March 13th, 2012
11:57 PM ET
11 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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Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Planned Parenthood
soundoff (281 Responses)
  1. Observer

    On my way to work this morning, I saw a beautiful poster in my neighbour's lawn. It read "A mother and 2 daughters of voting age lives here, we shall vote to protect our right to choose". I called her up later and she told me that it only cost her $30 to make. Everyone driving by sees it. Her $30 will pay dividends in Nov. I ordered one for my own lawn this as soon as I put down the phone. Think of the cascading effect. Be afraid Republicans, be afraid.

    March 14, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  2. Just Say No to Flipper

    Rmoney is opposing PP because (a) he hates women, along with many other men in the GOBP, (b) he is pandering to extreme rightwing social conservatives, or (c) he is afraid a corporate "person" might be aborted.

    March 14, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  3. edzepp

    Sorry...I meant >Capable< least I admit my mistakes, Mitt.

    March 14, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  4. Pat

    Sometimes abortion and contraception are health related. I'll tell you what. How about no insurance coverage for vasectomies, no prescription coverage for Viagra, and a heavy monetary fine for every sperm you waste in private. See how you like having your privacy monitored by others. Do you even have a woman?

    March 14, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  5. Fair is Fair

    @ Tom Paine –

    MS and AL seem fairly meaningless to me at this point. Romney WILL be the niminee, and AL and MS will vote for him in the general.

    March 14, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  6. Terry

    And InSanetorum wants pregnancies due to rape and incest to be welcomed as life.!! These 2 loons can not be elected to anything or we are back to square 1 on womens rights. I hope every woman voter will remember this when the time comes to decide where we as a people and a country are heading.

    March 14, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    @ blindersoff (pg. 2): Excellent post.

    What Romney means vis-a-vis Planned Parenthood all depends on who is listening. The master of the flip-flop will say whatever he needs to say, after all he's trying to win the nomination here.

    March 14, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  8. Scott

    It's most unfortunate the GOP does not realize the valuable role served by the National Endowment for the Humanities and National Endowment for the Arts in a civilized, cultural society. The Humanities and the Arts affect every one of us, every day of our lives in far more ways than the GOP is capable of acknowledging r understanding. A civilization without arts and humanities is a dead, soulless society.

    March 14, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. Thomas

    Just more pandering to the so called Christian right wingers. He use to support and defend a woman's right to choose and even attended events to fund raise money for Planned Parenthood–even donated himself. What a pandering fake!

    March 14, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  10. NameDebbie Kelly

    Americans' need to put Men on their own Health plan; then everybody tell the Men; "O.K. we are not paying for any more prostate care,or..............Mens' programs". Then maybe everyone could work on negociateing from a new vantage point. Just think no more silly bickering, just getting on with ; "REAL"; business. :

    March 14, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  11. tumbleweed

    Truth, I know you were born in Mexico and aren't even a US citizen. You come on this board like you are an American, spewing all this garbage and you aren't even an American. I know this even though I can't prove it. Even if you show me a birth certificate, and have your fake mom swears to me you are actually American, I won't believe it, you're an illegal. Adios, my Mexican friend.

    March 14, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  12. Wvazoe

    Ladies, vote straight Democratic ticket where ever you are!!!

    March 14, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  13. Lisa P


    We have spent our kids and grandkids tax income. So why stop there. Lets go for the next generation.
    Women are running around claiming there is a War on them and the need their abortion, contraception, child care, etc to be paid for by taxpayers. So this just prove these women care more about themselves than their own children – that is the ones they did not abort.
    Sorry kids and grandkids but you have to pay for my abortion, my contraception and any other free stuff I want.
    March 14, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
    You do know that every $1 spent for contraception saves $3 in pregnancy and neonatal care costs, right? And that a large family is one of the risk factors for child abuse? Maybe your kids and grandkids will thank you for giving them a good start in life by not adding a bunch of unwanted, unloved and unsupportable brothers and sisters to the family. Everyone loses when a woman is forced to carry a child she didn't plan for. Only a clueless multi-millionaire wouldn't know that.

    March 14, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  14. notahistorianbut

    Planned Parenthood has done more to improve women's lives then any of the pols in place now. I can't make it fit that any woman would support the republican party based on their neanderthal beliefs that women don't need health care. When they attack, or threaten to 'get rid of' an organization providing annual screenings and health care options to women (and men) in depressed (and not-so-depressed) areas of this country to further their personal ideological/religious preferences, we're in trouble. For those posting that if a woman wants an abortion = she should pay for it – NEWS FLASH: SHE DOES. Not a single penny of the federal $$ goes to providing abortion services. The Susan G. Komen fiasco may be something from long, long ago for some – but it really wasn't. The 2 front runners from the GOP appear to be pushing for women to return to the late 1800; early 1900 time warp. If the country elects a republican, what else can be expected in how government treats the citizens of this county.

    March 14, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  15. Budaweep

    Eliminating funding for the Arts, Humanities? This isn't just a war on women. This is a war on culture.

    March 14, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  16. Annie, Atlanta

    @Steve in Texas, I couldn't agree with you more. Now that state legislatures run by Republicans are trying to take away voting rights for people who lean Democratic, I'm thinking it's just a matter of time before they try to take away the right to vote for women, too. Good grief, we live in scary times. The right is getting crazier, and it's becoming the accepted norm. God help us.

    March 14, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  17. kim

    Wow, and I didn't think he could get any worse. Shut down the National Endowment for the Arts? Sure, destroy anything that smacks of culture, innovation, creativity, medical neccessity, personal mobility, or anything that isn't directly related to him or his buddies making more money. No wonder he is viewed as a soul-less, empty suit.

    March 14, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  18. Ezra

    Romney hasn't a clue what he is even saying. He just parrots Rush like the rest of the extreme right if that is who he is talking to. He'd sell his grandma for a vote.

    March 14, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  19. DBA

    Seriously. You're just wasting your time trying to explain that "when Romney says 'get rid' of planned parenthood he means..."

    Who cares what he 'means', because he'll just say the complete opposite tomorrow!

    Trying to get Romney to commit to anything he says is as hopeless as trying to nail Jello to a wall.

    March 14, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  20. Elliot

    Horay for Mit Romeny. He said it all. Why should women think they deserve any rights? After all they comprise fifty percent of the human population and the mothers of all human beings. They have enough and don't deserve any more!!! Thank you Mitt Romney for being so upfront and honest in what you intend to do if you, heaven forbid, become our next president

    March 14, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  21. whocares

    Next he is going to want to sterilize any unwed mother. Why do the republicans ever bother to have someone run if this lot is the best they can come up with?

    March 14, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  22. Lizzie

    What's all the hubbub about, Obama care covers ALL the things PP does, abortions, birth control, and it's FREE.

    March 14, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  23. diridi

    next morning this dude says, I did not say that.....flip-flop, flip-flop...

    March 14, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  24. No Suprise

    He just keeps saying stuff that will be prominently featured in an Obama commercial. The will take his words and superimpose them over a grainy black and white photo of some downtrodden looking woman with dreary music playing in the background. It only took one quote about supporting Bush 96% of the time to sink McCain and Romney has given team Obama a half dozen gems.

    March 14, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  25. Thomas

    Mitt Romney reiterated his pledge to defund Planned Parenthood .

    Whats next drug and alcohol rehab education. VA hospitals , mental health ?

    Most of us will never live in a world of privilege such as Mitt Romney.

    March 14, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
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