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Obama Slams Antiabortion State Laws [Video -Full Remarks]

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the 2013 Planned Parenthood National Conference at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C., April 26, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the 2013 Planned Parenthood National Conference at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C., April 26, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Obama – the first sitting president to address the group in its nearly 100-year history — took aim at North Dakota’s law, which bans abortions as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected, at around six weeks. “A woman may not even know that she’s pregnant at six weeks,” he said. As long as Planned Parenthood and other groups have to fight to defend women’s reproductive rights, he added later, “you’ve also got a president who will be right there with you, fighting every step of the way.” [Washington Post]

ANTIABORTION state laws were a target, as President Obama became the first sitting president in 100 years to address Planned Parenthood. He said something so important and always missed by the extremists, emphasizing “that women should be able to make their own decisions about their own health. It’s a simple principle.”

The Associated Press is reporting it as “Obama Backs Planned Parenthood in Political Fight.” Couching everything as a “fight,” when it makes absolute sense that a modern man, whatever his party affiliation, would support women having control over our own health care, including our own body. It’s a fight for equality and demanding the same personal autonomy men have.

“Turn back the clock” on progress is exactly what extremist Republicans and other conservatives want to do. That they’re joined by women as well is a travesty.

Of course, the extremists had to weigh in, starting with Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, who made a gafferiffic statement by mentioning “oversight,” which Republicans fight against by not funding, while also working against regulations that keep women safe.

“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.” [New York Times]

These same people haven’t keyed in on what would happen if Planned Parenthood wasn’t there for women, because their reproductive services are only a small fraction of the health care screening they provide for women.

Antiabortion state laws will also make horrendous situations like what happened in Pennsylvania with the illegal practices of Kermit Gosnell more likely to happen again.

“When politicians try to turn Planned Parenthood into a punching bag, they’re not just talking about you, they’re talking about the millions of women who you serve,” he told the group’s gathering, at a Washington hotel. “And when they talk about cutting off your funding, let’s be clear they’re talking about telling many of those women you’re on your own.” [New York Times]

The alleged murderer Kermit Gosnell is what reproductive abortion services would look like if the procedure becomes illegal in states. You’re never going to stop a woman from getting an abortion if she decides it’s her only option.

This is a fight that will be center stage in Virginia later this year when Ken Cuccinelli takes on Terry McAuliffe to be the next governor of Virginia. How Republican and independent women can vote for Cuccinelli knowing he wants to make reproductive health services less available to women makes no sense.

Putting girls and women in danger is not “pro life.”

“You’ve also got a president who’s going to be right here with you fighting every step of the way.” – President Obama

Remarks by the President at the Planned Parenthood Conference

Marriott Wardman Park Hotel

THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody! (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you! (Applause.) All right, everybody have a seat. Have a seat. You’re making me blush. (Laughter.)


THE PRESIDENT: I love you back. Thank you. (Applause.)

Cecile, thank you for the warm introduction, and thank you for the outstanding leadership that you’ve shown over the years. You just do a great, great job. (Applause.) I want to thank all of you for the remarkable work that you’re doing day in, day out in providing quality health care to women all across America. You are somebody that women — young women, old women, women in between — count on for so many important services. And we are truly grateful to you.

I’m sorry that I could not be at the party yesterday. I understand it was a little wild. (Laughter.) That’s what I heard. But as all of you know, obviously, we’ve gone through a pretty tough week and a half, and I was down in Texas, letting the people of West, Texas know that we all love them and care about them in their time of grieving. (Applause.)

But obviously this is a special national conference, because it’s been nearly a hundred years since the first health clinic of what later would become Planned Parenthood opened its doors to women in Brooklyn. And for nearly a century now, one core principle has guided everything all of you do — that women should be allowed to make their own decisions about their own health. (Applause.) It’s a simple principle.

So what I see in this audience, extraordinary doctors and nurses, and advocates and staff who work tirelessly to keep the doors at health centers all across the country going, then I’m reminded of those very early efforts and all the strides that we’ve made in subsequent decades. And I also think about the millions of mothers and daughters and wives and sisters, friends and neighbors who walk through those doors every year.

Somewhere there’s a woman who just received a new lease on life because of a screening that you provided that helped catch her cancer in time. Somewhere there’s a woman who’s breathing easier today because of the support and counseling she got at her local Planned Parenthood health clinic. Somewhere there’s a young woman starting a career who, because of you, is able to decide for herself when she wants to start a family. (Applause.)
One in five women in this country has turned to Planned Parenthood for health care. One in five. (Applause.) And for many, Planned Parenthood is their primary source of health care — not just for contraceptive care, but for lifesaving preventive care, like cancer screenings and health counseling.

So when politicians try to turned Planned Parenthood into a punching bag, they’re not just talking about you; they’re talking about the millions of women who you serve. And when they talk about cutting off your 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 — shutting off communities that need more health care options for women, not less. (Applause.)

