March 13th, 2012
11:57 PM ET
2 years ago

When Romney says 'get rid of' Planned Parenthood he means…

(CNN) – Mitt Romney reiterated his pledge to defund Planned Parenthood Tuesday, telling a local television reporter in a St. Louis suburb he would "get rid of" the women's health organization if he were president.

In context, Romney's remark appeared to refer to revoking federal funding for the group, which many conservatives oppose because it provides abortions. As president, Romney wouldn't be in position to "get rid of" Planned Parenthood because it isn't a government entity. But his Democratic critics were still quick to pounce with context or not.

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Answering a question from CNN affiliate KDSK of St. Louis, Romney listed off a series of programs he would either eliminate or defund in order to reduce the federal deficit, utilizing a frequent campaign line that he would ask whether a program is "so critical it's worth borrowing money from China to pay for."

"You get rid of Obamacare, but there are others," Romney the station. "Planned Parenthood, we're gonna get rid of that. The subsidy for Amtrak, I would eliminate that. The National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, both excellent programs, but we can't afford to borrow money to pay for these things."

Speaking on CNN Tuesday night, Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said the candidate was listing programs, including Planned Parenthood, that could be defunded to balance the budget.

"He singled out some areas of the budget he would eliminate or curtail, all in the name of achieving a balanced budget," Fehrnstrom said.

He added, "It would not be getting rid of the organization. They have other sources of funding besides government operations, but in order to achieve balance, we have to make some tough decisions about spending."

The explanation didn't stop Planned Parenthood and Romney's Democratic rivals from hitting back at the comment. In a statement, President Barack Obama's deputy campaign manager said the remark was "offensive."

"Mitt Romney's comments today that he would 'get rid of' Planned Parenthood show how low he is willing to go to pander to the most extreme elements of the Republican base," Stephanie Cutter said. "Planned Parenthood is a vital health care provider for millions of American women, giving them affordable access to life-saving services like mammograms and cervical cancer screenings."

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee, also characterized Romney's words as a play to the conservative wing of the GOP.

"He did everything he could to pander to the far right wing of his party with extreme and out-of-touch positions like vowing to get rid of Planned Parenthood, as he did today," Schultz said in a statement Tuesday.

Planned Parenthood defended its work against Romney's plan, saying the services it provides help protect women's health.

"When Mitt Romney says he wants to 'get rid' of Planned Parenthood, he means getting rid of the preventive health care that three million people a year rely on for cancer screenings, birth control, and other preventive care. This is dangerous and out of step with what most Americans want," Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President for Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said in a statement.

CNN's Peter Hamby, Jessica Yellin, Justin Lear and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

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Religion, gas prices, and beating Obama on the minds of Alabama voters


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Planned Parenthood
soundoff (281 Responses)
  1. Sheil

    In the repubs line is you get rid of contraception and you don't do anything to protect woman against Rape or Incest. You don't help the poor. And all that family planning..... you just have kids or you obstain while your husband screws around. Back to bruses on your knees people as your pray for pennance. The Republicans can be called the Marie Antonette party. as the fench lady said....let them eat cake.... until it was off with her head.
    As for Larry L....You really are in the dark and brainwashed by Fox news. Planned Parenthood serves woman in a lot of ways not just Abortion. Get the facts right ditto head.

    March 14, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  2. Name

    Why do we never hear a word about ending farm subsidies? How about the billions to big oil when they are making record profits? Instead we hear about the need to stop breast cancer screenings for the poor.

    March 14, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  3. New York George

    Entitlements run rampant. Lets get out of the way and let small business get the US back to where we need to be. Just because you were born in the US OR swam the Rio doesnt entitle you to anything except what our fore fathers created!
    The more Gov programs we get rid of the better!

    March 14, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  4. ThinkAgain

    Mittens knows he doesn't need to really know or understand anything; after all, Grover Norquist (of "let granny die" fame) said at CPAC, in his efforts to get the GOP base to hold their noses and vote for Mittens, that the only qualifications for President were these:

    "Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States. This is a change for Republicans: the House and Senate doing the work with the president signing bills. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared."

