The GOP's war against Planned Parenthood has been going on for quite a while, with several representatives trying to strip the organization of funding for years now. With the Trump administration's plans to introduce the American Health Care Act, that effort could finally be making headway, much to the displeasure of reproductive rights activists and many Democratic legislators; The Obamacare replacement could nix all federal funding to Planned Parenthood if passed. Despite a strong Republican push to cut financial ties to the organization, however, a new has poll found that most Americans actually support funding Planned Parenthood, regardless of which party they align themselves with.
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation polled over 1,200 nationally representative Americans over 18 years old, and found that 75 percent of those surveyed felt the government should continue to fund Planned Parenthood. And yes, that included the majority of not just Democrats, but of Independent and Republican voters, as well: 89 percent of Democrats supported continued funding, followed by 73 percent of independent voters and 55 percent of Republicans. Only 22 percent of those surveyed believed funding to Planned Parenthood should be stopped.
And the thing is, that support exists despite the fact that many Americans don't seem to know about the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funds from being used for abortions. The amendment's existence makes the argument for banning funding to Planned Parenthood slightly odd, since no taxpayer money goes towards abortions, except in cases of rape and incest, or if the mother's health is endangered.
The Kaiser Family Foundation found that only a third of those surveyed knew about the Hyde Amendment at all, and approximately one-third of Planned Parenthood naysayers changed their minds when they learned about the adverse consequences lack of funding could have on lower-income women's health. The majority of Americans — whether Republican or Democrat or neither — also agreed that it was important for the federal government to fund low-income women's reproductive health services.
One in three women surveyed had also visited a Planned Parenthood, the Kaiser Family Foundation discovered — a stat that clashes with the oft-cited argument that women could just "go elsewhere" for services that they receive at Planned Parenthood. As leaders at the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists wrote in a February op-ed, the American health system is "is unprepared to meet that need," especially when it comes to health care services for low-income women in medically underserved areas. The United States' system is unprepared to absorb an extra 2.5 million visits a year from the women and men who currently visit Planned Parenthood for health care.
Regardless of what side of the party line Americans fall on, it seems like the majority agree that Planned Parenthood provides necessary services and should be funded. (After all, the Kaiser study was only the latest of 19 polls that showed overwhelming support for Planned Parenthood.)
Republicans have only a two-vote majority in the Senate, and several Republican senators have criticized the American Health Care Act — 12 of them, specifically — with two Republican senators specifically disagreeing with defunding Planned Parenthood.
With the clear amount of support for Planned Parenthood among the public and the growing lack of approval from Republican senators, hopefully the health care organization will be able to continue to provide critical services for Americans across the country.