While the Republican presidential candidates were grandstanding on Planned Parenthood, President Obama hit Republicans with reality when he issued a veto threat that promised to reject the GOP attempts to defund the organization.
The White House issued the veto promise in a Statement of Administration Policy:
The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 3134 and H.R. 3504 because the bills, while different, would have the same consequence of limiting women’s health care choices.
H.R. 3134 would defund Planned Parenthood based on its provision of abortion services. Planned Parenthood uses both Federal and non-Federal funds to provide a range of important preventive care and health services, including health screenings, vaccinations, and check-ups to millions of men and women who visit their health centers annually. Longstanding Federal policy already prohibits the use of Federal funds for abortions, except in cases of rape or incest or when the life of the woman would be endangered. By eliminating Federal funding for a major provider of health care, H.R. 3134 would limit access to health care for men, women, and families across the Nation, and would disproportionately impact low-income individuals.
H.R. 3504 would impose new legal requirements related to the provision of abortion services in certain circumstances, which would likely have a chilling effect, reducing access to care.
If the President were presented with H.R. 3134 or H.R. 3504, he would veto them.
The veto threat was President Obama’s way of telling Republicans not to even think about shutting down the government over Planned Parenthood funding. The issue is dead on arrival. If Republicans in the House and Senate pass legislation that would defund Planned Parenthood, the President will veto it, and his veto will be sustained by Democrats in Congress.
A government shutdown over Planned Parenthood would be even more foolish than the 2013 shutdown over Obamacare funding. A recent CNN/ORC Poll found that the idea of shutting down the government over Planned Parenthood is less popular that Obamacare shutdown was in 2013. During the first CNN Republican presidential debate, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said that a government shutdown over Planned Parenthood would throw away Republican hopes of victory in 2016.
President Obama will not allow Republicans to take away access to preventive health care screenings from millions of men and women in an attempt to pander to a tiny segment of social conservatives.
Obama is not going to budge, and if Republicans shut down the government over Planned Parenthood, it will be an act of political suicide.