Under the Dome

Tillis’ abortion amendment halts veterans health bill

A bill that would expand fertility treatment for wounded veterans to ensure they have access to in vitro fertilization, which was expected to sail through the U.S. Senate Veterans Affairs Committee on Wednesday, was stopped by amendments proposed by Sen. Thom Tillis.

Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington withdrew her bill because Republicans supported several Tillis amendments, including one that would prevent the Department of Veterans Affairs from working with organizations “that take aborted babies’ organs and sell them,” Tillis said.

The amendment follows the disclosure of secretly recorded videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing the use of fetal tissue for research. Anti-abortion advocates say the videos describe potentially illegal practices, which Planned Parenthood denies.

Tillis said the amendment wasn’t aimed at blocking in vitro fertilization, and denied that it was a political attack, according to several news reports. Tillis’ spokeswoman Meghan Burris told Dome by email: “Senator Tillis was prepared to vote on Senator Murray's bill. Senator Murray was not prepared to vote on Tillis' amendments.”

Murray saw it differently:

“I am so disappointed, and truly angry, that Republicans on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee decided yesterday to leap at the opportunity to pander to their base, to poison the well with the political cable news battle of the day, and turn their backs on wounded veterans.”