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Majority of Voters in Three Swing States Oppose Efforts To Defund Planned Parenthood

August 12, 2015 — Nearly 70% of voters in New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania oppose a push by lawmakers who do not support abortion rights to defund Planned Parenthood, according to a poll released by Planned Parenthood on Monday, The Hill reports.

According to The Hill, the three states are seen as battlegrounds in upcoming Senate elections (Ferris, The Hill, 8/10).

Background

An antiabortion-rights group called the Center for Medical Progress recently released a series of misleading videos targeting Planned Parenthood. The videos depict Planned Parenthood staff discussing fetal tissue donation. CMP secretly filmed the videos by meeting with Planned Parenthood staff while posing as buyers of fetal tissue.

Planned Parenthood has stated that the videos were heavily edited and that the filmed officials did not conduct any illegal activities. The organization said it does not profit from fetal tissue donations and only receives reimbursement for costs associated with such donations, which is legal. Meanwhile, supporters of Planned Parenthood said the videos are part of a decades-long campaign against the organization.

The Senate last week blocked legislation (S 1881) -- introduced in the wake of the videos -- that would have cut off more than $500 million in federal funding for Planned Parenthood. However, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said a government shutdown over the issue is unlikely, some lawmakers have suggested the defunding measure's failure could set up a fight over whether to include funding for Planned Parenthood in the federal budget this fall (Women's Health Policy Report, 8/7).

Poll Findings

The poll found that around 75% of respondents in the three states said they would oppose efforts by some conservative lawmakers to defund Planned Parenthood, which could cause the federal government to shut down. Further, the poll found that roughly 67% of voters would be less likely to vote for certain incumbent candidates if they support defunding Planned Parenthood, including Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).

Dawn Laguens, executive vice president and chief experience officer at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said the data show conservative lawmakers' push to defund the organization will hurt their chances of getting re-elected (The Hill, 8/10).