Entries in Planned Parenthood (19)


Planned Parenthood TV Ad Hits Senate Minority Leader

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- Planned Parenthood is airing a new TV ad attacking Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The Kentucky Republican joined a brief with 10 other GOP lawmakers this week supporting the craft chain Hobby Lobby in its lawsuit seeking to avoid mandatory health coverage of birth control pills in its employee health plans.  Utah GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch led the group of senators in their effort, The Washington Times reported.

Planned Parenthood, displeased with that development, Friday unveiled this TV ad running on network affiliates in the Lexington and Louisville markets:

The group did not say how much it is spending to air the ad. It announced new online ads targeting the other Republican lawmakers on the brief: Sen. Dan Coats (IN), Sen. Thad Cochran (MS),  Sen. Pat Roberts (KS), Rep. Lamar Smith (TX) and Rep. Frank Wolf (VA).

McConnell is facing reelection in 2014, and the GOP super PAC American Crossroads has already aired a TV ad attacking one of his would-be challengers, Ashley Judd.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Planned Parenthood President: Women’s Issues Are Economic Issues

ABC News(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- Women voters may be more concerned with putting gas in the car and having enough money for groceries than they are with reproductive rights and women’s health care.  But Planned Parenthood’s president, Cecile Richards, said women worried about their pocketbooks should be paying attention to what Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has planned.

“Issues of access to health care, affordable health care … Planned Parenthood -- that is an economic issue for women,” Richards said on the ABC News/Yahoo News DNC Live Show Wednesday.

Access to basic women’s health care, getting insurance for preventative care for women, she said, “those are bread-and-butter pocketbook issues,” and things that, “Mitt Romney says he’s going to get rid of on day one.”

Democrats may not be making the strong connection between women’s issues and the economy, though Richards said that does not bother her.

“I’m frustrated with people who somehow lump birth control and women’s health care as a social issue,” she said.

Generic birth control can cost as much as $75 per month.

“It’s only a social issue if you’ve never had to get birth control,” she said.  “For women, these are basic issues.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Says He Cares About Unemployment Rate -- Unlike Santorum

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(PEORIA, Ill.) -- Mitt Romney seized on a remark made by fellow presidential candidate Sen. Rick Santorum Monday to distinguish himself, telling a group of mostly college students on the eve of their professional futures, that unlike his chief GOP rival, he cares about the joblessness in the U.S.

“I am concerned about the people that are out of work,” said Romney, who held a town hall Monday evening at Bradley University. “One of the people who is running also for the Republican nomination today said that he doesn’t care about the unemployment rate, that does bother me. I do care about the unemployment rate. It does bother me.”

Earlier Monday at a campaign event in Moline, Ill., Santorum had remarked, “I don’t care what the unemployment rate’s going to be. It doesn’t matter to me. My campaign doesn’t hinge on unemployment rates and growth rates.”

When Romney took questions from the crowd at his event, the first two audience members asked about social issues.

“So you’re all for like, ‘Yay, freedom,’ and all this stuff,” said one female student, `And, yay, like, pursuit of happiness.’ You know what would make me happy? Free birth control.”

Romney, who had been nodding along with the young woman as she spoke about his pledge for freedom, responded, “You know, you know, let me tell you, no no, look, look let me tell you something. If you’re looking, if you’re looking for free stuff, if you’re looking for free stuff you don’t have to pay for? Vote for the other guy, that’s what he’s all about, OK?”

“That’s not, that’s not what I’m about,” said Romney, as the crowd cheered. “You have the choice in this country of doing something which politicians have been promoting for years. Politicians get up and promise you all sorts of free stuff. Alright, and say I’m going to give you more and more stuff, and you won’t have to pay for it. And you know what, we get elected that way in many cases, politicians do, that’s not something I subscribe to. My own view is that we have to tell people the truth, and we’re going to have to demand sacrifice of the American people. The idea of borrowing a trillion dollars more than we take in is not just bad economics, it’s immoral.  I’m not going to do it, and I’m not going to promise what can’t be delivered.”

The second question came from another woman in the audience who said that while her question was not specifically about birth control, she wanted to know where Romney suggests women get care such as HPV vaccines and mammograms, given that he does not support women’s clinics such as Planned Parenthood.

