Senate stops bill defunding Planned Parenthood

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Senate Blocks Republican Planned Parenthood Bill

Democrats in the U.S. Senate, joined by some Republicans, on Thursday blocked an effort denying federal funds for the women's healthcare group Planned Parenthood in a move that could help avoid a government shutdown on Oct. 1.

Most Senate Republicans had supported the plan to attach the Planned Parenthood defunding to a bill keeping government operating with the start of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1.

But 42 Democrats, two independents and eight Republicans banded together to stop the anti-abortion effort on a procedural vote, 11 more than the 41 needed to block the legislation.

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Senate stops bill defunding Planned Parenthood
In this Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015 photo, people participate in a rally at Utah Capitol Rotunda, in Salt Lake City, organized in support of Gov. Gary Herbert's recent decision to remove the state from federal funding of Planned Parenthood. Herbert says his move to block Utah from disbursing federal money to Planned Parenthood won't threaten women's health. Herbert last week ordered the Utah Department of Health to stop passing along about $223,000 in federal money to the Utah arm of the organization for programs like STD testing, sex education and screening for victims of sexual assault. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
This Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015 photo shows people looking on during a rally at Utah Capitol Rotunda in Salt Lake City, organized in support of Gov. Gary Herbert's recent decision to remove the state from federal funding of Planned Parenthood. Utah’s decision to stop disbursing federal money to Planned Parenthood won’t threaten women’s access to health care, Gov. Gary Herbert said Thursday. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY, UNITED STATES - 2015/08/22: Girl holds up hand-lettered sign in front of Planned Parenthood. A coalition of anti-abortion protesters protested on Mott Street in Manhattan in front of Planned Parenthood. (Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY, UNITED STATES - 2015/08/22: Assembly of some 150 anti-abortion protesters behind barricade in front of Planned Parenthood. A coalition of anti-abortion protesters protested on Mott Street in Manhattan in front of Planned Parenthood. (Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY, UNITED STATES - 2015/08/22: Protester with Baby Doe sign in front of Planned Parenthood. A coalition of anti-abortion protesters protested on Mott Street in Manhattan in front of Planned Parenthood. (Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY, UNITED STATES - 2015/08/22: Handmade sign held aloft with litany of accusations against Planned Parenthood. A coalition of anti-abortion protesters protested on Mott Street in Manhattan in front of Planned Parenthood. (Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Republican presidential candidate, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks during a Anti-abortion rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Planned Parenthood faces mounting criticism amid the release of videos by a pro-life group and demands to vote in the Senate to stop funding. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson speaks at a anti-abortion rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Planned Parenthood faces mounting criticism amid the release of videos by a pro-life group and demands to vote in the Senate to stop funding. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Republican presidential candidate, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks during a Anti-abortion rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Planned Parenthood faces mounting criticism amid the release of videos by a pro-life group and demands to vote in the Senate to stop funding. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson speaks at a anti-abortion rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Planned Parenthood faces mounting criticism amid the release of videos by a pro-life group and demands to vote in the Senate to stop funding. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Republican presidential candidate, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks during a Anti-abortion rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Planned Parenthood faces mounting criticism amid the release of videos by a pro-life group and demands to vote in the Senate to stop funding. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson attends a anti-abortion rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Planned Parenthood faces mounting criticism amid the release of videos by a pro-life group and demands to vote in the Senate to stop funding. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Anti-abortion activists hold a rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Republican presidential candidate, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks during a Anti-abortion rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Planned Parenthood faces mounting criticism amid the release of videos by a pro-life group and demands to vote in the Senate to stop funding. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Anti-abortion activists hold a rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol on July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) announced a Senate deal to vote on legislation to defund Planned Parenthood before the Senate goes into recess in August. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Anti-abortion activists hold a rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol on July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) announced a Senate deal to vote on legislation to defund Planned Parenthood before the Senate goes into recess in August. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Anti-abortion activists hold a rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol on July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) announced a Senate deal to vote on legislation to defund Planned Parenthood before the Senate goes into recess in August. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Anti-abortion activists hold a rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol on July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) announced a Senate deal to vote on legislation to defund Planned Parenthood before the Senate goes into recess in August. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Anti-abortion activists hold a rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol on July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) announced a Senate deal to vote on legislation to defund Planned Parenthood before the Senate goes into recess in August. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
FILE- In this July 28, 2015 file photo, Erica Canaut, center, cheers as she and other anti-abortion activists rally on the steps of the Texas Capitol in Austin, Texas to condemn the use in medical research of tissue samples obtained from aborted fetuses. Two state health researchers in Texas are under fire for a co-authoring a study suggesting what Republican leaders have long disputed - that cuts to Planned Parenthood are hurting access to womenâs health care. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
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At least one of the Republicans, Tom Cotton of Arkanas, said he cast his vote against the bill to protest inadequate military funding.

Just before the vote, the White House warned that President Barack Obama would veto legislation to continue funding the government if it strips away federal money for Planned Parenthood, setting up the showdown with anti-abortion advocates.

"By eliminating federal funding for a major provider of health care, the Senate amendment ... would limit access to health care for women, men, and families across the nation, and disproportionately impact low-income individuals," the White House statement said.

For weeks, many Republicans have vowed to punish Planned Parenthood following the release of secretly taped videos in which its officials discussed harvesting tissue from aborted fetuses.

Planned Parenthood, which receives over $500 million in government funds annually, denies any wrongdoing.

With the Oct. 1 deadline for passing a funding bill looming and Republican leaders in the Senate and House of Representatives trying to avoid a government shutdown, the Senate will next advance a bill funding the government until Dec. 11, but without the abortion rider.

Its fate in the House is unclear. House Republican leaders were huddling in the Capitol following the Senate vote.

Some House Republicans have said they cannot vote for a bill that provides money to Planned Parenthood. But on Wednesday some first-term House Republicans sent an open letter urging party colleagues not to take any steps that would lead to a shutdown.

Republican Representative Martha McSally Of Arizona, one of the lawmakers who signed the letter, told Reuters there should be "thoughtful investigations" of allegations against Planned Parenthood.

In supporting passage of a government-wide spending bill free of the Planned Parenthood rider, McSally said, "We don't need low-income women who are trying to get access to birth control and preventative health to be collateral damage to the whole thing."

(Reporting by Richard Cowan, Susan Cornwell and Susan Heavey; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Jonathan Oatis)

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