Republican presidential candidates debated the best way to defund abortion giant Planned Parenthood, and whether a forced government shutdown would work or do more harm, at Wednesday night's debate on CNN.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz called Planned Parenthood "an ongoing criminal enterprise" that should not receive over $500 million in annual tax dollars, and called on Republican leaders in the House and Senate to "stop surrendering" and "start standing."
"These are horrifying. On these videos, Planned Parenthood also essentially confesses to multiple felonies," declared Cruz. "It is a felony with ten years' jail term to sell the body parts of unborn children for profit. That's what these videos show Planned Parenthood doing."
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal continues to position himself as an anti-establishment candidate as he slammed Republicans in Washington D.C. for already giving up the fight to defund Planned Parenthood.
Jindal joined Rick Santorum, George Pataki, and Lindsey Graham in the second tier debate televised by CNN before the main debate on Wednesday.
"I am angrier at the Republicans in D.C. than I am at the President," declared Jindal, who says it is "time for Republicans to grow a backbone" in their fight against Planned Parenthood. Jindal pointed out that he defunded the popular abortion provider in Louisiana, while calling on Republicans to stand up and fight President Obama on the issue.
Lindsey Graham countered to Jindal that President Obama would merely veto the bill.
"If we can't defund Planned Parenthood, then it's time to get rid of the Republican Party and start over," responded Jindal.
The conservative site RedState declared Jindal the winner of the first debate, in what many in the media and on social media referred to as the "undercard debate."
Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina perhaps had the loudest applause of the night on the issue when she challenged President Obama and Hillary Clinton to watch the Planned Parenthood videos.
"They need to watch a fully-formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, and its legs kicking. While they keep it alive to harvest its brain. This is about the character of our nation," Fiorina proclaimed.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told Republicans to stop arguing amongst each other and attack Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton. Christie boasted that he vetoed Planned Parenthood funding eight times in New Jersey. Christie said Clinton "believes in the systematic murder of children in the womb to preserve their body parts." Christie accused Republicans in Washington D.C. of giving President Obama "a pass" on the issue.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush called life "a gift from God" and declared that he was the "most pro-life governor on this stage." Trump interrupted Bush to remind the former governor that he recently said he would cut $500 million of funding for women's health issues at a forum with Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore. Bush defended his record saying "I have a proven record" when it comes to women's health issues.
Ohio Governor John Kasich took a less aggressive posture on the debate to defund Planned Parenthood, saying it was important but added there are other considerations to the proposal.
"I agree that we should defund Planned Parenthood," Kasich declared. "I don't know many people in America who don't think that we should, and in my state, we're trying to figure out how to get it done, because we are threatened with the federal government taking all of our Medicaid money away.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker chimed in to add that he defunded Planned Parenthood in his state and called for a national effort to defund the popular abortion provider.
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, in a pointed remark about judicial activism addressed the life issue and Planned Parenthood that has ignited much of the country after the release of videos by the Center for Medical Progress depicting possible profiteering off of aborted baby parts.
"Do you believe that a person, before they're deprived of life and liberty, should in fact have due process and equal protection under the law? asked Huckabee, "Because if you do, you're going to do more than defund Planned Parenthood."