While the U.S. House of Representatives managed to pass a Zika relief plan without funding Planned Parenthood, abortion advocates in the U.S. Senate have rejected the relief plan, for that very reason.
In a 52-48 vote on Tuesday, the Senate failed to gain the necessary 60 votes for the plan to advance. A report from The New York Times makes it clear that both Republicans and Democrats are accusing each other of being at fault for holding up relief.
The $1.1 billion Republican plan was held up by abortion proponents in the Senate because it did not include contraception funding for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion chain. Planned Parenthood already receives $553.7 million a year in taxpayer funding, yet their services like providing contraception and others have seen a sharp decline, while abortion numbers have increased.
The bill makes block grants to hospitals, local health departments and public insurance programs like Medicaid. Democrats objected because the bill does not specifically identify Planned Parenthood as a candidate for grants.
The most effective way to stop the spread of Zika is to kill mosquitos, so the bill temporarily waives the Environmental Protection Agency’s permitting process for certain pesticides for 180 days for emergency mosquito control. Democrats claimed this will “weaken clean water and air protections” in a letter Tuesday despite never before raising the issue.
This issue of necessary relief need not have been made into a partisan or political issue. But friends of Planned Parenthood have made it into one by favoring the abortion chain. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) described them as “sore losers.”
Even if the relief plan had made it to Obama’s desk, the president said he would veto it because it does not include funding for Planned Parenthood.