The Corner

Why the Senate Vote on Defunding Planned Parenthood Provides Cause for Optimism

On Monday, a vote in the U.S. Senate to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood received 53 votes — falling seven short of the 60 needed to end the filibuster. This outcome is certainly disappointing to many pro-lifers. But there are at least three reasons for optimism.

More Republican support for defunding Planned Parenthood: Monday’s vote indicates that Senator Mark Kirk (R., IL) is the only Republican senator who opposes the defunding of Planned Parenthood. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) voted against the bill, but that was for a procedural reason — he can now introduce the legislation later in session. Senator Lindsey Graham (R., SC) missed to the vote to attend a presidential candidate forum in New Hampshire.

#related#The last time the U.S. Senate voted to defund Planned Parenthood was 2011. That time, there were only 42 votes in favor, and four Republican senators voted against. Interestingly, Senator Murkowski (R., Alaska) and Senator Collins (R., Maine) voted against defunding Planned Parenthood in 2011 but voted in favor of it yesterday. Additionally, efforts to defund Planned Parenthood in the U.S. House have consistently gained Republican support over the years. At this point, nearly all Republican congressmen and senators are now on the record in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood.

More Democratic support for defunding Planned Parenthood: In 2011, no Senate Democrat voted in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood. But there were two Democrats — Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Joe Donnelly (Ind.) — who voted in favor of yesterday’s bill. More importantly, yesterday’s vote put all senators on the record. By opposing yesterday’s legislation, senators Bob Casey (Pa.) and Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) have lost credibility with pro-life voters in their respective states.

Supporting Planned Parenthood is no longer politically advantageous for Democrats: During the 2012 presidential debates, President Obama made repeated references to the fact the he supported federal funding for Planned Parenthood. But it’s now unlikely that the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee will aggressively broadcast his support for it in a similar manner. Indeed, support for Planned Parenthood is no longer politically advantageous — and likely politically damaging — to Democrats in red and purple states.

Michael J. New is a visiting assistant professor of social research and political science at the Catholic University of America and an associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute in Washington, D.C.

Most Popular

White House

The Damning Inspector General’s Report

It is hard to believe that the run-up to the presidential-election year has plumbed such a depth of farcical degradation. It must be that Trump’s influence has contributed to unserious responses, but he can’t be blamed for the unutterable nonsense of his opponents and the straight men of the political class ... Read More
White House

The Damning Inspector General’s Report

It is hard to believe that the run-up to the presidential-election year has plumbed such a depth of farcical degradation. It must be that Trump’s influence has contributed to unserious responses, but he can’t be blamed for the unutterable nonsense of his opponents and the straight men of the political class ... Read More
Elections

Diversity Panic Hits the Democratic Field

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. An Asian guy, two black guys, three white women (one of whom spent much of her life claiming to be Native American), a Pacific Islander woman, a gay guy, a Hispanic guy, two elderly Caucasian Jews (one a billionaire, the other a socialist), a self-styled Irishman, and a ... Read More
Elections

Diversity Panic Hits the Democratic Field

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. An Asian guy, two black guys, three white women (one of whom spent much of her life claiming to be Native American), a Pacific Islander woman, a gay guy, a Hispanic guy, two elderly Caucasian Jews (one a billionaire, the other a socialist), a self-styled Irishman, and a ... Read More
World

Present at the Demolition

Economists at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund must feel pretty lucky these days. They work for just about the only institutions set up in the aftermath of World War II that aren't in the middle of an identity crisis. From Turtle Bay to Brussels, from Washington to Vienna, the decay of the economic ... Read More
World

Present at the Demolition

Economists at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund must feel pretty lucky these days. They work for just about the only institutions set up in the aftermath of World War II that aren't in the middle of an identity crisis. From Turtle Bay to Brussels, from Washington to Vienna, the decay of the economic ... Read More
World

Well . . . .

So much for my prophecies of doom. Britain's Conservatives won, and they won with a very healthy parliamentary majority, breaking through Labour’s “red wall” across the industrial (and post-industrial) Midlands and the North. The BBC: Leave-voting former mining towns like Workington, which was seen as ... Read More
World

Well . . . .

So much for my prophecies of doom. Britain's Conservatives won, and they won with a very healthy parliamentary majority, breaking through Labour’s “red wall” across the industrial (and post-industrial) Midlands and the North. The BBC: Leave-voting former mining towns like Workington, which was seen as ... Read More
White House

The Costs of Trivializing Impeachment

Resorting to a vague “abuse of power” theory, the House Judiciary Committee Friday morning referred two articles of impeachment to the full House on the inevitable party-line vote. The full House will impeach the president next week, perhaps Wednesday, also on the inevitable party-line vote. The scarlet ... Read More
White House

The Costs of Trivializing Impeachment

Resorting to a vague “abuse of power” theory, the House Judiciary Committee Friday morning referred two articles of impeachment to the full House on the inevitable party-line vote. The full House will impeach the president next week, perhaps Wednesday, also on the inevitable party-line vote. The scarlet ... Read More
World

The U.K. Elections Were the Real Second Referendum

In the end, it wasn’t close at all. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party met a fate to which it has been accustomed for most of the last half-century. Once again, the British roundly rejected socialism. Boris Johnson and his conservatives will form the next British government. This was no slight rejection. Labour ... Read More
World

The U.K. Elections Were the Real Second Referendum

In the end, it wasn’t close at all. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party met a fate to which it has been accustomed for most of the last half-century. Once again, the British roundly rejected socialism. Boris Johnson and his conservatives will form the next British government. This was no slight rejection. Labour ... Read More