    Romney, with all his flip-flopping, has proven to Norquist (and the Koch brothers, Dick Armey and Karl Rove) that he's willing to do and say anything to get elected, and is more than willing to be a puppet, just like GW Bush (and McCain was gearing up to be).

    That's what is REALLY going on, folks. The GOP wants Mittens because he'll be a good little boy and do what he is told.

    Pretty darn PATHETIC!

    March 14, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  5. New York George

    CUT CUT CUT instead of SPEND SPEND SPEND!

    March 14, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  6. Gregg

    Does anyone really think that if the republicans cut the crap out of the budget we will all see a reduction in the taxes we currenly pay?

    NEVER They will simply push the money they saved to others they feel are more in need(big oil, defense contractors...)

    Why would any politician ever, ever cut or tamper with the income stream.

    We are all dupes if we think cutting spending will result in anything other than a "reprioritizing" of where money goes.

    Embarassed to be an American.

    March 14, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  7. Darw1n

    @ truth "Well, Larry... I guess there's no way to refute your statement. Clever accounting can hide a lot of things, I guess. Personally, I don't buy it. I can't prove it, I just don't buy it. And quite honestly, the whole "wink wink nudge nudge" no federal money goes towards abortions is akin to Israel saying they don't have nuclear weapons... everyone knows they do, they just can't prove it."
    --------------
    Well, at least you admit your accusations are entirely unfounded.

    March 14, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  8. ThinkAgain

    @New York George: "The more Gov programs we get rid of the better!"

    Go live in Somalia where you won't be bothered by government, let alone a civil society. Or better yet, how about India, where there's no income tax – and no infrastructure?

    March 14, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  9. cf

    If you want to talk about cutting spending... Instead of cutting lifesaving screenings for the poor, how about getting rid of farm subsidies for the rich?

    March 14, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  10. ReallY!!?

    Explain to me how asking people to pay for your own abortions, pay for your own contraceptions equates to abolishing abortion and contraceptions. No one can prove that Plan Parenthood is not using Federal Funds for aborition. Plan Parenthood has been caught on tape violating the laws and not reporting incidents of statutory rape and prostitution. So we are suppose to believe when they "tell" us they don't use Federal Funds for aboritions.
    Personal responsiblity is loss. No republican is advocating that women be denied contraception or abortion. Republicans are advocating fiscal and personal responsibility. This country will continue to decline as long as we continue the spending madness and the gimmes!

    March 14, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "Well, Larry... I guess there's no way to refute your statement. Clever accounting can hide a lot of things, I guess. Personally, I don't buy it. I can't prove it, I just don't buy it. And quite honestly, the whole "wink wink nudge nudge" no federal money goes towards abortions is akin to Israel saying they don't have nuclear weapons... everyone knows they do, they just can't prove it."

    Clever accounting? It's not like it's even remotely difficult to segregate income coming from different sources and spend those two income streams only as permitted. Trying to turn SIMPLE accounting and 3rd grade algebra into some sort of nefarious conspiracy theory is beyond silly. Given that only THREE PERCENT of PP's services provided are abortion related and TWO THIRDS of it's $1.1M budget has nothing to do with federal funds (that's including Medicare paying for breast exams etc.), one would think it's insanely easy to make sure the federal dollars aren't paying for abortions. By representing it as convoluted and complex in order to enact trickery and some nefarious scheme to misuse the federal funds, you are either just trying to prey on those who won't know any better or don't know any better yourself. Choose.

    March 14, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  12. Romney is not My Hero

    This guy should have "Stupid" written across his forehead and his mouth taped shut. I cannot believe that this dummy is the frontrunner for anything – even the GOP. Planned Parenthood provides much needed sex education and services. It would be horrible to try and shut them down.

    OBAMA 2012! November can't get here fast enough.

    March 14, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  13. Muldoon in Ohio

    Romney needs to quit talking like he's a conservative, and pandering to these folks who are obviously in the minority. I believe he'd be much more successful declaring that he's a moderate republican willing to work with the congress to get things done. Then he'd have a better chance in a race with Obama.

    March 14, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  14. Tillie

    Mitt has 5 boys and can afford private insurance & healthcare for his entire family. What does he care about the millions of women who depend on PP for their basic reproductive healthcare issues?

