Updated 2:17 p.m. EDT
In the late days of December, the Obama administration made a last-ditch attempt to protect Planned Parenthood from the incoming Republican Congress. On Thursday, the Senate voted to overturn the Obama administration’s regulation, lifting restrictions on how states treat abortion providers and clearing the way for Congress to take further action. The House had already passed the measure, and the Senate needed only a simple majority to get it through. When the vote came to a tie, Vice President Mike Pence cast the final ballot, taking Congress one step closer to taking money away from abortion providers.
Here’s how it all works. Since 1970, the federal government has made grants to organizations that provide family-planning services under Title X of the Public Health Service Act; it’s the only federal program “focused solely on providing family planning,” according to the Department of Health and Human Services. The federal government can give money directly to health-care organizations, or it can award grants to states, which hand out the cash as they see fit. Although federal funds, including Medicaid, generally can’t be used to pay for abortions, some Title X money goes to abortion providers: In 2011, NPR reported that roughly a quarter of those dollars go to Planned Parenthood affiliates.