So the fact is, after decades of progress, there’s still those who want to turn back the clock to policies more suited to the 1950s than the 21st century. And they’ve been involved in an orchestrated and historic effort to roll back basic rights when it comes to women’s health.

Forty-two states have introduced laws that would ban or severely limit access to a woman’s right to choose — laws that would make it harder for women to get the contraceptive care that they need; laws that would cut off access to cancer screenings and end educational programs that help prevent teen pregnancy.

In North Dakota, they just passed a law that outlaws your right to choose, starting as early as six weeks, even if a woman is raped. A woman may not even know that she’s pregnant at six weeks. In Mississippi, a ballot initiative was put forward that could not only have outlawed your right to choose, but could have had all sorts of other far-reaching consequences like cutting off fertility treatments, making certain forms of contraception a crime.

That’s absurd. It’s wrong. It’s 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. (Applause.) Mississippi is a conservative state, but they wanted to make clear there’s nothing conservative about the government injecting itself into decisions best made between a woman and her doctor. And folks are trying to do this all across the country.

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. (Laughter.)

Forty years after the Supreme Court affirmed a woman’s constitutional right to privacy, including the right to choose, we shouldn’t have to remind people that when it comes to a woman’s health, no politician should get to decide what’s best for you. No insurer should get to decide what kind of care that you get. The only person who should get to make decisions about your health is you. (Applause.) That’s why we fought so hard to make health care reform a reality. (Applause.)

That principle is at the heart of the Affordable Care Act. Because of the ACA, most insurance plans are now covering the cost of contraceptive care, so that a working mom doesn’t have to put off the care she needs just so she can pay her bills on time. Because of the Affordable Care Act, 47 million women have new access to preventive care like mammograms and cancer screenings with no copay, no deductible, no out-of-pocket costs, so they don’t have to put off a mammogram just because money is tight. Because of the Affordable Care Act, young people under the age of 26 can now stay on their parent’s health care plan.

And insurance companies soon will no longer be able to deny you coverage based on preexisting conditions like breast cancer, or charge you more just because you are a woman. Those days are ending. (Applause.) Those days are ending. (Applause.)

Now, I know how hard you worked to help us pass health care reform. You and your supporters got out there — you organized; you mobilized; you made your voices heard. It made all the difference. But here’s the thing — if Americans don’t know how to access the new benefits and protections that they’re going to receive as we implement this law, then health care reform won’t make much of a difference in their lives.

So I’m here to also ask for your help, because we need to get the word out. We need you to tell your patients, your friends, your neighbors, your family members what the health care law means for them. Make sure they know that if they don’t have health insurance, they’ll be able to sign up for quality, affordable insurance starting this fall in an online marketplace where private insurers will compete for their business. Make sure that they know that there are plans out there right now that cover the cost of contraceptive and preventive care free of charge.

We’ve got to spread the word, particularly among women, particularly among young women, who are the ones who are most likely to benefit from these laws. We need all the women who come through your doors telling their children, their husbands, and the folks in their neighborhoods about their health care options. We need all the college students who come through your doors to call up their friends and post on Facebook talking about the protections and benefits that are kicking in.

And you are all in a unique position to deliver that message, because the women you serve know you and they trust you. And the reason for that is that you haven’t let them down before.

I know it’s not always easy. As Cecile described, Planned Parenthood as the only organization that she’s ever been at where there are opponents who, in her words, “literally got up every day trying to figure out how to keep us from doing our work.” Now, if she had worked in the administration — (laughter and applause) — she’d be more familiar with this phenomenon. (Laughter and applause.) But when it comes to your patients, you never let them down — no matter what.

And that’s because you never forget who this is all about. This is about a woman from Chicago named Courtney who has a disease that can leave women infertile. So in college, she turned to Planned Parenthood for access to affordable contraceptive care to keep her healthy. You didn’t just help her plan for a family; you made sure she could start one. And today, she’s got two beautiful kids. That’s what Planned Parenthood is about. (Applause.)

This is about a woman in Washington State named Joyce who for years could only afford health care at her local Planned Parenthood clinic. And heeding your advice, she never missed her annual exam. During one of them, your doctors helped catch an aggressive form of cervical cancer early enough to save her life. Today, she’s been cancer-free for 25 years. (Applause.)

So every day, in every state, in ever center that Planned Parenthood operates, there are stories like those — lives you’ve saved, women you’ve empowered, families that you’ve strengthened. That’s why, 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. It’s not going anywhere today. It’s not going anywhere tomorrow. (Applause.)

As long as we’ve got to fight to make sure women have access to quality, affordable health care, and as long as we’ve got to fight to protect a woman’s right to make her own choices about her own health, I want you to know that you’ve also got a President who’s going to be right there with you fighting every step of the way. (Applause.)

Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you. God bless America. Thank you.

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13 Responses to Obama Slams Antiabortion State Laws [Video -Full Remarks]

  1. fangio April 26, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

    ” You’ve also got a president who’s going to be right here with you fighting every step of the way. ” Wow! I bet that cheered them up.

