Linking the defunding of Planned Parenthood to a government funding bill is "an exercise in futility," according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The Kentucky Republican lawmaker, in an interview with Politico
Friday, says he'll support instead a plan to fund the government into December with no conditions.
"It's an exercise in futility," McConnell says of the Planned Parenthood defunding effort. "I'm anxious to defund Planned Parenthood" but "the honest answer of that is that's not going to happen until you have a president who has a similar view."
"It's better to be honest with the American people and say, 'That won't get it done.'"
According to Politico, McConnell favors a strategy that will include a short-term funding bill to buy time to negotiate a longer-term spending measure – and separately, a vote this month to federally ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
GOP lawmakers have called for the defunding of Planned Parenthood in the wake of hidden-camera videos showing officials brokering the distribution of fetal tissue to medical research.
But McConnell said either a Democratic minority would block the effort, or President Barack Obama would veto a bill even if it passed the Senate.
"Groups who deeply are concerned about the issue realize this [Planned Parenthood strategy] isn't going to get that done," McConnell said.
"What we are going to do is move to the pain-capable [abortion] bill sometime this month and see how people feel about that," he said referring to a 20-week abortion ban proposal.
A 20-week abortion ban
was offered in January, when the Republicans first took control of Congress. But it failed when a group of Republican women said that it didn't have enough protections for women who were raped or victims of incest; that bill required that rape only be considered if a woman wanting a late-term abortion had reported the alleged crime to the police.
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