“Well they can go wherever they’d like to go this is a free society,” said Romney, frankly. “But here’s what I’d say -- which is, the federal government should not tax these people to pay for Planned Parenthood. There are a lot of things by the way, there are a lot of things that we have in our society that we may like, or we may not like, but the government shouldn’t be paying for.”

“And the idea of the federal government funding Planned Parenthood? I’m going to say no, we’re going to stop that,” he added.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Democrats Seize on Romney Pledge to ‘Get Rid of’ Planned Parenthood

Toni Sandys/The Washington Post(WASHINGTON) -- Democrats have produced a Web video accusing GOP front-runner Mitt Romney of wanting to “get rid of” Planned Parenthood -- an accusation the Romney campaign claims is false and taken out of context.

The ad features Romney speaking to St. Louis TV station KDSK, which headlines the interview on its website: “Mitt Romney: Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that.”

In context, Romney was clearly talking about eliminating any federal funding of Planned Parenthood, not attempting to eliminate the private organization itself.

Listing programs he would cut to help reduce spending and the deficit, the former Massachusetts governor said, “Of course you get rid of Obamacare, that’s the easy one, but there are others: 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.”

Senior Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom clarified Tuesday night that Romney’s plan was not “getting rid of the organization.”  Instead, he pointed out in an interview with CNN, “they have other sources of funding besides government appropriations.”

Still, as Rick Santorum stole the spotlight with his primary wins in the Deep South, deputy Obama campaign manager Stephanie Cutter launched an assault on Romney over his comment, circulating the KDSK video in an email blast to supporters.

“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,” Cutter wrote.  "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.”

Democratic National Committee chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz also joined the attack, saying Romney was attempting to “pander to the far right wing of his party.”  Planned Parenthood meanwhile called his proposal to cut off federal funds “dangerous and out of step with what most Americans want.”

Recent polls do show majorities of Americans oppose cuts to funding for Planned Parenthood.

A national Quinnipiac University poll found 53 percent opposed to ending federal aid to the clinics under Title X, while 43 percent support such a move. The survey, conducted Feb. 21-28, has a margin of error of 2.3 points.

Similarly, a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll conducted over the same period found 53 percent of Americans consider cuts to Title X funding “mostly or totally unacceptable,” while 45 percent disagreed. The survey’s margin of error was 3.1 points.

“Mitt Romney believes it is morally irresponsible to spend more money than we take in, and he is certainly not willing to borrow money from China to fund our nation’s leading abortion provider,” Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul told ABC News. “The real question should be why President Obama thinks that is the right course for our nation.”

The Romney campaign said in its budget blueprint last year that eliminating Title X family planning funding would save taxpayers $300 million.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Bends Contraception Rule for Religious Institutions

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Seeking to quell a political uproar over religious freedom and contraception, President Obama announced Friday that religious-affiliated institutions will not be mandated to cover birth control for their employees after all.

Insurance companies will instead be directly responsible for providing free contraception and covering the cost.

"Religious organizations won't have to pay for these services and no religious institution will have to provide these services directly," Obama said in the White House briefing room. 

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The president's abrupt shift is intended to calm the firestorm surrounding the administration's recent ruling to require most employers, including Catholic hospitals and charities, to offer health insurance that fully covers contraception and satisfy both sides of the explosive debate.

Under the new policy, women will still get guaranteed access to contraception without a co-pay regardless of where they work. If a woman works for an employer that objects to providing contraception because of its religious beliefs, the insurance company will step in and offer birth control free of charge.

The president made clear that the "accommodation" should not be seen as his backing off his commitment to providing preventative care.

Both sides of the debate have reacted positively to the president's revised plan.

The president of the Catholic Health Association said she is "pleased" with the revised policy.

Planned Parenthood also supported the president's decision.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rick Perry Endorser Calls Planned Parenthood 'Slaughterhouse'

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Presidential candidate Rick Perry spoke at the Values Voter Summit, a gathering of hundreds of social conservatives in Washington, on Friday, but the evangelical pastor who introduced him stole the show, sparking a controversy in the process.

It was no ordinary opener from the prominent Southern Baptist Convention leader, Pastor Robert Jeffress, who endorsed Perry on Friday. Jeffress praised Perry for defunding Planned Parenthood in Texas, calling the provider of women’s health and abortion services, “that slaughterhouse for the unborn.”

He also lauded Perry’s “strong commitment to biblical values.”

