GOP Obsession with Defunding Planned Parenthood Remains Embarrassment for Congress

Washington, DC – Paul Ryan made it clear that even he understands that Congress’s obsession with defunding Planned Parenthood has become an embarrassment for House Republicans.

Ryan today was pressed by CNN’s Dana Bash on State of the Union on whether he would tie access to Planned Parenthood to negotiations over keeping the government funded past December 11.  Ryan ducked Bash’s question, stating,  “I think we need to be very clear about what it is we can and cannot achieve, and not set expectations that we know we can’t reach.”

Statement from Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

“Even Paul Ryan, a lifelong anti-abortion conservative, knows that his caucus’s obsession with defunding Planned Parenthood has become an embarrassment for Congressional Republicans. In five rounds of interviews today, Ryan ducked questions on Planned Parenthood or ignored the issue of women’s health care all together. Restricting access to Planned Parenthood and our ability to provide things like birth control, STI and STD tests, and cancer screenings is wildly unpopular with Americans and remains a political nonstarter.”

Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards sent a letter to Speaker Paul Ryanthis past week, congratulating him on his election to Speaker of the House, and requesting Congress provide justification for its continued probes into Planned Parenthood.

Watch the video here:

Dana Bash:  There are people who want to defund Planned Parenthood. You have a budget deal in place, thanks to your predecessor, John Boehner. But you still have to fund the government by December 11th or it will shut down. Will you -

Ryan: Well, this is what I mean when I say being an effective opposition party. I think being an effective opposition party means being honest with people upfront about what it is that you can and cannot achieve.

Bash: So are you going to tell everybody, sorry, guys, we can't defund Planned Parenthood?

Ryan: I think we need to be clear about what it is we can and cannot achieve and not set expectations that we know we cannot reach, given the constraints of the Constitution. But we also have to push issues where we can push issues, we also have to  speak truth to power. We have a president that isn't willing to listen, that won't sign a lot of our bills into law. We have a Senate that has a very difficult process when it comes to actually getting bills voted on. So knowing that we have those constraints, we have to operate within those constraints.

Bash: What will you say to your caucus about putting a rider in there defunding Planned Parenthood?

Ryan: I don't think Planned Parenthood should get a single red cent from the taxpayer. I've always believed that. I've voted that way before these disgusting videos came out.  But I believe we need  to do our oversight. We’re just beginning to start a committee to investigate Planned Parenthood. That’s important. So the special committee on Planned Parenthood I think, should be in the driver's seat of overseeing this process.