This article appeared online at CBN News on April 17, 2011.
Obama’s Private Remarks Show Fiery Abortion Debate
By Paul Strand
WASHINGTON – An “open mic” incident with President Barack Obama Thursday revealed the intensity of the political debate surrounding efforts to de-fund Planned Parenthood.
Thinking that reporters were out of the room, Obama opened up following a Chicago fundraiser regarding the recent budget battle with House Speaker John Boehner.
“Put it in a separate bill. We’ll call it up,” the president said, referring to legislation against Planned Parenthood’s federal funding. “And if you think you can overturn my veto, try it. But don’t try to sneak this through.”
Planned Parenthood survived the budget battle that almost shut down the government. But the abortion provider is still at the center of budget talks, and the Obama administration isn’t faltering.
Click play to watch Paul Strand’s report, followed by comments from David Christensen of the Family Research Council.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said during budget negotiations, the president was willing to give in on many issues, but not Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer dollars.
“He picked out one organization that he said absolutely not, not one penny will be taken away from this organization,” she said. “No negotiations, not one penny, and he was willing to shut down the government over that.”
Planned Parenthood said its services are all about women’s health care, but opponents argue there’s no denying the group is America’s largest abortion provider.
“Abortions provide about a third of their budget,” Dannenfelser explained. “They provide about 330,000 abortions a year. That’s a quarter of the abortions that are provided in the United States.”
Recent numbers show more than 97 percent of Planned Parenthood’s service was to give pregnant women abortions, with only around 3 percent involved in prenatal care or referring the mothers to adoption agencies.
Congressman Mike Pence, R-Ind., has faced a firestorm of criticism as he pushed to strip Planned Parenthood of its annual $360 million of federal taxpayer funds.
“Abortion is a heartbreaking, billion dollar industry that mostly benefits Planned Parenthood,” Pence said. “Planned Parenthood is far and away the largest abortion provider in America and they are also the largest recipient of federal funding under Title 10.”
“I believe the time has come for it to end,” he said.
Planned Parenthood leaders called the attempt to take away their federal funding a war against women.
“Some politicians on Capitol Hill are working overtime to take lifesaving health care away from women,” Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards said.
Even if Planned Parenthood did lose its federal funding, the group still has 700,000 private donors.
“Their president makes over $340,000 a year,” Dannenfelser claimed. “Their previous president made $900,000 a year. They run an enormous profit for a non-profit.”
Still, Planned Parenthood said if funding is cut, there could actually be more abortions because the group would be forced to cut back on birth control initiatives.
Dannenfelser isn’t buying it. She said Planned Parenthood fights every effort to reduce or restrict abortion.
“They’ve lobbied for changes in the statutory rape laws. They’ve lobbied against parental notification for minors,” Dannenfelser said. “They’ve worked very hard to close down crisis pregnancy centers that help young women bring their children to term.”
The U.S. Senate defeated an attempt by the House Friday to end federal funding of Planned Parenthood. Senate Democrats and five Republicans rejected the measure 58 to 42.