On the campaign trail in the race for the Republican nomination and the right to take on pro-abortion President Barack Obama, former governor Mitt Romney said he would “get rid of” Planned Parenthood, the nation’s biggest abortion business.
Answering a question from CNN affiliate KDSK of St. Louis, Romney listed a series of programs he would cut or eliminate as president in order to reduce the federal deficit.
“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.”
In an interview with CNN later about the comment, Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said he wasn’t referring to getting rid of the organization as a whole — because no president has the power to shut down the group — but he said Romney favors ending all federal funding to the abortion business.
“He singled out some areas of the budget he would eliminate or curtail, all in the name of achieving a balanced budget,” Fehrnstrom said. “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.”
Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President for Planned Parenthood Action Fund told CNN in a statement after Romney’s comments: “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.”
The pro-abortion side stuck back at Romney, with Obama re-election campaign spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter saying, “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. 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, the pro-abortion activist and Planned Parenthood supporter Obama personally hand-picked to become chair of the Democratic National Committee, also responded, “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.”
Romney called for de-funding Planned Parenthood last month.
“I also feel that the government should cut off funding to Planned Parenthood,”said. “Look, the idea that we’re subsidizing an institution that provides abortion, in my view, is wrong. Planned Parenthood oughta stand on its own feet and should not get government subsidy.”
Romney also touted his pro-life credentials, saying, “I am a pro-life individual, I was a pro-life governor, I served as a pro-life governor, I’m a pro-life candidate. I simply do not want to participate in anything that takes the lives of an unborn child.”
Romney has called for de-funding Planned Parenthood previously.
In November, Romney had an opinion column in USA Today in which he advocated numerous ways to balance the federal budget, one of which involves eliminate funding to Planned Parenthood.
Romney proposes repealing Obamacare — which pro-life groups virtually unanimously opposed because of concerns related to taxpayer funding of abortions, rationing issues, and lack of conscience protections for pro-life medical workers. He says that will save $95 billion in 2016.
The fourth item on Romney’s list is one that will delight the pro-life voters he needs to secure the GOP nomination to face Obama: “Eliminate Title X family planning programs benefiting abortion groups like Planned Parenthood.”
Romney previously pledged to de-fund the Planned Parenthood abortion business in October during his speech before the Values Voter Summit.
“Our values must also encompass the life of an unborn child,” Romney told the thousands of pro-life advocates gathered for the Family Research Council event. “There are, of course, strong convictions on both sides of this issue. Yet it speaks well of our country that almost all Americans recognize that abortion is a problem.”
“The law may call it a right, but no one ever called it a good. And in the quiet of conscience, people of both political parties know that more than a million abortions a year can’t be squared with the good heart of America,” Romney said.
The former governor pivoted from a philosophical position to talking about his political views and what he would do if elected president.
“I support the Hyde Amendment, which broadly bars the use of federal funds for abortions,” Romney said, “As president, I’ll end federal funding for abortion advocates like Planned Parenthood. I’ll protect a health care worker’s right to follow their conscience in their work.”
“I will nominate judges who know the difference between personal opinion and law. It is long past time for the Supreme Court to return the issue of abortion back to the states by overturning Roe v. Wade,” he added.