The Senate blocked a Republican drive Monday to terminate federal funds for Planned Parenthood, setting the stage for the GOP to try again this fall amid higher stakes — a potential government shutdown that could echo into next year’s presidential and congressional elections.
The derailed legislation was the Republican response to videos, recorded secretly by anti-abortion activists, showing Planned Parenthood officials dispassionately discussing how they sometimes provide medical researchers with tissue from aborted fetuses. Those videos have led conservatives to accuse the group of illegally selling the organs for profit — strongly denied by Planned Parenthood — and inserted abortion and women’s health into the mix of issues to be argued in the 2016 campaign.
Monday’s mostly party-line vote was 53-46 to halt Democratic delays aimed at derailing the bill, seven short of the 60 votes Republicans needed. Even so, the GOP is hoping to reap political gains because the videos have ignited the party’s core conservative, anti-abortion voters.