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Obama hammers new state abortion laws

President Obama slammed state abortion restrictions Friday in a speech to Planned Parenthood's national conference.

Obama criticized efforts at the state and federal levels to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood and roll back access to abortion.

When abortion-rights supporters see some of the proposed restrictions, "you want to check the calendar, you want to make sure it's still 2013," Obama said.

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Obama criticized Republican governors' attempts to limit abortion access — a trend that has gathered steam over the past few years as conservatives shift from requirements like parental notification to laws that set increasingly early limits on when a woman can receive an abortion.

"There's nothing conservative about the government injecting itself into decisions best made between a woman and her doctors," Obama said.

He singled out North Dakota's anti-abortion law — the most restrictive in the country — which bans most abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy.

"A woman may not even know that she's pregnant at six weeks," he said.

Obama has embraced Planned Parenthood throughout his presidency, and the alliance strengthened during the 2012 campaign, when Obama seized on the contraception mandate in his healthcare law to help build a significant advantage with female voters.

He praised the organization Friday, citing the efforts of both Republican governors and congressional Republicans to cut off Planned Parenthood's federal funding.

"When politicians try to turn Planned Parenthood into a punching bag, they're not just talking about you, they're talking about the millions of women who you serve," Obama told the crowd.

He thanked Planned Parenthood for its support of his healthcare law, and asked the organization to take part in what promises to be an aggressive campaign to raise awareness of the law's key provisions as they take effect next year.

"If Americans don't know how to access the new benefits and protections ... then healthcare reform won't make much of a difference in their lives," Obama said.

The administration faces a daunting task in raising awareness of the reform law. Polls show the public is still deeply misinformed about the law, three years after Obama signed it. And if people don't use new insurance marketplaces that come online next year, the marketplaces won't work as intended. 

"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," Obama said.

The president had been scheduled to address the conference Thursday, but his speech was pushed back to accommodate more time with the victims of the fertilizer explosion in West, Texas.