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

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

    Another example of the double standard run by the gop. They want abortions stop but they have no problem removing funding from organizations that are best suited to education that can prevent unwanted and unplanned pregnancies. They want to take sex education out of the classroom and home to replace with abstinence only training. If you want to see the effectiveness of abstinence only, refer to the Bristol-Palin-Circus for how badly it fails.

    Let's not forget that in all of this they wish to take resources away from women but nothing about teach men/boys any discipline or the consequences of actions. If you want to have choices and freedom, don't vote gop.

    March 14, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. Miss M

    Sure, lets close PP for the underpriviledged, just as soon as we can make people stop having unprotected sex, make those who decide they do not want kids stop having sex, stop rapists from doing there thing, stop the young and experimenting from having sex, and stop a woman;s body from having any genital problems.
    When america start to have a population explosion due to many uninsured low income families not being able to afford healthcare. Also, the poor who cannot afford a abortion who either made a mistake or who were raped and now are unprepared for financially taking care of their off spring, allowing welfare costs to sky rocket! Maybe then he will see the true error of this very selfish ways.

    March 14, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  3. Ken in MD

    And the war on women continues. 6% of Planned Parenthood's funding goes towards abortion counseling. 6%. Most of their activities are geared towards women's health issues, like mamograms, pap smears, etc.

    Why do ANY women support the Republican party???

    March 14, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  4. Fair is Fair

    @ Tom Paine –

    No apology necessary... but thanks.

    March 14, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  5. Mack

    Yup, he's a moron. No good GOP candidates this year.

    March 14, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  6. David McFarland

    Another quote from the GOP frontrunner that proves he is totally unsuitable and clueless on the job of the president. He doesn't even realize that most of the debt is actually borrowed from the US government.

    March 14, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  7. United We Stand, Divided We Fall

    If Mitt were president, he'd work towards cutting off funds for planned parenthood for one! Secondly, he'd also repeal healthcare and financial reforms, cut medicaid and medicare and all programs related to women's health! And O' yes he'd even privatize social security. Think that's bad? Well, if his counterpart Rick Santurum was president he'd do all of the above but that's not all! See, if Santurum was president he would repeal the 1865 emancipation proclamation for a start and the 1964 civil rights legislation. He'd bring back Jim Crow and segregate the American South once more! And as a final push, he'd even start a new slave trade or a back to Africa movement! Yea, these Republicans are sure scary! But thank God for Obama/Biden 2012!

    March 14, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  8. Lillian

    This guy is crazy and people wan to put him in office.... You get what you ask for.. The man is a flip flop.. I know a lot of you may not like Obama, but he is clearly the best shot we have in gettting this country back together. If we let the Repub. in ... you can really kiss the american dream and education goodbye for the middle and poor working class.... Again.. the choice is yours and you get what you ask for.

    March 14, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  9. Steve in texas

    Scary times. I'd hate to be a woman in 2012.

    March 14, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  10. A H P III

    But once in office will Romney fund government-mandated burkas to hide the shame of being a female?

    March 14, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  11. The Real Tom Paine

    Fair , you're welcome. I crossed a line I swore I never would. What's your take on last night in MS and AL?

    March 14, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  12. Dee G.

    Wow! And yet.......there are still women following this guy around and willing to vote the ignorant SB into office!

    March 14, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    Susan wrote:

    How much are you willing to borrow from your local bank so you can donate money for other people to get an art education, ride AmTrak, ...... Nowhere does he say these programs aren't important or valuable. He does, however, say these programs – and many others – do not warrant borrowing money from China so we can fund something locally. People, you have to look beyond what you want personally. We as a country simply must quit spending more that we can possibly make, let alone repay. If you spend more than you make, you fail. To be responsible and succeed, you have to make tough choices of where the belt needs to be tightened.
    – So why on earth did the Bush Republicans upset the balanced budget apple cart with their "temporary tax cuts" to stimulate an economy that didn't need stimulating?
    – If we cannot afford paying for someone's art *education* how on earth can we afford tax cuts for the weatlhy which they use to pay for their overseas *vacation*?

