The US Senate on Thursday passed a joint resolution [materials] to allow states to prevent federal grant money from going to abortion providers. Under the bill, states would be allowed to withhold federal family planning funds from Planned Parenthood [advocacy website] and other organizations that perform abortions. Specifically, the bill would nullify a regulation [text] passed by the Obama administration in December which prohibited states from taking action to restrict providers funded by theTitle X [official website] family planning program, for reasons other than the provider’s ability to provide Title X services. Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote [vote chart] in the passage of the bill, which will now be sent to President Donald Trump for approval. Congress acted under the authority granted to it by the Congressional Review Act [PDF], which grants Congress the authority to enact joint resolutions of disapproval of regulations issued by federal agencies.
This joint resolution was passed [JURIST report] by the House of Representatives in February where they voted 230-188 in favor of the bill. The House vote was viewed as the first step [WSJ report] in the process of defunding Planned Parenthood. There have been other legislative attempts to reduce abortion throughout the US as well. In January, the House approved [JURIST report] a bill prohibiting the use of federal funds for abortions. Additionally, in January, the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down [JURIST report] a law that added new licensing and inspection rules for facilities that perform abortions. In July, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] against an Arizona law that could potentially prevent low-income women from obtaining healthcare from their chosen providers. Earlier in July, a US District Judge issued a preliminary injunction [JURIST report] against a Florida law intended to cut state funding to clinics administering abortions.