Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) arrives to speak at the Women Betrayed Rally to Defund Planned Parenthood at Capitol Hill on July 28. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), a Republican presidential candidate, called on Congress to pull federal funding for Planned Parenthood, saying the money should go to community health centers instead.

Paul has introduced a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. The nonprofit has been mired in controversy in recent weeks over videos purporting to expose its allegedly illegal and unethical fetal tissue donation practices.

[Get caught up on what’s in the Planned Parenthood videos]

"I think we can have disputes, you know, over abortion. Our country is divided. Some people are pro-choice, some are pro-life," Paul said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union." "I think most people do want to defund this.... It would be much less emotional for everyone if we just funded community health centers and didn't fund Planned Parenthood."

Paul stopped short of supporting threats by some lawmakers — including fellow GOP presidential contender Ted Cruz (Tex.) — of a government shutdown over the issue.

"I support any legislation that will defund Planned Parenthood. But I don't think you start out with your objective to shut down government," Paul said.