March 30 (UPI) -- Senate Republicans needed to call on Vice President Mike Pence and an ailing GOP lawmaker to pass legislation that seeks to give states the authority to withhold certain federal funding from Planned Parenthood.
The upper chamber held a vote Thursday to pass House Joint Resolution 43, which would allow state governments to block federal Title X family planning funds from organizations that perform abortions -- including Planned Parenthood, which has been at the center of an abortion debate for many months.
The Senate's approval sends the legislation to President Donald Trump's desk for a signature.
Two GOP senators -- Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine -- joined Democrats in opposing the legislation, sending chamber Republicans into a scurry to find a pair of replacement votes to get it approved.
In a fairly dramatic move, Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., still recovering from back surgery, appeared in the Senate with the aid of a walker to back Republicans on the proposal. Pence, the Senate's president, then emerged to break the 50-50 tie.
"Taking resources away from Title X providers would be cruel and would impact women and families most in need," he added. "That's why Senate Democrats vote NO."
"A day after the White House hosted a 'women's empowerment' summit, [VP Pence] cast the deciding vote to undermine access to birth control," Planned Parenthood said in a tweet.
"Senate GOP thinks so little of women, they didn't bother to hold a debate before voting to restrict access to OUR health care."