Washington (CNN) – Using unusually harsh words, a potential presidential candidate echoed some previous comments: claiming that Planned Parenthood’s original mission was to “help kill black babies before they came into the world.”
Herman Cain went on to say that the sexual and reproductive health care provider is carrying out its mission of “planned genocide.”
In response, the group said that Cain is using "inflammatory and divisive language based on race to achieve extreme political goals" of ending legal abortion.
Cain, an African-American and the first Republican to launch a presidential exploratory committee, made the comments Tuesday during a question-and-answer session at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank in Washington.
The purpose of the session was for Cain to talk about national policy. He covered lots of ground: outlining his views on monetary policy, “fixing” the Federal Reserve, and overturning “Obamacare.”
His comments about Planned Parenthood come amid a debate in Congress over federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Attached to the spending bill recently passed by the House is an amendment from Republican Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana that denies the group funds.
Speaking to reporters and bloggers at the Heritage Foundation, Cain echoed a position expressed by many other Republicans.
“I support de-funding Planned Parenthood,” Cain said. “Tactically how they [Congress] does it…I can’t tell you.”
Cain then explained the reason behind his stance.
“You probably don’t hear a lot of people talking about this,” Cain said. “When Margaret Sanger – check my history – started Planned Parenthood, the objective was to put these centers in primarily black communities so they could help kill black babies before they came into the world.”
“It's planned genocide,” Cain claimed.
“It’s carrying out its original mission,” he continued. “I’ve talked to young girls who go in there, and they [Planned Parenthood] don’t talk about how you plan parenthood. They don’t talk about adoption as an option. They don’t say, ‘Well, bring your parents in so we can sit down and talk with you, and counsel with you before you make this decision.’”
Planned Parenthood responded to Cain’s comments in a statement to CNN.
“Herman Cain is clearly out of the mainstream by supporting an extreme proposal that would bar Planned Parenthood health centers from receiving federal funds for any purpose, including for preventive health care, lifesaving cancer screenings, breast exams, birth control, HIV testing and STD testing and treatment,” said Veronica Byrd, Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s director of African-American Media. “The care that Planned Parenthood provides benefits all women, especially African-American women who experience higher rates of illness.”
Byrd continued: “Planned Parenthood doctors and nurses provide affordable, health care to every woman who comes through the doors of one of our 800 health centers, regardless of where she lives, her race or ethnic background, religion, sexual orientation, or income level. We are committed to providing every woman with a full range of high quality health care.”
As for the claim regarding African-American babies, Byrd cited a study that “found that fewer than one in 10 abortion clinics are located in predominantly African-American neighborhoods.”
Byrd did not respond directly to Cain’s words about its founder, Margaret Sanger.
But Planned Parenthood’s website heaps praise on her as a hero in the “fight for women’s health, rights and equality.”
It describes her as helping to open the nation’s first birth control clinic in New York, in 1916, at a time when women had far fewer societal rights and often bore multiple children because of widespread public opinion against birth control.
Sanger’s “mother had 18 pregnancies, bore 11 children, and died in 1899 at the age of 40,” the site states. “Working as a nurse with immigrant families on New York's Lower East Side, Sanger witnesses the sickness, misery, and death that result from unwanted pregnancy and illegal abortion. The clinic she opens provides contraceptive advice to poor, immigrant women, some of whom line up hours before the doors open.”
Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN
I knew he was a nut from the beginning
OMG This clown is as bad as Palin and Bachman.....what a tool.
Boy, this is the most blatant case of playing the race card I've ever seen. If you want to stop abortion of black fetuses, prevent unwanted pregnancies. Over 80% of women who have abortions do so because they feel that they cannot financially afford a child. What is this jerk doing to help the economic status of black women?
Qualifications to be the Republican nominee:
1) Make the most outlandish statements about a "liberal" organization that is void of facts.
2) Make the most outlandish statements about the President.
3) Pander to the base every chance you get, even if it means flip flopping on issues.
4) Paint yourself as more patriotic and American than the President. Vaguely refer to where he is born or was raised.
5) Focus on social issues instead of financial issues because you have no financial ideas to offer.
This will help you garner support in the Republican ranks but will put you way behind in the general election.
Just when I thought the Republican field of candidates couldn't possibly say anything to surprise me, along come this totally disgusting idiot. Planned Parenthood had prevented thousands of abortions in this country by offering women contraception. This guy makes me so mad, I could just spit.
Eugenics was a outgrowth of several theories that were prevelent in the late 19th century: these also included the sterilization of the deaf, a stance advocated by Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, and self-described " teacher of the deaf" and someone who was married to a deaf woman. Sanger may have been a racist by our standards, but her other ideas regarding women's health and contraception have saved literally millions of women. What is more to the point is where has Herman Cain been in the black community? I had nnever heard his name until he decided to run for POTUS, and I am not impressed by the CEO of a fast-food restaurant. What role has he played in destroying the health of America with the product that gave him vast wealth? Does he sleep well on his pile of ill-gotten gains? How does he feel about anti-obescity campaigns, and how obescity has affected the black community?
Anyone hear crickets?
Just another man of color (skin only) who has lived too long in the white man's world, and wants to be totally accepted by the white man's world! ANY black man who would make a statement of that content, can only be characterized in this way! GO SIT YOUR "WANNA-BE" BUTT DOWN SOMEWHERE, CLOWN!