My own view is that the Republican leaders are right to want to avoid a shutdown. But they should nonetheless offer a spending bill that denies any federal funds to Planned Parenthood. Senate Democrats could filibuster it if they wanted to — and Republicans could see how the debate goes. They could then give way, temporarily, if that’s what it takes to keep the government funded. But they shouldn’t give in preemptively.
I can see why the Republican leadership resists this course. Their conservative critics, they figure, will attack them if they raise the possibility of defunding Planned Parenthood and then fold. But they’ll probably get more criticism if they fail to raise the issue in the first place. And if Republicans vote on a spending bill that denies federal funds to the organization, they’ll be able to make the case on the floor against its mistreatment of human life. It’s a case that deserves to prevail, and cries out to be made.