For the second presidential debate, the format was set up as a town hall, with undecided voters asking each of the candidates questions. While questions specifically about Planned Parenthood and abortion were not asked, the president still managed to make a few comments in support of the organization. He also made comments portraying Governor Romney in a negative light for wanting to defund the organization.
Politico has once again provided a transcript and videos of the debate. Portions of that transcript which show the candidates discussing Planned Parenthood will be highlighted in this article.
The first mention of Planned Parenthood, by the president, came when taking a crack at Mitt Romney. Obama said, “We haven’t heard from the governor any specifics beyond Big Bird and eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood in terms of how he pays for that.”
By mentioning “eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood” in the same sentence as Big Bird, the subject of an Obama ad panned by “Sesame Street” itself, Obama doesn’t seem to be taking this option seriously.
Some time and a few responses later, the president shared his thoughts on Governor Romney’s answer to a question that had to do with pay equality for women. The president certainly took time to attack Mitt Romney and at the same time give a nod to Planned Parenthood. It is fitting to include Obama’s full answer to provide context, though the mentions to Planned Parenthood are in bold and are my emphasis:
OBAMA: Katherine, I just want to point out that when Governor Romney’s campaign was asked about the Lilly Ledbetter bill, whether he supported it? He said, “I’ll get back to you.” And that’s not the kind of advocacy that women need in any economy. Now, there are some other issues that have a bearing on how women succeed in the workplace. For example, their healthcare. You know a major difference in this campaign is that Governor Romney feels comfortable having politicians in Washington decide the health care choices that women are making.
I think that’s a mistake. In my health care bill, I said insurance companies need to provide contraceptive coverage to everybody who is insured. Because this is not just a — a health issue, it’s an economic issue for women. It makes a difference. This is money out of that family’s pocket. Governor Romney not only opposed it, he suggested that in fact employers should be able to make the decision as to whether or not a woman gets contraception through her insurance coverage.
That’s not the kind of advocacy that women need. When Governor Romney says that we should eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, there are millions of women all across the country, who rely on Planned Parenthood for, not just contraceptive care, they rely on it for mammograms, for cervical cancer screenings. That’s a pocketbook issue for women and families all across the country. And it makes a difference in terms of how well and effectively women are able to work. When we talk about child care, and the credits that we’re providing. That makes a difference in whether they can go out there and — and earn a living for their family.
These are not just women’s issues. These are family issues. These are economic issues.
And one of the things that makes us grow as an economy is when everybody participates and women are getting the same fair deal as men are.
CROWLEY: Mr. President…
OBAMA: And I’ve got two daughters and I want to make sure that they have the same opportunities that anybody’s sons have. That’s part of what I’m fighting for as president of the United States.
No matter how many times it will be pointed out that Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms and is, in fact, not legally authorized to do so, the president keeps putting forth this lie. If President Obama wanted to be accurate, he could say things like “mammogram referrals.” And sadly, the American people are going to believe the lie, because when the president of the United States says something, we want to believe that he’s telling the truth. Obama also confuses his daughters being able to have the same opportunities as someone’s son with the basic biological fact that his daughters can get pregnant while someone’s son cannot.
Obama also made a comment prior, though, which has an abortion connotation to it if carefully considered. In the president’s answer to the question about pay equality, which was made just before the above excerpt, Obama ended his response with a statement that I don’t think he considered applying to children not yet born.
But we’ve got to enforce the laws, which is what we are doing, and we’ve also got to make sure that in every walk of life we do not tolerate discrimination.
That’s been one of the hallmarks of my administration. I’m going to continue to push on this issue for the next four years.
I find it ironic and unfortunate for the president to make a comment about not tolerating discrimination for “every walk of life” when he is in favor of abortion that causes the death of an unborn child and refuses to be in favor of even bans for partial-birth abortions and sex-selective abortions. He also voted against giving babies born alive from an abortion equal protection, which is highlighted by a recent ad from the Susan B. Anthony List, which features abortion survivor Melissa Ohden.
I agree with President Obama when he says “… and we’ve also got to make sure that in every walk of life we do not tolerate discrimination.” I only wish that he would be true to his word and stop the discrimination coming from his administration when it comes to the lives of children not yet born.