The Senate parliamentarian has issued guidance suggesting that the sections of the Better Care Reconciliation Act that defund Planned Parenthood and prevent tax credits from funding abortion are subject to a 60-vote threshold. As a result of this preliminary determination, it appears likely that unless 60 senators vote to maintain those provisions, they will be stricken from the legislation.
Because Republicans hold a tenuous majority of just 52 senators — two of whom are moderate Republicans opposed to defunding Planned Parenthood — this decision would mean that the Democrats have the votes to block the pro-life provisions. Even if the bill is somehow able to pass, there is now no way for the GOP to defund the abortion giant without the votes of several Senate Democrats, which is more than unlikely.
This guidance is a setback to conservative Republicans and those in the pro-life movement, who have worked for years to remove Planned Parenthood’s annual $500 million in federal funding over the group’s provision of abortion. According to its own annual report, Planned Parenthood performed over 328,000 abortions in the last fiscal year alone.
UPDATE: This post has been updated since its initial publication to reflect the fact that the Senate parliamentarian issued guidance rather than a formal, final ruling on the Senate bill.