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Just Days After Clinic Murders, GOP Votes to Defund Planned Parenthood

Bernie Sanders decries defunding measure as 'part of a long-term smear campaign by people who want to deny women the right to control their bodies'

One observer calls vote "a deliberate set-up designed to stoke conservative outrage in the lead-up to the 2016 election." (Photo: American Life League/flickr/cc)

As reproductive rights advocates and elected officials call for an end to the GOP "witch hunt" on Planned Parenthood, the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate on Thursday voted to defund the healthcare organization that provides everything from pap smears to abortion services to sexual education for millions of men and women each year.

The vote is purely symbolic, as President Barack Obama has vowed to veto any such measure and Senate Republicans lack the supermajority needed to override that veto—signaling to Jezebel's Anna Merlan that "this was a deliberate set-up designed to stoke conservative outrage in the lead-up to the 2016 election."

The defunding measure came in the form of an amendment to the latest ObamaCare repeal bill.

Coming less than two weeks after a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs that left three dead, nine wounded, and many calling for a rhetorical ceasefire and a federal investigation into clinic violence as domestic terrorism, the development provoked criticism from women's health advocates.

"What happened last Friday is a tragedy, and it is unconscionable that extreme politicians in Congress are doubling in their attacks on Planned Parenthood and the people who rely on us for preventive health care," said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America on Wednesday ahead of the vote. "Enough is enough."

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