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
Finally, calling Planned Parenthood out for what it is. Check your stats folks; an overwhelming number of aborted children are black. And just because a life is unwanted, does not make it less of a life. Nor does legalized abortion, make killing children any more moral. As for adoption, many couples want to adopt. How about cutting out all the red tape and helping connect babies and loving parents?
Planned Parenthood: another innocent target for the reactionary pitchforking mob.
Is Cain serious about this? Is Limbaugh, Hannity, or Coulter going to defend him?
Planned parenthood helped me greatly as a young adult. Now I am a middle aged, middle class parent of two fantastic kids. I PLANNED those kids, thanks to help from Planned Parenthood. They grew up well-fed, well educated, loved and wanted. I am a tax-paying American who thanks Planned parenthood for what they do.
Oops-another possible Rep. pres. candidate bites the dust! Keep'em coming-sooner or later they're going to run out of these
Herman Cain must be an absolute idiot. Planned Parenthood serves all women who seek help for birth control and help for unwanted pregnancies. Someone needs to educate Mr. Cain.
Planned Parenthood probably does more for advocating responsible birth control and women's health than the entire history of the GOP has ever done. Abortion is just one small aspect of what they do. It is a moot point, people will continue to get Abortions regardless, it doesn't matter if it is legal or not legal. Save the culture wars and do something productive for a change Republicans.
Cain is a real idiot. I previously had no inkling of his self-loathing.
Oh my gosh, I can't believe that he says that. Planned Parenthood is a huge advocate for minority and low income women, providing them extremely important consistent health care.
That rhetoric will not buy you the African American vote. The black community knows what community you represent. It's the one of greed, stereotypes (my what a bunch dullards when it comes to thinking for yourselves) and soulless hatred. You will insist you're not. Take a good look around to see who's buoying you Ms Cain.
The usual inflammatory language used by the Republican Ultra-right to stimulate it's base and anyone else who'll tag along. Quit trying to impose your morality on the rest of Americans. Our country was founded on freedom from religious oppression but it seems that there's a contingent that see it as their duty to oppress their fellow countrymen.
Wow, I sense a lot of fear here. A strong black man that speaks the truth.
If you can't handle the truth, then just move on. From what people here are saying, if the KKK was being nice to some people now they'd be OK with the organization. . . hmmm. . . hypocrite much? The left is hilarious.
Worry about jobs and not my vagina!
Mr. Cain is actually a nice person. However, his politics are another matter. It seems the Republican strategy for 2012 is who can be the most shocking candidate. Just about every Republican candidate (declared or not) has simply opened their mouth and insert foot!
So he's calling black women genocidal? Because as far as I can tell it's illegal to force anyone to have an abortion, so when the republicans talk about genocide, slavery and the holocaust, ladies, they're talking about US.
WE'RE the genocidal, slave owning, nazis, who want to destroy all the innocent little 'potential people' in our wombs.
One question all the antichoicers never seem to want to answer though;
If women are so evil and murderous, why would you WANT us to have any babies?
PS The last time african american women were forced to have babies against their will en masse in america was during slavery, so the kids could be sold off for profit. Is that what Herman Cain is proposing a return to? Because i don't think that's much of a vote winning strategy.
Herman Cain is a complete idiot. He and Allen West are two of a kind.
Keep on talking you nutjob!
Yes it's planned parenthood's mission in life to kill black people. Which is why all planned parenthood clinics have a big sign posted outside that reads "no white people".
I would ask where Republicans find their crazy candidates but I'm not sure that I want to know.
Maybe the centers were put in primarily poor (not black) neighborhoods to help counter the economic burden of having large families.
I don't like Planned Parenthood. Why? That's none of your business. Shut it down NOW. NO compromises!!!!!
Wow, you just killed any chance (and there was not much of one to begin with) of ever becoming president of the united states. You're done. On to the next one ...
And conservatives accuse liberals or race baiting?? What a ridiculous statement. Planned Parenthood is about unwanted pregnancy prevention. Conservatives/Tea Party folk must be pretty embarrassed by this guy. I know I would be ...
Uh, I'm sorry. Who is Herman Cain and why do we care what he thinks or says?
Where do these kooks come from? I thought he was suppose to be a smart man and ran a big company, Sure makes one wonder where these Republicans have been for the past 50 years. Seems like they are all crawling out from under a rock and have no idea of what is going on. Planned Parenthood is a wonderful orginazition and has never taken any tax money for abortions.....not one penny!!! They do a great service for many people who could not otherwise afford it. I don't know where these men get off telling women what to do with their bodies.
how many unwanted babys has he adopted??????