Mitt Romney stirred up his opposition yesterday after telling a local news reporter in Missouri that he would "get rid" of Planned Parenthood if elected president.
“The test is pretty simple. Is the program so critical, it’s worth borrowing money from China to pay for it?" he told KDSK. "And on that basis of course you get rid of Obamacare, that’s the easy one. Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that."
A campaign aide later qualified that Romney meant he'd get rid of federal funding for Planned Parenthood, not get rid of the health care provider altogether, but that didn't stop Democrats from pouncing on Romney's original statement. They claim Romney has become the most extreme candidate on issues affecting women.
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In a conference call with reporters today, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL), and Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards spoke out against Romney's statement.
“It seems as if Mitt Romney is trying to out-right anyone else in the race,” said Congresswoman Schakowsky, adding that she believes it's because he's trying to distance himself from his position a decade ago. In 2002, Romney sought the endorsement of Planned Parenthood, which provides abortion services, when running for governor of Massachusetts. He supported abortion rights until 2005, when he changed his position.
Richards made the point during the call that at a time when voters are more concerned about the economy than social issues, cutting federal funding to Planned Parenthood is not a viable solution. “The most conservative economist will tell you family planning saves money. It saves taxpayer money," she said.
“For every dollar invested in family planning, we save four,” Congressman Quigley added.
During the call, reporters questioned whether Romney's recent comment about Planned Parenthood was worthy of the level of attention it has received, given that he has said many times that he wants to cut the organization's federal funding. Congresswoman Schakowsky said yesterday's comments were indicative of Romney's real feelings about the Planned Parenthood. “I think if Mitt Romney could get rid of Planned Parenthood, he absolutely would do that,” she said. “When he said ‘get rid of it,’ he meant that he would do whatever he could to get rid of it.”
Image via Planned Parenthood