Poll Shows Voter Opposition to Defunding Planned Parenthood in Key Swing States

·Contributing Writer
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Planned Parenthood helped the states of New Hampshire, Ohio, and Pennsylvania save a combined total of $679,243,000 via its family planning services in 2010 — a fact that is not lost on potential swing voters in the 2016 elections. (Photo: Planned Parenthood/Instagram)

New polls out on Monday conducted by Hart Research Associates on behalf of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund show that voters in the key swing states of New Hampshire, Ohio, and Pennsylvania — states that historically make or break elections — strongly oppose the recent Republican effort to end federal funding of the nonprofit women’s health care provider in light of the recent undercover “sting” videos released by the antiabortion activist group the Center for Medical Progress (CMP).

Government funding helps support Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s preventive health services, including Title X-funded family planning programs — such as contraceptive counseling and prescriptions — and screenings for breast and cervical cancer. By law, no federal funding given to Planned Parenthood goes toward abortion services.

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Sixty-six percent of New Hampshire voters oppose defunding Planned Parenthood’s preventive health services, including 72 percent of independents. Sixty-five percent of Ohio voters oppose defunding Planned Parenthood’s preventive health services, including 59 percent of independents. And 69 percent of Pennsylvania voters oppose defunding Planned Parenthood’s preventive health services, including 69 percent of independents.

Furthermore, 65 percent of New Hampshire voters, 60 percent of Ohio voters, and 65 percent of Pennsylvania voters do not believe that efforts to defund the organization are justified by the videos released by CMP. Seventy-five percent of New Hampshire voters, 74 percent of Ohio voters, and 76 percent of Pennsylvania voters think unfavorably of the proposed shutdown of the federal government in September to block continued government funding of Planned Parenthood.

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The frontrunning Republican candidates for the 2016 presidential election. (Photo: Getty Images)

All the Republican candidates for president have publicly voiced their desire to defund Planned Parenthood. This spring, the GOP-led House presented its budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year — a plan that calls for the total elimination of Title X and teen pregnancy prevention services. Last week, a GOP-backed bill to defund Planned Parenthood, sponsored by Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, was defeated in the Senate.

Continued attacks on reproductive rights and women’s health are deeply unpopular with the American public. When former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney— historically a very moderate Republican — made the issue a focal point of his campaign for president in 2011, female voters overwhelmingly turned out to reelect President Barack Obama by 12 points, 56 to 44 percent.

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In 2013, according to the Guttmacher Institute, 729,680 Ohio women were in need of publicly supported contraceptive services. Seventy-four percent of Ohio’s publicly funded family planning is from Medicaid, and 22 percent is from Title X. Planned Parenthood serves both of these populations — and in 2010, 52 percent were served by Planned Parenthood clinics for preventive and family planning health care services. It is estimated that publicly funded family planning centers prevented 27,200 unintended pregnancies, 5,500 teen pregnancies, 13,500 unplanned births, and 9,300 abortions. The Guttmacher Institute projects that in 2010, Ohio taxpayers saw $226,855,000 in total net savings as a result of the $29,844,000 paid for publicly funded services.

Likewise, the Guttmacher Institute found that 759,140 Pennsylvania women were in need of publicly supported contraceptive services in 2013. In Pennsylvania, 85 percent of this funding comes through Medicaid, 10 percent comes through Title X, and only 3 percent is from state-only sources. In 2013, publicly supported health centers provided contraceptive care to 262,180 Pennsylvania women, 232,170 of whom were served by Title X-supported centers. And in 2010, Planned Parenthood clinics served 38 percent of those receiving publicly funded preventive and family planning health care services, including 42 percent of Title X clients. It is estimated that in 2013, publicly funded family planning prevented 63,900 unintended pregnancies, 13,200 teen pregnancies, 31,700 unplanned births, and 21,800 abortions. The Guttmacher Institute projects that in 2010, Pennsylvania taxpayers received $434,409,000 in total net savings as a result of $51,272,000 in family planning costs.

Finally, in New Hampshire in 2010, the Guttmacher Institute reports, 63,510 women were in need of publicly supported contraceptive services — 45 percent funded through Medicaid and 34 percent by Title X. In 2010, 53 percent of these patients were seen at a Planned Parenthood clinic, and 58 percent of those served by a Title X-funded clinic were patients at Planned Parenthood. In 2013, publicly funded family planning centers prevented 5,100 unintended pregnancies, 900 teen pregnancies, 2,500 unplanned births, and 1,700 abortions. New Hampshire taxpayers saw a total net savings of $17,979,000 from $3,717,000 in family planning costs in 2010.

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