Despite efforts to discredit Planned Parenthood, a recent poll by the Wall Street Journal/NBC News found that the healthcare provider has actually become slightly more popular since the release of videos by an anti-abortion group purportedly showing a physician attempting to sell fetal tissue.
Since the videos' release in July, Planned Parenthood’s approval rating has jumped by two points, up to 47 percent. Additionally, a nationwide USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll found 65 percent of Americans support federal funding for the group.
The increase in popularity and public support for Planned Parenthood -- which offers pre- and post-natal care, STI testing and cancer screenings in addition to providing abortion services -- has some conservatives baffled.
"Those numbers are news to me,” Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa told The Washington Post. "I haven’t paid any attention to the polls. But am I surprised? Yes. That would explain some of the reasons why the leadership is not committing to defund.”
During a showdown with GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill today, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards vigorously defended the organization. Despite the public popularity of Planned Parenthood, many lawmakers believe the videos are accurate.
“The latest smear campaign is based on efforts by our opponents to entrap our doctors and clinicians into breaking the law — and once again our opponents failed,” Richards said, according to the New York Times.
King remains worried about Planned Parenthood’s popularity and what it could mean for his campaign to defund the organization.
"When this emerged, I said, 'Cut all funding and do it now,'" he said. "If we didn't do that, we'd give Planned Parenthood a whole year to spend millions of dollars on PR and lobbying. I wanted to do it like ACORN -- that vote came so quickly that I think many Democrats came to a conviction that ACORN funding was a threat to their re-election.”
Mallory Quigley, spokeswoman for the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, was also worried about the public support for Planned Parenthood.
"I don’t think Romney would have touched this with a 10-foot pole," she said. "You’ve got all these celebrities coming out to defend Planned Parenthood; on the other, the pro-life movement, as you know, does not exactly have a lot of Hollywood on call.”