  2. Ramsgate April 26, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

    Fighting? Ha! Talk and more talk. He will not DO one damned thing to support them. When the blood thirsty Republicans attack, he will be off hiding somewhere.

    • jjamele April 27, 2013 at 6:43 am #

      “Shut up! He’s awesome! And LOL it sure makes no sense to say he’s not a fighter- he’s only the second Democrat ever to get more than 51% of the vote in two elections you know! That means he’ll fight for abortion rights! LOL the ODS is as strong as ever here LOL!”

      –Solo’s Intern

      • Solo April 27, 2013 at 9:36 am #

        Another day, another jjamele cheap shot! You might want to go see someone about why having Barack Hussein Obama in the White House fills you with so much anger! What is it about that man that drives nutz?

        • jjamele April 27, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

          Nice of you to show up to cross your own t’s like that.

  3. Cujo359 April 26, 2013 at 8:50 pm #

    He never seemed to be too concerned about abortion laws as a state senator. It’s one of the reasons he’s known fondly as “Mr. Present”.

  4. secularhumanizinevoluter April 26, 2013 at 9:43 pm #

    Ahhhhh….spring is in the air as the spring peepers chirp the same old monotonous ODS tune we’ve come to expect from them!

    • jjamele April 27, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

      Mr Republikkklan Uber Christo Fascist Imbecilic Assmonkeys is calling out someone for being “monotonous.” Wow, talk about a total lack of self-awareness.

      • Cujo359 April 27, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

        … or is it a case of “do what I say, not what I do”?

  5. angels81 April 27, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

    Wow! I would have never known the President was a secret pro lifer until I came here. Maybe someone should let Planned Parenthood know, and show them the error of their ways. I’m sure jjamele will set them straight.

    • newdealdem1 April 27, 2013 at 10:19 pm #

      Thanks for your comments as well, Angels.

  6. newdealdem1 April 27, 2013 at 10:06 pm #

    It’s my humble opinion that the men who posted in this thread with the exception of Sec truly don’t care about a woman’s right to choose. All they seem to want to do is take a dump on Obama when opportunity calls (and just prove that they can piss the farthest, I suppose) even when he’s done the right thing and he has done the right thing appearing at Planned Parenthood as he did yesterday.

    So, Taylor, I want to add my voice to yours when you said this about President Obama:

    “ANTIABORTION state laws were a target, as President Obama became the first sitting president in 100 years to address Planned Parenthood. He said something so important and always missed by the extremists, emphasizing “that women should be able to make their own decisions about their own health. It’s a simple principle.” Taylor

    Thank you and this is the point after all. Our lives as women have always been under scrutiny for whatever reason but never so much as when it comes to abortion which is only another way of raising the fury of reactionary men and some women in the GOP whose mission in life seems to be to control our physical automony at whatever cost with absolutely no concern for babies or women. Their mission to control women. And, not having control over one’s physical autonomy not only degrades us as human beings and human women but holds us in economic slavery no less harmful than scores of other humans once kept in literal chains with little or no autonomy.

    I will always define myself as a woman before I define myself as being gay. I’ve felt the sting of prejudice as a woman in the world on an individual basis at work and in my private life whilst I’ve felt the sting of prejudice for being gay in the general sence of not being able to marry in my state until recently and currently not having my marriage recognized by the federal government.

    So, thanks again, Taylor, for your common sense and humanity about this topic in advocating for women’s autonomy which includes our constitutional right to seek abortion services if needed.

    And, again, I want to express my thanks to President Obama for his comments and appearance at Planned Parenthood which again in light of the abusive and regressive behavior of many Republican lawmakers who care more about controlling women and our constitutional and our innate rights as human beings than they care about any child or any woman, does deserve points for speaking out at the much-demonized Planned Parenthood organization which has done great service for women who would not even see a doctor if it weren’t for them.

    As has been said over and over, here and elsewhere, Planned Parenthood provides FULL health services for working class and poor women and has done so for over 100 years when they opened their first office in Brooklyn which President Obama mentioned in his speech on Friday.

    Finally, I want to repeat what I said in another comment regarding Obama’s support for gay marriage: whilst I appreciated his support, he wasn’t going out of his way inasmuch as risk taking to support marriage equality is nominal these days. But, his vocal support in what he said at the Planned Parenthood gala yesterday did contain some risk for him given the oppressive climate in which we now live (as oppressive a climite as it was for a gay person like myself when Bill Clinton was POTUS), so this was not an insignificant appearance by Obama and his very vocal advocacy on behalf of women”s autonomy is very much welcomed by this woman.

    I will always give credit to President Obama or any other pol when they do the right thing as I’ve said many times on this blog.

  7. Lake Lady April 27, 2013 at 11:01 pm #

    I agree with newdealdm and Taylor it should be celebrated when our presdent does the right thing. I must admit that- I find him confounding and unfathomable when it comes to his timeing.

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