Planned Parenthood targets Roskam in TV ad, poll

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Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington in 2014. File Photo. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Planned Parenthood on Tuesday released a poll and TV ad aimed at putting pressure on Rep. Peter Roskam — who is already being targeted by Democrats as a vulnerable Republican in a district that favored Hillary Clinton for president.

“Extreme politicians are trying to defund Planned Parenthood which would have a devastating impact on the more than 60,000 people who rely on Planned Parenthood in Illinois,” the ad says, while urging constituents to call Roskam to ask him “to protect women’s health.” The ad is paid for by the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

The ads will run for at least one week in the Chicago area media market.While an omnibus budget deal on $1.1 trillion in spending by Congress on Sunday spared Planned Parenthood from funding cuts, the organization says the Republican proposal to repeal the American Health Care Act includes a provision to “defund” Planned Parenthood. New language would prevent Medicaid recipients from getting services at Planned Parenthood — where the majority of patients are accessing cancer screenings, birth control, HIV and STI testing and other preventive care. Federal law already blocks federal funding from going to abortion services.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee last month launched a digital ad hitting Roskam, of Wheaton, for his vote in favor of the Republican health care repeal bill in the House Ways and Means Committee. The DCCC announced in February it was targeting 23 Republicans just weeks after President Donald Trump began his presidency. And Planned Parenthood organized events across the country — urging supporters to call members of Congress, sign petitions and attend rallies and speak out against the bill.

First elected in 2006, Roskam defeated his Democratic challenger by nearly 20 points in November. But the groups are hitting Roskam hard because they see an in — Clinton defeated Trump in the Sixth Congressional District by 7 percentage points in the November election. And Roskam has come under fire for favoring tele-town halls instead of in-person town halls. The lack of face-time prompted a protest outside a closed-door event he attended with Republicans in Palatine. He soon after hosted a telephone town hall with 18,000 callers and has said he favors weekly telephone town halls. He’s also hosted private meetings with constituents.

Roskam’s office on Monday said the TV ad and poll are of no surprise.

“Rep. Roskam is no stranger to national Democratic groups working against him,” Roskam spokesman David Pasch said in an email. “We’ll respectfully decline further comment.”

The Planned Parenthood poll conducted by Public Policy Polling found — out of 566 voters in the Sixth Congressional District — 57 percent opposed changes to health care that would “defund” Planned Parenthood. Of those polled 49 percent said they supported the Affordable Care Act, with 39 percent opposing and 11 percent unsure.

One question asks whether Roskam’s support for defunding Planned Parenthood would make voters less likely to vote for him: 52 percent of those polled said they were less likely to support him; 32 percent said they were more likely to support; 14 percent said it wouldn’t make a difference and 2 percent said they weren’t sure.

The poll also sought to learn whether Trump’s proposed actions to defund Planned Parenthood made them more likely to participate in grassroots activity: 51 percent said they were more likely; 26 percent said they were less likely; 22 percent said it didn’t make a difference and 1 percent said they were not sure.

The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 3.9 percent and it was conducted on April 26 and 27 via automated telephone surveys of registered voters.

Of those polled, 53 percent were women and 47 percent were men; some 38 percent said they were Republicans and 34 percent were Democrats with 28 percent identifying as independents. The majority of those polled, 48 percent, were between 46 to 65-years-old.

Respondents were also asked who they voted for in the November election — 47 percent for Clinton, 40 percent for Trump, 4 percent for Gary Johnson, 1 percent for Jill Stein and 8 percent for “someone else.”

There are already names in the mix as Democratic challengers to Roskam, including Amanda Howland, who challenged him in last year’s election. Howland has confirmed she’ll run again, while two others are mulling a run.

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