Obama: 'Planned Parenthood is not going anywhere'
April 26th, 2013
12:08 PM ET
12 months 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. California

    Hyde amendment is ignored by the federal government. PP providing abortions is a clear violation of the law.

    April 26, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  2. California

    Obama: 'Planned Parenthood is not going anywhere'

    In other words goverment funded abortions will continue.

    April 26, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  3. Boo

    If you don't want an abortion...DON'T HAVE ONE...but it is noone else's right to tell anyone else what they can or cannot do with their body.

    April 26, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "Finally someone admits Planned Parenthood provides Abortions."

    Nobody ever said they didn't. It's approximately 3% of their services and is accomplished with budgeting held completely separate from the rest of the budget that uses federal funding. Grow up and info up.

    April 26, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  5. Malory Archer

    California

    Obama: 'Planned Parenthood is not going anywhere'

    In other words goverment funded abortions will continue.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Yeah, except the government doesn't fund abortions, and they haven't in many years, and no matter how many times you repeat that lie it will never be true.

    April 26, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  6. Ann Heaney

    Abortion should be legal in order to avoid back alley abortion. But there needs to be a law that all women who want abortion to have counseling about the alternatives There should also be ultra sounds of a women's pregnancy and a waiting period. Life starts at conception. How can anyone argue with that. I am also in a stage of life. Consider my message.

    April 26, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  7. Peace

    @ David
    Can you tell us how many kids each woman should have? Any idea? 20, 30 or 50?

    April 26, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  8. lottie

    the lie continues that the government is funding abortions. Good for you Mr. President. Planned parenthood does a service to many women. The nut jobs will continue to try and run peoples lives. No one is forcing anyone to seek an abortion. That's a woman's personal business .The same men that seem so religious and anti abortion are the one that have screwed everything in site. Just look at our congressmen and say that ain't so.

    April 26, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  9. scarf

    I want to personally thank all NRA members for their indirect support of a woman's right to choose. By opposing a gunowner's registry on the grounds that it violates a person's right to privacy, the NRA supports the Supreme Court's decision of Roe v. Wade, which was based on a woman's right to privacy. Thanks, NRA members!

    April 26, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  10. Ann Heaney

    A woman does not need an abortion if she takes the responsible path – Plan the number of pregnancies and use birth control.

    April 26, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  11. vbscript2

    "Abortion should be legal in order to avoid back alley abortion"

    That's a nonsense argument. Arguing that we should make it easier for women to kill their babies so that they don't hurt themselves in the process is equivalent to arguing that we should make it easier (and legal) for anyone else to commit murder so that they don't get hurt in the struggle. Maybe when someone wants to kill someone else, they should be able to go to a government-funded agency to pick up a gun in order to make the murder easier and have less risk of injury to the murderer?

    April 26, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  12. Al-NY,NY

    Ann Heaney

    Abortion should be legal in order to avoid back alley abortion. But there needs to be a law that all women who want abortion to have counseling about the alternatives There should also be ultra sounds of a women's pregnancy and a waiting period. Life starts at conception. How can anyone argue with that. I am also in a stage of life. Consider my message.
    --------------–

    YOUR version of choice sounds like "we're gonna do everything we can to disrupt, prevent, and downright outlaw your legal right." You know why? Because you're belief that life begins at conception. Fortunately that's not the prevalant thought so keep your beliefs and morals to yourself.

    April 26, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  13. Ryan

    Mr. Obama and everyone else who supports the murder of children such as what Gosnell has done (Obama voted against ending partial-birth abortions) will have to answer to God on judgement day for actively promoting the murder of the most helpless in our society. In fact the pro-murder camp even admits that the child is completely helpless and entirely dependent upon the mother and yet no one cares. Chop it up, suck it out, and throw it in the trash. And that's what God will do to Mr. Obama and the rest of you heartless murderers. Repent, there is still hope for forgiveness as long as you still have breath in you.

    April 26, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    "Obama voted against ending partial-birth abortions"

    That's because existing law already covered it and the law that had been proposed was just showboating and symbolism.

    April 26, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  15. Monomachos

    "Notably absent from his remarks was mention of the high-profile murder trial underway of Kermit Barron Gosnell." It is too convenient to ignore the horrific; silence suggests consent. What does the calendar say when infanticide – the killing of babies after they have been removed from the womb – is being committed in this country?

    April 26, 2013 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  16. Michigan patriot

    Ryan: You couldn't have said it better. I agree with you completely Killing innocent babies that didn't ask to come to this world, is murder and Obama and all his people will have to answer to God for this crime.

    April 26, 2013 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  17. MesaMax

    The first pro-infanticide president. Doesn't that make you all feel so proud??

    April 26, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  18. MesaMax

    The first pro-choice president. Let's remember that the mother does the choosing. The baby does the dying. Sound fair to you???

    April 26, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "they should be able to go to a government-funded agency to pick up a gun in order to make the murder easier "

    Why bother when they can waltz into a gun show with cash and grab one without a background check?

    April 26, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  20. California

    Pro-Life or
    Pro-Death

    It's your choice.

    April 26, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  21. Ann Heaney

    Adolf Hitler made it legal to murder both Jews and others. It was legal, but that does not make it right. The government is not infallible. As far as keeping my thoughts to myself I want as many people as possible to allow the child to be born and put he/she into adoption care.

    April 26, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  22. The Real Tom Paine

    -California

    Pro-Life or
    Pro-Death

    It's your choice.
    *************
    Do you choose to raise your taxes to pay for the expanded social services necessary, or do you chose to condemn them to a life of poverty and misery? If you insist on bringing kids into this world, then assume repsonsibility for the policy choices you choose to support.

    April 26, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  23. Michael Wallace

    "California," why do you refuse to utilize valid reasoning to support your pro big government diatribes? More importantly, if your convictions toward creating a totalitarian state are so strong, why are you afraid of attaching your real name to your comments?

    April 26, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  24. The Real Tom Paine

    -Ryan

    Mr. Obama and everyone else who supports the murder of children such as what Gosnell has done (Obama voted against ending partial-birth abortions) will have to answer to God on judgement day for actively promoting the murder of the most helpless in our society. In fact the pro-murder camp even admits that the child is completely helpless and entirely dependent upon the mother and yet no one cares. Chop it up, suck it out, and throw it in the trash. And that's what God will do to Mr. Obama and the rest of you heartless murderers. Repent, there is still hope for forgiveness as long as you still have breath in you.
    ***************************
    Why should that bother any conservative? Their policies, once an unwanted child leaves the womb, virtually ensure they will endure a life of neglect, but, hey, at least the Righties get to spend their miniscule paychecks on whatever mind-numbing spectacle that's on pay-per-view.

    April 26, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  25. Cathy CA

    You rock Obama!

    April 26, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
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