Obama: 'Planned Parenthood is not going anywhere'
April 26th, 2013
12:08 PM ET
1 year ago

Obama: 'Planned Parenthood is not going anywhere'

(CNN) - President Barack Obama on Friday chided recent state efforts to enact tougher abortion laws and became the first sitting president to address Planned Parenthood when he spoke at a gala for the group.

"When you read about some of these laws, you want to check the calendar. You want to make sure you're still living in 2013," he said at the event held in Washington.

He cited North Dakota's anti-abortion measure signed into law last month, which bans most abortions after six weeks, when a fetal heartbeat can be first detected. Arkansas lawmakers also passed a bill this year that prohibits abortions after 12 weeks.

Alabama, Indiana, and Virginia have recently worked to push laws that raise requirements for abortion clinics, making abortions more difficult.

The president pointed to an initiative rejected by voters in Mississippi in November 2011 that would have defined life as starting at conception, and outlawed abortion and many forms of birth control if passed. Obama characterized the ballot proposal as "absurd" and "an assault on women's rights."

"And that's why when the people of Mississippi were given a chance to vote on that initiative, they turned it down," he said. "And Mississippi is a conservative state."

Abortion was legalized in all 50 states in 1973 by the U.S. Supreme Court. Statutory time limits on when abortions can take place, however, vary from state to state.

Planned Parenthood advocacy groups played a key role in the president's re-election campaign last year, spending about $15 million in an election year that saw an unexpected focus on social issues, including contraception and abortion.

His campaign released multiple ads attacking Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney for proposing to cut government funding to the group.

"When politicians try to turn Planned Parenthood into a punching bag…When they talk about cutting off funding, let's be clear, they're talking about telling many of those women, you're on your own. They're talking about shutting those women out at a time when they may need it most."

"The fact is, after decades of progress, there's still those who want to turn back the clock," he added.

He used the address to promote the Affordable Care Act, urging the audience to educate women on some of the benefits included in the reform.

Notably absent from his remarks was mention of the high-profile murder trial underway of Kermit Barron Gosnell, a Philadelphia doctor accused of performing illegal late-term abortions. Gosnell faces four first-degree murder counts.

Authorities allege that some of the infants were born viable and alive during the sixth, seventh and eighth months of pregnancy, but were killed with scissors that were used to cut their spinal cords.

The anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List responded to the president's remarks.

"President Obama blatantly ignored this inconvenient truth about the abortion industry's horrific lack of oversight, and disparaged the pro-life advocates who wake up each morning with the goal of saving the lives of unborn children and women from the pain of abortion," Marjorie Dannenfelser, the group's president, said in a statement.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said earlier this month that while Obama was "aware" of the case, "the president does not and cannot take a position on an ongoing trial."

The gala was originally planned for Thursday evening but was rescheduled for Friday to allow the president and first lady more time in West, Texas, where they attended the memorial service for 12 slain fire fighters in last week's fertilizer plant explosion.

Friday's event was held to honor Los Angeles Mayor Anthony Villaraigosa, HBO 'Girls' creator Lena Dunham and Dr. Ruth Westheimer. Dunham starred in a controversial web video for Obama's campaign last year, in which she compared a person's first time voting to losing one's virginity.

Obama concluded his remarks vowing to keep fighting for the organization.

"No matter how great the challenge, no matter how fierce the opposition, if there's one thing the past few years have shown, it's that Planned Parenthood is not going anywhere," he said.


Filed under: Abortion • Planned Parenthood • President Obama
soundoff (140 Responses)
  1. sonny chapman

    It's soooo much easier to be concerned about those still in the womb than about those that have already drawn a breath.

    April 26, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  2. AZ Girl

    So why isn't the people yelling about infringement of 2nd amendment rights because of background checks, clip size, and semi-auto bans up in arms about the "infringement" of a woman's rights given to HER based on a different amendment of the SAME Bill of Rights?

    April 26, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  3. Badboy

    Were not only broke, were 16 trillion in the hole. How will we pay, Mr President? Who cares about that! Taxpayers!

    April 26, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  4. Tony

    This party of old white males are stuck in the stone age, we cannot afford to keep them elected we need to vote them out in 2014, they are the ones holding America back, womens healthcare is here to stay.

    April 26, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  5. LiberalsDisgustMe

    God Bless Planned Parenthood???

    Stay classy liberals. Hope you are all proud of what you support.

    April 26, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  6. Fair is Fair

    Tony

    This party of old white males are stuck in the stone age, we cannot afford to keep them elected we need to vote them out in 2014, they are the ones holding America back, womens healthcare is here to stay.
    -----–
    Hey Tony... did you ever READ the Roe v. Wade decision and dissenting opinion? You're going to find precious little in there regarding "women's healthcare",.. in fact, if you had even a half of a soul, it would bring tears to your eyes. The term "women's healthcare" and it's equally insulting counterpart, "matter of privacy", are nothing but a couple of euphamisms to round off the edges of a barbaric process.

