‘Happy Hour’ Debate Candidates Talk Defunding Planned Parenthood

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

During the “Happy Hour” GOP debate in Cleveland, Republican hopefuls discussed the recent undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s apparent practice of selling the body parts of aborted babies and whether the organization should be defunded.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said Thursday night during the GOP “Happy Hour” debate that President Obama should not “shut down the government simply to send taxpayer dollars” to Planned Parenthood.

Asked if he would be willing to shut down the government if Planned Parenthood is not defunded, Jindal insisted the nation’s largest abortion provider should be defunded, and appeared to make the point that, because Obama would not support defunding Planned Parenthood, it would be he who would be shutting down the government over funding the organization.

“I guarantee under President Jindal, January 2017, the Department of Justice and the IRS and everybody else that we can send from the federal government will be going in to Planned Parenthood,” he said, adding that, in his own state, he has called for an investigation into the group and ended its provider contract with Medicaid.

Jindal criticized Republicans in Washington D.C. for giving up the fight:

Too often, they give up, they negotiate with themselves. They said they would get rid of the unconstitutional amnesty. They didn’t do that. They said they would repeal Obamacare if we gave them the majority. They didn’t do that either. They said they’d shrink and balance the budget. They haven’t done that. Absolutely, they should fight to fund — defund Planned Parenthood, and I don’t think the president should shut down the government simply to send our taxpayer dollars to this group.

Former New York Gov. George Pataki—often said to be the only pro-choice GOP candidate—was asked whether the Planned Parenthood videos had changed his heart about abortion.

Pataki, who said he, too, would defund Planned Parenthood, responded that his “heart has not changed,” but only “because I’ve always been appalled by abortion.”

“I’m a Catholic, I believe life begins at conception. But as [moderator] Bill [Hemmer] said earlier, Roe v. Wade, it’s has been the law for 42 years, and I don’t think we should continue to try to change it,” he added. “But we can do is defund Planned Parenthood, and by the way, put in place an absolute permanent ban on any taxpayer dollars ever being used to fund abortions.”

Pataki made the point that though Hillary Clinton and other Democrats like to say Republicans don’t follow science, they are the ones who refuse to listen to the scientific evidence regarding the viability of human life in the womb.

Stating he would pass legislation that would prohibit abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, he continued, “[D]octors say that at 20 weeks that is a viable life inside the womb. And at that point, it’s a life that we have the right to protect, and I think we should protect.”

Carly Fiorina said previously that she would ensure Planned Parenthood was defunded, even if the government were shut down, and Lindsey Graham said the “only way we’re going to defund Planned Parenthood is have a pro-life president.”