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Obama says 'women are not an interest group' in Planned Parenthood video message

"For you and for most Americans, protecting women's health is a mission that stands above politics, and yet over the past year you've had to stand up to politicians who wanted to deny millions of women the care they rely on and inject themselves into decisions that are best made between a women and her doctor," said Obama in a video posted to Planned Parenthood Action Fund's YouTube channel.

"Let's be clear here — women are not an interest group."

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Women's healthcare has taken center stage in the presidential election, after Obama's proposal to require employers to provide coverage for contraception sparked a national debate on government overreach and access to healthcare.

Obama also took a veiled swipe at Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney in the video message. Without mentioning Romney by name, he slammed the former Massachusetts governor for comments he made in March regarding the women's health organization.

"When some professional politicians casually say they'll 'get rid of Planned Parenthood,' don't forget what they're really talking about — eliminating the funding for preventative care that millions of women rely on and leaving them to fend for themselves," Obama said.

Democrats hammered Romney for saying he would "get rid" of Planned Parenthood as part of his plan to reduce the federal deficit in a Missouri television interview on the campaign trail. 

"You get rid of ObamaCare, but there are others," Romney said. "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."

The former Massachusetts governor later clarified his remarks, telling the Chicago Sun-Times he would eliminate federal funding for the organization.

“Planned Parenthood is a private organization. What I want to get rid of is the federal funding of Planned Parenthood,” Romney said.

The president's message has gained traction with voters. Romney holds a 1 percent advantage among men, while the president leads by 18 percent among women in a survey of swing states, according to the latest USA Today/Gallup poll.

The Obama reelection campaign tweeted the video to followers, which was then re-tweeted by Planned Parenthood Sunday:

"We know this debate is far from over. We must continue to send a message loud and clear, if you truly value families, you shouldn't play politics with a women's health, that's why I know Planned Paretnhood will continue to provide care no matter what," Obama added in the video.

Obama praised Planned Parenthood for "protecting the healthcare and the choices that America's women deserve.

"As long as I have the privilege of being your president, neither will I," he continued.