Obama: 'Planned Parenthood is not going anywhere'
April 26th, 2013
12:08 PM ET
7 years 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. CNN moderates in behalf of GOP

    Is her body , is her pregnacy , is her problem ... Not yours . YOU HAVE YOUR OWN KIDS and maybe you are overpopulating the city , and nobody can control how many kids you want to have . SO WHAT RIGHT DO YOU HAVE TO TRY TO CONTROL other peoples bodies .

    April 26, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  2. California

    Murder or not, the choice is yours.

    April 26, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  3. Fair is Fair


    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.
    No one is sayig PP does not provide valuable services. In fact, IF they would get out of the abortion business (because to them, abortion is a BUSINESS), I would actually send them monetary donations. BUT they are responsible for providing over 300,000 abortions a year, and to me, that FAR outweighs any of the good work they do. OK, Tony?

    April 26, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  4. Malory Archer


    God Bless Planned Parenthood???

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


    While I can't speak for the rest of my liberal brethern, yes, I am proud of what I support because as rs said so eloquently above:

    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 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  5. Malory Archer

    This is common sense

    Mr.President we beg of you to protect women rights but also the unborn without a voice. They are precious!!


    Yet once they're born they're on their own!

    April 26, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  6. California

    The baby haters here are disgusting people.

    April 26, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  7. CNN and Tea Party sleeping together ...

    We need to go back to the basic questions ... Whos body it is ??? , whos sperm and egg were use for the conception ??? , whos is pregnant ??? ... You answer those questions and the logic is obvious .

    April 26, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  8. Mike Wallace

    "God Bless Planned Parenthood???

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

    I, myself, am very proud to stand against big-government right wing socialists like yourself.

    April 26, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  9. The Real Tom Paine


    The baby haters here are disgusting people.
    Oh come on: Republicans are not ALL disgusting. The majority just don't give a flying fig about the baby once he/she has been born.

    April 26, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  10. Wake up People!

    I truly don't know how any educated person could even think of voting republican. They are as allergic to facts as vampires are to garlic. They are the kings and queens of taking other peoples words and twisting them to fit their rabid agenda. Take California for instance, because liberals support a womans' right to choose, we are baby haters. When President Obama stated you didn't build that by yourself, you had help, all we kept hearing was you didn't build that. When SOS Clinton asked what difference did it make as to the reasoning of Benghazi, they turned that into, what difference does it make that Ambassador Stephens died. It's like they are constantly looking for a gotcha moment. And their minions eat the lies up.

    Pretty pathetic if you ask me.

    April 26, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  11. MaryM

    Ha , to all you extreme republicans wing nuts. If you think your pathetic attempts to ban/restrict abortion will stop abortions, you are wrong. All you are doing is making the Majority of American women mad because you want to control what they do with their bodies, whether these women want an abortion or not. These same Majority of American women Vote and believe me they Will remember your attemps to control their bodies

    April 26, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  12. The Real Tom Paine


    Murder or not, the choice is yours.
    I'll remember that the next time I see an ad for a gun show.

    April 26, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  13. Donna

    How ironic Obama, Democrats and liberals want thousands and thousands of law restricting law abiding citizens 2nd amendment rights, yet they hav eissues with similar restrictions on the murdering of babies. They claim they want all those gun laws to save lives, yet in the next breath demand unrestricted murder of tens of MILLIONS of innocent babies over the decades. Sorry, the liberal war on babies must end.

    April 26, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  14. Larry L


    The baby haters here are disgusting people.
    No reasonable dialogue can occur with people who use childish terms like "baby haters". If abortions are done IAW the law no "baby" exists. A fetus is not a baby – regardless of how anti-science radicals revise the definitions. A "baby" could survive and grow if removed from the womb. A zygote or early fetus would never survive. The presence or absence of a heartbeat is not pertinent to the discussion. Very primitive developing organisms have a circulatory system – it's a necessary part of the transition towards full development. It does not define a "baby".

