Senate defends abortion providers

An amendment blocking federal funds for health clinics that provide abortions is rejected.

Published October 19, 2007 10:05PM (EDT)

It has been a tough week, what with the appointment of Susan "Contraception Isn't 'Necessary'" Orr to oversee $283 million in family planning grants. But there's a bit of good news: The Senate voted Thursday against a proposal to block federal funding for health clinics that provide abortions.

Sen. David Vitter made the proposal, arguing that it's "a very reasonable mainstream policy to say, 'We're not going to support groups that perform abortions.'" Except that it isn't -- paying for abortions with federal dollars is already illegal. But Vitter would like all clinics that fund abortions with nonfederal dollars to be cut off from Title X family planning funds. Before the Senate voted 52-41 against the amendment, Sen. Barbara Boxer pointed out a familiar forehead-slapping irony: "His amendment will do nothing to reduce abortions. It will make contraceptives harder to get, so it will increase the number of unintended pregnancies."

That's one small win for our team! But the appointment of Orr is as good a reminder as any that the battle is far from over.

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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