Rove: Shutdown over Planned Parenthood would be a 'disaster'

Rove: Shutdown over Planned Parenthood would be a 'disaster'
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GOP strategist Karl Rove on Wednesday said a government shutdown over defunding Planned Parenthood would be a “disaster for the pro-life cause.”

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In an op-ed published by "The Wall Street Journal," Rove argued that while conservatives’ demands to defund the group are legitimate, their tactics are not.

“Republicans in Congress who want to risk a shutdown over Planned Parenthood have an obligation to spell out how they would get it done. They can’t,” Rove wrote. “That’s why any Republicans who engineer a shutdown will be unwitting allies of the abortion movement.”

Rove, former deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush, cited recent polls that indicated majorities of the public oppose cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood and oppose a government shutdown that would result from the defunding strategy.

He also reiterated that the GOP’s favorable rating plummeted to a record low of 28 percent after the 16-day government shutdown in October 2013, arguing Republicans did not prevail in last November’s midterm elections because of that shutdown.

If it happens again, Rove said Planned Parenthood would benefit. He also pointed out that a regular funding package would only touch a small portion of the funding it receives from the government.

“A shutdown would give Planned Parenthood an opportunity to play the victim, and the majority of taxpayer dollars it receives are from mandatory spending programs like Medicaid, which is not subject to a shutdown,” he said.

Rove accused GOP presidential candidates who have called for the defunding of Planned Parenthood of engaging only in “self-promotion” because they’ve failed to propose a realistic game plan.

“Life is too important to let the GOP’s suicide caucus damage the cause with such an ill-considered effort,” he wrote.

Rove’s op-ed comes a day before the Senate is slated to vote on a government spending bill, lasting through Dec. 11, that would cut off funding to Planned Parenthood. Senate GOP leaders have acknowledged that Senate Democrats will likely block that bill.

After that, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is widely expected to file a “clean” funding bill that would continue to fund Planned Parenthood.

Meanwhile, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has not yet said whether he would take up a “clean” measure. He will meet with House GOP leaders on Thursday and with the rest of the GOP conference Friday morning to discuss their plan.