DeGette joins critics blasting Romney for attack on Planned Parenthood

Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette, head of the congressional pro-choice caucus, joined with Democrats around the country in criticizing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for vowing to “get rid” of funding for Planned Parenthood if he were elected in November.

“Mitt Romney’s declaration that he would ‘get rid of’ Planned Parenthood is yet another dangerous and reckless attempt to score points with the far right at the expense of the health of millions of women,” DeGette said in a release.

“Planned Parenthood provides critical and necessary health services like annual exams, cancer screenings, and family planning for three million women across this country, and in some places their clinics provide the only care for hundreds of miles…. So today it’s clear once again that Mr. Romney’s ideas are too extreme for our nation and the women of America will not stand idly by while he threatens their health care.”

Democrats seized on remarks Romney made during an interview with St. Louis TV station KDSK, mostly reacting to the idea that Romney was seeking to eliminate Planned Parenthood altogether. Yet, it seems clear from context, the candidate was talking about “getting rid of” federal funding for the organization. His language is ambiguous, however, and KDSK teased the story with a suggestive headline: “Mitt Romney: Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that.”

Romney was answering a question about which programs he would cut to reduce government spending.

“Of course you get rid of Obamacare, that’s the easy one, but there are others. Planned Parenthood, we’re gonna get rid of that. The subsidy for Amtrak, I would eliminate that. The National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, both excellent programs, but we can’t afford to borrow money to pay for these things.”

In a call with Colorado reporters today, Obama for America Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter made reference to Romney’s remarks, characterizing them as part of a pattern that exposes Romney as a pandering candidate who is driving moderate voters farther away each day the GOP primary continues.

“He is trailing Obama by 18 percent among women and today he says he wants to get rid of Planned Parenthood,” she said. “Women in Colorado don’t share Romney’s vision of America.”

Last month, Colorado affiliates of the national breast cancer group Komen for the Cure made news for successfully pushing back against efforts by anti-abortion members of the national management team to end Komen funding for Planned Parenthood clinics here.

DeGette lauded the Colorado Komen leaders at the time and referred to those events in her release today.

“In recent weeks women have come together to stand up for Planned Parenthood and the important role it plays in their health and their community,” she said.

[Image: Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette, C-Span screenshot ]

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