December 8, 2015 — The majority of U.S. voters oppose ending federal funding for Planned Parenthood, according to a new USA Today/Suffolk University poll, USA Today reports.
The poll surveyed 1,000 likely voters between Dec. 2 and Dec. 6. According to USA Today, the findings demonstrate the political risk of voting to defund Planned Parenthood, particularly for conservative senators from swing states who are up for re-election in 2016 (Page, USA Today, 12/7).
The Senate on Dec. 4 voted 52-47 to pass a budget reconciliation bill (HR 3762) that would defund Planned Parenthood and repeal several of the Affordable Care Act's (PL 111-148) provisions. Through budget reconciliation, certain legislation can advance in the Senate with a simple majority vote.
The part of the reconciliation measure that targets Planned Parenthood would end federal funding for the organization for one year. According to the Congressional Budget Office, that amounts to about $390 million in Medicaid funding. Meanwhile, the measure would add $235 million in funding for community health centers.
The House, which approved a different version of the bill in October, is expected to pass the Senate version next week. President Obama has pledged to veto the bill if it passes through Congress (Women's Health Policy Report, 12/4).
The poll found that 58% of likely voters opposed defunding Planned Parenthood, compared with 33% who expressed support for ending the organization's federal funding. When broken down by political affiliation, the poll found that 89% of Democrats, 54% of independents and 28% of Republicans said they opposed defunding efforts. Meanwhile, 59% of Republicans and 6% of Democrats expressed support for ending Planned Parenthood's federal funding.
Further, the poll found that 46% of respondents said they agreed with the statement, "Heated political rhetoric about Planned Parenthood and abortion bear some of the responsibility" for the Colorado clinic shooting. Meanwhile, 36% of respondents said the shooting "was a random act of violence and not connected to politics." According to USA Today, the remaining respondents were undecided on whether antiabortion-rights rhetoric played a role in the shooting (USA Today, 12/7).