Planned Parenthood officials greet Obama in Orlando

The family-planning group has become a flashpoint in the presidential race as conservatives work to block its public funding over abortion.

{mosads}Obama supports Planned Parenthood, which has long administered non-abortion health services to low-income women through Medicaid, while GOP candidate Mitt Romney has said he would “get rid of” the group’s funding as president.

Taxpayer dollars cannot fund abortions under state or federal law. But abortion-rights opponents, arguing that money is fungible, demand that officials end all public health contracts with Planned Parenthood.

The Obama administration has returned fire in at least three states that have voted to defund the group, awarding federal grants to Planned Parenthood affiliates in New Jersey, Tennessee and North Carolina.

Obama has also invoked Planned Parenthood on the campaign trail, using the group in appeals to women voters.

“Mr. Romney wants to get rid of funding for Planned Parenthood. I think that’s a bad idea,” he told crowds in Portland on July 24.

“I’ve got two daughters. I want them to control their own healthcare choices.”

Planned Parenthood’s political arm endorsed Obama in May and slammed Romney for what it described as his “harmful positions on women’s health” in a $1.4 million ad campaign. Tosh and Wolf also volunteer with that group, Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

Abortion-rights opponents have responded by blasting the group as part of a profit-motivated “abortion industry” and Obama as “the abortion president.”

“President Obama and Planned Parenthood are not all about providing healthcare to women, but rather are concerned only with protecting Planned Parenthood’s role as largest abortion provider in nation,” said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser on July 25.

Obama will give remarks Thursday at Rollins College in Winter Park, an Orlando suburb. 

—This post was updated Friday at 12:45 p.m.

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