Defunding Planned Parenthood might be more trouble than it’s worth, a majority of Republicans say.
As the government approaches a September 30 deadline for a new federal funding package, Democrats are stalling over a Republican-backed provision that would strip Planned Parenthood of its funding. And as the clock counts the hours until a possible federal shutdown, a majority of Republicans voters say the debate is not worth shuttering the government.
According to a Quinnipiac University poll released Monday, 56 percent of Republicans say the government should not go into shutdown over the Planned Parenthood funding debate. The stance saw even greater support across party lines, with 69 percent of all Americans saying they would oppose a Planned Parenthood-driven shutdown.
But both sides’ opposition to a government shutdown assumes a quick solution to the congressional standoff.
Senate Democrats have indicated that they will not pass any funding bill that defunds Planned Parenthood, while their Republican adversaries, particularly Senator-turned-presidential-candidate Ted Cruz, are determined to cut the women’s health group off federal funds. Democrats might have an unlikely ally in House Speaker John Boehner, who announced on Friday that he would resign at the end of October. No longer at risk of being replaced by more right-wing members of his party, Boehner is now freer to move forward with a plan that would continue to fund Planned Parenthood.
The majority of Americans—52 percent—oppose defunding Planned Parenthood, the Quinnipiac poll indicates. Responses reveal a deep gender divide on the issue, however, with 60 percent women opposing a defunding bill, and only 49 percent of men opposed to a cutoff.
Divisions were even deeper between Democrats and Republicans. While both groups agreed that the issue should not shutter the government, 82 percent of Democrats said they opposed a Planned Parenthood cutoff, while 71 percent of Republicans said they supported it. Independent voters fell in the Democratic camp, with 52 percent answering that they opposed a defunding bill.
Meanwhile, nearly all respondents said they supported abortions in at least some circumstances. Offered four options, 22 percent of Quinnipiac respondents said abortion should be legal “in all cases,” 35 percent said abortion should be legal in most cases, and 28 percent said abortion should be illegal in most cases. Only 12 percent answered that abortion should be banned under all circumstances.
“While voter support for Planned Parenthood is tepid, most American voters, especially women and Democrats, don’t want to cut off federal funding,” Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in a press release.
He continued, “And voters say 3-1, ‘Don’t shut down the federal government over this issue.’ Most Republicans oppose a shutdown.”