A majority of Americans support federal funding for Planned Parenthood, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Wednesday—a sign that the tables may soon turn for the embattled health care provider and its outspoken conservative opponents.
Overall, 54 percent of respondents said they supported federal funding of Planned Parenthood, with 26 percent opposing. And while a majority of those polled said they would support government subsidies for free women's health exams, screenings, and contraception, an even greater percentage of respondents said they support those subsidies going specifically to Planned Parenthood to provide those services.
The poll comes just as several Republican lawmakers are threatening to defund the organization over a series of controversial videos released by the right-wing anti-choice group Center for Medical Progress. Four Republican senators have said they would implement a government shutdown to keep Planned Parenthood from getting its annual subsidy—but the survey indicates that doing so would go against broad public opinion, a risky move ahead of the upcoming election.
The non-profit's image has taken a hit, the poll found, after an anti-abortion group earlier this year began releasing videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials negotiating prices for aborted fetal tissue.
Still, the strong support for federal funds to help Planned Parenthood provide screenings, pregnancy tests and prenatal services indicates Republican presidential candidates should tread carefully addressing the issue on the campaign trail.
In another telling detail, support for the organization came from both sides of the political aisle. Democrats and Republicans both said they backed funding for women's health services, even when Planned Parenthood was named.
"We have so many young people having babies when they're babies themselves, and if they can get some kind of birth control or help or education, anything to stop that trend would be very good," said one respondent, Renee Harrison, of Wisconsin.