With Republicans in Congress threatening to shut down the government if Planned Parenthood is not defunded, 2016 hopefuls argued during the presidential debate Wednesday about whether such an action would be effective.
“All we’re going to do is shut the government down,” Ohio Gov. John Kasich said, contending that while he supported defunding Planned Parenthood, threatening a shutdown would not be a successful strategy. “I’m not for shutting the government down because I don’t think it’s going to work out.”
But Sen. Ted Cruz, who is among the leading congressional voices calling for the defunding of Planned Parenthood, indicated he was ready to draw a line in the sand—calling Planned Parenthood an “ongoing criminal enterprise.”
“We need to stop surrendering and start standing up for our principles,” Cruz said. “I’m proud to stand for life. Those Planned Parenthood videos are horrifying.”
Republicans have found new momentum for their efforts to defund the organization through a series of undercover videos in which Planned Parenthood officials allegedly spoke about selling fetal parts to medical researchers. Conservatives in Congress have threatened to block a budget deal at the end of this month, which could lead to a government shutdown.
Carly Fiorina, a former business executive and the sole woman at the debate, gave an impassioned speech urging President Obama and Hillary Clinton watch the undercover videos.
“Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says, ‘We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain. This is about the character of our nation. And if we will not stand up and force President Obama to veto this bill, shame on us,” Fiorina said.