    That conservative hypocrisy is what happens when you repeat what you have heard or make stuff up as you go along, instead of speaking from the heart and expressing true convictions.

    March 14, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  14. dreamer96

    I was hoping Mitt Romney was talking about the Personhood pledge...he never signed on to that the only GOP candidate that did not....

    Well the GOP will never win nationally now...35 million Catholic women that use some form of birth control are going to vote for Obama and a choice...

    The Catholic men that think all women are second class citizen's, just the property of the men, and church will vote GOP....

    But women out number men in this country, and the 99% out number the 1%, and the vast majority of Americans out number the religious extremest in America...

    March 14, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  15. Sniffit

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

    "...I hate hoohoos."

    I knew it!!!!

    March 14, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  16. A H P III

    m "If you want to see the effectiveness of abstinence only, refer to the Bristol-Palin-Circus for how badly it fails. "

    Or look at the epidemic of aids and overpopulation in Africa for a great example of abstinence only training.

    March 14, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  17. ReallY!!?

    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 |
  18. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    I'll use your buddy Rudy's line here – "When you got nothing besides to attack my character, I've won the arguement. I accept your surrender."
    You have learned your lessons well, my Padawan. Your basic training is nearly completed. You begin to study and prepare for the trials. [ hey, I normally charge for this stuff, you know ]

    March 14, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  19. Steph

    Ohh ok, I get it now. 2 parent middle/upperclass household.. just living the American dream, blind to every issue that has never personally touched your life.

    March 14, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  20. clarke

    Well GOP why not just get rid of women from the face of the earth and all your problems will be solved. Most men would agree, I am sure. So much for the land of free for women. It is still a man's world, no matter what.

    March 14, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  21. Susan

    @Ken in MD

    We are proud women who support the Republican party because we can see beyond misinterpreted, misunderstood and generic statements about planned parenthood. We see that this is not an issue of belief, but of funding. We don't want our money (and I'll define "our" as "our country's taxpayers") being spent on things like planned parenthood – be it screenings, prevention or abortion. We see this as not a federal issue. We see PP as only a minuscule item on our future president's agenda and are composed enough so as not to get all in a huff over the wording of "get rid of it". We're smart enough to understand it's intended context. We're smart enough to realize that this program, along with many others, is not in this country's best interest to continue borrowing money from China to subsidize. We are smart enough to educate our own children on prevention and have the foresight to protect them and their children from debts greater than with those we are currently burdened with.

    March 14, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  22. WachetAuf

    People lose their ability to reason in a crowd, whether it is a poltical rally or a church. Reasoned conversation is lost. The speaker must "move" his audience. They cannot be "moved" except with an appeal to the most primitive emotions. It has always been true. It is no less true today in this year 2012. It will always be true. The only options availabe to any person of reason can best be summed up this way: "pick your poison".

    March 14, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  23. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Rudy NYC - how on earth can we afford tax cuts for the weatlhy

    Why do you believe that eveyrbody's earnings are the government's FIRST with the person that earned it, SECOND in line to the money? Where does the taking end?

    And my question is how can we afford that nearly 50% of the people in this country pay NO federal income taxes??? The percentage that pay NOTHING has been steadily growing while more and more gets taken from fewer and fewer to make up for it. Just how long do you think this can continue? Will 5% ultimately pay everything while 95% get off paying nothing? That is where we are headed with Obama and the Democrats. Yet ANOTHER totally unsustainable leftist financial disaster.

    March 14, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  24. WachetAuf

    Someone asked "why do any women support the republican party?"

    Because they do what they are told.

    March 14, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  25. jim

    I'm an open minded, registered Independent voter, in part because the GOP and the DEMOS have retooled their modus operandi to focus more on their own aggrandizement, as opposed to serving the American people. To quote Lord Acton, "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely."

    Romney, is a case in point. He appears so personally bent on being POTUS, that he is willing to swap out his principles for political expediency, with his integrity as a major casualty. Should he make it to the General Election in the Fall, I will hold him to his right-wing rhetoric. He may attempt to tack more to the center, but he can't have it both ways (Voters wouldn't know which "version" of Romney is on the ballot).

    March 14, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
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