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GOP planning Senate vote on Planned Parenthood aid

Alan Fram Associated Press

WASHINGTON – The Senate will vote before its August recess on a Republican effort to block federal aid to Planned Parenthood, GOP leaders said Tuesday, as anti-abortion groups clamored for action by lawmakers. Democrats said they will strongly oppose what they called the latest Republican effort to weaken women’s health care programs, but stopped short of flatly predicting its defeat.

The positioning came as an anti-abortion group released a third covertly recorded video of Planned Parenthood officials discussing procedures for obtaining tissue from aborted fetuses for research and showing stark close-ups of what it said was fetal tissue in a Planned Parenthood lab. The unveiling of the videos has put Planned Parenthood and many Democrats on the defensive, though there is little sign that they won’t be able to head off the GOP effort.

“Good luck,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said of the uphill Republican drive to garner the 60 of 100 Senate votes they will need to cut off Planned Parenthood’s money. “We’re dealing with the health of American women, and they’re dealing with some right-wing crazy.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said a group of senators led by Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, were crafting a measure responding to “these horrendous videos.” He said the Senate would vote “on a measure that they support sometime before we break for the August recess,” scheduled to begin after next week.

Planned Parenthood has said it has done nothing illegal or improper. It receives more than $500 million annually in government aid, including some state funds. Federal funds cannot be used for abortions except for pregnancies involving rape, incest or where the mother’s life is in danger.

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