    April 26, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  7. P.J.75

    Well half of those terminated infants are female (probably more actually, in the case of "designer abortions"). Who's prottecthing their health? Not really understanding the protection of baby killing as being "progressive". Being against Capital Punishment is progressive, being for the legal termination of life as long as it's still in womb, is not. Using birth control, now that might be progressive (bring on the crazies with their examples of rape, sure that's a really high number of the percent of abortions being applied).

    April 26, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  8. Data Driven

    Excellent. Social conservatives, thump your Bible at home if you wish, but sensible, socially progressive policies will continue to move forward.

    April 26, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  9. repubs, not here to help the middle class, just here to stir the crap

    vote all republican Neanderthals out of office in 2014

    April 26, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  10. rs

    Were not only broke, were 16 trillion in the hole. How will we pay, Mr President? Who cares about that! Taxpayers!
    ____________________________________

    Because preventive medicine (which is what the bulk of what Planned Parenthood provides) is far, far cheaper than the disease, illness and death they prevent from happening in the first place. This organization SAVES tax payer dollars. It is the wasteful GOP fighting its culture wars that waste the dollars.

    April 26, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  11. Romney is Still NOT My Hero

    HA! Take that all you crazies with backwards, archaic views. PPH does more than abortions; they provide contraceptives, education, cancer screenings, etc. I thought this was settled in the 1970s. I'm with our President, is this 2013 or 1913? Can we stop the war on women now and move past this issue?

    April 26, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  12. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Humm,
    Someday Tony, you will be an "Old White Guy". Then you will be living in the "Stone" Age. Then you will realise those "Old White Guys" were right. But it will be too late. Get ready to visit the rocks, uh, Salt Mines. It is going to get brutal. Hope you can handle it.

    April 26, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  13. California

    Democrats, supporters of people like Kermit Gosnell.

    Sebelius, Pelosi have supported people like this in the past.

    April 26, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  14. rs

    So why isn't the people yelling about infringement of 2nd amendment rights because of background checks, clip size, and semi-auto bans up in arms about the "infringement"
    __________________________
    Please be sure to outline the list of clips, clip sizes and semi-automatic weapons available in 1782, I think we could all agree to "grandfather" those in. Meanwhile- explain why a background check in ANY WAY infringes on the 2nd Amendment.

    April 26, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  15. rbockman

    obama and the baby killers, 56,000,000 so far

    April 26, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  16. The Real Tom Paine

    -LiberalsDisgustMe

    God Bless Planned Parenthood???

    Stay classy liberals. Hope you are all proud of what you support.
    *****************
    Why, thank you! We are proud of what we support. Its our right to do so, unless the Cons get their wish and turn this into a theocracy.

    April 26, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  17. Truth

    Planned Parenthood is vital for America. They alone are responsible for 51% of black baby abortions. They are true crime fighters!

    April 26, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  18. Name lynn

    Did President obama really says that or did the media an the news saying that about the ob clinic.

    April 26, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  19. Tony

    In reply to you fair is fair, plan parenthood is way bigger than just abortions, but you will not mention that because like i said you right wingers are a bunch of relics that need to auctioned off. And change your name because there is o fair in you, you just pick out the one piece that you disagree with, and demonize the entire organization.

    April 26, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  20. The Real Tom Paine

    -Ray E. (Georgia)

    Humm,
    Someday Tony, you will be an "Old White Guy". Then you will be living in the "Stone" Age. Then you will realise those "Old White Guys" were right. But it will be too late. Get ready to visit the rocks, uh, Salt Mines. It is going to get brutal. Hope you can handle it.
    ****************
    We have proof positive of an "Old White Guy" in the form of Ray, once again throwing out a comment that is barely connected to the thread of the discussion: told any kids to get off your lawn lately?

    April 26, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  21. This is common sense

    Okay if women want control over their health and want help, fine, but if that should come at the cost of an innocent child who could become the next president....Mr.President we beg of you to protect women rights but also the unborn without a voice. They are precious!! So many are slain at the selfish choice of the mom-to-be.

    April 26, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  22. The Real Tom Paine

    -California

    Democrats, supporters of people like Kermit Gosnell.

    Sebelius, Pelosi have supported people like this in the past.
    **************
    Ah, the Joseph Goebel's strategy of the big lie again. How is Magda and the kids, by the way?

    April 26, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  23. Dick Smegma

    Utterly disgraceful.
    The head prez voted three times to allow newbirns to be allowed to die.
    The Philly clinic was reported to PPH and they did nothing.
    This is the sordid state of our "culture" in America

    April 26, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  24. Fair is Fair

    Truth

    Planned Parenthood is vital for America. They alone are responsible for 51% of black baby abortions. They are true crime fighters!
    --------–
    Hey "Truth"... comments like this do yourself no favors, and in fact lowers you beneath that which you think you might stand against. You certainly don't speak for me and the VAST majority of those who are pro-life. Stick a sock in it.

    April 26, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  25. David

    Wow, I hope you pro baby killers are enjoying your life and glad that your mothers didn't do an abortion because of convenience.

    April 26, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
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