WASHINGTON, D.C., April 11, 2011 ( – The Senate has scheduled a promised vote on whether to deprive the Planned Parenthood Federation of America of federal funding – a concession won by GOP budget negotiators this weekend, in exchange for their support for the federal budget bill.

Americans United for Life (AUL) reported Monday that only days after cutting a budget deal that saved Planned Parenthood’s funding in the budget bill, Senate leaders have scheduled a vote on Thursday to consider legislation by Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) to defund the organization; that legislation has already passed the House of Representatives.

“This is the vote that Washington, DC insiders said we’d never get, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid swore he would never allow,” AUL notes. Reid had characterized the Planned Parenthood effort as one of a handful of GOP demands that were “not only no, but hell no.”

Additionally, the Senate is expected to hold a vote Thursday on whether to fund the abortion-expanding health care reform law: another major concession won by Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) amid budget negotiations Friday night.

Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life of America said that the Senate vote on Planned Parenthood is “huge.”

“Just two months ago, experts were telling me that getting a vote in the Senate would be impossible, and I shouldn’t even hope for it,” said Hawkins in a letter to supporters. And although the GOP was forced to abandon the effort to defund Planned Parenthood in the yearly budget, Hawkins suggested that the intensity of the fight over the issue was nonetheless a good sign.

“Think about this,” she wrote. “Our efforts were so effective that the disagreements over Planned Parenthood funding between the pro-life House and pro-abortion Senate leadership almost caused a government shutdown.”

Political analysts have widely agreed in the aftermath of the budget deadlock that Speaker Boehner and the GOP were largely the winners, forcing the Obama administration to accept deeper cuts and other provisions despite a position of political disadvantage.

The GOP also convinced the administration to allow a provision in the budget itself to stop taxpayer funding for abortions in the District of Columbia – a victory for hundreds of unborn lives that would otherwise have been killed with taxpayer funds during the final months of FY2011.

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