The Senate has passed a pro-life bill that allows states to defund Planned Parenthood, effectually overturning the HHS rule enforced by the Obama administration that prevented states from blocking Title X funding to abortion providers. Vice President Mike Pence once again cast the deciding vote.
The Senate voted 50-50 for the bill, with a couple of liberal pro-abortion Republicans joining Democrats in supporting the abortion giant and Republicans voting pro-life. The tie vote made it so pro-life Vice-President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote to approve the measure.
Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser is ecstatic.
The Senate has voted to advance a vote to permit states to defund Planned Parenthood in family planning programs.
Vice President Mike Pence broke the tie during debate on the motion to proceed with the bill. The scene was quite dramatic, as Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), who recently had back surgery, came to the chamber using a walker in order to ensure that the vote would progress. Until Thursday, he hadn't voted since Feb. 17. Obviously, this was an important issue for him.
The vote remained open for more than an hour, as aides scrambled to find Senator Johnny Isakson, Republican of Georgia, who has been away after two back operations, and to summon the vice president. Mr. Isakson, who had been cleared by doctors to travel for a single day, came slowly into the chamber on his walker, flanked by Senate pages, to turn his thumb to the sky with an “aye,” making the vote a tie.
The Democrats were joined by Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Susan Collins (ME) in voting against the measure.
Until now, Planned Parenthood had been having a good week. On Tuesday, two pro-life activists who had gone undercover to expose Planned Parenthood employees negotiating the sale of aborted baby parts were charged by the state of California with 15 felonies. State Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who has received plenty of money from Planned Parenthood, argued the pro-life investigators had broken the law by recording the Planned Parenthood employees without their knowledge. Planned Parenthood celebrated the news on Twitter.
This is the second time Pence has cast a deciding Senate vote. Last month, he provided the needed vote to confirm Betsy DeVos as the secretary of education.