“Do we want a candidate who is skilled in rhetoric or one who is skilled in leadership? Do we want a candidate who is a conservative out of convenience or one who is a conservative out of deep conviction?” Jeffress said. “Do we want a candidate who is a good, moral person — or one who is a born-again follower of the lord Jesus Christ?”

Jeffress called Perry a “genuine follower of Jesus Christ.” The pastor did not mention Perry’s rival Mitt Romney by name, but he told reporters after his remarks on Friday that Mormonism was a “cult.”

Jeffress’ comments and his endorsement of Perry threatened to inject some tension into what has been a relatively quiet year for religion on the campaign trail and the Perry campaign sought to quiet the uproar.

The campaign’s official comment on Jeffress evolved quickly on Friday afternoon. When initially asked by ABC News whether Gov. Perry agreed that Mormonism is a cult, Perry spokesman Mark Miner said: “The governor doesn’t judge what is in the heart and soul of others. He leaves that to God.”

Miner would also not immediately say whether the governor believed it was wrong to call Mormonism a cult. “It’s not his decision to judge that,” the spokesman said. He added that conference organizers decided who should introduce Perry at the summit, not the campaign.

But minutes later, Miner called ABC News with a new statement: “He does not believe it is a cult.”

Rather than distance himself from the pastor’s introductory remarks on Friday, when Perry took the podium, he thanked Jeffress for a “very powerful introduction.”

Perry added, “He knocked it out of the park.”

UPDATE: The Rick Perry campaign initially said that the introductory speaker was chosen by event organizers, not by the Perry campaign.  But it turns out the Perry campaign “signed off” on Jeffress:
"Pastor Jeffress was suggested to us as a possible introductory speaker because he serves as pastor of one of the largest churches in Texas.  We sent the request to the Perry campaign which then signed off on the request,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said in a statement to ABC News. (The Family Research Council is the lead organizer of the three-day event.)

"The views expressed by speakers are not necessarily the views of the event sponsors.  We do not pre-screen any speeches at the Values Voter Summit.  We look forward to hearing from Governor Romney tomorrow, as we have done each of the previous five years," Perkins added.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels Will Sign Bill to Defund Planned Parenthood

Michael Hickey/Getty Images(INDIANAPOLIS) -- As Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels mulls a presidential run in 2012, he announced plans to sign a bill making Indiana the first state to pull federal funding from Planned Parenthood, a move that could boost his standing among social conservatives.

"I supported this bill from the outset, and the recent addition of language guarding against the spending of tax dollars to support abortions creates no reason to alter my position." Daniels said in a statement. "The principle involved commands the support of an overwhelming majority of Hoosiers."

The bill would cut $3 million in federal money the state currently allocates to the women's health group. It also would ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy unless the woman's life is significantly threatened, require women seeking abortions to be informed that life starts at conception and require doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges in a nearby hospital.

But the bill also puts Indiana in a financial tight spot as it risks losing $4 million a year in federal family-planning money that would be eliminated because of the state legislation.

The governor has seven days to sign the bill, but even if he doesn't sign it, it still will become a law. If Daniels were to veto the bill, the general assembly would be forced to wait until the next legislative session to address the measure again.

Republicans in Congress attempted to ban federal funding for Planned Parenthood earlier this year but failed.

Planned Parenthood called Gov. Daniels' decision "unconscionable and unspeakable."

"We will now suffer the consequences of lawmakers who have no regard for fact-based decision making and sound public health policy," Betty Cockrum, president of Planned Parenthood of Indiana, said in a statement.

Planned Parenthood estimates the measure would cut off 22,000 low-income residents of Indiana from medical care.

Daniels has called on national leaders to declare a "truce" on social issues and focus on the country's financial burden, a statement that sparked discomfort among social conservatives.

But NARAL Pro-Choice America said it sees this as an abandonment of that call for a truce.

Daniels has danced around questions regarding his presidential ambitions, but he has promised to make a decision after the close of the legislative session. He has made no official indication that he will run for president, nor has he said whether he will participate in the first Republican presidential debate, slated for next Thursday in South Carolina.

With his friend Haley Barbour dropping out of the race earlier this week, Daniels could be more open to a presidential run. Barbour's decision not to run opens the door to supporters and fundraising.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Indiana Lawmakers Vote to Defund Planned Parenthood

In [dot] gov(INDIANAPOLIS) -- Pro-life Indiana Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels has a hard decision to make after the state Legislature Wednesday became the first in the nation to bar Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funds.

