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Is the Senate Representing American Views on Planned Parenthood?

On Thursday, December 3, The U.S. Senate passed H.R. 3762: Restoring American’s Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015, and Obamacare repeal package that defunds Planned Parenthood.  The bill was heavily supported by Senate Republicans in a 52-47 vote.

One man who has been leading the charge for defunding the organization is Republican Presidential candidate, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who has openly spoken about his pro-life views.

“This bill repeals as much of that failed law [Obamacare] as we can under arcane Senate rules and the narrow guidelines of the budget.  I am also encouraged that this bill prohibits taxpayer funds from going to abortion-providers.”

This move by the Senate begs the question – is the Senate representing the beliefs of the American people when it comes to Planned Parenthood?

In an October 7-11, 2015 Gallup poll, a majority of Americans favorably view Planned Parenthood, at 59%; unfavorable views at 37%.  The poll shows that Planned Parenthood has a more favorable view with Democrats and women.  This view is mirrored in a Quinnipiac University Poll, but with a little less favorability.

“While voter support for Planned Parenthood is tepid, most American voters, especially women and Democrats, don’t want to cut off federal funding,” explained Assistant Director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, Tim Malloy, in a September 28, 2015 release.

Although polls are showing favorable views, especially in some demographics, it’s important to note that favorability is dropping.  The same Gallup poll compared number from polls about Planned Parenthood, showing a 1993 favorability of 81% and a 1989 favorability of 79%.

Reasoning for this downward trend is suggested as this summer’s coverage of the topic in the media and politics:

This may have been the result of the politicization of Planned Parenthood as well as increased media attention to proposed changes in U.S. and state abortion laws. For example, in May 1993, Congress passed a law that legalized fetal tissue donations after abortions. At the time, many Republicans supported this law. Today, several of those same Republicans were among those pushing to defund Planned Parenthood.

Even with the downward projection, the American majority is still in opposition to defunding of the near 100-year health care provider.

Democrats, like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, question the motives behind pushing a bill like H.R. 3762, which affects more than Planned Parenthood funding.

“Sometimes I wonder what Senate Republicans do when they’re not here in Washington. D.C. Do they talk to their constituents? Do they meet with them?” said Democrat from Nevada.  “I have a hard time believing my Republican friends are spending much time listening to their constituents’ concerns because it seems that what they are doing runs counter to the needs of their constituents.”

Defunding Planned Parenthood has become more of a political hot topic after the Center for Medical Progress, a pro-life organization, released infamous sting tapes this summer alleging that Planned Parenthood illegally profited from selling fetal tissue.  Planned Parenthood has since been officially cleared of any wrongdoing.

President Obama promised to veto this bill.


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