    Abortions are disgusting and normally result from poor planning, failed contraceptive systems, a medical threat to the mother, or a pregnancy that was not the choice of the mother. Whatever the reason, it's a decision for a woman to privately make about her body – hopefully after careful consideration and consultation with her medical (and possibly spiritual) support system. Foolish radicals calling people "baby haters" and politicians have no role in that private decision.

    April 26, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  15. Tony

    Welfare IS a word that you right wingers detest so are you willing to put up your tax dollars to feed, clothe, house, and educate these babies that you want to be born. the idea of big government is not your thing so i am at a lost here can you explain?

    April 26, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  16. NameFrank Deery

    Obama is The Worst President in modern times-raised by 70's hippies, in "every port"
    a man, including Islam, as the "heat" of Now-
    the Obama ignored Syria, surfaces to really
    show how a prancing Democrat, for funds, not solutions, deals with-red lines!

    He'll spin it?

    April 26, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  17. rs

    No one is sayig PP does not provide valuable services. In fact, IF they would get out of the abortion business (because to them, abortion is a BUSINESS),
    Yes, a service and a business that the Supreme Court said should be safe and legal in the United States for all women- not just those lucky enough to live in states not run by the GOP.

    April 26, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "Yes, a service and a business that the Supreme Court said should be safe and legal in the United States for all women- not just those lucky enough to live in states not run by the GOP."

    Yes, and you comment highlights yet another part of this: these red states are bastions of racism and they believe that most abortions are had by poor minorities...so they hope that by killing the ability to provide them in their states, they will force the minorities to leave to move to blue states.

    April 26, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  19. California

    Demcoraats = Baby haters

    April 26, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  20. Tea Party Thomas

    Planned Parenthood is just another free social program.

    Tell congress to stop spending money we don't have. If congress doesn't fund it the program will go away.

    April 26, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  21. The Real Tom Paine

    Yes, abortion is a business, just like the rest of healthcare. So is adoption: I don't hear the Right screaming that adoption and foster care is a form of human trafficking, but its a legal transaction that involves human beings. Should we outlaw adoption? The suggestion is silly, but its designed to drive home a point. We reduce human beings to commodities just as readily as anything else.Our healthcare is no different: if a procedure exists that will save the life of the mother ( who no one disputes is a viable human) do we question it? Apparently the life of that mother means nothing as long as she is pregnant. As the father of a son who has difficulties ( ADHD, OCD, Tourette's), I can tell you that he faces problems most of you cannot imagine. Do I regret that he is my son? Never. Is it my business to tell others what to do? Nope, its not. For people who scream about government interference in private lives, ask yourself if you want a Congressman forcing you or your wife to have a child so they can feel righteous.

    April 26, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  22. AdriVA

    Why would the Republicans want to FORCE motherhood on people? When they cannot afford to properly care for the child, where do they turn? Our good ol' government, which costs everyone MORE MONEY. And you KNOW the Repugs are the FIRST people to complain! All they want to do is TAKE from the tax payers, the working class, the poor, while they sit in Capitol Hill on their fat assed $100K a year salaries...that don't DARE get touched! Planned Parenthood should remain open in ALL states, not only to provide abortions, but to educate, protect our children and low income families!!

    April 26, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  23. California

    AdriVA – Finally someone admits Planned Parenthood provides Abortions.

    April 26, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  24. Marie MD

    Planned parenthood provides women (those lesser beings according to the repugs) with much needed health care. Yearly mammograms, pap smear test and just regular checkups. The abortion portion is minimal.
    What women need so that these jack behinds stop fighting women and their reproductive righs is for the pill to be as available as the little blue pill for men. Allyiu see on TV are commercials for Viagra and cialis and now some testosterone deodorant looking thing to use. How many contraceptive commercials or morning after pills are there? Last count NONE!
    If men got pregnant abortion would cease toexist because more opportunities NOT to get pregnant would be available for
    Forget the Feds. The states are slowly but surely taking away women's rights quietly passing laws that nobody knows about until it's too late.

    April 26, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  25. Fair is Fair

    The Real Tom Paine

    Yes, abortion is a business, just like the rest of healthcare.
    But Tom... the rest of healthcare is dedicated to the preservation and improvement of life, not the destruction of it.

    April 26, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
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