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Three Surprises from the Vote to Defund Planned Parenthood

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U.S. Capitol building

By now, you have probably heard that a Senate bill which would have stripped Planned Parenthood of over $500 million in federal funds annually has failed in the Senate by a vote of 53-46.  But this isn’t the full story.  Here are a few facts about last night’s vote that may surprise you:

1. Two Democrats voted for the bill.

Democrats are generally indistinguishable on the subject of abortion.  It is a sacred cow, the Law of the Land which should never be debated or changed.  There are still a few holdouts, however, who have managed to survive Democratic crackdowns on heterodoxy.  Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Joe Donnelly of Indiana decided to risk the wrath of their leaders and vote to pull the plug on Planned Parenthood, at least until an investigation can be conducted.  If you live in one of their respective states, you might want to consider thanking them for a brave stand that will probably estrange them from the rest of their party.

2. Two Republicans opposed defunding, but one voted “yes” anyway.

The GOP Senators in question were Mark Kirk of Illinois and Susan Collins of Maine.  Kirk, who had already indicated he didn’t support the legislation, predictably voted not to end debate on the bill.  Collins, on the other hand, made the surprise move of voting to bring the bill to the floor, just not for the reasons you think: Collins wanted the procedural option to introduce a “substitute” bill that would call for a 90-day investigation of Planned Parenthood…but wouldn’t defund them.

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3. Lindsey Graham was M.I.A.

During the final roll call on the defund bill, a major pro-life voice was missing.  Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a staunch pro-life activist in the past, had skipped out on the vote to defund Planned Parenthood.  His reason?  He was campaigning in New Hampshire.  I get it—everyone wants to be President—but one hopes that Senator Graham won’t forget the importance of his current job while he’s angling for a promotion.

Nick Arnold is a researcher for American Principles in Action.


Nick Arnold

Nick Arnold is a researcher for the American Principles Project.