In a rare up-or-down pro-life vote on Capitol Hill, the Senate voted last week on an amendment to the Labor HHS/Department of Defense “minibus” Appropriations bill. The amendment offered by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) would prohibit federal funds from going to any provider of family planning or reproductive health services that performs abortions or affiliates with an entity that does. The amendment failed 45-48 with seven senators absent – half of whom would have voted for and the other half against. The strategy behind this vote was complicated by anticipated hostile amendments from abortion supporters and was set at a 60-vote threshold to pass, which essentially set it up to fail. Nevertheless, it was a clean vote on a pro-life measure that put senators clearly on record as to whether they support or oppose the abortion industry. Predictably, Planned Parenthood was on the front lines in opposition to the amendment, since it would cut deeply into their bottom line.
The House has a similar provision in its Labor-HHS Appropriations bill to defund abortion providers like Planned Parenthood. CWA will be working to get this measure, and other strong, pro-life legislation, in the final FY 2019 Labor- HHS Appropriations bill, whatever form it takes. As always, this will be a heavy lift requiring the leadership of pro-life members and the Administration. The House and Senate should be appointing a conference committee to work out a final bill in the coming weeks. Find out how your senators voted on the Paul Amendment, No. 3967, and let them know how you feel!