Planned Parenthood endorsed President Obama's reelection Wednesday morning and slammed Mitt Romney for what it called his "harmful positions on women's health."
"There is no greater champion for women’s health than President Obama and Planned Parenthood Action Fund couldn’t be prouder to endorse his reelection as president today," said Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards. "The contrast with Mitt Romney couldn’t be starker. Planned Parenthood Action Fund is committed to ensuring that voters know how wrong Mitt Romney is for women — in his own words."
The group rarely gets involved in presidential campaigns — this is only the third time it has endorsed for president — but it has become increasingly politically active in the past two years, since House Republicans pushed to cut off all government funds for the group, which mostly focuses on preventive care but also provides access to abortion with non-governmental funds.
The group's comments play into the Obama campaign's argument that Romney and Republicans are waging a "war on women."
Planned Parenthood also launched a $1.4 million ad buy blasting Romney, targeting a statement he made saying he would "get rid" of the group and citing his opposition to abortion rights. The ads will run in West Palm Beach, Des Moines and Washington, D.C., targeting female voters in the key swing states of Florida, Iowa and Virginia.
"When Mitt Romney says 'Planned Parenthood — we're gonna get rid of that,' Romney is saying he'll deny women the birth control and cancer screenings they depend on," the ad's narrator says. "When Romney says, 'Do I believe the Supreme Court should overturn Roe v. Wade? Yes,' he's saying he'll deny women the right to make their own medical decisions. And when his campaign can't say whether he'd support equal pay protections ... Romney's putting your paycheck at risk."
"Particularly in this presidential election, it's astonishing to see Mitt Romney take positions that are so far, so extreme. I think it shows how out of touch he is with ... women in this country," Richards said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Wednesday, discussing the ad campaign.
Richards also defended the ad from claims that it misrepresents Romney's statements on Planned Parenthood.
On the campaign trail in March, Romney was asked about what programs he would cut to balance the federal budget. "You get rid of ObamaCare, but there are others," Romney said. "Planned Parenthood, we're gonna get rid of that.”
After Democrats quickly pounced on the remarks, Romney clarified that he doesn't want to "get rid" of Planned Parenthood, but rather end federal funding for the women's health organization.
When pressed on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" about the accuracy of the newly released ad, Richards said, "It's not about Planned Parenthood. To me, it's about that he wants to cut women off of birth control services and cancer screenings.
"Those are his own words — I didn't make those up. That's what Mitt Romney said himself."