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. debbyv

    Best way to prevent unwanted babies, get rid of little blue pills, feed men salt-peter and give them mandatory vasectomies and let women who want children choose whose frozen sperm they want inserted. Since that is the restrictions they want to put on women then let them have restrictions we have.

    April 26, 2013 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  2. jowl

    Wow the proceeds from abortion was used to help Obama election efforts. That's kind of shocking, but it does explain his strong support of these people. How do you sleep at night Obama with all those screaming babies at your feet.

    April 26, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  3. dd

    Obama will always be there to kill babies. Barbarians don't respect human life and never have. The rest of the world migrated from indiscriminate torture and killing of human beings to the ultimate respect for human life. Uncivilized cultures still murder human life. Until the respect for human life is ultimate, we will have murderers in the political ranks, the general population, and the urban gang neighborhoods. You can't have it part way. You either respect the life of a unique human being (DNA says unique) or you choose to be a uncivilized animal. Obama will kill babies for votes.

    April 26, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  4. Larry in Houston

    Give 'em Hell, Barack !! lol You probably think you're a "one man team" but, you will be able to relax in a few months. You'll be a "lame duck" and my definition for that is : R & R – & let the chefs serve you whatever you want, anytime you want, + kick your feet up everyday, & invite your friends over to play basketball / go bowling & etc.

    April 26, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  5. me


    forced mutilation and sterility isn't really the same thing as inaction... a more practical comparison would be: holding males just as accountable for their role in creating the baby. Which is something I wouldn't mind seeing after all she didn't make the baby alone.

    April 26, 2013 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  6. Veritas Lavinga

    Obama, you foolish, foolish old man. You will be judged for advocating for the deaths of millions of babies, babies that may have had the cure for cancer, faster than light travel, quantum computing, every illness in the book, the future Presidents of these United States, and those who are just trying to be good.

    April 26, 2013 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  7. MaryM

    If you don't want an abortion, don't have one. It is None of your business. Stay out of other Americans lives and stop telling American women what you want. It is between a women and her doctor. NOT you

    April 26, 2013 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  8. JohnW

    A lot of my favorite lies from the right on this board today. I think calling themselves "pro-life" is my very favorite. They call themselves that because "pro" makes them sound good, and "pro-life" gives the sense that the people they're against are "pro-death" or "anti-life" when that is in fact not even remotely true. I always use the correct term "anti-choice" instead, since the people they're against are actually "pro-choice." Nobody is "pro-abortion."
    Another favorite is the baby killer line. Again, not even remotely true. Not that truth is something they're all that interested in anyway.

    April 26, 2013 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  9. Donna

    "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.

    If this was the case then what was the harm in voting FOR it? Come on....you have to concoct better lies than that to cover for your Messiah!

    April 26, 2013 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  10. JustAnotherComment

    Dr. Kermit Gosnell.....Planned Parenthood's hero. Very sad, really.

    April 26, 2013 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  11. jc

    First,your religion has nothing to do with the legality of anything. Second,you guys are throwing judgment around as if youve been promoted to god. I would hope to see more churches actually feeding thier enemies,loving their nieghbors. Sad that we see so many churches promoting anti this ,anti that,members who spend a fortune fighting gay marriage and abortion ,how do you put fighting legal issues out there while we still have children already here who are starving ?
    So there it is,free will,to focus on the the abortion issue when the deaths cuased by abortion to "children" is just a fraction of how many starve every year on this rock,but its not my place to judge you or call you murderes.

    April 26, 2013 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  12. Ferathka

    Yeah god forbid we give women options. Men only seem to want to tell women what to do. Go Obama...stand up to the religious kooks of this country!!

    April 26, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  13. Tiffany

    Go Obama! How dare all the closed-minded women haters take my rights away. Ill keep fighting for you Mr.President!

    April 26, 2013 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  14. Wes

    The president is pathetic.

    April 26, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  15. MesaMax

    Our president advocating the elimination of human beings that are inconvenient through abortion. Didn't Hitler do the same thing with the Jews through the concentration camps? History repeats itself when people do not learn from it.

    April 26, 2013 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  16. Bill in Alabama

    JMO, but since we're talking about stopping a beating heart, the criteria should be stringent. This isn't a trivial decision – for anyone involved.

    April 26, 2013 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  17. crazyvermont

    History will show Obama is on the wrong side of history; not only on this issue, but most others as well

    April 26, 2013 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  18. DH

    You anti abortion people really need to give it up.
    All abortions should be safe, legal and rare, which they are and that will continue. No one wants to have an abortion, but the choice is the womens's or if married her and her hubby. God has given each person the freedom over their own body. No human can take that away.

    April 26, 2013 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  19. Loyalright

    So the murderer wants to keep murdering. Sounds liberal enough.

    April 26, 2013 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  20. Loyalright

    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 .
    Are you talking about the baby or the mother when you ask whose body is it? If you could ask that baby one question, what would it be? Sleep on that if you can.

    April 26, 2013 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  21. Andrew C

    "the president does not and cannot take a position on an ongoing trial" Okay, but didn't Obama openly say that he hoped the supreme court would rule in favor of gay marriage recently? Seems like the White House picks and chooses when it wants to follow basic etiquette.

    April 27, 2013 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  22. Iamnotfooled

    dd-–it's been legal since1973. So President Obama has not been the only President to respect the law.

    April 27, 2013 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  23. Iamnotfooled

    jowl--did you know that Romney's Bain Capital owned an abortion clinic?

    April 27, 2013 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  24. Jacob

    Obama wants control to save the kids but would love to expand the time in which a women can get an abortion. Mr. Obama is 6 weeks not enough time to figure out if you want the kid. Well I guess I answered my own question the typical Obama supporter should not be trusted with major responsibilities.

    April 27, 2013 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  25. Nanette Bulebosh

    Thank God we have a president who actually cares about women and respects their desire for autonomy about their health,their families, and their futures. One out of every three women has an abortion sometimes in her life and, of these, more than half already have children. Choosing to devote one's limited resources and time to the care of one's existing children is the rational choice. It's also the more compassionate choice.

    I'm so proud of our president for appearing at this event. Planned Parenthood has been standing for women and families, sometimes when no one else is available, for nearly a century. We're lucky to have someone in the White House who stands with them.

    Even those who claim to be pro-life in this discussion benefit from the existence of Planned Parenthood, although they do not seem to appreciate this. Most of these people, in many experience, are pro-life in name only. If they truly cared about children, there are so many more useful things they could be doing than harassing women and the people trying to help them.

    April 27, 2013 04:00 am at 4:00 am |
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