March 28, 2011 — Voters appear to be divided on whether the federal government should cut funding to Planned Parenthood of America, with 46% of likely voters opposed to defunding the organization and 42% of likely voters saying that they support the cuts, according to a poll conducted for The Hill by Pulse Opinion Research, The Hill reports (Schroeder, The Hill, 3/28).
The poll comes as lawmakers continue to hash out a spending bill for the remainder of fiscal year 2011. Last week, Democrats and Republicans indicated that no progress had been made on a budget agreement (Wasson/Klatell, The Hill, 3/26). The provision regarding funding for Planned Parenthood, along with several other so-called policy riders that Republicans want to attach to the spending bill, have stalled continuing resolution negotiations (The Hill, 3/28).
The House-approved FY continuing resolution (HR 1) would defund Planned Parenthood and eliminate funding for the Title X family planning program, which helps provide family planning and reproductive health services to low-income women, including contraceptive counseling and supplies, pelvic exams, breast and cervical cancer screening, safer-sex counseling, and basic infertility counseling. No Title X funds can be used for abortion services (Women's Health Policy Report, 3/3).
Meg Reilly, spokesperson for the White House Office of Management and Budget, said in a statement, "The House plan would undermine our economic growth by cutting areas that are vital to our future, including education, research and development and investments in the infrastructure we need. The House bill also raises extreme social policy issues that have nothing at all to do with reducing spending or reducing the deficit. The President said he would veto the bill if it got to him in this form" (The Hill, 3/26).
According to The Hill's poll of 1,000 likely voters, 67% of Democrats want to preserve funding for Planned Parenthood, while 62% of Republicans and 22% of Democrats support the cuts. About 26% of single people support cutting funding to the organization, compared with 51% of married people, and 55% voters older than age 65 said the funding should be cut, compared with 31% of voters between ages 18 and 39.
Half of women polled opposed eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood, while 38% expressed support for the proposal to defund the organization. Among the men polled, 46% indicated support for cutting Planned Parenthood's funding while 43% said funding intact should remain intact. Forty-five percent of white voters support eliminating the funds, but just 9% of black voters support Planned Parenthood cuts.
The poll also showed broad support for cutting overall spending, with 91% of respondents indicating that it is very or somewhat important to cut government spending. Voters remain divided about the specific cuts proposed by House Republicans (Schroeder, The Hill, 3/28).