- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 5, 2017

A new poll indicates vulnerable Senate Democrats up for re-election in states carried by President-elect Donald Trump may want to rethink their support of Planned Parenthood.

A majority of voters in Florida, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin said they would be less likely to support their senator if he or she voted to fund Planned Parenthood over women’s health clinics that do not perform abortions, according to a new survey published by the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List on Thursday.

And majorities in five of those six states — along with a plurality in Florida — said they oppose funding the abortion behemoth with taxpayer dollars regardless of where the funds are diverted.

“Voters agree: taxpayer dollars would be better spent on community and rural health centers that provide comprehensive, whole-woman care, not abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood,” SBA President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement. “Pro-life voters who were key to victory on election night are eager to see a pro-life White House and Congress address the injustice of taxpayer funding for the abortion industry.”

Each of those states was carried by Mr. Trump in the general election and is represented by a Democratic senator up for re-election in 2018.

• In North Dakota, where Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is up for re-election next cycle, 70 percent of voters oppose and 28 percent support taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, the poll found. Ms. Heitkamp is pro-choice.

• In Montana, where Democratic Sen. Jon Tester is up for re-election next cycle, 61 percent oppose and 37 percent support taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood. Mr. Tester is pro-choice.

• In Ohio, where Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown is up for re-election next cycle, 57 percent oppose and 37 percent support taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood. Mr. Brown is pro-choice.

• In Missouri, where Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill is up for re-election next cycle, 54 percent oppose and 41 percent support taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood. Ms. McCaskill is pro-choice.

• In Wisconsin, where Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin is up for re-election next cycle, 51 percent oppose and 46 percent support taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood. Ms. Baldwin is pro-choice.

• In Florida, where Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson is up for re-election next cycle, 48 percent oppose and 46 percent support taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood. Mr. Nelson is pro-choice.

Majorities in those states – 77 percent of voters in North Dakota, 64 percent in Montana, 60 percent in Ohio, 57 percent in Missouri, 58 percent in Wisconsin and 53 percent in Florida — also said they would be less likely to vote for a Senate candidate who votes to fund Planned Parenthood over women’s health clinics that do not perform abortions, the poll found.

The survey comes as Democratic support for Planned Parenthood and taxpayer-funded abortion is at an all-time high.

For the first time in its history, the Democratic Party platform now calls for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits abortions from being financed by the government.

And the Obama administration issued a rule last year prohibiting states from divesting taxpayer dollars earmarked for women’s health services from Planned Parenthood to clinics that do not perform abortions.

Ms. Baldwin, Mr. Brown, Ms. Heitkamp, Ms. McCaskill, Mr. Nelson and Mr. Tester participated in a filibuster in 2015 to prevent Senate Republicans from voting on a bill defunding Planned Parenthood. After Republicans used a reconciliation procedure to bypass the filibuster, they each voted against the measure.

But they’ll have a chance to win over their constituents shortly: House Speaker Paul D. Ryan announced on Thursday that a provision to defund Planned Parenthood will be included in the budget reconciliation legislation to repeal Obamacare. The fast-track bill could go before Congress for a vote as early as next month.

“We urge Congress and especially Democrats to listen to their constituents and send President Trump a reconciliation bill that funds real women’s health programs, not Planned Parenthood,” Ms. Dannenfelser said.

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