While taxpayer money isn't used by the women's services agency to terminate pregnancies, Planned Parenthood has come under heat lately from social conservatives who say it doesn't deserve federal dollars.

Daniels is mulling a run for the GOP presidential nomination next year and while his views against abortion are well known, he has also called for a "truce" between sides that are far apart on social issues.

The governor must decide by next week whether to veto the measure, but most political pundits believe he will sign it to bolster his standing with the Republican Party's conservative base, especially if he decides to seek the presidency.  The bill also becomes law if he doesn't sign it.

Currently, eight of Planned Parenthood's 28 clinics in Indiana are Title X funded.  Should Daniels approve the legislation, the state will lose its entire allotment of $4 million in federal planning dollars.

If it becomes law, the measure, which would also ban abortions after 20 weeks, will probably inspire other GOP-controlled state Legislatures to pass similar bills to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Uncensored: President Caught on Open Mic

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama had a candid, private conversation with campaign donors last night in Chicago. Except, as it turns out, it wasn't so private.

An audio feed that was apparently left open by accident caught President Obama criticizing the Republican whom he has praised in public for offering serious attempts to address the deficit: House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc.

"When Paul Ryan says his priority is to make sure, he's just being America's accountant...This is the same guy that voted for two wars that were unpaid for, voted for the Bush tax cuts that were unpaid for, voted for the prescription drug bill that cost as much as my health care bill -- but wasn't paid for. So it's not on the level."

"This week, the President is hard at work to save his political career; while Ryan remains hard at work with his colleagues in Congress to pass a budget and lift our crushing burden of debt," Ryan spokesman Conor Sweeney said. "This budget debate marks not only a clear contrast in visions, but a clear contrast in leadership."

The president also recalled his dealings with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, over GOP attempts in the budget bill to defund the health care legislation.

"I said, 'You want to repeal health care? Go at it. We'll have that debate. You're not going to be able to do that by nickel-and-diming me in the budget. You think we're stupid?'" the president recalled saying.

He'd paid "significant political costs" for passing health care, the president said, and he wouldn’t give it all away so easily.

Of GOP attempts to defund Planned Parenthood, the president said he told Boehner:  "Put it in a separate bill. We'll call it up. And if you think you can overturn my veto, try it. But don't try to sneak this through."

"The Speaker believes his private conversations with the President should remain private," Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said. "Obviously, if the President chooses to share a self-serving version with campaign donors, that is his prerogative."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Government Shutdown Averted, But Bigger Fights on Horizon

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The government is up and running as usual Saturday thanks to an 11th hour deal struck Friday night by negotiators on Capitol Hill, but the intensity of the past week will be nothing compared to the coming battle over even larger spending issues.

As Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Tex., said in an interview last night, the fight over whether or not to raise the debt limit “is going to be Armageddon.”

“We have to see reforms before the debt ceiling is raised … or we would be in danger of having to face this again in another year or two, which we cannot do” Hutchison said in an interview on CNN. “We cannot sustain a $14 trillion debt.”

Her Republican counterpart from Texas, Sen. John Cornyn, tweeted Saturday, “Now on to the main event: the debt limit. Huge leverage for systemic fiscal reform.”

So how did both sides reach the agreement that avoided closing down the federal government?

“In the final hours before our government would have been forced to shut down, leaders in both parties reached an agreement,” President Obama said against the backdrop of the Washington Monument Friday night. “Beginning to live within our means is the only way to protect those investments that will help America compete for new jobs -- investments in our kids’ education and student loans; in clean energy and life-saving medical research. We protected the investments we need to win the future.”

The agreement would cut about $38 billion from the 2010 budget baseline and $78.5 billion from President Obama's 2011 budget proposal, officials said. It also would keep intact funding to Planned Parenthood and resist several other Republican-proposed policy changes.

“At the end of the day,” President Obama said, “this was a debate about spending cuts, not social issues like women’s health and the protection of our air and water. These are important issues that deserve discussion -- just not during a debate about our budget.”

The House and Senate passed temporary resolutions to keep the government funded after midnight, when funding was scheduled to run out. A full agreement will need to be drafted and passed by Congress next week. The short-term “bridge,” as House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, described it last night, includes the first $2 billion in cuts.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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