Politics & Policy

Mitch McConnell: No Government Shutdown over Defunding Planned Parenthood

Earlier today, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) reiterated his opposition to allowing the government to shut down in an attempt to defund Planned Parenthood.

“There’s no education in the second kick of a mule,” McConnell told reporters. “[During shutdowns] the focus is on the fact that the government is shut down, not what the underlying issue that is being protested is. So look, what Planned Parenthood is engaged in is truly outrageous. The videos are beyond disturbing. The question is, what is the best way to go forward.”

Pro-life activists around the country are having that same conversation. Bob Vander Plaats — one of the most prominent social conservatives in Iowa and a man whose endorsement is being sought by several GOP presidential hopefuls — wants Republicans to pass a funding bill that forces President Obama to choose between defunding Planned Parenthood and shutting down the government with a veto.

“If Obama wants to make that his legacy, to dig in and shut down the government because he wants to fund the killing of babies and the selling of their body parts, let that be his legacy,” he tells National Review.

#related#Some pro-lifers tend to agree with McConnell, believing that a shutdown would distract from the Center for Medical Progress video series that revealed how the nation’s largest abortion provider sells fetal organs. “I’m not one that’s like, ‘Hey, let’s shut down the government,’” says Iowa Right to Life executive director Jennifer Bowen. “I would hope that those that voted against [the defunding measure], moving forward, I would hope that they would educate themselves on the videos and be part of a bigger conversation

McConnell noted that Senator Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) has begun an investigation of the organization. “We intend to continue to pursue the facts and nobody’s better at doing that than Chuck Grassley and we’ll look at other opportunities to make our voices heard on Planned Parenthood,” he said.

— Joel Gehrke is a political reporter for National Review.

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