The Senate voted down a bill Monday that would take away more than $500 million in federal funding from the nation’s largest abortion provider Planned Parenthood.
The organization provides abortions and health and family-planning services including contraception and STD treatment to roughly 2.7 million people annually, mostly women. Federal funds are not legally allowed to be used for abortions, with the exception for cases of incest, rape or when a woman’s life is in danger.
GOP leaders started pushing to defund Planned Parenthood after pro-life organization The Center for Medical Progress published a series of videos on Youtube purporting to show Planned Parenthood discussing the sale of aborted baby body parts.
The Senate voted 53 against to 46 in favor, falling seven votes short of the 60 needed to pass the bill.
According to Fox News, the measure had not been expected to get the 60 votes needed to move it toward a final vote because Republicans needed several “yeas” from Democrats, who largely support Planned Parenthood.
West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin was among the Democrats who voted to defund the group. Manchin, whose state has increasingly become more Republican leaning, was undecided until a few hours before the vote.
“I am very troubled by the callous behavior of Planned Parenthood staff in (the) recently released videos, which casually discuss the sale, possibly for profit, of fetal tissue after an abortion,” he said before voting. “Until these allegations have been answered and resolved, I do not believe that taxpayer money should be used to fund this organization.”
New York Sen. Joe Donnelly was the only other Democrat to vote yes. The only Republicans to vote no were Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He voted no so he could bring up the measure again.