On Thursday, Republicans received a tie-breaking Senate vote from Vice President Mike Pence to pass a bill allowing states to deny federal money to family planning clinics that also provide abortion care, like Planned Parenthood.
The tie occurred when two Republican senators, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski and Maine’s Susan Collins, broke with party lines and voted with Democrats to keep the Obama-era regulation. Ailing Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) also came back to Washington to secure the vote for Republicans. Under the Constitution, the vice president casts a congressional vote when there’s a tie.
The funds in question are Title X grants, Vox explains, which are competitive funds awarded to the most qualified health care providers in specific communities, be they hospitals, local heath departments, or nonprofits. From there, grantees choose a network of health care providers to work with. Meaning that if Planned Parenthood clinics are given Title X grants, they’ve proven themselves as better than other local providers.
Vox states this bill does not specifically intend to “defund Planned Parenthood,” but still attempts to stop the heath care clinic and affiliates from receiving federal funding—despite that the Hyde Amendment already prevents federal funds from being used on abortion care.
Many women’s rights advocates point out that this was bill was an apt one for Pence, a longtime anti-abortion advocate, to vote on. “Mike Pence went from yesterday’s forum on empowering women to today leading a group of male politicians in a vote to take away access to birth control and cancer screenings,” Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement.
The bill was already passed by the House last month and will now head to President Donald Trump‘s desk to be likely be signed.