    FYI Mitt, Women are 51% of the population. We have long memories. And we vote.

    March 14, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  15. cf

    Go back to eating your cheesy grits, Willard.

    March 14, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "And look at it another way... there have been over 50 million abortions since Roe v. Wade. What if just ONE of those was the next Isaac Newton... the next Mozart... the next Dr. King? I guess we'll never know."

    Or the next Jeffery Dahmer, Charles Manson, Timothy McVeigh, Rupert Murdoch...the next Sean Hannity...the next Glenn Beck? I'm glad we'll never know.

    March 14, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  17. Dee1030

    Some people amaze me in the way they think. They are against abortions, yet when the children are born they are against supporting them. These people are against healthcare, free lunches, funding education, welfare.

    March 14, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  18. PJ

    Romney must have missed the GOP memo, stop all the "social issues" and "war on women" time to at Presidential to the whole US.
    I guess that means Santorum will take back his 1965 remark, also since he will not be repealing the civil rights amendment.

    March 14, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  19. ReallY!!?

    Only simple minded dumb women actually believe the Republicans want to outlaw contraception and aborition. Stop asking the govt to pay for your stuff. What's next child care? How about a free car? Are you that pathetic you cannot pay to support your own lifestyle? Give me a break!! So much for the womens movement and equal rights. Because if women did not want to be treated differently then they would be demanding the same for men!!

    March 14, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    "Given that only THREE PERCENT of PP's services provided are abortion related and TWO THIRDS of it's $1.1M budget has nothing to do with federal funds (that's including Medicare paying for breast exams etc.), one would think it's insanely easy to make sure the federal dollars aren't paying for abortions."

    Correction...that should've read "$1.1B budget."

    March 14, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  21. Steve

    Fair is Fair

    Steph, no one is trying to get rid of abortion. And I see what you're trying to say with the potential increase in cost to society. But I was raised to believe that there's no price tag on human life. And look at it another way... there have been over 50 million abortions since Roe v. Wade. What if just ONE of those was the next Isaac Newton... the next Mozart... the next Dr. King? I guess we'll never know.
    --–
    Fine. You pay for them. Do you really want to support 50 million unwanted kids because one of them could be the next Einstein? That's a terrible investment.

    March 14, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  22. fernace

    Is it truly a Republican campaign strategy to alienate half of the American population!? Because it makes absolutely no sense! Romney is obviously pandering to his mega rich, mega right, buddies who think "women just need to close their legs!" I find it hard to believe were having this conversation in an era I have believed to be pretty enlightened! The Religious Right is now trying to use their "religious freedom" to block womens job insurance coverage for birthcontrol! Outrageous!! Curiously, I haven't heard a peep about "religious freedom" concerning Viagara! The War on Women is real & in effect & we better reject this "ideology"right now, before any more of our rights & healthcare facilities are taken away from us!!

    March 14, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  23. Tillie

    Oh, Sniffit, you nailed it again. People should remember that Repubs know how easy it is to fool the foolish.

    March 14, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  24. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    All Planned Parrenthood needs to do is divest itself of all abortion operations. They need to spin off the baby killing division. The fact that they have not done so pretty much proves they are co-mingling funds to subsidize abortions. Libtards are always screaming about the seperation of church and state well how about the seperation of baby killing and true healthcare?

    Mark my words, Obama and the leftists will soon force their radical abortion philosophy on the whole country under Obamacare. Federal government dollars will be paying for abortions under the guise of "approved healthcare". The Democrats continue their War on Unborn Children, aka No Child Left Alive.

    March 14, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  25. ReallY!!?

    Gas prices are high – Look there is a "War on Women"
    Cannot get a job? – Look there is a "War on Women"
    Food price going up – Look there is a "War on Women"
    Housing prices going down – Look there is a "War on Women"
    Give billions to bundlers for Obama campaign – Look there is a "War on Women"
    Iran has a nuke – Look there is a "War on Women"
    Mental soldier is deemed fit to serve by this admin & kills a bunch of civilians – Look there is a "War on Women"
    This admin burns the koran causing innocent soldiers to be killed – Look there is a "War on Women"

    Hey women keep looking out for that war on you!

    March 14, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
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