U.S. Senate votes to open debate on bill to defund Planned Parenthood

In a highly anticipated vote, the U.S. Senate decided to open debate on a bill to repeal Obamacare and defund abortion giant Planned Parenthood Tuesday. The “motion to proceed,” which required 50 votes to open debate on the American Health Care Act (AHCA), passed on a razor thin 51-50 vote, with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote.

The Senate will now debate, introduce amendments to the bill, and then vote on the bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in May. It’s crucial that the final version of the bill contains provisions to defund Planned Parenthood and to ensure that taxpayers are not forced to fund abortions through health insurance plans.

SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said her group will be working closely with the Senate to ensure that the final bill contains these pro-life protections:

“The pro-life movement has waited for seven years to have all the pieces in place to enact legislation to roll back Obamacare’s abortion expansion. We have also waited for decades to stop the flow of taxpayer dollars – $1.5 million a day – to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider,” Dannenfelser said. “In 2016, the pro-life grassroots elected a pro-life House, Senate, and White House expecting these victories. We urge Congress to send a bill defunding Planned Parenthood and undoing the damage of Obamacare to President Trump’s desk for his signature.

Last week, it appeared that the Better Care Reconciliation Act was doomed to fail. Senate Republicans have been divided over how to replace and repeal Obamacare, with conservative members saying the proposed bill does not go far enough. Lawmakers proposed voting on a bill to solely repeal Obamacare, similar to a bill passed by Congress in 2015, which then-President Barack Obama vetoed.

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