WASHINGTON — With partisan battling over abortion on the rise, a Democratic senator withdrew a bill Wednesday that would have expanded government fertility services for wounded veterans, blaming what she said was a Republican attack on women’s health care. But a Republican senator said the changes he sought in the bill were designed to set priorities for an overburdened Department of Veterans Affairs.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said she had expected the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee to easily approve her bill. But in a Senate floor speech, Murray said she was withdrawing the measure because Republicans decided “to leap at the opportunity to pander to their base” by offering amendments designed to “roll back the clock and take away women’s health care options.”

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., author of amendments to the bill, said his goal was to make sure the VA improves existing programs for veterans before Congress burdens it with new duties.

Meanwhile, the White House went further than it had since the uproar began last week over secretly recorded videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing how they provide organs from aborted fetuses for research. White House spokesman Josh Earnest suggested that President Obama would veto legislation erasing federal funds for Planned Parenthood, as many Republicans want to do, and said the videos could have been “selectively edited to distort” Planned Parenthood’s procedures, as the group has claimed.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the Justice Department would review the information surrounding the videos and determine what steps, if any, need to be taken.


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