On Thursday, Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) joined his Democratic colleagues in blocking the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act,” and then potential Republican challengers to Jones’ reelection in 2020 slammed his pro-abortion vote.
The bill, which would permanently stop federal funding for abortions, was brought to the floor by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on the day before the annual March for Life was set to take place in Washington, D.C. A vote to open debate on the bill failed 48-47, with Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) breaking with their party to vote against the measure while Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) voted with Republicans.
Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) is a cosponsor of the bill and voted “yes” on advancing to debate.
In a tweet, Shelby said he was “[p]roud to support” the bill.
“Americans’ hard-earned taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be used to fund abortions & this bill would permanently prohibit that. Let’s work together to pass legislation that protects & defends life,” Shelby added.
On the other hand, Jones voted with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), continuing his pro-abortion voting record in the Senate. With a tough reelection battle coming up, Jones was immediately faced with criticism over his latest move.
In a press release, Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) said, “Today, Senate Democrats blocked a bill that would permanently end taxpayer funding of abortion. I was especially disappointed that one of the votes against the pro-life bill came from Doug Jones, one of Alabama’s senators. Standing up for the unborn and opposing abortion is a core Alabama value, and today’s vote shows the urgent need for more pro-life Senators.”
“This vote was especially notable as thousands of people from across the country, including hundreds from Alabama, will march in the streets of Washington, D.C. tomorrow in support of life,” Byrne added. “As long as I am able to represent the people of Alabama, I will always fight for those who can’t fight for themselves and be a leader for pro-life policies.”
State Auditor Jim Zeigler released a statement saying that “the abortion vote shows again that Doug Jones does not represent the people of Alabama. Jones is for abortion up to the moment of birth. Alabama people are pro-life.”
The bill also would have banned Obamacare subsidies for insurance plans that cover abortion and addressed subsidies to groups like Planned Parenthood indirectly supporting their abortion practices.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn