President Obama gave a speech slamming critics for trying to turn Planned Parenthood “into a punching bag” while notably avoiding the word “abortion” in the entire address.
“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,” Obama said.
“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,” he continued. “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.”
Obama called state efforts to reduce abortion “an assault on women’s rights.”
“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,” he added, evoking laughter from the conference crowd at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington.
The president also used the event for a campaign-style pitch about the benefits of ObamaCare.
“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,” Obama said. “…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.”
He apologized that he “could not be at the party yesterday” as he was still in Texas: “I understand it was a little wild.”
“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,” Obama said, getting a round of applause from the crowd.
“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,” he said. “It’s not going anywhere tomorrow.”