Richards: Romney More Anti-Planned Parenthood Than McCain

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 9, 2012   |   6:37PM   |   Washington, DC

Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s biggest abortion business, says Mitt Romney is even more anti-Planned Parenthood than John McCain.

The liberal blog Talking Points memo included some excerpts from her speech to Netroots Nation, a gathering of liberal and pro-abortion bloggers:

“In the next five months, the offensive you should go on is Mitt Romney’s own statements about what he would do to women’s health care if he was elected president,” Richards told a small group of progressive bloggers and activists at Netroots Nation. “There’s just no way to overstate how little people know what’s going on.”

Richards said that, compared to Mitt Romney, John McCain is a “mainstream moderate” on women’s issues. To have the Republican presidential nominee go on record saying “we’re going to get rid of Planned Parenthood … is just so far off the reservation,” she said.

Richards outlined the group’s plans leading up to the November election, which include an ad running in Florida, Iowa and Virginia. The ad, part of a $1.4 million buy, calls Romney “just wrong for women.” Planned Parenthood also endorsed President Obama to coincide with the release of the ad.

Richards on Friday defined the issue of birth control as an economic and voting right, not a social issue.

“The only people who think birth control is a social issue are folks who have never taken it, or never had to pay for it,” Richards said.

The ad buy targets Romney’s previous comments saying he would “get rid” of federal taxpayer funding for the abortion business and Planned Parenthood indicated the ad buy would target places like West Palm Beach, Florida; Des Moines, Iowa; and voters in northern Virginia.

“When Mitt Romney says ‘Planned Parenthood — we’re gonna get rid of that,’ Romney is saying he’ll deny women the birth control and cancer screenings they depend on,” the ad’s narrator says. “When Romney says, ‘Do I believe the Supreme Court should overturn Roe v. Wade? Yes,’ he’s saying he’ll deny women the right to make their own medical decisions. And when his campaign can’t say whether he’d support equal pay protections … Romney’s putting your paycheck at risk.”

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.”

Romney called for de-funding Planned Parenthood earlier this year.

“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 columnin 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.